"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.
felt the need to address the issues around the coronavirus to dispel fear and educate all of us on preparing our bodies for any virus that may come down the pike.
There has been a lot of information in the alternative medicine arena in the last few years warning us that there would be new infectious bacterial and viral strains that would develop because of mutations from overuse of antibiotics, additives in vaccines, and toxins in our environment. Steve Buhner wrote a book called Herbal Antibiotics, Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria in 1999 that has good explanation of how it has happened. We have now arrived at what he warned us about.
Your best offense will be good defense. I have for years tried to get folks to think about building up their immune systems intentionally. And now with coronavirus a realty, it pertains even more. Many of us have come through our own health crises and had to build our immune systems back up. When we arrive at a healthy level again, a lot of us ease off on our watchfulness or stop entirely. Unfortunately because of the toxic levels of our environment, and the general lack of full spectrum nutrients in the food we eat, caused by depleted soils; we can't afford to stop intentionally looking out for our health daily.
Today I'm focused on viruses and the antiviral foods, supplements and herbs that might help you and your family stay out of the pandemic numbers. Whether we classify this as a pandemic or an extremely virulent flu strain is not as important as learning from and doing something about it. Let's take our body's ability to ward off disease up a notch.
First of all, eating a "clean" anti-inflammatory, alkaline, well balanced diet without a lot of sugar and junk food will go a long way to keeping your body strong. Add to that foods like onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, sprouts and fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut will keep your gut biome diversified and working efficiently. Herbs like astragalus, echinacea, elderberry syrup, goldenseal, ginger, grapeseed extract, and usnea to name a few are especially good to have on hand when symptoms begin and as specific symptoms become apparent.
Spices like oregano, thyme, rosemary, curcumin, capsicum, and basil have specific uses and can be found in most kitchens. Use them to flavor soups, stews and other dishes and you are getting your medicine while you enjoy your meal. The mushrooms have a lot to say about your health and you can forage for them or find tinctures and formulas to supplement daily at your local health food store.
Hydrate with good water daily and stay away from fad sports drinks and too much coffee, cafeinated tea, soda in all its forms, and alcohol which are very dehydrating.
In addition to thinking about your health; consider what you need to have on hand should the need for less public interaction become necessary. Stock up on non-perishable foods and health needs so that if it hits your area, you are not forced to interact with the public rushing to the grocery store. If anyone in your family has a compromised immune system, that is another good reason for them to stay out of the public venues as well as family who could bring something home. Always use good hygiene like washing hands and stay home from work and school if you are sick.
The following is a soup base that contains astragalus, an herb that is well known for its immune boosting characteristics, supporting T-cell function and lymph among other things. You can make it and freeze it or keep in the frig and reheat daily.
3 Cups water, vegetable or bone broth
1/2 Cup Vegebroth powder or miso
6 slices dried astragalus root
3 Tbsp garlic powder or 10 fresh cloves
Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer 2 to 3 hours
Take out the root slices.
Take 1 C broth once or twice a week as a preventative or Add veggies for a substantial soup
If you get sick consume as much as you can and continue to make more.
We have a couple of series that we are offering for the spring/summer months that I encourage any of you to take that struggle with the changes our toxic environment and food sources have thrown at us. You will be amazed at the improvement simple changes will make in your overall health and energy levels.
Be well and stay well. If you do your part, God will do His.
Seed catalogs and more seed catalogs!! Tis the season for gardeners to consider the strategy for next season's garden.
Here is New England, we still have many overcast days, but as the days get longer, we begin to see the sun shine and the hint of spring a few months away. Looking at seed catalogs and envisioning the green plants popping through the ground is a way that I get through cold winter evenings. But for me, there is always something beckoning me to play in the soil whether it is my house plants, my windowsill herbs or the newest discovery - growing microgreens. As the sun begins to shine stronger each day, my windowsills and sunny, south facing rooms begin to see the gathering of plant pots and seedlings in anticipation of a fast start to new plants in my vegetable garden. Now I am making room for plastic trays that I can fill with numerous varieties of seeds that I can sprout quickly and begin to have fresh salad greens at my fingertips without any threat of ecoli microbes.
We have always known the nutritional advantage of sprouts because of the full value of plant nutrients within the seeds themselves. Now we have the advantage of experiencing what happens when those seeds are planted in soils warmed at home in a sunny window and containing the dense nutrients provided by the chlorophyll within their green cousins. There are any number of things that you can raise this way from obvious salad greens to their herbal cousins for flavor combinations and diverse vitamins and minerals as a base for your winter salads. In Europe, it has always been a custom to have a simple green salad with meals with fresh olive oil and vinegar. The combinations, shapes and sizes are diverse. If you google growing microgreens at home, there are many sources of information with instructions.
