Strawberries

There is an old wives’ tale that strawberries are bad for anyone with joint problems. In actual fact, they have an ability to increase the body’s elimination of uric acid, which aids arthritic joints and inflammation.

Tiny, wild strawberries grow in our garden. Until the early 1600s, these were the only strawberries known in Britain and Europe. 100g of this delicious fruit contains almost twice your daily requirement of vitamin C. They also contain a little iron. They alleviate fatigue and anaemia, and eliminate cholesterol. Strawberries keep the heart and circulation in tip-top condition as they contain antioxidants. They are believed to have antiviral properties, too.

Strawberries are always associated with the tennis championship at Wimbledon. A bowl of delicious strawberries. eaten on a sunny day, is a complete tonic for mind, body and spirit! (Do buy organic…)

Rosemary for remembrance

Often folk plant rosemary in the garden as a token of remembrance for a loved one. It is both a tonic and a stimulant of the brain’s cortex. Rosemary improves memory loss and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Research demonstrates that it increases the amount of oxygen that each cell takes up, so this is why it is so good for the memory.

Rosemary tea makes a useful mouthwash, while the oil is good for stiff joints and headaches. A few drops in the bath guarantee invigoration for all aspects of the being.

From the Mediterranean, rosemary features strongly in folk-lore and legend. It was a popular remedy in ancient Greece for depression, and Elizabethan couples carried it on their wedding day as a sign of fidelity. Many carried it during the plague, hoping that it would ward off the disease.

Rhubarb

I used to love rhubarb when I was a child. I would eat a stick straight from the earth! Full of prana, life-force.

Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit. It’s full of potassium, and also contains vitamin C and manganese. It’s a mild laxative, but is not recommended for anyone with joint problems, such as arthritis. This is because it contains oxalic acid which can exacerbate joint pain. Interestingly, oxalic acid inhibits calcium and iron absorption, so you wouldn’t want to eat rhubarb on a daily basis. It is absolutely delicious in the occasional crumble, though! Wait till it comes into season and eat local, organic rhubarb. Mmm

Peppers

Peppers originated in the Americas. Columbus brought them back to Europe, and from there they spread to Africa and Asia.

Sweet peppers are low in calories, and supply folic acid, potassium and fibre. They are an excellent source of beta carotene and bioflavanoids. These substances are antioxidants which protect the body against arthritis, cancer and heart disease.

Most importantly, peppers are packed with wonderful vitamin C. The green ones have the smallest amount, and the red ones the most., but even the green peppers give you more vitamin C than an orange. This is more than your daily requirement. Keeping them in the fridge ensures no loss of this important vitamin whilst storing. Always source organic, if you can.

Parsley

Parsley is great for alleviating arthritis, rheumatism and gout. The Greeks and Romans loved it, and used it as a diuretic and digestive aid. Parsley supplies vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium. It’s not just a garnish to be pushed aside!

Parsley is rich in essential oils and flavonoids. You can make it into tea by steeping the leaves in hot water. It is also lovely in salads. Parsley will freshen your breath if you have been eating onions or garlic. You can grow parsley in a pot on your kitchen window-sill, or in a tub in the garden. That way it is guaranteed to be organic!

Pineapples

Pineapples have been credited with many healing powers through the ages. The juice when gargled can relieve a sore throat, and eating the fruit is said to relieve cataarh, arthritis, bronchitis, and indigestion.

Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain which breaks down proteins. .Bromelain is also an anti-inflammatory. As such it has been used in the treatment of osteo-arthritis and sports injuries.

Pineapples stop ripening the moment that they are picked, and you can tell freshness by how heavy they feel. If they appear to be heavy for their size, they are nice and ripe. Source your fruit organically whenever you can. Pineapples will give you and your immune system a lovely burst of vitamin C!.

Know your onions

If you have read my book, ‘Yoga Prescribed’, you will remember the advice to put a cut onion beside the bed. The onion will absorb into itself any cough and cold germs, any viruses. After three days, compost that onion and replace it with a fresh one. It certainly cuts down the frequency of winter colds, and their severity.

North Americans use wild onions for the treatment of colds, stings and bites. Chinese herbalists use them on boils, and in European medicine they have been used to alleviate anaemia, bronchitis, asthma, urinary infections, arthritis, gout, rheumatism and the signs of aging. In East Anglia, thick onion soup was a treatment for chesty children.

Spring onions are a great source of vitamin C, as well as some B vitamins and traces of minerals. They are diuretic, dissolving and eliminating urea. This is why they are so helpful with arthritis and rheumatism. Related to garlic, leeks, chives and shallots, onions are antibacterial.

In yoga, onions are believed to be rajasic. This means that they fire up the energies and create heat and movement. This may be why they are so helpful in the winter, when the tendency may be to move towards the tamasic, or lethargic state. Our family loves raw onions in cheese sandwiches!

Always source organic…