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Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Pain happens. Headaches, backaches, wounds, broken bones, bumps and bruises. It is almost second nature for us to grab an aspirin, acetaminophen, an ibuprofen, or, for some, something a bit stronger. Unfortunately, even the safest of these options come with serious negative side effects. Liver and kidney damage, stomach or digestive issues, neurological damage. In extreme cases, even death.

The last few decades have conditioned us to believe that our options are not just limited, but non-existent. We either take the options on the market (or at the pharmacy), or we deal with the pain. Under no circumstances should we consider taking natural alternatives. Not only are they extremely dangerous, but they are quite ineffective. I’m still trying to work out the incompatibility of that last statement.

I gotta wonder, though…if natural alternatives are so ineffective, why did the medical world develop some of their best medicines from them? Aspirin from willow bark. Opium, morphine, codeine and laudanum from poppies. Digitalis from foxglove. The list is long and impressive, and pretty interesting, if you are into that kind of thing.

The point is, there is an abundance of exceptionally effective, natural alternatives for dealing with pain of all types. In truth, some of them work faster, more effectively and, well…better. These are a few of my favorites:

Castor oil packs

Most of us have heard horror stories of grandmothers forcing a spoonful of castor oil on reluctant children when they had belly aches. I simply cannot condone that level of torture, but castor oil is not without powerful medicinal benefits.

Of course, the above scenario is not without it’s benefit, either. Castor oil is a highly effective, exceptionally safe laxative for all ages. The biggest problem with this method is actually choking it down. The good news is, it only takes 4-6 hours in most cases for a dose of castor oil to completely cleanse the bowels. A little more good news, a single dose is only 1-2 tablespoons for adults, and 1 tsp for children. Mix it with a bit of fresh fruit juice and it really isn’t so bad.

Castor oil is a strong fungicidal due to its high content of undecylenic acid. Ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch…castor oil applied topically daily for a week will help tremendously in any of these situations.

Castor oil is exceptionally moisturizing. It attracts and holds in moisture, so it is the perfect addition to any beauty routine. Acne, dry hair, dry scalp, age spots, warts, and skin tags are just a few of the issues that can be improved with regular use of castor oil.

However, one of the very best ways to administer castor oil is through the use of a castor oil pack. I don’t know all the science behind castor oil and how it does what it does. What I do know is that I have seen it work over and over again to help the body heal, to provide relief from pain of every kind, in every part of the body. I have seen it help people who were in liver failure to detox. I have seen it help shrink cysts and tumors. I have seen it perform nearly miraculous things. But, that’s just MY experience with it. Sore muscles? Use a castor oil pack on them. Arthritis? Try a castor oil pack. Painful period? Use a castor oil pack. Seriously. You gotta try this!

Castor oil packs can be a bit messy, but are relatively simple to use.  All you need is:

  • a bottle of castor oil
  • 2 pieces of natural cloth like wool or cotton. One should be large enough to completely cover the area you intend to apply it to. The second piece should be larger by about 4 inches in both directions.
  • a piece of plastic
  • a towel that you don’t mind getting stained
  • a hot pack or heating pad

Here’s what you do with all of that:

  • Thoroughly coat the smaller piece of the cloth with castor oil. You want it wet, but not dripping. The piece of cloth should be large enough to completely cover whatever area of the body you are treating.
  • Cover the castor oil soaked cloth with a piece of plastic.
  • Cover the plastic with the larger piece of dry cloth. This piece is going to help hold in the warmth so it should be something heavy and natural like wool, cotton or flannel.
  • Place a heating pad on top of your cloth. That’s it. Now just kick back and relax for a spell. Leave the pack on for at least 20 minutes, but I like to leave it on overnight. You will want to put an old towel or sheet under you, because castor oil will stain whatever it touches.

You can use an ace bandage or strip of fabric to secure the castor oil pack in place.

Don’t throw out your castor oil pack after one use, either. The same castor oil pack can be used 10-15 times. Just store it in the fridge between uses and add a bit more castor oil if it begins to dry out.

This is one of those great treatments that work immediately. By the time you remove the castor oil pack you will be feeling better. When dealing with long-term and/or chronic conditions,  I have used this treatment daily for two weeks with absolutely no negative effects. For things like menstrual cramps, arthritis flare-ups, and muscle aches/spasms, we use it as often as we need to. In most cases, we are back up and moving comfortably after an hour or so.

Sometimes we need something that works a bit faster, right? And,  maybe more convenient? After all, I doubt the boss is going to approve of you taking a break to apply a castor oil pack that you will need to wear around the office for a while.

It’s cool. I have this one covered. Herbs. The answer is herbs.

Quit rolling your eyes. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. Let me try to impress upon you the unbelievable power of herbs to help control pain when used properly.

I live on a farm. I do yoga. I garden. I paint. I write. I bead and sew and crochet and knit. I spend HOURS in the kitchen. I make soap. I build fires. I play with grandsons. I spend unfathomable amounts of time staring at a computer screen.  None of these activities seem especially dangerous, right? Look a little deeper.

Yoga and gardening are the source of many muscle aches, strains and sprains. Crafting, writing and gardening require the use of my hands, which are prone to attacks of arthritis, small cuts, big cuts, cuts from stems and tools (because, you know, why wear gloves like any rational person?). Hours in the kitchen can occasionally produce burns, cuts and other injuries that we need not name, as can building and maintaining fires in the wood stove. Computer screens give me massive headaches. Living on a farm covers everything from shins bashed into trailer hitches to broken limbs. Playing with grandsons…well…the danger potential there is unlimited. So, you see all of the levels of pain that my family may experience at any given moment. Keep that in mind when I make my next statement.

We have not needed a ‘conventional’ pain reliever since we started using herbal pain-relieving options. No aspirin. No acetaminophen. No prescription pain killers.

What is this miracle herbal pain-reliever, you ask? Well, it isn’t one herb. Or even two. It is a combination of herbs. While each of the herbs we are about to discuss work reasonably well for minor pain all by themselves, combining some of them can be far more effective than many of the dangerous synthetic pain pills flooding the market and killing people by the millions. Unlike prescription or OTC pain relievers, there is no risk of organ failure, heart issues, digestive issues, neurological issues…no negative side effects for a normal, healthy person. Did you catch that? These alternatives should not be used if you have some pre-existing conditions. Some of these herbs can interfere with medications, which can cause big problems. Some of these herbs should not be taken long-term. If you are not trained in the use of herbs, don’t just go taking these herbs willy-nilly. Consult a Certified Herbalist. Really. Don’t be stupid.

