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Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8th WHMonth KITCHEN HERBOLOGY: FENNEL

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.


I hope you enjoyed the first week of Women's History Month "Healers Remedies" 
and have made some of  them a part of your home medicine bag. 
Starting this week we will be focusing on 'Kitchen Herbology' 
featuring healing foods and spices from the kitchen. 

Feel free to share the wealth of knowledge with your family and friends ~ and to post comments on your personal experiences with the herbs, foods and
 remedies ~ so we all can expand the tools in our medicine bags!

As the preparers of food, women (and today, many men) hold the power of health as s/he alone can redefine “health care” and the quality of “medicines” s/he opts for the family right from the kitchen. Almost all of our foods, spices and condiments have healing properties.


Because our survival is dependent upon our ingestion of food for physical sustenance, digestion is the single most important function of our living organism (next to air and water). DIGESTION, ASSIMILATION and ELIMINATION are three extremely important and pivotal aspects of health, and a series of foods and spices that assist our bodies in these areas are called carminatives, laxatives, cholagogues, emetics, parasiticides, sialagogues and bitters. The most common are Anise seed, Basil (relieves allergies), Bay leaves, Black Pepper (rids congestion), Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne (can stop stroke/heart attack), Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel (relieves gas), Fenugreek (lung congestion, stomach ulcers), Garlic and Ginger, Marjoram, Mustard Seed, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme, just to name a few.


FENNEL

Fennel is a perennial, pleasant-smelling herb with yellow flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean, but is now found throughout the world.  Dried fennel seeds are often used in cooking as an anise-flavored spice.  Fennel looks much like a large version of its relative, dill. Also like dill, this herb has a score of herbal remedy and culinary uses.
Fennel's medicinal uses include reducing gas discomfort, cramps, bloating and more -- and it can be a useful addition to the diet of those sufferings from stomach problems.

Uses for Fennel

It is recommended for numerous complaints related to excessive gas in the stomach and intestines, including indigestion, cramps, and bloating, as well as for colic in infants and heartburn. Other Apiaceae family members, such as dill and caraway, also are considered carminatives.
As an antispasmodic, fennel acts on the smooth muscle of the respiratory passages as well as the stomach and intestines; this is the reason that fennel preparations are used to relieve bronchial spasms. Since it relaxes bronchial passages, allowing them to open wider, it is sometimes included in asthma, bronchitis, and cough formulas, as well as for backache, bedwetting and visual problems.
Fennel long has been used to promote milk production in nursing mothers, promoting menstruation, easing the birthing process and increasing sex drive. And because of its antispasmodic activity, breastfed infants whose mothers drink fennel tea are less likely to suffer from colic than other babies.

Fennel powder is also used as a poultice for snakebites.

 Grilled Fennel with Lemon Oil

Grilled FennelIngredients:

Fennel (~1 lb)
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon olive oil (or 1/2 Meyer lemon juice and zest)
Sea salt
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

If you are using baby fennel, cut off the green stems and the very bottom of the root (but not so much that the layers have nothing to attach to). Then cut the fennel in half lengthwise, and then again into 4-6 bite-sized wedges.

The goal is to get your fennel into manageable chunks, which means (ideally) all the layers would still be attached at the bottom. It Is easier to get the fennel to cook evenly on the half where the core was still attached. You can remove the core after cooking if it is still tough.

If you are using a large fennel bulb simply trim off the stems, slice off the bottom and cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Cut each half into even-sized wedges, about 0.5 inch thick.

For an outdoor grill, simply brush your fennel wedges with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and grill until soft and tender, turning occasionally.

For a grill pan, heat the pan on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Lightly coat fennel in olive oil and sea salt (use a bowl and stir). When the pan is hot, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and gently swirl it in the pan so it coats the surface. Place fennel in a single layer on the hot grill, lower the heat to medium and cook until translucent, tender and slightly browned, turning occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes.

Your fennel should have grill marks and be caramelized in places. Exercise patience and allowing fennel to become extremely tender, but you can choose your desired crunchiness. Remove the fastest cooking fennel pieces from the grill when they are done and place them in a bowl.

When all the fennel is finished cooking, drizzle it lightly with lemon oil (or juice and zest) and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Adjust salt and zest as necessary.

