Here we are in the doorway of 2021. What a year it has been; and despite the difficulty and hard times, let us learn from all we have seen and heard this year. There have been and still are, difficult times for us ahead; but there have also been some amazingly creative solutions that have risen to the surface that have been a source of encouragement to many. The creative solutions to folks feeding each other as well as communities; the creative ways small businesses and especially restaurants have continued forward and overcome financial and restrictive obstacles; the creative ways people have raised money and people have given of themselves to help others through hard times; and even the creative ways that music and art have come to us to lift us above all this.
We are in a new day. We have not been this way before in the United States, where the American dream has always been within reach, with hard work and the traditions of our heritage to give us a pattern to follow. We are in a time where our traditions are changing of necessity, but our desire to be free and think outside of the box are still able to soar.
The same is happening when it comes to our health. The big question currently seems to be to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. There are pros and cons to this issue. For the most scientific data on the realty of vaccines, I would refer you to a website at www.naturalnews.com and their health section. There are reports there from many doctors, researchers and even the legal ramifications from Robert Kennedy Jr that you can read to help you form your own opinions.
There are risks involved in a fast paced introduction of new vaccine that has not had the full test of time before presentation to the public. That said, some of those risks have to be weighed for people who have compromised immune systems and essential people risking exposure daily to provide needed services to all of us. Certainly they have the option to decide for themselves, and we all need to respect their personal choices. I would just want each of us to have the ability to hear ALL the information in order to make our decisions informed. There are other treatments that have been used in lieu of the wait period for vaccines, that have saved and improved the outcome of the Covid virus. These treatments have been discovered over the course of these few months and may be just as viable for a generally healthy person.
We also, need to understand that as healthcare providers, we have known for many years that the mutation of bacteria, viruses and fungi would come to a place in time where superbugs would develop that would be difficult to control and even provide immunity from them by traditional methods. We have known that building up our own personal immune systems would become the greatest step toward sustaining the human organism. This without the necessity of lockdowns and limitations of human interaction.
I cannot stress enough, the need to learn how your body works and what it needs to sustain great health at any age. It is too much to go into in this short blog; but I am able to help any of you individually or in a video class who would like to pursue this for yourselves, your families and loved ones. That knowledge, includes foods to eat, where to get them, how to keep your home toxin free, as well as what supplements might help, what telltale signs to watch for in your own health before its too late and numerous other topics. We at Healing Leaves Center of here for you.
Hope springs eternal and let me end by saying that this would not be the first time that Americans have faced health crises and risen to the occasion to find solutions. We are more resilient than we think, especially if we work together. Encourage one another, form neighborhood and community groups that can divide the labor to find the resources you all need. Lighten the load and feel the stress fall away as you face challenges with humor and camaraderie. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
Be well and may you find the answer to every question you have.
Celebrations are times and events that mark milestones, develop personal traditions & lighten our spiritual loads. This year especially is a good time for small celebrations. Despite the fact that Covid has narrowed our gatherings to small numbers; it doesn't mean that those gatherings can't be more frequent and just as festive.
Gatherings are certainly most important in person because touch and atmosphere are an integral part of the festivities. So is laughter and a sense of wellbeing and the tradition of gift giving. So perhaps this year we can put our creative hats on and establish some combination of in person and video gatherings that will fill all those buckets.
We could actually spread out our usual holiday gathering by having sequential smaller gatherings with one part of the family and a week later perhaps another part of the family. We can have lunch with those we are close to, that can't come to a larger gathering or that we may have a special gift to give. AND after all is said and done we can invite the whole crew to a video gathering to reminisce, share stories and plan other celebrations as the winter months go by.
We can have a video gathering if we have a special recipe or gift idea where we would normally get together and make it. We can make cookies, or other holiday favors and distribute them to families in need in our communities.
This year with many staying home and not traveling, it may be worth finding the community family that is right in your own neighborhood. Wanna do a cookie exchange? Everyone make the batch of cookies along with recipe copies to go with them. Set them out in containers (bags or other festive coverings) at the foot of your driveway at a designated day and time (this may be weather dependent). Everyone gets to walk the neighborhood with bags in hand, collecting cookies and passing each other on the street where they can share greetings as well as cookies.
Then there is the progressive dinner idea. Idea #1 if there is someone who likes to do all the cooking. Meal is made and portioned into individual plates and either delivered to family & friends or they pick them up. Then a specific time is set for dinner and everyone can sit around their zoom or facebook and eat together. Idea #2 is that different folks make different parts of the meal and then deliver them to one another. This is done a few days ahead with foods that can be refrigerated. Then a specific time is set for dinner and everyone can sit around their zoom or facebook page and eat together.