Some of the more uncommon greens are mache, beets, broccoli, arugula, cress, nasturtium, radish, peas, sunflower, celery, buckwheat. Or how about the herbs basil, mustard, cilantro, parsley, oregano, alfalfa, dill, leeks. These are just a "taste" of what is available for creative cooks as well as not so creative. Even if you only grow one kind of green that you use as a salad base for your household, the consistent contribution of nutrient value in these simple salads will increase your health and immunity in a season when ripe, fresh vegetables are not so easy to come by. They are picked fresh from your home garden and no value is lost in transport.
The other way you can use all these wonderful shapes and flavors of greens is to use them as garnishes on sandwiches, wraps, meats and sauces. So the skies the limit. While you're dreaming about your summer garden; start a mini-version in your house. You may find that microgreens are a great addition to raised beds and patio gardens if space is limited.
So dream on……….
It's a New Year!!!
As always, many of us are looking for a new start in some area of our lives. It seems that health issues are always near the top of those lists. Whether those issues are health problems or something else, the problem is that we have good intentions, but neglect to make a plan; or if we do make a plan, it is full of unrealistic expectations. As a result, the resolutions soon fall flat.
As the numbers 2020 often insinuate, maybe we should look a little closer at what we want to accomplish and make this a year of new perspective. People are not bringing their best to the world because they're sick. There is so much potential in human relationship that is being sidetracked. We are so easily tempted by quick fixes and instant gratifications. If we understood our worth, we would also understand that we need to eat, physically and spiritually in alignment with our values. Not only do we need to understand the value of what we eat; if we know our worth, we should be compelled to find the food that maintains our value to fulfill our potential life achievements.
My encouragement to all of us is to evaluate where we are at. Take of stock of where we have succeeded over the last year and where we have fallen back. Evaluate outside influences, versus personal motivational issues, versus existing health issues, versus what information we need that we don't have. You may also evaluate if there is anything that needs to be removed from your life, goal list, etc. Once your evaluation is complete, then it's time to make a plan.
Begin with setting some goals. Make sure they're realistic in light of the evaluation you have just completed. Then give yourself smaller incremental steps and timelines that are realistic and obtainable. Under those incremental steps list the outside influences, then the motivational issues, health issues, resource needs, etc.
Next prioritize what is the key issue that is keeping you from your goal; then the next key issue etc. With this information you can begin to see what needs to be accomplished first and then the next steps in order to accomplish your goals. Laying this foundation will provide you with a better perspective. Though you may not be able to accomplish all that you would like in a short period of time, the little successes you make can carry you forward and I guarantee that as you gain forward momentum, you will see your successes come more quickly.
As for your health issues --- we are here to help!! I cannot stress enough that the more excellent your health, the greater energy and momentum you will gain in whatever endeavor you begin. If you need help with purchasing supplements, addressing specific health crises, need more information on specific health issues and alternative therapies, nutritional questions, getting your diet back to alkaline, taking the Intermittent Fasting challenge, learning how to use herbs, how to fight back your autoimmune problems ….. we can help. The list here is endless. You are each unique and your solutions will be as unique as you are!!!
The New Year is here. Let us help you prepare to be ready for long term success and the exciting life experiences that are waiting for you!!
OK, so it's hustle and bustle time…. Christmas approaches. How are we going to make this Christmas different from the last ones? How can we make Christmas meaningful amidst all the tantalizing stuff we see on the shelves? Sometimes it's so overwhelming. Maybe we need to just take a step back in our gift giving and look at life from the outside in and what special gift would be appropriate for each one according to their heart's desires. Ah, you have to get close to people to see what that might be you say…….
I'd like to share a story with you. I have been to the country of Haiti as a missionary three times in my younger years. I remember after returning from one trip, getting into a conversation with someone about the ghettos in New York City and how there was a Haitian community there. The comment of my friend was "how can they live in such terrible conditions with extreme heat and no air conditioning, open to the street, and only cold water coming out of a faucet." My, comment to her is that "everything is relevant. If you saw the conditions they live in in their country, just having running water, even if it is cold, is a huge improvement." I remember seeing the stick huts with mud floors and palm branch roofs. I remember the pallets for sleeping on the floors of those huts, side by side with exposure to wind, rain, and mosquitos carrying malaria. I remember how they spent an entire day, gathering enough things to sell or trade so that they could eat a meal that same day. I remember the lack of choices, sickness without doctors and little food to eat. And I remember that even though they lived a meager lifestyle, when there was an event or gathering, they could always be found celebrating, singing, dancing, & playing their simple instruments of music. As I got to know the people of Haiti, I found them to be joyous for life despite it's hardships and the individual creativity and uniqueness of each person as I came to know them personally.
