Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Nervous System: Healing with Medicinal Plants.
Herbalism is sometimes maligned as a collection of home-made remedies to be applied in a placebo fashion to one symptom or another... provided the ailment is not too serious and provided there is a powerful chemical wonder-drug at the ready to suppress any "real" symptoms.
We often forget, however, that botanical medicine provides a complete system of healing and prevention of disease. It is the oldest and most natural form of medicine. Its history of efficacy and safety spans centuries and covers every country on the planet. Because herbal medicine is holistic medicine, it is, in fact, able to look beyond the symptoms to the underlying systemic imbalance; when skilfully applied by the trained practitioner, herbal medicine offers very real and permanent solutions to very real problems, many of them seemingly intractable to pharmaceutical intervention.
Nowhere is the efficacy of herbalism more evident than in problems related to the nervous system. Stress, anxiety, tension and depression are intimately connected with most illness. And the herbalist finds his success accelerated by including in his treatment, medicine to free the body from the vicious cycle of interference from worry and nervousness that so often takes its toll on otherwise healthy systems.
Few health practitioners would argue with the influence of nervous anxiety in pathology. We know that the Xth Cranial Nerve, the Vagus, travels down from the medulla oblongata at the brain stem to innervate the pharynx, heart, bronchi, lungs and gastro-intestinal tract, including the small intestine, caecum, appendix and colon, supplying both motor and sensory fibres. It is not surprising that nervous stress can interfere directly in digestion. Nervous tension is generally acknowledged by pathologists to contribute to duodenal and gastric ulceration, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and many other gut-related pathologies. We know also from physiology that when a patient is depressed, the secretion of hydrochloric acid...one of the main digestive juices... is also reduced so that digestion and absorption are rendered less efficient. Anxiety, on the other hand, can lead to the release of adrenalin and stimulate the over-production of HCL and result in a state of acidity which may exacerbate the pain of an inflamed ulcer. In fact, whenever the voluntary nervous system (our conscious anxiety) interferes with the autonomic processes (the automatic nervous regulation that in health is never made conscious), pathology is the result.
But few other health professionals have access to the scope of botanical remedies with their fine subtlety in rectifying this type of human malfunction. The medical herbalist knows, for example,that a stubborn dermatological problem can best be treated by using alteratives specific to the skin problem, circulatory stimulants to aid in the removal of toxins from the area, with re-enforcement of the other organs of elimination (liver and kidney); but above all he will achieve the excellent results for which phytotherapy is famous, by using herbs which obviate nervous interference in the situation and allow the patient to relax... perhaps for the first time in many months.
Curiously this is an approach which has never been taken up by orthodox medicine. There, the usual treatment of skin problems involves suppression of symptoms with steroids. Our subtle, non-invasive botanical nervines are not available in synthesized form. And the use of anti-histamines or benzodiazepines by the orthodox profession often achieves less lasting benefit to the patient than an additional burden of "impairment of intellectual function",  drowsiness, further toxicity for an already compromised metabolism,and often life-long drug dependence.
Botanical nervines, on the other hand, are free from toxicity and habituation. Because they are organic substances and not man-made synthetic molecules, they possess a natural affinity for the human organism. They are extremely efficient in balancing the nervous system. Restoring a sense of well-being and relaxation is necessary for optimum health and for the process of self-healing.
Herbal medicine can justifiably boast of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian), the ideal "tranquillizer". The rhizomes of this plant contain a volatile oil (which includes valerianic acid), volatile alkaloids (including chatinine), and iridoids (valepotriates) which have been shown to reduce anxiety and aggression and even to counteract the effects of ethanol . So effective is Valeriana in cutting out the interference of anxiety while maintaining normal mental awareness, that it enables the patient to continue the most complicated mental exercise without drowsiness, loss of consciousness or depression. Valerian has been usefully taken even before an examination or a driving test!
Verbena officinalis (Vervain) on the other hand, is not only effective against depression, but also strongly supports the detoxifying function of the liver. Its French name is still "Herbe Sacre"; an old English name is "Holy Wort"; for Vervain was one of the seven sacred herbs of the Druids. (Significantly Druidic medicine worked very much upon the psychological background to the disease, attempting to revitalize the psyche before healing the body). To-day we know that the antispasmodic qualities of Verbena are largely due to the glycoside verbenalin. Recent Chinese research has linked the plant with dilation of arteries in the brain: a likely explanation of its usefulness in treating migraine, especially when this problem is accompanied by liver congestion. It is certainly indicated for hysterical, exhausted, or depressive states.
Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort) is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory with an important local application to neuralgia and sciatica. Systemically, its sedative properties based on the glycoside hypericin (a red pigment), make it applicable to neurosis and irritability. Many English herbalists use it extensively as a background remedy.
Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) being both carminative and antispasmodic, is active specifically on that part of the vagus nerve which may interfere with the harmonious functioning of the heart and the stomach. Recent experiments at the University of Heidelberg have confirmed that the action of the volatile oil begins within the limbic system of the brain and subsequently operates directly upon the vagus nerve and all of the organs that are innervated by it. Accordingly, neurasthenia (complete nervous prostration), migraine, and nervous gastropathy are amenable to its healing power.
The great herbal restoratives of the nervous system are Avena sativa (Oats), Scutellaria lateriflora (Scullcap) and Turnera diffusa (Damiana). Oats contains a nervine alkaloid which also helps to restore the heart... (again the vagus connection). According to Canadian research, Avena is helpful in angina and in cardiac insufficiency. Moreover in an article in Nature in 1971, Gonon outlined its usefulness in the treatment of addiction to morphine, narcotics, tobacco and alcohol... a use which is still current in British hospitals.
