Posts tagged health

The Magic of Mullein

From soothing your cough to flavoring your liqueurs, Mullein has a lot of uses, some of them you’ve never heard of. The seeds are cheap and they are easy to grow; simply put in a pot full of soil and water. And if you don’t want to grow Mullein, there are many sources for it online, most of them inexpensive. There are about 250 genuses of Mullein, which is a member of the Figwort family. Mullein is also called by about 30 common names including Velvet Dock, Candlewick Plant, Cow Lungwort, Hags Taper and Aaron’s Rod. These cultivars grow all over Europe, Asia and the Meditteranean. They are also widely cultivated in North America and can sometimes be found growing wild. Very common varieties include Moth Mullein, Dark Mullein, Wooly Mullein and Common Mullein. The cultivar I have used the most and whole heartedly recommend is Verbascum Thapsus or Common Mullein. This particular cultivar has been naturalized all over the US, mostly in Hawaii and also in Australia. So it can be grown almost anywhere. I highly recommend planting Mullein in your garden and using it year round. I have recipes and guidelines for you to use when making use of the plant so bookmark this page for after your plants are growing and blooming. You can use Mullein for many things during every stage of it’s growth so it is well worth the few cents it costs to buy a packet of seeds.

Mullien was considered a magical herb in antiquity and it was given to Ulysses to protect him from the magic of Circe, who had changed his crew into pigs. The soft fine hairs on the leaves and stems of this plant makes a superb tinder and it was used this way throughout history. Hence, the popular name, Velvet Plant. These same soft hairs protect the herb from moisture loss, creeping insects and grazing animals because the down irritates mucus membranes. So this plant has few enemies in the garden, making it even easier to grow. So here are my hints on how to cultivate Mullein and how to use every part of the plant in every stage of it’s growth.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1) »

Heal the Body with Foot Massage

I am sure you have heard of healing foot massage. In fact, it was a big craze a few years ago and people couldn’t keep foot massagers in stock. But what many people discovered was that general foot massage, with no goals in mind, is only good for relieving foot pain or general foot exhaustion after being on the feet all day but it did nothing for general well being. But this is only because a general foot massager won’t do the trick. You have to know what parts of the feet directly influence which parts of the body in order for food massage to help with healing your body. Also, you can find out where your body is in trouble with foot pressure and I will show you how to do this, too. It’s all really the same thing. If you know what’s wrong with you.. ie, you have a headache, then you can go to a certain portion of the foot, massage it and get releif for your headache. Conversely, if you don’t have any idea why you feel like crap, you can feel around your foot, applying pressure and rubbing gently, until you uncover the area that gives you grief. That area will directly relate to a part of the body and it is this part of the body that is in need of help. Sound hard? Sound complicated? It’s not! I will show you with diagrams and written directions how to do all of this just by rubbing your feet.

This type of massage is called reflexology. However, I do not have training in these  methods so I am just passing on what I have experienced through my own massage therapy. I will not claim this to be “reflexology” but sort of my own map of the areas on the foot that will help relieve physical pain and discomfort. Now, I will include maps of the feet to show you where to find the area on your foot. Also, conversely, I will show you which area of the body is indicated by pain or discomfort in your feet. But do not consider these maps to be related to reflexology or to have any connection to that practice. These are not reflexology maps. In this method, which is not relexology, you will also use essential oils in a base massage oil while you do it. You will use the oils whenever you massage, although massage without the oils won’t do any harm. The technique is just far more productive with the oils. I will give you the recipes for the oils you will use on each part of the foot and you should follow them exactly and not improvise. It’s far better to do without than to work with only a part of a recipe or an improvisation that may not only be ineffective but could be harmful. So follow instructions.

