Category Archives: Herbal Wisdom

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.

3 Comments

Filed under Herbal Wisdom, Wildcrafting

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Herbal Wisdom, Wildcrafting

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Herbal Wisdom

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

7 Comments

Filed under Health & Wellbeing, Herbal Wisdom

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”

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Health & Wellbeing, Herbal Wisdom

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

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Health & Wellbeing

Black Cohosh and the latest “Study”

There have been increasing attacks on herbal and natural therapies from various “Studies”, Non-Governmental Organizations, Government agencies, Private Foundations, etc.  I always look to see where the study came from, who sponsored it and mostly who paid for it. Even university studies have been known to be biased because the study research is paid for by an outside group with an agenda.

Usually the study claims made are based on how dangerous natural/ herbal remedies are, citing usually one reported possible side effect, but never citing how dangerous and reckless big Pharma is in their drug therapies. You never hear how many people were killed, poisoned or physically damaged from  bad or deadly side effects of “legal” drugs, especially in combinations. And you never hear that an herb has been used successfully to treat a malady since biblical times

I also have found the “Claims” against the use of herbal and natural remedies are mostly unfounded and lean toward scare tactics. The attack on the herbal supplement “Black Cohosh” is now the latest scare mongering from big Pharma.

I have used Black Cohosh for many years in my “Menopause Symptom Relief” formula and have had only positive results. I still highly recommend Black Cohosh to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and pre-menopausal symptoms.

black snakeroot

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh, historically, has been used successfully for the treatment of asthma, cough, all respiratory ailments, including hiccups.  Because of its anti-muscle spasm qualities, Black Cohosh has been used extensively to relieve muscle cramps, spasms, myalgic pain due rheumatism and painful and irregular menses. Black Cohosh can be used to treat “Post partum soreness and used to alleviate Braxton-Hicks” premature labor contractions. Lab tests have shown

definite estrogenic activity but not enough human studies have been done.  We do know that daily use of tea or tincture raises serum Calcium levels in a natural way to combat osteoporosis. That is important to understand too, especially during pregnancy and menopausal changes.

My formula, which I make into a tincture/ Fluid Extract in an alcohol base,  also includes:

1 part Black Cohosh
1 part Licorice Root
1 part Red Raspberry leaf
1 part Dong Quai, (Angelica Sinensis)
1 part Red Clover (Flowers and leaf herb)

Dosage to be determined by the extent of symptoms present. (Usually 1 TBSP at bedtime and 1 – 2 TBS of tincture daily when symptoms present themselves

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Thanks, TinMan

For additional info on the latest study:
Please see the article from Jonathan Benson of Natural News debunking the latest attack on Black Cohosh.

1 Comment

Filed under Health & Wellbeing, Herbal Wisdom, Herbs in the News

Sassafras

Eat the weeds

Green Dean from Eat the Weeds has some you tube video’s on wildcrafting edible wild food.

This one is on Sassafras.

Sassafras is very prevalent in New England and grows well in the deciduous forests there. (Be aware that sassafras is now banned by the FDA and also by the DEA) It is a natural, low glycemic sweetener, perfect for diabetics.  It is much better than aspartame and as good as Stevia.  Last fall I, and a good friend of mine, harvested quite a bit of sassafras bark in one short afternoon, enough for a whole year. Harvesting in the fall as the leaves are just starting to turn, we harvest the twig ends with no buds as this will not harm or damage the tree in anyway. Some use only the root bark but the twig ends also contain the same nutrients.

I use the sassafras tea as a sweetener and as a flavoring when cooking.  I make the tea by boiling the twigs for 20 minutes in 32 oz. distilled water. I then strain off the liquid, return the tea to the heat and reduce the volume by half. I keep sassafras tea for storage by adding 2 TBS honey and 1 oz. of brandy, this will allow me to keep it quite nicely for up to a year without refrigeration.  My friend Lorraine is diabetic and can’t use honey or substitute Molasses so once she makes her tea, she then proceeds to “Can” the tea in Mason jars in a hot water bath for long term storage or for use later in recipes.

Sassafras is used medicinally, usually blended with other herbs and also just as a beverage. For example, take equal parts Sassafras and Burdock root, make into a tea and use as an agent to soothe the endocrine system. This blend is very soothing to balance the Pineal, Pituitary and adrenal glands.