Okay, you’ve been warned. Now, let’s move on. I have found a beautiful blend of herbs that works fast (it has never taken more than 10 minutes to feel relief) on every kind of pain we have thrown at it. I’m going to tell you the herbs. Not the formula. The formula, Nerve-Ease, took me a long time to perfect, and is easy for an amateur to mess up.

  • Black cohosh – this root is most often used for female complaints related to the menstrual cycle, menopause, and female organs. This is because of the fact that it has many natural estrogens. What many don’t realize is that is also has a mild sedative effect, is anti-inflammatory, and acts as a mild anti-depressant, just to name a few of its benefits.
  • Catnip – yeah, the same herb your cat flips out over. Catnip is a fabulous pain reliever, and one of the safest option available for all ages, including small children. It is a mild relaxant, it settles the stomach, it calms the nerves, it reduces pain, and it promotes relaxation and sleep without any drowsiness.
  • Cayenne – there is a lot of science behind this herb, and how it works is a whole lesson in itself. We will just leave it at this: cayenne is a powerful pain reliever, and it boost the ability of any herb it is working with. One of the many additional benefits of cayenne is its ability to stop bleeding. There are very few of my formulas that don’t contain a bit of cayenne for very good reason. It is safe for all ages and requires only a small amount to be effective.
  • Chamomile – this is a wonderful sedative herb that works powerfully, but mildly, on the body and mind. It, like catnip, promotes relaxation without making  you drowsy, so you can go to sleep easier without waking up feeling foggy or disoriented. It soothes the nerves, so it is good for anxiety and depression. It is anti-inflammatory. It soothes muscles and joints. Chamomile is safe for any age and can help control just about any type of pain or discomfort you may be having. It is pretty tasty, too!
  • Hops – while best known for its use in beer making, hops has a long history of medicinal use. As with many herbs, hops has a variety of uses. Herbalists often use it for its ability to calm the nerves and promote sleep without causing drowsiness or brain fog. It is an anti-inflammatory, so it also helps with nerve pain, or pain caused from internal inflammation.
  • Mistletoe – the same plant that we stand under for a chance at a free smooch is a most excellent nervine. That means that it helps soothe frazzled nerves and helps rebuild damaged nerves. It is an anti-inflammatory, as well as an immune system builder.  Mistletoe has so many healing benefits that we can’t cover even a fraction of them here, but it also has some warnings attached to it. It is a fantastic pain reliever, but must be properly prepared and used only under the supervision of a Certified Herbalist or natural health practitioner.
  • Mullein – one of my all time favorite herbs, I could spend hours extolling it’s many virtues, not the least of which is it’s pain-relieving capabilities. It doesn’t matter what the pain stems from; Mullein will help soothe it. This is an especially useful herb for dealing with pain from broken bones, sprains and strains, as well as pain from inflamed, irritated mucous membranes in the lungs and respiratory system.
  • Skullcap – if you are looking for power and performance, this is the herb to go to. It’s pain-relieving properties are well known among herbalists, and this is one of the first choices for helping promote sleep, calm anxiety, reduce pain and promote a sense of well-being. It is not an easy herb to work with, though, and is best used fresh, as it loses much of it’s ability with drying.
  • Turmeric – If you have been on the internet in the last couple of years, you have heard of turmeric and all of it’s health benefits. It is used for everything from cancer treatment to dental care. More than 6,000 peer-reviewed studies have been done on this herb, and more are being done daily in an effort to understand it’s range of healing. Even among standard medical groups, turmeric is gaining popularity because they are finding that it is more effective than many prescription drugs for treating a variety of health issues. Pain, depression, heart issues, inflammation, stomach issues, cancer, diabetes and cholesterol are just some of the issues that turmeric is having a profound effect on, all without a single negative side effect.
  • Valerian root – this is easily one of the smelliest herbs known to mankind. Fortunately, it is also one of the best pain-relievers ever. It is a mild, but highly effective nervine that helps calm anxiety, promotes relaxation and sleep, soothes pain and promotes a general sense of well-being.
  • Willow – this is where aspirin comes from, in case you didn’t know. A long time ago, some scientist got the bright idea to extract what they believed was the active pain-relieving constituent in willow bark, then called it medicine. If they would have just left the herb alone they would have gotten much farther. Willow bark has all the phenomenal characteristics of aspirin, but it also has built-in protectors that keep it from harming the liver and other organs. It is not without dangers of its own, though, and should only be used under the supervision of a Certified Herbalist or alternative medical practitioner.

The world of herbal medicine contains a vast array of other effective pain-relievers, but these are the ones I prefer. When used together, they have the ability to fight pain stemming from nearly every source imaginable. They can replace anti-depressants, sleeping pills, nerve pills, stomach pills….pills, pills, pills. They can even help you wean off many of those pills without suffering the symptoms often seen from withdrawals.

This is by no means a complete list of the many ways natural health practitioners approach pain management, especially long-term. However, reaching for a more natural option for every day aches and pains seems like a no-lose situation. If it doesn’t work for you, there is always the option of running to the drug store for a bottle of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but why start there if you don’t have to? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wow. It has been more than a year since I posted anything on here. I knew it had been a while, but really? Where did the time go? That’s the question I asked myself and I really had to think about the answer. What I have finally concluded is that it passed by in a haze of crazy, life-altering events that consumed my family and myself. It has been a scary, exciting, awful, wonderful, uncertain, frustrating, joyful year, and as it has played itself out I have thought on many occasions, “Hey, this would make a great blog post”. Then, the moment passes and I put off writing that post because I think, “Does anyone really care, anyway? I’ll write it later.” Then, the moment passes.

So, here it is, more than a year later.

To my readers who left comments and questions, I apologize. I didn’t intend to ignore any of you. I hope that by the end of this post you will find your way clear to forgiving me my inattention. I hope this post will make up for it, ’cause this one is gonna cover a TON of info!

To myself, I apologize for not taking the time to sit down and just write. About anything. To anyone. About anything. I’m sorry for burying this part of myself that is such an integral, necessary part of who I am. I’ve missed it more than words can say.

Let’s rewind back to 2014 when I broke my ankle. Stay with me here while explain all that happened after that incident. There is a purpose to my ramblings, and you really need the whole story to understand what happened, and how I ended up where I am.