I remember returning home and looking around me at my life in the United States and wondering if all the choices we have was a blessing or a curse. Wondering if any of us would be so grateful for what we had that we would sing and dance and celebrate just that single blessing. Wondering if the whining and complaining I hear about what we do and don't have, comparing ourselves to someone else, would ever change to gratefulness.
I'm not wanting to do another exhortation on being thankful. I would challenge you as you begin to shop for gifts, what is the dream or desire in the heart of the one you are buying for that could be touched by a gift that would encourage and strengthen them as a person? What do they love so much that they would jump at the chance to pursue that journey. What don't they have that you could supply simply by encouraging them in their identity to continue to be who they were created to be; or even to find the adventure of their life they were destined to carry. Maybe you don't have the money to buy what they would really want, or maybe you have someone that is really difficult to buy for. But you could get them a gift that is simply symbolic of what they love and who they are, a sentiment that you see and care.
In this fast paced world of multi-tasking, perhaps it's more important to give a gift that affirms to someone that you see their uniqueness, their dreams and their hearts desires. So you'll have to look to get to know who they really are. Perhaps that is their gift to you. Maybe time together on a common interest or at least talking about it for lunch. Allegorically speaking, we're all gardens waiting to be planted, nurtured and harvested; much like the herbal ones we nurture. My prayer for you this Christmas is that you give the gift that nurtures the spirit in each one and that you may receive the same.
We're still canning, freezing and processing all the bounty from the gardens, fields and forests with the promise of cooler weather and a time to rest over the winter months. We are all looking forward to getting together at the end of the month with friends and family for our Thanksgiving feasts together. It's always a time to put together our best recipes to share with those we care about and to spend time with those we may not have seen for a stretch.
It's amazing how we look forward to spending time with others and it makes me realize just how important it is to be together. As much as our technology can be a lifeline of communication in our busy lives, being together and sharing moments of time, is the best!! I have more memories of moments with people I care about than email communications to those same folks.
Don't forget all the lovely and thoughtful gifts we can give to those we care about using the herbs, trees and other natural surprises in our own back yards. Let the aromatic herbs share their fragrances as well as their flavors, let your jams & relish, pickles and syrups restore and rejuvenate. Sometimes the simplest gifts are the best!!
Thank you to all our students, friends and supporters. You are all important to me and I am able to learn as much from you as I hope you can learn from me. You are all true treasures!!
It's a busy time as we look forward to the holiday season. My new motto is shop less and spend more (time that is!) It is a gift of love.
It's fall in Vermont!!! As I look around at what needs to be done to prepare for the winter season it would be easy to become overwhelmed. Food to be put up, herbs to be dried, tinctures to make, gardens to be put to bed. As I grab my favorite cup of adaptogenic herbal tea, I will make an attempt to prioritize. Just in case old man winter decides to show up early, I will have the most important things done.
I set my dryer for herbs on my kitchen counter where I can keep my eye on it while I'm chopping, peeling, boiling and jarring my jams, relishes and pickles. As the kitchen seems to be the place where all the inhouse activity is right now, I set up a temporary table to hold it all and chose the most ripe fruits & veggies to deal with first. I can check my dryer every hour or so to make sure herbs are dried to right "doneness", color still good and just the right crispness. That's my indoor harvesting style.
Outside on good days, I pull all the residual vines and stems to put in the brush pile, chop my comfrey for the last time and add it to my compost for nitrogen fixation, and clean up any signs of rotten tomatoes or potatoes so that spores will not infect the soil for next year. I might even scrape up the top half inch of soil there in order to better guarantee a sporeless start for next year. In addition, I will rotate the plantings so that those two vegetables will be in another location next season. Tools need to be washed and oiled, fencing and supports put away, shrubs wrapped, and hoses emptied of residual water so they won't freeze, coiled and hug up. We'll run the rototiller one last time to loosen up the soil and spread the winter rye crop. If we have leaves to rake from the trees shedding, we will spread those around as they break down well and continue to add good organic matter to the soil. Sweep the potting shed and lock the door and we are done outside.
Meanwhile back in the kitchen, there are piles everywhere. It's a sight to see, but it's also a sign of the provision we have received from the earth's bounty. As I dry my herbs, I will put them in clean glass jars and into the apothecary closet where they will be ready to tincture and otherwise process later during the winter months when I have more time. I will make sure we have enough elderberry syrup and echinacea to start the winter cold season. There's nothing else to be done, but to begin with the biggest pile of vegetables and start the freezing and canning process. Should anyone come to visit they will automatically be invited into this maze of bounty with a paring knife and a bowl. You wanna talk with me these days, you'll have to indulge in kitchen work. The gift is, you'll be able to take a few things home with you.