But the list does not stop here. Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) helps the circulation to the brain and is therefore useful in geriatric senility; Lavandula officinalis (Lavender) exerts a cardio-tonic and anti-migraine action; Tilia europea (Linden or Lime Flowers) is an antispasmodic particularly suited to problems of venous congestion and arteriosclerotic states, but gentle enough for an anxious child.
There is great scope for the development of herbal medicine in the area of nervous diseases and of its application in so-called"mental illness" where pharmaceuticals seem at best to be applied for their "management" effect. And this is an area where the benefits of a whole food diet and holistic life-style are badly neglected. Among the more outstanding serious problems that have been recorded at the Clinic of Herbal Medicine in Balham, London, England, (the teaching clinic of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists), are: the control of Parkinson's disease in a 59-year old man; the elimination of epileptic seizures in a 14-year old girl; the removal of clinical depression in a 46-year old woman; the eradication of frequent migraine attacks in many patients; and the regulation of the wide mood swings and other distressing symptoms that accompany both menopause and premenstrual stress in countless women patients. (These are just cases which I myself have witnessed over a period of 10 months).
Understandably, the choice of a nervine most suitable to an individual patient must be based upon a thorough health assessment and the experience and training of a qualified herbal practitioner. But even the layman can do much to alleviate stress and sooth frayed nerves. Drinking Chamomile, Lemon Balm or Linden tea (long the custom in Europe) is the prudent choice instead of coffee for anyone having sleeping difficulties or anyone who wishes to achieve a greater sense of inner calm. Twenty minutes out-of-breath exercise (walking, swimming, or cycling) will go a long way as a natural antidote to the pent-up tension that results from a stressful day at the office. And it will have the unexpected bonus of improving circulation, increasing metabolic rate and enhancing heart and lung function. The B-vitamins as found in whole-wheat bread, wheat germ, torula or brewer's yeast and liver (organically produced) provide ideal nourishment for the nervous system and can be wisely substituted for the stimulant foods such as white flour, sugar, junk foods and their myriad harmful chemical additives.
Keith Stelling. M.A; Dip Phyt; M.N.I.M.H.
THIS ARTICLE IS COPYWRITE. IT MAY BE COPIED AND DISTRIBUTEDPROVIDED THIS NOTICE IS NOT REMOVED. BOTANIC MEDICINE SOCIETY, BOX 82, STN. A, WILLOWDALE, ONTARIO,CANADA. M2N 5S7.
Membership in the Botanic Medicine Society is available. Mail$25.00 to the above address and receive the quarterly magazine The Herbalist for one year. An essential reference for all those with an interest in herbs and herbalism.
Friday, November 28, 2008
At any rate, it's a good article. Check it out.
Horsetail contains numerous mineral salts, especially silica, but also potassium, manganese, and magnesium, and many trace minerals. Here is what Just Weeds has to say about horsetail's medicinal properties:
Horsetail is judged to be particularly beneficial to people suffering from anemia or general debility. Its action is characterized as diuretic and astringent. It is prescribed in the treatment of kidney and bladder disorders, arthritis, gout, and skin afflictions. It is recommended for gastric complaints and inflammations of the respiratory tract. It is said to promote urination and stop bleeding, to reduce fevers, to calm an overactive liver, and to ease nervous tension. It has been used to clear heavy head colds and to sooth inflamed, swollen eyelids. And throughout history, it is been relied on to cleanse and heal wounds . . . . even modern studies indicate that fractured bones heal more quickly with the help of horsetail.
As a diuretic, it will increase urination, thus flushing the system of toxins. Its astringent property would make it good for wounds and to stop bleeding. It can be used both internally, as a weak tea, and externally, as a wash for wounds, or dip a towel in the tea and use as a poultice, a compress, or add to bath water.
Here's what Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices says:
No other herb in the entire plant kingdom is so rich in silicon as is horsetail. This trace element really helps to find protein molecules together in the blood vessels and connective tissues. Silison is the material of which collagen is made. Collagen is the "body glue" that holds our skin and muscle tissues together. Silicon also promotes the growth and stability of the skeletal structure.
A few European clinical studies have determined that fractured bones heal much more quickly when horsetail is taken. The incidence of osteoporosis is, likewise, more greatly reduced when some horsetail is added to the diet. A few folk healers I'm aware of have recommended this herb to athletes who've suffered sprains, dislocated joints, pulled hamstrings or torn ligaments.
Heinerman goes on to say that horsetail is an excellent internal cosmetic--drink the tea for improving your skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones. Other herbalists recommend it as a facial wash.
If you have athlete's foot, try using some horsetail in a footbath. Horsetail tea can be used on other plants, spraying them with it to get rid of mildew and other fungus infections on roses, fruit trees, vegetables, etc.
If you're camping, or in a survival situation, you can also scrub your pots and pans with horsetail plants--among horsetail's common names are bottlebrush, scouring rush, shavegrass and pewterwort.
