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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HEADACHES and MIGRAINES, herbs and essential oils

Headaches and Migraines can be very debilitating, so taking steps to find the source is worth the effort.  A common cause of headaches is dehydration.  Drinking sufficient Water is the first place to start when trying to reduce the frequency of headaches.  

Eliminating caffeinated and energy drinks (requiring detox) helps many people to overcome headaches, due to the build-up of toxins that they create.  Others find that they need caffeine to dilate the vessels that have been constricted.  Not all people who suffer from migraines will respond to one treatment because the cause can come from many sources.

Hormone Inbalance:  Women suffer from this condition nearly 3 times more than men. Approximately one third of women who get migraines have them just prior to or during menstruation. Hormonal fluctuations of estrogen and progestin are thought to trigger these migraines.  Vitex (Chaste Berry) herb helps to balance hormones levels so that there is not such a great surge as the body goes through menstruation.  Vitex, taken in capsule form, needs to be taken over a long period of time (months) to build the desired balancing effect.

Headaches are a warning signal to indicate that there is a disturbance in some part of the body, such as:
  • ·        insufficient minerals in the body to support strong neck bones (calcium and magnesium with Vitamin D for absorption) causing compression of vertebrae
  • ·        digestive disorders in the stomach, liver or bowel (faulty elimination, and the toxic wastes reaches the stomach nerves).
  •       sinus blockages (use Eucalyptus essential oil across the bridge of the nose, in front of ears and around ears.)
  • ·        concussion
  • ·        eye strain (have vision checked)
  • ·        nervousness, excitement, panic, fear, or worrying about the unknown  and, as discussed above, hormone fluctuations and dehydration


Feverfew (Tenacetum parthenium) is a well-studied herb for the treatment of migraines and has been used successfully.  Capsules are the easiest way to take Feverfew, as it is very bitter.  If you have the pretty plant growing in your garden, 1-4 fresh leaves can be eaten daily for prevention by putting the leaves on a slice of buttered bread, folded in half (like a sandwich).  Feverfew seems to work best when taken consistently over time.

Cayenne increases circulation to all parts of the body and helps open the vascular system for those whose headaches come from tightening of vessels (restricted blood flow).  Taking cayenne capsules or ½ teaspoon followed by water or juice has proven helpful for migraines.  Also Capsaicin from the juice of fresh peppers was applied in the nostril of a group suffering from cluster headaches. This treatment significantly reduced the number of headaches and some were completely cured. 

Ginger:   Some studies have compared the efficacy of ginger for the treatment of migraine headaches to Imitrex (a top selling drug). One-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger works as well and as fast as the drug when given at the onset of the migraine. Using ginger daily also helped prevent migraines or decrease their frequency and intensity.

Valerian, Skullcap and Lobelia (Nervine herbs):  Stress induced migraines are prevented by using a strong nervine tea or capsules on a regular basis helps to prevent stress-related headaches.  Also, essential oils of Geranium, Bergamot, Chamomile (a drop on the back of the neck and on the temples – then rub the finger under the nose, inhaling) are helpful to reduce stress headaches.

MindTrac herbal blend by Dr. Christopher:  Some migraines are due to low serotonin levels. Using MindTrac along with exercise, fresh air and sunshine helps to naturally increase serotonin levels.

Chiropractic Adjustments:  Make sure that there is not a misalignment in the neck that would pinch nerves that create headaches.  It may take multiple adjustments to achieve the desired stability. 

To help with head pain, ESSENTIAL OILS (pure, medicinal quality) of Peppermint and Marjoram can be applied to the temples and back of neck to stop pain and to relax constricted muscles.  A drop of Chaste Berry can be applied daily to the inside and outside ankle bones to help balance hormones levels.  To have the desired effect use oils from a reputable source that you know you can trust.  For nervousness and anxiety use Geranium on the temples and back of the neck (as well as the mid-back at waistline for adrenal stress.  Vitamin B complex also helps with emotional balancing.

Digestive Enzymes (herbs) such as Papaya (in capsules) with each meal (especially those containing meat proteins).