After dinner, I sit down and try not to nod off too early. The days are full and I am tired but satisfied that I have participated in stewarding a most precious gift. My dreams are full of eating fresh vegetables and raspberry cobbler in the middle of winter as the snow flies.
Webster's definition of resilient reads like this:
1: The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress. 2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
When people are aware of situations, their own emotional reactions and the behavior of those around them. In order to manage feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why. By remaining aware, resilient people can maintain control of a situation and think of new ways to tackle problems.
Resilient health is all of the above. In the myriad of health solutions that we teach about, we can't underestimate the strength we have when we know ourselves; how we react to certain events, people and circumstances. Knowing ourselves in this way, and taking the time to learn how to humbly consider our own shortcomings actually prepares us for those life crises that are sure to arise. It can prepare us to call on friends or family for assistance, let offense go so we can deal with the real issues or know how we need to communicate and to whom in an emergency. It causes us to have the ability, as in #2 above, to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
Although change is not always easy, we live more and more in a world of change and unknown futures. That's why learning opportunities are always beneficial and the more we are open to learning new things, the better ability to adjust we will have. Throwing off fear which leads to stress is a big roadblock to many. Take time to spend with friends who will pray with you, considering what God says about you, spending time in natural surroundings, reading inspiring words of wisdom, finding fun and laughter in the things you love, even celebrating the many successes you have whether large or small. Remember "Laughter is good medicine".
Resilient health means that when we find ourselves sick or rundown, we have learned what to put into action to recover and adjust. That can apply to a winter cold virus or a battle with a chronic disease or condition. Our battles for health can be real warfare to think positively, know the resources to get the answers you need for each situation, and adjust to the circumstances. Knowing what to do before it happens is part of winning each health battle and finding times of joy and celebration even in the midst of a cancer diagnosis can make the difference between life and death.
Please join us on September 17th as we hear from a Parkinson's patient who is recovering and adjusting in the midst of her health crisis. Whether you have a chronic problem or just want to learn, all are welcome. Call Cathy at 802-683-1785 or email email@example.com
August has arrived in the Northeast. It's the hot days of summer, before the harbingers of fall begin to show when the leaves change their colors. It's a time to harvest as much as possible for the winter months that will eventually come. It may be hard to think of cold weather when it's hot but the hardiest of rural families knows to "consider the ants".
The fields and forests are still lush with green and the gardens are showing their finest. Here, at Healing Leaves Center we are harvesting as much cultivated and wildcrafted material, drying and storing it for a later date when we will process it. We do that over fall and winter when time presents itself.
As I was examining the gardens and what needed to be harvested next, the beautiful blue flowers of the scutellarias caught my eyes. Scutellaria is the latin name for the skullcaps. We have two here at the Center; Lateriflora, or common and Biacalensis, or Chinese. In our stressful, fast-paced lifestyles, the skullcaps are good additions to our medicine cupboards.
Scutellaria Lateriflora grows well in our region as a perennial. It is easily harvested and dried and makes a beautiful addition to cultivated garden areas. In the wild it is found in sunny but damp, wet areas. It is part of the mint family, so can be identified by its square stem.
The leaves of blue skullcap have a history of use in herbal medicines as a sedative and tranquilizer and for treatment of a variety of conditions including stress, nervous tension, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, convulsions and certain neurological disorders. It is used in formulas with other herbs to support the above functions. It is very safe to use with little side effects. (Please note, any one individual can have a reaction to almost anything, including food. Use all herbs in small doses until you are sure you do not personally have any negative reactions).
Scutellaria Biacalensis, or Biacal Skullcap can be grown in the northeast to zone 4. After that it will need to be potted and put under cover or grown in a greenhouse and mulched in for winter. It likes sunny locations but, unlike Lateriflora, it does not like damp soil but needs soil that drains well. The extra time and care needed to grow it are not only rewarded by its medicinal uses but also by its larger, darker blue and showier flowers. Unfortunately it is the root of the plant that is needed medicinally so if you are using for that purpose, you will need a number of plants to continue to proliferate as you take some for processing.
Biacalensis has been used for many years in Chinese medicine and is just beginning to show itself more popular in Western herbal medicne. Common uses are for inflammation, insomnia, hepatitis, epilepsy, atherosclerosis and cancer.
