Saturday, November 28, 2009

Teasel: Honoring the Bones of Our Ancestors

Teasel
(Dipsacus japonicus et D. sylvestris)


When I sit down to compose a piece about the plants, I don’t choose which herb I will write about, the Plant chooses me. Teasel began vying for my attention as a subject for one of my articles months ago when I was on my way to upstate New York and her flowers were everywhere on the roadsides. She hasn’t stopped edging her way into my consciousness since then; I hereby surrender to her will. Her powerful insistence is indicative of her medicine in an energetic way: she represents strength on many levels.

Japanese Teasel root is considered a tonic for the Kidney Yang, according to its uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In TCM, the Kidneys -and therefore the whole body- would ideally have a perfect balance of Yin and Yang energies. The Yin is moistening, receptive, nourishing and has an inward, storing, sedating quality; The Yang is drying, expansive, energizing and productive.

The Kidneys represent not simply the two blood cleansing and urine filtering organs we know them as in an allopathic framework. According to TCM the kidneys rule the bones, teeth, lower back, knees, as well as the brain, spinal cord and regulate growth and maturation. The Kidneys are considered to be the very foundation from which we grow and thrive, the true Essence of our Being, “The Root of Life.” We are born with this precious Essence -called Jing - that we inherit from our parents (ultimately all of our ancestors) and it is stored energetically within the Kidneys.

Metaphorically, let’s equate this Essence to a “trust fund” of sorts: you are born with a fixed amount. One may be fortunate enough to have inherited the energetic equivalent of a Cadillac, or perhaps not so lucky and inherited a Pinto, but keep in mind that it is entirely possible to drive that Caddy into the ground! Don’t change the oil, rotate the tires, never do a single bit of maintenance and that sturdy vehicle can be wasted, become weakened and fit for scrap. Conversely, one could carefully tend to the Pinto with regular loving maintenance, never drive it too hard and it would last a long time, providing years of service and reliability.

On a daily basis we utilize our Qi energy that we receive through a nourishing diet, clean water, positive fulfilling relationships, good breathing/movement practices and plenty of quality rest. We use our Jing to fill in the gaps when we can’t rely upon our steady income of Qi and we may never be aware that we are using it. The Jing is like that; if an individual “lives it up” with excessive drinking, drugs, late nights and sexual encounters, Jing gets spent. When a person has extreme stress, frayed nerves, repressed or excessive emotions and ceases to take proper care of themselves, Jing gets spent. If someone has had chronic or repeated illnesses, numerous injuries, multiple births or miscarriages, Jing gets spent.

Signs of aging like thinning bones, grey hair, diminished hearing, decreased metal acuity and lowered stamina are indicative of lowered Kidney energies. TCM tells us that Jing can never be replenished, once it’s gone, it’s gone. However, Kidney Jing can be conserved and “astringed” with herbs, lifestyle and various spiritual practices; also by tonifying the Yin and Yang aspects of Kidney energy, we can “endow interest to the Kidney Jing account.” Herbal tonics that specifically balance the combination of Yin and Yang herbs to an individual’s constitution can help to promote more graceful aging and an overall healthier state of being.

Chinese Herbal Materia Medica by Bensky and Gamble states that as a Yang tonifying herb, Japanese Teasel root (Dipsacus asperi seu japonicus) fortifies the lower back, knees and bones. It has a positive effect on the sinews and joints as well and is used for pain and stiffness from decreased Kidney energy or from traumatic injury. It is also used to promote the movement of blood and to repair damaged tissues, so it makes sense that Teasel’s Pinyin name in is Xu Duan, meaning “restore what is broken.”

For arthritic conditions, repetitive strain, pain, weakness or traumatic injury, the root of Dipsacus japonicus can be taken internally as a tincture or decoction, applied topically in a salve or liniment, or one could address all aspects of the disharmony and choose internal and external treatment simultaneously. Japanese Teasel actually has a regulating effect on the blood, it is able to not only promote circulation when it comes to trauma, but it will also help with threatened miscarriage by stopping uterine bleeding and calming a restless fetus. When used for disorders of the uterus during pregnancy, it is often combined with Mugwort (Artemesia argyi) and Greater Burnet (Sanguisorba) for uterine bleeding, or paired with gelatin to assist the mother when she has been unable to carry a child to term.

Historically, domestic Teasel (D. sylvestris) was not particularly popular as a medicine plant, it was however valued in the textile industry. The name Teasel comes from its use for teasing wool; it was cultivated for such a purpose at least as far back as Roman times. It was bred specifically to produce hooked bracts on the dried flower heads for more efficiency in the production of woolens. It fell out of fashion with manufacturers after machines were invented to do the same thing, but the mechanically produced cloth could never match the smooth quality of wool finished with Teasel.

This species of Teasel (D. sylvestris) found in North America has recently gained a groundswell of interest in the treatment of Lyme Disease because of a fantastic tome, The Book of Herbal Wisdom by herbalist Matthew Wood who pioneered the use of domestic teasel for Lyme. In practice, he discovered that a very small dosage of tincture -only about 3 drops taken 2-3 times daily- brought dramatic improvements to the joint aches and cognitive dysfunction that Lyme disease can bring about. Teasel can be taken at this low dose safely for long periods of time.

According to naturalmoxie.com, Teasel has a unique ability to get the spirochetes where they “hide out” in the joints and drive them into the blood stream, where other medicines (be they herbal or pharmaceutical) can then eradicate them. It is not uncommon to have a Herxheimer reaction when taking Teasel or any effective remedy for Lyme disease. A flaring up of symptoms due to the “die-off” of spirochetes leads to substantial levels of toxins in the blood, however this is actually considered a good sign. It is important to expedite this process by encouraging detoxification and immune strengthening with many available herbal preparations.

In his book, Wood shares the fantastic success of several case studies he gathered in his clinical practice using Teasel for Lyme. His balanced approach to healing is both spiritual and methodical, a necessary combination. When I contacted Matthew Wood for permission to cite his work, he was insistent that I give proper credit to his friend and adviser, William LeSassier, the late Chinese Herbalist from New York City. It was LeSassier, Wood says, who had first suggested the use of D. sylvestris, our domestic relative of the Japanese Teasel that has been used in the Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia for hundreds of years.