My ankle healed beautifully. In fact, it ended up being better thank it was before I broke it. Go figure.  However, while it was healing, I was forced into inactivity for a week or two, which was a fate worse than death for me. I was crabby and I hurt and I was bored. As I lay in my bed, I felt the inactivity settling into my body. I truly felt like my body was going soft and deteriorating, though I know most of that was in my head. At least, I thought it was.  By the time I was able to get up and about again, I began to realize that there really was more going wrong in my body.

At first, I chocked it up to getting older, menopause, and too much coffee. I just didn’t feel good. My back always hurt. I kept getting little illnesses. Nothing specific..sinus infections, belly aches, arthritis flare-ups. Then, I began putting on weight. Despite eating very healthy and being very active, I was putting on weight at an alarming rate. I was developing rashes all over my body that nothing could get rid of. I was tired all the time. My back kept going out. My vision was going downhill. There was always something not quite right, and as soon one thing cleared up, something else popped up.

I survived the healing up of my ankle, but my mental state sank rapidly. I felt depression creeping in and trying to take over. I was angry because I felt like my body was betraying me. I would try to sit down and write out my feelings, but even that was an epic failure. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t piece together the words in a way that made sense. My thoughts were foggy. Unfocused. Useless. This, maybe was the worst part. Writing was just who I was. Who I have always been able to be. My brain has always been my greatest asset, but it was starting to slip, to malfunction. It was failing me.

Eventually, my back got bad enough that I went to the chiropractor. He told me that I had a bulging disk. He put me on the traction machine. It worked, but only temporarily. Soon enough, my back would go out again, then again, then again. My arthritis was going into hyperdrive. My hands hurt, my shoulder hurt, old injury sites hurts. My activity level was dropping simply because it hurt to move. And, through all of this, the weight kept piling on, adding to the problem.

In between all of this, my second grandchild was born. My son was dealing with some very serious dental issues. My husband was working more and more hours in the construction industry, and it was putting wear and tear on him that was getting harder for him to cope with. My mother was having a hard time recovering from ankle replacement surgery. My dad was dealing with long-term illness. I was getting more and more requests from friends and strangers to help them fix issues that their doctors couldn’t seem to fix. The farm still needed attention. My business needed running. Every appliance we owned was breaking down, as were all of our vehicles and farm equipment. There were many days when I seriously considered selling the farm. It was just too overwhelming. I was tired. I was scared. I was sad. I was mad. I was losing a battle that I just didn’t feel capable of fighting.

Then, life hit me right in the kisser. Literally. Suddenly, my gums began to recede rapidly. My teeth would frequently hurt. Even the roof of my mouth was sore. In the early part of 2016, one of my molars just broke. It was one that had an old metal filling in it from when I was a child, and that sucker just cracked right down the middle. I felt it go. What a strange feeling that was! It took all of 5 minutes for me to figure out that the situation was kinda bad. I couldn’t afford to go have it pulled, and the way it broke meant that every time my tongue touched it, it put little slices in the side of my tongue, both from the tooth itself, as well as the exposed metal filling. With no other recourse, I cleaned it out, sterilized it, then packed it with beeswax. That was working. Not great, but it was doing the job. There was no pain from the tooth, though I couldn’t eat on that side without dislodging the beeswax. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but I could live with that.

The final straw for me, though, came with the bladder control issues. I had heard all the jokes about not being able to cough or sneeze without peeing a little, but it was just a joke. Until it happened to me, anyway. It wasn’t so damn funny all of a sudden!

Through all of this illness and bouts of pain, the only thing that I kept coming back to was my weight. It just kept going up, and the more weight I gained, the more problems I had. Now, let me confess something here. I have always held a large amount of contempt for people who are overweight and blame it on a ‘medical condition’, most often something with the thyroid. It’s not that I don’t believe that it is possible, but  can’t tell you how many of my obese clients come to me asking, “why can’t I lose this weight”, then proceed to tell me how they don’t like water, they really aren’t crazy about fresh fruits/veggies, and they eat most of their meals from a box, can or drive-thru. I can’t tell you the number of sales I have lost because I tell my prospective buyers that the herbs I am giving them won’t help a whit if they don’t take them with a full glass of water and eat right.  All that to say, I was a bit reluctant to even look into thyroid issues as part of my weight problem. I refused to be one of ‘those’ people.

Instead, I did a million other things. I fasted. I dieted. I cut WAY back on the coffee. I tried every natural remedy that has ever been documented. I tried everything. Everything. Did you get that? EVERYTHING! Eventually, though, I couldn’t avoid it any longer.  I typed ‘thyroid’ into Google. The Universe shuddered. The Earth tilted on its axis. I cried.

For weeks, I did nothing but study the thyroid. How it worked. Why it worked. What it controlled. What it didn’t control. Why it quits working. Why it goes into overdrive. Foods to eat. Foods not to eat. Medications commonly prescribed. The benefits and risks of said medications. Natural alternatives to fix it. How to manage it. How to diagnose it. I poured through websites, medical texts, alternative medical texts, comic books, CIA records….wait…that was another subject…anyway, you get the idea, right? My life was consumed with learning about the thyroid.

When I couldn’t find any more info to study, it was time to make a decision. What do I do with all this info? Put it to use, of course. I changed my diet. I changed my schedule. I changed my thinking. Nothing. No change. I was still taking a nap every single day between 2-3 pm because I couldn’t function without it. I was still putting on weight. I was still foggy and unfocused. I was still feeling like crap all the time.

Finally, I couldn’t avoid it any longer. It was time to delve into the world of medication. I was, after all, desperate. I went back to the info I had gathered on medications for the thyroid. Now, let me take a moment to say this (legal issues, you understand). I do not suggest that anyone self-diagnose. I do not suggest that anyone try and fix their own medical issues. Talk to your physician. See ~ I put that in bold italics. You see that, right?

Okay, so I put together this list of issues that are caused by the thyroid malfunctioning. I had nearly every single symptom associated with hypothyroidism. What I didn’t have was a thyroid test from a doctor. The chances of me getting one were pretty slim, but not just because I refuse to go to a doctor. What I discovered was that the method used to test for thyroid issues is extremely unreliable. Unless you happen to catch it at just the right moment, thyroid problems often don’t show up. Further, because everyone seems to have their own ‘normal’ when it comes to T levels, what causes issues for one person might not cause a single issue for another person. So, as with most medical issues, a doctor was somewhat useless to me. Unless I wanted a prescription for thyroid meds.

Now, for the toughest decision I had to make. What was I going to do? Was I going to try a synthetic thyroid med, or was I going to stick to my beliefs and go all natural? I  hit the books again, and here is what I came up with.

