Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cheap and Useful: Flaxseed

A while ago I bought some flaxseed from the Amish bulk store, 8 oz for $.50. An excellent price for a useful product. I had read about some neat uses for flaxseed in my copy of Heinerman's Encycloopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices. Wasn't long ago that I recommended that readers of this blog buy the book--it's that good and useful. The information I read in Heinerman's was what convinced me to buy some flaxseed, and I'm glad I did.

Here's a few bits from the book on uses for Flaxseed:

Remarkably Effective Laxative

According to Dr. Hans Fluck, a Swiss professor of pharmacology, 2 tsp. of flaxseed put into half a cup of hot water and allowed to swell for up to 4 hours and the mucilage and seeds swallowed together will produce a swelling bulk within the intestines which will provide a substantial bowel movement a few hours later.

Best Hand Lotion Around

An Oregon woman who suffered from dried, chapped hands for years had tried just about every kind of hand lotion on the market, but with no success. Then she stumbled onto flaxseed and now makes her own lotion, which she finds incredibly effective.

Her recipe calls first for whole or cracked flaxseed, about 3 round tbsp. to be soaked in 2 cups lukewarm water overnight. The next morning, the mixture is boild and strained to remove as much of the mucilage jell as possible; then the seeds are thrown away. A pint of apple cider vinegar is then added to the jell, along with 5 tbsp of glycern (purchased from any drugstore). The mixture is heated again to boiling and immediately removed from heat. Take an eggbeater and beat the mixture for a minute or so to keep the glycern from separating. Bottle. Dampen hands with solution morning and evening, thoroughly rubbing the skin and letting the air dry them. You will experience a greaseless silky feeling on your hands.

Eye Problem Corrected

The following was obtained from Violet Boyce of Logan, Utah. "I had a unique experience with flaxseed when I was a young girl. While on the train I got a cinder in my eye. I was unable to dislodge it and was suffering rather acutely. When I reached home my aunt put a single flaxseed under the lid. Sure enough the gooey sides collected the particle and it could be brushed out."

I made the hand lotion this morning, after soaking the flaxseed overnight. And it works--it left my hands feeling silky and soft. For the price of the flaxseed, glycerin and cider vinegar--none of which are expensive at all, I got a great hand lotion that works. I don't have chapped hands, but the skin is often pretty dry, especially in the winter. I added some drops of lavender essential oil so the wouldn't smell like vinegar and a couple of vitamin E drops as a preservative to the essential recipe.

Heinerman's book is full of interesting tidbits like that, usually cheap, useful and effective. I like that!
HM

Monday, December 29, 2008

Survival Health Tips

My friend Charli sent me this in an email. Thank you, Charli! Looks like it was posted at Millennium Ark, Stan Deyo's page back in October. I post it here so it will get further reading--in my view, it is excellent advice and I thank "Sandy" who wrote it! (Plus I still have the dratted cold--remind me never to say that I never get colds, OK?--and I'm not frisky enough for posting these days....)
HM


Survival Health Tips

October 24, 2008Sandy, health care worker

I would like to add some incredibly important survival items (from long experience) to your growing collection of reader contributions, things one seldom sees mentioned. Let's remember Russia survived its economic collapse well largely because its citizens had never lost the art of doing for themselves.

This first may be one of the most important things you ever hear: As a health care worker, I can attest that as many lives are saved in the hospital by "supportive care" as by antibiotics and other "professional" measures. ERs are packed with people who have forgotten how to do simple supportive care at home. So, here it is: BE SURE YOUR HOME HAS AT LEAST ONE ENEMA KIT. Not the little pre-packaged one-shot deals, but the old hot water bottle with a hose setup. Do NOT be squeamish about this. Get it, and learn how to use it properly. When your loved one has the flu, or pneumonia, is unconscious, cannot hold anything down, a simple warm-water enema will be absorbed as readily as IV fluids, which rank among probably the top five hospital-care life savers.

Other "supportive measures" include steam inhalation (especially with pine needles or eucalyptus oil added to the water -- home nebulization), and "pulmonary toilet" (a hospital staple, look it up), which includes encouraging coughing (often a GOOD thing) and gently pounding the back of a person leaning far over a bed with cupped hands or small bowls to loosen mucus in the lungs. Strong broths made from boiled meats and vegetables including onions, garlic, parsley, carrots, cabbage, etc. are very good strengthening tonics.

Urinary tract infections (one of the primary causes of systemic infection and death, especially in the elderly) can be VERY effectively treated at home by boiling any combination you have on hand of onions, potatoes, parsley, dandelion leaves, barley, parsnips or cabbage. No salt or other seasoning. Mash and discard the vegetables, strain and drink. By the gallon, if possible. Cranberry juice is a good preventive acidifier, but very irritating to inflamed tissues once an infection has taken hold. Caffeine has an irritating crystalline structure eliminated by half-lives, so cut out coffee and soda. Teas are OK. Best of all roast and crush dandelion root: Nourishing and very nice coffee substitute. (Please note I am providing this information only for emergency home treatment and NOT advising anyone to avoid professional medical care.)

Avoid panic: Learn to do a simple medical assessment. EMTs and ER personnel check vital signs first. Four things: Blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature. Get a blood pressure cuff and a good thermometer. Whether a person (or animal) has been knocked unconscious, has a seizure, heart attack, possible stroke or any other frightening event, if their vital signs are stable, death is not imminent and you have time to think and act. The next step (for humans) is usually a mental assessment: Read up on the Internet about how to do a mini mental status exam. Call the Red Cross (today!) and learn CPR. It's not rocket science -- do it! My knowledge of initial assessments has helped me avoid panic with family members and animals more times than I can count. Remember that most health events that are frightening to the inexperienced are not actually critical.

Here is another HUGE item: Get your teeth in shape as much as you can afford to, RIGHT NOW. Get the checkup, do whatever work is needed and you can possibly afford or your health care currently covers. Not tomorrow: NOW. If you need any incentive, remember that where medical equipment or insurance coverage is scarce, anesthesia is the first thing to go.

When medical care is scarce or unavailable, AVOID ILLNESS OR INJURY AT ALL COSTS.

Treat every wound proactively with hot soap-and-water scrubbing, hot soapy or salty soaks and some kind of protective barrier.

Always remember doctors and medical care do not heal the body, they only give it the breaks it needs to heal itself. Doctors and hospitals seldom if ever provide the all-important nutrition that fuels that healing, so in many ways if you provide adequate supportive care and nutrition, patients may actually be better off at home. Especially if you also provide the intangibles -- prayer, love, attention and positive reinforcement -- those are probably the more important factors of all.

Be sure you can keep yourself and your home clean with minimal water and no electricity. Or if your vacuum cleaner breaks, or vacuum cleaner bags become scarce, etc. Especially if asthma is a concern and/or you have animals. Invest 10 or 20 bucks in one of those "as seen on TV" rubber-fingered push brooms; they are great on carpets. And/or any of those other non-electric, non-battery-powered push-broom-like things.Get a bunch of spray bottles for quick cleanups and hand washing. A CLEAN, NEW pump-sprayer intended for spraying things on the lawn or garden, for low-water showers. A couple of big metal tubs you can use to wash clothes in with boiling water (or, who knows, for a soap-making business some day?). All of these are useful to have in any case. Remember boiling water cleans and disinfects clothes, dishes, etc., as well as soap. Actually, it's a good idea to have an array of big bowls, buckets and tubs. Metal whenever possible. Scavenging and making do requires a lot of collecting, carrying, storing and boiling. Don't forget clothesline and pins, although things dry just as well on the ground, bushes, fences, etc.

Purchased vitamins are great, but we are surrounded by rich natural sources. Vitamin C is free to all even in winter in the form of pine and hemlock needle tea, which tastes great and is a good source of vitamin C (poison hemlock is a "weed"-like plant completely different from the hemlock tree -- learn the difference!). Rose hips -- the round "fruits" of wild and cultivated roses -- persist on the plant all winter. Chew or grind for tea. Flavor varies widely, most not tasty, but a super source of vitamin C. Sumac "berries" are also abundant and persist all winter. Again, poison sumac is a vine with white berries, but sumac trees have those odd conical, furry-looking red clusters, which make a fantastic ruby-red lemonade-like tea, also rich in vitamin C. Dandelion and lamb's quarter are vitamin powerhouses. Humans need vitamin C every day and A at least every other day. These last two are loaded with both.

Crank flashlights are the bomb! They are getting cheaper and better, too. I bought two five years ago, they paid for themselves instantly and are still working like crazy. I also bought a crank radio five years ago, and I haven't bought batteries since.We Americans need to relearn everything our grandmothers knew. The Internet is a Godsend for that. Read and stock up on everything you can think of. Start a library of books like Jethro Kloss' "Back to Eden" (fabulous herbal encyclopedia). Think of it as an adventure, because it is. And read the Deyos' Millennium Ark daily, because Stan and Holly definitely Get It.

-- A Millennium Ark Reader and Friend
http://standeyo.com/NEWS/08_Health/081024.survival.health.tips.html

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pasta di Sardini, or The Sardine Caper


Canned sardines are a very healthy food. They're loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B12, B3 and D, selenium, phosphorus, and calcium. If they're not in your stored food items, they probably should be. They are canned in water, olive or soybean oil, tomato sauce, chili sauce or mustard sauce. You can get fancy canned sardines (aged, boneless, skinless) or you can get them cheap at the dollar store. We buy the cheap kind and store lots of them. But the only way I knew of eating them was plain with crackers. Or maybe in some kind of dip.