When one examines the Teasel plant, it really is no small wonder that this sturdy herb encourages fortitude. The robust, bristly flower heads are born upon the tall prickly stalks of Teasel and blossom in a whorl of lavender from the center toward the top and bottom. The leaves are also spiny and attach to the stalk without a petiole, forming a cup as the base of the leaf wraps around the stalk. This cup that forms at the juncture of the leaf and stem often collects rain or dew and reminds us that Teasel can help with stiff and unlubricated joints. This characteristic was the reason that Dipsacus was once called “water thistle” or “Venus’ basin.”

A biennial, Teasel grows up to several feet in height in her second year and the spent seed heads atop boney stalks easily persists through even the harshest of winter weather. During the mid-late summer, you can often find three generations in close proximity to one another: the bodacious, bristly basal rosette of a first year Teasel clinging to the ground, a stalk shooting toward the sky burgeoning with the potential for bloom in a second year specimen and nearby the bones of last year’s grandmother Teasel silently bearing witness to her progeny.

It’s the first year Teasel that offers her medicine; in the autumn, if you have found the withered flower heads of Teasel that has gone by, examine the ground for the young prickly leaves in a basal rosette. If there are enough to spare, respectfully dig a few of the roots up, bring them home to scrub thoroughly, and then tincture them in vodka or white brandy. Generally the rule is to fill a clean glass jar 2/3 full with the fresh chopped root, cover completely with the alcohol, -leaving about ½ inch of space at the top of the jar- seal tightly, and then gently shake the jar daily. Over the course of the 4-6 weeks it takes to mature, put your loving intention into that tincture every day and be sure to offer your thanks to the plants in exchange for the medicine they so freely give, and to our ancestors for the inheritance they have so generously left us.

To me, Matthew Wood’s respect for his mentor brings to mind this analogy of the familial arrangement of Teasel in the field. Although William LeSassier has passed on, his memory, honored and respected by Matthew Wood and successive generations of healers, is carried on in the use of domestic Teasel for medicine. We have inherited much benefit from the bones of our ancestors so that we may prosper as we learn, grow and sow the seeds of our experience for future generations.



Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG) is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a level II Reiki practitioner, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer in private practice for over a decade. She is available by appointment. HerbaLisl.com
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

December Blog Party: Herbal Aesthetics...Plants for Natural Beauty


Visit all these fabulous blogs for great information about using herbs for beautifying the home and body.

Herbalisl's Post: Chamomile- The Original "Mother's Little Helper"

Cory from Aquarian Bath Gives Tips on Pampering Yourself Naturally!

Chamomile: The Original “Mother’s Little Helper”

Chamomile
(Chamaemelum nobile, Matricaria recutita, M. discoidea)
German Chamomile ©L.Huebner 2009
When it comes to choosing safe herbs to bring comfort and relief to your whole family, look no further than the darling of the herb gardener, Chamomile. This precious herb is often one of the very first herbal remedies that many people become familiar with, and for good reasons. Her ability to soothe, calm and bring relief to a range of everyday troubles - from stomach and headaches to common stress - is the source of her well deserved notoriety.

Most people know that a soothing cup of Chamomile tea in the evening will help one to unwind, and gently encourage a good night’s rest. In fact, this simple herb helps with cramps and premenstrual tension, many types of nervous anxiety, reduces the production of stress hormones, and can relax the mind when there is a tendency to overthink. It’s interesting to note here that too much thinking, even if it doesn’t quite qualify as obsessive thought, can lead to a myriad of health issues including menstrual disorders, chronic pain and even heart dis-ease.

Chamomile is a frequent ingredient in many herbal formulas and her claim to fame is her value as a nervine and a carminative. Those who suffer from frequent headaches, especially those that are brought on by stress, will find an exceptional ally in Chamomile. Insomnia sufferers often need no more than a strong cup of Chamomile tea to bring ease, comfort and sleep. In cold remedies, the addition of Chamomile can not only help to reduce a fever by encouraging diaphoresis, but it also brings calm and peace so one may rest comfortably. Chamomile is also a mild expectorant that’s used with other herbs in cough remedies to help loosen and bring up mucous. People of all ages can benefit from the pleasant tea that gives welcome relief to indigestion and stomach pain and everyone else will appreciate Chamomile’s ability to deter flatulence.

When it comes to children, Chamomile is a gentle remedy for even the most sensitive child. For colic, a mild cup of Chamomile tea will soothe the belly and tame the crankiness that unfortunately often accompanies those awful tummy aches. The anti-inflammatory quality of Chamomile that makes it useful for reducing fevers will also help your precious babe get the healing rest she so badly needs when she’s sick and restless. Fix yourself a nurturing cup of Chamomile tea to ease your frayed edges when baby is teething, then gently apply the cooled tea bag as a compress to her sore gums; you’ll both feel better for it. Chamomile is the original “Mother’s Little Helper.”

German Chamomile ©L.Huebner 2009
Don’t think that children are the only ones who need pampering; we grown-ups need a reassuring hug from Mama Chamomile too! Spoil yourself with a personal spa day and allow yourself to receive all the gifts that your compassionate friend Chamomile has to offer. No spa day would be complete without indulging in an herbal bath, and enjoying a Chamomile tubbie is as simple as tying a muslin bag filled with chamomile to the faucet so your hot bath water passes over it, infusing the bath with its soft fragrance. Alternately, pouring a hot pot of strong chamomile infusion into your ready tub will delight you from head to toe; consider it a mini-vacation from all your worldly troubles.If that’s too much trouble for someone who’s really on the go, consider a chamomile footbath to care for tired, achy feet; and adding milk to a tub or foot bath will really put you over the moon!

Throughout history women have treasured the benefits of a Chamomile herbal wash; a simple infusion rinsed through the tresses after a shampoo leaves silky locks that lighten in the sun. For a divine facial treatment, wet a soft flannel with a warm Chamomile infusion and apply lightly to your whole face; better still, enjoy a facial steam by leaning over a steaming bowl of chamomile tea with a towel “tent” over your head. After about 5 minutes or so, stimulate your pores with a rinse of cool water and moisturize with Rose hip or Cucumber seed oil. Not only will your complexion feel smooth, clean and radiant, but your sinuses will reap the benefits from the Chamomile steam treatment as well.

