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Friday, February 20, 2009

Things I rely on

Some of the things I count on most to keep my family happy and healthy are herbs. Honestly in some strange way they talk to me. I have an affinity for them. My entire life I have been drawn to the outdoors and nature and have enormous fun spending hours and hours walking through the wood and learning about the various plants in my area. Here in South Dakota I had the chance to learn about a whole different group.
I highly recommend buying the books from Linda Runyon about all the edible plants that grow in all 50 states. Her advice and teaching is priceless. I am anxiously looking forward to being able to gather clover this summer and making clover flour to add to our pancakes. Or nettle soup. Yumm. And I'm very curious to try pine needle tea, which is full of vitamin C. Her books and lecture material are among the best I've used.
I believe so strongly in herbs and there benefits that I am currently working towards my masters in herbology. After years as a nurse passing pills to my patients and in a lot of cases not seeing any true or lasting improvements I slowly left mainstream medicine and have not regretted one day. My family has not taken "traditional" antibiotics for 15+ years. Instead we use Grapefruit Seed Extract or Colloidial Silver or Oregano oil. I wanted to share a little about some of the herbs and their benefits with all of you. *Here's my disclaimer, sad that I have to preface this sharing with it but hey, a sign of the times I guess. I am not a medical Dr. and you should always consult your trusted Dr. if you need to or if you have any doubts or questions.* That said here is a quick list of some of our most often used herbs.
Burdock: I love this plant. Yes it is the one that has burrs on it that catch on your clothes when ever you walk by. I used to play with this plant as a kid and we would throw the sticky little guys at each other. Pre paint ball fun :) We'd count the burrs and whoever had the most stuck to them would lose the game. The root is delicious! A bit of effort is needed to dig it up but oh so worth it! This is one of the ingredients in the famous ESSIAC tea. This root is wonderful for detoxifying and cleaning the blood and liver. It's full of vitamins and minerals which makes it a great food to add to your soup pot or peeled and eaten raw. It has mild antibiotic properties and has been reported to balance blood sugar. A hot tea is helpful in lowering a fever.
Catnip: Another favorite of mine when I can keep my cat out of my plant. The tea is wonderful to bring down a fever and helps with congestion, sore throats, tension and headaches. It's a relaxing tea to drink before bed as it soothes the tension away and lets you relax. Also good for indigestion, if you've eaten too much, and the bruised fresh leaves or moistened dry leaves are great for bug bites, stings and rashes. My daughter got a wasp sting last summer and luckily we had been out gathering some fresh catnip and we immediately put a crushed leaf on it and it took the pain right away and it did not swell.
Cayenne: This herb is so wonderful but most people seem to fear it. For those of you who are brave, or just like hot food, give it a try. My favorite way to take it is as a tea believe it not. I mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and up to half a teaspoon (or less depending on your taste) with hot water. This is great for a sore throat. Surprisingly this tea is easy to take and is not hot or burning to the tongue as you might expect. This herb is high in vitamin C, good for arthritis, joints and muscle pain. Drinking this tea as I described above is healing to stomach ulcers. I know people with acid reflux and ulcers who drink this tea and get better relief and healing than any "purple pill". It also helps reduce cholesterol and is great for headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. This herbs also has antibiotic properties.
Dandelion: The root of our beloved lawn weed is great to detoxify blood, kidney, liver and gallbladder. Consistent use steadily eliminates toxins in the body due to infection. It is beneficial for most types of skin problems such as eczema, acne, psoriasis and arthritic conditions. The leaves are wonderful and a healthy addition to your salad. Traditionally called a spring tonic. And if you are into it you can even make dandelion wine.
Mullein: I love the beautiful yellow flowers of this stately plant. It's good to add to your catnip tea as it also has sedative properties and is very relaxing. It is also used for strep infections, migraines, heart palpitations and angina. It's been used for tonsillitis, chicken pox, measles, mumps and bronchitis.
Nettle: I love spring nettle. We gather the young leaves and steam them till wilted, then mix with a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Soooo good. This herb is good for anemia, as it is high in iron. This is another good herb for a poultice on bites or stings. Good for circulation, arthritis, and the thyroid. The juice from fresh leaves can stop bleeding of minor cuts. And the tea makes a wonderful hair rinse, which besides making hair shiny, is reported to be good for hair loss.
Oregano: This herb has a very potent antiseptic action. Many respiratory conditions including coughs, tonsilitis, bronchitis and asthma find relief with this plant. During times past oregano was used for toothaches.
White Willow: I use willow for all my aches and pains instead of tylenol or advil. This plant is where they synthesised aspirin from. Headaches, fever, pain, arthritis. And it does not upset your stomach.
Well friends, I hope this peaks your interest and you study more on it. There are some great sites to get information from but my favorite is: http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/1menu.htm I like the lay out and the information is right on. Another great site is: http://www.ofthefield.com Learn and study and find what you like best. There are a lot of edible herbs that besides being medicinal they taste great and would make great survival food. Be sure to gather your herbs from a place that does not use pesticides and well off from the road. If you know what you can eat and where to find them, you will never starve!
I wish you all peace!

1 comment:

Kymber said...

I LOOOOVE this post! I love herbs and wild plants too! Please do more posts like this! I really like the way that you talk about each of the herbs in a real way - and yes you have definitely peaked up my interest!

We have a lot of white pines in my backyard and in the area. A few years back - my next door neighbour Ana, who is originally from Poland - jumped over our fence yelling "do you mind if I grab some pine needles Kymber? Little Ana fell down and scraped her knee". I, of course, said yes and ran to her to help gather pine needles from one of the trees. We ran back to her house and she boiled some water and poured it over the pine needles. Then she told Little Ana to drink it (after it had cooled). After she let the remainder of the tea cool - she then soaked a rag in the tea and cleaned Little Ana's scraped up knee! She told me that putting the pine needle tea on the wound acts as a natural antiseptic as well as drinking the tea helps the body recover from the shock of a wound. In addition, if the tea is drunk regularly - it helps regulate different organs in the body (I don't remember which ones!)
Anyway - sorry this became so long - I just wanted to share that with you!

Please keep up these awesome posts...I have added myself as a follower of your blog and will check back often!

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