I wanted to make them into a full dinner, though. While there are probably lots of recipes available on the web, I had been thinking of a sardine noodle dish, ever since RiverWalker posted a blog about sardines. Here's the recipe I concocted:

Pasta di Sardini

1 lb fettucini noodles, cooked
2 7.5 oz tins sardines (in oil)
frozen spinach (use whatever greens you have on hand: lambquarters, canned turnip greens)
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp capers (rinsed) (optional)
1 tbsp pine nuts (optional)
herbs: parsley, thyme, oregano, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes
parmesean cheese

Cook the noodles according to directions. Saute the onion and garlic in butter til they're translucent. Add the thawed spinach, capers, pine nuts, herbs and sardines. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the sardines as you cook. After 6-8 minutes or so, add the noodles. Turn down the heat and cover, letting the noodles soak up the flavors. Serve as you would spaghetti with parmesean cheese on top. YUM.

This is an easy, tasty dish. Both Fred and Michael liked it--and Michael didn't think he would. I loved it, and I especially loved having a good recipe for using these delicious little fish.

There's lots of ways to vary this recipe: used sardines canned in tomato or chili sauce, and add tomatoes rather than the greens. Other vegetables could be used as well. Make it hot and spicy or mellow and creamy. The capers and pine nuts are optional--I had capers on hand but not pine nuts. The capers added a certain briny depth to the dish, and the pine nuts would add a bit of crunch, I think. Enjoy!
HM

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Simple Things and Doing for Others

In this season of dark and cold, it is good to be grateful for small and simple things. Sunlight, for instance. It is Christmas day, and the sunlight is glorious. We've had a week of grey, cold, rain and ice, and today's warmth and sun is very welcome. The cats are out lazing in the sun in that particularly feline manner of theirs. You can register their vibrations of contentedness even if they're not purring. It is their way of appreciating simple things.

We learned a few days ago that another member of our community had had a mini-stroke. Lillian is about 76 or so, and a real scrapper, but this has taken the wind from her sails. I've been taking her hot soups and groceries--just some oatmeal and canned goods. Some bread and bananas. And spending time with her, sharing the comfort of having friends around.

Then, on the way to Fred's, I stop to feed his cats, who never moved from their den under his old trailer. He's now moved into the farmhouse at Misty, where there are also a zillion cats. David also lives there and he feeds that multitude. But Fred's cats need fed too, and so I stop on my way there and give them their kibble. They are grateful and respond with purrs and windings-around my legs.

On to Fred's where I either make him dinner or heat up what I've brought with me. Other ladies here also take him food, so he's doing OK. Fred occasionally buys lotto tickets. He says if he wins the lotto bigtime, he'll build the valley an old folks home. It's a great idea--we've worked out a plan for the building. It would have a central communal kitchen/dining/living area and the folks would have individual rooms around the circumference. A wagonwheel arrangement in other words. And there'd be people like me who could help with the cooking/cleaning/entertaining and caring for health needs. That's a dream for now, but something to work towards.

Doing for others has great benefits. It gets me out of my typical winter doldrums/blues. Seasonal affective disorder gets us all to greater or lesser degrees. Humans need sunlight and fresh air, and life becomes greyer when we don't have access to them in winter. But you can get yourself out of depressive thoughts and moods by paying attention to other people and their needs.

I've been battling a nasty cold the past week. The past two nights it really got to me and I was exhausted. Couldn't sleep very well because of coughing and stuffy nose. I'm letting the symptoms have their way. It's best if I don't fight it, but merely rest a lot and feed my system lightly but with good nutrition--lots of liquids, garlic, cayenne and rest.

Well, that's it. Be grateful for simple, little things. Be grateful for other people and pay attention to them. Not very awe-inspiring commentary here. That's what having a cold does to you. Energy-stealing things...

Only two more months and I can get back to some serious foraging!
HM

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Simple Home Medicines are Effective

I thought I'd let you all know how some ongoing projects are working out.

The Yellow Dock tincture:

The first is, I'd made a tincture of yellow dock root for a good friend of ours who has non-symptomatic hepatitis C. He's had it for years; doesn't have any of the symptoms, but it is there. I gave him the tincture about a month and a half ago. He recently emailed and mentioned this:

"I had a health evaluation done at work recently. Tell Patty that my Liver Enzyme levels have never been lower. Not once in all the years I've been getting them checked out. Not that they've been sky high, but they were all down in the middle of the normal range. Must be something to those drops. Tell her my Liver and I say, Thanks!"

Three cheers for yellow dock tincture for liver problems, then. And I'm happy that our friend's health is better.

The Horsetail tea:

If you follow the blog, you'll know that an 81 year old friend of ours, Fred, fell and broke his elbow a while back. The orthopedic doc casted his arm and we've been making do ever since. I'd brought over some horsetail chopped up fine and some comfrey leaves to make teas for him and he's been drinking a cup or two a day of each. Last time we went to the doc, his elbow has started healing. There wasn't much to show yet on the X ray, but I'm sure we'll see more improvement when we go back for more Xrays on the 2nd of January.

The Garlic/Weird Mole:

In early November, I'd read a book on garlic as Nature's Super Healer. One of the extracts I shared from the book was on using a slice of garlic on funny moles and melanomas. A few days after writing about it, we started using a slice of garlic on a weird mole of Michael's. When I first looked at it, it was gray and hairy/fuzzy and ugly/weird looking. That was November 6. We've been putting a fresh slice of garlic on the mole every couple of days.

We put another slice of garlic on it today. And today the mole has almost disappeared. It's much smaller--like I said, nearly disappeared. It is now tiny, tan and very pale. I expect it will disappear in another few weeks.

Was this mole a melanoma? I don't think so. It hadn't changed colors or grown larger or any of the other signs that might tell of that deadly skin cancer. It was just a weird thing on his skin. But the garlic is definitely making it go away! We'll have to keep checking on it to make sure that it stays away, of course.

The reason I'm posting about this is that these simple, easy things can be effective and useful. None of this stuff costs much, if anything. Yellow dock, horsetail and comfrey all grow here in the valley. We didn't plant garlic this year (dammit), but we easily could have and it too would grow here. For that matter, there's wild garlic all over the place and if I couldn't get commercial garlic, I'd certainly use wild. It'd probably be better.

This is a very good thing, as dark times draw near. Useful wild plants grow all around us, even in cities, and we can use them to our benefit. It is the medicine God intended for us, after all, and to my mind, much better than pharmaceutical synthetics. Get to know an herbalist or forager near you, or better yet, get to know herbs and wild plants yourself. Then you will always have medicine at hand.

None of these things work as fast as pharmaceutical synthetics, of course, but that's probably a good thing. It takes time to develop problems and imbalances in our physical systems, and we need time to resolve those problems as well.

Needless to say, I'm not saying that horsetail and comfrey tea is "healing" Fred's elbow. Fred's body is healing his elbow. But the horsetail and comfrey are supplying some of what his body needs to do just that. Same with the yellow dock tincture for our other friend, and the garlic for Michael's mole.

Good luck to all in resolving your physical problems as well.
HM

Monday, December 22, 2008

Something REALLY Useful--for the Ladies

Wow. Oh wow oh wow oh wow. Although I have trained myself diligently to NOT want things, I'm afraid I would love one of these. Oh yes I would.

I was reading along in a Countryside & Small Stock Journal, a very cool homesteading magazine, and an ad caught my eye. There's an attractive woman wearing overalls holding this lavender plastic thing in her hands. Yes, it's the pStyle.

The text to the add reads:
  • Pee standing up while fully clothed
  • Eliminates the need for t.p.
  • Reuseable & simple to clean
  • Comes in six fun colors

"Such a wonderful product. It worked with zero leaks the first time. I ordered them for my friends, each of my sisters, and my aunt. It's going to replace diamonds as a girl's best friend!"--Anne

What busy outdoors woman hasn't wanted to pee standing up and fully clothed? How many times in the garden did I have to head for the bushes to do the ol' squat and piss? I don't bother counting, tell you that. This thing sounds like a GREAT product.

The website given says thepstyle.com, but for once, google didn't come through for me. However I did find a place called Krista's Cups, and she sells both the pStyle and Diva Cups (a menstrual cup). The pStyle is $12, a case for it is $14 or you can order pStyle and case for $22 or 2 pStyles for $20. There's also a list of retailers in certain states. (There's even a pix of a woman using it, standing up and fully clothed!)

These days we're poor. So rather than buying something, I think I'll just make one. I'll cut up a plastic water bottle probably and see if I can get the shape of the pStyle. My bet is that would work, maybe not quite as nicely, or certainly not in purple or pink, but it would function as needed. I've often thought of making a funnel kind of thing, but really squatting and pissing isn't a big deal. Yet. As I age or my knees get all achy, it may become a problem. Soooooo..... off to the "Make It Do" labs to see what I can come up with.

Onwards, HM

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spicy Tomato Tea, from Earth Clinic




Our winter festivities have begun. Last night we had a big, fancy communal dinner, which was really lovely. But my throat had started to feel pretty sore and my voice was scratchy, nose runny, eyes watery. Oh oh. I HATE getting sick during these five days or so where we all get together a lot to have fun in various ways.

I started my usual "have a cold" therapy: garlic, goldenseal and echinacea, vitamin C in huge doses, lots of liquids, and all that. Chicken broth, hot baths, lots of rest...

