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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Degenerative Bone Disease.  It sounds painful, doesn’t it?  It is a phrase that I have been hearing a lot of lately.  At first, it was just the 35 and older crowd -mostly women-  that kept saying they had been diagnosed with it, but gradually the victims have gotten younger.  In fact, just recently I heard about a 9-year-old little girl that had been diagnosed with it.

So, this then, is the newest medical ‘trend’.  Frightening.  Even more frightening is that most doctors are telling their patients that there is no way to reverse the disease or the damage it has caused.  Instead, the best they can hope for is to control the pain with some prescription meds.  ‘Experts’ tell you that osteoporosis drugs are the answer.   Forget the dangerous side effects.

Degenerative bone disease is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing as osteoporosis.   This is caused from a lack of calcium, vitamin D and other bone-building vitamins and minerals.  Many people run to the health food store and stock up on some multi-vitamin that claims to have these ingredients in it, hoping to prevent this disease.  You all know what I think about vitamin pills, right?  This is not the answer.  It is difficult for the body to process vitamins and nutrients that are not organic.  Raw.  In their natural state.  In order to prevent this disease, you have to get these essential elements from your food, not from a pill.

But, that’s not where this blog post is going.  We were talking about Degenerative Bone Disease. So, here’s how it works ~  our bodies, when kept in good working order, are designed to heal themselves.  Skin, tissue, bone and blood will all repair and replenish themselves, returning to perfect working order even after the most severe damage.  We have already dealt with healing skin and tissue, so lets talk about healing bones.

Like most people, I had always assumed that bones, once broken, never truly healed.  Not back to the way they were before.  In fact, when I broke my wrist I remember the doctor putting on that awful cast and telling my mom how careful I would have to be because that would always be a weak spot in my bone.  Later, I learned that it was not the broken spot, itself, as much as the area just above and below the healed fracture that was the most vulnerable.  Either way, things would never be the same.

Then, I decided to go and become an herbalist.  In earning one of my herbalist certifications, I was introduced to the possibility that the bones are, in fact, capable of healing completely.  Just like they were before they were damaged.  With the proper treatment and healing methods, even a shattered, fragmented mess of bones could pull itself back together so you’d never even know it was harmed.  Did you notice the big, dark italicized letters?

The body, when it is deprived of the things it needs to function (things like calcium and vitamin D), will start to pull these things from it’s storehouse – the bones.  When that storehouse is depleted, the shell becomes brittle and fragile.  Bones may break more easily, or even break off a single chip at a time.

It is not just depriving the body of the things it needs that is the problem, though.  There are many other things that will cause the body to lose these essential elements faster.  They will actually pull them from the body.  Iodized salt, white sugar, caffeine and many prescription and OTC medicines are some of the worst culprits.

Coincidentally, it seems that in most cases of osteoporosis, or degenerative bone disease that I have heard about, bad diet  and a history of prescription meds are prevalent.  Without exception, when I asked about their eating habits many of them ate canned or boxed meals on a regular basis, were at least minimally overweight, and consumed high levels of meat, sugar and caffeine.

So, what to do to fix things?  Treat the osteoporosis like it is a broken bone.  Give it what it needs to repair and regenerate stronger bones.  Of course, this isn’t always an easy thing.  For some of us, switching to a raw food diet is just not an option.  However, switching to a partially-raw-food diet is.  That doesn’t mean to eat a rare steak, either.  I’m talking raw fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

Here are some of the best foods and herbs to help your body help itself to heal from broken bones or even degenerative bone disease:

Bananas, cantaloupe, eggplant, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, avocados, cabbage, green foods (broccoli, kale, spinach)

And, don’t forget these bone-building herbs:

parsley, horsetail, red clover, alfalfa, kelp, rose hips, dandelion

But, you still need some vitamin D.  Vitamin D is critical because it allows the body to absorb calcium.  Without it, there is little chance of reversing bone damage.  If you ask most people, they will tell you that your best source of Vitamin D comes from milk and other dairy products, or from one of those great-tasting cereals off the grocery store shelves enriched with Vitamin D.  They would be way off the mark.  In fact, there is very little evidence that dairy products help at all with vitamin D.  In fact, most modern research shows that dairy products hinder the system in many ways.  That’s a post for another day, though…

So, what to do?  Simple really.  Step outside.  You know how I’m always spouting off about fresh air and sunshine?   10-15 minutes of sunlight on the face and hands every other day will provide you with the proper amount of vitamin D, among many other benefits.

Here’s the surprise, though.  You would think that brittle bones mean you should stay away from exercise to avoid injury.  This isn’t the case, either.  Gentle exercises like yoga or tai chi will help strengthen not just the bones, but the entire body.  It will stimulate the organs of the body to work properly, which in turn will allow the body to heal itself.  It will help calm and focus the mind, which has been shown to speed the healing of the body.  Plus, it just makes you feel good!

Finally, de-stress your life.  Stress has been shown to promote health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers and other digestive disorders, depression and even with how the body absorbs and uses the vitamins and minerals it is given.  I know, sometimes that is much easier said than done, but  if your health is at stake then maybe now is the time to re-evaluate your life.  Decide what is truly important and let the rest fall to the wayside. Take time to watch a sunrise.  Take a drive in the country.  Spend a night with friends.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

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I think I came dangerously close to failing history in high school.  It was boring and I was certain it had no bearing on my own future. Eventually, though,  I did realize that, more often than not, history repeats itself.  It also allows us to move forward by examining the failures and successes of those who have come before us.  It allows us to draw on the wisdom of  our ancestors ~ both the brilliant and the…um…not so brilliant.

Don’t worry.  This won’t be your typical history lesson.  It will be long and drawn out.  It would be nearly impossible to pull this off using all the technical terms and citing hundreds of sources in one blog post.  However, I really have no intention of elaborating on historical information that everyone else already knows and has written a two-page article on.  At least, not too much.  No, this will be done like everything else in my world ~ with a certain amount of sarcasm and enough weird to make it almost unbelievable.  Yes, I might drift off-course and go into small (or not so small) rants here and there.  I’ll apologize ahead of time.  Sometimes, I just can’t seem to help myself.

Like now.  See, here’s what happened…

My husband was watching a show on tv and some lady was spouting off about the lack of research concerning herbal medicine.  It was one of many utterly ridiculous statements made by the medical community at large concerning herbs and their medicinal uses.

I should know better than to watch shows like that.  Really, I should.  To take my props, though…I didn’t get on here and start screaming about the idiocy and ignorance of some people.   I calmed down a little and decided to fight the oppression with a bit of humor and, hopefully, I’ll be passing on a little bit of information that just might come in handy.  So, here goes…

I’m pretty sure there is no faction out there that doubts the use of herbs as medicine since the beginning of recorded history. Early Mesopotamian drawings dating back approximately 5,000 years show the use of herbs as medicine, as do many ancient Chinese and Indian drawings that are, perhaps, even older.  These websites have some very interesting information.

Ancient Egyptian Herbs

Ancient Roman Medicine

That being a fact, why would anyone be so ignorant as to say there is no viable research available concerning herbs?  I mean, really, how long does one have to research a thing for it to be considered ‘thoroughly researched’?  Last time I checked, many prescription medications are being considered ‘extremely safe’ after only 3-5 years of research, but 5,000 years of research concerning herbs is irrelevant?  I don’t suppose expounding on this point will do any good.  You either get it or you don’t.

After all these years of being an outspoken advocate of natural healing and warning everyone who’ll listen of the dangers concerning Western Medicine, I’ve heard almost every misconception possible about herbs and other alternative healing methods.  Some of them are so far from the truth that I just giggle and go on. I always say, ‘you can’t fix stupid’.

Some, though, are just close enough to the truth to be believable.  I have always made it a point to verify any information I gather with at least three separate, reliable sources that corroborate each other.  I search journals, magazines, books and the internet for viewpoints from both sides.  I see the evidence-not the opinion- that each side quotes.  Then, I dig a little deeper.

What I have found over and over again is that the medical community has a bad habit of taking a perfectly good herb, breaking it down into pieces, then testing each of those pieces.  It then finds that the pieces don’t work, or are dangerous.  Here’s the thing.   They are right.  Totally and completely correct.  Let me give you an example.

Lobelia is an awesome herb.  Magical, really.  Many herbalists use lobelia to induce vomiting.  Take it right and you’ll be puking your guts up in no time.  Oddly enough, those same herbalists will also use lobelia to stop vomiting.  Take it right and the puking will stop in no time.

For hundreds of years,  lobelia has been used to treat many other common complaints including influenza, worms, venereal disease, to relieve aches and pains, to heal abscesses, sore throats, coughs, chest congestion, asthma, bronchitis…the list is long.  Did you catch the part where I said ‘for hundreds of years’?  That’s an important part.  Why would an entire race of people (Native Americans) continue to use something for hundreds of years, passing it on to their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, if it was neither safe nor effective?

But, should you ask a doctor or pharmacist about lobelia and their answer will be quick and firm.  It is very dangerous and it doesn’t work.  Why would they say this?  Why would they believe this?  Because it is what they were told.  They didn’t bother to research it for themselves.  They didn’t weigh out the evidence.  They didn’t try it.