I want you to begin the process by sitting down when you have the time and won’t be interrupted. After you get good at it, you can massage your feet on a quick break at work but at first you should have quiet time to concentrate. Start by washing your feet so you won’t be distracted by any smells or end up rubbing glass or stones into your feet. Your feet pick up all sorts of stuff even when you have shoes on so be mindful of that. After washing and drying your feet, sit down and start rubbing the bottom of the foot. You can start anywhere, just be sure to rub every part of the foot, moving from area to area and paying attention to how it feels as you do it. There will be really sensitive areas, areas that cause pain or discomfort and areas that feel so good you might even get ecstatic. Pay attention to what areas on your foot create each sensation. Be especially mindful of strong physical responses, even good ones. If there is repulsion or irritation when rubbing a certain area, please be mindful of this as well. You do not have to continue massaging that area right now but you should be aware that this area will be cause for concern. So start rubbing your feet, moving from area to area, from the toes to the heel, and pay attention to the responses your body gives you. And then move on to the instructions and charts I am providing you in order to start the healing process.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Natural Remedies for Arthritis

As winter fades and spring arrives, we want to get out and get active. We just feel like having fun and playing games outdoors. Walking, gardening, fishing, swimming, water skiing, whatever your poison, you need to need to get rid of your pain so you can start doing it. Arthritis gets bad in the winter, but it doesn’t matter as much as it does the rest of the year. We are indoors, sitting or just doing easy things around the house, going to bed early, sometimes sleeping late. We just aren’t as active so treating the pain is easier. You can tolerate more stiffness, too.

But how do you handle the pain and stiffness? How long can you take NSAIDs without upsetting your system and getting sick to your stomach? Do you switch to Tylenol whent the stomach pain starts? And then you have to be careful about how much and how often or risk hurting your liver. There is no easy solution. It seems like everything you can take for pain has a big price tag. Stomach ulcers, liver failure or addiction to stronger relief like Oxycodone or Codeine. Way too much to worry about when you’re just trying to get moving again and everything hurts.


Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6) »

Hypothyroidism- Alternative and Natural Treatments

This is an issue dear to my heart because I have this condition. It started with me when I was 11 years old, just after I entered puberty. I started menstruating early and I had a hormonal imbalance right away, with overly enlarged breasts and a startling gain in weight. But I was not, at first, hypothyroid. In fact, treatment with thyroid hormones made me violently ill, complete with seizures and foaming at the mouth. The subsequent rush from doctor to doctor eventually revealed the truth: I had Graves Disease. I had this condition from that moment on and am still considered suffering from it, but in remission. This remission was acheived by destroying my thyroid gland with drugs and forcing it into failure. So today I am dependant on synthetic thyroid for the rest of my life.

Right off the bat, let me say that I would never advocate not taking your thyroid meds. Whatever they are, do not stop, even if you consider trying other therapies. I have made the unfortunate mistake of stopping mine and I can tell you that myxedema, the result of this stupidity, is not an experience you will relish. It takes forever to lose the edema, the puffiness that results but that is the small of it. The loss of hair is substantial and the weight gain is tragic. I was pulling my hair out in handfuls and since then it has never been the same. So DO NOT ever stop taking your meds, not even because of lack of funds.. I would stop buying food or paying for the car before I’d give up my medication. And you should do the same.

But what I do want to suggest or advocate is to experiment with different therapies that might aid your gland, support your immune system and/or lessen the symptoms to some degree. No matter how much thyroid you take (I take the highest dosage available), whether you are only slightly hypothyroid or if you are like me, at the outer limits, you can benefit to some degree by using alternative therapies and supplements. I do not advocate taking thryoid drugs if you do not have a thyroid condition. The urban legend that I keep hearing is that they will make you lose weight and make you feel peppy. For one thing, they take two weeks to get into your system so if you’re willing to wait that long just to feel peppy then that might be the result but it won’t be like you imagine it to be, it isn’t like cocaine or meth. And, on the issue of being a weight control medication, I can debunk that. It is just as hard for me to lose a pound on the pills as it is off of them. They do not make that much difference, even for those who are diagnosed with the disease. They just don’t raise your metabolism anymore than thyroid by itself does this for your body when you’re healthy. Metabolism is created by a large number of various organs and hormones combined in your body. If you’re healthy, just say Thank God! and enjoy it.