When late nights and lack of sleep leave your eyes puffy and dark, or if seasonal allergies have your peepers looking red and inflamed, Chamomile will do double duty as a tea to calm allergies and relieve tension and insomnia but don’t throw out those tea bags! Cooled Chamomile tea bags placed over the eyes comforts eye strain, reduces inflammation and lightens the appearance of dark circles. A Chamomile compress placed over the eyes and forehead can also ease tension, sinus and even migraine headaches.

Your pets can also profit from Chamomile’s bevy of benevolent benefits. For nervous animals, a few drops of Chamomile floral essence in their water or the light scent of essential oil on a comforting toy or blanket can really help. For hot spots on their skin (or yours, for that matter) a soothing wash applied to the irritation will promote healing and ease discomfort. The amiable Chamomile is a lovely friend to have on hand.

The essential oil of Chamomile has been valued throughout the ages; simply by inhaling its gentle fragrance, one can feel their irritability melt away as her complex medicinal compounds begin working on ragged nerves, restoring a positive outlook and peace of mind. Chamomile’s essential oil has a sapphire blue color due to the presence of the compound azulene. If you have an understanding of chakra healing, you’ll understand why Chamomile is used on the blue-colored throat chakra to assist positive expression and productive communication, especially when there is some difficulty in speaking up for yourself.

There is a bit of confusion when you start to investigate Chamomile; there are two very well known varieties that go by several names each, depending upon where you live in the world and when you learned about Chamomile. I don’t wish to further confuse the issue, but it should be noted that Roman chamomile was once referred to as Anthemis nobilis; its Latin moniker is currently Chamaemelum nobile. The other type, generally preferred by most herbalists, is German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Some sources say that Chamomile can cause allergies; this is actually a rare occurrence and is really only an issue with the Roman variety. While the Roman Chamomile tends to be the slightly more sedating of the two and German Chamomile is just a little more anti-inflammatory, for the most part these two herbs can be used interchangeably.

A local wild Chamomile is available throughout the US, often found in poor soils, vacant lots and waste areas is the charming little Pineapple Weed (Matricaria discoidea). Named for the sweet fragrance it produces, this friendly herb is readily available in backyards everywhere and its uses are fairly similar to its cousins. Pineapple Weed’s therapeutic properties are found in the whole plant, not just in her flowers, but when harvesting the entire herb, be sure to take no more than 20% of the crop so that they may continue to thrive.

Pineapple Weed ©L.Huebner

In Victorian times, Chamomile lawns were very much in vogue; instead of cutting the grass on a Saturday afternoon, one could find peace and contentment by lying idly upon a cushion of tranquility. Imagine how delightful it would be to daydream on a lawn like that. It makes me wonder if the dreaded deer tick would be offended to find everyone’s grassy landscape suddenly transformed into fields of Chamomile. In any case, I can’t believe anyone would miss the sound of lawnmowers!

Growing Chamomile in your own garden bed will improve the overall health and vigor of the other plants in her company. The flowers are also edible, so you and your children can enjoy picking them for remedies and to decorate a salad too. Chamomile was once frequently used in love potions, and inviting Chamomile to your gardens will also help to attract love and prosperity. Because faeries love Chamomile, their presence in your garden will bring good luck, and who couldn’t use a generous helping of love, luck and prosperity?



Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG) is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a level II Reiki practitioner, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer in private practice for over a decade. She is available by appointment. HerbaLisl.com
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.

November Blog Party!! Morning Beverages....mmmmm.....


Hey! So I finally figured out how to do this...I'm such a newbie at Blogging! I hope that you will forgive my tardiness! Welcome to the wonderful world of delicious AM beverages...or anythime! Drink 'em while they're HOT!!!

Herbalisl's If At First You Don't Succeed, Chai, Chai Again!

Karen Vaughan writes about the benefits of coffee and talks about mixing it with herbs

Tansy’s idea of a great caffeine free morning beverage: roasted root chai

Kiva Rose writes of the wild woodlands morning brew, with a combination of herbs that you might never have thought of trying

Aartiana writes about her favorite morning infusions

Aquarian Bath’s secret to a great cup of earl grey tea

Susan Lubbers writes about waking up with a holy cuppa…holy basil!

Darcey Blue French shares her chocamatamatelatte recipe

Need a little caffeine in your morning ritual? Try Rosalee de la Foret’s suggestions for black tea

Stephany shares some great recipes for all sorts of moods!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Queen Anne's Lace: A Conscious Choice For Birth Control

The theme is Herbs for Sexual Health and Vitality 

I am presenting this article about Queen Anne’s Lace (QAL) because I feel strongly compelled to share this information… that and the fact that the Queen won’t let me rest until I do. Please understand that the information in this article is for educational purposes only and that I am not personally advocating the uses of Daucus carota described herein. I do however believe that we each have a right to make our own personal choices when it comes to our health and that with that right comes taking complete responsibility for our choices. That being said, I’d like to introduce you to one of the most personally empowering herbs known to women: Queen Anne’s Lace.

©Lisl Meredith 2007
Queen Anne’s Lace, otherwise known as Bird’s Nest Herb or Wild Carrot is a familiar sight on roadsides during the summer. With hairy stalks reaching up to four feet in height, Wild Carrot has feathery thrice composite leaves and a strong carroty fragrance when bruised. Its delicate white flower head can be up to 5-6 inches in diameter and often has a sterile scarlet flower in the center of these lacy blooms.

Science hasn’t been able to determine the purpose of this crimson flower, but Herbalists that are familiar with the Wise Woman Ways recognize this signature as a message from the plant spirit. Legend tells that Queen Anne, in a contest with her ladies to determine who made the most delicate and exquisite lace, accidentally pricked her finger and a drop of blood fell upon the lace. Herbalists also see the maroon embellishment as a spot of blood representing the herb’s ability to bring on a menstrual period.
©Lisl Meredith 2007
Caution must be used to distinguish Wild Carrot from her close cousins, the deadly Water Hemlock and of course, the herb that brought death upon Socrates, Poison Hemlock. Both Hemlocks bear a smooth stalk, usually spotted with purple blotches, and the odor of Poison Hemlock is musty and unpleasant while Water Hemlock can smell like parsnips. Both are lethal, so never gather unfamiliar herbs without the supervision of an experienced guide.