Or perhaps you'd prefer a holiday walk. Something festive to drink in your spill proof water bottle. Some festive attire, hats and sparkles. Some sweet treats to share and your walking shoes or boots) with flashing lights. Top it off with someone's phone playing holiday music and you are off together with distance between you and masks if you must. The sky's the limit on this one. If the weather is nice, you can stop to set up a picnic of finger foods or gaze upon a wondrous view. Love, kindness and togetherness can be found anywhere.
The ideas are limitless, just let your uniqueness as a family, your creativity and your desire to be together be your motivation.
Whatever celebrations you are enjoying this season, may the light of His countenance shine upon you. From all of us at Healing Leaves Center
This year of 2020 has certainly been a challenge for all of us. And now with the elections, the sense of division and antagonism is not only distracting, it is bringing out very unhealthy emotions. Though the world is not what we would like it to be, the way through this does not seem to be bashing those whose opinions differ, but in first recognizing and being thankful for the many benefits we do have and then exchanging views with the idea of finding middle ground and then building on that. Taking a critical look at problems is not a bad thing if we can start from thankfulness for lives and stop trying to control the substance and speed of change.
As this newsletter is all about health and wellness, I would like to focus on thankfulness in honor of this month's holiday and leave the hard issues for another day. There are plenty of places where you can find the pros and cons of our current circumstances as a nation.
We need balance. Let's start with us individually. Whether we're dealing with homeschooling children, a hard day at the office, serious health issues, or any other myriad of personal circumstances, we need to be sure to make time for moments of personal satisfaction and lack of stress. We all need to find personal space to look on the lighter side because a "merry heart doeth good like medicine". If we can't find space to laugh and be lighthearted in the midst of the challenges of life, we will always be looking with negativity that will make wellness and health hard to sustain.
Without joy, we can't digest our food, we can't sleep, we can't find rest. The science of stress shows that it raises cortisol in a sustained fashion which causes our bodies to run on adrenaline which should be reserved for an emergency fight or flight situation. If this continues unchecked it will cause all the above situations as well as a breakdown in body systems overtime. It is extremely important for those cortisol levels to ebb and flow on a daily basis so that energy and rest ebb and flow as well. This is a healthy life.
Joy is part of our DNA and creative makeup. If that is ignored for other more stressful thoughts, it will cause spiritual breakdown as well as physical malfunction. In the midst of change, the things that bring us joy can be a stabilizing factor. In difficult situations it can be the one consistent part of our lives.
"I suspect that the more we want to finish or achieve before we die, the more likely we are to die before we're finished!" Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Hidden Link Between Adrenaline and Stress
One simple way to bring blood pressure and stress levels down is taking time out to do deep breathing exercises. You can do these anywhere. Preferably sitting in a relaxed position, inhale slowly and deeply for 4 counts and the breathe out slowly for 4. Repeat this 5 to 6 times. That's it. BUT when you're finished use this more relaxed state to rise slowly and move naturally into you next activity.
So what brings you joy? laughter? Walking in the woods, being creative, reading a book, talking with friends, listening to music…. Everyone is different, but whatever it is, make a habit of it. If you have to make plans for it in the middle of a crazy schedule, do it! Whatever it takes, find your happy place. We can remind ourselves of the good things in our lives by making a list. The things we take for granted, may be the things that we need to intentionally be thankful for. If there's one thing that the Covid crisis has shown me, it is that the simple things of life are some of the most wonderful. Right now in autumn, the colors of the leaves are inspiring and refreshing, even though it means the cold weather is on the way. When that happens, snuggling up in front of my woodstove with a good book and hot chocolate will be my new happy place.
Money getting short? Finding new ways to satisfy time at home instead of travel, frugal habits instead of buying unneeded things, creating necessary items out of stuff around the house. I remember a story that an aunt told me about living during the depression. They didn't have money for new shoes, so when the soles would get holes in them, they would take old tire tubes and cut innersoles to slip inside of them. When the weather was colder, they would make them out of sheepskin. She and her siblings were always competing to see who could come up with the next best thing. She always laughed at those memories as some of the best times in her life.
"Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this - that man can be master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny." James Allen, As A Man Thinketh
The holiday of thankfulness is coming but we don't have to wait until the end of November. Joy is something we need every day. Happy Thanksgiving, starting today!!
