Posts tagged herbs

Summer Project: Homemade Dandelion Wine

Here’s some summer fun for everyone. If you’ve never made your own homemade wine, don’t be mistaken, it isn’t easy. But, then again, it isn’t hard, either. It does take a bit of effort, a few tools and patience. But there is a big plus: the dandelions are free. Feel free to pick any kind of dandelion you can locate, from your yard, the neighbors yard, wild fields or someone’s garden. It actually doesn’t matter if it’s a pretty one or a ratty one, but be sure they haven’t been treated with pesticides or fertilizers. It’s worth the money if you have a local organic farmer that grows them or florist that has organic flowers; the cleaner, the better. You can sometimes buy them dried in health food stores but fresh is much better. What you will need is fresh blossoms and it doesn’t matter what genus or strain of flower. Wild or cultivated. Just pick or otherwise obtain fresh flowers and you are ready for wine!

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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?

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Insomnia Cure: Homemade Sleep Pillows

I am sure you’ve heard of herbal sleep pillows. There was a popularity surge a few years back and a lot of people were making and selling them. But I think the popularity waned because of the way they were presented. There was no flexibility and you could only buy a pillow in whatever herb they offered, mostly Chamomile. Also, the pillows were small and made for insertion into your current bed pillow, dimming the scent and lowering the effect. If you bought some of the paper stuffed sachets they were selling for use as pillow inserts you would have been really unhappy. Crunchy, stiff and not strong smelling, they were a waste of money.

But what about making sleep pillows for yourself and your family? You do not have to be a seamstress or crafter to do this, I can hardly sew a hem straight and I can do it. In fact, I have made everything from sleep pillows to fabric sachets and I have loved the results. You can do the same for very little cost, very little aptitude and very little trouble. Let me show you how.

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Spring Project: Keeping the Bugs Out

Although not everybody is worried about being kind to insects almost everyone is worried about the dangerous poisons in the insecticides they use to get rid of the things. Either way, whether it’s compassion or fear, most of us have an interest in a safer, kinder, less toxic method of ridding ourselves of pests. I, for one, have had problems with how to handle bugs for a very long time. In some cases, I feel horrible about the insect (such as bees, wasps and other flying winged creatures like moths as well as some crawling insects that aren’t too ugly) and just can’t bring myself to kill it. Other, uglier and nastier, bugs like cockroaches and beetles make a big splat mess when killed and I despise the smell as well as I am allergic to their debris. So I hate stomping on them. I end up chasing most bugs around with a towel trying to trap them and toss them outside.

But I have had infestations in some of the rentals I have moved into. And these are nice places. They are just infested with bugs. Our previous unit had an explosion in roaches, German Cockroaches, which were nigh impossible to rid of. I spent tons of cash on special poisons like MaxForce and Raid Pro just to watch them step over the gel and continue raiding my kitchen. I ended up killing as many as twenty at a time with a fly swatter. And then push came to shove, we moved. I was successful at leaving the monsters behind after many hours of careful packing and unpacking only to have a flea infestation outbreak in the new digs. OMG, I spent endless hours trying to kill those things! I now have it under control but only after a litany of poisons, fogs and sprays where I can to empty my room, ban the pets, leave it on for hours and hours and then vacuum repeatedly and move everything back in. After exhausting rows with many a poison I still had fleas all over me. The only thing that finally worked was a natural miracle, Diatomaceous Earth. I have left the stuff in my carpets to this day and nary a flea!

Anyways, as you can see I have some experience with bugs. I think we all have. You don’t have to live in the slums to have roaches walking on your table. And once they arrive and move in, they are hard to evict. What has always amazed me is that the final solution, the one that really worked in most cases, was a natural, safe, non toxic one. So don’t believe the hype of the chemical manufacturers that you have to use deadly poisons. It just isn’t true. In the case of fleas, I highly recommend Diatomaceous Earth. Sprinkle it on and leave it. It takes a few days but they will be gone… I can promise you. I had a million and now there are none. And the same is true of other pest control. You can do it with natural and non toxic elements such as the Fossil Shell Flour I used. But the very best way is to ward them off to begin with which should be done all the time even if you do not see a bug yet. By practicing good, safe and non toxic repellent methods you can be sure you will not have bugs to begin with.

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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:

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What Are Natural Antibiotics?

We are all horribly overexposed to medical, chemical based antibiotics. They are added to the feed of the factory farm animals that we consume and they are given to everyone for something as simple as a cold. As a result, there are more and more virulent strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria developing all around us. Consider MRSA and flesh eating bacteria, both of which ignore antibiotic treatments and go on to kill otherwise healthy, young, vibrant children and adults. Consider the respiratory diseases that you hear about all the time, which seem to kill with impunity. And the large number of food born illnesses like E Coli and Salmonella, coming from otherwise over medicated animals and over fumigated farm lands. So, what, you ask, would be a solution?