Daucus carota is a member of the carrot family and the ancestor of today’s kitchen staple. The Wild Carrot underwent a transformation when certain traits were selectively grown until the tender orange root vegetable we have come to know no longer bore much resemblance to the fibrous white root once used by our ancestors as a medicine and a food. Native to Europe, she immigrated to the US with early settlers, her seeds most likely stowing away within sacks of grain. Now widespread throughout North America, some states have declared Queen Anne’s Lace a noxious weed, a judgment that perhaps seems a bit harsh once we understand her gifts.

In Herbology, she is a good choice for colic, upset stomach, flatulence and gout. Her root’s diuretic effects on the kidneys help with the treatment and prevention of stones and gravel as well as many instances of edema. A number of studies are even suggesting that infusions of the flower head show some promise in the treatment of diabetes. Other studies are being conducted to ascertain Wild Carrot’s effects on Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as for the treatment of asthma, leukemia, migraines, HIV, and even the common cold.

For lowering cholesterol, some doctors recommend consuming 2 raw (modern) carrots daily because of the naturally high pectin content, and everyone knows that the Vitamin A in carrots is excellent for the eyes. A poultice of grated carrot (domestic or wild) can help itchy dermatitis, and carrot seed oil is excellent for the skin as well. Many luxurious facial serums and creams contain carrot seed oil for its ability to reduce blemishes and smooth wrinkles.

Some people have mild negative reactions to this oil due to the presence of furocoumarins which can cause photosensitivity, but these are mainly found in the leaves and rarely present a problem unless you are out walking in a field of Queen Anne’s Lace on a hot humid day and have been rubbing against them for a while. I find myself doing just that fairly frequently, but even my sensitive skin has never shown any ill effects. In fact, as part of my facial regimen, I use the steam distilled essence of carrot seed on a regular basis and have found the results to be most outstanding.

Daucus carota also contains falcarinol, a chemical that is showing promise as an anti-cancer agent. Falcarinol is also a natural pesticide and fungicide which helps to explain why the medicinal uses of Wild Carrot include the treatment of worms and parasites. The toxicity of all carrots, domestic and wild, is very low and the treatment of parasites requires a very strong decoction of the root and seeds to make an impact on the vermin. To get a lethal dose of carrot for a human, you would need to eat over 800 lbs. at once, and I don’t think anything could help your belly ache if you attempted to put away that much carrot.

However, there are plenty of other herbs that perform these functions as well as, if not better than Wild Carrot; there are copious carminatives and colic cures, an abundance of anti-cancer agents, a variety of vermifuges and diverse diuretics. What sets Daucus carota apart from other herbs is her successful use as a contraceptive.
©Lisl Meredith 2007
Nero was purportedly given the last root of Silphion, a Roman spice and contraceptive herb that was so popular and effective it was harvested to extinction sometime before the fourth century C.E. (Current Era). Wild Carrot is its closest living relative and bears the same contraceptive qualities as her ancestor. Hippocrates described the herb as being abortive and contraceptive over two thousand years ago. Since that time, the issue of contraception has become a delicate issue, with personal freedoms and valuable information being withheld from the common people by religious institutions and governments.

During World War I, American troops were widely exposed to venereal disease; because of certain Victorian attitudes by those in power, the soldiers were not permitted to obtain protection. Allied governments however supplied prophylactics to their military who subsequently shared them with the American troops. When the soldiers returned home, condoms became quietly popular for their secondary benefit: to prevent unwanted pregnancies. By 1918, condoms became legal, but specifically for preventing disease, not pregnancy. In 1936, the so-called Comstock Law banning the use of contraceptives was declared unconstitutional and finally repealed. By the 1960’s, the rise in pharmaceutical technology led to the creation of “The Pill” and knowledge of herbal contraceptives, secretly passed down through generations of herbalists and healers, was nearly lost to history.

Well known for her contemporary studies on the contraceptive use of Queen Anne’s Lace (QAL), Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett has been working directly with QAL since 1985 and completed her first “grass-roots” study in New York City in 1993. This first study showed potential and also served to refine the information she continued to gather about the proper method for using the herb. After her findings were published in the Northeast Herbal Association Journal, she began to receive anecdotal information from many people also wanting to share their experiences with QAL, the majority of their experiences being incredibly positive.

The conclusions of her findings indicate that using QAL as birth control can be amazingly reliable when taken in a specific way. A tea or tincture of the seeds is taken approximately 8-12 hours after intercourse, and the dosage is repeated at that interval twice more, then discontinued. Some herbalists prefer a more folksy description of the hormonal effects by saying that QAL makes the womb more slippery and prevents implantation, but language isn’t important. What is demonstrated time and again is that fertilization is hindered and implantation is impeded, hence, no pregnancy.

A delicate interplay of hormones takes place when a woman conceives; progesterone is produced to prepare the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg. Studies are showing that Queen Anne’s Lace blocks the production of progesterone and inhibits the development of the ovum. One Chinese study states, "Recent evidence suggests that terpenoids in the seed block crucial progesterone synthesis in pregnant animals." research done in other countries also show promise.

Historically the seeds were mainly used; in particular the method of chewing a teaspoonful of seeds after sex was popular, but rather unpleasant. In some traditions, particularly of note are from Appalachia, the flowers were used fresh or dried and drunk as tea. Bennett has found that a combination of seeds and flowers taken as a tincture or a tea is both pleasant and effective and mitigates the potential side effect of vaginal dryness when the seeds are chewed.

The key to this method appears to be the short duration and subsequent discontinuation of the herb that causes a dramatic shift in hormones. If a woman has just had significant hormonal shifts for other reasons, whether due to natural or artificial causes, the method can be unreliable and is not recommended. A recent pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, or developing menopausal symptoms, as well as current or newly discontinued HRT treatment, birth control pills, or other hormonal prescription drugs are the most common factors that contribute to a lack of success with this method (it bears mentioning that cortisone is a hormonal drug). It seems that antibiotics can also have an undesirable effect on the results of this method, perhaps because they inhibit the balance of intestinal flora. Herbalist Susun Weed reminds us that hormonal precursors in plants require healthy digestion to be processed efficiently by the body.