Give the Gift of Health
Give a personal nutritional consultation with Cathy Dodge, Certified Nutritional Consultant. Initial consult for evaluation and intake plus one followup where you will receive a personal nutritional protocol to take home, samples and resources $110.00 This can be done in person or by teleconference.
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This is a busy time of year and with the frosts coming early, we have had to pick and bring in a lot of garden produce that needs processing. Green tomatoes have been ripening in sunny spaces so I am using my "Tomato Glut Sauce" recipe to process and can them quickly instead of making sauce. I will do that later this winter when time allows. Squashes loved this summer's sun and they, thankfully, can be stored without processing. We have already enjoyed the acorn squash halved with butter and maple syrup sauce in the seed cavities and baked to perfection. Ymmm! Plums, apples and cranberries are being made into preserves and the excess of zucchini made into relish.
Keeping in mind the volatile nature of our access to food, supplements and medicine in the midst of covid and now the election unknowns, we are preparing for anything as best we can by stocking up and thinking ahead. We have frozen vegetables, dried herbs, canned for long term access and beefed up our dry goods of flour, sugar, rice and quinoa along with beans and chick peas.
We have good dried stocks of herbs so that I can get to the tincturing and salve making as soon as time allows. And of course, we stocked up on oil and alcohol to do that. We have started our jars of apple cider vinegar and fermented veggies and they are in cool, dark closets out of the way until we are ready. We still have wild roots yet to dig of burdock and yellow dock as well as the echinacea in the perennial bed but they're safe underground until we can get to them.
We are thinking ahead to any medications we will need and purchasing them ahead even though at our house, we use mostly herbal products. Even the pets will need attention and food at some point, so we are mindful to make sure we have access. We are fortunate that we live in a rural area so that local meats, eggs and other items are a few minutes away.
The garden is now under cover of winter rye and the garlic will be planted in the next couple of weeks for next year. We have been saving our heirloom seeds right along so that should the access to seeds be difficult or shelves cleaned out, we can rely on our own time proven varieties. Though I like to experiment with new varieties, necessity brings a more creative approach.
Fall is always a busy time of year, but it is so amazing what we have available to us and exciting to see the beautiful collection of jars and bins of food as we fill up the shelves. It is very satisfying to see the work we put in result in such bounty and we are thanking the Lord for shining down on us.
Roasted root veggies are such a delight with potatoes, turnip, beets, carrots and others basted with our own maple syrup and making a wonderful side dish to our local meats. The flavors of winter are warm and satiating and bring plenty of Vitamin A for cold season and immune boosting power with warming spices. It's time to get out the Golden Milk recipe and this year I'm looking forward to adding some dark chocolate to the mix.
What's In Season?
Squashes, squashes, squashes....... It was a hot season this summer here and squash loves heat. My squash vines spread half way across my lawn from one of my raised beds and blessed us with 2 dozen acorn squashes from one plant. Squash is full of Vitamin A, a vitamin that is key in keeping immunity high. There is plenty of produce from the gardens as well as the wild edibles and herbs that are available to us now.
And don't forget the nutritional value of pumpkins. There are a myriad of recipes for soup, muffins, breads, sauces, etc on the internet for pumpkin. The seeds roasted or sauteed, dried and jarred are an excellent addition to the diet or snack, for digestive upset, and especially parasites.
It's time to dig roots. Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) from perennial beds, 2nd year burdock roots and yellow dock roots from the fields. Gravel root from the wet places.
Dig them, scrub them, and then chop into smaller pieces to either be dried or to tincture fresh in alcohol for winter availability.
Echinacea is well known to be used in cold and flu season but not many know that echinacea is a blood cleaner and a help to the liver, which filters out the toxins from the blood. It is useful in any circumstance along with specific treatment therapy, to aid in releasing the bacterial and viral toxins out of the body through the wastestream.
Burdock root is not only a great herbal bitter and support for the liver and kidneys, it is a great food for the digestive system and a cultivated version called Gobo is a staple in Asian countries. Many bitter tea combinations are available in our health food stores for this reason. We can actually make some interesting combinations of our own by digging our wild friends in field and forest.
Yellow Dock is another bitter that has numerous uses. Also a helpful detoxifying agent it works as a mild laxative for sluggish digestive systems and bowels that do not empty well. Another bitter cousin of burdock and dandelion it stimulates the liver and gallbladder to process as well as the lymphatic system. It can also help with indigestion.
