Saturday, May 22, 2010

Random Medicinal Uses for Herbs

The following information is random excerpts from the book Natural Healing Wisdom & Know-How: 7,498 Useful Practices, Recipes, and Formulas for a Lifetime of Health on the uses of Materia Medica: Herbs and their Applications - pg 054.

Cranberry - Diuretic and urinary antiseptic; for kidney and bladder infections

Dandelion Root/Leaf - Blood cleanser; powerful and safe diuretic, high in potassium; for inflammation and congestion of the liver and gall bladder, congestive jaundice. Mild laxative, aids weight loss, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.

Dill Seed - For flatulence and colic, especially in children; stimulates lactation.

Echinacea Root - Powerful immune stimulant; antiseptic; antimicrobial; antiviral; used for sore throats, flu, colds, infections, allergies

Fennel Seed - Aids digestion; relieves flatulence and colic; expels mucus; increases lactation; aids weight loss; flavoring agent; increases digestibility of other herbs.

Hyssop Leaf - Antispasmodic; nervine; expectorant; diaphoretic, sedative, carminative. For chronic congestion.

Juniper Berry - Urinary Tract antiseptic, used for cystitis, urethritis. Should not be used in kidney inflammation or chronic kidney weakness.

I think that is good for today :)

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Affiliate so by purchasing the book I may receive a commission.

Slow Week

I realize I haven't really written much this week, I'm horrible for letting everyone know that I plan on taking a few days off because to be truthful, it just kind of happens. I don't plan it, time just passes and before you know it I'm exclaiming profanities, running to my computer and apologizing to the masses for my horrible neglect. I do love you all... I really do.

I have been gardening, haven't really got to planting yet, but with any luck I should get to that this week. I have spend a couple days at my plot with a pick ax... Digging and digging. I wanted to do everything by hand this year so I really appreciate all the work that goes into. I feel it puts me more at touch with nature that if I were to plow right through. I want to stay in touch with the land.

I've had a few ideas as far as my planting goes, it is too late to start somethings but that is okay. Next year will be easier... this year is going to be an experiments of sorts. There are a couple things that I will have to by already sprouted... like tomatoes. That kind of disappoints me a bit but there isn't a whole lot I can do about it if I want to grow it this year. There are plenty of other things that can be started from seed and I have an entire book to help me with the process. So I'm pleased.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scented Saturdays - Meditation Blend

I stumbled across a couple Meditation Blends in this book that I wanted to share with you. You can use them in a diffuser.

Meditation Blend 1:

4 drops Myrrh essential oil
5 drops Sandalwood essential oil
10 drops Frankincense essential oil
2 drops Clove essential oil
2 drops Cistus (aka: Rock Rose) essential oil
2 drops Rose essential oil

Meditation Blend 2:

10 drops Clary Sage essential oil
4 drops Vetiver essential oil
2 drops Cistus essential oil
20 drops Cedarwood essential oil
5 drops Fir essential oil

Combine the oils from the blend you wish to make in a dark glass vial and shake well.
To use: Diffuse to support and enhance meditation.

Disclosure: This is a recipe from page 362 of the book:
Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land. I am not being paid to promote this book or the contents of this book. I just really feel the information is of value to my readers. The link is available and I encourage those to purchase the book, not because I am an amazon associate who might potentially make 4-6% off each purchase, but because this book is inexpensive and valuable.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

DIY Scented Saturday 8 - Echinacea Tincture

Echinacea's active ingredients aren't all water soluble; a tincture is the best way to obtain its benefits.

Personal Note: Please keep in mind that alcohol in a tincture can destroy some of the natural properties of an herb. Whenever possible go alcohol free for best results. This recipe is with alcohol... sorry.

Echinacea Tincture:
3/4 cup (177 ml) pure grain alcohol or 80 to 100 proof (40 to 50 % alcohol) vodka or brandy or glycerin
3/4 cup (177 ml) distilled water
1 1/2 ounces (42 g) echinacea root, chopped

To make:
1. Combine the alcohol with the distilled water in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Add the echinacea root. Run a knife or chopstick around the edges of the jar to release any trapped air bubbles.
3. Replace the lid and set the jar in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Shake the mixture every day.
4. Strain the mixture to remove the herb. This must be done quickly or the alcohol will evaporate. I usually pour the mixture into a strainer lined with an unbleached paper coffee filter and place it in the refrigerator as it strains to slow the evaporation of the alcohol. After straining, squeeze the filter to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
5. Store the tincture in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark location, where it will keep for up to 5 years. Be sure to label the bottle first!

To Use:
At the first sign of a cold or flu's onset, herbal experts recommend 30 drops of tincture every 3 hours for the first 2 days only. Once you have developed a full-blown case of a cold of flu, echinacea probably will not cure it.

If you are unable to take the alcohol in the tincture, add the tincture to a small glass of warm water and stir gently. The warm water will cause the alcohol to evaporate.

Disclosure: This is a recipe from page 362 of the book:
Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land. I am not being paid to promote this book or the contents of this book. I just really feel the information is of value to my readers. The link is available and I encourage those to purchase the book, not because I am an amazon associate who might potentially make 4-6% off each purchase, but because this book is inexpensive and valuable.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Review: God Soul Mind Brain

About the Book:
Writing for the general public, Michael Graziano explores the controversial relationship between Religion and Science. First dismissing the Science verses Religion debate as "outdated." The cutting edge field of social neuroscience explains how our perceptions of our own consciousness, of other minds, and of Spirits or Gods depend on the machinery in the brain that evolved to make us socially intelligent animals. In clear prose, without the technical jargon, Graziano discusses his and others findings in this twenty-year-old science and the implications for human spirituality and religion.