Thursday, February 1, 2018

ASTRAGALUS - Potent Adaptogen for the IMMUNE System

Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus syn A. membranaceus)
Astragalus has been recognized as a superb and potent immune system tonic, and one of the world’s most important herbs by today’s health researchers. Astragalus has been used for over 2000 years in China -  to strengthen the body Astragalus is a pea family plant that originally comes from China. There are thousands of different Astragalus genus plants in the world and most of them are toxic.  Either buy, grow or harvest Astragalus propinquus.

Astragalus is an immunomodulating herb (adaptogen) that is commonly used to normalize immune system function.  As an adaptogen, it can also be used by people in auto-immune conditions.  It is very specific for people who are regularly coming down with upper respiratory viruses or who need to maintain wellness.  Limited human clinical trials and in-vitro studies show that astragalus increases the white blood cell count, decreases viral replication, and stimulates the production of T killer cells.
Studies conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center at the University of Houston demonstrated clearly that Astragalus improves the immune response in humans undergoing radiation and chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer. Patients taking Astragalus during such treatment tend to have far fewer side effects and recover at a higher and faster rate.
Astragalus has a mild diuretic action and helps to relieve excessive sweating.  It is helpful in treating loose stools, chronic diarrhea and chronic or recurring colds.  Use if a cold lasts too long - to prevent general fatigue syndrome that can itself become chronic.  Astragalus is very useful for people who just can’t seem to shake a cold.
Astragalus enhances the function of the skin to eliminate toxins.  It is commonly used to help sores in the skin to come to a head and suppurate, and thus to heal more quickly and effectively.  It is also a male fertility agent and has proved to stimulate sperm motility. 
Herbal Extract:  To strengthen your immune system, use astragalus in higher dosages, daily, for a long period of time.  In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) astragalus is used in very high dosages, sometimes up to 100 grams per day.

Cooking:  Traditionally astragalus is cooked into foods like soups or rice. It is commonly sold as long thinly sliced roots that can be easily removed from the dish before eating (it’s never edible as the root remains too fibrous). If you are using astragalus to maintain wellness, then putting some roots in a soup or rice dish is a good way to use it.  The roots can be used more than once in cooking.
This astragalus and miso soup recipe uses 30 grams of astragalus root per serving.  Use roots that are either cut up finely or the long thin roots. You could use the herb powder, but it may make your beverage gritty as it is difficult to strain out.

2 cups broth (bone broth, meat broth, veggie broth)

30 grams astragalus

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1-3 tablespoons miso 

Place the broth, astragalus, and black pepper into a medium sized sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Strain off the broth. You could use the astragalus root again if desired, otherwise compost. Let the broth cool slightly, then add your desired amount of miso.  Yield: About 1 1/2 cups and is a single serving.


Elderberry-Schisandra Immune-Strength Syrup
Take at the first signs of a cold or flu –
Adults: 1-2 Tablespoons hourly.

3 cups cold pure water
3/4 cup Elderberries

1/4 cup Schisandra berries

1/4 cup Eleuthero root

1/4 cup Echinacea root

1 Cinnamon stick

3/4 to 1 cup raw local Honey – option/ use sugar if making recipe for infants under 1 year old

1.5 oz brandy (optional)

Combine herbs with cold water in a stainless pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and allow herbs to simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.  Remove from heat and mash the berries while in the liquid mixture. Strain the herbs through a cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice. Boil the strained-out berries again in 2 cups of water, and repeat process.  Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey. Gently heat the honey and juice for a few minutes until they are well combined. Do not boil!  Bottle in sterilized glass containers. Label and keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.
Optional: Before bottling, add 1-part brandy to 3-parts syrup to extend the shelf-life.  Do not use brandy for babies and children.
Dosage: Adults:  1 tablespoon/day to prevent illness, or 1 Tablespoon per hour if you are already experiencing cough and sore throat symptoms. Children under 12 years of age:  Take half the adult dose (1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons). Toddlers:  1/4 of the adult dose (a little less than a teaspoon).  Infants under 1 years old should not take honey or honey products.