Herbal Bitters have become popular and these can be added to recipes and taken in mocktails and alcoholic toddies. We have a yellow dock bitter with tumeric and ginger which not only stimulates the digestive tract for action but is a great immune boosting addition. Many recipes available on the internet and a great book by Guido Mase and Jovial King called DIY Bitters are great resources. Really makes taking your medicine fun!
Gravel root, or Joe Pie Weed, is a plant known for it's help in preventing and helping to break up kidney stones. It has recently become popular for landscaping in wet areas but can usually be found along waterways and along the edges of swampy areas.
NOTE: Whenever digging roots, remember the general rule of taking ONLY 1/3 of a batch of herbs when you find them in the wild. It allows the others to continue to grow and spread and leaves some for others that might find them also.
Be wise, be safe, be blessed!!!
It's Apple Time
My apologies for getting this out late. It has been a busy time with harvest and many personal consults with those wanting to build up their immune systems.
The apples have flourished! So now in the midst of harvest, as we turn our heads to maintaining good immune systems, the apple is a prime medicinal source. Not only is it good food, but it is one of the most detoxifying foods we have. In the midst of apple pies, sauce and crisps, don't forget about the great immune capacity of RAW apple cider, fire cider and vinegars.
A good many vendors of cider have to pasteurize their cider for inspection for sale to the public. Unfortunately that heating process, takes the good bacteria out of the cider. So best to purchase a cider press or band together with someone who has one. Apple pressing parties might be a good way, this year, to get out into fresh air and celebrate harvest while still being able to social distance. Here in our town, the local church has a cider press and folks bring their apples to the church on specific dates and help crank out raw cider all day, taking home their own supply.
Raw cider, as mentioned above, has powerful detoxifying properties and helps the liver screen toxins out of your blood and into your waste stream. When raw cider sits on the shelf you can see a cloudy residue that settles on the bottom, that is referred to as the "mother" and contains the bacterial spores for distributing healthy bacteria throughout the batch. The refreshing experience of drinking a glass of freshly pressed cider is one that I look forward to each fall.
Now, take that fresh, raw, apple cider and put it into a glass jar (we're about to make apple cider vinegar and I use gallon jars) There will be some evaporation and I like to make 3 or 4 gallons to last me through till next year. Put several layers of cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and attach with rubber bands. DON'T put the cover back on. Set your jar in a dark closet and leave it alone for a couple of months observing it now and then. Exposure to the air is part of the process so no fear of contamination as it ages. First it will form a spongey ring on the surface of the vinegar that continues to thicken as time goes by. This will keep the good bacteria in and the fermentation process going and bad bacteria out including any fruit flies that may be attracted to the sweet juice. Over the next 2 to 4 months this process will work and be a bit cloudy (and some evaporation take place) until the cloudy liquid suddenly clears. When the cider becomes clear, the fermentation has completed and you can bottle your fresh apple cider vinegar with the mother. Simply skim the spongey formation off the top and compost, and fill your bottles. Cap them off and store your fresh vinegar in your pantry to use for dressings, marinades, and your daily tonics. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and small amount of water, add a little honey if desired and it's a shot in the arm of immune boosting B vitamins and good bacteria.
Dr Janes, of Waterbury, Vermont was the MD who discovered the health properties and uses of apple cider vinegar. You can google the uses for apple cider vinegar and find many sources and ideas for using it as well as recipes.
You can go on to another immune boosting endeavor by adding other immune boosting herbs to your batch of "fire cider". There are many recipes for fire cider and it is all a matter of personal taste and desire for "tang". Ingredients like hot pepper, ginger, onion, garlic, horseradish all contribute to the "hot" flavor; but fire cider doesn't have to be hot. You can add such things as elderberry, astragalus and echinacea to name a few depending on your choice of immune boosting ingredients and you desire for flavor. Aromatic herbs like, sage, rosemary and thyme can make your cider interesting as well. The sky's the limit and you can bottle them in fancy containers for holiday gifts. All the while getting a great immune pick me up for winter. Covid - 19 bye,bye!
This month we'll talk about what natural remedies you may want in your medicine closet in anticipation of winter, cold and flu season.
There are two months out of the year when sickness is most prevalent. One is in September when children go back to school and begin to interact. In the growth of their immune systems, their bodies take new and varied bacterias that each one uniquely carries and "share" it in their interactions together. There are good reasons to have this take place. Most importantly is that as they begin to contract viruses and add it to their onboard antibodies, they build up immunity so that they are less susceptible in the future. If we don't get panicky and fearful about these viruses running their course but treat for sustaining their bodies through the process, we help them to be strengthened healthwise naturally. If we choose to over vaccinate so that our children no longer get an opportunity to build their own immunity, we potentially make them weaker healthwise. A great book to use as a reference if you have young children is The Vaccine Friendly Plan by Paul Thomas M.D. and Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D. They present a science based strategy for keeping children healthy and helping strengthen their immune systems while navigating the new viruses that are appearing on the horizon.