Here’s the problem.  As best as the medical community can figure, the active ingredient in lobelia is lobeline.  Using this assumption, they found a way to extract the lobeline from the rest of the plant.  Then, they ran around injecting various amounts of this concentrated lobeline into various objects…cysts, tumors, animals.  Guess what they found?  Yep.  Lobeline didn’t cure cancer and it caused some serious problems.

What any simpleton with a lick of common sense could have told them was that you can’t break something apart and expect it to work properly.  Lobelia is effective because of all of the things in it.  The lobeline is only one small part and it needs all of it’s other parts to work the way it is supposed to.   Furthermore, the amount of lobeline they injected was ridiculous.  In fact, it would take four pounds of lobelia herb to equal enough lobeline to render it dangerous.  That’s a whole lot of lobelia and I don’t really recommend eating four pounds of anything at one sitting.  It could cause terrible indigestion!

Seriously, though, do you see the problem?   And, its not just lobelia they did this with.  Several other herbs have earned a nasty, dangerous reputation because of this type of faulty research.  Chaparral, ephedra, comfrey…they have all fallen victim to the lies.  The point here is that, when studying anything you should always look at the methods used, as well as the results.  Look at the other criteria, too.  Who were the test subjects?  What was their medical condition going in?  What was their diet?  How old were they?

Which leads to my next point.  No two people are the same.  What works for one might not work for another.  That is why it is so important to consult an experienced herbalist.  Some herbs should not be taken if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, liver or kidney troubles.  Some herbs are nearly ineffective unless used with other herbs.  Some herbs will increase, or decrease, the effectiveness of prescription drugs, including birth control.  Never, ever forget that herbs are medicine.

That being said, there are an astounding number of herbs that are exceptionally potent, capable of healing the body of such things as cancer, diabetes and staph infections, yet safe enough that they could be eaten in limitless quantities without causing anything more that a bloated stomach.  Here is where we draw on history to guide us.  We look at ancient drawings by such advanced people as the Egyptians, who relied heavily on herbs as a primary method of medicine.  We look to writings by such esteemed figures as Hippocrates, who believed absolutely in the power of herbal medicine.  We read their notes on what worked…and what didn’t.

After all of this, you might think that I’m convinced that herbs hold the power to heal mankind of every imaginable ill.  You would be right.  I’ll take my chances with herbal medicine over prescription medicines any day.   But, I don’t think that herbs alone will do the trick.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.  Illness doesn’t just happen.  We create it.  We eat the wrong things, we use chemical-laden products on our skin, we don’t exercise, we lead stress-filled lives and we never take the time to walk barefoot in the grass or commune with Mother Nature.

If you want to find true, lasting healing it’s about more than finding a magic pill.  It is about feeding our bodies the things it needs.  Lay off the sugar and sugar by-products.  The commercials are absolutely right.  Corn syrup is no more dangerous to our health than regular sugar.  Unfortunately, sugar is detrimental to our body, leaching calcium and water from our bones and tissues, then settling in places like our hips, thighs and intestines where it ferments and turns rancid and deadly.  Instead, choose live foods whenever you can.  Raw fruits and veggies, whole grains that are sprouted instead of cooked.  Raw seeds.

It is also about keeping our bodies fit.  Exercise is essential, whether it is a walk around the block or an hour of yoga, do something.  Dance, walk, jog, climb or the personal favorite of many ~ sex!  Anything that gets your heart rate up a bit and stretches muscles and tendons without damaging them is awesome.

Finally, water.  This is one of the few places that every healer can meet and agree.  Water is essential to optimal health.  Not just any water, though.  Distilled water is the first and best choice.  Why?  Because it is actually ’empty’ water.  There is no fluoride, no minerals, no vitamins…nothing.  What that means for your body is that is capable of traveling through your system and picking up toxins and other undesirables from your bloodstream and, ultimately, from your body.  Studies have shown that distilled water is actually 30% more efficient at cleansing and hydrating the body than tap or well water.

Don’t be fooled by the ‘enriched water’ scam.  Yes, there probably are many vitamins and minerals in that expensive bottle of water.  The problem is, the body can’t process those vitamins and minerals, and they are worse than useless.  I could go into a long and detailed explanation here about why, but I won’t.  If you want to understand the ‘why’ of it, check out this easy-to-understand article.