For those of you who are dragging around, feeling the exhaustion that so many thyroid sufferers feel, there are treatments you might want to think about. The objective of any supplemental treatment is to improve all sysmptoms, prevent and treat later complications, correct imbalance, adjust the immune system and most importantly to boost energy and strengthen the body for better health and quality of life. The following herbs have been shown to have some effect on hypothyroidism and can be used in combination with the presciption medication.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (7) »

How to Do Aromatherapy Massage

The most important thing in performing excellent aromatherapy massage is the choice of oil. As well, the quality of the oil is of utmost importance to the experience and the results. It is the inherent healing properties in herbs that lend the oils their magic and the scents that they impart have everything to do with how well someone feels afterwards. If you use a lousy oil or an impure oil the effects can be dramatically poor. In fact, you might even make someone feel worse if you massage them with a rancid or ineffective oil. So always be careful in the choosing and using of your oils and whenever possible make your own and use it fresh.

Although this blog is too small a format to go into the ins and outs of physical massage, such as where to rub or how hard, which is tantamount to technique. This is what is taught to those who choose to attend school for massage therapy and get a certificate for their trouble. It is extensive and involved, with lessons in biology and muscular anatomy as well as a metaphysical look at which area is affected by what oil or herb. If you wish to become a massage therapist there are many reputable schools that can teach you this trade but it isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to be free. However, here, in this format, I can teach you about the oils and how to make your own effective oils for the private massages you choose to perform on those special people in your life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1) »

Are Sunscreens Effective or Dangerous?

Sunscreens have a history of being greatly desired, on the one hand, and generally feared, on the other. This is because everyone has become convinced that sun exposure causes skin cancer and sunscreens are the only remedy for this while, at the same time, coming to the realization that sunscreens are made up of unnatural chemicals and additives that are suspected of toxicity. Very few of us remember this, but the very first sunscreen made for public use was made up of red vetinary petrolatum (yes, I said vetinary) and it was just a horrible, sticky goop that wasn’t proven to do much of anything. And, yet, it was the only product offered at the time. In contrast, today we have more than 500 choices for sunscreen, mostly because people have become terrified of sun exposure and this has carved out a an enormous wallet in the market.

But regardless of the fact that we have come to believe that sun exposure causes skin cancer and sun screens are somehow a miraculous barrier to that exposure, and thereby desired and, in some cases necessary, tools in the summer safety kit, the only thing that sunscreens are truly proven to do is prevent sunburn. In fact, according to the FDA’s 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations, the “FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agrees with this and, in fact, they recommend clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation. Their materials also say that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun. In other words, there is NO PROOF that sunscreen prevents skin cancer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) »

Natural Sources of Energy & Vitality

Now that summer is almost here and things are heating up all over, we are all busy getting busy all the time. Aren’t there just about a million things you want to do? A million dreams to be fulfilled before the cold comes back, dreams to be managed around the things you have to do and those things that pop up out of the blue every day. So what do you need more than anything right now? Energy! Energy is one of the biggest selling concepts in America today. Energy drinks are just the tip of the iceberg with a huge legal market for various “boosts” and a growing illegal drug culture devoted to energy drugs like Cocaine, Crack and Meth. No matter how you shake it out, everybody is looking for some zip.

So how is it going for you? Are you barely dragging out of bed every day, driven by the need to make some money and to have some fun.. but you’re not sure you can do it all? Do you crash out in the afternoon, nodding over your desk or behind the wheel, dreaming about a big, hot cup of java? Or are you just feeling tired all the time, the entire day crawling by in an agonizing anticipation of a good nights sleep, which you never seem able to attain? If any of this is true for you, you are not alone. Fatigue is the second most common complaint to doctors in North America. Everybody else is just as tired as you are, so don’t feel bad.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (1) »

Herbal Detox For The Gut

Herbal Detox has lately come into it’s own, rapidly becoming a popular choice for treating a variety of modern ailments. At the same time, our eating habits, weight issues and stress level have created a plethora of intestinal complaints. There are more antacids, acid reducers, stomach pain relievers, nausea controllers and whatnot than ever before. If you don’t believe me, just watch about an hour of TV. One commercial after another. And this is not because people aren’t buying.