The other time of year that sickness is more prevalent is right after the Christmas/New Year holidays. This, along with Thanksgiving are the times when we spend time eating with friends and family and bring along our best baked and sugary treats of the season. The consistent and added sugars for a month's time adds to the vulnerability of our immune systems because sugar is truly a toxic substance - processed with 6 or 8 of the most toxic compounds in the world, like bleach, newspaper bluing, etc. Better to find substitutes for the sugar sweeteners in our baked products with honey, maple syrup, monk fruit, stevia, coconut sugars …. And stay away from sugar substitutes and additives like aspartame. Their chemical structure is just as bad as processed sugar. Even diabetics would do well to stay away from the side effects of these not so good substitutes. Aspartame even makes you more thirsty as in sugar free soda sweeteners causing you to want to drink more.
So what kinds of natural medicines do we want to have available to us when the need arises without running to the Pharmacy? There are many over the counter products that are available that are recognized therapies for common viral and cold symptoms. Take elderberry syrup for example. First produced in Israel and brought to the world as Sambuca, it is scientifically proven to be more effective for the flu than Tamiflu, a commonly prescribed flu therapy. It is easily made if you have access to elderberries and most pharmacies as well as health food stores have it. It is high in vitamin C so we keep a gallon jar of homemade syrup in our frig all winter; and take a shot of it each day as preventative maintenance. It is yummy and appealing to kids' tastebuds.
There are numerous tinctures that I would recommend to have on hand. Because they are mostly infused in alcohol, they have a long shelf life and will sustain you through the winter, and if not used up, continue to sustain you up to 2 years. I always recommend that you get 2 oz or larger bottles. During a season of sickness it is better to have more than you need than not enough. Depending on your household and what you can anticipate, I would recommend some of the following tinctures:
Echinacea - a blood cleaner and immune booster, as well as a strep killer. Use preventatively in elderly or compromised folks once a day, 2 weeks on and 1 week off from September to May. At the first sign of scratchy throat or sniffles, take a double dose and take 3x a day until symptoms subside. If you are needing to use other cold remedies like mullein or elder, continue with the echinacea and they work well together. Mixed in water in a spritzer bottle, you can spritz the back of the throat each hour until strep throat symptoms are gone.
Mullein - A mild expectorant that soothes lungs and helps cough up phlegm.
Goldenseal or Gold Thread - They both contain berberine which is one of our best herbal anti-bacterials. You can use topically (be careful it stains) or take internally for infection, stomach ulcers or bugs, and virus symptoms.
Astragalus - immune, antiaging, antiinflammatory, fatigue, allergies, colds, diabetes, strengthens heart Can be taken as tincture or in soup as described below
Tea: Bitter herb teas - they will help your liver detox and filter out toxic substances
Kloss's Linament - an age old herbal remedy that is antibacterial, both topically & internally,
Good for scrapes, sore muscles, open wounds, internal infections, bug bites, swellings, bruises, gum disease, canker sores, poison ivy and much more. (I have included a recipe below in the newsletter)
Elderberry syrup - great antiviral and preventative, keep a large bottle in your frig
Zinc losenges - often a good way to arrest a cold as it begins. Zinc helps strengthen ability to fight off colds and when contacting the back of the throat will sooth and heal soreness
Tumeric - anti-inflammatory
Ginger, Cinnamon, cloves - the "warming" spices that increase body heat and are immune boosters
Garlic & onion - Anti-bacterials, the stronger the better
Apple Cider Vinegar - detoxifier, immune booster, enzyme enhancer, combined with honey and/or cayenne (Fire Cider) Another daily tonic blend to keep in your frig
Honey, Pollen & Propolis - anti viral and allergy deterent as well as immune enhancers
Sage - create a strong tea out of dried leaves and gargle with it for sore throats and tooth pain
Thyme - Simmer on a stovetop and breath to break up a sinus infection. Include in cold remedies and meals along with rosemary for immune boosting
Astragalus - Simmer strips of bark in your soups and stews and then take them out before serving. An extraordinary boost to immune and nervous system
Mushrooms - turkey tails, reishi, shitake, chaga can be tinctures or brewed into tea to increase immune resistance and help the stress response
Eucalyptus, camphor, thyme, rosemary for clearing sinus congestion and bronchitus
Lavender - antibacterial, antiviral, stops bleeding
Geranium - applied topically over sorethroat area, will stop soreness in about 15 minutes
These are just a few of the first response items you can have ready in your home. Know your family's specific issues and purchase products that will address those issues to have ready. Winter is the time when sickness is most common. Plan ahead. Especially now when items are hard to get, stock up or make your own. AND find some holiday recipes that are low on sugar or can be made with natural products. You will be glad you did come January when others are battling colds and flus and your family is staying healthy.