I found this recipe online: 
http://summertomato.com/grilled-fennel-with-lemon-oil/

Other herbs like uva ursi, parsley root, gentian root, red raspberry leaves, buchu leaves, saw palmetto berries, kelp and bladder wrack all contain chemical ingredients that promote the body’s ability to reduce high blood sugar and supports the body’s fight against diabetes.

Each of these herbs when used with others in effective combinations relieve dis-ease and restores balance to our organs. Most of the illnesses and dis-eases we experience are a direct result of the types of foods we eat. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 7th WHMonth: SKULLCAP

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

SKULLCAP (Scuttelaria lateriflora) is a nervine and contains numerous flavanoids and flavones including the flavanoid alvcoside scutellarin, tannin, fat and bitter principles.  It also contains baicalin, wogonin, lignans, resins, essential oils, tannins, and iridoids.  Skullcap has a calming and relaxing effect on the body and can be used during the day to restore balance to an overworked individual or in the evening to promote normal, healthy sleep.

The above ground parts are used medicinally, and it is a member of the lamiacea family.  This plant has a long history of use in western botanical medicine.  It is used to support exhausted nerves resulting from mental and physical exhaustion, maintain normal balance in times of muscular tension, and to support normal sleep patterns.  Many Eclectic Medical texts mention its use to support the nerves during withdrawal from drugs.  It is trophorestorative to the nervous system meaning it restores nutrition uptake to the nerves. Like most herbs in the mint family, it is cooling yet has bitter principles and other complex chemicals making it a balanced choice as a gentle nervine.

Skullcap is used for trouble sleeping (insomnia), anxiety, stroke and paralysis caused by sroke.  It is also used for fever, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), rabies, epilepsy, nervous tension, allergies, skin infection, inflammation and spasms.

Traditionally skullcap is taken as a tea or tincture and can also be used in capsule form. For a mild sedative, combine equal parts skullcap, hops and valerian root. This can be taken as a tea or tincture three times daily and half hour before retiring.  15-20 drops of skullcap tincture taken every hour or two can lessen the severity of drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  Skullcap is an herbaceous perennial mint with ridged leaves and tiny flowers that can range in color form purple and blue to pink and white.  The two-lobed flowers resemble the military helmets worn by early European settlers, hence the herb's name. 

 A hardy plant, it grows 1 to 4 feet high, thriving in the woods and swamp-lands of eastern North America.  Settlers in the late 1700's promoted the herb's effectiveness as a cure for rabies, giving rise to one of its common names, mad dog weed.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6th WHMonth: MUGWORT

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

MUGWORT (Artemisia vulgaris) is a very potent emmenagogue, very often used for irregular periods and other female complaints, as a hemostatic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, vermifuge, mild narcotic and bitter tonic.  The leaves, roots and above ground parts are all used medicinally. They have a bitter, acrid taste and slightly warm energy.  It directly influences the balance, and improves the health of, the spleen, liver and kidneys (for gout, sciatica and water retention).

The Native Americans use the leaves in decoctions for colds, colic, bronchitis, rheumatism and fever. Also externally for wounds, poison oak, ulcers and tumors when made into a poultice with slippery elm, cleavers and bear's foot, bathing the inflammatory swelling with a strong tea of Mugwort.

Mugwort is a revered remedy for stomach; the liver; as a nervine for nervousness, insomnia and uncontrollable shaking. Used with cramp bark, Mugwort has strong emmenagogue properties and induces the menstrual cycle and relieves cramps when combined with calendula, cramp bark, black haw and mint.

It is often taken for stomach and intestinal conditions including colic, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, weak digestion, worm infestations and persistent vomiting.  Mugwort is also used to stimulate gastric juices and bile secretions; as a liver tonic; to promote circulation, and as a sedative. It treats hysteria, epilepsy and convulsions in children. Combined with other herbs, mugwort root is used for mental neuroses, ongoing fatigue and depression (neurasthenia) and preoccupation with illness (hypochondria), general irritability, restlessness, trouble sleeping (insomnia) and anxiety.