Sassafras is very pleasant to drink.  It was used historically to produce the flavoring in Root Beer.  For centuries, Sassafras has been used in French cooking.
I have used Sassafras mostly as a tea/ decoction. But I also have tried the National Drink from the Azores Islands as an after dinner cordial.  The Sassafras is fermented with Molasses, making it very sweet and very strong (about 100 proof).

Another interesting fun fact about Sassafras is it seems that some biting insects do NOT like the smell of Sassafras (including Mosquitoes, Lice and even Bed Bugs).  It is made into an effective mosquito repellant by bruising a sassafras leaf, rolling it tightly in your hands then leaving it rolled up and tucked behind both ears. Mosquitoes will buzz around but not light on you. Good thing to know if you’re out and about in Mosquito country. It also helps to rub the bruised leaf on all exposed skin and clothing to spread the oil from the leaves onto yourself for further protection.

For more info on Sassafras and recipe’s visit this website:  SouthernAngel

The TinMan



4 Comments

Filed under Herbal Wisdom, Wildcrafting

Letter re: Diabetes and Pancreatitis

Dear friends,

I have been looking into herbal alternatives for the treatment of Pancreatitis. My Sister has type 1 adult onset diabetes to which she gives herself daily injections of insulin. She has trouble maintaining a decent level of Blood glucose and deals with frequent hard to control glucose spikes. Because of this erratic Rx, and the undue stress on her glandular system  she has been having periodic episodes of Pancreatitis. This s very painful and she always ends up in the hospital with IV’s and a Morphine drip to control the pain. This is NOT conducive to getting better, as this most often used method by most allopathic physicians today of “treating the symptoms instead of the problem”, almost always ends up badly as Chronic Pancreatitis. Because of the continued stress on the glandular system, Chronic Pancreatitis usually leads to Pancreatic Cancer. She’s not there yet, but I have her maintained with Olive Leaf extract (Besides being anti-biotic is specific to healing: Pancreas, Liver, Gall Bladder and Biliary syst.) I also asked her to take a daily dose of the supplement “Chlorella”, as an anti-cancer/ anti-tumor super food. Since she has been following my herbal/ natural regimen she has not had another attack and has not been back to the ER at the hospital.

My research has led me to Dr. John Christopher who, until his death,  ran the Christopher School of Natural Healing. He did extensive research in treating diabetes, pancreatitis and liver diseases herbally.

Dr. Christopher realized that the pancreas works in conjunction with the Pineal gland, the Pituitary gland and the Adrenal glands. They work secondary to the pancreas but work in conjunction with it and must be treated as well. (something modern medicine fails to address).

His premise is to treat Diabetes effectively, you must heal the pancreas first. The diabetic condition in most patients will usually diminish and most often reverse itself if there’s not been too much damage and the pancreas is still able to produce insulin.  I wholeheartedly agree. Treating the secondary glands is just as important, ( Pineal,  Adrenals, Pituitary) as treating the pancreas, thus the Diabetic condition).

His formula below was very successful.

16 parts of cedar Berry (Juniperus Monosperma)

1 part each of the following

1 pt Goldenseal to heal and reduce swelling of inflamed tissues.

1 pt Uva Ursi to cleanse the Nephrons in the kidneys / soothe the adrenals

1 pt Cayenne Pepper: Capscaicin)  as a vaso dilator

1 pt :Licorice Root: soothing/ moderates adrenal activity (very healing to the glandular syst.) (Caution here as prolonged use of Licorice may cause an increase in blood  pressure)

1 pt Mullein leaf as a hormone/ glandular modulater/ keeps hormones balanced. Mullein also relaxes smooth (Un-Striated) muscle tissue.

I recommend making a tincture/  Fluid extract using Apple Cider Vinegar as the carrier solvent by soaking all the above ingredients in the ACV for 4 – 6 weeks in a sealed jar then strained off, (decanting) reserving the liquid.

Dose would be 45 – 60 drops of the infused liquid 3X/ day or TID (Approx 1 tsp 3/ Day before meals) May be added to glass of water to dilute the ACV.