But I also zipped over to Earth Clinic to see what they had listed for "cures" for colds. I had read of this one before, and have used it and recommended it to people, but I hadn't read all the various responses that people have sent in from around the world. First I'll give you the classic recipe, first sent in back in 2003, and then my recipe.

*****************
Spicy Tomato Tea

It works fast (in most cases) and tastes great! These ingredients are well-known serious herbals for their medicinal properties... Used together they do wonders for sinus/ear infections, colds, coughing and sore throat. We've even found it to kill flu germs and strep throat (with no antibiotics).

TOMATO TEA RECIPE
2 cups V8 Juice
2-3 cloves Garlic crushed (use more if you can)
2 T Lemon Juice
Hot Sauce (the more the better, so as much as you can handle)

Mix and heat in a pan or in the microwave. Sip slowly and re-warm as needed to get the full effects of the fumes. Let it sit in the back of your throat to bathe it. Suck the fumes through your sinuses and also down into your lungs. Its all natural and healthy, so drink as much of it as you want or need until you are SURE the infection is gone. This is past the time when you "feel better."

This appears to be the best recipe, but from the comments, people often don't have the right ingredients. Don't let that hold you back. Use whatever you have available. Below are some substitutes that may not work as well or as fast, but will still help. I've listed them by their likely effectiveness:

Substitutes:
V8 Juice - tomato juice, vegetable juice, canned or fresh tomatoes crushed, tomato soup (if really desperate, try another kind of fruit juice, vegetable soup or even chicken soup . you're aiming for high Vit C content)
Garlic - garlic in olive oil, dehydrated garlic, garlic salt (aiming for the strong anti-bacterial/fungal effects)
Lemon Juice - Fresh lemons, bottled juice, limes, lime juice, oranges, frozen lemonade
Hot Sauce - ANY kind of hot sauce works, fresh hot peppers, cayenne pepper, dried pepper flakes (if really desperate, try horseradish, black pepper or even mustard . you're aiming for the highly anti-bacterial/fungal properties of capricin which is found in hot peppers, and its effectiveness at clearing out the sinuses.)

My Spicy Tomato Tea Recipe
2 cups tomato juice
8 cloves garlic minced (I love garlic anyway and always use it in illness)
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp horseradish
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice (I used the bottled lemon juice from concentrate as I didn't have lemons)
1 tsp tumeric (anti-inflammatory)
herbs: oregano, parsley, celery salt and seed for flavor

Heat it all up on the stove, ladle it into cup and sip the stuff. My nose has already cleared and I'm feeling better--all in a half an hour. Not bad!

I've gotten myself used to cayenne pepper a bit more. I'm taking the cayenne tincture daily--it's hot but now bearable and I like the effect of it. It opens my nasal passages and makes me feel warm all over.

A Fun Shakespeare Show

I'll share this with you just for fun. I found a neat compilation of phrases and one-liners from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets on the web. You can read it here. If you click on the phrase, it will tell you where the original came from, and where in Shakespeare it is found. I thought we could do an interesting audience participation thing with the phrases.

I printed out the list and got some friends to help me provide some dinner entertainment last night. While everyone was noshing away at the fabulous feast, we put on our Shakespeare hats, jester's hats with the bells on the tips, and we read the lines to the folks. It is really amazing how many of these phrases originated in Shakespeare--"dead as a doornail," "give the devil his due," "pure as the driven snow," etc. If we thought the line familiar enough, we'd read the first part of the line, and wait for the audience to provide the rest. We had a blast! The folks really got into it. If you're ever called upon to provide entertainment for a group, this one is fun!

HM

Friday, December 19, 2008

Review: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning:
Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage and Lactic Fermentation

by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante
with a new foreward by Deborah Madison


I have mentioned this book before and included a recipe, but I wasn't yet ready to review the book. Here's my review with some recipes just for fun.


If you're interested in putting food by, and concerned that there may be no electricty in the near future (or are living off-grid, or planning to) BUY THIS BOOK. The cover says $25 new, but you can get it at Amazon for about $14 or so. The book is definitely worth the money if you put the techniques and recipes into practice. I'm sure as hell planning to come harvest time. In my opinion, freezing and canning have their place and we need to put those techniques to good use, but ever since I learned about lactic fermentation, and how that preservation technique makes food alive and brimming with enzymes and probiotics (not to mention zingy flavor), I've wanted to learn more traditional methods of preserving food.

The methods presented in this book: preserving in the ground or in a root cellar, drying, lactic fermentation, oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, sweet-and-sour preserves, and alcohol are all ancient methods of preserving food that do not harm the nutritional value of the food. Frankly, I think freezing and canning does detract from the nutritional value of food, but not to the extent that we shouldn't use those methods. Rather, augment your current methods of putting food by with these old/new techniques.

I want to quote a bit from the foreword to the First Edition by Eliot Coleman:

"In the opening paragraphs of his classic Soil and Civilization, Edward Hyams decries how modern misapplication of science has caused humans to 'begin working across or against the grain of life.' Hyams notes how science, when it becomes the master rather than the servant, displaces the age-old natural wisdom that has maintained the 'integrity of life.' Without that integrity, humans begin to lose contact with the 'poet,' which Hymas describes as the instinctive understanding of wholeness that has nurtured their well-being through the centuries.

Such change is abundantly evident in our modern American diet. The business of food science is in conflict with the poetry of human nourishment. Store shelves are filled with products that keep seemingly forever, such as canned or frozen food, ultra-pasturized dairy products, devitalized flour. ...

Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern sceintific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural "poetic" methods that maintain or enhance the life in food...

The techniques presented in this book, maintain and enhance the life in the foods you are preserving, and this is the value of it, and the value of the book. I hold with many others that one reason Americans suffer so many degenerative diseases is due to their crappy diet of fast food, overly processed additives food, canned food, frozen food, all of it with very little to none nutritional value. You can live on the stuff for a while, years and decades even, but your body will break down and degenerate into diseased flesh.

But I'm not here to lecture--buy this book and try these recipes--they are all interesting and unusual. What the folks who put the book together did was ask readers of a French organic gardening magazine Les Quatre Saisons du Jardinage (Four-season Gardening) to send in their favorite methods and recipes for preserving food. They received over 500 recipes.

The Introduction to the book is very important. It discusses preservation without nutrient loss, stopping food contamination, choosing a method of preservation and a note on food safety. Each chapter of the book, each concerned with a different method of preservation, includes a general introduction to the method and then the recipes. There are charts, drawings, and clear descriptions of the methods. The individual recipes, sent in by the readers of Quatre Saisons du Jardinage, are charming, unusual, and usually mention the best variety of fruit or vegetable for their particular recipe. The recipes are attributed to the reader who sent it in.

Before I get to the recipes, let me say that I really like this book and I can't wait to try these recipes and techniques. This year I did very little canning, but I dried vegetables and foraged plants and herbs and fruit, I fermented quite a few and preserved with vinegar and oil, and we've been enjoying the results of those methods this winter. Now, I'm ready to try all the rest and I'm very happy to have this book to guide me. I love the idea of maintaining as much of the foods' nutritional value as possible, and enhancing the flavor when possible.

From Preserving in the Ground and Cellar

Apples in Elderflowers
Apples
Dried elderflowers
box, preferably wooden

Pick elderflowers in June, allow them to dry, and store them in an airtight container so that they remain fragrant.

Place a layer of dried elderflowers at the bottom of a box (preferably made of wood). Alternate layers of apples and layers of flowers. Finish with a layer of flowers, and close the box as tightly as possible. Keep in a cool, dry place (provided it is not too damp, a cellar is suitable). After six to eight weeks, the apples may be eaten and will taste like pineapples. This method works especially well for pippins, which can be kept in this ways for at least ten weeks. If we place them on a bed of elderflowers in small open crates, they will keep longer, but the pineapple flavor won't be nearly as intense.
A. Motsh, Ambierle

Preserving by Lactic Fermentation

Bottled Swiss Chard Ribs Without Salt
Swiss Chard ribs
Water
Canning jars and lids
Only the ribs of the chard are preserved. The green leaves are used fresh. Remove the 'string,' cut the ribs into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch long pieces, and wash them thoroughly. Place the ribs into widemouthed jars equipped with airtight lids. Pack down and fill the jars with cool water. The next day, rinse the ribs and change the water. Repeat this procedure for four consecutive days, before allowing to ferment. Preserved in this manner, the ribs will keep easily for one year, and can be cooked like fresh ones.
Andre Foex, Cleon-D'Andran

Tomato Balls
Ripe tomatoes
Salt
Oil
Herbs
A fine strainer
A finely woven cloth
A screen
Canning jars and lids

For this old recipe from Provence, pick a good amount of tomatoes that have ripened well in the sun. Cut them in half, squeezing lightly to release any water, and put them in a jar. Set the jar outside in the sun (bring them in at night) until they begin to foam and smell a bit fermented.

Pass the tomatoes through a very fine strainer, rubbing it through with your fingers. Collect the strained portion; place it in a clean, finely woven cloth; and hang it outside in the sun until you get a paste dry enought o be shaped into balls. Let the balls dry on a screen in the sun. Then add salt, and put them in a canning jar. Cover them with oil, season with herbs to your taste, and close the jar.
Jennifer Rocchia, Beaurecueil

Preserving in Oil

Baguet (Parsley Condiment)
1 part shelled nuts
1-2 parts parsley (to taste)
1 part garlic and onion mixed
a little vinegar
a few anchovies (optional)
Salt
Olive oil
Canning jars and lids

This is a recipe from Val D'Aoste, in the mountains of northwestern Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Use it as you would pesto for seasoning soups and pasta.