Currently, Robin Rose Bennett is gathering participants for a national study. I recommend that anyone interested in learning more about it, check out her website, www.robinrosebennett.com and read her entire paper, Wild carrot (Daucus Carota): A Plant for Conscious, Natural Contraception. I too, plan to be a part of this historical exploration and have high hopes that a safe, natural alternative method of birth control can be shown to be effective for the women that prefer a choice.
©Lisl Meredith 2007
It is important that women tune into their own natural rhythms; a honed awareness of our internal cycles empowers us to maintain optimal health. The more conscious one becomes about the subtle signals that their bodies are sending, the more likely they are to have success when choosing to become a mother or to prevent a pregnancy. As Robin says so eloquently in her article, ‘The life force is a powerful thing and nothing is absolute! There are also at least three souls involved in every conception, so total control is an illusory goal.’ Nothing but total abstinence or a chastity belt is reliable when it comes to a contraceptive guarantee, and even then…all things are possible.


 
Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG) is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a level II Reiki practitioner, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer in private practice for over a decade. She is available by appointment. HerbaLisl.com
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seaweeds - An Underutilized Vegetable!


Seaweeds are sadly underutilized as a regular part of our American diet but offer a great deal of nutritional benefits, particularly as a source of minerals and trace minerals. In fact seaweeds contain 10-20 times the amount of minerals found in land plants; they also contain a spectrum of vitamins and amino acids as well. Seaweeds are one of nature’s most effective metabolic regulators, adjusting the acidity and alkalinity of the blood and regulating insulin production. As an immune enhancer, seaweed promotes leukocyte and antibody production and all of them have a reducing effect on tumors, nodules, goiter and even some cancers. Some seaweeds even have the ability to remove radioactive and toxic wastes from the body and are used to counter chronic mercury and arsenic poisoning. Considering the amount of pollutants in today’s environment, as well as the mercury residue from dental fillings, using seaweed as a preventative measure makes good sense.


All varieties of seaweeds are energetically cooling, have a salty flavor and soften and dissolve accumulations. They are detoxifying, moistening, lymph-cleansing, improve water metabolism and lower cholesterol. Eating seaweed on a regular basis for their medicinal benefit only requires a dosage of 1/6-1/2 ounce (dried weight) and will even enhance the nutritional value of the foods that they accompany. Although seaweeds have the ability to transform toxic heavy metal residues into harmless salts, many of our oceans are terribly polluted, so be certain to purchase your sea veggies from a reputable source. If you are new to eating sea vegetables, add them to your diet slowly in order to get your body used to digesting them; the longer they soak when rehydrating them, the more digestible they become, and they can be eaten raw or cooked. Incorporating seaweed into the diet for health and weight management is not as difficult as it may seem; there are many varieties of dried seaweed available to suit any personal taste.

Agar-agar is the mucilage of a few different types of seaweed in combination -sometimes sold as kanten bars- and is a nutritious thickening and gelling agent. It doesn’t melt easily, has a firm texture when used for gelatin and contains no calories. It is a good source of dietary calcium and iron, is great for the hair, skin and nails and promotes digestion and weight loss.

Arame, a great source of iodine, calcium and iron, helps to regulate high blood pressure, and benefits the teeth and bones. It is also known for its beautifying ability: it thickens hair and gives it a lustrous shine and it nourishes the skin, promoting a clear complexion and reducing wrinkles for a youthful radiance. It can be added to soups, grains, stuffing and vegetable dishes, and if the flavor seems too strong, sautéing in oil reduces the fishy flavor as well as making the fat-soluble vitamins more bio-available.

Dulse has been used for a long time as a popular salt substitute and has a high concentration of manganese and iodine, but that’s certainly not the limit of her appeal. Besides being a very attractive plant, Dulse is absolutely delicious and mild –a great seaweed to start with if you are new to the idea of eating seaweed. Added to salads, soups, sandwiches and spreads, it will enhance flavor and nutrition. I always add it to salads when entertaining and people rave about the taste.

Hijiki has a strong flavor that is mellowed by a brief sauté in oil, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the world’s highest source of calcium. A mere 3 1/2 oz portion of Hijiki contains 1,400 mg of calcium compared to 119 mg of calcium from the same sized portion of milk. Hijiki also contains eight times the amount of iron in beef; it balances the blood sugar, soothes the nerves and supports hormonal functions.

Irish Moss contains carrageenan and is used as a thickener for sauces, gravies, stews and desserts; digestively it soothes ulcers and helps to treat dysentery and diarrhea. It is also soothing and moistening to the lungs and helps to treat conditions of “Phlegm Heat,” notably where there is yellow or green sputum. It reduces cholesterol, is a mild anti-coagulant for the blood and helps to prevent arteriosclerosis while acting as a mild heart tonic as well.

Nori is well known as the flat sheet of seaweed that sushi rolls are wrapped in and shares the same properties as other sea vegetables such as lowering cholesterol, softening masses, reducing edema and managing high blood pressure. What is unique to Nori is that dry, it contains up to 48% protein, significant amounts of vitamins A and B, and is easily digested. It also helps the body to digest fatty foods when eaten as an accompaniment. Bring on the tempura rolls!!

Wakame is a versatile sea vegetable that when cooked with beans or other fibrous foods, helps to increase their digestibility and nutrient absorption. It shares the same general properties as other seaweeds, and has a domestic cousin called Alaria that is nearly identical. It promotes healthy hair, skin and nails and has been used as a post-partum tonic in Japan for generations. It is second only to Hijiki in calcium content and makes a delicious addition to soups, casseroles or vegetable dishes.

Kelp or Kombu contain up to 500 times more iodine than shellfish and up to 3,000 times more than salt-water fish, It grows quite large, more than 1,000 feet, and is a giant when it comes to the treatment of diabetes, anemia, asthma, Candida, arthritic conditions and hypertension. It can treat swellings, reproductive and hormone imbalances, heal wounds and benefit the skin, and treat fungal infections. It is known as a must-have for weight loss and thyroid conditions.

Being one of the most well known sources of natural iodine, Kelp (Laminaria) is often one of the first remedies to be recommended for regulating the thyroid. When it comes to natural treatments for weight loss and thyroid issues, Kelp and other seaweeds are purportedly a cure-all. Unfortunately, simply taking a seaweed or kelp supplement for a thyroid issue isn’t always an appropriate course of action, although it can be particularly helpful in many cases.

The thyroid is a vital hormone-producing gland located at the base of the throat that regulates the metabolic functions of the body such as heart rate, body temperature and certain digestive functions. The thyroid is in turn controlled by the pituitary gland, located behind the third eye chakra, which is itself regulated by the hypothalamus. The subtle interplay of chemicals and hormones between these glands creates a delicate balance that results in health and stability for the whole body. The hormone that is produced by the thyroid contains iodine; hence any disorder of the gland that involves iodine deficiency or uptake can be addressed successfully with regular Kelp supplementation.

An under active thyroid (hypothyroid) will exhibit symptoms such as slow mental processes, lowered body temperature and feelings of coldness, fatigue and general lethargy, weakness, pronounced constipation, heavy menstrual periods and concurrent weight gain and loss of appetite. In severe cases, symptoms also include slowed pulse rate, muscle aches, hair loss, puffiness around the eyes, delayed reflexes, skin that is rough and dry as well as personality and mood changes. Over the long term, hypothyroidism can lead to hardening of the arteries and even the development of an enlarged thyroid (goiter).

Allopathic treatment of hypothyroidism is the drug Sinthroid (levothyroxine), a synthetic hormone that is used when the body cannot produce an adequate amount of natural iodine-containing hormone on its own. It is often deemed necessary, but comes with a host of side effects, including increased risk of osteoporosis when taken long-term. Once a person becomes dependent upon this drug, it is virtually impossible to discontinue its use, so it is therefore recommended that one keeps their body and their thyroid in a healthy state of balance.

Hyperthyroidism, or an over active thyroid may be caused by a growth, a tumor or an inflammation of the thyroid that results in an increase in metabolic rate, body temperature and pulse rate. A person may exhibit nervousness, anxiety, tremors, excitability, irritability and insomnia, as well as irregular bowels, increased appetite and concurrent weight loss, muscle fatigue, amenorrhea and bulging eyes. Modern treatment of hyperthyroidism ranges from beta-blockers and anti-thyroid drugs which are temporary and treat just the symptoms to an irreversible treatment such as surgery or radiation. This may be a necessary course of action, so it is important again to stress the importance of keeping our bodies in balance before we may be faced with such drastic choices.


The iodine contained in seaweed is pure and is metabolized slowly by the body, making it especially supportive for conditions of hypothyroidism. It is also useful in the short-term to modulate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism by softening lumps, reducing goiter and cooling inflammation. It is not advisable to take seaweed during pregnancy, with symptoms of regular diarrhea and be prudent about using them with autoimmune illnesses. Caution must be used when treating any thyroid condition, whether the treatment strategy is allopathic or natural; be advised to seek the help of a qualified practitioner.

I find it fascinating that the pituitary gland, which regulates the thyroid, is located at the third eye chakra, while the thyroid is precisely where the throat chakra lies. Herbalist Peter Holmes describes the thyroid thusly, “One’s mental functions, and the ability to articulate personal beliefs in particular, are dependent on the iodine-dependent thyroid.” This is a perfect definition for the function of the throat chakra. Iodine, the principle substance produced by the thyroid is described as the substance which kindles the “Ming Men” or the “Gate of Fire.” In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Ming Men Gate is located at the level of the second chakra between the kidneys, is the seat of our will power and the source of the energetic alchemy that supplies vital Qi for our metabolism.

Our energy centers, our chakras, our Qi, or our endocrine system; it doesn’t matter how these vital systems are classified, it only matters that we understand how delicate is the balance that we must maintain and how resilient our bodies can be. Maintaining these systems through integrity, proper rest and stress management, exercise and a wholesome diet is the key to health and happiness. Integrating sea vegetables, a vast and nearly untapped food source in the US, into your diet may be one of the smartest things you can do for your health. Contrary to popular myth, they are not slimy or bad-tasting; they are delicious, versatile, and highly nutritious. Do yourself a favor and incorporate them into your diet…how about tonight?



Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG) is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a level II Reiki practitioner, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer in private practice for over a decade. She is available by appointment. HerbaLisl.com
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turmeric - Friend to the Liver

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

To truly embrace the concept of complimentary medicine, it is absolutely imperative to understand the truth that food is our medicine. “You are what you eat,” is not just a tired cliché, but a fact of life. Herbs and spices play a vital role in cuisine throughout the world and throughout history, not only for the gift of unique and delicious flavor they impart, but also for a much more practical reason: to keep our bodies in a state of vital health. Turmeric is no exception, for over 4,000 years Curcuma longa has been an essential medicinal herb in India, as well as a key ingredient in curries, a natural preservative for food, a valuable dye for fabric and has played an important role in spiritual ceremonies and traditions.

A sacred tradition among the Bengali called the “Gaye Halud,” uses Turmeric for anointing purposes, ritualizing a woman’s entrance into maturity. Early on her wedding day, a new bride bathes herself in water infused with Turmeric, signifying her new status.


Native to Southeast Asia and India, Turmeric is a close relative of ginger. Its plump tan rhizome, that when sliced reveals a brightly hued orange flesh, is harvested in winter when all above ground growth has withered. With a peppery scent and an earthy, sweet and piquant flavor, Turmeric gives dishes a warm, musky taste and a somewhat spicy aroma. Occasionally used freshly grated in soups, curries, vegetable dishes and desserts, Turmeric is most often found in its dried and powdered form. Traditionally, the rhizome was sun dried and sold whole or ground; now it is usually boiled, peeled, dried and powdered before being sold in Western markets.


The bright yellow/orange color of Turmeric is due to its high content of curcumin, and is the highest known source of beta carotene. The brightly staining yellow color was once used to dye the saffron robes worn by Buddhist monks and the silk garments worn by the Chinese emperor. In fact, the color yellow was so sacred to the Chinese that only the emperor himself was entitled to wear it. The bright and sunny color came to a much more mundane use when Westerners began using it to dye margarine and ball-park mustard, although these days the spice annatto is more commonly used. Because of the color it gives to food, it has often been confused with saffron, but there’s no mistaking Turmeric’s pungent flavor; don’t try to use it as a substitute for that precious spice. On a more practical note, be aware that Turmeric -especially when mixed with oil- will stain clothing, hands, countertops and utensils, only fading slightly with repeated washing.