***   Now to that formula I have added some additional herbs very specific in my research to Rx Pancreas/ adrenal and glandular balance

to the above Christopher formula , please add:

1 pt Sassafrass bark

1 pt Burdock Root : these 2 herbs work synergistically to sooth the Pituitary/ Pineal glands (as in my appetite suppressant formula)

1 pt Olive leaf : Olive leaf works specific  to pancreas/ liver and biliary systems. Olive leaf is also a major Vaso-Dilator and can be used in conjunction with the Cayenne pepper or can be used in Lieu of the Cayenne as some people deem it very harsh to take internally. Also Olive leaf is an broad spectrum anti-biotic which is helpful if there are any stones involved in Gall bladder or liver.(Gall Stones will often carry bacteria from a toxic liver)

I feel this information needs to be shared.

thank You,

TinMan

Here is Dr. Christophers Legacy website:

http://www.herballegacy.com/index.html

search pancreatitis.

2 Comments

Filed under Health & Wellbeing

Wild Yarrow: Achillea Millefolium

aka: Milfoil, Soldiers woundwort, Nose Bleed Weed, Sanguinary, Devil’s Nettle.

Growing Wild Yarrow:  This plant makes a wonderful addendum to a domestic garden in the Spring. Although now highly cultivated and available everywhere in nurseries, there is still a quaint feeling to include a wild species in a domestic garden for a feel of times past.

I have seen red and yellow varieties as ornamentals, but by far the most common is white. I think the colors are hybrids of the wild white species. Some cautions when planting as Yarrow. It will creep through its root system and will drop seeds readily in late summer, thus becoming very prolific with time.  All varieties of Yarrow have similar qualities medicinally. Choice of colors should be preferential.

It is not commonly kept as a ‘Ground Cover’ and if it should get too thick, just thin it out. But Yarrow deserves a special place in everyone’s garden. It’s a very special plant and should be treated like an old friend.

Yarrow is well known for its blood clotting properties (Hemostatic).  It can be used when used fresh/crushed and applied as a direct poultice on a wound or laceration.  It also promotes healing and new tissue growth of the damaged tissues (a Vulnerary).  Yarrow is mildly antiseptic, even somewhat antibiotic by nature and can be applied directly to a wound. Herbalists in history have used yarrow leaf rolled and inserted into the nostrils to stem bleeding from a nosebleed. Another herbalist claims when a rolled leaf of Milfoil (yarrow) is placed in the nose it promotes bleeding to stem a severe headache and lower blood pressure. So it seems it has been used in history for both reasons.

Yarrow is also an alternative blood cleanser, for example, it can be used if the initial wound was contaminated such as puncture wounds or lacerations.  It may, in fact, prevent blood poisoning from a dirty laceration. Yarrow applied this way reduces pain and swelling, because it acts as an anti-inflammatory to the affected area. Yarrow is a good choice for veterinary first aid uses on animal injuries.

Yarrow’s blood clotting ability is legend.  Throughout history Native Americans, warriors and soldiers, dating back to the Greeks, nearly 3000 years ago.  All have used Yarrow to stem blood loss from wounds and injury, hence the name “soldier’s woundwort”.  Crushed leaves in a tea can stop internal bleeding from ulcers, nasal passages, esophageal, bleeding hemorrhoids, etc.  Yarrow also contains a Digestive “Bitters” quality and is very helpful as a digestive aid, promoting bile flow and preventing Gall stones from re-occurring.  It is also very soothing to the pancreas and endocrine system. It is useful in treating the common cold as it induces sweating by opening pores (diaphoresis), cleanses the blood and reduces fevers readily especially when aspirin is contraindicated.

Yarrow is considered a pretty safe plant and reportedly even used as a wild edible (survival food), but like anything else, take care when using it and monitor its results. When taken internally the active ingredient, Thujone Oi,  produces a slight sedating and diuretic effect. Thujone relaxes smooth muscle in the body which helps prevent cramping (Menstrual and abdominal).  It is very healing to an inflamed liver (Hepatitis, Jaundice conditions) and can be used as an adjunct in liver, gall bladder tonics..

Yarrow is a good choice to include in your garden next year. Because of its delicate presence it looks good as a backdrop growing amongst the other domestic low growing flowers. Yarrow is also indispensible as a wilderness first aid plant in the wild.

Know this plant, and know where to find it in the wild.

Thanks,

The TinMan

2 Comments

Filed under Herbal Wisdom, The Daily Herb, Wildcrafting