Synthetic thyroid medicines don’t usually work for very long, if at all. Yes, I know there are some people who have had great success with them, but the more I dug, the more I found that the majority of people who took them were unsatisfied with the results and they suffered worse side effects than the symptoms presented. Same old story, right? What stumped me the most, though, was how they could claim to fix the thyroid with these meds that only helped with T4, therefore needs to be supplemented with a T3 medication. What about the other T’s? Aren’t they just as important?

I have no intention of giving you a big, medical explanation here. If you suspect you are having thyroid issues, do your own research. I’ll give you a list of some great places to gather info, if that helps. I’ll simply say this….there is a lot more to proper thyroid function than T3 & T4.

The real question, though, is what about natural alternatives? There is only one. Natural Desiccated Thyroid. I latched on with both hands and gathered every bit of info I could. I looked at why the medical community was against it and why the natural community was for it. I read case studies. I looked at adverse reactions. I looked at benefits. I looked at how it worked. What it came down to was this: Both the synthetic and natural forms of thyroid meds have one thing in common. Neither of them is easy to standardize. The synthetic forms have been recalled several times for inconsistencies in dosage, as has the natural form. The difference? Are you ready for it, ’cause this is the big one….While synthetic thyroid meds only supply T3 and or T4, desiccated thyroid provides T1, T2, T3, T4 and calcitonin. Why? Because desiccated thyroid is actually the thyroid gland taken from either bovine or porcine  sources, as these are almost identical to the human thyroid.

Yeah, sounds kinda gross, I know. But, does it work? Study after study, review after review, testimony after testimony seemed to strongly indicate that yes, it most definitely works.  Bonus…no prescription needed. So, I bought some. Once again, the Universe shifted. My life changed so dramatically that I still am a little amazed.

Here’s how it all went down.

Day one: Nothing much.

Day two: I think I feel a little better, but maybe its all in my head.

Day three: Holy shit! I haven’t felt this good in years!

Day four: OMG! I haven’t had a nap in two days and my house is sparkling clean! My grass is mowed and I can’t wait to spend the day with my grandbabies! All of my orders are filled and shipped, and I can feel my brain beginning to function again! Holy shit! Sweet baby Jesus! Wait…my back doesn’t hurt…and neither do my joints.

2 months later: Best decision of my life! I am finally back to myself, mostly. No more foggy brain. My arthritis has disappeared. I rarely take a mid-day nap. I’m seeing my weight slowly falling off. My dry, rash-covered skin is clearing up. My hair and complexion are doing great. I have more stamina and energy than I have had in years. Bladder issues are nearly non-existent. I feel…healthy. Happy. Normal.

Lest you think this is the end of the story, the last couple of weeks have seen a few problems manifesting. Migraines, which I haven’t had for years, are suddenly a part of my weekly agenda again. I was getting tired at odd times. My brain was having little moments of fogginess again. I just felt yucky. Not quite right. A little off. Did that mean the desiccated thyroid was no longer working?

No.

Remember that tooth that broke off and left the filling exposed. Yeah. Well, turns out that an exposed mercury filling presents a new set of problems. It’s also extremely uncomfortable. So, off to the dentist I went to have it pulled. I’ll admit that I’m a big baby when it comes to dentists. I hate having my mouth messed with. Hate it. I called the dentist we take our son to and begged for an appointment that day. Not because I was in pain, but because I knew I would chicken out and cancel if I had time to think about it. The dentist showed mercy on me and fit me in that day.

When the dentist came in and asked me what the problem was, I showed him the broken tooth. The sore, red, receding gums. The cuts on my tongue. He tapped around in my mouth, took an x-ray and poked my gums. The prognosis? My teeth were relatively healthy (especially for someone that hasn’t been to the dentist in 20 years). Very little plaque build-up, teeth firmly seated in the bone, and yes, periodontal disease that was kinda bad, but not horrible. And, a tooth that needed pulling.

Now, when he said, “your teeth are firmly seated in the bone”, he wasn’t kidding. In fact, they are so firmly seated in the bone that the broken one didn’t want to come out. It took some….persuasion. (Translate: extra anesthetic and firm, forceful extraction methods that felt somewhat like he was trying to break my jaw). I am pretty sure the dentist broke a mild sweat in his attempts to get the tooth to let go. I know I did! Surprisingly, there was little pain. Just a bit of discomfort.

In all fairness, he did warn me that I may feel a bit sick. The exposed filling and the trauma from the extraction, combined with me having an extra dose of anesthesia might cause this. I mumbled my understanding around a mouthful of cotton and drove home.

Again, the dentist wasn’t joking. I was all good the day after, but day three~not so much. The extraction site didn’t hurt at all, but the rest of my mouth did! I kinda felt like someone really had busted my jaw, and my gums were so sensitive that I just wanted to cry. I seriously considered pain killers, which the dentist offered, but I had declined. He smiled and said, “call me if you change your mind”. It was an option. Instead, I resorted to the natural stuff. Pulling oil, essential oils, pain-relieving herbs and my mouthwash.

Day 4 I felt much better.  Taking this as a sign that all would be well, I decided to get to work on some projects I had going. For those of you who know me, I’m sure you just giggled. I don’t really do small projects. I prefer big, outrageous projects, like putting a tree in my kitchen.

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The cedar tree we put in our kitchen. Who does this kind of thing??

The project I decided on was, in fact, getting more done on my kitchen. I have a beautiful cabinet that has been sitting in storage for a year or so. It needed to be sanded down. Simple, no? It should be, but sanding wood ALWAYS gives me a sinus infection, especially when the wood is old and has been in storage for a long time in the Missouri humidity. Yes, I used a face mask. No, it didn’t help. I sanded for hours, mostly because once I had the cabinet sanded, I saw some other boards that needed sanding for a different part of the kitchen. Then, there were the small boards I had marked for making some cutesy little signs…well, the projects multiplied.

I went to bed that night feeling like I had accomplished quite a bit and feeling pretty good. I woke up and wanted to die. No, really. I WANTED TO DIE. As I slept, all of that sawdust settled into my sinus cavity and turned into a raging infection. The pain started in the left side of my nose and traveled directly to my front tooth, radiating out along my gums and into both jaws. The front tooth, though…my god…every time my tongue or lip touched that tooth, waves of pain would engulf my face. Unimaginable pain. Pain that makes you want do horrible, unthinkable things. Things like taking pain killers.