The Chinese dry the herb leaves into a cottony mass, roll it into a long, huge cigar-like shape which is then lit on one end like a cigar and placed near the skin in a therapeutic technique called moxabustion.  Mugwort is ideally suited for this because of its cotton-like consistency and also because its volatile oils help promote blood circulation, relaxes the underlying nerves and burns quickly at a low temperature. Once the tip is hot and burning well, the tip is repeatedly passed in a clockwise motion over a specific area until the area becomes hot - this removes stuck energy (pain), congealed blood (bruises), and aids in the healing of broken bones.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FEATURED CRYSTAL/GEMSTONE 1 of 2 for MARCH: Labradorite

~ Labradorite ~
 

 
Wearing or carrying Labradorite allows one's innate magical powers to surface.  It enhances the mental and intuitive ability of clairvoyance, telepathy, prophecy and coincidence control, and assists in communication with higher guides and spirits in accessing Akashic records, psychic readings and past-life recall.  It provides an ease in moving between worlds, and permits a safe and grounded return to the present.

As a workplace stone, Labradorite brings out the best in people, making work life more congenial. It encourages courtesy and full attention to the customer, and assists part-time and temporary staff in becoming fully involved in a company.

Labradorite tempers the negative side of our personality, the traits and actions that rob our energy and may produce depression or shame.  It assist in reducing anti-social, reckless or impulsive behavior in children, teenagers and adults who are easily led into trouble by others, and may aid in detoxifying the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and to a lesser degree, hard drugs.

  Labradorite helps develop the hands' sensitivity, making it useful for physiotherapists and all who use the power of touch to heal.

LABRADORITE PHYSICAL HEALING ENERGY

Labradorite is beneficial to the lungs, and may assist with respiratory problems, bronchitis and colds.  It assists in digestion, regulation and metabolism.

It has been used in treatment for the eyes and brain disorders, to stimulate mental acuity, and to reduce stress and anxiety.  It may also be soothing during menstruation, for PMS symptoms and for pain relief.

Labradorite lowers blood pressure, reduces sensitivity to cold and alleviates rheumatism and gout.

LABRADORITE EMOTIONAL HEALING ENERGY

Labradorite calms an overactive mind and energizes the imagination, bringing in new ideas.  It is a wonderful tool for returning joy and spontaneity back to one's life.  It helps eliminate the emotional drain of daily routine or being weighed down by responsibility and awakens a sense of adventure and change

As the matriarch of the subconscious mind, labradorite brings forgotten memories to light and facilitates their understanding.  It encourages contemplation and introspection, bringing the clarity of intellectual thought and intuitive wisdom to help to dispel illusion, determine the root cause of an issue and bring one to peace.  It is an uplifting crystal, helping to banish fears and insecurities while enhancing faith and reliance in oneself and trust in the universe.


http://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/labradorite

March 5th WHMonth: Herbs for Nervous tension, Stress and Pain


TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

HERBS ARE NATURE'S MEDICINE . . . Herb remedies to relieve tensions and stress also help promote natural sleep, while others help repair the nervous system. One formula/herb may work for some and not others. If one doesn't work, try another. Junk food, caffeine, salt and sugary foods also heighten stress and tension, you need to reduce/eliminate these to aid the body's recovery. Eating late at night can be the source of discomforts, nightmares, restless sleep (insomniacs should cut down on salt) and resulting stress.

Mugwort: Artemisia vulgaris

Herbal teas include Catnip (relieves 'congestion' of emotional tensions), Hops (used in pillows to treat insomnia), Vervain (good for nervous conditions and headaches), Eleuthero (Ginseng relative exceptional for treating insomnia), Rosemary (soothes/relieves nervous insomnia, mental fatigue and simple or congestive headaches), Mugwort (excellent nervine for uncontrollable shaking, insomnia), Marjoram (relieves headache/insomnia), Anise (½ tsp in cup of warm milk (stand for 5 minutes then strain) at bedtime prevents insomnia and nightmares, Skullcap (excellent for all nerve disorders), Valerian (calming and sedating for emotional disturbances and pain), 

China Root
Chinese herb: Poria / Fu Ling
(Red) Fu Ling (best for nervous/restless conditions; treats hyperactivity in children) and my personal Bupleurum7 Capsules (renown formula for treating stress-related ailments, restores balance, helps adrenals adapt to stress and strengthens liver, stomach and intestines so you feel more able to cope with tensions, thus relaxing nerves and conserving energy so you live and sleep more comfortably).

