Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Herbal Extracts

Recently I found a fascinating book called Herbal Extracts: Build Better Health with Liquid Herbs (Supplement to the Copyrighted Work) by Dr. A. B. Howard. I want to share a few excerpts with you.

The first is from the introduction:

The work addresses a host of physical problems from the standpoint of what to use and how to fix them. This is a practitioner's book about how to use herbs to get the body healthy and strong and keep it that way. The word herb is used here with a meaning of: a plant food substance that helps you more than it hurts you when you eat it. You may not find many familiar plants that you regularly eat for food in this work, but then some problems you have require some very special herb foods that you can make part of your regular diet. After all, what gets you well, usually keeps you well. It might not normally occur to you to eat a purple sea vegetable called Dulse for breakfast. But if you do, your hands and feet and the tip of the nose may warm up. The choice of herb or herbs that are given here to correct problems, focuses on the real cause of a problem. In the case just mentioned, this is a gland in the neck, known as the thyroid, that needs some decent nourishment to "set your thermostat on warm and comfortable" by increasing the rate at which your body burns food. 
Herbal Extracts has a list of human ailments and then a list of herbs for the treatment of those ailments. I've been reading in it, and learning a lot of very useful information. Whoever Dr. A. B. Howard is, he or she certainly knows her stuff! The doctor writes with an eye for cure, not just treatment.

Here's another bit from the introduction:
Stop eating "junk food." We cut too many corners in this country in food production, even when we know it is wrong in terms of how it affects health. Is your cheese not yellow enough? No problem, inject it with Yellow #5 dye. Want volumes of rich-looking, long-lasting and unnatural foam on your beverage? No problem, here is a chemical compound that will make it foam like a fire extinguisher and make the foam last for 2 days in the glass after the beverage is gone. And, while we are at it, here are literally 56 other chemicals to alter your beverage in other ways to save money or time or both. Don't want to grow or pick lemons or squeeze the juice? What something that tastes like a lemon, smells like a lemon, has a lemon color and is real sweet and has never seen a lemon? No problem. We have a chemistry set and we will give you some delicious, convenient to use chemicals instead, and who your child's favorite cartoon characters laughing and drinking it and telling your child to drink it too. It tastes just like real lemonade, boys and girls! Never mind what happens to your children's blood stream with the stuff in it, or if they get sick on it. You get the idea?
And the good doctor is exactly right, in my opinion. Eating and drinking chemicals is simply NOT GOOD for human beings or animals. Chemicals make us fat, sick and worn out before middle-age. It takes work to avoid the chemicals so deeply embedded in food production in America. It's a wonder when you find a can of a simple vegetable that simply lists "pumpkin" in the ingredient list. Just pumpkin, that's it.

In my view, this is why most everyone in this country is so sick. We eat pills instead of food, drink Lord-knows-what in our beverages (as in flame retardant chemicals in soft drinks) and then wonder why cancer, obesity and high blood pressure are epidemics. And of course, the "treatment" for these ills consists of more pills and chemicals, thanks to the FDA and most allopathic medicine.

To regain and hold on to health, eating real God-made nutritious food is essential. Drink water or herb teas instead of flame-retardant soft drinks. I'll be sure to share some of the doctor's prescriptions from this book with the blog. Ok, I'll share one more now. This is for one of the Doc's combination of herbs, plants and other foodstuffs that provides a complete vitamin combination in a whole food form that the body recognizes right away as useful nutrition.

Is an all vegetable source, liquid multi-vitamin supplement. Vita-Lixir contains no artificial flavorings or synthetic vitamins. Vita-Lixir is produced from foods in liquid form without heat. In this form, it is available to the cells of the body for immediate and easy absorption. This provides a distinct advantage over a tablet or capsule. Vita-Lixir does not need to work its way through 25 feet of digestive tract in large quantities, and maybe get digested so it can be absorbed. Vita-Lixir can even be applied externally for absorption, as on the soles of the feet or under the ribs for babies or those who can't or won't swallow. The rationale of Vita-Lixir is to take our vitamins from foods, as we should, if we were able to eat a proper diet and digest it properly. Therefore, we use those selected foods most appropriate as a source to provide a rich, natural supply of specific vitamins. Organically grown Carrot Roots and Dandelion Leaves give us a non-harmful, rich supply of Vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes. Dandelion Leaves also provide a gentle and highly effective vegetable iron for energy and healthy blood. We use Rice Bran (the exterior covering of rice grains before they are turned into "lifeless" white rice) for the properly balanced ratio and entire complex of B vitamins for steady nerves and normal, healthy cell division. Vita-Lixir is especially helpful for babies and people who do not chew each bite 32 times and do not have whole grains in their diet. The Wild Rose Hip (a rounded structure or "protective cradle" under the petals of a wild rose which contains the baby roses known as "seeds") supplies a complete source of Vitamin C complex and all its naturally associated substances. This type of Vitamin C, just as it works to protect the seeds or "babies" for the next generation, can and does raise our immunity levels, promotes longevity, acts as a poison antidote, antibiotic and strengthens all connective tissues in the body. Raw Sunflower Seeds provide a non-harmful Vitamin D for strong, healthy bones and joints. The Vitamin E spectrum of vitamins is derived from fresh, raw Wheat Germ (the part of the wheat which sprouts and is alive). The Vitamin E complex of vitamins makes sure the oxygen which circulates through the body is more efficient, and provides for proper oxygenation of cells and tissues. This Vitamin E complex of vitamins also devours poisons known as free radicals. Dandelion leaves contribute Vitamin K for proper blood clotting properties and hemorrage prevention. Liquid Bee Pollen, which contains all the elements of new life, is included for quality protein lift. The herb Gentian supports the organs of digestion as a digestaid. For those of us who have always wanted an all vegetable, full spectrum source Multi-Vitamin liquid, Vita-Lixir answers this desire. Please note, when dealing with natural vitamins (those produced by Nature and not in a chemistry laboratory), what is desired is their dependable activity and effectiveness, not how many grams or milligrams of vitamins they contain. The activity level of vitamins from Nature whould not be confused with the manmade or coal tar source "high potency" type vitamins which are needed in large quantity to get any type of affect.
Combination: Dandelion Leaves, Organic Carrot Roots, Rice Bran, Wild Rose Hips, Raw Sunflower seeds, Raw Wheat Germ, Gentian, Bee Pollen