A few weeks ago, my friend and neighbor Fred, who is 80, fell against the porch while we were at the Amish farm. He hit his ribs and arm, bruising both, but thank goodness there was no broken bones. His ribs have healed, but his arm still aches, so I've brewed up some of horsetail tea for him. We'll see if that helps--he might have torn or injured a ligament in his arm, and the rich minerals in horsetail should help.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Roots: Burdock, Yellow Dock, Dandelion, Sassafrass, Goldenseal root (called yellow root around here)
Basil, Dill, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Chives (probably will add to soups)
Yellow Dock leaves
Mint (lots! for tea)
Stinging Nettles (add to soups, tea)
Plantain (add to soups)
Yarrow (only a little, sadly)
Spicebush leaves and twigs
Rosemary (for muscle aches)
Goldenrod leaves (for muscle spasm, etc)
Mugwort (add to bath water for relaxing muscles)
Quarts of Elderberry extract and syrup for flu
Root tincture: Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow dock (a friend has nonsymptomatic Hep C, this extract is to aid his liver)
Spicebush leaf/twig: for fever
Goldenseal root extract: for our immune systems
Cayenne extract: YIKES! Please tell me I don't have to take this!!! I'll be good, promise! I won't ever be sick! Hot stuff. :)
Catnip/Skullcap extract: nerves, sleep (when the doom and gloom gets too doomish and gloomish)
Thats what's happening around here in the Handmaiden's herbarium. More on all those herbs later. Now, on to the Thanksgiving feast preparation! We have a big communal dinner with lots of people, kids, tons of food. All the women have been cooking, including me.
We have a lot to be thankful for. Michael and I on our balcony in the morning: "Thank you, Lord!"
May you all open your hearts to all things great and small, and be grateful.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Cinnamon Oil said...
The Cinnamon oil sold in the US is actually Cassia oil.
Cassia oil has a chemical called coumarin which could be toxic.
Please click the below link to read more http://www.bfr.bund.de/cd/8487
November 26, 2008 3:17 AM
I vaguely remembered something about this after reading Cinnamon Oil's comment--but apparently it pays to realize the difference between Ceylon cinnamon and cassia. Cinnamon Oil sells pure Ceylon cinnamon oil and other products.
Thanks for leaving the comment!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been interested in this because spices also have a rich medical history: they've been used in medicines probably ever since the first human figured out how to eat them and incorporate them in cooking. Tumeric, for instance, has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, is good for digestion and is a source for antioxidants. It can also help keep food fresh.
Here's a quote about the uses of cinnamon from the article I've taken some of this information from:
In tests at Weber University, Cinnamon oil has proven more effective than Ampicillin in inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcal infections and unlike conventional antibiotic drugs, essential oils tend to leave beneficial bacteria intact while killing disease producing bacteria (pathogens). Additionally, bacteria do not acquire resistance to the oils as they do with antibiotics. Today when so many illnesses and bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, the therapeutic effects of essential oils and their immune-boosting abilities may be just what we need.
When you are considering your food storage (and you are, aren't you?), you'll want to make sure you also store spices and herbs. They can help you preserve food, they add a lot of flavor to what might otherwise be rather dull eating, and you can use them as home remedies in the form of teas, or capsules or tinctures. I'll be featuring spices in this blog as well, though I certainly can't forage for most of them where I live. Wish I could! Plenty of herbs grow here, but most of our spices come from Asia and the near East.
Seems to be the "world's superpower" status is changing with the US about to drop by the wayside and China to take on that banner. It is likely that China will control the spice trade from here on in. In past centuries, the lower classes didn't have the access to spices that the wealthy classes did, so they used wild herbs instead. If I can obtain spices, I will. If not, there's all the abundance of wild plants and herbs here anyway. The culinary/medicinal spices will make great barter items as well. They have for most of human history, and no doubt that will continue.
For more information on spices, The Epicentre is a great resource. If you're interested in a particular spice, check out the encyclopedia of spices. There's also historical information, recipes and lots of other goodies. Read and enjoy!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Amish family we visit with and buy from are Old Order Amish. That is, no electricity, no phone at home (they can use a phone if they need to, in emergencies, but otherwise don't), travel by foot, horse and buggy, or horseback (or hire a driver and van to take them somewhere). It's a simple, 19th century sort of life, maybe even 18th century. Fred and I really enjoy our trips to the farm. There we get milk, cream, buttermilk, eggs, butter (sometimes churned as we watch and have coffee in the kitchen), fresh garden produce, meat occasionally if they've just butchered cows or pigs or chickens, baked goods, homemade cider and things like that. We buy the dairy products as "pet food" since you cannot sell raw milk in Indiana. Our "pets" love the dairy products. :) Joaz and Lydia run an organic farm, and we pay a lot less at the farm than we would in the local whole foods/organic coop place a few towns away. It's a good deal for us, and a good deal for them. We buy for all of our neighbors in the valley who want the eggs, etc.
I admire these folks. They have kept their lives simple so they can focus on matters important: their families, their church, their fellowship with God and each other. They speak a dialect of German but all of the school-going kids and adults speak English as well. I've started learning German, so I can talk to them in their language, but the immersion German CDs I got from the library didn't give me much more than "Wo ist die Goethe strasse, bitte?" However, since I've made the effort, Joaz and Lydia and Emme, the oldest girl, usually help me along with the lingo, at least in between laughter at my feeble efforts. Ah, well. It's fun. Wait til I learn some Spanish and start teaching it to them. :)
At most of the Amish farms along the way there are signs for eggs, or fresh produce, or lumber or firewood, and sometimes there's a harness shop, tack store, handmade baskets, etc. When we go to the Troyers (Joaz and Lydia), we often also go to the Bulk Store, which is run by family in their church group. The bulk store is an interesting set up. Here you can buy your necessities--sugar, flour, oats, pasta, sauces, etc. It is mostly food, dry goods, but not produce, with a few other handmade items. Either the bulk food is shipped to the store, or they go into the local Aldi's and Walmart and buy in bulk. I've seen two or three Amish guys buying 4-6 stuffed carts full of groceries at Aldi's. This purchase may be for the bulk store, where it will be measured into smaller portions, repackaged and sold to either other Amish families or to outsiders like Fred and I.
