Monday, 31 October 2016

The power of plants

I am always amazed at the power of plants to sustain and even heal the body. Recently, a plant with amazing life-saving properties has come to my attention.
Many gardeners will be familiar with periwinkle ( Vinca Major and Vinca Minor) as a useful ground cover plant with pretty blue flowers. In the same family is the Madagascan periwinkle; native to the rain forests and with pink flowers, this little plant was responsible for one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the 20th century. 
 The plant, though highly toxic, had been used in folk medicine for many years and as a result came to the attention of 2 Canadian scientists who after the 2nd World War used it to develop Vinblastine and Vincristine, two very important chemotherapy drugs used to treat Leukaemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma. So important was this discovery, that it is credited with raising the survival rate of Leukaemia in the second part of last century from 10% to 95%. 
Vinblastine is one of the drugs forming part of our daughter's treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma.

On a more culinary note, there are many plants with 'superfood' status which can have a profound effect on our health. One of these is turmeric whose health boosting properties have been well documented of late. You may have seen the BBC 2 programme 'Trust me I'm a doctor' which documented its anti inflammatory and potentially anti cancer benefits.

Turmeric is most often sold in powdered form but I have recently found whole turmeric in Waitrose.

It's easy to see when looking at the strange twig like roots that it is a relative of ginger.
And it partners well with ground ginger and cinnamon in a lovely warming drink just right for these darker evenings.

Turmeric latte is easily made.
Simply warm a cup of milk, in this case coconut milk, and whisk in a tsp each of ground turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. 
Try it! It's like a warm hug!

I have also been adding turmeric to one of my favourite soups. 

Using butternut squash from the allotment with a dollop of red thai curry paste, a sprinkle of turmeric and enriched with coconut milk it makes a yummy soup.

The darker evenings are now with us. I actually like this time of year.
Time to cosy up, light a few candles, pull on some woolly socks.
I hope you are enjoying the cosy evenings too.

annjenny x

Friday, 7 October 2016

Popping by ...

October is a beautiful month. The month when Nature wears her best outfit of gold and red.
So far this year, October has brought some beautiful autumnal sun.
It was on such a sunny day last week, that I spent a slow, peaceful afternoon with both lovely daughters and Tiny Girlie.
We passed a few leisurely hours wandering through the gardens at Burghley House.
It was a time of much needed outdoor therapy.

A few weeks ago, beautiful younger daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.
It was a complete shock; a bolt from the blue. Since then, we have been plunged into an alien world of hospital appointments, scans, blood tests and now chemo. Our daughter has faced it all with courage and a sense of humour. We are full of admiration for her.

As a family, we have also been touched by the huge amount of love and concern which has been shown our daughter. She has received good wishes from near and far.
Mr digandweed has likened it to a network, a grid of tiny lights which has been illuminated, each light connected directly or indirectly by love for our daughter.
It is a lovely, positive, life affirming image.
 The treatment will take her to just before Christmas and we have been told that there is no reason why she should not make a complete and full recovery.
Thank you all for your kind comments on my last post.
Best wishes.

annjenny x