End excerpt. Hmmmmmm. That sounds great to me. I'll have to try my hand at combining these items and see what kind of extract I get. Most of the herbal extracts described in this book are the basic alcohol extracts. It should be relatively easy to either combine all of the above, add enough vodka to cover, then let the extracting process work for a few weeks. I'll give it a shot and let you'all know how it turns out...

By the way, by "carrot roots" I think the doctor means simple carrots, as carrots are roots.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bromelain in Pineapple a Cure for Cancer?

Wow! I know it is Christmas and all (Merry Christmas!) but when you get the time, check out this article at Activist Post, entitled Research: Pineapple Enzyme Superior to Chemotherapy in Treating Cancer. It's incredibly good news. I hope and pray that sometime comes of this research.

Unfortunately, I'm cynical about allopaths adopting something relatively simple and inexpensive, even if the FDA allowed it, but then it IS Christmas, and I'll be hopeful instead. All is in God's hands and I can rest easy in that.

Blessings to everyone this and every day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nettles for Medicine and Nutrition

Lately, I've been daydreaming about nettle gathering come spring. It's only late December and much too early for tasty, slightly bitter but oh-so-good-for-you spring greens such as stinging nettles or wood nettles. The pix above shows a young wood nettle, which grows in shady areas near flowing water.

If you're thinking of getting into wild food foraging this year, try to familiarize yourself with the nettle plant before spring hits. Get a good foraging book, one with color photographs and read up on stinging nettles, which is the usual variety of nettle described. Around here, I mostly find wood nettles, but since their nutritional and medicinal profile is the same, I harvest them and am grateful to find them in such abundance. I wrote about nettles once before...

Early in the spring, young nettles make excellent eating in any number of preparations. Saute or boil them for a few minutes, top with olive oil or butter, a touch of salt and you'll have one delicious and nutritious dinner. Or make a soup with onions, garlic and nettles. Add some to scrambled eggs...ah, the list is endless.

Harvest young nettles when they are four to eight inches tall. If they get much taller than that, they'll be a bit tough. Still tasty, still nutritional, but a bit tougher. Even so, I've harvested nettle at about a foot tall and they still tasted great to me. The trick is to find them when they're young and freshly popped out of the ground. Around here, that's early spring, in late April or so. Then later, I harvest nettles throughout the summer, but these I'll dry for use as a wonderful medicinal tea or as an extract.

Nettles are the green of chlorophyll, which naturally they contain, as well as iron, calcium, silicon, sulphur, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Rich in vitamins too: A, C, D, E and K and a few of the B vits as well. Nettles also have trace elements or more of zinc, cobalt and copper. I think nettles are so healing because of these vital nutrients. If you've read much of this blog, you've read how our food today has lost much of its nutritional value due to industrial agriculture and overall processing. One fine way to counter that is to eat wild foods like nettles (and lambsquarters, purslane, red clover....).

I found a couple of very informational articles about nettles. One is from Ingri Cassel, from a few years ago. Europeans down through the centuries have employed nettles in a variety of medicinal uses and treatments. Its a terrific article.

The other is from the University of Maryland Medical Center, which for some reason has lots of good herbal information. As you'll see from these articles, nettles can be used for many different ailments in a variety of forms (extract, tea, capsules and so on).

I mostly use nettles for a wonderful spring tonic--either as greens or simmered in a broth with other young spring greens (dandelions, clover leaves, wintercress, garlic mustard, plantain). I usually make two nettle extracts--one of the leaves and stems, one of the roots. And of course, I dry lots of the leaves for use as tea throughout the year. Whenever I'm feeling a bit under the weather, nettle tea is one of the first things I turn to.

It is definitely worth your while to learn to identify and harvest nettles. They grow worldwide, where ever rich soils are found. Both stinging nettles and wood nettles can sting, so wear gloves when harvesting. Once cooked or dried, they no longer sting. Nettles make a great fodder for animals as well. Once cut and dried a bit, nettles can be fed to horses or cattle, especially if they need a nutritional boost themselves.

During these months of winter (while I'm daydreaming longingly about these plants...), I'll describe as many as I can. I hope this will spur some of you to start foraging and boosting your family's nutrition. Foraging free, wild plants is an ancient skill--but one we should learn again.