Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

Posts related to medical conditions in which specific herbs or minerals can be of help.

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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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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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.

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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.

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Niacin aka Vitamin B3 for Cholesterol Control

I was mentioning to a friend the other day that the best way to regulate cholesterol in your blood is through Niacin, aka Vitamin B3.

Your body needs Cholesterol, but as with all things in life, sometimes too much is a bad thing.  Niacin regulates cholesterol.  That’s what it does. That’s its job.  Niacin raises the HDL (Good) cholesterol and reduces the LDL (Bad) Cholesterol.  Fat free regulated diets are not the answer to controlling your blood cholesterol levels.

You need good cholesterol for proper brain function. It also helps protect you from stroke, heart disease and nerve damage. Good cholesterol is also necessary for proper metabolic function.  One of the side effects of Niacin is a strong is a warm, tingling flushed feeling in the face, neck and ears.  Try Timed Release Niacin Capsules to help bring down your LDL for about 4 -6 weeks. The timed-release helps prevent those hot flashes or body flushing. 

If you need further supplementation, I recommend that you take one of the following daily:  1 tsp Cinnamon (In your tea/ coffee, on toast, etc.); Garlic (with parsley) as tolerated; or Apple Cider Vinegar (1 shot glass a day mixed with juice or water is fine). These natural, healthful ingredients included in your daily routine will help reduce problems surrounding High Blood Cholesterol levels and the diseases they can bring about.  Another natural alternative is to include Flax seeds in your daily diet, (I take mine as 1 TBSP Flax Seeds with yogurt every day for lunch).  Flax seeds are loaded with Lecithin, Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids and will drop your bad cholesterol over time.  Flax Seeds/Flax Oil and Cultured Yogurt also helps to maintain healthy intestinal flora and good digestive health.  So they will do double duty for you if included in your everyday regimen.

Little subtle changes in the daily diet can make a big difference for you to get the hell off those nasty Statin Drugs.  For more info read the following article by Keri Knox, RN.

The TinMan

belfirebotanicals@yahoo.com

*article reprinted with permission of Ms. Knox*

Niacin Increases Good Cholesterol

by Kerri Knox, RN, citizen journalist (Natural News)

In the past decade doctors have declared an all out war on the high cholesterol levels by prescribing cholesterol lowering ‘statin’ drugs that have dubious safety records. What’s not talked about very much, though, is that humans actually NEED cholesterol for good health. Interestingly, there are different types of cholesterol: ‘bad’ cholesterol that may be an overall contributor to the arterial plaque that doctors are so concerned about, and ‘good’ cholesterol that is an overall contributor to good health. What’s talked about even LESS is the fact that niacin, one of the B complex vitamins, is well known as THE most effective way to improve cholesterol levels by INCREASING cholesterol levels- in a good way.

High Density Lipoproteins, known as HDL’s, are the healthy cholesterol particles that are measured as a part of the total cholesterol level. While doctors generally say that high cholesterol levels are ‘bad’, nearly all health professionals and cholesterol researchers agree that high levels of HDL’s are actually quite good and tend to be protective against heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses. This fact is not discussed much by the media or by doctors, however, because there is no financial incentive to educate people about HDL cholesterol when the only good ways to raise levels is with diet, exercise- and niacin.

Niacin, also called nicotinic acid and Vitamin B3, is an extremely common and inexpensive over-the-counter B vitamin that is present in small amounts in nearly all multivitamin preparations. In higher doses, however, niacin has been shown to be a formidable weapon in the war to RAISE the right kind of cholesterol. It’s so effective that, in a rare harmony of opinion about a natural substance, the Mayo Clinic, the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ and the ‘Atherosclerosis Journal’ all agree that niacin is, “the most effective drug available for raising HDL cholesterol.”

That isn’t niacin’s only health benefit; it’s also been shown to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol, thin the blood and improve blood flow to the heart: each of which independently has been shown to be an important part of preventing and even treating heart disease. The short acting over-the-counter supplemental niacin, however, has one significant flaw- while extremely safe, it creates an uncomfortable, but harmless and temporary problem of skin flushing and itching. In answer to this inherent problem with niacin, Big Pharma created a long-acting niacin preparation called Niaspan that, while greatly decreasing the flushing that occurs, actually increases the incidence of liver problems. With a slap in the face to the supplement industry, the less safe drug Niaspan is allowed to make a ‘Qualified Health Claim’ for reducing cholesterol while the supplement industry is NOT allowed to make the same claim about safer over-the-counter niacin! In any case, even though your doctor isn’t likely to tell you about it, niacin is an incredibly safe over-the-counter supplement that has an amazing ability to increase the good HDL cholesterol levels that we all need for good health- just watch out for the flushing.

Resources

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ni…
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content…
http://www.side-effects-site.com/ni…
http://www.atherosclerosis-journal….

About the author

Kerri Knox, RN is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner.
With over 14 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in Conventional Medicine and being well versed in Alternative Medicine.
She can help you to to find and repair the UNDERLYING CAUSES of illness using cutting edge in home lab testing that finds nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections and chemical and metal toxicities that contribute to ill health.
She can be reached through her websites at:
Easy Immune System Health.com
Side Effects Site

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