Skullcap Tea for Headaches and Nervous Stress (made with common skullcap)
2 parts scutellaria lateriflora
2 parts lemon balm
1/2 part feverfew
4 parts chamomile
Directions: Use 1 tsp per cup of boiling water, cover and and let steep 15 minutes
Sorry to have missed blogging in the month of May & June. It has been unseasonably cold here in the northeast and getting cleaned up and prepared to plant for spring has been exceptionally difficult. Not to mention that many of you have had to deal with flooding.
My husband and I took our usual spring break to camp and hike in the Adirondacks of New York. It is a lovely, wild place that has it's challenges, like the black fly season. Despite their itching and swelling, black flies carry no diseases that complicate their existence; but the intentional application of herbal repellent reminds me that tick season will soon be upon us. That, is a bug of a different color.
Lyme disease has increased multi-dimensionally over the last few years. Lyme disease, itself, can be difficult to treat if attention is not taken immediately after being bitten. The problem is complicated by the fact that ticks can carry any of six other bacterial infections as well; and a tick bite can mean any combination of lyme and one or more of those co-infections.
Wisdom and care is important; but I absolutely refuse to be so fear driven that I will no longer walk the woods and fields of God's creation and ignore the abundance of food, medicine and spiritual awareness that comes with that activity.
We, at Healing Leaves Center, have now developed a Tick Kit that can be carried with you, along with your insect repellent, so that you can be prepared for the unexpected and not have to fear walking the woods. The "kit" contains the items for immediate treatment of a suspected tick bite, whether in the woods or at home after your walk. Whether you decide to purchase our tick kit or not, here are some specific ways to keep ticks off your body and out of your home.
Have a good insect repellent that you use whenever you go into fields and woods whether it is bug season or not. A good herbal, non-deet repellent, made with herbs and aromatherapy oils can work well and smell reasonably good. Re applications may be required as aromatherapy oils evaporate, but they are not toxic and re-applications are not dangerous. We use the herb Andrographis as a tick repellent and it can be added to whatever insect repellent you might purchase. Some insect repellents advertise that they are good for ticks also; but we know that Andrographis is the most repulsive to the ticks and can also be taken orally if an imbedded tick is found. We, therefore, always have a tincture of this herb in our "kit" at all times. Spraying your repellants on any areas of bare skin and even on clothes or hats and brims works well.
If you find an unembedded tick on yourself or those you are with, remove it and destroy it by burning or slicing with a knife or sharp instrument. In the event you cannot dispose of this way, put into a zip lock bag and destroy when you get home. DO NOT just toss them aside. Destroying them is one more way to keep them from proliferating. Care should be taken after every outdoor activity to find a "buddy" who can observe bare skin for you (in areas that you cannot see, like your back) to check for ticks. Best practice: After walking in the woods and fields, shake off your clothes outside and then throw them into the laundry. Ticks can hide in folds of clothing and end up on furniture and other household furnishings and surprise you later. You want to keep them out of your house.
If you find a tick embedded in your skin, DO NOT SQUEEZE IT. Remove it with a tick removal tool that has a notch cut into it. These can be purchased online or in pet stores. Spray the tick with repellent or soapy water and gently slide the notch under the tick so that the forked portion contacts the head area. Pry it out. Then dispose of it. Treat the area with an antibacterial. We like to use Kloss's Linament. This kills any bacteria or Lyme micro-organisms. In addition, a dropper full of Andrographis tincture orally is recommended. This has a very bitter taste and you may want to dilute it with water or chase it with something immediately afterward. These items are contained in our "kits".
If you develop redness, rash, swelling or fever within 24 hours to a week of removal, see your health care provider immediately. A bullseye rash does not always develop. Lyme disease is not usually contracted if the tick is removed within 24 hours (this would be the average time that it takes the tick to burrow deep enough to reach blood vessels) If there is any question that you might be infected, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible. Other symptoms would be flu like symptoms, lethargy, fatigue, joint pain. The sooner you receive care, the less risk of contracting long-term Lyme or any of the multiple bacterial affections associated with it. Often a prescription of Doxycycline is prescribed for 21 days as the antibiotic of choice.
There is incidence of people being bitten and the tick not being found. Again, the same protocol as above would be advised. If it lies dormant and appears a number of months later, you may have contracted lyme and need more intense treatment. Be sure to find a practitioner with experience treating lyme. It often has to be diagnosed by ruling out other autoimmune problems. The most common symptom of lyme is joint pain that comes and goes and occurs sometimes in one joint and other times in another one. For more information and protocol recommendations for treatment see www.buhnerhealinglyme.com Dr. Steve Buhner has treated hundreds of lyme patients as a naturopathic physician, has done extensive research on lyme disease, and written a number of books on the subject.
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.