The bulk store makes a lot of sense--a trip to Walmart may be short for automobile drivers, but it is a long way and many hours for the Amish horse and buggy. If you are an Amish farmwife, and you need some dry goods, you can get it from the bulk store a few miles away, rather than an all day trip to the town with the Aldi's/Walmart.
The reason I mention the bulk store is because I bought some oats for oatmeal at this store yesterday. I got 6 lbs for $3. That's a much better price than the $2.39 I'd spend at Aldi's for 2lb10oz oatmeal. I realize I could buy in larger bulk and get even better prices, and I will when we have the room to store it. You can get excellent deals at the bulk store. Honey, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, various homemade jams, jellies, pickles etc. are also available at good prices.
If you live in Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Wisconsin and possibly a few other states, there may be Amish near you. I cannot vouch for every Amish farm, but we've found the produce to be outstanding. The dairy is very good, ditto with the veggies and grains and meat. Good food at a good price. Keep in mind that not all Amish farms are organic. You'll have to ask around.
Fred and I also go to the local herb store--well, it is actually more of a pharmacy, Amish style. They don't carry bulk herbs, but they do carry herbal tinctures, salves, ointments, medicines for man and beast, as well as kitchen equipment, some tack, and other items (canning jars and lids, for example). The Amish doctor themselves with herbs and herbal extracts for the most part. They have access to mainstream medicine if they want it or need it, but mostly, for simple problems, they stick with herbs. Lydia and I often sit for a time and talk about physical ills and what to do about them. I traded them some of my elderberry syrup and elderberry extract for some baked goods not long ago. I'm preparing a salve for one of the kid's hands--he burned it on the stove and the scar tissue has tightened up his fingers and has lost flexibility and strength.
Joaz and Lydia are also a resource for us for otherwise hard to find or very expensive items--working cookstoves, lanterns, that sort of thing. They'll know if there's an auction or who might have something used and in good shape.
If you have Amish families and farms in your area, it's worthwhile getting to know them. They're shrewd barginers, but fair and honest. At least all my dealings with them have been excellent.
Friday, November 21, 2008
It is a well-written novel, very entertaining at the same time it is pretty scary. Many millions don't survive, of course, and for those that do survive the meteor hits, there are zillions of ways for them to perish.
There is not much that is useful for the survival-minded, really. I mean, if you're in the right place, right time and incredibly lucky, you might have had a chance. In this scenario, there's not much you could do to increase your chances of survival without that supreme luck. So, there's no info on which tool would serve best, nor hints on how best to set up a latrine in a camp, or to live in the woods or even in the cities--there's too much calamity inherent for that.
But towards the end, I did come across a couple of paragraphs which seems worthy to me of copying and keeping. And here they are:
(This is set in the surviving valley belonging to a Californian senator. All the folks in the valley are on his side--lots of bad guys on the outside.)
The children had adjusted quickly to the new conditions. One elderly adult as a teacher, a dozen or more children, two working dogs and a herd of swine: school and work. A different sort of school with different lessons. Reading and arithmetic, certainly, but also other knowledge: to lead the pigs to dog droppings (the dogs in turn ate part of the human sewage); and always to carry a bucket to collect the pig manure, which must be brought back at night. Other lessons: how to trap rats and squirrels. Rats were important to the new ecology. They had to be kept out of the Stronghold's barns (cats did most of that), but the rats were themselves useful: They found their own food, they could be eaten, their fur made clothing and shoes, and their small bones made needles. There were prizes for the children who caught the most rats.
Closer to town was the sewage works, where the animal and human wastes were shoveled into boilers with wood chips and sawdust. The heat of the fermentation sterilized everything, and the hot gases were lead out through pipes that ran under City Hall and the hospital to form part of the heating system, then condensed. The resulting methanol, wood alcohol, ran the trucks that collected the wastes, with some left over for other work. The system wasn't complete--they needed more boilers, and more pipes and condensers, and the work absorbed too much skilled labor--but Hardy could be deservedly proud of the start they had made. By spring they'd have a lot of high-nitrogen fertilizer from the residue in the boilers, all sterilized and ready for the crops they'd plant--and there should be enough methanol to run tractors for the initial heavy work of plowing.
Those are the two paragraphs I found useful and worth keeping. I'll keep the whole book of course, it is a great read and a good novel. Thought-provoking as they say. I'll also hope that no meteor hits the earth, but in the meantime, I found the sewage use interesting.
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Tammy has a wonderful and informative blog, and people interested in herbs should check it out. I can't consider myself an herbalist, though I've been using herbs for ages. I am more a beginner forager, but I certainly pay attention to all information herbal as well. My thanks to Tammy.
Two of the biggest of my current interests are how to survive in an increasingly difficult world and wild plant/herbs/nutritional medicine. So I'm passing this award on to Treesong, at The View from Treesong's, a woman whose advice I heed on how to live and live well on very little. I learn a lot from her blog, and recommend it to all. Life just got sweeter! My thanks to all...
As with most encyclopedias, this isn't something you sit down to read through. There's too much information for that. It is a book to browse, or to check for certain information.