I didn’t though. I DID NOT BREAK!!! What I did was made me some extra-strong shots of lemon, garlic, honey and cayenne to boost my immune system. I took hot showers and epsom salt baths. I took detox herbs and didn’t smoke a single cigarette. I used the neti pot and ate natural pain relievers by the handful. I cried. I sought sleep. I cried some more. I thought about pulling every single one of my teeth.

That was yesterday. It was a really bad day. Today, though, things are looking better. The pain is very minimal and easily managed with natural pain relievers. A friend slipped me a pain killer…just in case. I keep looking at it sitting on my shelf. I know it is there as a very last resort. I can feel the infection clearing up. I checked my gums today. They are finally healing and firming back up around my teeth. I am pretty sure I am back on the road to healing.

Best of all, though? Today, I wrote this blog post. The whole thing in one sitting. The more I write, the more I want to tell you all! I have so many stories  from the last year that I want to share with you all! I have tried so many things ~ some that failed, some that worked spectacularly. I have projects completed that I can’t wait to show you all. I have so many things…grandbabies that arrived, grandbabies on the way, future projects, little bits of wisdom that I know you all can’t wait to receive!

Here’s to me finding my way back to health. Thanks for those of you who have stuck with me despite late orders, forgotten meetings, days when I just couldn’t function. You all are so much a part of the reason why I kept going, even when I wasn’t sure I could. I’m really looking forward to the future and can’t wait to share it all with you!

 

 

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Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where the mean boys are chasing Forrest and Jenny is there yelling, “Run, Forrest! Run!” Yeah, I remember it well.  Why? Because, once upon a time, I had an older brother and sister standing on the other side of the yard yelling, “Run, Tam! Run to me!”.

They thought they were really funny.

No, I didn’t have big metal braces like Forrest, but I did have to wear corrective shoes. I was very pigeon-toed and I couldn’t run more than a few steps without tripping over my feet and landing face first in the dirt, at which point my older siblings would roll on the ground laughing at me. It is a very disturbing memory, but that is another issue…

Eventually, I no longer had to wear the corrective shoes, but my ankles never grew quite right. They have, for as long as I can remember, been weak and prone to sprains. A simple misstep would result in a painful roll, followed by swelling and pain for a couple of days. I could always rotate my ankles and hear/feel a popping. Most noticeable, though, was when my legs were at rest, both of my feet would naturally fall inward at an almost right angle. Keeping them straight was a very uncomfortable effort.

So, it was no surprise when I stepped off the 4-wheeler and landed wrong, rolling my ankle and hearing a series of cracks and pops. As I lay there on the ground trying to keep the blackness and pain at bay, I just kept telling myself, “Breathe. The pain will fade any second…”

Yeah, not so much.

This time around, I had really done it. I tried to deny that it was anything more than a sprain. It is, after all, gardening season around the farm. I absolutely do not have time for a broken ankle. My ankle didn’t get the message, though.  By the end of the day it looked like this:

Swollen ankle Day 1

That was on July 23. Everyone was kind of freaking out and letting me know that it was probably broken and I should at least go see a doctor.

You all know how that worked out, right? Of course, I was not going to the doctor. I really have very few people left in my life that are willing to argue any medical points with me, but there are one or two willing to broach the subject. Both of them asked me the same question…”Why not just go have an x-ray so you know for sure?”  The answer was quite simple.

It seemed silly to waste hours in a germ/disease-filled doctor’s office so he could send me to have an x-ray taken, thereby exposing myself to radiation, only to be told that, yes, it is fractured/broken. The doctor would then offer me some preventative antibiotics and a round of pain pills, cast it, and tell me to come back in a few weeks to do it all again.  There are numerous problems in this scenario.

First, a hospital or doctor’s office is the best place in the universe to pick up some seriously nasty illnesses. Not to mention the hours wasted sitting and waiting for your turn with a doctor who is uninterested in the anonymous patient sitting in front of them.

Second, radiation exposure is ALWAYS a risky thing to do. Yes, x-rays are sometimes necessary, but this was obviously not a messy break. The ankle was straight, I could put weight on it, I still had full range of motion…and, even if it was broken I wouldn’t have let them reset it. I will explain why in a second. Needless to say, I didn’t feel that an x-ray could tell me anything I didn’t already know. Plus, as someone with moderate thyroid issues, any extra radiation exposure would have more dangerous consequences for me.

Third, ‘preventative antibiotics’ is a term that makes me cringe and laugh all at the same time. Preventative antibiotics for me is a good diet, an herbal supplement and general clean living. I spend my life in the search for a safer, healthier way of life for my family and me, which includes ways to keep our natural Immune System in good working order. This includes eliminating things like toxic cleaning and beauty supplies, eating organically-grown foods, avoiding processed foods, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine. I am operating on the firm belief that my Immune System is operating at a perfectly capable level. Should an infection develop, I know how to fix that without prescription antibiotics, so what is the point?

Fourth, I am unbelievably claustrophobic. No, seriously. You can’t imagine. So, the thought of being in a cast gives me a case of the heebie-jeebies like you wouldn’t believe. Yeah, I know…whatever. I was NOT going to have a cast put on. Besides, that would have prevented me from being able to get at the break with my poultices and salves. Nope. Not gonna happen.

And, finally, the pain pills. Do you really want to even get me started? I never, under any circumstances, for any reason think that prescription pain pills are a good idea. Never.  Have I taken them? Yes. Would I ever take them again? Highly unlikely. No, this is not just to prove what a badass I am. I understand pain. Broken bones, natural childbirth, surgery…I even drilled through my finger once and had to have shards of metal pulled from the wound…I get pain. I understand the need to feel a single moment of relief from pain that makes you want to curl up and fade away.  But, the downside of finding that relief in a prescription pill is so huge and monstrous that it just isn’t worth it. Addiction, organ damage, bone damage, brain damage…and the truth is, most pain pills just take the edge off and make you loopy or tired. There are so many natural pain relievers available that the thought of taking a scrip med for pain is ludicrous. The natural choices may take a few minutes longer to work, but their effects are often longer-lasting and also provide healing benefits.

So, there you have it. There was no need to go to the doctor. I could splint it myself, prevent an infection, deal with the pain and heal it up much faster all by myself.  Here’s my little secret, though…I was kind of scared. I knew, in theory, that it was possible. I had seen it done. I have read case after case of herbs that worked for healing bones on a spectacular level. This was me, though, and, after all of my spouting off about the power of natural medicine, this was something of a test. Of my faith. Of my ability. This was a ‘Live it or leave it’ moment. I chose to live it.