Chinese herb: Bupleurum Chinense
Unresolved tensions and long term stress often lead to PAIN, and you'll find that some of the herbs for one, overlap into the other.  There is a category of herbs for pain management called analgesics. This formula contains the best analgesics the plant kingdom has to offer, and include white willow bark, wood betony, skullcap, rosemary leaves, red raspberry leaves, blue vervain and kelp. This formula may bring you relief from headaches (migraine and tension), neuralgia, neuritis, rheumatism, gout, and also reduces fever and anxiety.


Pain is the body's early warning system. It alerts us when we've ingested something not good for our body, when we need a change of diet, or when to simply get out of the sun. Pain is a symptom and not a disease; so you should not simply try to relieve the pain, but determine and attend to the cause. White Willow – the natural source of aspirin, combats pains of various sorts. Wood Betony has been used for heartburn, catarrh, bladder/kidney stones, asthma and fatigue. 

Skullcap: Scutellaria lateriflora
Skullcap is effectively used to treat nervous disease, restlessness, insomnia and neuralgia. Rosemary Leaf relieves headaches and stomach pains; and the oils in this herb soothes and calms the body's nerves and muscles. Blue Vervain is also anti-inflammatory, and has a calming and restorative effect on the nerves. Kelp helps prevent/relieve painful conditions by its iodine, vitamin and mineral content.

The prevention of painful conditions, such as rheumatism and arthritis can sometimes be addressed through proper nutrition. For example, too many acidic foods/drinks and the lack of essential nutrients attack our insulating nerve sheaths, which can lead to inflammation and neuritis. For every 10 people there are 10 different kinds of pain, so you will need to find the frequency and strength of the formula that helps bring relief. To help balance your energies, you can take 2-3 capsules 2-4 times daily.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4th WHMonth: HERBAL THERAPIES #1 ~ Stimulation/Bayberry

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

In many of my articles, lessons and workshops, we have discussed many individual herbs and formulas and how to prepare them, but we haven’t spoken about “therapies” per se.  Herbal Therapies represent a variety of ways in which we can approach illnesses and how our bodies respond to specific herbal treatments.  Different therapies are applicable for different diseases, different age groups and different degrees of illness.  In selecting HOW to treat an illness, one must consider “the energy of the body” of each individual.  For example, we may use certain herbs to stimulate elimination of toxins through purging laxatives or emesis (vomiting therapy), but that might not be appropriate for the elderly or people who are weak or have low energy or have been suffering a chronic disease for a long period, as this therapy will reduce the already low body energy even further.  So it is really important to follow the course of a person’s disease regularly (daily) so that you can effectively change the therapy accordingly.

We use the following “herbal therapies” for a variety of conditions, in varying combinations as the disease process dictates: (1) stimulation, (2) sedation, (3) blood purification, (4) tonification, (5) diuresis (fluid balance), (6) sweating, (7) emesis (vomiting), and (8) purging.  You must also understand that the body functions in three normal modes: ELIMINATION, MAINTAINING or BUILDING.

1.  STIMULATION THERAPY

Here, our intent is to raise the vitality of the body to help throw off illness.  When combined with other herbs, stimulants will promote the elimination, maintenance or building modes of the body, as they increase metabolism, increase circulation, break up obstructions and raise the body temperature.  Strength will return as the herbal stimulants restore vitality that has been lost to chronic illness.

STIMULANTS are  an important means of breaking  up blockages that stop the natural flow of blood, lymph, nutrients (digestion and assimilation), waste products or nerve energy.  These types of blockages can cause one to feel sluggish, have low-grade fevers and have sluggish digestion.


As I said, stimulant therapy should not be used when there is extreme weakness, which often occurs following chronic, severe or prolonged illness. Stimulants are more healing when added slowly to help other herbs in a formula maintain the body through this critical time to build up one’s strength. Herb masters the world over all share a common formula for stimulation, called COMPOSITION POWDER which consists of Bayberry Bark (2 parts) Ginger (1 part) White Pine Bark (1 part) Licorice (1/4 part) Cayenne (1/8 part) Cloves (1/8 part). Steep one teaspoon of the combined powders in a cup of boiled water for fifteen minutes, covered. Drink the liquid poured off from the sediment as hot as is comfortable (add 1tsp pure honey). Taken in the early stages of an acute disease, this should be taken hourly. It is a valued remedy and may be used safely in all complaints of male or female, and for children. It is good for relaxation, dysentery, pain in the stomach and bowels and for removing all obstructions caused by cold, or loss of inward heat.

