Homemade Herbals

Handmade Herbal Medicinals

Herbs

Coronavirus

The Coronavirus has brought us to a new place as a world, one where we can't touch each other or gather together, yet really feeling the fact that we are only as healthy as the person standing next to us. This gives us both a sense of isolation as well as a sense of responsibility and connection. It can bring anxiety and panic as well as resilience and kindness.
There are so many words of advice out there, I will throw my two pennies in, to reaffirm that we can use our past to help pull us up and eventually, out of this.
Our immediate ancestors have been through epidemics, not the same germs, or the same way, but there is age old wisdom, passed down through the wise women of each generation that teaches us how to support ourselves with what is around us. Let's dig deep, remember what our grandparents did, the foods they ate, the medicine they swore by, ask our families, and support ourselves and each other, in addition to the wisdom of our modern day medicine. In these coming weeks, there will be more cases and the health care systems will be overwhelmed.
The more self care we can do at home for ourselves, our families, and our community, the better off we will all be. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that onion or chicken soup, lemon balm and gargling with salt water will cure you, or maybe even stop you getting this virus. What I am saying is, In these coming weeks, there will be more cases and the health care systems will be overwhelmed. The more self care we can do at home for ourselves, our families, and our community, the better off we will all be, literally. This is a painful awakening of how we are all interconnected. We must wise up and help each other, as the only way through.
I don’t claim to have answers, but this is my semblance of a regime; (in addition to all the hand washing, surface cleaning and social distancing already recommended).
We take Vitamin D3, Liposomal Vitamin C and Zinc everyday. My kids take Elderberry syrup (Elderberries, Elderflowers, Thyme, Rose Petals, Orange, Peels, Milk Thistle, Cinnamon, Fenugreek, Rose Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Brown Sugar.)
I know there has been some controversy as to whether to take Elderberry because it can increase the cytokine storm that occurs with Covid 19, but as a preventative it is a great remedy. If symptoms of Covid 19 begin, stop taking the Elderberry.
I’ve been drinking lemon balm and mint tea with my kids, fresh from the garden. Lemon Balm is an antiviral and Mint keeps your pores open (diaphoretic) which allows your skin to become an elimination route for lymphatic load. The skin and your body’s temperature regulating mechanism is a key first line of defense for releasing the overload of pathogens (Matthew Wood). Keeping pores open and allowing sweating to occur can mean the difference between allowing the virus to pass or the stagnation of fluids into the lungs where it can become more serious.
I woke up with a sore throat, hurrah! I thought. Luckily, I have so many herbs and vitamins and remedies at home, and most of us can use what’s already in our kitchen or growing nearby to help us. First up, gargle with warm salt water. Salt kills the microbes on the back of your throat. You can also use warm salt water up your nose to clear the nasal passageways and then use a barrier oil such as a Herbal salve, with calendula (antimicrobial) and other herbs up each nostril. Take care to apply using separate fingers when dipping back into the salve.
Sage is a strong and potent antiseptic, antibacterial and astringent with a long use for sore throats. Sage often grows near us or in our gardens and may not have run out on the shelves of the market just yet! Other helpful herbs or foods are thyme, rosemary, ginger, marshmallow root, garlic, cayenne, propolis apple cider vinegar, onions, chicken soup, and hot lemon and honey.
For Coughs, use herbal steams, warm baths with epsom salts and lavender oil, skin brushing to increase circulation and open pores - use salt scrubs. Warm broths with onion and garlic, astragalus and medicinal mushrooms. Use diaphoretic herbs such as yarrow and peppermint to increase sweating. Use an aromatherapy diffuser in the rooms where you spend the most time. Put pots of boiling water on the stove and add aromatic herbs (eg Rosemary, thyme, lavender, pine etc.. ) allow it to steam up the windows. Use an onion poultice in cases of deep lung congestion and bronchial inflammation. It can bring relief to lungs when it hurts too much to cough. Thinly slice 3 large onions (organic if possible) and saute them, covered in a small amount of water until transparent. Fold half of the onions in a cloth and apply as hot as the patient can stand it (without burning them of course!)Immediately cover with towels so the heat is retained. Begin preparing next poultice. When first has cooled, replace with second immediately. Then when therapy is complete, dry the chest and tuck the patient in bed to rest. Make a garlic decoction... chop up 3 or 4 garlic cloves and simmer in water for 20 mins. The heat will relieve some of the sharp taste and be easier to digest. Take teaspoons by themselves or add honey, throughout the day.