3 John 2: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
To wear or not to wear a facemask. That seems to be the current debate. From a physical health perspective, let me give you a few thoughts.
Certainly there is good reason to wear a mask if you have compromised health and you are out in a very public place where folks are apt to be in close quarters - like the grocery store. AND a compromised health does NOT equate to being over 60!!!!! Unless you have "bought" the idea that you should expect your immune system to go down after 60, there's no reason that some of us 60 and 70 year olds who are still active and not on major medications should be considered compromised. No offense to those of you who may have immune issues and are on major medications, but you know who you are and being wise is a good thing.
The thing about wearing a mask all the time, is that you will be continually breathing and re-breathing your own bacterial makeup. When it comes to our bacterial microbiome, it is important to have a continuing variety of bacterial exposure. That is what actually BUILDS your immunity and allows your body to develop strength against bad vs good bacteria. Your body was created to be able to drive out and overcome bad bacteria with the balance of good bacteria that your body develops. Things like gardening where we put our hands in the dirt and collect soil bacteria that are absorbed through the skin to continued interaction with other human beings that have varying microbiomes of their own; help to develop the strength and resistance of our own immunity. Science is now showing us that the more variety of bacteria we have in our systems, the better our microbiome and ability to overcome any new virus and bacteria that it comes in contact with. Eliminating ourselves from this exposure and using things like antibacterial cleaners which destroy the good bacteria as well as the bad, on a continual basis, do not allow our bodies to take that bacteria and develop anti-bodies.
We must always live wisely. I have always advised folks that when we feel like we are coming down with something to stay out of work and away from others. Compromised immune systems are a good reason to avoid possible exposure and take precautions. But if you have confidence in your immune system, there is no reason to fear. Most healthy people survive the flu every year and this Covid - 19 is no different. We can't live our lives in exclusion and fear because that is not healthy either. In your households, you are only as strong as your weakest link. So be wise, consider each person accordingly and live life to the fullest.
Adaptogens are herbs and supplements that help the body adapt from the many stress responses that bombard us daily. The stressfulness of this whole Covid culture is one that is not controllable in our daily lives as we each learn individually how to navigate our own set of circumstances. The adaptogens are the ones that help our fight or flight response to stay strong and not burn out during uncontrollable circumstances. They help to keep the communications between our brain and the rest of our organs both sympathetic (unconscious) and parasympathetic (conscious thoughts) nervous systems working at their peak. They also help condition us to respond in a calm, logical process so we are not reacting in fear.
Whether you're dealing with Covid or some other uncontrollable stressor in your life (like pain), adaptogens would be good to have on hand. The following are a few of them that are well known for their specific applications:
GABA - an amino acid that helps to generate and sustain the electrical connections (synapses) between nerve cells that carry the impulses in our nervous systems. It has a calming and anti-anxiety effect
Cordyceps Mushroom - boosts stamina
Ashwaganda - reduces stress, anxiety, & sleep
Astragalus - combats fatigue, boosts immunity
Rhodiola - reduces physical and mental fatigue
Holy basil (Tulsi)- reduces stress related anxiety and depression
American Ginseng - boosts memory, reaction time, calming, boosts immunity
Eleuthero - improves focus & mental fatigue
Schisandra - boosts endurance, mental focus
Tumeric - reduces inflammation, increases brain function, reduces depression
All of these adaptogens can be used daily, according to directions on the bottle or your healthcare provider, during times of long-term stress. Shalom!
3 John 2: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
We are now in a new era. Life has taken a paradym shift and will not be the same. As the scriptures say, "…if you put your hands to the plow, don't look back".