Grind all the nonliquid ingredients together very finely. Add the vinegar, put the mixture in jars, and cover it with oil. Without vinegar, preservation is a bit iffy; with vinegar, preservation is a sure thing.
Anonymous

Preserving with Salt

Migaine de Thezou (Mixed Vegetable Stock)
1 lb leeks
1 lb tomatoes
1 lb onions
3/4 lb parsley and chervil
1/2 lb turnips
1/2 lb celery
1 lb salt
meat grinder or food processor
bowl
jars
This recipe came from a grandmother in my village. Grind all ingredients coarsely in a meat grinder or food processor. Let the mixture stand overnight in a bowl in a cool place. The next day, remix the contents of the bowl by hand. Put the ground vegetables in jars, and store them in the cellar or some other cool place.

While this mixture will keep for up to three years, it is best to use it all within the first year, since you can replenish your stock wtih fresh ingredients the following September. I add one or two tablespoons each time I make soup, tomato sauce, stews, court boullion, and so on. I prefer to toss it in raw, for a more interesting texture, but it can be cooked too.
Anne-Marie Franc, Baccarat

Fruits Preserved in Alcohol

Officer's 'Jam' or Bachelor's Ligueur

Fruit (whatever's available): strawberries, red currants, black currants, wild raspberries, peaches, plums, greengage plums, apricots, etc
Alcohol: kirsch for red fruit, cognac for others or brandy for everything
Sugar (same quantity as the fruit)
5 quart stoneware pot with lid

This 'jam' is prepared as the fruit ripens, over the course of the growing season.

Cut larger fruit into smaller pieces, and remove all pits. Then, in a very large, airtight stoneware pot (called a Rumtopf in Switzerland), alternate layers of one pound of fruit and one pound of sugar, as the harvest continues. Personally, I use less sugar: I cover each layer of fruit with sugar, and without weighing it first. It keeps as well as the version with more sugar.

Each time you add more fruit, cover it with the alcohol you've selected. Never stir. Store the pot in a cool, dark place, and wait at least six months before tasting this delicacy. However, it's much better if you wait one year.
Mrs. Defacqz, Switzerland

OK, that's it. I'm tired of typing, and I hope I've given you enough neat little recipes to get your mouths watering, your imaginations flowering, and your mouse pointed over to Amazon to get your own copy.

Enjoy!
HM

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Heinerman on Beet Root and Recipe for Beet Kvass





Food Chemotherapy for Cancer

For several years now I've served as editor of an annual publication, Folk Medicine Journal. It covers all manner of alternative medicine topics, but from a strictly "hands-on, do-it-yourself" approach. In the first volume was an English translation of an original article representing the research of an Hungarian physician, Dr. Alexander Ferenczi, which he conducted on hundreds of patients between 1955 and 1959.

What was so remarkable about his work was that he used an ordinary food for the remission of many different types of cancer. This "beet root chemotherapy" has been used with amazing results since then by other qualified doctors. I've excerpted some of the more important points from the original research report.

"Since October 1950, we tested in our department [for Internal Diseases at the District Hospital in Csoma, Hungary] the tumor-inhibiting action of beetroot . . . We gave this to [cancer] patients raw, finely grated 200 grams [7-8.5 ounces] spread over the day after meals....If the patient could not take it in this way, the grated beetroot was pressed by means of a handpress ... 1 kilogram [2 1/4 lbs] beetroot yielded approximately 300 milliliters [about 1/2 pint] juice, which the patient also took, spread over the day after meals.

"...I tried the above mentioned treatment also on other patients. Naturally, all the patients were inoperable...and other forms of treatment were ruled out. Up to now, I had 22 patients of this kind: ten with tumor of the lung, four with cancer of the stomach, two with cancer of the breast, with metastasis after an operated cancer of the lip, one with cancer of the prostate, one with cancer of the uterus, one with cancer of the skin . . . .The treatment with beetroot was started on many more patients; however, only a few were able to continue the treatment over a longer period. Those suffering from cancer of the liver or stomach in particular were not able to tolerate continued consumption of the [fresh] beetroot.

"The result was that out of 22 patients, 21 showed an improvement, manifesting itself by a shrinking of the tumor, a gain in weight of 3-11 kilograms [6.5-24 1/4 lbs.]...and also an improvement in appetite and general state of health. Unfortunately, after three to four months, the patients stopped taking the beetroot whereupon after two to three further months, their condition started to deteriorate.

"Experience gained up to now points to the fact that beetroot contains a tumor-inhibiting (anti-cancerous) active ingredient. However, for the present, no clue has been found as to the nature of this active substance. One thing is certain: beetroot is fairly stable because it acts when taken orally; therefore, digestion does not harm it. The very apparent red color may suggest that the active substance is the coloring matter. Treatment with beetroot presents several advantages over the rest of the medication used in the treatment of cancer. Firstly, because it is non-toxic and one can administer red beetroot in unlimited quantities. Also, there are unlimited supplies of beetroot at our disposal. We have therefore endeavored to administer to the patient this active substance in the most concentrated form and in the largest quantitites possible ...."

There is only one source in the United States for the concentrated form that Dr. Ferenczi employed in his many successful cancer treatments. It is organic beet root juice powder available in bulk from the following company: Pines International, P.O. Box 1107, Lawrence, KS 66044 (1-800-642-PINE). One level tablespoonful in 8 fluid ounces of water or juice of some kind (liquid chlorophyll is the best) every morning before breakfast will dramatically increase a person's resistance to cancer. However, in the event that some kind of cancer is already present, then this amount should be doubled or even tripled each day, but always taken with meals and never on an empty stomach. Due to the increased intake, the stomach or liver may reject some of it unless accompanied by other solid food.

***************************

Beets are quite potent buggers. You may have noticed that they go in red and come out red too. They're the only food that does that, I think. Here's some information and a recipe from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook for Beet Kvass:

From the interlineal margin notes:

Professor Zabel observed that sick people always lack digestive juices, not only during the acutye phase of their illness but also for a long time afterwards. In addition, he never saw a cancer victim that had a healthy intestinal flora . . . . Thus, the different lacto-fermented foods are a valuable aid to the cancer patient. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain as well enzymes that cancer patients lack. Of particular value are lacto-fermented beets, which have a very favorable effect on disturbed cellular function. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that beets have a regenerating effect on the body. Annelies Schoneck, Des Crudities Toute L'Annee.

No Ukrainian home was ever without its "beet kvass." The kvass was always handy and ready when a pleasing, sour flavor had to be added to soups and vinaigrettes. Lubow A. Kyivska, Ukranian Dishes

Truly the vegetable kingdom contains our best medicines . . . . [The vegetables] are not only beautiful to look at but filled with healthful properties, chief of which are their natural vitamins and trace elements. But only if they are used. Did you know that a stalk of celery or a serving of fresh salad greens has more vitamins and minerals than a box of synthetic vitamin tablets? Henry Bieler, MD, Food is Our Best Medicine

BEET KVASS

Makes 2 quarts

3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled and chopped up coarsely

1/4 cup whey

1 tablespoon sea salt

filtered water

This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-oz glass, morning and night, in an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments. Beet kvass may also be used in place of vinegar in salad ressings and an addition to soups.

Place beets, whey and salt in a 2 quart glass container. Add filtered water to fill the container. Shake well and cover securely. Keep it at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.

When most of the liquid has been drunk, you may fill up the container with water and keep at room temperature for another 2 days. The resulting brew will be slightly less strong than the first. After the second brew, discard the beets and start again. You may, however, reserve some of the liquid and use that as your inoculant instead of the whey.

Note: do not use grated beets in the preparation of this beet tonic. When grated, beets exude too much juice, resulting in a too rapid fermentation that favors the production of alcohol rather than lactic acid.

Eat yer beets, kids. They're good for you. Or, drink your beet juice. I make the beet kvass using Fallon's recipe and I love the stuff. It's tangy and sour and invigorating. I haven't made it in a while, so I'm due. Remember, the beets should be organic!

HM

Monday, December 15, 2008

Make Your Own Natural Antibiotic

Earth Clinic, the folk remedy center, has an interesting recipe for a natural antibiotic. It calls for horseradish (fresh), garlic, ginger, 10 or 11 habanero peppers, strong, hot white onions, and apple cider vinegar. While it calls for one cup of each of the ingredients, it also only says to use 2 cloves of garlic. I think he meant two heads of garlic or two bulbs (each with a bunch of cloves on it). Must be, if you are going to end up with a cup of garlic. At any rate, check out the recipe here. I think this antibiotic sauce would be quite potent and would definitely kick ass.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Opinions, Opinions Everywhere But Not a Thought to Think

I found this essay the other day. I'd written it years ago and it struck me as still being pretty funny and fresh, if terribly dated. Anway, thought I'd post it here just for fun. I might do that occasionally if no one objects, or even if they do.


Opinions, Opinions Everywhere,But Not a Thought to Think

Last night, in a computer forum, someone challenged me as to my opinion on racism, and I didn't have an opinion handy, which was disconcerting. So today, after work, I stopped by our local franchise of the Dan Rather Prefabricated Opinion Store, to see what I could find.