The first thing I did was remind my husband how to make a poultice. I am quite determined to make an herbalist of him yet, and he did a fine job! He mixed up the herbs and added the oils and heated and wrapped and doted on me. I slept with the poultice on the first night. By morning, the pain was minimal. Definitely bearable if I was very still. I applied my Bone Salve several times a day and soaked my foot in an Epsom bath. I applied ice and drank herbal tea that had herbs to heal bones in it. I stayed off that sucker for almost 2 whole days!

Then, I needed to be mobile. I got lucky because our neighbor had just healed up from ankle surgery and had gadgets and gizmos that he was willing to let me borrow. Like this crazy boot:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGetting in to the boot is an exercise in fine motor skills and patience, but once you get through all the straps and velcro, it is a truly beautiful contraption! It was comfier than I expected, provided amazing support and allowed me to hobble around for short periods without a lot of pain. I kept it on for a whole week…almost. After the first week, I only wore it when I felt like I needed it.

It took a good 3 weeks before I was back to almost-normal. I most often forgot to apply the poultice, but I took bone-building herbs and tea, and used lots of Bone Salve. By the third week, the swelling was gone, most of the bruising was gone and I had full functionality of the ankle. I was pretty impressed.

Now, here is where I want you to really pay attention. I attribute a majority of the healing that is happening to a combination of herbs. The most important one, though, is one that the FDA has declared, “dangerous”.  They state liver toxicity resulting from the use of comfrey. 4 cases of it with sketchy details as the basis for their theory.  I won’t make you sit and read all the studies, but should you be interested in how they arrived at this conclusion, this is a fantastic starting point that is fairly easy to read. Like most of the herbs labeled ‘dangerous’ by the morons at the FDA, Comfrey has been used for thousands of years, across a broad spectrum of nationalities, with no bad press until the last few decades. The studies conducted have been on inbred lab rats that were given several hundred times the dosage of the questionable constituent needed for a human.

Comfrey

Comfrey

For the sake of argument, let us say that they are correct, though. Let us pretend that there have been 4 cases of liver damage over the last 300 years. Hell, let us say there have been 40 cases. Compare that to the antibiotics and pain pills the doctors try and feed you at every opportunity. Need I say more…?

Next, compare the risk of comfrey to the benefits of comfrey. Of course, I have read the reports on how comfrey has been used over the centuries, not just for healing bones, but for a variety of ailments. Safely. With no reported negative consequences. Dr. Christopher has a wonderfully explicit history of comfrey here that is well worth the read!

For the sake of time and space, though, we are just going to stick with comfrey’s ability to help heal bones. One of the many historical names is ‘boneset’.

It has been reported to have the ability to pull shattered bits of bone back into their proper place. It is also a cell proliferate, which means that it has the ability to generate new cell growth, as well as repair damaged cells. Can you imagine? A plant that is actually capable of repairing a shattered bone? These aren’t a few isolated reports we are talking about. It is hundreds. Thousands.

The stories that really hooked me, though, were the ones that talked about comfrey’s ability to repair old wounds and breaks. Ones that had already reset themselves. It was said that comfrey could realign bones that had healed improperly, or that had been wrong since birth. I will admit that even I was a bit skeptical of some of these claims. However, I never really expected to be able to test the claims. Ain’t life funny?

I have now reached the 6 week point. This is the point at which I would be expected to return to the doctor’s office, had I opted to go that route. As I lay in my bed the other night studying my ankle and admiring the fact that I no longer had a greenish-black kankle, I noticed something unbelievable. Remember when I said that my feet used to turn inward at a right angle?  Let me elaborate. My left ankle was so turned in when at rest that my big toe would rest against the inside knob of my right ankle. My right ankle was not nearly as turned, but it did have an obvious bend.

That is no longer the case. Check this out!

crooked foot

My ankle is straight. For the first time since before I can remember, my left ankle is straight! Do you see that?

Then, I rotated my ankle. The double-jointed popping thing was gone. Poof! Vanished!

I started paying attention after that, and realized that I am walking different, too. It is a hard thing to describe. Where once I had to walk carefully because there was a ‘loose’ feeling in my ankles, that was no longer a problem. My ankle felt firmer. More stable. I also noticed that my heel and the side of my foot were a bit sore. I have always walked slightly on the inside of my feet and my heel and outer edge of the foot never had to bear much weight. Not anymore.

The moral of the story? There isn’t one really. This is more about my renewed amazement at the power of herbs and the bodies ability to heal itself when given the proper tools. And, not just heal, but heal in a way that makes it better and stronger than before.

After 6 weeks, I still wear the boot occasionally because I have a penchant for over-doing it when my to-do list is getting out of control. I still use the salve to help soothe the ache that comes with damp weather or over-use. I still take it easy on my ankle because I know that it is still healing. But, that’s the whole point…it IS healing. Spectacularly.

But, still…maybe, just maybe…this was simply another fluke. A one-time thing. So, I am going to be my own guinea pig. Seeing as how my right ankle is still a little bent and much weaker than it should be, I am going to spend a couple of weeks using the poultice and bone salve on it. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

 

 

 

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Zombie Juice. Tell me that phrase isn’t just a bit disturbing… Makes you wonder why I would name one of my products something like that, huh?

zombie juice

Well, you see, it started out as a bit of a joke. Then, we decided it tasted something like one would imagine a zombie might taste like, should you ever find yourself in a position to taste one.

That isn’t really a good selling point, though, so, after much consideration, I decided to tell people that I named it that because it will prevent one from turning into a zombie should we ever actually experience a Zombie Apocalypse. That sounds like a much better marketing strategy, right?

Fortunately, it is kind of a mostly true statement. At least, I believe it to be, though I haven’t actually had the opportunity to test out our hypothesis. Yet.

You may wonder what would cause me to come to this conclusion. Well, I will tell you.

When I set about creating my Zombie Juice, I was going for an end result that was good for the whole body. A tonic. Something that would boost the immune system, strengthen the organs, regulate digestion, cleanse toxins, and provide lots of vitamins and minerals to the body. I wanted it to have all the ‘anti’ properties…antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-radiation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory…I wanted it to be strong enough to knock out any stray bit of illness or disease that might find its way into our system, but gentle enough to be able to take daily to prevent any illness or disease from finding its way into our system in the first place.

There are a couple of tonics out there that came very close to what I wanted, like Dr. Christopher’s Anti plague tonic, but nothing that hit the exact target I was aiming for. So, I turned all mad-scientist and came up with my own formula.