Here's what the back cover had to say about John Heinerman;
John Heinerman is a medical anthropologist whose research has taken him to 33 countries, where he has worked with folk healers as well as top doctors and scientists. Widely known for his lectures throughout North America, Dr. Heinerman has appeared on television and radio and has written hundreds of articles in the area of folk medicine, herbs, and nutritional healing for The Herbalist, Folk Medicine Journal, and Vegetarian Times. He is also the author of over two dozen books, including the bestsellers Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices; Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Nuts, Berries, and Seeds; and Heinerman's New Encyclopedia of Fruits and Vegetables...
Considering that the book is so inexpensive bought used through Amazon (and my copy is truly as good as new), everyone interested in herbs and nutritional medicine should get a copy. I'm finding it very interesting as well as containing tons of information, great stories of how herbs have helped heal many physical problems, case histories, examples from scientific/medical journals, anecdotes from folk healers around the world, and all kinds of recipes--nutritional and medicinal.
Here's a section on using juniper berries for flu that is representative of many entries:
Knocks the Flu for a Loop
When influenza hits, it usually spells a long period of aggravating miseries, which seem to change with the infection going through its several different stages of activity. The worst part about the flu, however, is that it is usually tends to linger for days, even weeks, after the worst symptoms have passed.
There are a number of herbal remedies for coping with the flu. But none of the herbalists I know or the books they have written have ever suggested hot jumiper tea for this problem. In fact, I didn't even know myself how good it was until an old Navajo shaman years ago acquainted me with it when I was an invited guest in his hogan, located out in the middle of nowhere.
I somehow picked up the flu "bug" before I got there, and it didn't take very many hours to aggrfessively dominate my body. In plain words, I felt like hell! But my friend, Ned Many Sheeps, boiled me up some tea by throwing a handful (probably one-half cup) of juniper berries into an old coffee pot sitting on top of an old iron stove situated in the center of the dirt floor and filled with one quart of boiling water. A series of black stove pipes snaked their way up through a hole in the rounded clay roof firmly packed down on top of sawed juniper planks laid next to each other in a circular fashion and expertly supported together in the middle without the benefit of a center column.
Between the strong juniper scent and the hot tea he kept pouring into me every couple of hours, I got better in a big hurry. I can assure you. The warmth of the tea felt good going down and induced the perspiration I probably needed to throw off the excess poisons within me. The strong disinfectant properties within the berries themselves went a long way in killing the viruses responsible for my miseries.
Not only did I quickly recover, but I fully recuperated. I'm not being redundant with this statement. Remember earlier how I said that remnants of the flu usually tend to hang on for days or weeks after most people have gotten over the worst parts of their infections? Well, in my case, there was no additional eveidence of anything lingering; when I got well, that was it, period.
There are nearly 500 pages of information like that--plus scientific studies done on rats or mice and reported in the medical literature. Heinerman not only reads about folk remedies, but he obviously keeps tabs on many medical specialities.
The introduction discusses how herbs can and should be incorporated into daily use: The Ten Cardinal Rules of Herb Usage. Then there's a symptom index, where readers can look up their symptom, and the herbs to use for it are listed; an Herb and Spices content list, and hundreds of pages on the herbs and spices themselves.
Brings Down Blood Sugar Levels
A report in the West Indian Medical Journal (31; 194-97) mentioned how a pack of mongrel dogs picked up off the streets in Kingston, Jamaica were given powered cayenne pepper. The result was a dramatic plunging of their blood sugar levels for up to several hours at a time.
If you're diabetic an average of 3 capsules of Nature's Way or any health food store brand of capsicum will help bring down high blood sugar levels very nicely. If you're hypoglcemic, you'd better avoid cayenne altogether, both in food and in herbal formulas as well.
Cinnamon can help prevent cancer, elderberries is great for constipation, rosemary oil can make a wonderful linament for sore muscles--there is a world of information here.
This is an excellent resource. I highly recommend it.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I have no idea when I bought this book--must've been during my Y2k prepping mode. At that time, I was gathering in lots of books on survival, homesteading kinds of topics. Everything from armed self defense to citizen soldier to Carla Emory's Country Living to health topics.
This book is quite short, took me less than an hour to read it. It is available used at Amazon, though one seller has it listed for $129 something. Don't buy that copy. :) Another seller has it for $9--and even that is high for such a short book.
The book has many dire predictions--many of them true, if discomforting to consider. We live in a world made toxic by chemistry-gone-wild. There are nasty chemicals everywhere we turn. One scenario mentioned by the author is a chemical factory torn in two by an earthquake. Damn--that would be tough if you live in the neighborhood.
But the advice given in the book is good too. Did you know pure, raw honey is an excellent antibiotic? I have been reading of its use on wounds infected with MRSA, that dread staph infection. Raw honey is also useful in treating diarrheal diseases--something we can expect after a natural or unnatural disaster.
The Chapters are as follows:
It Could Happen at Any Time
Are You Prepared to Survive/
Natural Remedies for Treating Infection
Water Treatment and Accessories
The remedies that Ingram recommends you have on hand in your survival medical kits are:
Raw, unfiltered honey (antibiotic)
Bee propolis (antiseptic and anesthetic)
Tea Tree Oil (excellent antiseptic--killer of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites)
Whole Leaf Aloe (for burn treatment)--"whole leaf aloe possesses potent antibacterial, anti-pain, and wound regenerating powers"
Organic Sulfur Drops--"most potent anti-inflammatory agent"
Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHC) for healing fractured bone
Liquid Trace Minerals to stop bleeding (I'd use cayenne myself)
Ginger (for nausea)
and so on. Of course, there is a company that sells all of these items recommended by Dr. Ingram, and the address and phone number is provided. This book provides enough good advice that I could ignore the hard sell for the company--in fact, for some of these items, I'd be willing to give the company a call myself.
Ingram strongly recommends good antioxident vitamins to help combat the toxic fumes that may be present after a disaster. Vitamin E, beta carotene, Vitamin C, folic acid, B12, zinc, selenium, glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine, and chlorella are his specific recommendations. These should be taken regularly BEFORE any disaster occurs to help your body deal with whatever may come.
Appendix A lists some typical problems that happen with disasters, and how to treat these medical problems both internally and topically with the honey, tea tree oil, etc. This is a useful section. Appendix B is lists symptoms caused by specific diseases and toxicities--also useful. Since I own the book, I won't have to photocopy these pages, but I would if it was a library book. The bibliography is a list of papers published in medical journals that show the research conducted by Dr. Ingram.
All in all, this is a useful little book. I don't think it is really worth $9 (let alone $129), since the copyright is 1995 and the research could be a bit dated. But if you can find a copy used at the right price, it is good information to have on hand--along with the raw honey, tea tree oil and vitamins.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ahhhhhhhhhh. I'm writing in Southern Indiana, hilly country. It's November, just beginning to get cold. And foraging for wild plants has gotten a bit sparse. Many plants have died down for the winter, and the trees have lost their leaves.
Chickweed, surprisingly, likes this time of year, and thank goodness that it does! When visiting a neighbor the other day I noticed some large dandelion leaves sticking out from a ditch, so I returned to investigate. Sure enough I found enough dandelion leaves to fill a bag for the fridge. And since there was a large, frisky, friendly dog, I went on ramble with the pooch to see what else might be around. I found a large amount of some kind of hardy, viney plant with small black berries, but I don't know what it is. Research is required for that one.
And walking even further down an old lane, I found a large, lush patch of chickweed.
(These pictures are from Prodigal Gardens.)
Chickweed is a nutritious, medicinal plant. It grows low to the ground, usually in a sort of mat of thick green growth. It's a lovely little plant, looking very delicate. But for all that, it is a hardy weed and grows all over the place--lawns, fields, gardens. Once you have identified it, you'll begin to see it everywhere. The patch I found is extensive, but you will also see smaller patches growing in your lawn, your neighbor's lawns, around sidewalks, etc. It is difficult to get a good picture of chickweed, but google images for chickweed and you'll see enough different pictures that you'll be able to ID it clearly. One clue for chickweed--it will have tiny hairs running up on one side of the stalk, and on one side only. When it comes to a pair of leaves (opposite), the line of tiny hairs will be on the other side of the stalk. You'll need a magnifying glass to see the hairs. :) It is worth doing this to be sure you'll looking at chickweed.
This time of year, I doubt you'll find it flowering, but when it does, it will have small, white star- like flowers. Stalks, leaves and flowers are all edible/medicinal.
You can easily pull it up with your hand, or take a pair of scissors or a knife and cut off the top few inches. You can get a lot of it with little effort. It makes a nice mild tea, it is good in salads, and it can be lightly steamed as well. Doesn't take long to cook it, just a few minutes. I like the tea and the salad options best. I'll be heading back to the patch for more, because I've also decided to make a salve with it.
Chickweed is full of vitamin and minerals: Vitamin C, A and B, calcium, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, thiamin, and zinc. Botanical.com's entry says chickweed is an old wives' remedy for obesity--and I have read many other herbalists say it is good for losing weight. If it is all you are eating, I'm sure it would be! It can be made into a very healing salve, good for sores and skin problems, chapped hands and the like. The tea is laxative, but also good for coughs and colds. You can also use the tea to apply it to rough areas of skin or sores. It's a good, all around useful herb.
If you get a chance to head out doors, keep your eyes open for chickweed. Nature's salads can cure a lot of ills, including the colds and flus that come this time of year. Best of all, chickweed is around when lots of other plants are gone for the winter.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Anyway, a while ago I was posting on the myriad uses for garlic, and I put up a long quote from a book called Garlic: Nature's Super Healer on using garlic for melanoma. And later I said that I'd try sliced garlic on my husband's weird mole.
This is an interim report. Michael has a small mole on his upper thigh. It was grayish, papery looking, pretty ugly. We have no idea if it is melanoma or what it is. For us, it's a weird mole. Three days ago I started putting a slice of fresh garlic I bought from the Amish farm I go to. I put the slice over the mole and then put a bandaid over that with some medical tape over it to hold it in place. I've changed the garlic each day.
The mole seems more tan now. Paler than it was before, and not papery-looking any more. It might be a tad smaller--I didn't measure. Is the mole disappearing? We'll see. Garlic can't hurt Michael, so this "treatment" can't harm the "patient." We'll see if it does any good.
I'll report again in a week or so. BTW, there is a very cool page on folk remedies that people use. It is called Earth Clinic and they have a huge database of home cures that people are using, reports both positive and negative if something worked for them. If you're interested, check it out. I find it fascinating and I'll be trying some of these myself. My thanks to Ra for sending me there!
This picture, from Wildman Steve Brill's page, is of a mullein basal rosette. Mullein is a biennial, and this is what the first year plant looks like. The second year is when it throws up its great flower stalk. The leaves are greyish-green, large, soft and velvety, sometimes nearly two feet long. A leaf feels almost like flannel, with little hairs.
The best time to harvest is when the plant is blooming--you can use the roots, leaves and flowers so you will want the whole plant if you can get it. I have also harvested leaves in the spring and fall. Mullien is considered an "alien invader" plant, since it is so prolific. It can and will take over areas. Still, a grateful attitude is best when you're collecting herbs. They may be "invasive" weeds, but I'm still happy they're here and available!