Bayberry is considered by many as one of the most useful herbs in botanic medicine, and in this formula comes as near to being a cure-all as anything in herbal medicine. It is a powerful stimulant, astringent and tonic, influencing the alimentary tract, toning and promoting glandular activity, all the while thoroughly cleansing and restoring the mucous secretions to normal function. It is an effective deobstruent, and it is a useful cleansing tonic for the liver. Its stimulant properties promptly arouse the whole circulatory system, with a persisting influence upon the arterial and capillary circulation and a toning action to the tissues. Its astringent action is very potent, yet it does not dry the mucous membranes as the inorganic chemical agents such as alum do. Bayberry is an excellent tonic for the uterus (especially during pregnancy), and is a valuable agent for arresting hemorrhage of the uterus, bowels or lungs. When used with cayenne, it is very effective reviving the heat in the body and in inducing diaphoresis.

STIMULANT HERBS should be slowly added to help other herbs maintain the body this critical time of building back ones strength, and include: Echinacea, Ginseng, Sarsaparilla, Dandelion, Elecampane, Angelica, Ginger, Yarrow, Juniper Berries, Sage, Pennyroyal, Bayberry Bark and Astragalus . . .

and FROM THE KITCHEN: Anise, cayenne, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Rosemary, Garlic, and Onion.

Understanding these therapeutic approaches will help you to become an effective healer for your family and your treatment will promote a safe and more effective and quick recovery.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3rd WHMonth: HORSETAIL

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.


WE MUST TAKE CARE OF OUR MEN FOLK!!!

HERBS ARE NATURE'S MEDICINE . . . MEN'S HEALTH – Men, let's begin to make some SERIOUSLY SIMPLE choices. We are going to look at alternatives in our life habits and herbal remedies to improve the longevity and quality of life for our men. We will begin to look at herbs for the top five killers of men: cardiac herbs (for hypertension and stroke), urinary tonics for the prostate, pulmonary herbs for the lungs and herbs for cancer, and depression. 


Horsetail ~ also known as "scouring brush"
Though difficulties with the prostate gland affect almost every American male over the age of 50 – DON'T WAIT FOR IT TO HAPPEN, PREVENT IT.

First of all commit to getting an annual checkup. IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE! It doesn't hurt; it's free as part of your insurance coverage; and it keeps you ahead of the game. Many years ago a brain tumor was discovered – it was only discovered because at my annual GYN checkup my blood pressure was soo high I wasn't allowed to leave the hospital, (and I never had high blood pressure before); the tumor was only discovered upon further testing to find the cause of the elevated blood pressure! Revere yourself. Get an annual checkup.

The prostate gland can become inflamed (prostatitis), enlarged (causing a sensation of fullness in the rectum) or infected, causing backache, impairment of sexual potency, frequent and/or burning/discomfort/pain upon urination, recurring flare-ups and sometimes a slight discharge or blood in the urine.

Here are some herbs that treat a variety of these symptoms: Ginseng, fenugreek, parsley, oats, pumpkin seeds, kelp, melilot, bee pollen, buchu, juniper, echinacea, golden seal, chaparral, horsetail, sarsaparilla, wild yam root, yellow dock, yarrow, mullein . . . MAKE NATURE'S MEDICINE YOUR OWN