I wanted an opinion about racism that I could respect and that others would respect as well. I thought it would be great if I could show it off, bruit it about proudly, retort that other people had bought this same opinion. It'd be great if this new opinion was also open to further growth and change if need be. It turns out that finding such an opinion was difficult.

The Dan Rather Prefabricated Opinion Store(tm) was a strange place. I'd never been there before, though I'd peeked in the windows once or twice. The opinions were kept in boxes on the shelves. The place was well-lit and clean, but it had a stuffy, don't touch, and for pete's sake, don't-read-the-opinions-while-standing-there feel to it. It was a sterile environment, but there were lots of people in the store, so I thought I had come to the right place.

The opinions on racism were near the front. There was the standard opinion, that "racism is bad," on sale for $2.95 this week. The store also carried the prefab notions that "whites are smarter and work harder" and "blacks are never guilty; they're just victims," for $5 each. Also available were "blacks are cool and hip," "minorities are inherently preferable to whites," and "I don't care what you say, I'm still glad I'm white." The OJ section of the racism opinions also had "OJ was GUILTY" and "OJ was NOT GUILTY," available. The opinion that I would have bought, the "OJ was probably guilty, but so were the cops and the whole trial was a farce and a disgusting example of American jurisprudence" wasn't anywhere to be found.

Sigh. I could tell this was going to be a frustrating consumer experience. These opinions weren't exactly what I was looking for. What I wanted was something along the lines of "racism is bad, yes, but it is bad because it is stupid, unproductive, it gets in the way of being neighbors and getting things done--who cares what the skin color is" opinion.

So, being a pushy redhead (which is what I am, and not an opinion on redheads--I'm on a budget these days), I up went to the clerk, who looked a lot like Dan Rather, come to think of it.

"Where are the other opinions? I'm looking for a certain kind of opinion on racism," I said.

Dan Rather-ish frowned at me. "We only carry these opinions, ma'm. They work for everyone else. I suggest you look again."

I frowned back. I told him what I was looking for--an opinion that sort of agreed with the "racism is bad" option, but also explained why it was bad, that it was dumb and unproductive, etc.

"Too complicated," sniffed Dan-ish. "We wouldn't sell too many of those, not at that price. People come here for our brand-name opinions, that is why they shop here, m'am. However, if you must, you can always purchase the standard "racism is bad" opinion and then modify it. Of course, no warranty is available if you do that."

Warranty, schmarranty. It figures. This struck me as a dumb way to do business. I wanted a certain opinion, and this store, a purveyor of patented, provable, or at least discussable opinions, couldn't sell me what I wanted! And what I wanted wasn't all that complicated! But I could see that modification was the way I was probably going to have to go.

I had wanted a prefab opinion for a reason. People simply are more comfortable with them, and the Dan Rather Prefabricated Opinion store had been recommended to me. But I could see that none of the opinions available for purchase were going to suit me. It's the same problem I have with clothes. I'm between a size 6 and a size 8, so things are either tight or loose, but they rarely fit exactly.

As an avid reader of Consumer Reports, I knew that I shouldn't give up just yet. I decided to check out the competition, and see what their merchandise was like. To my dismay, the HighEnd, Deluxe Washington Pundit Establishment of Savvy, Intelligent-Sounding Opinions didn't have what I wanted either! This store was much nicer, with better lighting, carpets, and a couple of easy chairs, where you could read thru some of the opinions before purchasing. Unfortunately, the opinions themselves were just as bad as the wares at the Dan Rather Prefabricated Opinion Store, only couched in polysyllablic words. Some of the opinions here were so vague as to be nearly incomprehensible, but that, really, was no surprise.

The HighEnd store seemed to contain only one opinion per section, that is, there were no opposing viewpoints at all. However, the opinions offered did come in many different wordings, so they would sound like they were different points of view if you weren't paying attention. They were all priced according to the number of syllables in the words, how intelligent you wanted to sound and whether you wanted to sound like you went to Ivy League or State. This store was MUCH more expensive, probably due to the overhead, since the quality of the opinions themselves seemed pretty flimsy to me. Not to mention there was only one overall viewpoint.

Needless to say, I couldn't find any opinion that suited me here either.

Damn.

Back to the drawing board. If anyone out there has a good, solid opinion they'd like to barter for back issues of Consumer Reports, let me know.
25 April 1996
© Patricia Neill, 1997

Tuscan Bread Soup

A few days ago I made some whole wheat yeast bread. It's been a number of years since I made yeast bread, and I made a few mistakes. So what I ended up with was a good tasting bread that rose, but fell during the baking process. I'm a good cook and can make terrific quick breads, but yeast breads have always been tricky for me.

I was talking to Lydia, the Amish farmwife we visit, and she confesses to messing up with bread too--especially whole wheat bread. I was glad to hear that others have the same sorts of problems I do. Makes me feel a tad less like an idiot.
At any rate, what to do with this weird bread? It tasted fine, so I didn't want to give it to the ducks or the dogs or even my compost. I then remembered a recipe for a basic Italian bread soup, I believe from Tuscany. Here's my basic recipe:

Tuscan Bread Soup

1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic minced (we like garlic, you can use as much or little as you like)
2 stalks celery, chopped
olive oil
1 can chicken broth (or homemade stock if you have it)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chili beans (or black beans, white beans or no beans)
handful of lambsquarters leaves (or any green you have on hand)
chunks of bread--toasted first if you prefer
parmesean cheese
oregano, thyme, parsley, lemon pepper, hot red pepper flakes

First, remember this is a soup. Soups are the ultimate in flexible cooking. Whatever you've got handy is what you add to the soup. The basic recipe here is bread, tomatoes and water or broth. It can be as simple or as complex as you want. I wanted a tomato-y, brothy yet filling soup with lots of herbs in it. So that's what I did, but you can do it however you want. If you have some stale bread that you don't want to toss, this is a nice warming soup for wintertime. It tastes great and the hot pepper flakes will make sure it warms you.

Saute the onions, garlic and celery in a tablespoon or so of oil. Add the chicken broth, some water, diced tomatoes, beans, greens if you've got some, Italian herbs whichever you prefer, a bouillon cube if you want to enhance the flavor, and bread. In about a half hour, you've got a good soup. Serve it with some parmesean cheese sprinkled on top. YUM.

Here's the basic recipe. Add what you like, but the tomatoes and the bread make this soup what it is. Enjoy.
HM

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Earth Clinic

With the economic downturn we're going through, I think many hundreds of thousands of folks will lose their health insurance coverage. If/when that happens, what will you do for medical care? The time to think about this is now, before it happens. And even if you have health insurance coverage, do you constantly want to run to the doctor for prescriptions? You might want to read up on the problems with modern drugs, the side effects, which ones have been withdrawn by the FDA, etc. If you are really brave, you might want to read this article: Death by Medicine. Only for the very brave, however. It's scary!

Or you might want to read this article by Bill Sardi. When you're done with that, read some of the many articles in Bill Sardi's archive at the Lew Rockwell site--the link for Bill's archive is at the end of the article. He writes on other topics, but most often on medical matters. Definitely read his enlightening article on the simple garlic clove. Written as a tongue-in-cheek semi-military metaphor, it is a long exploration on the benefits of eating garlic.

Even if you are fully content with modern American health care practices, you might want to look into some very simple and effective home remedies. Why spend a fortune for doctors visits and prescriptions when you don't have to? There's other and better uses for that money. And all it takes will a little time and research effort on your part.

I believe I mentioned this marvelous website many blog entries ago, but I wanted to emphasize it more. Earth Clinic is a fascinating webpage. These folks have been collecting home remedies from around the world since 1999. They collect the stories from anyone who writes in, and so have developed a large and continually updated database of various remedies used by many people the world over.

Earth Clinic is well-organized; it is divided into sections as follows: Remedies, Ailments, Supplements, Pets, Mind & Body, and Latest Posts. There's an area where you can send in your story or remedy for an ailment--see the Give Feedback button at the top of the page.

You won't believe some of the folk medicine cures recommended by readers of Earth Clinic. For the most part, the items you will need for the remedies are cheap, available at the local supermarket, and are probably in your kitchen already. Some of these remedies are very well-known--apple cider vinegar, for example, or clove oil for toothache, while some are unheard of outside sites like Earth Clinic. I found the section on survival remedies to be very interesting!

People also write in with feedback when a remedy doesn't work for them, or when they have a warning to add. For example, taking too much blackstrap molasses can be a problem for various reasons. Not all the comments are positive--and the negatives are given right up front with the positives. Not every remedy will work for every person, in other words. You may have to try different remedies to find the one that will work with your body.

Here's a sample post from a section called "Recent Notables."

STAPH INFECTION AND TURMERIC
12/04/2008: Mel from Miami, Florida writes: "Wow, where do I begin? I'm in my mid twenties with great health. I generally eat wholesome foods, don't take legal or illegal drugs, and might get a cold once every couple of years but that's it. Here's my Staph Infection Nightmare Story.

I decided to travel abroad for a year as the economy was already spiriling downward at the end of 2007 and I had some money saved up. During this journey, I spent a couple of months in Cuba at which time, most likely due to poor nutrition and hygiene in the country, acquired my first Staph Infection which I initially thought was a spider bite. The reason I believed it to be a spider bite is that my cousin came back to The States from the Dominican Republic with a bunch of spider bites that looked almost exactly the same as my Staph Infection. I began to take some left over Amoxicillin prescribed from the removal of my wisdom teeth that I was traveling with. The amount I had was not enough to completely attack the virus so it came back stronger but this time on my neck. Here's a picture.