So how do we navigate unknown paths? It is time for creative thinking and a new way of looking at life. That would include how we look at medicine and where we get it. As well as learning to grow our backyard gardens and raised beds, container gardens and microgreen beds; we may want to make space for our commonly used medicinals. We need to start thinking ahead so that when there are shutdowns, or inventories of needed items are depleted, we have some access of our own that has been put away. As you prepare your canning, freezing and drying methods for the summer; don't forget your medicinals.
Whether you are collecting medicinals in summer when they can be found in the wild, or growing them in beds and pots in your backyard, access will be key. If you dry your herbs and wild edibles in a simple food dryer on low settings, you can place them in glass jars in your cupboards for use later when you have time to tincture or make them into salve. I always try to keep some dried material on hand to make tea formulas which can be just as medicinal; making sure always to replenish the following summer with new and viable material.
Choose the herbs that your family needs for specific issues like allergies and blood pressure as well as those for first aid for cuts, bruising and the common cold. And don't forget the anti bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-virals. The preventatives are as important as those for immediate need. And don't forget your kitchen herbs. Some of them can be just as potent as the specific remedy herbs. Every family has a different needs list depending on whether you have children, elderly members or a specific chronic ailment.
Herbs can be grown in pots or along house foundations; in little nooks and crannies of your property, under trees for shade, as part of the landscape or in a bed of their own. And you will be surprised as you are close enough to keep an eye on them in all their seasons, just what you will learn about the plant kingdom.
Just a quick note if you are into seed saving. There are seed saving "banks" in many parts of the country where people keep and trade seeds and varieties. You may or may not know that seeds labeled "heirloom" are seeds that are not treated with any suppressive chemicals or crossbred so that they cannot reproduce in kind. Heirloom seeds can be saved from our own produce, dried, stored and used again. If seed shortages are going to become a problem in your area, you may want to look for these varieties so that you always have your own ongoing supply. You just have to make sure you save some plants out at the end of the growing season, so you don't eat them all and collect your next years seed source.
It's May! The season is warming. We trust that the virus scare is slowing and that we will all be free to walk in our gardens, fields and forests. After all that we have gone through with social distancing, the upcoming Mother's Day will be all the more important. I trust that the COVID-19 situation has caused us to realize just how important all our relationships are. The heart of a mother who held and nurtured children as we grew will never stop reaching out to touch those, though now we are older.
I am anxious to be out in the woods and have slipped out of the house on a few occasions to catch a glimpse of the new shoots coming up from the spring earth and seeing the woodland flowers come into bloom. Long before the leaves come onto the trees and make the forest canopy dense, the intense spring sun brings out the spring beauties, purple and painted trillium, dogtooth violets, bloodroot and other familiar faces that have been out of site for a year. They're announcing spring to whomever will listen.
Life is simpler right now, with less travel and less opportunity to gather. I visit with people by video and phone, but I confess it's not the same as face to face. There's something about the way the atmosphere changes with dearest friends sharing the same space. There is some comfort to be out this spring amongst the wild flowering plants. They are friends of sorts also, who make me smile and remember that there is a Creator who fills our lives with good things, even in the midst of hard times.
I pray that you are all safe, healthy and looking with excitement to the times we can all spend with one another. May we learn something in this time of quiet reflection, about what is really important to us, and look for the voices of spring in our lives.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country". That was the exercise I used to type in high school typing class because it uses most of the keys on the keyboard. It is therefore, committed to my memory for all time…….
It now returns to me, as a principle of kindness (one of the fruits of the Spirit) that it would be good for us all to think about these days. I live in a rural community and due to the lack of density in population, it is not as tender a position for crossing paths with people inadvertently as it is in urban areas. That said, in rural areas, we are comfortable being in more isolated places and having to make intentional efforts to mingle. The culture is different but the principle remains the same.
In our rural culture, getting food, medicine, elder home care and first aid to folks takes more effort. Though we have first responders they are fewer and further away so that the care of community members is extremely important. In our urban areas, the first responders are more prevalent but the sheer numbers of folks needing help are more than the system can handle, so that the same principles of needing assistance apply.
So what's my point? While we are all sitting home behind closed doors, what efforts can we make that can actually show acts of kindness to neighbors, friends and community without causing strife, fear or threat of contamination?
We all need to keep moving and get some kind of exercise as part of staying healthy. Are we available to get groceries for someone and leave them on their doorstep; pick up musinesses stock shelves, do deliveries, shovel driveways ….. Think out of the box, I'm sure there are a myriad of things we edicine or other needs of elderly or disabled neighbors. Can we help our local grocers and small bcan do. Keep hand sanitizer and Four Thieves blend (recipes below) to kill germs in the air.