To date, we have had lots and lots of opportunities to test out our Zombie Juice. Colds, coughs, bronchitis, flu, strep throat, dental infections…all those little illnesses that run rampant through the work-place and schools. What we have found has been pretty amazing. It doesn’t just work…it works spectacularly!

It gets rid of infections of all types in about 48-72 hours. It helped clear up colds and sinus infections. It helped with constipation. And, while we can’t scientifically prove it, we all believe its preventative properties have allowed us to slide right through the flu epidemics that swarmed the country. While our friends and family that refused to swallow this ‘awful brew’ hacked and puked their way through, we smiled and choked down the Zombie Juice, germ-free.

I gotta tell you, though, it is some unusual-tasting stuff. Imagine extra-vinegary Worcestershire sauce. With a little dirt added for flavor. Yeah, that’s a pretty close comparison. I have contemplated adding it to salad dressing, though. Maybe in place of balsamic vinegar, cause that might be kind of good and still effective…

My advice to those who let the…unusual…flavor deter them would be this; Suck it up, buttercup! A spoonful of nasty will not kill you. Pansy.

This is one of those times when I am going to share my recipe with you. Generous of me, isn’t it? I will admit, my reasons aren’t entirely altruistic. For the most part, few people will go through the time and expense of tracking down all the ingredients, then properly preparing them. This stuff takes 6 weeks to make and it is a real pain in the ass. So, only the truly adventurous will bother to make this.

Also, I can’t seem to make enough and I keep running out.

So, here goes:

Zombie Juice Recipe

In a half gallon jug, combine:

½ lb organic garlic (minced, smashed or pulverized)

Apple Cider Vinegar (enough to fill the jug ½” from the brim)

garlic vinegar

Let this sit in a dark, slightly warm space for 5-6 weeks. Shake the mixture daily. Strain, squeezing as much of the liquid from the garlic as possible.

Gather up these herbs:

2 pts burdock root, red clover blossoms

1 pt alfalfa leaf, amla root, horsetail, black walnut hull, peppermint leaf, dandelion root, nettle root

½ pt milk thistle see, kelp

¼ pt cayenne, golden seal root

Get a couple of gallons of distilled water. Not tap water, well water or any other type of water. Only distilled water should be used.

Place each herb in its own separate glass container. I prefer glass Pyrex measuring cups.

Add enough water to equal 8 oz.

Place the herb/water container in a pot of water and place on medium low heat. This needs to be simmered down until it reaches 4 oz.

You do not want your herb/water to boil, just a very low simmer. This will take several hours and should be stirred occasionally.

Each herb is going to be brewed separately. This is an important part of the process. Don’t just throw the herbs in together. They must be done individually. Yes, I realize that this may take a couple of days. Do you?

As each tea is done, strain and add the liquid to your vinegar.

When all of the herbs have been extracted, add

2 oz of vegetable glycerin  and 5 oz of raw honey to the mixture.

Mix well.

Bottle and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Here is how the adults take it:

When we are feeling run down, tired or sick, or if we know there is an outbreak of some type going around, or should we hear of a possible zombie attack headed our way, we take 2 Tbsp twice a day.

When we aren’t trying to get rid of an issue, we take 1 Tbsp per day…you know, just for general good health…

You can take it straight or add it to a little fresh juice…however you have to get it down is fine.

We don’t suggest giving this to any children under 2, but 2-10 years old, we suggest 1 Tbsp twice a day to fight off illness and ½ Tsp daily to help fend off illness. Nobody wants a child zombie running around town, cause that’s just…well…disturbing!

Of course, we are not licensed medical doctors around here, so you could just chalk all of this up to quackery. I don’t mind and I get it…I know, the zombies and all are a bit much to contemplate. I would never consider handing out any type of medical advice or diagnosis, and I most certainly can’t tell you that herbs and other ‘natural’ ingredients can make you better if you are sick. I’m simply handing out some friendly advice that we believe has helped my family and friends stay a little healthier. And not zombies. What you choose to do with the info is your own business.

So, there you have it. Sounds tasty, huh?

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2017 has arrived, and brought with it the start of one of the worst flu epidemics in years.  What does that really mean, though?  What, exactly, is the flu? How do you know if you just have a really bad cold, or if those are actually symptoms of the flu?

Influenza, while it shares many symptoms of the common cold, is actually a totally different virus with it’s own unique chemistry.  Discovery Health‘s website has a great explanation of exactly what the Influenza virus is and how it works on the body.

Many people who suspect they have the flu head for the doctor or emergency room.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much your doctor can do.  Antibiotics don’t work on viruses, and can actually make the problem worse by weakening your immune system.  While the best line of defense is a good offense, we don’t always take care of ourselves the way we should, so we leave ourselves open to things like the cold or flu. And, don’t even get me started on how ridiculous I think getting a flu shot is…

Preventing the flu is simple.  Eat more fruits and veggies that contain vitamins and minerals that the body needs to remain healthy and function properly, especially those high in Vitamin C.  Citrus fruits, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts and strawberries area all very high in Vitamin C, as are many herbs like amla root, rose hips, elderberry, echinacea, nettles, dandelion and yellow dock.  Also, add some immune boosting herbs like astragalus, ginseng, golden seal, kelp, oregano and violets.  Adding many of these foods to your diet will help stave off any bacteria and viruses that try to take down your system.

If, by chance, they get through your carefully (or not so carefully) natural defenses and you find yourself with a nasty case of the flu, go ahead and eat some of them, anyway.  They will help rebuild a weakened immune system and will help your body recover more quickly.  Don’t stop there, though.  While most people spend 5-10 days recovering from the flu, here are some strategies that will help kick the flu in the butt much quicker ~ most often in 36 hours or less.

To provide your system with a quick, massive infusion of immune-boosting goodness, mix up this concoction:

  • Equal parts raw, local honey and fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger root
  • a pinch of cayenne

Mix them all up to make a liquid-y concoction and take 1 Tbsp every 1-2 hours until it is gone.  Repeat until the flu is gone.

Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?  Okay, well, maybe not so much.  In fact, it is pretty vile tasting unless you just like that sort of thing.  But, it works.  Fast.  As you are choking down this concoction know that I feel your pain, as do all the people living in my home.  We keep an upgraded version of this on hand all the time.  We laughingly call it ‘Zombie Juice” and are pretty sure it will protect us from every disease, both known and unknown, that has ever thought of existing, including the Zombie virus.  It has a mix of potent herbs that lend a most interesting dirt-flavored addition to the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and cayenne.  My family only tells me they aren’t feeling well if the REALLY aren’t feeling well, cause they know what I’m going to ask…”Did you take a Zombie Shot?”  I put it in a pretty bottle, though.  Do I get points for presentation, if not flavor…?