Lots of different herbal actions can benefit and help coughs whether they are spasmodic, wet, or dry. Allow your body to use its own innate wisdom, follow the pathways of elimination so that the virus can be released from your body and not accumulate and stagnate and encourage the growth of bacteria.
Here are some remedies I have made recently - I have a lot of some, a few of others, but I want to make it available to people if they are interested.
FEVER REDUCER- Ingredients: Old Gypsy Cold Care and Fever reducer.. Elderflowers, Yarrow and Peppermint, alcohol. Has cooling and Diaphoretic properties - which means it opens the pores and allows you to sweat, thereby cooling temperatures from the inside out. Safe for kids, but very Minty! Will need diluting - add a dropperful to a large glass of water and sip continuously.
2 oz Bottles -20$
COUGH SYRUP;
Ingredients: fennel seeds, marshmallow, licorice, slippery elm, burdock, plantain, red clover, elecampane, lobelia, schisandra, honey, brandy.
This is sweet and yummy and great for soothing and resolving dry coughs. Do not use for wet coughs.
1 oz Bottle -10$ 2 oz Bottle - 20$
Dose: 1-2 Dropperfuls 3 or 4 times daily.
IMMUNE FORMULA - useful for supporting our immune systems, lymph, lungs, blood and adrenals.
Ingredients: Burdock, Yarrow, Olive leaf, Rhodiola, Yerba Mansa, Lemon Balm, Elecampane, Red root, Licorice, Marshmallow, Turmeric, Reishi, Lobelia.
ACUTE FORMULA FOR ONSET OF SYMPTOMS: mullein, chinese skullcap, Seishi, american ginseng, licorice, ginger, turmeric.
TEA FOR CHILLS AND PAIN, COUGHS AND FEVER - Boneset, Jamaican Dogwood and Fennel
I also have a bundle of other cough syrups and immune tonics, Boneset tea and can make up custom herbs. Talk to me if you cannot afford these prices and I will see how we can make a plan for you. If you can afford more, please consider offering more so that I can make more medicines or pass them out to people in need. Thank you and Be Well
My number is 510-478-5776 [email protected]
Here is a link to the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to the Coronavirus - it has been employed in China and Hong Kong and had a noticeable effect on lessening the chance for pneumonia and secondary infection by giving the pathogen an elimination pathway. https://www.acuhealcenter.com/…/coronavirus-treatment-acco…/
Here is Stephen Buhner’s protocol for Sars virus which is very similar and also a coronavirus - Written by Stephen Harrod Buhner January 23, 2020 - Used by permission
"Corona virus treatment. I have an analysis of how corona viruses infect tissues, what tissues they infect, and the herbs that are useful to interrupt that process, as well as the herbs useful to shut down the cytokine cascade they create on pages 52-55 of Herbal Antivirals. It is useful reading in that it can inform treatment from a knowledgeable place (there are also some suggestions, not often used by medical professionals, for specific pharmaceuticals that have been found to be useful). Here is a sample protocol.
Please note it is rather more extensive than the ones i normally suggest, this is because the particular corona virus that is now spreading world wide is exceptionally potent in its impacts. Again, this is only a suggested protocol, but all the herbs are specific in one way or another for this virus. A number of the herbs are strongly antiviral for corona viruses. In general, I would only begin using these formulations IF there is good reason to believe that the virus is entering your area. The formulations are preventative as well as specific for acute infections, the only alteration is the dosage.
Core tincture formulation (#1): Baikal skullcap, japanese knotweed root, kudzu, licorice, elderberry. Dosage: 1 tsp 3x day, 6x if active infection.
Immune system, cellular protection, cytokine interruption tincture formulation, supportive for core tincture activity (#2): Cordyceps, Dong Quai, rhodiola, astragalus. Dosage: same as above.
Cellular proten, spleen/lymph support tincture formulation (#3): Dan Shen, red root, cinnamon. Dosage as above.
With active infection: very strong boneset tea, to 6x day.
I have used this with other corona virus infections, including SARS, it works well."
If you are partial to a bit of homeopathy here are some old remedies that were used in the Spanish flu of 1918.
If you should have chilly spells, and your nose feels stuffed up, great thirst, very restless and feverish, put five drops Tincture Aconite in half a glass of water, take one teaspoonful every hour. Put your feet in hot water, as hot as you can bear it, keep them in the water for 15 minutes. Drink plenty of hot lemonade.
Gelsemium 3x: Controlled the fatigue cases having chilliness, moderate fever, sneezing, watery nasal discharge. No thirst. Yawning. Drowsy but often sleepless. Deep-seated, dull aching in the limbs and joints. Banded feeling around head or occiput fullness.
Eupatorium 3x: Marked chill followed by fever 103° to 105° F/39° to 41° C. Pulsating frontal or occipital headache. Intense aching in back. Deep bone aching. Nausea. Vomiting. Larynx rough, scraping sensation producing cough. Oppression of chest with soreness.
Bryonia 1x: Much chilliness, frequently with heat in head. Flushed face and much thirst. Heat more internal. Transient sweats of single parts. Dry cough which yields to blood specked expectoration. Constriction of chest and pressure on sternum. The symptoms all aggravated by motion… Desire to but unable to take deep breath.