Elderberries have been shown to help with brain development, immune coordination, digestion, and blood flow. They’re also rich with Anthocyanins. These cytokines have been shown to boost the production of immune cytokines, which allow the body to defend against disease and illness. More than that, though, elderberry contains a potent antiviral agent called antivirin. Antivirin not only helps to prevent viruses from invading the cells, but also prevents the virus from replicating, therefore shortening the time one will suffer from symptoms of the flu.  Elderberries contains trace minerals and has more Vitamin C than oranges. 
Schisandra berry is an adaptogen herb that helps the immune system and the body in general to strengthen and balance.  It naturally raises the body’s resistance to environmental stress, anxiety, toxin exposure, emotional trauma, mental fatigue and mental illnesses. Because schisandra helps nurture the adrenal glands and turns down an overproduction of “stress hormones” like cortisol, it’s linked with better mental capabilities, physical endurance and metabolic health.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Anti-biotics are life-saving marvels of modern medicine, but their overuse in both medical settings and in the treatment of farm animals has helped develop antibiotic-resistant superbugs.  If you have an irritating but mild upper respiratory infection, ear infection or sinus infection, you just might be able to cure it with these astounding plants.
Cryptolepis (Cryptolepis sanguinolenta)
Cryptolepis is one of the top five systemic herbal antibiotics in the world. There are 20 to 30 species of the genus Cryptolepis. Tests have found the plant to be a stronger antibacterial than the pharmaceutical antibiotic chloramphenicol. The primary systemic antibacterial among the genus is Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. Some sources say all the members of this genus contain the antibacterial alkaloids cryptolepine, quinoline and neocryptolepine. I have been unable to verify this by finding any in-depth chemical analysis of the other species. Of the plants in the genus, C. buchanani and C. obtusa have stimulated the most interest outside C. sanguinolenta. Given the importance of C. sanguinolenta, in-depth chemical research needs to be done on the entire genus.
Parts Used:  The root is usually the part used medicinally. The leaves can be used medicinally but rarely are. The root of the plant is generally about the thickness of a pencil, and has a light tannish color on the thin exterior bark and a brilliant yellow on the interior. It’s pretty. The root is exceptionally bitter due to the many alkaloids present.
Preparation and Dosage:  Cryptolepis can be prepared as a powder, capsules, tea or tincture. • Powder: For bacterial infections of the skin and wound sepsis, liberally sprinkle cryptolepis powder on the site of infection as frequently as needed.
• Tincture: 1:5 (ratio of plant material to alcohol/water mix), 60 percent alcohol, 20 to 40 drops, up to four times daily
Resistant staph: In the treatment of severe systemic staph infection, the usual dose is 1⁄2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon, three times daily. (I prefer to not use dosages this high for more than 60 days. That is usually sufficient.)
Malaria: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, three times daily for five days, repeat in 14 days
• Tea: Use 1 tablespoon cryptolepis in 6 ounces of water to make a strong infusion.
As a preventive: Drink 1 or 2 cups daily.In acute conditions: Drink up to 6 cups daily.
Note: While the herb will work if infused in cold water, studies have found that the hot-water extraction is more effective. It is nearly as strong as the alcohol tincture.
• Capsules:
As a preventive: Take 3 “00” capsules, two times daily.
In acute conditions: Take up to 20 capsules daily.
Side Effects and Contraindications:  None noted. Considerable research has taken place to determine the potential adverse reactions from using the plant, and none have been found, either in human clinical use or with in vivo testing on mice, rats and rabbits. The herb is taken as a regular tonic for years at a time in some parts of Africa and India. One or two cups of the tea or two or three droppers of the tincture (60 to 90 drops) a day are fine for extended, long-term use.
Researchers in some instances have noted that people taking cryptolepis have elevated levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and uric acid, which return to normal after the herb is discontinued. There have been no reported side effects from this. And though there is one report in the literature of adverse effects of cryptolepis in mouse pregnancy.  Nothing has been found in traditional use that substantiates an extrapolation to humans nor any studies in the literature that show negative effects in pregnancy in people.
Cryptolepine, a constituent of the plant, has been found to be cytotoxic, which raises concerns in some people. A few points:
• Cryptolepine is an isolated constituent, and like most isolated constituents that are made into pharmaceuticals, it produces side effects that don’t appear when the whole herb is used. Cryptolepis itself has not been found to be cytotoxic to people.
• The word cytotoxic, when used in reports, generally means it kills cancer cells, and indeed, cryptolepine does.
Herb/Drug Interactions:  None noted. However, cryptolepis has been used in traditional medicine to help rectify insomnia. One mouse study has supported that effect of the plant. There is some potential for the plant to synergize with hypnosedatives or central nervous system depressants. Caution should be exercised, although there have been no reported adverse effects in these situations to date.