Boost your Vitamin D by stepping outside and getting a healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine.  I know…all you really wanna do is climb in bed and cry yourself to sleep, but I promise, ten minutes of this and you’ll feel better much faster!

Flowers

Because the flu is a respiratory illness, you want to make sure and keep your lungs and sinuses from getting stuffy and congested, or dry and painful.  Herbal teas will help sooth and clear the lungs.  Mullein leaves, wild cherry, horehound, peppermint and catnip are all fantastic for any type of respiratory issue and can be taken in huge amounts without causing any undesirable side effects.

Don’t forget the neti pot!  Again, keeping the sinuses free of mucus or excessive dryness, try this…flush the sinuses with a salt/distilled water mixture, then follow it with distilled water/olive oil rinse.  Use 1/4 tsp of olive oil to 2 cups water.  You don’t need much, but olive oil is moisturizing, antibacterial and mildly antiviral.  Since the influenza virus enters through the mouth, nose and ears, this will help fend off and kill any bacteria or viruses that have taken up residence in your sinus cavities.

Speaking of ears, mix up this blend of essential oils to help fight the flu from this often-overlooked angle.

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Equal parts tea tree and  lavender oil ~ 6-8 drops of each
  • Add 3-4 drops each of any of the following:  rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, frankincense
  • If you don’t have all the oils available, use what you can get.  Mix them up, then warm the mixture by placing it in a small pan of hot water until it reaches a warmth that is comfortable. Don’t use boiling water.  Too much heat will kill the healing properties of the oils and cause the essential oils to vaporize off.  Place 3 drops in each ear.
  • These oils are also great when you drop a couple into your vaporizer or humidifier
  • This oil works great for ear aches, too!

Herbal chest rubs are also very soothing and help deliver the healing power of herbs via the skin, so you get healing from the outside, as well as internally.

chest rub 1

Hot, steamy baths with a couple tablespoons of Epsom salts thrown in will help open the pores of the skin to allow toxins to escape, they sooth and relax body and muscle aches, and the steam will help  keep your lungs moist and pliable so they can expel the mucus that is congesting them. Take as many as you can stand, as hot as you can stand.

Don’t fight the fever.  The fever is your body’s greatest friend during times of illness.  I know…standard medicine says to take some acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower the fever.  They tell you that fevers, especially high ones, are dangerous.  The truth is, your fever will never progress past 105 degrees, and that is only dangerous if there is no moisture present.  If you have a fever, drink as much water as you can to keep the heat in your body moist.  The fever is ‘cooking’ out the bacteria and viruses that are causing the illness.

Finally, get some rest!  Sleep brings with it the power to heal.  Go with it.  Sleep as much as you can.  A few herbs that can help you relax and drift off are valerian root, chamomile, hops and catnip. Find out more about their benefits in my other post, Searching for Sleep

Remember that the flu doesn’t have to be dangerous.  There is no way you can avoid the discomfort that comes with it, but you can definitely minimize the duration and severity of the flu.

Most importantly, don’t stop giving your body the things it needs just because you get to feeling a little better.  Keep it strong by eating plenty of colorful, nutritious, preferably organic fresh fruits and veggies. Drink lots of water.  Get plenty of fresh air, sunshine and light exercise.

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It always makes me a little sad when spring rolls around and I hear everyone talking about the best way to kill the dandelions popping up in their yard.  I love dandelions!  They’re all soft and yellow and pretty and girlie, but then you see the leaves and realize this sweet little flower is growing out of this bad-ass patch of spikey-looking  leaves and it has a tap root that reaches deeper than I have ever been able to dig. Then, it fades out into this soft little puff-ball that is totally capable of making all of your wishes come true if you can get all the fluffies off with a single blow…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And, of course, there is the valuable medicinal properties of the plant, too.  All of this together makes the thought of trying to destroy the dandelions leaves me a little misty-eyed.

So, in an effort to do my part in saving this valiant, noble plant from extinction, I collect it.  Seeds, leaves, roots…I have a purpose for them all!  I guess, since I like you all so very much, I will share my dandelion secrets with you.

I love to gather the leaves when they are young and small to add to our dinner table.  They taste amazing when you throw them in with some fresh lettuce and spinach, maybe a few nuts and raisins, then drizzle a bit of lemon juice and Bragg amino acids over them. OMG!!! Delicious!  There is so much more to this awesome weed, though.  They are packed with vitamins and nutrients!  In a serving of dandelion greens, you get more beta-carotene than you would from a serving of carrots, more iron and calcium than a serving of spinach, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Who needs a multi-vitamin when you have these babies growing right there in your yard?

Then, you have the flowers.  Those charming yellow spots of happiness that pop up, seemingly from nowhere, to decorate your otherwise drab landscape.  These, too, are wonderfully delicious.  Sprinkle the petals over your next salad for a striking spot of tasty nutrition…batter and deep fry them for a scrumptious snack…make some wine and forget all of your ills!  Bonus…they are an incredible source of lecithin, which raises the level of acetylcholine in the brain.  Acetylcholine is a nutrient that helps maintain brain function and, recent studies show that may be very beneficial to patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Finally, we have the root.  I’ll be the first to admit this part doesn’t taste so good. Imagine, if you will, bitter dirt.  Yeah, it’s kinda like that.  But, the benefits are so great that that doesn’t seem to matter so much in light of the fact that dandelion root is one of the greatest liver cleansers ever.  It also helps relieve inflammation of the eliminative organs, helps promote bile and improves circulation.  It contains calcium and silicon, which aid the development and repair of bones, hair and teeth. It boosts the metabolism and helps calm the craving for sweets.  What more could you want?

Freshly picked dandelion root

Freshly picked dandelion root

Dandelion has been used to treat cancer, rheumatism, liver and kidney disorders, bed wetting, constipation, skin diseases, scurvy, blood diseases, and even diabetes. It contains 28 parts sodium and helps to neutralize acids in, and purify, the blood. It is a mild, effective laxative.  Lets not forget their anti-oxidant properties, too!

All this being said, don’t you feel a little silly for going to such great lengths to eradicate it from your yard?  My suggestion is to set down the herbicide and take a minute to appreciate the beauty and benefits of this delightful little weed. Gather a few flowers while they are bright yellow and fully opened.  Pick a few leaves for dinner, then let yourself regress back to your childhood long enough to pick a fuzzy flower, wish with all your might and scatter the seeds into the wind…

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