Spring road trip

point lobos 1

Point Lobos along the California Coast in Monterey. Stunning landscape of rocks and fresh, clear blue waters and lagoons where mermaids surely play and lure men to their doom Happy Whales migrating and seals barking. Family time away from school and routine and busy living into relax, nature-filled senses and appreciation and love for each other and where we live.
Ocean spray splashing away any cobwebs left over from winter and ushering the fresh negative ion filled rush of life into blood and veins.


point lobos 4

Trident and symbol of Venus made out of seaweed.

trident

Waves crashing against the rocks where we stood gazing for Whales and breathing in the fresh salty air.

point lobos 3

My Girl grinding up rocks and mussel shells to make rock paint.

rock grinding

My 7 Month old baby had Whooping Cough and this is what I did

Whooping cough in small baby=no fun!
sundew

Whooping cough is a contagious infection of the respiratory system caused by the Bordetella Pertussis bacteria.
The symptoms follow three phases of manifestation;

Phase 1 ~ Symptoms are similar to a common cold, and include runny nose, sneezing, possible low grade fever and mild cough.

Phase 2 ~ Paroxysms, which are coughing fits that often end in characteristic whooping sound, and difficulty in catching breath, often causing choking/retching or vomiting. The coughing is often worse at night and can cause exhaustion and susceptibility to secondary infections. This phase often lasts 1-6 weeks. Note that babies often do NOT make the whooping sound.

Phase 3 ~ Rest and recovery, the cough lasting a further 2-3 weeks on average. Whooping cough was known as the 100 day cough in China.

This is my regimen of remedies so far;

Beginning stages are like a cold and cough and for Rosie manifested as RSV and bronchiolitis.
She was very congested and mucous was thick and wet. Plus ear infections, with no fever.
I used Garlic mullein oil in each ear, hot compresses and massage along the Eustachian tubes.
I gave her steam room inhalations several times a day/night as needed which loosens the phlegm and makes breathing easier. Nasal saline and suction, which helped a LOT to clear what she couldn't clear on her own. For this the Nose Frida worked better than any other suction bulb.
Homeopathic Kali Bich for thick stringy yellow mucus.
Chicken soup bone broth with tumeric and cumin, coriander.
Albuterol when the wheezing got bad and made her lungs crackle at night, and she found it hard to breathe.
Sleeping upright on a raised cushion (boppy pillow).
Drop doses of Wild Cherry Bark, Marshmallow root and Elecampane. In hot water.

As the pattern changed and the wheezing stopped and cough became more dry and painful and spasmodic, we have switched to 1m homeopathic Drosea which is great and effective so far in lessening amount of spasms and helping to bring up the mucus from her lungs where the cilia have been eroded. This is what the toxin released from the Bordetella Pertussis bacteria does.. It erodes the Cilia (tiny hairs) which help to bring up mucus from the lungs effectively. Thus the coughing to prevent pools in bottom of lungs. Appetizing I know!
Drosera is effective when coughing fits are mainly at night and end in gagging and vomiting.
She was also given 200c of Oreodaphne by her homeopath.
We are giving her Lobelia drop doses and Grindelia. Tea with Red Clover (good specific for whooping cough) Plantain for soothing mucus membranes, Oatstraw and Nettle and Alfalfa for minerals and energy and thyme for anti microbial aromatic support.
Time will tell - but I am so thankful for plants and their wise healing gifts. I seek their refuge and help where the medical world has told me nothing can help!
I am grateful also to the advice given, particularly Darcey Blue and Benjamin Zappin from Five Flavor Herbs.
Chrisitine Ciavarella for her unparalleled excellence and continual homeopathic and medical support in my children’s lives.