Artemisia (Artemisia annua)
There are around 400 Artemisias in the genus, but Artemisia annua contains the most artemisinin—a potent antiparasitic—and this section focuses on that species. Artemisinin is famous for its effectiveness in treating malaria. All the plants in the genus do have some antibacterial and antimicrobial actions; however, those constituents are not nearly as systemic as those of cryptolepis. Artemesia annua and its constituents are best thought of as systemic antihematoparasiticals; that is, specific for killing blood parasites, rather than systemic antibacterials.
Parts Used:  The aerial parts, including the flowers, which have the highest artemisinin content.
The whole herb has a broader range of actions than the isolated constituent artemisinin. Because the studies are few and plant preparation differs from study to study, the outcomes in the antibacterial studies are contradictory. They do find a range of antibacterial activity across the artemisias—bearing out traditional uses of the genus—but the studies tend to vary on which bacteria the species are active against, leading to confusion. There is a tendency to extrapolate clinical use of the plant based on in vitro antibacterial studies, but that is a mistake, as it is with numerous other plants.
The traditional use of Artemisia annua, which gives a very good indication of its range of medicinal activity, has been primarily:
Reducing fever—the plant stimulates sweating
Topical use—it’s useful for infected wounds and skin infections
GI tract problems and infections
Female reproductive issues—primarily as an emmenagogue
Liver problems
As a steam inhalant for respiratory issues—using the essential oil
Parasitic diseases of the blood and liver
Preparation and Dosage:   The effective dosage for malaria is 500 to 1,000 mg on the first day and 500 mg daily thereafter for two to four more days. This will completely clear the malarial parasite from the blood. However, at 400 mg for five days, the recrudescence rate is 39 percent. Dosage at 800 mg drops the rate nearer to 3 percent. Chinese dosage runs from 500 mg to 1,600 mg for three days, repeated in two weeks (to treat newly hatching parasites). I do think there is some evidential support for 800 to 1,200 mg for five to seven days, repeated for another five to seven days in two weeks. The relapse rate is definitely smaller at the higher dose.
There are several things to keep in mind when preparing the whole herb for use:
• The fresh plant is the strongest.
• Whether fresh or dried, the plant should never be boiled.
• Fat helps extraction of the active constituents.
• The plant, while still potent for blood parasites, loses a lot of its antioxidant activities if dried.
• Dosage and length of use are crucial.
Traditional Chinese texts, thousands of years old, recommend preparation of the fresh herb, infused in room-temperature water, then pounded and wrung out to extract the plant juice as well. Examination has indeed shown that this produces the most potent infusions. Many of the constituents in artemisia are not very water soluble, including the artemisinin. However, they are highly soluble in fats and alcohol. The herb is very effective if used properly. The dose can be increased to fairly high doses, as it is a very safe herb.
Remember: The reason this herb was discovered was that in the region of China where it is used there were few or no incidences of malaria. The secret is in the dose, as with all medications.
Side Effects and Contraindications:  About 25 percent of people using Artemsia annua as an antimalarial report a mild nausea, which does not progress to vomiting. It may also cause occasional dizziness, tinnitus, pruritus and mild abdominal pain. Artemisinin itself can cause gastrointestinal upset, loss of appetite, nausea, cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. About 4 percent of people who take it experience these symptoms, usually in a more severe form than that experienced from ingesting the herbal infusion. Very high doses (5,000 mg per day of artemisinin for three days) have caused liver inflammation, which corrects upon stopping the supplement. Artemisinin has a slightly chronotropic effect on the heart. (It causes mild hypotension.) This has not been, apparently, a problem in users.
Both the herb and the constituent should be used with caution in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. In vivo studies have found a number of adverse effects in rats and mice if the herb is used in the first trimester. However, one clinical trial with 16 patients in the first trimester of pregnancy taking the herb found the miscarriage rate to be the same as that for the general population.
Herb/Drug Interactions:  Artemesia annua contains synergists that make its compounds more active against microbial organisms. In this instance, chryosospenol-D and chrysophlenetin, two flavonols in the plant, have been found to potentiate the activity of berberine and norfloxacin against resistant staph. Artemisinin does induce certain liver enzymes and may interact with drugs such as omeprazole. 