About the Author:
Michael Graziano is a professor of Neuroscience at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute and director of the Sensory Motor Institute. He is the author of 56 articles on the functioning of the brain. His work regularly appears in journals such as Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He is internationally known for fundamental discoveries about sensory perception and motor control in the brain. His previous book on the brain, The Intelligent Movement Machine, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008.

My Thoughts:
Well it has certainly been thought provoking to say the least and it has been the inspiration behind two different "heavier" posts this week. "God, Soul, Mind, Brain" was a decent book and it was refreshing to find a mild amount of humor interlaced with something that you almost expect to be dry. Graziano introduced some interesting perceptions and followed up with example scenarios. Graziano expressed that Chapters 4 and 7 in the book were the most important conceptually. I found however that the first 3 chapters in the book were equally as important to paint the picture of intent. I did find a couple of sections where it seemed a little repetitive and those sections were almost the death of me... my mind wanders too much. Overall, this book is worth reading.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book on a 14 day license to read and review. I was in no way compensated and my opinion is honest. Thank you to NetGalley for connecting me with this author. Clicking on the link for Amazon might result in compensation if purchases are made.

Country Wisdom and Know How

I wanted to do something a little different this week for Scented Saturday, something that I might do from time to time. I recently came upon this fantastic series... Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land. It has thousands of things you can do right down to making bat houses, homemade soaps, house repairs, gardening, kitchen herbs... it is FULL of information. Including tons of recipes for everything you could possibly want.

So I bought this book, and the other 3 books in the series (Survival Wisdom and Know How; Garden Wisdom and Know How; and Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How) they are all pretty amazing and I recommend purchasing them if you are interested in sustainable living of any kind. These books are HUGE and have everything you need to know in them... so my point is... I was thinking that since they have quite a few recipes that on occasion I could post the odd one that I think might benefit you folks as a whole. I will still be doing the essential oil posts of course. This would just be an additional source of information.

Disclaimer: This wasn't intended on being a review it just happened. I bought this book of my own accord and was so very pleased with it that I had to share and recommend it. If you click on the link and by the book however I might make some money through Amazon because I am an affiliate...

Children's Book Review: Melvin the Magnificent Molar

About the Book:

Meet Melvin, the lovable tooth. Through Melvin's view of the world, this book encourages children in a fun-loving way to actually want to brush their teeth. By promoting brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Melvin shows readers young and old how to make sure they will have happy teeth and healthy smiles that will last them a lifetime!

About the Authors:

Julia Cook is a former teach and school guidance counselor. She is the recipient of several book awards including the AEP (Association for Educational Publishers) Distinguished Achievement Award. The goal behind Julia's books is to actively involve her readers into her fun and creative stories and teach them to become "better." Inspirations for her books come from working with children and carefully listening to parents and teachers.

Dr. Laura Jana is a pediatrician and award-winning parenting book author. As a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Executive Committee on Early Education and Child Care and a longstanding national advocate for Reach Out and Read, Dr. Laura is firmly committed to teaching practical and positive parenting, health promotion, and making books a part of every healthy childhood. In addition to owning a 200-student educational child care center in Omaha, NE she now applies her professional expertise and passion to the co-creation of Amazing Me Books.

My Thoughts:

I received the book late last week but unfortunately I had been knocked out with a sinus infection so I was distancing myself from the rest of the family so they wouldn't get sick. Last night I finally had the privilege of reading this story to both my children. The book itself was signed by Julia and Laura and I thought that was really nice of them to do so! Jeremy (my oldest) thought so as well.

The book itself is actually pretty adorable. Melvin the Molar comes to life and he is full of personality. The book impressed me, not only was it colorful but the words danced all over the page which will draw the children into the page and encourage reading. Melvin speaks with confidence and pride with lots of positive phrasings that will help encourage positive thinking patterns among young readers.

There is only one thing that I wanted to point out, fluoride treatments are casually mentioned on more than one occasion. I know many parents who are against fluoride treatments because of its level of toxicity. If this reflects your values, than this book is not for you. Otherwise, this is a beautiful book. If you are interesting in purchasing Melvin the Molar you can do so on Julia's website or directly from Amazon.

Julia Cook and Dr. Laura Jana will have a new children's book out in a couple months called "It's You and Me Against the Pee." Keep your eyes open for it.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy to review for my honest opinion and was not given any other monetary payment. I am an Amazon Associate so clicking on the link above may result in compensation if purchases are made. Thank you to Julia and Laura for my review copy and to the Twitter Moms for connecting me with this review opportunity.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Scented Saturday 7 - Anise Seed

Anise is a flowering plant whose oil has an odd smell. It is sweet and woodsy... and smells a little bit like licorice at first. Anise Seed Essential Oil is acquired through steam distillation of dried (and crushed) seeds. The plant itself can be used in culinary (some root beers) and medicinal practices. Anise (plant) is also used as a digestive after meals in India.

Anise (oil) can be used to aid menstrual cramping because it is an antispasmodic. It also has estrogen-like effects, which is most likely why usage of Anise is advised against during pregnancy. Oh and it may be an eye/skin irritant so it is recommended not to apply neat. Just thought I would throw that in and remind everyone that essential oils are not for prolonged use. Take a break :)

The oil is very warm and invigorating and is thought by many to replenish Qi (chi). Anise seed oil is used interchangeably with Star Anise. Which I found interesting because in India as an herb Anise is very similar to fennel, in India they are both called saunf.

An odd but interesting fact is that is can be used while hunting and fishing. You can place oil on fishing lures to attract fish. It was friendly called the fisherman's friend and it is said that it would remove all traces of the human scent. Thus making it easier to lure them in. Has anyone tried this? I would LOVE confirmation on this one. I just recently discovered this fact and I am quite astounded. I live in a small fishing community and I've never heard tell of this one. I plan on asking around!