Time did tell, and it was the Drosera which had the most noticeable and dramatic healing effect. After 2 doses she coughed up a big pool of mucous and it was a particularly horrible moment of coughing. After that, she slept better and coughed less. The next night we did it again, and she coughed much less - the difference between every hour on the hour having paroxysms to once or twice a night, much milder and not ending in choking or vomiting.
It is now a couple of weeks later and my baby girl has continued to improve and sustain good health.
I know that each person is different and make no claims that this regimen will work for and cure everyone but it is what worked for me and Rosie and there are helpful suggestions for what can be done to alleviate the symptoms of pertussis with homeopathy and herbs.
Please always check in with a doctor AND herbalist/homeopath who you trust, especially when dealing with young babies.
Be supported and be smart. Hours of waking at night consistently can be really hard on the parents.

Here are some useful links to articles about Whooping Cough and alternative treatments.

http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/09/07/vitamin-c-for-whooping-cough-updated-edition-suzanne-humphries-md/

http://holisticsquid.com/was-the-whooping-cough-epidemics-caused-by-unvaccinated-kids/
http://twincitiesmidwifery.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/pertussis-herbal-remedies-by-aviva-romm/
http://avivaromm.com/whooping-cough-in-the-thick-of-it

Elderberry syrup recipe

Elderberry Syrup
2 cups dried elderberries
1 quart boiling water
¼ cup raw local honey
¼ cup lemon juice
Cinnamon stick
Cardamon seed pods
Cloves
Fresh Ginger

Place berries in an uncovered saucepan and pour boiling water over them. Cover and let soak overnight. The next day, simmer the berries for 30 minutes. Purée the warm berries in a blender, adding remaining ingredients as you blend. Pour the syrup into a clean bottle, and store it in the refrigerator.

Migraines are psychedelic

key hole garden whiterabbit

Migraines are psychedelic.

No doubt about it.

There’s a definite pattern of aura, peak, plateau and come down.
The aura can be zigzagging in the air, blind spots in vision, sensitivity to lights, sounds, smell, touch, temperature, sentience in general. Nausea, crankiness, aching joints, tight muscles, noticing your body’s uncomfortability in a heightened way. Sometimes the prodrome and aura can last for a few days, and this is the prime time to take ‘preventative’ measures, or nip it in the bud.

There is not always rhyme or reason, at least that I can identify, to when, where and why a migraine will strike. Chocolate, caffeine, sugar, stress, definitely hormones, tiredness, heck, life in general.. these are all triggers. It is its own world and domain, and once I’m in it, I have to play by its rules.
Yet some things, I am learning, do help.

This is my semblance of a regime:

When I get an aura, I take Magnesium internally and externally as Epsom salts in the bath, often with lavender and rosemary essential oils.
Lately I have been experimenting with Agrimony, Meadowsweet, Skullcap and Wood Betony tea.. Sometimes I add Blessed Thistle, sometimes Iris root and Dandelion. These herbs help when the migraine seems more abdominal, the nausea is strong and I feel like I’ve flipped 180 degrees in my body and I can’t quite find my centre. Although truly, at all times, digestion is impaired during migraines. For me it can follow a liver/gallbladder meridian, although not always.
I have taken Bupleurum and a Chinese herbal formula called Peaceful Earth to settle my stomach and calm my liver.
I take probiotics. And Omega 3.
I’ve taken homeopathic Gold, Nux Vomica, Belladonna, Sepia, Pulsatilla with much success if I take them early enough and I have taken many other homeopathic remedies, too numerous to mention.
When my muscles are tight and sore I take Black Cohosh and Vervain. Mostly I take Advil at this point too, to prevent a full scale attack.
For those of you who have ever suffered from migraines - need I say more…

My ability to think straight, or even at all is wounded during the full blast and plateau of at least 12-24 hours of a migraine.
However, psychic and dream space are opened up and a land of pretty pain emerges that reaches to the depths of my brain and brings out its hidden stories.
Talking to others is almost unbearable as I struggle to convey where I am in words at all. Yet at the same time, I want an understanding presence, sympathy and to be cared for and left alone to journey through. Psychedelic. Just like tripping.
And if I do communicate, often it is in the garbled, jumbled way of the catatonic. Wherein only I understand what I am referring to and often, singularly, find it hilarious. Often I weep with the unbearable quality of the pain.
Meanwhile, my baby sits and sleeps alongside me, like a faithful angel who understands my space.

After many sleeps, which is truly the only thing that helps, and many hours, the end is near. And it feels like a break in a very long, strong storm.
The clouds part and I see blue.
Then hot baths, so hot they warm my shivers and the heat pounds on to my head. Warm chicken soup, something about them birds that help my head. A thanks and a prayer to them.. Cascades of water, fresh and refreshing.
The next few days are like tripping too. Still so new and raw and sensitive and still integrating. Keep careful with that new body and new awareness of yours. Keep the balance, don’t do too much, don’t forget what you’ve learned. It takes the best part of a week to overcome the effects.
It amazes me that so many of us live with this insane pain. It’s so disturbingly unpleasant.
Time for another psychedelic sleep, me thinks, this one ain’t over yet.

A few remedies for Migraines;

Magnesium ~ studies show that migraine sufferers are often low in magnesium. Magnesium relaxes muscles and eases tension, which often goes hand in hand with migraines and tension headaches. Magnesium can be found in leafy greens, nuts, cacao, tea, coffee and spices.

Co-enzyme Q10 - involved in the creation of ATP the energy source of cells, as well as an antioxidant. Studies show that use of co-enzyme Q10 as a daily supplement for 4-12 weeks greatly reduced the severity and occurrence of migraines in sufferers. CoQ10 can be found in oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) and organ meats such as liver but supplementation is beneficial where needed.

Riboflavin (B2) - Helps convert food to energy. Found in legumes, lean meat, green leafy veg, nuts and dairy products. Reduced occurrence and severity of migraines showed in study groups over 3 months of trial.

Butterbur (petasites hybrids) -a perennial shrub found throughout Europe, North America and Asia. It grows in wet, damp forests and marshes, close to streams and rivers. Its name comes from its leaves being used to wrap butter in a warm climate. Studies show that use over several months reduces the severity, duration and occurrence of migraines.

Food allergies or reactions - these are varied among sufferers, although common culprits include caffeine, chocolate, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, peppers), greasy, fried foods, sugar, citrus, soy, peanuts, yeast, corn, dairy, red wine, - all the good stuff in life, you know?! Yet a good deal of these foods contain tyramine which can be a trigger for some migraine sufferers. Cutting these out for a few months is definitely wise, and gives your body a chance to reset and calm down from the inflammatory response of pain and high alert. Slowly introducing foods one at a time over two weeks can give you clarity over what foods effect you and what do not.
For some, foods are not an aggravation at all and many crave certain flavors, such as salt.

Adding Omega 3’s into your diet will also aid in calming down the inflammatory response which food allergies can bring, as well as adding good fats to your diet, enhancing immunity and aiding brain function.

Probiotics can help remedy the irritation and dysbiosis of your gut, and help settle nausea and abdominal migraine symptoms. Ginger, Tumeric, Cumin and Fennel tea also settle the stomach and help with nausea. Add Red Raspberry leaf, Nettles, Alfalfa, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Wood betony, Meadowsweet and Oatstraw. Including other relaxing herbs such as Passionflower, Vervain can be helpful too, more effective if some or all of these are just your daily brew giving minerals and vitamins and chlorophyll and calm.

Other herbs can be used internally for pain, such as White Willow bark, Skullcap, Black Cohosh, Jamaican Dogwood, Pedicularis. Or externally as an analgesic rub - tiger balm or similar products.
My friend swears by using an ice pack on the head and sticking her feet into as hot water as she can handle.
Bringing the energy down to the feet.

Hot baths with Epsom Salts (Magnesium) and added essential oils such as Rose, Rosemary, Lavender, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Cedar, or anything you find pleasing and not nauseating! This is great for relaxing tense muscles and slowing down and breathing deeply. This could be followed with an ice pack to the head, neck and shoulders. One theory is that migraines are caused by dilated blood vessels in the head and manifest as a pulsating, throbbing pain, most often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.