The Berberine Herbs

GOLDENSEAL (Hydrastis canadensis)

OREGON GRAPE (Berberis aquifolium)

BARBERRY (B. vulgaris)

CHINESE GOLDTHREAD (Coptis chinensis)

AMUR CORK TREE (Phellodendron amurense)

Most berberine-containing plants can be used interchangeably in the treatment of resistant bacterial and fungal infections of the GI tract and skin. Berberine-containing plants grow nearly every place on Earth. Phellodendron amurense, Hydrastis canadensis, Berberis aquifolium, B. vulgaris and Coptis chinensis are only a few of the species used medicinally.
Parts used:  Bark, root bark, stems, roots, leaves, resin
Preparation and Dosage:  The alkaloids in the berberine plants, including berberine, are not very water soluble. (So if you see a study showing an aqueous extract of a berberine plant to be ineffective as an antimicrobial, you now know why.) Tinctures need to use higher alcohol content (generally 1:5, 70 percent alcohol, 30 percent water), and the water needs to be acidic, with a pH between 1 and 6. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the tincture if your water is alkaline (hard) or if you don’t know.
The berberine plants may be used as a powder for topical applications, as a wash, as a tincture or in capsules.
Powdered herb: Apply to cuts, scrapes or infected wounds
Tincture: Dried bark of phellodendron: 1:5, 70 percent alcohol, 20 to 50 drops, up to four times daily (the taste is exceptionally strong). In acute dysenteric/diarrheal conditions, take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon morning and evening until symptoms subside. Improvement should be seen within 2 days; usually there will be some improvement within 8 hours.
Note: The berberine plants are only about 50 percent active against cholera in clinical trials, as compared with enterotoxogenic E. coli, which they completely inhibit. However, if you combine the berberine plants with the root of any geranium species, the bark of pomegranate or the peel of the fruit, or the leaf or bark of guava, the cholera organism will be completely inhibited.
As a wash: Add 1 ounce tincture to 2 pints water and wash the affected area morning and evening—especially good for helping acne and infected wounds.
Capsules: For non-acute conditions, take 1 or 2 “00” capsules up to 4 times daily. In acute dysenteric/diarrheal conditions: Take up to 25 “00” capsules daily for up to 10 days.
Side Effects and Contraindications:  Caution is advised in pregnancy. There is a tendency, because of the berberines’ poor absorption across the intestinal mucosa, to increase the dose to try to get more alkaloids into the bloodstream. This is a very bad idea. Abdominal cramping, nervous tremors and, most importantly, excessive drying of the mucous membranes will occur at high doses. Do not attempt to use these herbs as systemic.
Herb/Drug Interactions:  The berberines are synergistic (or additive) with a number of pharmaceuticals such as fluconazole, ampicillin and oxacillin. Repeated use of berberine may reduce the GI tract absorption of permeability glycoprotein (P-gp) substrates including chemotherapeutic agents such as daunomycin. Berberine intake will increase absorption of cyclosporine A if it’s taken after long-term berberine use: One study showed that 3 mg/kg of berberine in six human volunteers taken twice daily for 10 days increased the bioavailability of cyclosporine A by 19 percent. A randomized, clinical trial of 52 renal transplant patients for three months found that constant berberine intake significantly increased the amount of cyclosporine A in blood plasma.

Any organic wildflower honey can be used in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant skin and wound infections. There is some evidence that large-scale agricultural honeys and single-plant honeys are less potent than wildflower honeys. Manuka honey from New Zealand, produced mainly from the flowers of Leptospermum scoparium, is very potent, and you’ll see it for sale all over the Internet at indecent prices. But any wildflower honey will do. The more plants the bees collect nectar from, the more potent it will be. If it’s organic, it will be relatively free of agrochemical pollutants—also important.
Preparation and Dosage:  Honey can be applied directly to wounds or used internally for immune stimulation, overall health improvement, and treatment of colds, flus and respiratory infections.
• Direct Application: For burns, wounds (infected or not) ulcerations and bedsores, use direct application at full strength, covered by sterile bandage, changed once or twice daily.
• For impetigo or seborrheic dermatitis: Dilute honey enough to use as a wash, then use twice daily.
Internal use
Preventive: Take 1 tablespoon, alone or in tea, 3 times a day.
Acute conditions: Take 1 tablespoon honey each hour, or 1 tablespoon in tea 6 to 10 times daily.
Cold and flu tea: 2 tablespoons ginger juice, juice of 1⁄4 lime, pinch cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon honey, hot water.
Side Effects and Contraindications: • External use: None.  • Internal use: Mild to severe anaphylaxis in rare instances for those with allergic reaction to bee stings.
Choosing Honey:  Honey is a potent antibacterial—when it’s filled with plant pollen. Unfortunately, much of the honey in U.S. grocery stores has had its pollen removed—a process that makes it impossible to track the honey’s source, and enables manufacturers to sell illegal honey tainted with antibiotics and heavy metals.

There are more than 50 species in the Juniperus genus; all of them can be used similarly. Alcohol extracts of juniper show activity against 57 strains of 24 bacterias, among them Bacillus, Enterobacter and Staphylococcus. They also have been shown to inhibit 11 Candida species.  Junipers are also active against various cancer cell lines, SARS coronavirus and Herpes simplex 1.
Parts used:  Usually the berries and needles, but the bark, wood and root are all active.
Preparation and Dosage:  The constituents in the junipers are readily soluble in alcohol but vary in water depending on what part of the plant you’re using. The berries must be tinctured in alcohol or eaten whole to be effective. The needles will work to some extent in water (but are better in alcohol—the monoterpenes just aren’t that water soluble, as numerous studies have found), the bark not so well.
Use the berries for urinary tract infections; the berries or needles for upper respiratory or GI tract infections; the heartwood, roots, bark, berries or needles for skin infections and infectious dysentery; the essential oil for airborne and upper respiratory infections.
• Tincture: Berries, 1:5, 75 percent alcohol, 5 to 20 drops, up to three times daily
• Infusion: Chopped or powdered needles prepared as a standard infusion, covered 4 to 6 ounces, three to six times daily.
• Decoction: A strong decoction of the herb has been traditionally used in many cultures to sterilize brewing equipment, cooking utensils, surgical instruments, hands, counters, etc. The decoction is also effective as a wound wash to either prevent or cure infection. Use 1 ounce herb per quart of water, boil 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and let steep overnight.
• Berries: In whole form, for gastric problems, eat 1 to 5 berries per day for two weeks.
• Powder: Add any part of the plant to wound powders or use alone to prevent or cure infection in wounds.
• Steam: Any part of the plant, but usually the needles or berries. Use in sauna directly on the stones or boil 4 ounces of needles in 1 gallon of water, pour the resultant tea on the stones, and inhale the steam. Or just inhale the steam as it boils.
• Essential oil: For sinus and upper respiratory infections, 8 to 10 drops in water in a 1-ounce nasal spray bottle, four to six times a day; shake well before use. Or use the essential oil in a diffuser for helping prevent and cure upper respiratory infections. Moderate amounts can be mixed with water for a steam inhalant for upper respiratory infections.
Side Effects and Contraindications:  There has been a long-standing assertion in scores of herbals that the use of this plant may cause kidney irritation and that it is highly contraindicated in kidney disease (guilty of this myself). I have used the plant for more than two decades and have never seen any problems. The phytomedicalist Kerry Bone and others have tracked back the emergence of this belief; it began in the latter part of the 19th century, apparently from the administration of large doses of the essential oil to animals. Recent studies with rats have found, contrary to popular belief, a kidney-protective effect from the plant. This bears out the long use by the Eclectics of the berries in the treatment of active kidney disease and inflammation.
The only side effect seen was a mild diarrhea when the essential oil (15 drops in one ounce of olive oil) was used to treat an ear infection. The mix was applied three times daily with a cotton swab. The diarrhea stopped with discontinuation of the herb.
The essential oil is not for internal use other than as a steam inhalant or for aromatherapy. Neither the plant itself nor the berry appears to produce any side effects. Caution should probably be exercised by diabetics in any long-term use of the plant, as it affects blood glucose levels and may alter insulin requirements. It should probably not be used long-term with pharmaceutical diuretics. However, almost no one uses the plant long-term for healing; usually it is a short-course herb for urinary tract infection.
This information is adapted from Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Harrod Buhner, which ncludes extensive information on these and many other plants.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ashwagandha - Chocolate Bites

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) 

Ashwagandha root has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine due to its unique mix of strengthening and calming benefits. It is a safe and powerfully rejuvenating herb (adaptogen) that will benefit people faced with the chronic health problems created by stresses of both the diet and lifestyles of modern society.   Ashwaganda can be translated to mean “it gives you the strength of a stallion”.  Taken over time ashwagandha can build up emaciated tissues, decrease a negative response to stress and increase energy levels.  It also  works as a sedative which supports healthy sleep cycles Rather than think of it as an herb for acute insomnia, it is something that is taken over time to restore nervous system health and restore healthy sleep cycles.  Ashwaganda root is sometimes called the ginseng of India... But while some adaptogens (like ginseng)  may be overstimulating to people with anxiety, ashwagandha excels at decreasing anxiety and soothing the nervous system.  Great for people with anxiety as well as debilitating exhaustion who don’t need stimulants but instead need deep rest.  Good for immune system disorders such as HIV or chronic infections as well as for those who tend to get every upper respiratory virus that comes their wayUseful against cancer-related fatigue in addition to improving the quality of life in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  Take as an herbal supplement or try this recipe:
Ashwagandha Chocolate Bites
Makes 14-18 (depending on size)

1/3 cup Tahini

1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp local Honey

1/4 cup dark Chocolate, chopped

2 Tbsp Ashwagandha powder

2 Tbsp Cacao (cocoa) powder (plus more as needed)

2 Tbsp Hemp seeds

1 tsp Cinnamon powder

1 tsp Ginger powder

1 tsp Cardamom powder

1 tsp Nutmeg powder

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract  


Organic coconut flakes 


1.  Add tahini, almond butter, and honey into a medium bowl and mix until smooth.

2.  Add herb powders and mix until well combined.

3.  Mix in vanilla extract and hemp seeds.

4.  Mix in chopped chocolate.

5.  Add more cacao powder, a little at a time, until dough is thick enough to hold shape.

6.  Once the dough is thick enough and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl, roll into 1-inch balls.

7.  Coat with coconut flakes (or hemp seeds) and enjoy! 

8.  Store in sealed container in the refrigerator up to one week.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

(3-Sisters ...Beans, Corn Squash)

8 Servings
"Three sisters" refers to the wonderful combination of beans, corn and squash—foods traditionally grown and consumed together by many American Indian tribes.
2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in 8 cups water
1-2 acorn squash
1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon Sea salt
2 large Carrots, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 ribs Celery, diced
7-8 cups Vegetable stock or Bone broth
2 cups frozen Corn
1 1/2 teaspoon dried or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Drain and rinse soaked beans. Put them in a pot and cover with water by an inch. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Add more water if necessary.

2. While beans are cooking, cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Bake squash halves, cut side up, in a 375-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until tender.
3. Heat butter or oil in a large saucepan. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes.
4. Add carrot, garlic and celery, and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 10 minutes.
5. In the meantime, scoop cooked squash out of shell. Add squash to onion mixture and mix well, smoothing out any large lumps. Rinse and drain cooked beans.
6. Add stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and add beans, corn and thyme. Simmer, covered, for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with crusty bread.

HONEY and SAGE Decoction for Sore Throats and Upper Respiratory Infections



• 1 ounce dried Sage leaf
• Pinch of Cayenne
• 3 cups cold water
• Honey (local to your area)
• Juice of 1 lemon


1. Combine sage and cayenne with water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half.
2. Let cool enough that you can work with it. Strain liquid and press sage to extract as much liquid as possible.
3. Add honey, to taste, and lemon juice. Store in refrigerator and take 1 tablespoon or more often as needed at the onset of sore throat or upper respiratory infection.
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