Horsetail is an astringent herb and has a diuretic action. It has an affinity for the urinary tract where it can be used to sooth inflammation, haemorrhaging, cystic ulceration, ulcers, cystitis and to treat infections. It is considered a specific remedy in cases of inflammation or benign enlargement of the prostate gland and is also used to quicken the removal of kidney stones.
Its toning and astringent action make it of value in the treatment of incontinence and bed-wetting in children. It may be applied to such conditions as urethritis or cystitis with haematuria, reducing haemorrhage and healing wounds thanks to the high silica content. This local astringent and anti-haemorrhagic effect explains the application of horsetail to such conditions as bleeding from the mouth, nose and vagina, its use to check diarrhoea, dysentery and bleeding from the bowel, and for slow-healing wounds, chilblains and conjunctivitis.  
Horsetail, not to be confused with cat-tail, is possibly the most abundant source of silica in the plant kingdom, so much in fact that the herb can be used for polishing metal. It got the name “scouring rush” from this very application. The horsetail constitutes one of the most diuretic species in all the plants. That is to say that it possesses a great capacity to eliminate water from the body, in such a point to increase urination up to 30% more than what is habitual. This fact makes that its scientific name Equisetum arvense generally appears in the composition of most of products that habitually are sold to reduce weight. This property is due to the action of several components, among which it is necessary to highlight equisetonin and potassium, but there are another ones that also take part such as calcium, magnesium, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid.
As a diuretic it is particularly suited to metabolic or hormonal oedema during the menopause. The diuretic action is thought to be due partly to the flavonoids and saponins. Equisetum is restorative to damaged pulmonary tissue after pulmonary tuberculosis and other lung disease, as the silicic acid is said to stabilise the scar tissue.
It may be taken internally to stop bleeding from ulcers or curb heavy menstrual bleeding. It may also be used as a gargle and mouth rinse for sore throat and bleeding gums or mouth ulcers. Externally it is a vulnerary and may also be applied as a compress to fractures and sprains, wounds, sores, skin problems and a gargle for mouth and gum inflammations.
“Horsetail is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, coagulant, demulcent, diuretic and astringent activity. Reportedly, it has been used in the treatment of a number of health conditions which include brittle bone, hair, teeth and nails, white spots on nails, gingivitis, tonsillitis, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth, rheumatic disorders, edema, osteoarthritis, diabetes, acne, wounds, itchiness, rashes, burns, frostbite, chilblains, athlete’s foot, cracked and tired feet, drawing out pus from boils and carbuncles, ulcers, fistulas, herpes simplex, dyspepsia (impaired digestion), gastrointestinal conditions, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, fever, malaria, bladder problems, urinary tract infection, bed wetting in children, kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), prostate problems, hemorrhoids, muscle cramps, tumors, broken bones, fractures, sprains, nose bleed and other heavy bleeding. Horsetail is also known to strengthen the body’s immune system.”

From MRH: “When taking horsetail powder for its diuretic effect, be sure to drink extra water for maximum benefit. Avoid if there are kidney stones. Don’t take horsetail herb if you take an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure and you have congestive heart failure, as the combination of the herb and the drug can cause accumulation of excessive potassium. Not recommended while pregnant. Toxicity similar to nicotine poisoning has been seen in children who ingest large amounts.”

Make your own Plantain Poultice


While I was looking for pictures for today's original Post on Plantain - I came across the process below for making plantain poultices.  I thought it would be great if you are an "outdoorsman" or your family camps a lot or get a lot of insect bites in your back yard or during the summer months.  Enjoy.  Here's the web link where I found the info: http://thepassionatewisewoman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Freezing-plantain-collage2.jpg

PLANTAIN

Plantago major and P. lanceolata
Parts used: Seeds, roots and leaves

Benefits: Plantain is a common weed across almost all of North America and is a highly nutritional food.  It is one of the best poultice herbs and is often referred to as the "green bandaid."  Plantain seeds are rich in mucilage.
Suggested uses: first aid for infections or poultice of fresh leaves to soothe irritations and infections.  I've used it for bee stings, burns and the like.
So below is a simple way to store a whole bunch of plantain and have ready on the go for your family.
You can use ice cube trays or other shapely fun things of your liking. You can use it as a poultice once allowed to melt.


1. Rinse off your plantain
2. Get out your food processor
3. Add water until a chunky consistency is achieved
4. Ready your ice trays or whatever you're going to use
5. Pour into your ice cube tray. I use some Tupperware I had so that they are shaped in round disc
6. Freeze - but be mindful of freezer burn, so make sure it is sealed and covered well.
7. A couple of hours later they will be frozen and Voilla!
8. Pop them out and store them in ziploc bags; or if you use ice cubes you can put them in a bowl and cover in your freezer. Easy for the kids to use.

And here my Passionate Wise Sista is an easy way to use 
what may be right outside of your front door.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2nd WHMonth: PLANTAIN

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

HERBS ARE NATURES MEDICINE . . . and there are amazing relationships between flora and fauna that serves as guides to man. One such relationship is between the Mongoose and the Snake. In ancient India when the mongoose often fought the cobra, it was noticed that if bitten, the mongoose would scurry off to eat the herb PLANTAIN to neutralize the venom.