Bearing in mind The Doctrine of Signatures (the theory that a plant will “show” us its functions through its form), when we look at Turmeric’s bright yellow color, we may recall the sallow complexion of someone with liver problems presenting jaundice. Not surprisingly,
Curcuma longa effectively treats liver congestion, jaundice, and is often used to treat chronic Hepatitis. Turmeric increases the production of bile and improves gall bladder function; its effects are normalizing, mild and long-lasting. Taken in medicinal doses, it can be used to help flush the gall bladder of stones and sediment.

As a liver protector, Turmeric is also anti-inflammatory and can reduce pain associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well as improve flexibility and circulation. Studies done in 1971 and 1991 show that
Curcuma longa has anti-inflammatory effects that surpass hydrocortisone. It is frequently used for migrating aches and inflammation that are exacerbated by cold and damp weather; in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Turmeric is combined with cinnamon twig and astragalus to effectively treat upper back and shoulder pain. For trauma and injury with or without swelling, or for chronic pain and inflammation, it can be taken internally or applied topically as a steam-distilled essence or when mixed with oil and made into a paste.

The strong anti-inflammatory benefits of
Curcuma longa also make it beneficial for the treatment of asthma, allergies and other respiratory conditions exacerbated by inflammation. It can reduce the severity of purulent eruptions, canker and cold sores, and has a marked effect on fungal conditions such as Athlete’s Foot or parasitic infestations like ringworm. Turmeric can help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, although frequent consumption can cause photosensitivity in some individuals. This is interesting, because it can occasionally be found as an ingredient in some sunscreens-go figure.

Because it can move blood so efficiently, Turmeric is also a great remedy for amenorrhea and other menstrual dysfunction associated with poor blood flow, or cramps that improve with warmth. Its circulatory effects on the uterus make it useful in the treatment of uterine masses, tumors, cysts and endometriosis, while its close cousin Curcuma zedoria has been undergoing studies for its success in treating certain cervical cancers. Using medicinal doses of Curcuma isn’t recommended during pregnancy, or when taking blood-thinning pharmaceuticals such as Cumadin.


Research done on
Curcuma longa more than thirty years ago confirmed the traditional uses of this slightly bitter, spicy and warm herbal remedy. It contains up to 5% volatile oils with compounds such as zingiberene, zingerone, cineole, borneol, curcumin, sabinene, phellandrene and turmerone. Studies conducted in 2002 showed some promise for the use of the compound ar-turmerone isolated from Curcuma longa for the treatment of leukemia, while clinical trials in 2005 were conducted by the National Institutes of Health to investigate the use of Turmeric for multiple myelomas, pancreatic and colorectal cancers as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

The volatile compounds in Turmeric are highly anti-oxidant, which is reason enough to research its effectiveness for the treatment of many cancers. It has been shown to be very immunosupportive, neutralizing harmful free radicals and has even proven to be more anti-oxidant than vitamin E. In 1995, studies site that Curcuma longa actually inhibits the replication of HIV-1, more research has shown it to be effective In Vitro against Staphylococcus and it is well known that Turmeric is also highly antibacterial. Because it regulates blood sugar so well, Herbalists also prescribe the remedy for the treatment of diabetes. As if that weren’t enough, Chinese clinical trials conducted in 1987 showed that
Curcuma longa lowers cholesterol; combined with its strength in circulating blood, that makes this a great choice for the treatment and prevention of heart disease.

As a flavorful addition to many traditional dishes, Turmeric not only enhances a recipe’s appeal to the taste buds, it also improves the digestibility of the meal. It can help improve the production of mucous in the stomach and reduce the problems associated with excess acid. It will soothe nausea and relieve abdominal pain and other symptoms of gastritis. The combination of Turmeric, cumin and coriander improves the digestion of complex carbohydrates and helps the body assimilate protein more efficiently. Dairy protein, especially milk, can be particularly difficult for children to absorb, but this problem can be alleviated with the addition of a small amount of Turmeric stirred in. It will also improve the digestibility of home-baked bread, when incorporated into the dough.


When it comes to purchasing Turmeric, a good health food store or your local herbalist will be able to provide you with a medicinal grade supplement in either pill or tincture form. For culinary use, buyer beware…find the best quality that you can –your herbalist can help you there too. Most herbs and spices available commercially today are irradiated, which compromises their medicinal benefits; there is even speculation that they may be harmful to your health. Inferior Turmeric powders can be acrid-tasting or worse: the spice can be mixed with rice powder to produce a cheaper product that brings more profit. Take into account that spices lose their flavor and volatile compounds with prolonged storage. After a year, much of the potency of powdered spices is diminished and after two years will be fairly useless. It is best to buy only small amounts at a time and replenish your stock yearly.


So, have fun experimenting with your food by incorporating this tasty and advantageous medicinal herb to your soups, stews, rice dishes, vegetables or potatoes. Cooking wholesome meals for you and your family that offer a variety of herbs and spices provide a spectrum of health benefits as well as the satisfaction of knowing exactly where your food is coming from. Sharing a home cooked meal around the dinner table with only the sounds of conversation and chewing to accompany the repast is a healthy tradition that many have lost…with any luck this will be one of the more happy outcomes of the collective belt-tightening we’re experiencing. From the ingredients we start with, to the herbs, spices and most importantly the LOVE we prepare it with, our food is our medicine.



Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG) is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a level II Reiki practitioner, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer in private practice for over a decade. She is available by appointment. HerbaLisl.com
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home Remedies


Readily Available Herbal Treatments For Common Ailments*

To understand Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is necessary to first understand the concept of Qi (chee). Qi is the vital energy in our bodies and in the world around us. There are different types of qi that are named according to where the qi is located; there is food qi, air qi and so on. The defensive (Wei) qi is similar to the immune system and resides between the skin and the muscles. The strength of the Wei qi is dependent upon the quality of the food and the air we take into our bodies, as well as our emotional health.

The lungs rule the surface of the body (the skin), including the opening and closing of the pores. If an external pathogenic influence (EPI) were to threaten the health of an individual, one might get a chill or feel cold before the onset of other symptoms. It is very important to treat an invasion at the earliest stage possible because an EPI can invade the body’s defenses quickly. Treatment of an invasion by an EPI is done through addressing the lungs and their relationship with the skin.
An EPI may be classified as either wind-heat or wind-cold. Wind-heat will present symptoms such as sore throat, headache, feeling feverish, slight sweating, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough, and the presence of yellowish phlegm. Wind–cold will be similar, but the person will feel colder, be achy and the phlegm will be white or clear.