Consider using no chemical antibiotics at all unless your life is at stake and cutting down on your consumption of factory farm produced animal products. And, then, as the need arises, turning to more natural forms of antibiotics that can help fight infections without destroying your immune system! Consider Lysine and Echinacea. Don’t you know somebody who claimed to get over a cold or infection faster because they took Vitamin C and Echinacea? Personally, I have success stories with Lysine, both with the humans in my household and the cats. We all take Lysine now; after watching infections just melt away! So there are natural and less dangerous alternatives that can give your immune system some support AND some relief. Here are a few ideas:

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Herbal Remedies for Cold and Flu

Here we are in the middle of a deep freeze and cold and flus are rampant. With the addition of H1N1 to our concerns, the need for vaccines and other preventatives have never been higher. But if you are among those who are not high risk for swine flu or who refuse the vaccines for whatever reason you may prefer to use herbal remedies for the everyday coughs and sneezes as they come along. Personally I am always in favor of the most natural solution to any illness or everyday need.

Here are some of my favorite fixes for coughs, colds and flu. Depending on how bad your brand is, it will be up to you to decide which remedy might help and when it is time to run up the white flag and head to the doctor. But for most of us, a sore throat or cough usually just means Vitamin C tablets and Echinacea tea and this can often be good enough. But in case you are looking for more ammunition in your arsenal, here are some good ideas.

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Add Some Herbs to Thanksgiving

How about a more spicy, more herby Thanksgiving? Oh, I know, it’s about tradition and everyone is cooking Turkey with Cranberries and Stuffing. And I am not about to change that. I just want to throw in some recipes that include various herbs. Not only for the great taste and diversity herbs add to the meal but also for the healthy aspects of doing this, too. Herbs have healing powers and if you haven’t been able to start taking supplements or to get the ones you love to do that, either, than adding herbs to the biggest, most popular meal of the year may get them interested in doing more of it.

I promise you that these will not turn your meal into an Arab or Asian repast. I promise you it will not taste like Italian Turkey. I am not going to tell you to add Garlic to the Cranberries. I promise you. What I want to do is spruce up the traditions a little with some of the herbs they probably added to the original meal, back in the day when they didn’t have grocery stores but spent a lot of time in their own gardens. So there’s your selling point. I added some herbs to the meal because that’s the way the pilgrims did it. Maybe the kids will learn something! So here they are… a few simple recipes to include everyday herbs in a delicious rendition of the Thanksgiving pigout.

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Money Saving Thanksgiving Ideas

I thought that it might be fun, with the economy the way it is, to make some cheap, homemade stuff for Thanksgiving. Usually we are all running out and spending a lot of money on table and house decorations along with the traditional food selections and accessories like napkins and serving pieces. When we invite family over for a big repast in our homes, we want it to be festive and enjoyable. What is more original and interesting than something we can’t just buy in Walmart, but has a personalized element? Something like homemade table napkins, handwoven fruit baskets, herbal centerpieces or handmade wreaths. Something they won’t see or experience anywhere else in the world. Something that speaks exclusively of you and your Thanksgiving meal.

I have some great ideas, some real cheap, others a bit more pricey. It’s up to you to determine what you have time for and what you can afford as well as what will work with your overall plans for dinner. How many people are coming? Is it just you and the kids or is your entire extended family coming? Are you serving at one table or more? Is this already so deep in your pocket that you just can’t afford anything at all? If so, I have ideas where you can forage the ingredients for free. So all of this I have taken into consideration and want to give you choices that will work for as many of you as possible. So, with no more adieux, here are the step by step recipes:

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Natural Halloween Treats

Halloween is all about costumes and candy. According to History.com, “Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.”

Hey, there is nothing funner than a costume party where someone reads everyone’s fortune.

So Halloween is actually one of those holidays that hasn’t strayed too far away from the original purpose, unlike Valentine’s Day and Christmas. But many of us would like to see our kids eating something other than tons of commercial candy with so much sugar and chemical additives. Although I do not suggest making candy and handing it out to the kids who come to the door (if you do this you risk serious scorn as well as suspicion). Kids are warned by authorities not to eat any candy that isn’t in a sealed commercial wrapper and this is due to the past poisonings of candy, including razor blades in apples. What a horrid way to ruin the possibilities of getting children to eat apples! So thanks to the creeps strike another victory for food factories. But such as it is, we can still make natural candies every day of the week and on Halloween and teach our own children to make and enjoy it. I threw together a few recipes that I thought my readers might like to try. You might be surprised.

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