So what about detoxing the gut? What would it take to restore the balance in your digestive system so that you would not be bloated like a balloon, sick to your stomach most of the time and dealing with non stop heartburn? Do you feel way too full after eating a normal meal? This is likely gas. Does your stomach start to burn at odd times, whether you’ve just eaten or not? Acid indigestion. Do you have a sore throat and a feeling of fluid that seems to rise up into your mouth when you sit up after laying down? Acid reflux. And so the disease litany can go on and on. None of this is life threatening (in and of itself) but it is very debilitating and can keep people from living their lives. But has this always been the case? Did grandpa and grandma spend the evening belching and running to the toilet? Or is this something new? Something we can change?

Well, there’s no doubt about it, diet is a factor. Bolting down greasy fast food on your way to a stressful meeting in a car packed into frustrating traffic with the radio blaring is not conducive to the type of balancing your body needs. Under these conditions, it’s a wonder you are able to digest anything at all. And your body will rebel; if not at the moment, then over time. And as time passes, it gets harder and harder to get the edge back. You just get tired out, you gain too much weight, you feel muddy in the head and you strain in the bathroom. It’s a perfect scenario for a stroke or heart attack or a perforated ulcer. Which will it be?

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Detox in the Bath

Everyone is trying to detox these days. Some for health conditions they can’t shake and others to cleanse their system of dangerous toxins that they fear will affect their health. No matter the reason, detoxing is a good idea. There are many varied ways to do it, some of them more difficult or painful than others. For many years, our elders believed that getting into a sauna or a thermal bath would do the trick and perhaps it did and still will. But I fear this is just not enough in our modern high tech world where everything is plastic, made from chemicals, loaded with drugs and genetically modified. Forget irradiation. We used to worry about that and now it has become the lesser of a dozen evils.

If you are looking for ways to detox your system on a daily basis that doesn’t require purging, colon cleansing, long terms of medication and drinking strange brews, then consider making detox baths. As adults, few of us clamber into a bathtub anymore. We are mostly too big to be comfortable there, opting instead to stand in a hot shower. I am one of those. I actually hate lolling around in a bathtub with half my body overexposed, not really submerged. But there is a lot to be said for sitting baths; my brother uses them to help him reduce his spinal cysts and my sister uses them for hemorrhoids.  And sitting in a detox bath can have overall very enjoyable effects on the body.

Consider the fact that hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin’s surface, a principle at work in the saunas and thermal baths our parents pursued. But this is also true when the water cools; the cooling off pulls toxins from the skin. Epsom salts are known to encourage this detoxification by causing you to sweat. Other salts-all highly alkaline and cleansing-used in baths include sea salt, baking soda, clay, and Dead Sea salts. Personally, I have made herbal baths with fresh herbs and baking soda and found them to be useful. Peppermint is wonderful; I highly recommend it for opening pores, opening orifices and allowing steam from the bath to penetrate and for toxins to sweat away. A bath made of fresh peppermint and baking soda is a wonderful way to cleanse the body, both inside and out. Try these recipes and see how they work for you:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Are Antibacterial Soaps Dangerous?

It seems like you can’t even buy a soap that isn’t “antibacterial” anymore and often that those soaps are cheaper than the others! Indeed, it seems like antibacterial soap is everywhere now, in everything from shampoo to bar soaps. The idea is that we are crawling with germs and this stuff will keep us from getting sick. However, being an old lady these days I remember a time before they invented this stuff and I don’t recall being sick all the time. So are they really an upgrade in our lifestyles or is this just overkill?

Well, according to doctors in hospitals all across the country there is growing concern over “antibiotic resistance” which is fast becoming more dangerous than the germs themselves. We have developed antibiotic resistant bacteria that are responsible for killer diseases like MRSA and flesh eating bacteria. The general consensus is that factory farming is to blame for this with the non stop treatment of farm animals to prevent infections. But there is also a concern over the use of antibacterial soaps and sprays. Our immune systems need to be exposed to germs in order to develop resistance to them.. and the current rage over antibacterial environments does not allow that to happen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers