Finding my new favorite herbal tea

This Spring we started free ranging our small herd (20) Angora, and Pygora goats outside the designated fenced pasture area’s of the farm. Goats are browsers and not so much grazers like sheep, cattle and horses. Goats prefer to eat leaves off various trees, bushes and vines according to their preference (including poison Ivy). There is a lot of goat desirable underbrush under some of the big old Pecan and Walnut trees. There are patches of Lespedeza. Honeysuckle vines and Virginia Creeper abound, Wild Roses, etc. We have lots of browse for the goats to enjoy all around the farm.

Angora's in the wild
Yesterday, I was out in the back forty trying to wrangle the goats back home or at least get them closer to the barn and pasture and not so far afield. The goats tend to wander freely and venture toward the deep woods if left unattended for any great period. But they will stay together pretty much as a herd when they are free ranging in the back meadow along the tree line. To get their attention I reached up with my walking stick to pull down some low branches on a big old pine tree. When I rattled the pine bough all the goats came running. Goats (and I) love to munch on pine needles. Pine needles are very tasty, citrusy and loaded with vitamin C and other nutrition. While the goats were busy munching and indulging on their new found oral treasure, I gathered a bandana full of the new growth pine tips for a cup of Pine Needle Tea to be enjoyed later.

Pied Piper of Bellfire
I headed back toward the house with all the goats in tow. On the way back I stopped at one of the many black berry thickets near the barn as the black berries are just coming into season and some were ripe for the picking. I topped off the bandana with fresh black berries. When I got back to the house I put a pot of 1 1/2 quarts of cold water on the stove to heat/ boil. I added the fresh pine needles to make a tea. As the water started to come to a boil I added about 1 – 2 cups of the black berries. I took a wooden spoon and mashed them slightly.

Time for the taste test.

The pine flavor wasn’t coming through enough as I overwhelmed it with the ripe fresh berries. I added about 1 – 2 TBS of lemon grass. I let the mixture steep in the hot water for 20 minutes then strained it through a steel mesh strainer. I like my tea sweet so I sweetened with sugar. The taste was amazing. I think the taste of the Pine Needle/ Black Berry/ Lemon Grass is one of the best brewed natural tea’s I’ve ever tried. The flavor is bold, rich and fruity and it is loaded with Vitamins. The tart citrus of the Pine and Lemon Grass was just enough to offset the sweet ripe berries.

This is nothing like any store bought tea, it is wild and free and the flavor is amazing.

Try it, you’ll like it.

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Using herbs and natural treatments for circulatory system problems

Generally, the last Thursday of the month, I hold a free lecture series at the local library regarding Herbs, Herbalism, Shamanism, folk medicine, natural and alternative treatments to common health issues.

Last week’s discussion was at the request of one of the participants. Requested was a discussion focused on natural treatments of high cholesterol and high blood pressure problems. I want to share some of the things we discussed.

The Circulatory System

Understanding the basic body mechanics

Blood is the body’s life force.  Blood is needed in every system for the body to survive. Blood carries Vitamin C and E and other necessary nutritional needs and vital oxygen to every cell. Blood also carries out and removes waste material from every cell.  Blood is carried to the cells by way of the circulatory system. The circulatory system consists of a network of veins and arteries and smaller vessels known as capillaries.

Arteries, smaller arterioles and capillaries carry oxygen enriched blood to the cells.  The veins carry waste material away from the cells and back to the heart to be pumped to the lungs to be re-oxygenated. They all work together to complete the circuit.

With that said, we discussed some of the more common medical issues people have with their circulatory system.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty compound present in the blood to maintain normal structure and function of the cell membrane.  Cholesterol is also important to sheath and protect the nervous system. However, too much cholesterol is not a good thing.  High cholesterol is almost epidemic in Western culture because of our bad eating habits and poor quality food.

 There are two types of Cholesterol

  • High Density Lipid (HDL) considered to be the ‘good cholesterol’.
  • Low Density Lipid (LDL) considered to be the ‘bad cholesterol’ and which is the main cause of arterial plaque build up and narrowing of the artery walls.

The body’s natural cholesterol regulator is Vitamin B3 (Niacin).  Proper daily intake of Vitamin B3 keeps cholesterol in check.

Because of our generally bad ‘SAD’ diets many people are symptomatic of Hypercholesterol – too much fat in the blood and the inability of the body to break down these fats with bile.  When this occurs, we generally take medical advice to reduce the cholesterol by taking medications (other than Vit.  B3) like Statins.  Taking Statins opens us up to a whole bunch of unpleasant side effects.

I recommend treating hyper cholesterol with natural supplements.

Recommended supplements to control High Cholesterol are:

  • Niacin: A time released formula of Vitamin B3 is recommended
  • Fish Oil: High in Omega 3 Essential (short chain) Fatty Acids (EFA)
  • Flax Seed Oil which is high in Lecithin and breaks down fatty proteins.
  • Evening Primrose Oil also high in lecithin drops the LDL
  • Soy Isoflavones: a compound found in Soy products

Hypertension, aka High Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer.  Many people have high blood pressure and aren’t even aware of the condition.  High Blood pressure can be caused from a number of different factors. Understanding your own symptoms will determine how you may treat the condition.

High blood pressure is determined by measuring the pressure exerted on the blood vessel walls.  When the heart is contracted and at full ‘pump’, this is known as the systolic pressure.  The pressure measured when the heart is relaxed (between beats) is known as the diastolic pressure.

This gives you an upper (systolic) number and a lower (diastolic) number.  The pressure is measured in millimeters of Mercury by a cuff and gauge called a sphygmomanometer.

Causative factors that will raise the blood pressure are:

  • Narrowing of the blood vessels from age and build up of arterial plaque (hardening of the arteries)
  • Genetic anomalies, i.e.: Family history
  • Stress/ anxiety
  • Chemical imbalances from poor nutrition and supplementation, i.e.: Inadequate Serum Magnesium levels

That brings me to the importance of maintaining a proper blood serum Magnesium level.

The mineral Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of chemical autonomic functions throughout the body’s systems. One of Magnesium’s primary functions is to control the dilation and contraction of blood vessels.

Magnesium must be absorbed every day for proper autonomic functions. Normal magnesium levels are usually provided in the food we drink or eat. But industrial farming methods in this country have depleted Magnesium in the soil over the last 100 years. Most people today are Magnesium deficient because of this and supplementation is almost imperative.

Magnesium is also poorly absorbed when taken in pill/ capsule form. Magnesium is mostly destroyed in the stomach and alimentary system (80%).

Two effective methods of Magnesium supplementation are:

  • Transdermally: absorbing magnesium directly through the skin. One way to do that is by soaking in an Epsom Salt Bath. Epsom salt is 100% Magnesium sulfate. Soaking 20 -30 minutes a day in a warm water bath will absorb enough magnesium to elevate ones serum Mg levels. An alternative to this is just a simple foot soak in warm water with Epsom salt. Magnesium is absorbed directly through the skin on the soles of the feet.(Search article on my web site at Belfirebotanicals.wordpress.com)  ‘Transdermal Magnesium Therapy’.
  • Internally: Another method of Magnesium intake is taking a warm infusion of ‘Harmonic Tea’

Harmonic tea is formulated to support the Musculoskeletal system and also the nervous system.

My recipe for this amazing tea is:

2 parts Oat Straw

1 part Red Clover herb and flower tops

1 part Nettle leaf

1 part Comfrey leaf

1 part Hibiscus flowers

Blend herbs. Add 1 TBS of the herb mixture to 1 cup of hot water. Steep 10 – 15 minutes.  Sweeten as desired.

Enjoy!

These are some of the herbs you may use to help deal with your own issues of the circulatory system.

Cayenne Pepper, aka African Bird Pepper

  • It is warming to the system, improves blood flow, acts as a vasodilator

Garlic

  • Metabolic stimulant, natural blood thinner, inhibits blood platelet aggregation.

Bilberry – Vacinnum myrtylis, aka Blueberry

  • Improves vascular integrity especially in small blood vessels and coronary arteries and also helps repair small blood vessels especially around the heart and the middle ear.

Devil’s Claw – Harpogophytum Procumbens, an African Orchid

  • Softens / removes arterial plaque, tones the vascular wall, great anti-inflammatory.

Oat Straw

  • Strengthens the arterial wall

Rosemary – Rosemary officianalis

  • Warming, stimulates and tones the ‘myocardium’ heart muscle

Eleuthro – Eleuthro Senticoccis, Siberian Ginseng

  • Improves and tones the entire circulatory system, improves the body’s ability to withstand heat and cold.

Gingko Biloba

  • Improves vascular integrity, repairs small blood vessels, capillaries, especially around the heart (coronary arteries) eyes and ears.

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Evergreens

The medicinal and therapeutic benefits of Evergreens

PinePinus strobus, White Pine

Parts used:

Needles/ leaves, Bark, Cones/ seeds, Pollen

Pine needles re loaded with vitamins  A & C

The story of French explorer, Jacques Cartier (cir 1535), who explored the new world for France in the early 16th century was said to have been forced to winter over in the Great Lakes/ Saint Lawrence seaway when his ships were frozen in winter ice. His crew starving and dying of scurvy were about to be lost to a foot note in history when the indigenous peoples of the America’s came to his aid. the Native Americans showed him how to boil the leaves of the white pine tree to make a tea. this tea is loaded with vitamins  A & C.   This survival tea of pine needles saved their trip and their lives.

Pine needle tea:

Simple as boiling chopped pine needles in a pot/kettle of hot water.   It will taste slightly citrusy.   Sweeten to taste with honey. 

Pine bark:

The inner cambium layer of the bark is a rich source the important anti-oxidant, “Picnogynol’, the same substance that is in Grape Seed extract.  Tinctured White pine bark is a natural Rx for treating ADD/ ADHD. (with Omega 3 EFA).

Pine bark is also edible. In lean times, the inner layer of pine bark is scraped, dried and ground into flour to supplement wheat flour it can be and has been used as animal fodder in winter.

Pine Resin/ Sap:

Can be used as an waterproof adhesive and waterproofing / repairing seams on clothing or a tent.

Pine resin is highly anti-microbial. It may also be used as waterproof wound covering (small cuts, abrasions, blisters).

Pine Tar:

Pine tar has a long history of being a wood preservative (ships, boats), also as a coating on hemp and manila ropes used outdoors or at sea.

My blend of pine tar and Calendula oil is a very effective leather dressing.  I call it “Horn & Hoof”. I use this blend as a protective and anti-septic coating on the horns and hooves on my livestock (Goats).  It’s a very antiseptic preservative and softening agent on my goats hooves, especially after trimming.

To make Horn & Hoof, I blend infused Calendula oil with pine tar. It’s also wonderful as a leather dressing / waterproofing for my boots or leather sheaths for knives and gun holsters.

Rod with his helper Sam_blog

Rod with his helper and taster, Sam

Juniper:  Common, Juniper, Dwarf Juniper, Ground Juniper

Used in small doses in a medicinal tea, Juniper is an effective diuretic, which speeds filtration of the kidneys. It also reduces and prevents kidney stones. Word of caution here in that too high a dose of juniper can cause over stimulation of the kidneys and cause some inflammation (nephritis).

Juniper as tea or tincture helps to lower blood pressure. Used for these purposes, Juniper is best used when tinctured/ extracted with grain alcohol (Brandy) because it is easier to control the dosage. Specific herbal preparations made with Juniper are used by herbalists to internally and topically for the treatment of rheumatism and gout.

Juniper berries are a wonderful flavoring and preservative for wild game meats. (I love to use juniper berries when preparing pork loin or venison loins).

Another caution is juniper is not to be used by diabetics as it tends to spike blood glucose levels

Cedar : Juniperus virginicus, Red Cedar

Parts used: Berries, needles/ leaves, cones

cedar berries 2_blog

Cedar berries

According to master herbalist, John Christopher, Cedar berries can be used to control specifically type 2 diabetes. Cedar berries used as a tincture with other herbs, stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. The berries also can be used to control sugar/ glucose spikes after meals in diabetic patients.

This is to be used with caution as cedar berries are rich in Thujone oil which in some people may cause stomach irritability and upset with gas, nausea and vomiting.

Not recommended when pregnant

Cedar berries can be used topically to treat Eczema, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis by making a topical balm. This is done by covering  the berries in a slow cooker (crock pot) with Lard, (Crisco or Olive oil can be substituted) Simmer on low for 24 hours. Strain the oil off and decant in a wide mouth jar and keep refrigerated. This soothing, cooling balm is applied directly to the effected arthritic areas or break outs of eczema, psoriasis.

Fir  Tree: Balsam Fir, Canadian Balsam

Parts used: Bark, Resin, Needles

Medicinal remedies using fir trees have a long history of healing since medieval times (Friars Balsam).  Parts of the fir tree can still be used as an astringent, pain relief, to reduce fevers and as an anti-microbial antiseptic. Teas and aromatic diffusers can be helpful to treat the lungs and respiratory issues, including colds, coughs, asthma.

Herbal preparations made with Fir sap/ resin can be made into a topical wound covering. It can be used to treat headaches, toothaches, abscesses, and to reduce fevers.

Recipe for Balsam Syrup:

2 cups distilled water

approx. 8 ounces of fir needles or tips of branch with new twig shoots

1 cup of raw honey

Make a decoction by slowly bringing to a boil, the twigs and needles in the distilled water. Let simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.

Strain off the liquid ‘Tea”

Add the raw honey and blend/ mix thoroughly

Bottled and stored in refrigerator, it will last for months.

Dose: 1 TBS before meals.  May dilute with warm water.

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Stomach virus and the 24 hour thingy

 Stomach virus and the 24 hour ‘Thingy’

 What some people refer to as a ‘stomach virus’ is sometimes actually a mild form of food poisoning.  You can most likely tell if it is food poisoning by the rapid onset, and when I mean rapid, it’s like “here I go just a walking down the street — singing….. ‘Doo Waa … I feel great”….. then Wham!… you get hit by a bus….that rapid.  Suddenly you’re hit by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  That is most often some sort of food poisoning.  The best and fastest way to remedy bacteriological food poisoning is with a 1 oz internal dose of Colloidal silver.  It kills the causative bacterium almost on contact.  You will feel totally revived in 20 minutes. I ‘ve personally experienced food poisoning (of varying degrees) three times.  Two of those times it brought me to my knees, like getting hit by a truck from the inside.  The last time it happened to me I swallowed 1 oz of colloidal silver and within minutes regained my composure as the cramping ceased.  Salmonella, Botulism and even E-Coli can be killed with colloidal silver.  For those of you who are ‘prepper’ oriented, Colloidal silver should be part of your preps AND in your BOB.

Now if your particular gastric distress is something else other than food poisoning, such as an intestinal virus, influenza, bacterial (streptococcus), or a Candida (Yeast) overgrowth, colloidal silver may still be helpful.  CS is very valuable to enhance your immune response so your body can fight the viral attack naturally. If this is the case there are some very helpful herbal remedies available to help combat this as well.

Oregano (Oreganum Vulgarus) is highly anti-viral, especially the essential oil of Oregano, according to studies done at Brigham Young University and was proven to kill over 600 types of viruses.

Thyme (Thymus Vulgarus) Yes, the kitchen spice is a potent, broad spectrum antibiotic (both Gram Positive AND Gram Negative) and anti-viral.  Thyme is highly effective specific to throat and respiratory conditions.

Rosemary  (Rosemarinus officinials) Rosemary was used in French hospitals/sick rooms during the ‘black death’ during the 11th century to combat the plague. For a millennia Rosemary has been a proven virus fighter.

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) contain volatile oils, flavanoids and tannins which combat infection.

Biscuit root (Lomatium disectum) also known as Desert Parsley was found during the Lewis and Clark expedition.  They discovered that Native American Indians in the North West would use it as a survival food (Biscuit flour) as well as a medicine to combat influenza and infection.

Clove Buds, yes, highly aromatic clove is a powerful anti-viral
Juniper Berries
Cinnamon

and one of my favorites:

Olive Leaf (specific to Liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal) is also a major vasodilator for blood pressure and cardiovascular events.

This short list of medicinal anti-viral herbs are mostly spices commonly found in your kitchen and or any grocery store.  However,  when used and prepared properly, they are also some very potent infection fighters.

Here are some easy ways to prepare these ‘Spices’ for use (especially in a crisis situation and unable to get to a pharmacy or maybe even a physician).

Prepare as:

Medicinal tea: 

A warm infusion of a blending a tablespoon of some of these herbs are not only nutritious and tasty but very effective medicinally.

Tinctures:
Can be made from a blend of these herbs and spices. A tincture is made by using a solvent (Usually alcohol/ brandy/ vodka but also Apple cider Vinegar), to extract the phytonutrients from the plant.

Example:

Place 1/3 of an herbal blend in a small airtight jar with a lid. Cover the herbal blend with an alcohol solvent menstrum, (Brandy, Vodka or to keep a non alcohol base, even ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) by twice as much leaving a head space in the jar for swelling of the dried herbs or if more alcohol is needed later. Cover the jar with a tight lid, shake well and again shaken daily.  Label and date the jar.  Tinctures must be made in advance as the herbs used must be soaked/ infused in the solvent (menstrum) from 4 – 6 weeks then strained off and the infused liquid decanted into a bottle labeled for use later as needed. Tinctures are to be taken by the dropper full or teaspoon. They are generally fast acting and very effective and can be custom targeted to effect a certain area of the body.

Poultice:

A poultice can be made quickly to treat a topical/ localized wound to fight or prevent an infection by making a strong tea (infusion) or a decoction of the herbs.  This strong tea is then allowed to cool, then a dressing soaked in the infused solution and applied directly to the wound or infection site.  The dressing then covered by plastic (Saran) wrap to keep it moist. Then a bandage applied over the dressing to keep it in place.

Anti-viral herbs such as these can also be of benefit in a sick room, (especially where children are). Prepare by blending these herbs/ spices in olive oil (any cooking oil will do) at a ratio of 1:2.  Then heat them and the oil for 24 hours in a crock pot or a low heat burner or heavy pot.  Strained off and the infused oil is preserved in a bottle/ jar.  When needed, add a few drops of the oil to an aromatherapy burner (a small vessel heated by a candle to burn off the vapors from the oil). This oil vapor will permeate a sick room (child’s bedroom) and the health benefits will reach the patient that way.

I personally have used this method to eradicate black mold from a room after a flooding incident.  8 hours of burning these anti-viral herbs in an aromatherapy infuser in a closed off room completely destroyed the mold that was growing up the wall in one day. (I burned it 2 days just to make sure).

Transdermal:

A few drops of this herbal infused oil by the crock pot method will permeate the skin when rubbed in topically, ie: placing a few drops of the oil on the bottom of the feet and covered by warm socks is a great way to introduce herbs to the body, especially when there is vomiting present.  A well renowned French Herbalist Maurice Messgue treated all his patients with this method including heads of state and royalty of Europe back in  the 1930’s and 40’s.

If you’d like to know more about using herbal remedies in a bug out or crisis situation or have specific questions about herbal medicine, e-mail me at tinmaniswise@live.com or comment at this web-blog ( belfirebotanicals.wordpress.com)

TinMan

 

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“The Greatest Gift”

‘The Greatest Gift God ever gave’ is the body’s ability to heal itself ‘

Seemingly, Cancer is and has been reaching epidemic proportions everywhere. It seems that Cancer touches someone or has effected someone you know or someone dear to you very frequently. It effects us all. It affects people in all walks of life with out disparity. Cancer has no boundaries. Rich, poor, ethnicity, or gender…..Cancer can touch anyone.

100 years ago, Cancer was a rare disease. Is it our lifestyle? Is it Genetic? Is it Environmental? Is it a combination of factors? What ever the trigger mechanism of this deadly disease, it has crept into our society in a deadly way much too frequently. I don’t want to discuss the validity of all the new and improved Allopathic Medical models presented to us by the AMA and their Minions over in Big Pharma.  I don’t want to discuss the claims of the oh so many alternative treatments heralded by people who claim to be able to  cure Cancer naturally. (Although some are valid). However, I do wish to share with you all how I dealt with my experience with Cancer.  How I dealt with it, how I coped with it and how I survived it. It has been 25 years now since I was diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal throat cancer. The following is a re-post of an article I wrote some years ago on how I dealt with and survived this deadly onslaught of physical and emotional horror. Recently, after meeting some very sincere, physically and emotionally hurting and torn Cancer patients, I decided that I wanted to share with you all again, my experience with Cancer.

This an accounting of how I dealt with and survived Cancer.

This is also a reminder for you all to

“Take charge of your own wellness not to just survive, but to thrive”.

“The Greatest Gift”

The ‘Greatest gift God ever gave’ is the body’s ability to heal itself ‘.

But it is up to us as individuals to create a healthy environment for that to take place. Some may or may not abide by  the ‘Mantra’, “Your Body, your Temple”. But, at least treat your body with respect, understanding and the knowledge of knowing what it needs. Learn to ‘Listen’ to your own body.

I found out I had cancer at the age of 37. I was devastated. I hadn’t even been sick. I’d developed a mild case of Laryngitis after a minor ear infection after swimming in the ocean. My laryngitis seemed to linger after the ‘Swimmers ear’ had long been resolved. Weeks went by and my voice  seemed worse.  I was newly married only one year, physically fit and strong. I was humbled by the news from the doctor. Especially when I also found out my cancer was in it’s 4th and final stage. I hadn’t fully realized the full impact of that situation until later during my post surgical treatments. I was still reeling from trying to understand the diagnosis and consequences of Squamous cell, stage 4 Laryngeal, Tracheal Carcinoma. I had Cancer of the throat, voice box to be more specific and it was spreading down my Trachea, (wind Pipe)  toward my lungs. My prognosis was not good. He’d told me my chance of survival for the next year was less than 1%. I had to face my own mortality.

My surgery was to be a throat tissue biopsy. Then upon confirmation of the malignancy diagnosis I was to undergo a total laryngectomy ASAP. I knew that would leave me with a permanent tracheal Stoma or a hole in the front of my throat to breathe through for the rest of my life. I didn’t know how much longer I would live. But I felt I couldn’t just give up, even though I got the direct impression my doctor already had. He seemed disinterested in my case after the surgery, wanting to just push me out the door after offering pills for pain or whatever. I felt I was just sitting on a ‘Back Burner’ until my time came.

I asked my doctor why he felt a young, strong, otherwise physically fit  man could develop such a deadly cancer at an early age.

He said it was because my immune system had apparently just shut down. My body was not able to fight off the disease. That this type of Squamous cell Cancer usually effected elderly people, it was very aggressive and most always fatal.

I wanted to know Why(?). How could this just happen? What he said next, changed my life forever.

He simply said, “I just don’t know”! In fact he followed with, “I don’t have a clue” as to why your immune system isn’t working. your body just gave up and isn’t able to fight this.

I knew right then if I were to survive this, I needed to take complete charge of my own ‘Wellness’.

My immediate effort was to spend many hours at the library. First reading about the disease itself, how it affects people differently and most importantly, my immune system. I was sure my immune system’s Non-response was the key. If my Immune system couldn’t or wouldn’t fight, I wanted to know why. Could I change that? The more I read, the more I was convinced I could.

The gathering evidence seemed to be leading toward Diet and Nutrition. The old saying, “You are what you eat” became painfully obvious. I needed to find out more of what my Body needed and not just liked.

I think the first critical criteria was a realization that Alkaline blood levels are a must. It seemed that when the body is too acidic, (opposite of Alkaline) that healing was almost impossible. I also concluded that when almost any disease is present, the body is usually slightly acidic. It seemed that acidic bodily conditions foster disease. The alkalinity or acidity of someone is easily determined by using a piece of litmus paper strips obtained at any pharmacy. Place under the tongue to moisten and wait a few seconds for the color to change, (yellow to green). By placing the test strip along side of the color chart on the test strip container will determine where on the PH scale your alkalinity or acidity lies. Mine was pretty much neutral. This is something I could change through my diet, and eating the right foods I could actually become slightly more alkaline. There are certain foods that help create alkalinity, ie Asparagus,, broccoli, cauliflower, green cabbage, Almonds, etc. It is widely known that these ‘Cruciferous’ vegetables have strong anti-Cancer properties. Asparagus and broccoli (especially sprouts) are well known for their tumor reducing abilities. There are plenty of Nutritional books available on alkaline diets.

I found also, It takes a lot of internal energy on the body’s part just to digest red meat, especially when the body really needs to focus on healing. I tried to avoid eating red meat during this time of stress.

I figured I could eat some red meat, just not letting it be a major part of my diet. The tissues in my throat from the surgery, and the successive radiation treatments were still very swollen, I was having trouble swallowing anyway. I relied mostly on a liquid diet just because of the inability to swallow solid food. I also was suffering from severe bouts of Nausea. I realized juicing fresh vegetables would be a big factor. I included Carrot, apple, cabbage, beets (with the tops) Spinach. Kale or swiss chard is good too. (Processed sugar products too are not helpful during this time). I deliberately sacrificed the sweets in my diet

Herb teas and green teas are good,….. in fact, very good due to the high amounts of antioxidants. I drank lots of fresh clean water. I was fortunate enough to be living on my cousins horse farm in Vermont with a wonderful artesian well with high mineral content.

Once I started juicing in one of those infomercial juicers, the results were dramatic. I not only felt better, I finally had the strength to get out of bed.  I was doing more and more daily. I was getting outside finally to enjoy the fall fresh air. With in a week, I felt well enough to go on short walks and was doing light chores around the yard. Not to mention the positive emotional impact of feeling better was a tremendous lift. exercising felt good as long as I could rest when I needed to and didn’t push myself. Take it slow, I thought.

Feeling now that my diet and nutrition was the key. Considering what I’d just been through surgically, it seemed I was on the right track and diligently stuck with feeding my nutritional needs for optimal wellness through juicing and eating proper foods.

The next step was to become aggressive with re-building my immune system. My choice was undertake a regiment of herbal supplements historically known to fight and reduce tumors, to kill cancer cells and strengthen and support my weakened immune response.

The following is the Primary daily herbal regiment I started.

Red Clover tea, W/ Honey (Ginger tea when Nausea was present)

Siberian Ginseng extract (for energy)

Parsley W/ Garlic (According to Louise Tenney, MH, Cancer cells cannot grow in a Parsley medium/ Garlic maintains a healthy Lymph system and helps flush waste from lymph glands). (Usually put through the juicer , But can be taken as capsules). Parsley is a diuretic and able to dispel toxins from the body through the kidney’s and urinary tract

Echinacea  Tincture: to help rebuild a strong Immune system

Golden Seal: to heal the radiation burned/ swollen tissues in my throat and trachea, very healing to mucus membrane lining.

Pau D’Arco (or Una D’Gato/ aka Cats Claw… Similar to Pau D’Arco) for tumor reduction and strengthening the Immune System

Chaparal,  Powerful Cytokine known for it’s ability for tumor reduction and known to kill and destroy Cancer cells.

Chlorella (or Spirulina). Provides all nutritional needs, Known also to be a remarkable detoxifier and blood purifier.

To a lesser degree, I also used in capsule or supplement form:

Burdock root: Blood cleanser

Dandelion Leaf and Dandelion Root, long known as a blood cleanser, detoxifier and liver toner.

Curley dock, aka Yellow dock root (Excellent blood purifier and cleanser)

Licorice root: Hormone/ endocrine balance

Kelp, aka Sea Weed : for the high content of Iodine and Potassium to protect my thyroid. (necessary) Iodine and the ability to absorb iodine, (Uptake) is destroyed during radiation and chemo. Iodine is absolutely essential to the function of the thyroid gland. I can’t stress this fact enough as I eventually lost the functionality of my Thyroid after the extensive 4 month period of radiation treatments.

*** if I had known then, what I know now. I would have also added as primary herbals:

>Black Cumin, aka Black Seed/ Blessed oil for it’s tumor reducing  qualities through T-Cell production, along with its enormous ability to kill cancer cells.

*Aloe Vera Juice taken/ drank daily protects healthy tissues from the harmful radiation. (Aloe is mandatory treatment in China during Cancer treatment) to protect healthy tissue and organs.

* Caution here as Aloe Vera Juice taken internally is somewhat cathartic and will present loose stools. However, Aloe Vera Gel used topically is very helpful to counter the damage of radiation burns. (My doctor suggested applying ‘Lanolin’ on my radiation burns. It was like putting ‘Butter’ on a bad burn. It made the burn worse by holding in heat. I was in agony until I changed to the cooling and healing of the Aloe Vera.

I stayed with this regiment for over 1 year. My monthly visits to the doctors office were successively greeted with surprise and I think ‘Awe’, as I was looking good and feeling stronger every day. My pallor, demeanor and inner spirit were lifted high again and was readily apparent. I regained much of the weight loss.  Even my hair grew back. My doctor and his staff were so surprised, (I think that I was still alive and doing well). At this time also, I was on NO medication.

I did, however continue with (a more lenient) regiment of Herbals and only juiced to maintain the alkalinity of my blood . I also continued my insatiable quest for knowledge and passionately learned everything I could about Therapeutic Herbals and alternative health. I eventually became a certified Herbalist and still practice with the same passion.

I did indeed regain my good health. My wellness is still under my control. I am eternally grateful for God’s greatest gift.

Rod…. aka The TinMan

tinmaniswise@live.com

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Sweet~Tart Tea

Sweet Tart Tea

A delicious recipe for an excellent table or beverage, or Iced tea tea

A few weeks ago as Summer quietly burst upon the scene here in Southern Virginia with the ambient temperatures now hitting 90 degrees most every day. Still working the gardens with tilling, weeding and yes, even harvesting some of the early crops, I’ve been trying to get out in the garden earlier and resting in the afternoon, (or at least doing more sedentary work in the heat of the mid-day). I’ve been looking for something different to satisfy my thirst in the hot summer afternoons. I generally like “lemony” drinks. My taste tends lean to the tart and sweet flavors. While poking through my inventory in my “Herbal Apothecary” (formerly our dining room. We now have floor to ceiling bookcases with large jars of “herbs” at the ready). I  pulled out some of my more flavorable, tea making herbs to make a sharp, tart tea that I could sweeten and still let the flavor  hold up to ice. I wanted something tart, but fruity as well with a hint of spice.

By George, I think I found it!

I placed in the jar:

  • 2 well rounded TBS of dried Hibiscus flowers.
  • 1 rounded TBS of Red Clover Flowers.
  • 1 rounded TBS of Lemon Balm.
  • ½ – 1 level TBS of (any) regular Black Tea.

(I used some loose Earl Gray I had in the cupboard.

  • 4 clove buds

I decided to use a half gallon Mason Jar and make a “Sun” tea out in the back yard. I then filled the jar with cold well water and placed the jar out on a small table in the back yard that got full sun all afternoon.

Within an hour, the flowers were releasing their individual boldness with a vibrant red coming from the dried Hibiscus. I let the tea steep in the sun for 2 hours, then brought the container into the kitchen and poured (through a sieve/ strainer) 1/3 glass of the new tea. I sweetened it while it was still warm with Honey (I like my tea like I like my women Sweet and Hot, Bold and Full Bodied). But this time I iced it, as it was now 92 degrees outside. I filled the glass with ice and topped off with tea.

The explosion of flavor was unbelievable. I drank the whole glass in just a few gulps.  While I was refilling my second glass, I was thin king I need to Market this at the community market. I needed a name for it to bring to market. While I was sipping the second glassful I had potential names running through my head. My first thought that this tea is soooo  good and stimulating to the senses, I jokingly called it “Herbal Porn”. But decided This tea is just too good not to share and I best to go back to the basics and simply call it what it is, a delicious blend of “Sweet~Tart” herbs and flowers. Thus my “Sweet Tart” tea is now one of my favorites.

The TinMan

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How to make an all natural Mosquito repellant

How to make an all natural organic mosquito repellant:

With the warm weather finally here, we’re all getting ready for summer outdoor activities, Gardening, BBQ’s, family gatherings by the pool, the dreaded Mosquitoes will be lurking about, getting ready to make your blood their next meal. We can prevent these disease carrying, (West Nile, Encephalitis, etc.) parasites from biting you by using a safe natural repellant.

With our overexposure of chemicals and environmental pollutants in our day to day lives, some of us try to do things a bit more natural without the addition of having to use or inhale harsh, caustic  chemicals on a daily basis. So here is a simple to make, effective recipe for repelling mosquitoes, (and if you read down, Ticks). This easy to prepare recipe is even safe for children.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

(Although I’m a strong advocate for internal use of ACV, White Distilled Vinegar will suffice for external topical applications).

1/2 cup of Witch Hazel

4-5 drops of Essential oil of Eucalyptus

Pour the liquid ingredients into a new/ clean spray bottle using a funnel.

Shake the bottle to completely mix the liquids.
It’s ready to use

This mixture isn’t water-proof or sweat-proof, so you’ll need to reapply as necessary.

Some alternative Essential oils that are effective repellants also are: Lavender, Sage, Germanium, Calendula (pyrethrin), Orange, Pennyroyal.



(fields of Lavender)

This also won’t keep ticks at bay, so you might have to use the stronger sprays with DEET  if you’re planning on venturing into “Tick Country”.

Speaking of DEET, making an oil infusion of Bracken fern leaves and stems, (Brake Fern) is an acceptable / all natural DEET substitute, which works on mosquitoes and ticks. In fact, while in the woods or along a trail in spring or summer, I will often find a patch of Bracken Fern growing along the side of the road. A couple quick snips with a knife or scissors and rub the Bracken Fern between your hands to bruise the leaves. Then rub the bruised leaves against your exposed skin or clothing. The oil will impart a DEET like substance. Mosquitos will circle but not lite on you.

Bracken Fern

Bracken Fern or Brake as it is sometimes called, is easily identifiable by three stems off a common stalk. The large highly divided leaves are opposite on each stem. the plant grows to a height of about 2 feet.

Tip: By using an oil infusion of one or more of the herbs, the mixture when mixed blended and shaken well with Witch Hazel, ACV  and other herbs would have better adherence to the skin and clothes.
The TinMan

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Sage: Salvia Officianalis

Sage: Salvia Officianalis
aka: Sage, Garden Sage, Broad leaf Sage

From the Apothecary in your kitchen department, I bring you Sage.

Sage, a common kitchen spice with some remarkable medicinal qualities. Sage or Salvia has been around for literally thousands of years. It’s been used by the earliest physicians since before the times of the Egyptian Empire as a heal all. Sage is a familiar evergreen shrub that grows to 12 to 14 inches high on thin wiry stems. Centuries ago it was indigenous to the North shores of the Mediterranean, but now widely cultivated worldwide. Historically, it’s a culinary condiment mostly used in meat dishes. Sage was noted thousands of years ago to be an effective meat preservative, especially with fowl/ chicken, meat stuffing, wine, soups and cheese.

Sage in itself is both, a Stimulant and a Calminitve, an Anti-oxidant, antiseptic and a digestive aid. It has historical use in history as a spring stimulant tonic, as an old peasants proverb professed, “Eating the leaves of Sage preserveth good health”.

A favorite beverage tea of European peasants was a tea called “Toute’ Bonne”, which means “All is Well” It is an infusion of Sage, Speedwell and Wood Betony.

Sage has been used throughout history as a tea to treat Dyspepsia/ gastro-intestinal upset including gas and bloating. Sage tea was used as a remedy in cases of mental exhaustion and according to the Romans to even stimulate memory. Sage has also been proven useful in topical foments to reducing swelling and to reduce fevers. Because of its anti-septic and hemostatic qualities, Sage is still being used as an effective mouthwash. It can be very helpful in controlling bleeding gums. It is still used today as an ingredient in some toothpastes. Sage has an extensive history in treating sore throats when cough is present. It has been used for that purpose since the times of the Egyptians. More recently, Sage was once used in the US to treat Typhus and Typhoid fever. Sage is still listed in the United States Pharmacopia, (U.S.P.) as a Medicine.

As an herbalist, I’ve made Herbal smokers blends using Sage along with Mullein leaf, Cat’s Claw, Plantain and Kudzu as an herbal substitute for Tobacco for people who have been trying to quit smoking, but still need that little extra help.

* Culpeper states, “To use Sage as a drink (tea) inwardly and to use the herb outwardly is a sure remedy for the Palsy”. He notes that to use Sage in a poultice would reduce the swelling of Lymph Nodes to stimulate and flush lymphatic waste .

I make an effective cough suppressant remedy using Sage. It consists of:

½ oz Sage (Salvia Officianalis)

½ oz of Thyme, (Thymus Vulgaris)

16oz of cold water

Place the herbs in the cold water in a heavy pan. Slowly heat to a low rolling boil for 20 – 30 min. Strain through a sieve or Cheese cloth.

Add 3-4 TBS of Raw Honey while still hot to dissolve the honey.  Refrigerate and use as a cough suppressant as needed. This will keep in the fridge for approx. 4-5 days. If you’d like to preserve it longer, add 1 oz of your favorite Brandy. Mine is Ginger Brandy. (But any distilled alcohol will suffice).

Sage is one good reason to re-evaluate the spices and herbs in your own kitchen. I will bring you more of the “Apothecary in your kitchen” series in my later posts.
The TinMan

* Nicholas Culpeper (1616 – 1654) Famed English Botanist, Herbalist, Physician, and Astrologer. (The English Physician 1652)

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The Use of Iodine for Thyroid Protection

……….during a high radiation fallout event

Right after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last month it became apparent that the threat of global radiation fallout could become imminent, even here in America. Cesium 131 from the damaged reactor is present in the atmosphere and it has been drifting westward.  Higher than normal radiation levels have been evident in rain fall, even on the East Coast of the US.  Cesium 131 is now being found in the grass and lawns in the US. The grass is then eaten by cows, goats, etc and is now entering the food chain. Radioactive milk is present today in Vermont .  It has also been found in 5/6 foods in Northern California, including strawberries, mushrooms and spinach.

During a radioactive fallout event, protection of the thyroid is imperative. The thyroid absorbs radiation readily and affects the function of the thyroid gland. Iodine protects the thyroid. Potassium Iodine is just the thing needed to protect the thyroid. Many have figured out they had to have it to prevent thyroid dysfunction.  Potassium Iodide (K.I.) tablets are selling off the shelves and have quickly become NOT available. I have seen K.I. available on E-bay at 1000 times the original cost.  I sent out a brief note to my readers not to be too concerned about having available nascent Iodine for internal consumption. I also mentioned that tinctured iodine, Provadone Iodine, or even Betadine Iodine would work if used transdermally. Tinctured Iodine must NOT be taken internally. It is toxic and cannot be converted systemically to meet the thyroid’s needs. However, Tinctured Iodine can be absorbed transdermally through the tissues. In fact, Iodine is readily absorbed through the skin. The body knows how much Iodine it needs and will accept only what it needs.

I occasionally use an iodine test to determine if my thyroid is needful of more iodine by painting an Iodine patch on the inside of my elbow. Then I time the absorption. If most of the iodine is absorbed into the skin within 30 -40 minutes. I know I’m deficient. If the iodine is still apparent after an hour I know the thyroid is okay and does not need any additional.

If a high radiation event is taking place, the time to protect the thyroid is immediate. Do not wait until after the event has occurred. The thyroid will suffer radiation effects very quickly.

If you suspect high levels of radiation are present, paint a 2 X 4 inch patch of Iodine on the inside of your elbow and time the absorption response. Monitor the radiation levels in your area by having a “Dosimeter,” Geiger counter (yes, they are available for civilian use), or listen to the news or internet alerts.  Continue to apply a patch of Iodine daily. You may opt to use an alternative site when applying a daily transdermal dose. The opposite elbow is available. You can also use the soles of your feet, the area behind each knee and of course right across the front of your belly is an option.

Also note that the US Gov’t, through the FDA and the DEA have made the acquisition of 10% Iodine very difficult.  About 4 years ago the US Gov’t, through the DEA/FDA vey quietly banned the purchase of 10% iodine.  Retail outlets were allowed to sell their existing stocks. It is still available at some retail outlets but I have noticed the cost has gone up at least three fold. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

Black Walnuts

 

Iodine is present in other biologic forms but requires extraction. Black Walnut hulls have high amounts of Iodine, as well as Irish Moss.

Brown Kelp and Bladderwrack seaweed from the ocean are also sources of Iodine.

Bladderwrack floating along the shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

The idodine can be extracted from these through the tincturing process using alcohol/ vodka/ brandy or even ACV as a solvent. The tincture can be used on the skin as you would the topical Iodine/ Betadine/ Povodone solutions.

If you have any questions, write to me at: belfire@live.com or leave a comment below.

The TinMan

There are others urging this method as a viable option during a dangerous radioactive event. For more info refer to Donna Rae’s excellent article in “Natural News”

 

 

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Growing sprouts for good nutrition

I have been growing my own sprouts for many years.  I use fresh sprouts basically as a substitute for lettuce in salads because I have trouble swallowing, especially lettuce, due to my throat surgery. Sprouts provide tastier, more flavorful variations on traditional fare and absolutely outshine lettuce nutritionally.  Sprouts are up to 600 times more vitamin and mineral packed than even the mature vegetables they represent.  Talk about all the vitamins one needs in a luncheon, or snack!

Sprouts are easy to grow and they are a fun conversation starter when company stops by. I grow mine in mason jars which I keep in a wine rack in the dining room. When asked about the mason jars in the “wine rack” I say it’s my indoor garden.  I’ll often have as many as six different varieties growing, in various stages, at the same time. Sprouting an indoor garden is easy to do. The kids can do it. (A healthful idea for a child’s science fair project could be a wine rack full of delicious sprouts and a nutritional comparison chart).

A bunch of tiny seeds take little storage space in a cabinet or drawer. I buy my seeds from different outlets, Spices Etc.com, Herbalcom.com, even the local grocery store sells lentils, peas and beans. They are all sproutable.  However, I do suggest you try to buy organic seeds for purity and quality.  It seems also that organic seeds have a higher germination rate. When sprouting organically, you will notice less empty hulls in the jar when rinsing.

Once my seeds arrive, I transfer the seeds to glass jars with sealable lids. They store nicely in my herbal cabinet, I have quick access and I am reminded daily to keep some sprouting seeds ongoing for continued use. The seeds will keep for years stored this way.

Sprouts provide perfectly healthy, inexpensive nutrition, especially when times are tough. They are perfect as a ‘survival’ food as they take up little space when growing and take little time to grow, (as little as 48 – 72 hours for most). Beans and larger seeds such as Lima and Fava take a bit longer.

Steps to Creating Sprouts in Your Own Kitchen

If you would like to try sprouting, assuming you have some sprouting seeds, such as a bag of lentils or whole peas in your kitchen, start by taking a clean jar, wide mouth mason jars work best because of the ring and lid, although any large mayonnaise type jar will work. You will not need the mason jar lid part, just the ring.

Several Jars ready for sprouting

Next, cut a 5 inch square of cheese cloth or other “gauzy” material to fit over the opening of the jar. Even a 4 inch surgical gauze pad works nicely.

Jar ready with black eyed peas and cheese cloth covering

 

Then add approximately 1 TBSP of the selected seeds in the bottom of the jar. (Yes, you can even make up blends of varieties of seeds in one jar).

Next step is to cover the seeds with enough water for a good soaking.

Cover the jar opening with the cheese cloth and place the ring from the mason jar over the opening to attach the cheese cloth as a screen covering over the opening of the jar.

Now don’t be impatient, let the seeds soak for 8 hours in an upright position, (overnight is best).

 

 

After a good soaking, don’t open the jar,  just empty the water by straining the seeds through the attached cloth.  Try to rotate the jar as you pour the water out as to leave the wet seeds clinging to the sides of the jar. This gives them room to “grow”.

Radish seeds clinging to the jar

Lastly, let the jar rest in a horizontal position on its side to let the seeds absorb the residual moisture in the jar. This maximizes the growing space inside the jar. (This is where the wine rack comes in handy).  The cheese cloth allows the living seeds to breathe.

The seeds have to be watered at least once a day. Water them by filling the jar through the cheese cloth and swirling the jar gently to ensure a good soaking. Then strain the water off again, leaving the seeds coating the sides of the jar as in the above picture. (I also like to use the rinse water to water any other house plants you have nearby).  Place the jar again on its side or back in the wine rack.

Seed radicle

By the second day you will notice the sprout developing as the ‘radicle’ starts to split the seed and protrude. This is where all the concentrated nutrition lies.  The radicle is the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination.

Continue this procedure daily until the desired length of the sprout is presenting itself. (Yes, you may reach inside the jar and remove a pinch to taste as the seeds are developing into sprouts).

 

My favorite seeds to sprout are Lentils, for their flavor and vitamin quality, thick fleshy almost meaty consistency. I like Radishes for their hot spicy flavor and Cabbage seeds for their mild flavor and great nutrition.

Get creative in using sprouts. I use them in omelets, stir fry’s, and on sandwiches, (my favorite is a tomato/ lentil and radish sprouts and cucumber sandwich). Just enjoy the results. Happy sprouting!

The TinMan

**   A really great article on sprouting by Sherry Ackerman in Natural News

*** For a good source of sprout seeds and additional info on alternative methods of sprouting and sprouting paraphernalia, go to www.sproutpeople.org

 

 

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