Are you homebound? You could make calls to isolated friends and family to encourage them. You could start a prayer call or a "friend call" with multiple people to just encourage and share with them. The same works with video conferencing software. Most of these have an entry level program that is available free of charge. If you are needing to stay in doors, you can get exercise via the internet via a number of youtube videos with workout sessions. There are many levels from beginner to advanced and often 20 minutes per day will provide good cardio and stretching opportunities. We know there are needs like, hand sanitizer and facemasks needed. There is a sanitizer recipe below that can be made easily, even if only for your own home needs.
Do you know someone that could use a great cup of herbal tea, some comfort advise, some ideas for recipes with reduced food availability to feed hungry kids. And speaking of kids, are there some creative ideas for kids to get them outside, without getting too close, but helping to get that extra energy out of them and have fun at the same time.
Are you a gardener? Maybe it would be a good time to plan your garden, start some seedlings and get your hands in the dirt anticipating spring. I've got my microgreens growing in a sunny window (see February newsletter) and have purchased my seeds for the summer so I'll be ready to plant when the weather turns. If you have no snow on the ground in your neck of the woods, you can plant hardy greens like kale and arugala and this IS the perfect weather for starting peas.
During World War II when times were tough and most manpower was fighting a war, there was a scare that the country would not have enough food to feed our population. Thus the birth of the Victory Garden. It's time to return to our Victory Gardens. Not only can you supply some of your own food available anytime from your backyard, but you can take the pressure off local grocers. It's possible with the floods, fires and weather emergencies all over the country that some items could be less available than prior years. Keeping your needs local can solve your problems of access. If you don't have a green thumb, perhaps you can support your local CSA and still keep your consumption local while supporting your neighbors.
This is also a perfect time to stop, reflect, and "spring clean" your personal life - throwing out the old and keeping what's important, a time to let go. It's a time to draw closer to your Creator and be thankful. It's a perfect time to let those cortisol spikes slow down and bring your body back into a normal circadian rhythm.
Regarding keeping things sanitized at home, we have already mentioned hand sanitizer and Four Thieves, recipes for which are below. There is a company called Norwex which makes cleaning clothes and products. Their clothes have silver threads woven within them which kill bacteria and are great for cleaning tough surfaces and removing bacteria even without disinfectant. These are great for polishing surfaces, cleaning glass, and disinfecting kitchen and bath areas that are significant for germs. I have one in each room and one for cleaning glass. They can be used multiple times before washing as they even disinfect themselves. Lavender aromatherapy oil is also another germ destroyer besides smelling wonderful. A few drops in laundry rinse cycle, and in spray bottle to wipe down counters and other common areas is very handy.
Lastly, there is a lot of fear around because some of us have never come this way before. If you want to reassure yourself that this will turn around, do a little history search on your computer for Scarlet Fever, the Spanish flu, the Swine flu and the Ebola outbreak to name a few. You will find that practice of social distancing, remaining at home, growing one's own food, and the number of deaths that occurred were just as bad if not worse. I believe that we have learned from history and have gotten a jump on this virus. Though we expect many deaths, we are far ahead with businesses rising to the challenge of supplying PPE, and strategies for bringing us out of this time more quickly than those prior events. Let us pray and encourage those on the front lines and our lawmakers that have the responsibility for leading us through this; and let not fear drive us to division, being judgemental and negativity.
Hats off to all of you, rising to your personal challenges!
Recipe for Hand Sanitizer:
Rubbing Alcohol 70% or less, found in any pharmacy
Aloe vera or glycerine or jojoba oil
Aromatherapy scent of your choice
Straight rubbing alcohol will work, but adding aloe will help it not to dry out your skin so much.
I use 3/4 bottle of alcohol and 1/4 of aloe
Add enough drops of lavender or lemon or other scent you like to taste.
Four Thieves Recipe
This formula when worn externally will dispell and kill bacteria in the air. Put on collar or edge of shirt or hat as well as on your skin. This is most potent when made with aromatherapy oils but you can also tincture raw ingredients together and use that way also.
2 parts Clove oil
2 parts lemon oil
1/2 part cinnamon oil
1 part eucalyptus oil
1 part rosemary oil
Store in bottle and keep in cool dark place or purse or glove compartment of car depending how your lifestyle is and where you might need it. A few drops in a pan of hot steamy water will dispense into your house or you can even inhale. You can also add this to your disinfectant for wiping down counters.
Act wisely, Be safe!
Be well and stay well. If you do your part, God will do His.
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.