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2223/2282232618_767969b71d_b.jpg

The pain was excrutiating and I literally felt like I was going to die. My neck throbbed with every heartbeat and gave me a horrible constant piercing headache. I never get sick and this put me down for almost a week with soarness throughout my body. I hate taking meds but broke down and went back on the Amoxicillin. After a few days it started to go away finally. A few weeks later I got a horrible ear infection in my right ear that eventually shifted to my left ear and then apparently came out of my middle finger as a huge boil. My finger was literally three times as thick as normal. Again Amoxicillin was taken only to have dozens of more small boils continously appear throughout the rest of my trip.

A third large infection in my nose began to appear in Colombia two days before my trip was scheduled to end. When I returned to The States the infection had grown enough that my upper lip was ridicolously inflated and my family was really worried about me. Again, the throbbing pain was excrutiating enough that I felt like I was going to die. My entire body was sore and I had this constant fierce headache. I was seriously considering flying out of the country again for medical treatment as I don't have insurance at the moment. One night I stayed up not being able to fall asleep because of the pain and started surfing the web on my bed with my mobile. I came across the typical 'western medicine' websites and read people's depressing comments about how they have suffered with MRSA for years and have no hope in site. It really got me down. I googled the same string as before but this time adding 'natural cure' to the end and came across Earth Clinic. There are no 24 hour supermarkets in my area so first thing the next morning I went out, bought some Turmeric, and literally poured some in my mouth chasing it with some juice I had also bought. Within four hours my lip started to go back to a normal state enough so that my cousin noticed and asked what I did. I couldn't believe how quickly this worked without having to take Amoxicillin. It actually reacted faster than the Amoxicillin did with previous infections. I hate taking Amoxicillin because after five days on it I feel horrible and of course theirs the toxicity factor of continuously administering it.

Looking back a lot of things make sense now that I researched the disease and apparently a lot of it has to do with an individuals immune system. I first got the infection in Cuba where basic nutritious things like milk and meat can be hard to come by and expensive. After a few days of heavy drinking I noticed it was more likely for the boils to appear or if already midly present they would intensify. The last few days in Cuba I partied pretty hard with friends while the neck infection was in a mild state. By the time I got to Costa Rica it was huge. Also on the last few days of my trip, of course, I had to go out with a bang and partied non stop which probably caused the most recent one. As soon as I got back family and friends that haven't seen me in a year wanted to catch up so the partying didn't end in Colombia. Another observation was that during my journey through Brazil I fell in love, not only with Brazilian women, but also with their smoothies and drank a couple a day. Looking back, I didn't get any boils while in Brazil though I partied hard there as well. In conclusion Turmeric worked amazingly, it might have prevented me from getting boils, and heavy drinking for a few nights in a row would cause boils to either appear or, if already present, intensified the infection. I thank Earth Clinic so much for this great information and God for always having an answer within nature so as not to be exploited by western medicine."

Keep in mind, however, that the good folks at Earth Clinic merely collect this information from readers. They do NOT offer medical advice, and always recommend that you consult with your health care provider. Their standard disclaimer is located at the bottom of each page. Just FYI.

Should you find that you have lost your health insurance, keep Earth Clinic in mind. There's hundreds of folk remedies offered for hundreds of ailments. Whatever is bothering you might be listed, and you can read up on what other people have been doing for the same problem. You might find it useful and try some of the simple remedies. You might even get adventurous and try some of the odder treatments. One thing you will note over and over again: folks that have a certain problem, have spent fortunes on doctor visits or trips to the ER for treatments that ultimately didn't work, and how happy they are when they try a simple home remedy and find that IT WORKS. These stories, in this essential form, are repeated constantly at Earth Clinic. There's got to be something going on here, don't you think?

I have tried some of the remedies I found at Earth Clinic. Right now I'm treating my cats' ear mites with a remedy I found in the pet section--yellow dock root extract in water for the mites. The cats hate it when I put the drops in their ears, but they are getting better!

I learned a long time ago not to trust the medical system fully, and so I have a strong opinion on this topic. And yet I also realize that to each their own--do whatever you are most comfortable with and works for you. But try to keep an open mind: sometimes it is the simplest things that work the best. Best of all, these remedies are cheap, easy to get your hands on them, and effective. If one remedy doesn't work, there's usually multiple remedies for any particular problem and you can simply pick another one to try.

Here's another sample post to EC:

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR FOR ARTHRITIS
11/11/2008: Jack from Sheffield, United Kingdom writes: "Hi to all those in the UK who are thinking of using ACV, it is absolutely amazeing! I am a 60 yr old RN and have had severe pain in my hips and lower back for 3 years, medics said it is because Im on my feet all day on the wards and gave me NSAIDs which were not effective and I would wake up in pain every morning and it was becoming so restrictive I'd even contemplated a double hip replacement. I then read about ACV on this site and gave it a go,WOW!! within 48 hours all the burning in my hips had gone! I could not believe it,even my wife noticed how fluently I was moving again, I use 2 tablespoons with honey twice a day, its even more effective with 72.5mgs Aspirin with my night time dose, Aspirin is a known anti inflammatory, I really cannot thank this site enough.As a person who has worked in the health profession for thirty years and put my complete trust in its remedy,s it is a real eye opener and has definately changed my opinions, Good luck everyone.

Give Earth Clinic a whirl when you have the time. It makes very interesting reading, at the very least, and you may find a solution to a physical problem that has been bothering you for a long time. Good luck, and let me know what you think.
Onwards,
HM

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greens Jar and a Recipe for Vegetable Bouillon


During the foraging for wild foods seasons, spring, summer, and fall, I gathered many wild greens: curly dock, dandelions, plantain, nettles, violet leaves, chickweed, woods sorrel, lady's thumb, as well as the greens of wild garlic and onions, and herbs both wild and cultivated. I dried them all and put handfuls of the greens into a big glass jar, along with some dried onions, tomatoes and chili peppers (chopped). So I have a big jar, full of dried greens and veggies for use in soups and stews.

Although there is some loss of nutritional value from drying, loss of vitamins especially, I don't worry about it--there's still good stuff in these dried greens, good flavor, good food value, trace minerals and the like.

Then, a little while ago, I read a review of a book at DestinySurvival.com: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning. I knew I had to have a copy of this book. Being poor, I did the right thing to do: I looked at all our local libraries to see if any had a copy. But no, they didn't. Could be they will in the future, but I didn't want to wait, and besides, I suspected this book could be important to us for future food storage, so I did what I always do, ordered it used from Amazon. Got it only a tad cheaper than new, but it will still be worth its cost.

I'm not going to review the book just yet. I'm too busy still enjoying it and soaking it in. But I'll tell you now that I think it is excellent. It is all about how to preserve foods without freezing or canning. Why is that important? Peak Oil. Electricity fails, and the grid goes down. Not inevitable, but it is certainly there in potential. That's why this book and these techniques could be very important. Besides, most of the methods used are much less expensive. One of these age-old methods for preserving food, lactic fermentation, actually improves the food value:

Lactic fermentation, an old preservation technique that is suddenly new again, produces foods that have biological energy--that is, they are alive and do something good for those who eat them.

That's from the foreword to the new edition. The introduction to the First Edition of the book has this to say:

The business of food science is in conflict with the poetry of human nourishment. Store shelves are filled with products that keep seemingly forever; such as canned or frozen food, ultra-pasturized dairy products, devitalized flour. Irradiated food now lurks on the horizon. ....

Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from the food [i.e. canning and freezing], and the natural "poetic" methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce live foods ... foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today. The scientific techniques produce dead foods and literally seal them in coffins. My instincts tell me that long-dead foods cannot properly nourish a long-lived people.

Frankly, I think canning and freezing are perfectly fine and necessary for food storage. However, I'm also looking forward to incorporating some of these other and older methods: root cellaring, drying, lactic fermentation, preserving in oil, sugar, salt and vinegar and alcohol.

At any rate, I'll review the book soon. For now, I want to get back to my greens jar and a recipe I found in this book that is perfect for what I have:

Vegetable Bouillon Powder

You need:
Celeriac, celery leaves, carrots, garlic, leeks, onions (and any other greens/vegetables you want)
Brewer's yeast
Olive oil
Tomatoes (optional)
Parsley, basil, and other herbs (optional)
Drying apparatus
Blender
Small glass jars

Dry the celeriac, celery leaves, carrots, garlic, leeks and some onion. Once dry, place those vegetables in a blender, reduce to a powder, and combine with the brewer's yeast and olive oil. The powder will keep one to two years stored in small jars in a dry place.

You can vary the ingredients, for example, to make a bouillon cube with dried slived tomatoes (put through a blender) as the predominant flavor.

These mixtures, high in mineral salts, are especially convenient for vegetarians who don't use meat broth and who don't want a lot of salt in their cooking. This vegetable mix can also be used to season soups or grain dishes.

You can also dry parsley, basil, celery leaves, and other aromatic herbs, which will keep their color and flavor for one year if stored in airtight jars. Reduce them to a powder and blend them into mixes as I've explained, or better yet, keep them in separate small jars to have them on hand for specific flavorings and uses.

Eva Wiehl, Bius-les-Baronnies

A couple of neat things about these recipes: there's not any measuring going on, or hardly any in these recipes--it's a figure it out for yourself using common sense kind of thing. And these recipes were all contributed by French organic gardeners and farmers, and attribution is given for each recipe.

