Posts Tagged ‘natural medicine’

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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It’s been a long, cold winter.  Ice storms.  Snow storms.  Record lows.  Record highs.  Cabin fever has set in and the rounds of tonsilitis, strep throat, flu, bronchitis, ear infections and other minor ailments have taken their toll.

Today, though, I felt the first stirrings of hope.   The sun was shining, the sky was brilliantly blue and dotted with lovely white, puffy clouds, the birds were singing and I was sick of being cooped up.  So, I decided to take advantage of the unusually warm February morning.  I stoically ignored the hacking coughs that seized my lungs, threw on my tennies and headed out for a walk.


The first block was great.  Liberating.  Invigorating.

The second block I don’t remember, lost, as it was, in fits of hacking coughs that made my already-sore lungs spasm and scream in pain.

The third block was traversed in a daze as I struggled to catch my breath and concentrate on the lovely day.

The fourth block was heaven.  The pain began to recede from my chest and the coughing was gone.  I could finally breathe again and for the first time in a week I could actually smell.

So, I kept going.  As I walked I thought about the beauty of nature, the complexity of the world around me and the amazing resiliency of the human body and spirit.  The more I walked, the better I felt and the deeper my thoughts went.  Eventually, they settled on a train of thought that I couldn’t get away from.

Why is it that when we get sick, we tend to want to huddle under the covers and shut the world out?  Why do we run to the doctor or pharmacy at the first sign of sniffles, down the (un)magical pill and expect instant relief?  Why do we bundle ourselves up and insist that all we need is a little more rest while our windows are shut tight against the fresh air and sunshine that lend themselves to healing our bodies?

I suppose, before I go any further, I should clarify.  I’m not suggesting we run out half dressed in a snow storm.  If that’s what you were contemplating after reading the first few paragraphs of this post, you are obviously of lower-than-average intelligence and have no business thinking on your own.

No, what I’m talking about is simply this:  Sometimes, all our body needs to kick out the last of those stored-up winter germs is an hour or two of fresh air and sunshine.  A walk around the block to get the blood pumping.  A trip around the yard picking up the sticks and debris that winter has left behind.  A picnic lunch in the back yard.

Forget for a minute what you’ve heard about too much exposure to the sun.  Pretend for an instant what the Medical-Powers-That-Be have drilled into us about exposure to the sun causing skin cancer and other various illnesses.  Instead, focus on reality.  This article might help get you in the proper frame of mind.  It has some great info, as does this one.

Did you read them?   Are you a little aggravated that the medical establishment has hoodwinked you?  You should be.  Especially if you have ever had an encounter with cancer.  You should be so spitting mad that you’re ready to stage a protest outside your local doctor’s office complete with rotten eggs and a bottle of 95 SPF lotion.

Let’s get past the anger, though.  It’s damaging to your health.  Instead, since we’ve got a general idea of the benefits of time spent in the sun, let’s look at some benefits of giving your body a bit of fresh air to go with that sunshine.

This article gives a simple explanation.  Let me simplify it even further.  Fresh air helps clear the lungs of all the dust and germs that we breath in as we sit in our home or office and delivers much-needed oxygen to our cells so that they are capable of functioning properly.   Yes, I know you nearly cough up a lung every time you breath in that fresh air, but that’s a good sign.  It means the fresh air is doing what it’s supposed to.  It is clearing out all that nastiness and paving the way for an oxygen-inducing experience like none other!

Still not convinced?  I can spin this however you’d like me to, but instead I’ll simply direct you to a few more articles that discuss the benefits of both fresh air and sunshine.

Depressed?  Got Eczema?  Insomia?  Acne?  Cancer?  Check out this article.

Migraines?  Check out this article.

So, now that I’ve taken away all your well-thought-out excuses for remaining inside, go take a walk.  I did.  Amazingly enough, after a nearly 2 mile walk I feel great.  My legs are a little sore, but now, 2 hours later, my cough has yet to return and I can still smell.  Everything.  Which is why my windows are open, my heat is turned off and I’m seriously contemplating a good house-cleaning!

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Everyone does at some point.   Let’s face it ~  there are a million things that can trigger it.  Money, marital problems, kid problems, life…

Don’t be in a hurry to trot off to the doctor for a prescription, though.  There are safer methods that are just as effective!  I’m going to tell you about them, of course, but first I’d like to take a look at a couple of the most commonly prescribed medicines for depression.

Let’s start with the most popular of all of them ~ Xanax.  I think I can safely say that everyone has at least heard of this one, if not experienced it for themselves.  It is considered one of the ‘safest’ anti-anxiety meds on the market.  Right.

I wanted to make sure I got the most accurate info about this drug before sharing it with you, so I headed straight to the Pfizer website first, which clearly states that Xanax is “the most prescribed medicine of its kind”.  This is what the company that makes it has to say about it:

“Important Safety Information: XANAX XR should not be used if you are allergic to benzodiazepines, have a condition called acute narrow angle glaucoma, or are taking the anti-fungal medications ketoconazole or itraconazole. XANAX XR is not recommended for use in pregnancy. Therefore, let your doctor know if you are pregnant, if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you become pregnant while you are taking this medication. Let your doctor know if you are nursing.

The most common side effect is sedation, but this often decreases or goes away in most people after their bodies get used to the drug. Until you experience how XANAX XR affects you, do not drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery, etc. Other common side effects, which occur in fewer patients, include sleepiness, memory impairment, impaired speech, abnormal coordination and/or muscle action, and reduced sexual drive. Some patients may experience side effects associated with psychological and/or physical dependence on XANAX XR. Medications like XANAX XR, even when used as recommended, may produce psychological and/or physical dependence. This may make it very difficult to discontinue treatment with XANAX XR. Discontinuation symptoms, including the possibility of seizures, may occur following abrupt discontinuation from any dose, but the risk may be increased with extended use at doses greater than 4 mg/day. It is important that you get your doctor’s advice on how to discontinue treatment safely and carefully. Gradually tapering your XANAX XR dose will help to decrease the possibility of discontinuation symptoms.”

The bold text is my doing, but the words are copied and pasted from their website.  Let’s walk through this one together…

First of all, if you are now pregnant or nursing, stay away from this one.  If you are planning to become pregnant, you want to stay away, also.  Becoming pregnant shouldn’t really be a problem if you are taking Xanax, though, as you probably won’t want to have sex while you are on it because it decreases you sex drive.  That’s one problem solved, right?

You might want to avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery on Xanax, also.  Why?  Well, it could make you a little sleepy.  Okay, a lot sleepy, but that might not be your biggest problem while driving.  The loss of muscle coordination and the inability to remember where you were going should probably be your biggest concerns.  Either way, you might oughtta avoid commandeering a vehicle while taking this med.

Then, we move on to the less dangerous side effect of impaired speech.  Embarrassing…maybe, but not dangerous.  Certainly not as dangerous as the fact that many people become both physically and psychologically addicted to Xanax.

And, did you notice the sentence about discontinuing use?  Seizures.  Hmm.  Intersting.

So, the bottom line is that if you choose to take Xanax, you might not be able to talk properly, control your body, drive a vehicle, get pregnant, desire sex or stay awake, but you won’t be depressed!

Okay, so maybe Xanax isn’t for you.  Maybe something different…

Let’s try Effexor. Again, in an effort to get the most accurate info, I went to the Wyeth website.  I was going to copy and paste their safety info, too, but there was way too much!  Instead, I’ll give you the highlights and you can visit their site on your own for the full message.

“All patients taking antidepressants should be watched closely for signs that their condition is getting worse or that they are becoming suicidal, especially when they first start therapy, or when their dose is increased or decreased. Patients should also be watched for becoming agitated, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive, or restless. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient’s doctor right away.”

So…when you first start out on this one, you might consider hiring someone to come and hang out with you for a week or two in case you start feeling suicidal from the medicine.  Just warn them before hand that you might feel the inexplicable need to beat them senseless…

“Before starting EFFEXOR XR, tell your doctor if you’re taking or plan to take any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, including migraine headache medication, herbal preparations, and nutritional supplements, to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition.”

“Taking EFFEXOR XR with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, or other drugs that affect coagulation may increase the risk of bleeding events.”

Skip the vitamins and avoid the aspirin while taking Effexor, kids.  You just might end up dead.

“EFFEXOR XR may raise blood pressure in some patients.”

“…prolonged dilation of the pupil of the eye) has been reported with EFFEXOR XR”

“In clinical studies, the most common side effects with EFFEXOR XR (reported in at least 10% of patients and at least twice as often as with placebo) were constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, sexual side effects, sleepiness, sweating, and weakness”

Again, you have a choice.  Which do you prefer?  Depression or constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, sexual side effects, sleepiness, sweating, and weakness.  I’m thinking we’ve stumbled upon a no-brainer!

The truth is, I could list another 5 or 10 prescription anti-anxiety/depression drugs, each with a long list like the ones above.  There is nothing safe about any of them.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  And these are just the side effects.  Nothing was said about the extra load it puts on your liver and kidneys, your digestive system, the naturally-occurring chemicals in your brain.  All of this has been conveniently glossed over.

But, if you listen to most doctors you don’t have a safer option.  After all, herbs don’t REALLY work…

Or, they do work but they are so dangerous…

Which is it, do you think?  My answer is neither.  Herbs do work, and when prepared by a knowlegeable herbalist, are extremely safe and effective.

Now, we can take a look at exactly which herbs might be best to treat anxiety and depression.  I have my own formula, of course.  It contains lemon balm, st. john’s wort, ginger, peppermint, white tangerine tea, gingko, vervain and chamomile.  Why did I choose these particular herbs?  Obviously, because they all contain some sedative/anti-anxiety properties.  Some of them are probably familiar to you.  St. Johns wort, gingko, chamomile…these are all common herbs that most of us have tried on at least one occassion.   Their ability to help relieve depression and anxiety are well-discussed and often debated.

Unfortunately, most of them are tested individually.  While I understand the reasoning behind this practice, I don’t agree with it.  Herbs, as I’ve stated many times, are far more effective when used in conjunction with other herbs that enhance each others’ benefits and counteract any negative side effects.  However, even this method of testing herbs has yielded impressive results from St. John’s wort, gingko and chamomile in both the medical and homeopathic realms.   A quick Google search will turn up many studies and their results, so there is no need for me to regurgitate them for you.

Still, you ask, what about side effects?  Well, as with anything, you can be allergic to herbs.  It’s  an unusual occurrence, but it is possible.  Chamomile, for instance, is a member of the ragweed family.  If ragweed sends your allergies skyrocketing, you should probably avoid chamomile.  And, as with all herbs, these are capable of interfering with any medications you might be taking and if you have any current health conditions you should delve more deeply into side effects.  If you are a normal, healthy person, there is little chance of any negative side effects from any of these herbs.

Not all side effects are negative, though, and this herbal blend has plenty of positives!  An enhanced immune system, a better-functioning digestive system, a clearer mind,  better skin and fewer headaches, just to name a few.  No sleepiness.  No loss of muscle control.  No unexplainable rage.  No loss of memory.  Just a little relief from your depression.

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Once more for the record:  I’m not a doctor.  I have no formal medical training.  I can’t diagnose, treat or heal any medical conditions.  The info provided is strictly my own opinion and the results of my own personal experience and research.  Always consult a medical professional if you suspect illness or disease.  None of these statements have been approved by any governing agency, domestic or foreign.

What do you really know about your immune system? If you are like most people, the answer is, not a lot. Everyone knows the basics. The immune system is what keeps us from getting sick. It’s the system that kicks out the bad germs, bacteria and viruses.

I’ve sat here for an hour now trying to decide the best way to simplify how the immune system works so that I can explain to you how to help keep it strong. What I’ve decided is that there is no easy way to break it down.  Instead, I’ll be pointing you to several other well-written, easy-to-understand websites. I suggest that you check out this article at Howstuffworks.com if you are interested in knowing how the immune system works. Otherwise, just understand that the immune system is affected by and/or related to every single organ of the body and requires some very specific things to keep it working properly.

First of all, it needs to be fed. Vitamins, minerals, elements, enzymes…all of these are necessary to keep your immune system strong and focused. So, is the answer a multi-vitamin or supplement? I don’t believe so. The body absorbs vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food sources much more rapidly and efficiently than when taken in the form of a pill. This is one of those rare facts that homeopaths, doctors, nutritionists and the universe can all agree on.

That doesn’t mean that you need to eat 50 different fruits and veggies a day to get all the nutrients that your body needs. Mother Nature is a multi-tasking expert. Most fruits and veggies contain a whole little package of vitamins and nutrients within them. A few, recently dubbed ‘Super-foods‘, contain a big package of vitamins and nutrients.

It has also been proven that organic foods contain higher levels of these vitamins and nutrients. I know all the arguments…organic costs too much, it doesn’t look as pretty, it’s harder to obtain….I’ve heard and felt them all. The truth is, though, they are cheaper over time. The few extra dollars a week spent on organic instead of non-organic will help ensure a stronger immune system, which leads to fewer sick days, less money spent on medicine and increased energy and productivity.

Many fruits and veggies also contain antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral elements. Imagine them as steroids for the immune system without the side-effects, if you will. Sometimes our immune system will get overloaded with processed foods, environmental toxins, viruses, germs and a gazillion other depressants. It’s hard work fighting off all those enemies! Whose system couldn’t use an extra bit of muscle?

Here are a few foods that will help keep your immune system strong and healthy:

carrots, cucumbers, leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc), eggplant, tomato, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, onions, garlic, oranges, avocado, honey, apples, berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), lemons, limes, grapefruit, papaya

Raw veggies are best, but really, who wants to munch down on a raw onion? Any form you eat them in (except canned) is great, just don’t microwave them or over-cook them. Try steamed asparagus drizzled with fresh lemon juice and dash of sea salt. A fresh fruit salad sprinkled with some freshly grated coconut, raisins or nuts and a hint of fresh mint. Add some extra onion and garlic to your meals. It doesn’t have to be complicated and you’ll feel so much better!

Our immune system also requires a constant, fresh source of oxygen to function properly. How often do you take the time to just sit and breath? Do you know the best way to breathe? Did you even know there was a ‘best way to breathe’? This is one reason that I always recommend yoga. The combination of breathing and movement helps stimulate the organs of the body, which promotes better function and a stronger overall health.

The skin, too, plays a part in the immune system. It is our first defense against a whole army of deadly bacteria and germs. It is the largest organ of the body and is capable of absorbing just about anything that comes in contact with it. That is why it is incredibly important to have a good skin-care regimen that is free of chemicals and unnatural ingredients that the body often sees as ‘foreign material’.

While your skin will fight it as long as possible, eventually it will catch up with you and suddenly you have a rash from your soap, dandruff from your shampoo and a nasty case of acne from the same kind of makeup you’ve used for years!

Check your labels when you go to buy your next bottle of face cleanser. Remember that just because it says ‘made with natural ingredients’ doesn’t mean it’s made with ALL natural ingredients. Here are a few ingredients to avoid:

mineral oil,  lanolin, PABA, formaldehyde, phenol acid (urocanic, salacylic and others), propylene glycol, parabens (methyl, propyl and others), Sodium lauryl sulfate (also Sodium Laureth , Ammonium Lauryl, and other “sulfates”)

Some natural ingredients to look for that contain antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and other immune-boosting properties ( and many other beneficial characteristics including moisturizing, healing and protecting) include:

shea butter, kokum butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, grapeseed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, aloe vera, honey, beeswax, tea tree, lavender

There are times, though, that even the healthiest diet and a proper amount of exercise aren’t enough and our immune system goes on the blink. What then? Then you make a doctor’s appointment and gladly snatch the prescription he hands you for an antibiotic, right? Well, you could do that. It’s not my first course of action, though. Here is what I do for myself and my family. I’ve gotten a few friends hooked on it lately, too, I’m afraid. Are you ready? It’s kinda complicated…

~I take a lemon and squeeze it til there’s not a drop of juice left. I leave the seeds and pulp in it because they have their own healing characteristics, but you can filter them out, if you prefer.

~Then I add a teaspoon full of some local honey that I always keep on hand.

~I add to that 1 dropper full of astragalus extract. I prefer Teeter Creek Herbs for extracts.

~I stir it all up, then drink it.

Does it work? I think so. It’s been years since my daughter’s last ear infection, which she used to get at least twice a winter. My last bout of strep throat, which used to happen every year in the spring and fall, hasn’t made an appearance in over five years. We haven’t had a sore throat, a cough or the flu in years. For general health and prevention, I take this 2-3 times a week. At the first sign of any illness, even if it’s just that yucky I-don’t-feel-sick-but-I-don’t-feel-good stage, I take a dose every 6 hours until I feel better. I’ve never had to take more than 2 doses. Usually within hours I am back to feeling good.

Why would it possibly work? Well, several reasons.

~Lemon is an antiseptic that helps kill of germs and bacteria while ‘sanitizing’ the system. It cleanses the throat and the stomach, stimulates the digestion and helps keep the system clean.

~ Honey. This is often called a ‘miracle food’ for good reason. It was mentioned as far back in history as the Egyptian Hieroglyphics for it’s ability to heal and nourish the body, both inside and out. Besides being antibacterial, it is also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, helps heal skin cells, moisturizes, speeds healing, stimulates growth and much more. Read more about honey here!

~Astragalus. Many studies have been done on this Eastern herb and they all show the same thing. It is a valuable herb for stimulating the immune system. This herb seems to not only strengthen the immune system, but it actually helps the body produce immune cells. For more info on some of the studies and effects of astragalus, check out this site.

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