Mullein has many uses in cough and cold season. Here's a quote from Wildman's pages on Mullein:
Mullein tea provides vitamins B-2, B-5, B-12, and D, choline, hesperidin, PABA, sulfur, magnesium, mucilage, saponins, and other active substances.
People use the tea as a beverage, but it’s best known as one of the safest, most effective herbal cough remedies. Mullein is an expectorant, and a tonic for the lungs, mucus membranes, and glands. An infusion is good for colds, emphysema, asthma, hay fever, and whooping cough. Strain the infusion through a cloth, or the hairs may get stuck in your throat and make you cough even more. Laboratory tests have shown that it’s anti-inflammatory, with antibiotic activity, and that it inhibits the tuberculosis bacillus. The Indians smoked dried mullein and coltsfoot cigarettes for asthma and bronchitis, and indications are that it’s effective: I’ve observed it working for bronchitis.
The tea is also an astringent and demulcent. It’s good for diarrhea, and it’s been used in compresses for hemorrhoids since it was recommended by Dioscorides centuries ago. It’s also supposed to help other herbs get absorbed through the skin. Pliny of ancient Rome, Gerard in sixteenth century England, the Delaware Indians, and country folk in the South used the heated leaves in poultices for arthritis.
A tincture of the flowers is used for migraine headaches. An oil extract of the flowers, which contains a bactericide, is used for ear infections, although you should consult with a competent practitioner first, to avoid the possibility of permanent hearing loss if the herb doesn’t work.
Roman ladies used them to die their hair blonde. Roman soldiers dipped the flowerstalks in tallow to make torches.
People also just drink the tea because they like it. Mullein is common--it grows all over the place here, but it likes disturbed soil, roadsides, and fields. It likes dry and sandy soils. I see it most often by road sides--but be careful harvesting those. Don't want car exhaust on your mullein leaves.
We're coming in to cough/cold/flu season here. I expect the mullein I was lucky enough to find will come in handy.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I scored today! This isn't a picture of the huge mullein we found today, but it is a good representation. The mullein I found is about 9-10 feet tall, with similar leaf configuration as this one to the left, but the flower stalk is at least 3 feet in itself.
We had to take the trash to the local dump today and I saw this huge fellow a little ways away. I asked the lady standing guard at the dump if I could dig up the plant. "What plant," sez she. "That big weed over there," sez me. She didn't have a problem with it, so I went over to the mullein, wrestled it a bit, and got it out root and all with my trusty shovel.
Mullein leaves are good for coughs and congestion, taken as a tea, or smoked. The roots are flowers are also used for teas, and mullein oil is antibacterial. The plant I found is past the flowering stage--in fact, I was surprised to see it at all. Mullein is past its season here and has all died back. But the one we found is hale and hearty, lovely and huge.
More on mullein later.
A while ago I mentioned why people get sick when they do, that they get too toxic, and then their immunity can't handle the flu or cold bug and they get sick. Well, this article at Bob Livingson's blog describes the process in clear, precise terms. An excellent article and if you are interested in health, read it. Good elimination of waste is essential to health--if you have waste left in your colon, the toxins will seep into your bloodstream.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But now I'm determined to. Whether I like them or not, I'm going to be eating them and using them. The health benefits are just too good to pass up. I grew a bunch of cayennes this year, and the fruit is hanging in pretty ristas around the house.
I've been reading that cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack, or help a person fully recover from it. I've been reading that cayenne pepper can stop bleeding, even gushing blood. And it can regulate high blood pressure so that you never have high blood pressure again.
Yes, it sounds too good to be true to me too. Although I may not seem like it in my writings here, I'm pretty skeptical. "Prove all things," is what I've learned. What that means to me is that I will slice some garlic and put it over a weird looking mole on my skin to see if the garlic will make the damn thing disappear. Actually, my husband said he's got a weird mole, a "cancer spot" as he called it, and so we'll try the slice of garlic on him. If I get even remotely sickly with a cold or flu, I will chop up garlic and put it on the bottom of my feet and see what happens. Will Michael's "cancer spot" go away? Will I feel much better after the garlic on the feet attempt?
That's what I mean by prove all things. I hope you will proceed the same way. I've had great luck with trying what my family and friends have considered "oddball" remedies. What I've tried doesn't always work, of course. Pharmaceuticals don't either--but I've had better luck with natural than chemical. I've found that overall, this is a good way for me to deal with my own health concerns.
So, on to cayenne pepper and why it is so good for you.
First of all, it is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, the complex of vitamin Bs, vitamin E, calcium, and potassium. It's a potent nutrititional powerhouse. If you eat a lot of it, as they do in southern climes, it will make you sweat, which will cool you off. Sweating is your body's way of releasing heat.
Recently I've been reading Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy, and what they have to say about cayenne made me very curious. If you've the time and interest, read the entire section about cayenne here.
I've read the "cayenne can stop bleeding" info here and other places as well. I have not yet had the occasion to see if this is so for myself, but I will try it next time I accidently cut myself.
I've been too timid to try cayenne tea (one teaspoon ground cayenne to a cup of hot water), but I did make a cayenne tincture. The tincture is almost too hot to take a direct eyedropper full, but I can get it down in a small glass of water. I expect my taste buds will adapt to the heat so that I'll be able to take it directly soon. Perhaps as I get better at this, I'll be taking 3 teaspoons a day, as Dr. Christopher did!