“The biggest myth is that migraine is a type of headache. This is wrong.
Migraine is a complex neurological disease that affects your central nervous system. Headache is one of its symptoms, but migraine almost never consists of head pain alone. There are many other possible symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, hunger pangs, and slurred speech....
Migraine is caused by abnormal brain chemistry. Migraine is not something you’ve caused. It is not an emotional response to problems in your life, or some unconscious effort to get sick so that you can take a break from your daily challenges. Migraine is a genetic difference, in most cases inherited from one or both of your parents.... It is a chronic neurological illness you were born with. You can’t cure it, but you can minimize its effects on your life.”

The Migraine Brain by Caroline Bernstein M.D



Other theories of what causes migraines are discussed in this article;
http://drgominak.com/more-on-migraines.html

Here is a link to some helpful acupuncture points and principles that often show up in migraine.
http://tamacupuncture.com/acupuncture-and-natural-therapies-for-migraines

Here is some interesting information on how migraine affects the limbic system and how to help healing begin
http://www.primaryissues.org/home/2013/07/limbic-healing/

a cuppa tea


cup-of-tea-1
There are some things in life I just love..
One of these things, as i sit here and muse and write, is having a cuppa tea (in this case hot sweet black yorkshire tea with a few cloves thrown in) and biscuits. (read; cookies, if you’re american!)
I love dunking them in (in this case, gluten free ginger biscuits) and tasting the crumbly moist sweet warmth in my mouth no matter how much sugar is there!
I muse on..
Since I arrived in America 7 years ago, I have gone from a booze loving, smoking, toking, wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine drinking, thinking myself healthy, relatively happy consumer to being plagued by all manner of health complaints and radically changing notions of health and what’s good for you.
These days, I have migraines and severe stomach aches from eating wheat. Caffeine and chocolate seem to be triggers. I have tried cutting out tomatoes, corn, soy, chocolate, sugar, and grains to the point of suspicion of a plate of food. My baby spews up and gets cramps if I eat cow dairy.
I no longer drink caffeine, alcohol, smoke or toke or have fun with natures substances.
Some may say it is detoxing, some may say it is grains.
The point is.. everyone has a different opinion and ultimately, things change and completely seem to ignore the very real relation of food to mood and vise versa.
Has cutting out these foods made me happier and healthier? Yes, to some degree, no, in other ways. I am more conscious perhaps as well as more picky. I make many more meals at home, but find it harder to eat out at friends or at restaurants, which can amount to an awkward social food factor or the inevitable migraine if I lapse.
I have no doubt that my changing body ~ new environment, two babies and entirely new set of cells later, have in part made my reaction to certain delicacies so strong. I have read and heard about Paleo, Gluten and Grain Free, Lactose intolerance and Gut Dysbiosis and worried about whether my diet and my children’s is a leading cause of their/my dysfunctions.. All in all, I swing between clarity and confusion and I’m sure many of you can relate.
No doubt about it, this nation is health obsessed, for better or for worse. And it better be, with the amount of money people need to ‘fork’ out if they find themselves in need of care. Health care can literally cost ‘an arm and a leg’ and it is fabulous that more and more of us have access to ways of self healing, through diet, exercise, acupuncture, naturopathy, herbs and homeopathy and the myriad health modalities out there.
We are fortunate to be blessed with the quality and quantity of food and all its related allergens (!)
And yet, I look at people, my past self included, who do not have access to this knowledge and choice and see a more relaxed enjoyment of what’s on their plate. Less constant weighing up of contents and consequences.
A little voice pipes up at the back of my mind.. It belongs to a ninety year old lady called Beatty who had Tourettes syndrome in the Nursing home i used to work in, she once bit my head but thats another story… She always said about food, “If you like it, dear, then its good for you.”
I hear screaming at the unscientific basis of this old lady’s comment.. but, as it goes, when it all boils down to it there is something to be said for Beatty’s point of view.. at least in terms of enjoyment.. if you are what you eat, then make it a treat!