PLANTAIN  (Plantago major; Plantago lanceolate) belongs to a group of herbs categorized as "alteratives," which are herbs that gradually alter and correct impure conditions of the blood, and thus are often considered 'blood purifiers.' Alteratives do not simply purify the blood stream but at the same time steadily tones up the organs which may not be able to secrete impurities from the blood themselves. Oftimes the impurities may arise from improper food, beverages or impure air.  So not only as healers must we strive to remove the cause - but also purify the blood.  Too many times we simply take herbs to cleanse, detoxify and clean the blood, but don't change our habits to eliminate the cause for the imbalances in the first place.  We need to make a Spiritual Decision to change that, since our "minds" have failed us.

PLANTAIN grows profusely in the streets and parks.
You've probably walked by it a thousand times.
 Once we understand that our major organs for carrying off impurities and waste matter - liver, kidneys and skin - the cleansing process becomes clear. So in these instances it is necessary to know what organ is at fault when using alteratives, as we must also use herbs to rejuvenate and strengthen the liver (dandelion, cascara, bupleurum, gentian, sassafras), kidneys (gravel root, parsley, horsetail, juniper berries, rehmania),  and skin (comfrey, plantain, marshmallow, mullein, witch hazel, white willow bark) - depending on other signs and symptoms. If the liver is torpid, and bile retained in the system, we may find in one case the retained bile has affected the digestion. In another  instance we may find a skin eruption. If the kidneys fail to secrete as they should, the blood stream is polluted. The skin may be retaining impurities, or the lungs may be unable to oxygenate the blood due to impure air being breathed.  In addition, there are stimulating and toning alteratives as well as relaxing alteratives - depending on the other symptoms that are presenting . . . MAKE NATURE'S MEDICINE YOUR OWN


Lance-Leaf Plantain
PLANTAIN has a cool, pleasant and mildly astringent taste and the roots, leaves, flower spikes and seeds (which you probably know as 'psyllium seeds') are used medicinally. The therapeutic effects include strengths as a vulnerary, astringent, diuretic, emollient, antiseptic and expectorant.  As I said in the last posting, I've used this herb many times (along with others, like Mullein, especially when experiencing serious physical pain).  Plantain is a stimulating alterative, and is good for bruises (stuck blood),  inflammation (congealing infection fighting fluids) and pain (stuck Chi). Combined with other herbs, it will relieve pain and "move things along."

Both the roots and leaves are strong healers of the circulatory system and the glandular system as it proves marked healing success to affected lymph and epidermal areas in skin diseases.

FORMULAS


For stings, bites of poisonous insect, plants animals or boils and tumors: bruise the fresh leaves (or chew them) and apply directly to affected area, cover and keep moist; changing every couple of hours.




   


 
To heal hemorrhoids, piles and arrest diarrhea, steep one ounce of the herb in one pint of water for 1/2 hour (covered) and inject 1 tbs three to four times daily (especially after each bowel movement).

As relayed in the book School of Natural Healing (see Book List on the side), page 54: ". . . a mad had come to us for help who had blood poisoning. Red streaks were running up his arm; he had a large lump under the arm pit, and he was in extreme pain. His fingers were swollen so large that his hands were spread wide. We simply bruised some leaves of plantain herb, made them into a poultice and applied it over the entire arm. Within twenty-four hours, the fingers were normal, the lump was gone and the tell-tale red line had entirely disappeared.  The herb had drawn the poison completely out.


Harvest the 'psyllium' seeds before or after
the stem "flowers."
There are two types: broad leaf and lance leaf plantain. They all have similar properties, but the wider leaf (at top and to the left) has a more marked diuretic effect and is more effective in water retention and kidney and bladder infections.  Plantain is really useful in salves and ointments, alone or combined with chickweed, comfrey or elder flowers, as it is one of the best herbal remedies for cuts, skin infections and chronic skin problems.

Plantain is an ancient herb in China, and is given as a tea for general debility, spermatorrhea and loss of sexual power, as well being known for promoting fertility. To strengthen the health of the prostate, steep 1 ounce of the psyllium seeds in boiling water, covered, for 20 minutes; in another pot pour 1 1/2 pints of boiling water over once ounce of flaxseed (which contains Vitamin F, a critical nutrient for the prostate), covered, for 20 minutes. When done, mix the two together and drink three to four cups daily. The tea can be reheated and taken warm or hot.

Don't forget to share your personal experience (in the comment box below or via email: theherbalist1750@gmail.com) with herbs you use for similar conditions ~ so we can all EXPAND OUR MEDICINE BAG.