I've kept my greens jar out of the light to preserve what inherent goodness I can, and now I think I'm going to powder them all, along with some dried veggies, and add the brewer's yeast and oilve oil to store. I know I wouldn't mind bits of green things in my soups and stews, but I'm not sure about Michael, he might find them objectionable. But as a powder in oil, they won't even be noticeable, except for the added flavor and richness of the dish.

Next year, when you're gardening or foraging, consider drying and saving a good store of greens--beet greens, turnip greens, chard, as well as whatever you find wild. These healthy foods will greatly enhance your family's nutrition, especially if you're living on stored beans and rice.
HM

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pine Tree Resin for Those Awful Cracks in Winter Skin



A cure for cancer is all very well and good, but what can you do for the truly annoying wintertime problem when the skin on your fingertips crack and bleed?

A bit of research turns up that winter cold, a lack of humidity, dry skin and perhaps other underlying medical conditions can all be part of the problem. This cracking in the skin around the fingertips can be worse if you often have your hands in water--washing dishes, for example.

Some of the remedies I found using google were bag balm, other dry skin lotions, using a good lotion at night and putting on cotton gloves and wearing them to bed, Vicks Vaporub, and superglue. I've done the strong emollient at night with the gloves, and that does help. But it doesn't always heal the little cracks.

I don't have a dishwasher, just Ms. Right and Ms. Left to help out, and I wash dishes as they get dirty--which is often throughout the day. So not only do my fingertips crack, but they don't heal very easily. These cracks can be very painful, and occasionally bloody. Is there a good cure for this?

I was over to Fred's house, making him dinner or breakfast, and he had just gotten a box of some health food supplements and stuff. Included in that box were six tiny samples of pine tree resin (made with olive oil and petrolatum, whatever that is). He gave me one and I've been using it on the two little cracks I have in my thumb tip. They are responding very well--they'd probably be healed already if I could keep my hands out of water for a few days.

Here's some information on this ointment I found on the website that sells it:

PAV OINTMENT Trees could never live as long as they do, or be as resilient against fires, molds, fungus, cancerous growths, insect infestations, wounds, etc, without their precious resin. It is the healing power Nature puts in their pitch that gives the tree it's resilience to calamity and extreme conditions. Put Nature's healing power to work for you today! Learn what thousands now know about PAV, and why they now call it the "miracle salve" that challenges ALL skin problems!

PAV , Anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-viral, topical formula. All natural, highly effective on ALL fungal conditions, itchy feet, foot odor, and infections! For most skin problems, PAV does the job! Dermatologists & Chiropractors LOVE PAV ! PAV contains rare, natural Tree Resin, Petrolatum & Olive Oil Note: petrolatum is a FOOD GRADE thickening agent!

This stuff is amazing. It is by far the best thing to put on pimples, blemishes, insect bites, etc. Nothing clears them up faster. It also works great for poison ivy, poison oak, spider bites, eczema, gum infections, diaper rash, genital warts, acne, gangrene, athletes foot, nail fungus, and the list goes on.

Hmmmm. This newsletter that published this was dated 2005, and when I did a search for PAV ointment at the website, PAV didn't come up. However, as they were selling a 1/6 oz. sample of PAV for $9.00 (yikes!), I wouldn't have bought the stuff anyway. Once I get my hands on some pine tree resin, I'll make my own salve with it.

The other salves I have on hand are calendula, which is working great for my dry winter skin, but it still not enough to heal the fingertip cracks, and plantain salve, which might or might not do the trick.

If the pine tree resin salve doesn't heal the cracks, then I will try this: I'll make sure I get enough PAV into the cracks, and then put a layer of superglue or New Skin over the salve, then gloves at night for a couple of nights.

BTW, my tone in the first paragraph is rather flippant about my last post, on the old gentleman's letter about his cancer cure with red clover blossoms. I don't mean to be: I found that testimony extremely moving and powerful. And if I were afflicted with cancer, I'd certainly turn to herbs and good nutrition, without a doubt. But there ARE other little crummy problems in life that herbs and good nutrition can help with as well.
HM

Friday, December 5, 2008

Remarkable Case of Cured Cancer

From Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices

A Very Remarkable Case of Cured Cancer


Without a doubt the most controversial application for the internal use of red clover has been as an alternative cancer treatment. It was originally included in the famous Hoxsey formula and more recently in Essiac, another popular herbal cancer remedy. Scientists who've evaluated the herb extensively now believe it is the flavonoids present in the plant which account for its dramatic anti-cancer activity. One study published in
Cancer Research (48 (22) 6256-61, 1988) found that the total flavonoids from the blossoms inhibited by 40% the activity of a common laboratory carcinogen called benzopyrene, a compound always found in charcoal-broiled foods. An even earlier study in the same journal (30: 1922-25, July 1970) observed that one of these flavonoids, in particular quercetin, kept this same benzopyrene from becoming active in the liver and small intestines, where liver and colo-rectal cancers frequently occur.

However the real proof for red clover's effectiveness in fighting off cancer comes from letter that appeared in the New York Evening Post sometime in the last century, but was originally printed in the Phrenological Journal of December 1867. It is reproduced here in its entirity and was submitted by the recovered cancer patient himself, one Truman Woodford of West Hartford, Connecticut:

"When about fifty years of age (AD 1836), there appeared near the outer corner of my left eye a small scab, which slowly enlarged and soon became painful, attended with constant itching, or rather a twitching sensation.

"Feeling anxious about it, I applied to a physician in Hartford, Conn., who said it was a cancerous affection, but advised me to let it alone and give it no medical treatment. As the affected place continued to enlarge and the irritation increased, I applied to another physician, who attempted to cure it by applying caustic, which treatment proved an injury instead of a benefit.

"The sore increased in size, spreading over the temple, eating off both lids of the eye, discharging matter constantly, destroying the sight of the eye, and causing almost insufferable pain. Thus matters stood at the end of twenty years' affliction, and I had reached the age of seventy. I had up to that time consulted six physicians, from none of whom did I receive any relief. The cancer now assailed the substance of the eyeball, eating it out entirely. The sore spread over the temple to the size of the palm of my hand, and below the eye to about three-quarters of an inch.

"I then applied to an eminent physician in New York (Dr. Blake), and remained under his treatment one year without any benefit, but rather grew worse. I now gave up all hope of recovery, ceased taking medicines, and merely washed the affected part in cold water. During the summer of 1865, it had become so painful that I slept but little, was very weak and nervous, was confined to my bed most of the time, and expected soon to die; my friends thinking I could not live until the following spring.

"In the month of August, 1865, I heard of a remarkable cure of cancer by the use of a tea made from common red clover. Thinking it was at least harmless, I used it as a common beverage, making it very strong, and also washed the eye with the same. In less than two months, to my utter astonishment, the pain entirely ceased, and the sore began to heal at the inner corner of the eye. The healing process went on rapidly until the eye socket was healed over, forming a skin as smooth as that on my cheek, and the redness is now gone.

"There is not over my eye even the semblance of a scar, and but a few scars remain on the temple. My sleep is now sweet, my appetite good, am more fleshy than before, my general health has never been better, and I think I have as few infirmities, and am as hale and hearty as any man of my age, which is now eighty years."

The New York Evening Post introduced the old gentleman's letter with this brief testimonial gathered by one of its correspondents:

Mr. Joel Reed, son-in-law of Mr. Truman Woodford, has a cousin residing in Great Barrington, Mass., the wife of a hotel-keeper, who had cancer in one breast, which became so serious that the whole gland was removed by a surgeon and the wound healed.

"About a year after the cancerous tumor broke out in the other breast and was beginning to be serious. Mr. Reed, seeing the good effects of the clover tea and wash on his father-in-law, Mr. Truman Woodford, wrote to his cousin informing her of the fact, and urging her to try the remedy. She adopted it at once, and in a few months was entirely healed, and at the time of receiving this information, which was a year or more afterwards, no reappearance of the tumor has occurred."

The sum and substance of everything presented conclusively points to just one thing: so long as red clover blossoms are available for making a tea, there should never be any reason why cancer victims need to go to medical doctors to have their bodies poisoned by chemotherapy drugs and/or to have their entire immune systems nuked into oblivion with lethal doses of cobalt radiation.

And in the event that the cancer is too well advanced for even this herb to do any good, then may I suggest that the individual make his or her peace with God and spend whatever time remains at home instead of the hospital. By doing so, one passes on with his or her dignity and respect intact, rather than enduring the horrible pain of barbaric medical practices. At least this way it is natural and more humane than the other.
*************************

There you have it, folks. BTW, that is Heinerman's thoughts, not my own. I don't give medical advice as I am not a doctor. However, I thought I should share this story with you all, because I consider it important information for readers to have. Much preferable, would be for all of you to buy this book, as it is full of anecdotes and stories like the above. If you get a used copy, it is very affordable, and it is a remarkable book. One of the best on herbs that I have found, not especially in depth, but definitely encyclopedic. Most herbs- for-diseases books are set up in chapters by the complaint or disease. This one is set up in chapters by the herb or spice, and is very easy to read. My apologies to Heinerman and his publishers for citing such a large portion of text, it is undoubtable more than fair use.

A bit more on red clover. This is from a Peterson's Field Guide, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke.