an 'erbal ramble

Plants are inseparable from our lives, whether as food, medicine, shelter, or toilet paper... from tea and coffee, to wheat, wine and coca.. medicines used or abused, it all comes from plants.. as one of you said, much of our pharmaceutical basis is from plants, although not the whole plant but an extract of a chemical constituent, or part that works entirely differently when separated from the whole plant.
Thank God for medicine, in all forms... whether allopathic or naturopathic. If it is there and you need it, you will not be arguing ideals.. However, it seems to me that we can and need to learn a lot from both sides working together and one of the main problems of allopathic western medicine is that it fails to alter the main ingredient of lifestyle and diet and thinking... we are what we eat.. and even though it may serve us in the short term to take a pill that cuts the headache, lessens the pain, ultimately we do not deal with the root of the problem and why this is occuring in the first place.. and it probably will recur as long as we ignore and cover up the problem with a band aid and transfer our own capacity for healing in to the hands of doctors and pharmaceutical companies that honestly do not wish to see you take matters into your own hands and know how to heal yourself.
This is what Chinese medicine effectively does.. it addresses the body's imbalances and knows how to rebalance them so that the whole body is strengthened and nourished. As well as herbal medicine... yes it is potent.. a touch too much aconite and your heart stops beating.. and the dose is low... but a very effective pain killer when the dose is right... and it is all about dosage!
that goes for all foods and medicines..
It seems that what a ban on herbal medicine would truly prevent is the ability for us to learn, experiment and share knowledge with others, for ourselves, and take healing as an everyday birth and body right in to our own hands.. we do not need to be parented by the government and pharmaceutical industry on that, rather by educators, teachers, herbalists, medicine women and those who know, embody and can share their craft.

1553498_10151935195543297_149936677_o

Aloe vera harvesting

Walking home today I passed by a large amount of felled Aloe Vera out on the pavement for people to take - there was so much of it, that along with sleeping child and several bags, I could only take a small carrier bags worth of the juicy stalks and leaves...
I was left grateful and wondering... how am I going to process this? I have never done that before, except once actually, now I come to think of it in a salve experiment that eventually went rancid... too much water content..
Usually I break off a small leaf and use it as I need it, I have never had to deal with so much before it goes to waste!
So the discovery begins...
This is definitely an abundant widely available plant that is very useful for external use - especially for burns and sunburns, to soothe rashes and skin irritations as well as insect bites and stings, as a moisturizer and treat acne and spots, prevent wrinkles and stretch marks, soothe eczema and psoriasis, shrink warts .... And this is just for the external uses.. (for internal uses find a good organic source).

What I have learned is that you want the oldest, more potent leaves near the bottom of the plant and stand them in a container for 10 or so minutes to allow some of the juice to drain out naturally.

Then lie the leaf down on a cutting board and slice off the ends and serrated edges.
Cut into vertical halves and use a spoon to lightly but firmly scoop out the mucilage and gel.
Blend it and add Vitamin E to preserve it a bit longer and place it in a dark glass jar in the fridge.

Here goes...

Comfrey harvesting and making oil.

Comfrey is abundant.. Happy

I was walking through the community gardens in People’s Park, where folks have dug the earth and planted their own crops, and against all odds, it survives many years later...

When I first got to Berkeley, I was seeking gardens, herbs and community and found all three things up for grabs at People’ Park.. Anyone can come and tend the gardens there so I helped for a little while with a small herb plot that beheld such beauties as Mugwort, Comfrey, Vitex, Valerian, Borage, Pineapple Sage, St John’s Wort and even a small Pomegranate Tree.. In short, a lil slice of heaven.

I don’t tend that plot there anymore but I do go and harvest some of the herbs in small amounts when I need them, and in particular abundance there, is Comfrey.

It is never just a quiet moment there, harvesting herbs and then leaving.. it feels as though you always meet someone on that little corridor between the plants and today was no exception. Everyone is interested in what you’re up to, what the plants are used for and often the lessons go both ways and you get information you never knew about the plant, how best to harvest it, which is what I learned today.. I like that a lot, it makes for friendly medicineHappy
It’s has the under-stirrings of a mini plant information highway which gets it’s mileage out of people talking and exchanging information that widens consciousness of the small medicinal miracle that is embedded in that plot of land..

So, thanks to a joint effort with a new found friend, a small bundle of freshly harvested Comfrey was taken home to wilt in the sun for a few hours, chopped up and placed in a widemouth jar, and filled to the top with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
It has been stirred to release air bubbles and placed in my cupboard for a good 6-8 weeks until well and juicy and ready for useHappy

This is a really easy way to home-make an oil as a base for salves or use on it’s own for treating cuts, wounds, scrapes, insect bites, bruises and all manner of general wound healing.. Comfrey contains a cell proliferant, which means it encourages a speedy renewal of cells where there has been a wound. For this reason it is important to clean the wound area thoroughly before applying Comfrey, to avoid the dirt being trapped under a new layer of skin cells, and should not be used on deep cuts or open wounds.