Chilies (sometimes spelled Chilli with two l’s) are hot stuff and they’re amazing! Don’t these herbs just keep get better and better?
Chilies originated in Mexico and central North America and evidence indicates that they have been used since 7000BC – that’s a long time! They were introduced into Asia in the 16 century and became part of the staple diet in Asian countries. Chilies are easily grown from seed or alternatively you can buy plants or seedlings at a local market or a nursery if they’re available in your area. Chili plants can either be grown in the ground or they grow easily in pots. They aren’t too keen on frost, so if in a frosty area move them to a sheltered spot when the frosts are around and if you have a dog that eats literally anything like our old Bull Mastiff Nala, you might have to hide them from the dog. We were blaming the birds for stealing our very hot chilies from our chili bush only to discover that it was actually the dog stealing them as they were ripening up! Chilies are a bit like garlic in that they’ve been used for almost as long as humans have been eating. They share with Garlic the ability to have huge health benefits on all parts of the body. Chilies help to keep us strong and healthy, boosting the immune system and making us feel great.
Chili works as a pain killer in the body and has been shown to help with headache and migraine. It is used in salves and ointments which are used externally to treat the pain of arthritis as well as other pain.
It is a well known and researched anti cancer herb and it, like garlic, helps to lower blood pressure, keep your heart healthy and is even thought to boost metabolism helping those consuming chili to lose or control their weight! Chili has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and in the digestive tract and can help to kill the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. Again, use it in your cooking whenever possible. Fresh is best or dried if fresh is not available. There are many different varieties of chili with differing flavours and some are definitely hotter than others.
Experiment and find something you like. A word of warning though, they are addictive and over time the taste buds tend to grow to like it hotter and hotter if you consume them regularly. That’s not a bad thing however as chilies truly are an awesome food and full of vitamins A and C! How do I use Chili?
My husband Ray, has recently become a chili fan after quitting smoking. It’s interesting what happens with the taste buds once you quit the fags. Prior to quitting he couldn’t handle any chili at all and complained bitterly if I even put a sniff of it in his meal! Now he can’t get enough of the stuff. He has been known of late
to add fresh chili to his coffee (in the plunger) from time to time. I must admit, it adds a nice kick as long as it’s not too much. I use chilies mostly in cooking – sauces, soups, stews, stir fiys – pretty much anything really.
I add chili to herbal teas sometimes also. Once again it gives a healthy kick!
Use raw in salads without the seeds or scorch the skins over a flame or in the grill and remove the skins and seeds to create a sweet, hot treat to add to a salad or over a nice piece of steak. I have also read of people using Habenero Chilies (one of the hottest chilies you can get) on toast to combat cancer along with grated raw ginger. If you Google it you’ll find information on people using this treatment (I personally have never needed to try this and I’m hoping that with my regular consumption of these herbs along with a healthy lifestyle I won’t have to!)