Red Clover
Trifolium pratense

Uses:

Historically, flower tea has been used as an antispasmodic, expectorant, mild sedative, "blood purifier"; for asthma, bronshitis, spasmodic coughs; externally, a wash has been used as a folk cancer remedy, including the famous Hoxsey treatment, and for athlete's foot, sores, burns, and ulcers. Flowers formerly smoked in anti-asthma cigarettes. Science has not confirmed traditional uses. However, Red Clover contains many biologically active compounds, including phytoestrogenic isoflavones, such as genistein, diadzen, formononetin, and biochaninA, among others. Phytoestrogens activate estrogen receptors in mammals. Epidemiological studies provide evidence that certain dietary components can have a significant effect on the incidence and location of cancers in humans. Standardized extracts of Red Clover, produced in Australia, are now sold in the US. One tablet contains 40 mg of phytoestrogens, 8 times the amount consumed in the typical American diet.

Onwards,
HM

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lentil and Barley Bake


This recipe is from Eating Better for Less, edited by Ray Wolf (and put out by Rodale), available from Amazon for $0.01 used! I wanted to make this dish for Fred, who has a broken elbow if you haven't been following the blog lately. It sounded interesting and very nutritious. Here's a couple of items from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook in the interlineal notes on the food value of lentils:

Since the beginning of civilization, the lowly lentil has nourished healthy peoples across a wide portion of the globe. Dr. Weston Price considered the lentil the most nutritious of all legumes, due to its high phosphorus content. Lentils are also rich in calcium, potassium, zinc and iron as well as vitamin B complex. Lentils have a high molybdenum content, a mineral that plays a role in protein assimilation, iron absorption, fat oxidation and normal cell function. They are low in phylates as well and thus need only be soaked a few hours rather than overnight.
. . . .

You would be interested to know that while you would have to eat 7 1/2 pounds of potatoes or 11 pounds of beets or 9 1/2 pounds of carrots to get the daily phosphorus requirement, all of which would provide too high a number of calories, you would obtain as much phosphorus from 1 pound of lentils. This would also provide the calcium.

So, dear readers, lentils are good for you. Here's the recipe:

Lentil and Barley Bake

1 cup lentils
6 Tablespoons barley
3.5 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced (I added 1 stalk celery diced as well)
1/2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf

Sauce: 3 Tablespoons molasses
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup reserved cooking liquid
1 clove garlic (I used 2)
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
(I also added 1 tsp tumeric)
1/2 tsp salt

Topping: 1 egg
6 tablespoons cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt

Wash lentils and barley in cold water and drain well. (If you were soaking, you'd wash and then soak the lentils and barley--I didn't soak them.) Combine lentils, barley, water, onion, carrots, salt and bayleaf in large saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer 45 minutes. Strain, reserving 1/3 cup of the liquid, and transfer cooked grain and vegetables to a casserole dish.

Prepare sauce by combining molasses, vinegar, reserved cooking liquid, garlic, dry mustard powder and salt. Pour over vegetables in the casserole. (I also added some roast venison we needed to use up since neither we nor Fred are vegetarians. And, because I have a bag of recently harvested chickweed, I added a handful of chopped chickweed too. I also skipped the topping.) Mix remaining ingredients for topping and spread over vegetables.

Bake in 350 degree oven until liquid is absorbed and topping browns lightly, about 20 minutes.
Yield: 4-6 servings

As you can tell, I have a hard time sticking to exact recipes. In fact, to me a recipe is simply an idea for a dish. I usually follow the main lines, but I don't hesitate to make additions or subtractions. Sometimes I will follow a complicated recipe exactly to be sure I get it right, but that's only the first time I make it. From then on, it's fair game to mess around with it. This is the joy and fun of cooking. Even when I've screwed up and have to compost the resulting mess of whatever it was that didn't turn out (a rare occasion :), I still manage to have fun in the kitchen. Everyone should!

The sauce makes this a very tasty dish which could easily feed a family of four. We'll have it a few times and so will Fred. YUM.

Enjoy, HM

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tidbit on Medicinal Value of Spices

From Eating Better for Less: A Guide to Managing Your Personal Food Supply
Edited by Ray Wolf

I borrowed this book from Fred today, and came across this paragraph in a section on Indian Cooking:

Spices are more than just a seasoning, and Sanskrit writings which are 3,000 years old stress the importance of spices for their preservative and medicinal value. Pepper and chilis were recommended for treating digestive ailments; ginger was thought to cure liver complaints and to counteract flatulence. Tumeric apparently was made into a paste and applied to skin to stop itching or to clear up skin diseases. Cardamom is served today in modern India at the end of a meal along with cloves and the betel nut and its leaf to freshen the breath and help with digestion. In the Sanskrit treatise, cardamom was described as a remedy for halitosis, nausea, headaches, fevers, colds, piles and eye diseases. Coriander was recommended for constipation, insomnia, and childbearing. Many of these ideas persist today, and ginger is still added to lentils or peas when they are cooked in order to counteract flatulence. Refrigerators even today are a rarity in India and the preservative function of spice is of obvious importance.

This is an excellent book--look for a review of it here shortly.

Now I gotta go finish up dinner: chicken and dumplings today, in a rich broth with lots of tasty vegetables. YUM.
HM

Herbs for Broken/Fractured Bones

About a month ago, our friend and neighbor Fred fell and hurt his arm and ribs while we were at the Amish farm. Fred is 80, and getting fragile. He's a health nut, so he eats well and takes (probably too many) supplements--but he IS healthy. He holds the same opinion of modern mainstream American medicine as we do (scary and nearly worthless when it comes to actual health, drug purveyors for Big Pharma, etc.) and has stayed away from doctors most of his life. He has an advanced case of rheumatoid arthritis which has nearly crippled his hands, but he is still in better shape than most 80 year olds.


We were just leaving the Amish farm and were out on the porch. We turned to watch an older Amish man back up a team of horses and a wagon. It's an interesting sight, watching how he got these huge draft horses to back up. Unfortunately, Fred didn't watch his step because of the distraction and he took a fall against the porch. Well, that time, he badly bruised his arm and his ribs hurt, but he thought he was OK. Home we went and I brought him over some comfrey tea and calendula salve for his arm.


Last Saturday, coming back from the Amish farm again, we stopped at the Fayetteville store (a little grocery/convenience store with a gas station) on our way home. Fred fell again, he tripped over a parking curb. This time he really smashed his arm and his hip. I dropped what I was carrying to grab him, hoping to stop his fall, but I missed and down he went. A couple of guys filling their trucks with gas came over to help. After checking him to see that he hadn't banged his head or broken his neck, we gently raised him to a sitting position, then stood him up. He thought he was badly bruised, but nothing broken, and he didn't want to go to the Emergency room. So home we went and I got him safely into his house and set him up for the rest of the afternoon. We buy eggs for lots of people from the Amish and Fred delivers them on Saturday afternoon. I offered to do it, but no, he wanted to. OK. And he did deliver them, thinking he was alright.


Turns out, though, that we had to take him to Emergency the next day. His leg was going out on him and he thought he might have broken his hip. At the Emergency room, they did Xrays and found that he hadn't broken his hip, but that his right elbow had a compound fracture with a fancy name I can't recall. Sigh. They would need to operate on it to fix the elbow.


This is terrible news to a guy with no health insurance and no extra cash lying around. I don't know how much the emergency room visit cost, but the orthopedic surgeon visit yesterday costs him 700+ dollars. And that's just for casting his arm. Decided not to operate (Fred doesn't have much use of that arm anyway with the RA), and cast it instead. And he must get a platform thing for his walker so he can lean his casted arm on the walker and take the weight off his hip, which might have a fracture in it. He will have the cast and have to use the walker for at least 6 weeks.


So, I've started doing what I can to help him out. I go over and make him breakfast and get him settled for the day. Ditto with dinner. I can do any of the cleaning and errand running that might need to be done. Other ladies here have already joined in cooking for him (I think the problem will be too much food, not too little!)


What herbs can be used for this? For broken bones? Well, the good news there are some very good herbs for this kind of thing. Horsetail is one of them. Here's what Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices has to say:

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.

He also recommends cactus, marshmallow, tumeric and wormwood. I don't have cactus or marshmallow on hand, but I do have tumeric and wormwood.

Tumeric

Tumeric has manifested remarkable anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting induced edema and subacute arthritis in rats and mice. These positive results are comparable to the same effects achieved by popular anti-inflammatory drugs like hydrocortisone acetate and phenylbutazone. Two half teaspoonfuls taken morning and evening in juice can help somewhat.

Additional relief may be obtained for this disease, contusions, sprains and fractures by mixing together 2 tbsp. tumeric with 1 tbsp. lime juice and just enough boiling water to make a nice, smooth, warm paste. This can then be applied directly to the area of swelling and pain, and then covered with some plastic food wrap to retain the heat and moisture longer. The consistency of the paste should be similar to that of creamy peanut butter so that it can be spread on the skin easily.

Hmmmm. Well, that won't work in this case, since his arm is now in a cast. However he can take the tumeric in juice and let it work that way. And I'll make a tincture of the wormwood with some vodka and he can use that as a pain-reliever when he runs out of the strong stuff the docs have him on now. Meanwhile, I'll see if anyone has some marshmallow. It grows around here, but this is the wrong time of year to go hunting it. I'll also make him some comfrey tea. Of course, I'll do a little more research to check for contraindications or drug/herb interactions, but I think these additions to his treatment with help his body with healing the broken bones and torn muscles.

As Fred says, getting older is a bitch. Well, better than the alternative in most cases, sez me. :)

Onwards,

HM