When my feet get cold in the winter, I have put ground cayenne in the bottom of my shoes. This works well. You'll get a nice warming heat from it for quite a while. I will also be making a cayenne salve for muscle aches and pains. There's lots of these on the market already, of course, but I've got lots of cayennes around and plenty of lard or coconut oil or olive oil or for that matter, vaseline around. Much less expensive than anything commercial, plus I know there's no other nasty chemicals in it.
If you keep two herbs in your house at all times, and even in your BOBs and BOVs, keep garlic and cayenne. These two are kickass powerful. Garlic is an antibiotic. Cayenne will stop bleeding. I know garlic works, and I'm going to find out more about cayenne. But they are both potential life-savers, which is important in survival situations.
There will be more on cayenne in this blog. Stay tuned.
Monday, November 3, 2008
If the people in the government will not abide by the Constitution they swore an oath on the Bible to uphold, then all bets are off. If the people in the government will not abide by the law, then my contract with the government is severed, cancelled, null and void.
Does anyone seriously think that I will consent to my own enslavement? Hell no. My consent is withdrawn.
The American government has been sliding into tyranny most of my lifetime, but I have seen nothing--NOTHING--like the last 8 years for unconstitutional Nazi laws and behavior. Just call Bush the FUBAR president and stick a fork in it.
I don't care which Flash Bazbo* goon gets elected: Neither are worthy, each is clone to the other, both are evil choices, and there will be evil results either way.
*Flash Bazbo is the guy you really, really, really don't want courting your daughter. :) Stolen from Ed Parker, a true wit.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Big bunch of dandelion greens (or lambsquarter or whatever you've got)
Noodles of your choice (I used ramen-type noodles, but spagetthi would have worked too)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (I used a little bit more than that)
2 TBS tamari sauce (soy would work or Bragg's amino sauce, which is what I had on hand)
2 TBS molasses or barley malt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I used the stuff I ground yesterday from our cayennes)
In a small sauce pan, whisk the peanut butter and the hot water until you have a uniform mixture. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
Wash and cut up dandelion greens, put in pot with water to cover and boil for 5-7 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid to drink later as a tonic (optional, but I drink it for the vitamins).
Bring another big pot of water to boil, add noodles, cook until done, drain.
Put 'em all together, get it all mixed up nice, and chow down. YUM.
Michael liked it, asked for seconds, but said it'd be better with some beef. That's not a bad idea. Pork would be good too, probably.
Dandelion greens are a bit bitter for most folks, I think. I have a sour tooth as opposed to a sweet tooth, and I like dandelion greens, but not plain. I sure liked them today!
This book is so good I want to share another item with readers.
This section, I'm supplying whole, from the book:
Melanoma . . . Can't Argue with Success
We said it before, we'll say it again. We're writers who do research. We have no professional medical background. We're reporting and not prescribing. We urge you to seek out, find, and work with a health professional whose approach to your well-being is in keeping with your own. You want a doctor who is not in the panic business--someone who can properly diasgnose the health challenge, then discuss the conventional, complementary, and alternative options for whatever ails you.
If you see a beauty mark on your body that has an irregular border and whose color seems to move beyond that border, or there's a nodelike dark patch of skin that's changing in size, we think it's very important that you show it to your doctor.
And now that we're on the record with our suggestion, we're reporting the experience of Bill Anderson, managing partner of Garlic Research Labs and Garlic Valley Farms, with what he thought may have been melanomas.
In the course of doing business, Bill Anderson comes into contact with lots of farmers. Here are Bill's own words:
One day, one of those farmers told me about a melanoma that he had on his lip. The farmer took a garlic clove, sliced it, and put it on the melanoma, then covered it with a bandage. From time to time, he'd change the garlic clove and put on a new bandage. Within two weeks the thing on his lip completely disappeared. Another time this farmer had a melanoma on the back of his neck. He did the same thing and sure enough, it also disappeared completely.
While Bill was leading up to his own experience, he shared this one too:
I had dealings wiht this ol' country lady in Little River, who worked in a feed store. She told me, "Oh yeah, that garlic is good for everything. Here we use it for skin cancer. We had this one farmer who had it on his arm. He drives a tractor and the arm is always out in the sun. The doctor said he couldn't do nothin' for him, so I mixed up some onions and garlic and made a mince out of it and rubbed it all over his arm, then I wrapped it up. In two weeks the skin cancer was all gone."
The time had come for Bill's own personal story:
I had this black mole on my neck for a couple of years. It kept getting bigger. When it was about the size of a penny, only fatter--that thing was real ugly--I got to thinkin' about the success the farmers had getting rid of their problem, and said, "Hell, I'll put some of my own garlic juice on there." [Bill's company, Garlic Valley Farms, bottles and sells 99.3 percent pure garlic juice.] I dipped my finger down into the bottle and smeared it on, just that one time. In a little over a week, maybe closer to two weeks, the thing on my neck disappeared. Then I got the same thing on my right temple. I put the garlic juice on it and it also disappeared. It's the God's truth.
In the 1850s, Louis Pasteur recognized garlic's ability to kill bacteria. More than a century later, biochemist Sidney Belman of New York University Medical Center reported that by painting garlic oil on the skin of laboratory animals, he could inhibit the development of skin cancers. Extensive research continues, with extremely encouraging results.
***************** end of book section*******************
Now that is interesting. I too, would advise seeing a health professional if you ever see a funny bit of skin turning strange on you. However, in the bizarre world we live in, if a health professional isn't there to be consulted, you might keep this bit in mind . . . and keep some garlic on hand as well.
This is all for information and entertainment only, of course. Medical advice is beyond my purview and my calling.