At the root of this all is Nature.  It is nature that can provide us with the proper foods to keep our body healthy.  It provides us with medicine to fix the imbalances that we create.  It is also Nature that can renew and revive both our body and our spirit by simply spending time with her.  Plant a garden, take a walk, sit on the front porch and watch the sun go down or walk barefoot in the grass.  Take in the beauty and symmetry that can only be found in Nature.  Be happy.  Be healthy.

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BE WARNED: THIS POST CONTAINS A PICTURE OF DAMAGED FLESH AND BLOOD!

One of the first herbal products I created was born of necessity. It was my Herbal Healing Wash, a product that is a constant in my medicine cabinet.

It came about because, as the mother of three small children, I was constantly doctoring minor cuts and I was never really comfortable using alcohol and triple antibiotic ointment on my little ones. In my search for an alternative, I stumbled across a basic recipe in a fantastic book called, “Back to Eden” by Jethro Kloss. I whipped up my first batch and was pleased with the results, but in time I knew it just wasn’t good enough.

So, I made some modifications. What I ended up with is my Herbal Healing Wash. What I didn’t know at the time was that I had created something that would go far beyond cleaning simple cuts. In the ten plus years that we have been using this, it’s helped speed up the healing of everything including those simple cuts, deep wounds that had the meat spilling out, bruises, sprains, strains, bumps, cysts, acne and so much more!

While I do wish that I could take credit for the awesome healing abilities of this wash, the truth is, it’s all about the ingredients.

In the beginning, I used a bottle of Everclear pure grain alcohol as a base. It works great, but the downside is that it burns like hell! So, I found a suitable alternative. T.N Dickinsons’s Witch Hazel is gentle but highly effective for toning and cleansing.

Goldenseal

I absolutely love this herb and it is one that I use in many of my healing products. Goldenseal is a plant native to North America that contains antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties far above those of most other herbs, which has contributed to its status as endangered (and extremely expensive!). It contains calcium, iron, manganese, Vitamins A, C, E and B-complex, as well as other nutrients and minerals. Berberine, a chemical contained in goldenseal, is said to have the ability to fight infection caused by some bacteria, fungi, and yeast. This herb is also known for its ability to stimulate the immune system, which allows the body to heal itself.

Echinacea

Like goldenseal, echinacea is a wonderful immune booster that has been used for more than 500 years. It contains a wide array of chemical compounds including polysaccharides, glycoproteins, alkamides, volatile oils, and flavonoids. While it is well-known for its ability to help fight off the common cold, few people realize its value in treating wounds, acne and other skin issues.

Cayenne Pepper

The healing effects of cayenne pepper are often overlooked, but are truly phenomenal. Used internally, it is known to stimulate the entire system and is profoundly valuable for diseases such as diabetes, heart conditions, colds, cancer and many more. It contains capsaicin, which is a powerful pain reliever and antioxidant, and helps with itching. It also contains high levels of Vitamin C which are known to help stimulate the immune system and ward off infections. Cayenne helps stop bleeding while preventing clotting…a bit of an oxymoron, but it works!

Plantain

Yes, this is the same plant that probably grows wild in your front yard. A common weed, if you will. What you probably didn’t know about it is that it was called ‘life medicine’ by American Indians. It can be used as an antibacterial, antidote, astringent, anti-inflammatory, atniseptic, antitussive, , demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic, laxative, ophthalmic, poultice. What does all that mean to you? It means that it will stop bleeding, ease pain, reduce swelling, fight infection, cleanse and promote healing, not to mention helps with a whole host of complaints when taken internally. It also contains a chemical called Acubin, which is listed in the Journal of Toxicology as a potent anti-toxin.

Still, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and while all of the ingredients that go into this wash are supposed to work, the real question is, do they?

Always one to experiment whenever I can, my son provided me the perfect opportunity when his hand went through a window last week. Here’s the results:

Day 1: The wound was rather deep (about 1/8″) and the hospital recommended stitches, which we politely declined. The meat was exposed and the skin was loose and jagged. The two puncture wounds to the side, while not as large, go straight down and we removed shards of glass appx 1/4″ long. As you can see, this happened on June 9, 2008.

Day 3: The wound was healing up nicely. The meat was no longer exposed and a clean,soft scab had formed.

Day 5: The wound is almost completely healed with little more than a hard scab to show it was there. Notice, too, the smaller wounds to the side have healed up quite nicely.

We are on day 8 and he has little more than a scab to show the wound was there and he has full use of his hand. Not bad, considering the doctors in the ER told us to expect it to take 2-4 weeks to heal.

Please keep in mind that this was hardly a scientific experiment. We applied the Healing Wash and fresh bandages twice a day and did little else, but I hope it gives you a good idea of how wonderful these herbs are for treating wounds!

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