To treat an invasion of either wind-heat or wind-cold a person would take a combination of pungent, diaphoretic (induces sweating) herbs that were either cooling or warming in nature. Some cooling herbs include peppermint; and the flowers of chrysanthemum, forsythia, honeysuckle and Echinacea can be detoxifying if there is a sore throat and a feeling of feverishness (even if there is no actual fever). Some warming herbs that induce sweating are jalapeno pepper and fresh ginger. These herbs are readily available and may even grow in your own yard; however, you must be sure that these plants have not been exposed to poisonous chemical sprays and that you have properly identified them.


Drinking a tea that has been strongly infused with these herbs, or taking pills or tinctures will help the defensive energy to push the EPI back out of the body. Releasing an invasion of wind can be difficult; you must take the herbs several times a day, stay covered and warm, and drink enough fluids to replace what is released through perspiration. To prevent the spread of these contagions, it is advisable to stay at home, resting peacefully.

A word of caution to those who are very young, elderly, or those who have a weak constitution: sweating can be very exhausting and depleting to the body and leaves the pores wide open and vulnerable to other diseases. It is inadvisable to attempt this course of treatment unless under the direct supervision of a qualified health care provider.


Common Conditions

Wind-Cold Invasion: Sometimes referred to as “the Common Cold”


Symptoms:
fever, absence of sweating, aversion to cold, chills, stiff neck, headache (usually occipital), body aches, lower back ache, shortness of breath, tight and floating pulse.

Remedy: “Sweat it Out!”

1 one-inch piece of fresh Ginger, grated or sliced
1 fresh Jalapeño pepper

2 Tbs. Cinnamon twigs

2 Tbs. dried Catmint


Decoct fresh Ginger, Jalapeño pepper & Cinnamon twig (if available) in 16oz. water for 20 minutes. Add dried Catmint herb and steep for 10 minutes, covered. Strain the decoction and drink as hot as possible. Cover up (especially the neck!) and sweat. Rest and rehydrating is absolutely necessary!


Stuffy Nose with Chills ~ White or Clear Mucus

Please note: if this condition is chronic, has been around a while, or the face is also flushed, chances are that this is a condition of Heat and this protocol may not be appropriate.

Remedy: “Blow That Schnozz!”
2 Tbs. dried Peppermint

1 one-inch piece of horseradish root, or 1 Tbs bottled horseradish (not “prepared” horseradish)

~ OR ~
1 Tbs. Wasabi


Infuse Peppermint in 8oz. boiling water and steep for 10 minutes, covered. Meanwhile slowly chew horseradish/Wasabi and inhale slowly through the nose. This may be intense. Follow with the hot Peppermint tea.


Maintenance:

Neti Pot: Using a neti pot once or twice daily helps to keep nasal passages clear and hydrated.
Nettles Tea: A cup or two daily acts as a natural anti-histamine and provides nutritional value.

Coughs:


Hard to Expectorate with White/Clear Mucous:
There will likely be an accompanying aversion to cold, and no fever. If this condition is chronic, has been around a while, there is a fever, or the face is also flushed, chances are that this is a condition of Heat and this protocol may not be appropriate.

Remedy: “Mustard Plaster ~ Hold the Mayo”

½ teaspoon Mustard powder

1 Tablespoon Flour
Warm Water

Combine flour and mustard powder and slowly add warm water until a paste is formed. Spread evenly on a piece of cotton flannel or clean cotton rag.
Spread olive oil over the patient’s chest, then put the patient to bed in a tight cotton t-shirt, and place folded flannel with mustard paste on chest. This will provide 2 layers of cotton between the plaster and the patient’s oiled skin to protect against burning. Skin sensitivity can vary, so check the skin frequently to make sure the mustard hasn’t caused burns. The skin will become red as blood is drawn to the area, providing increased circulation, warmth and promoting expectoration. Itchiness may be an indication that the plaster is too strong. Ratio of mustard to flour can be adjusted individually according to skin sensitivity. Usually left on anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours, if made mild enough, this plaster can be left on overnight.
The Stubborn & Unrelenting Keep-You-Up-All-Night Cough: Often a dry cough associated with colds and flu, or post-nasal drip, this is an annoying cough that keeps a patient from getting the much needed rest required for healing.
Remedy: “Steve’s Super Cough-Busting Syrup” Mince one onion and place in a shallow bowl Pour raw honey over the chopped onion to cover. (About 1 Cup of honey to 1 Cup minced onion). Allow to infuse for 8 hours Strain out the onion Take 1-2 teaspoons as needed for persistent coughs.

Fever:
A fever is the body’s way of raising temperature to encourage sweating or to create a hostile environment in order to rid itself of a pathogen. If a fever persists for more than a couple of days without overall improvement or if the fever exceeds 102°, then taking measures to reduce the fever are suggested.

Remedy #1: “Anti-pyretic Tea”

1 tsp. Yarrow

1 tsp. Elder flowers

1 tsp. Peppermint

1 tsp. Catmint

1 tsp. Feverfew

1 tsp. Lavender flowers

1tsp. Chamomile flowers


Combine all ingredients into a blend, and then infuse 1 tsp. of formula with 6 oz. boiling water for 15 minutes, covered. Drink infusion as hot as tolerable, cover up (especially the neck), rest and keep hydrated. The combination of cooling, anti-pyretic and diaphoretic herbs will help the patient sweat and reduce the fever; the nervines will help to calm the patient and allow them to rest.


Remedy #2: Auriculotherapy Point ~ Ear Apex
With a small blunt instrument, like a dull pencil, gently stimulate the fever-reducing point located at the top of the ear. To find the point, fold over the ear toward the face so that the back of the ear is revealed. Where the crease appears at the top of the ear is called the Ear Apex-the highest point on the ear. Once the point has been stimulated, a mustard seed affixed to a piece of band-aid can be placed at the site to keep the point stimulated. This usually reduces a fever within minutes.


Sore Throat:
This is a symptom of a pathogen, and it’s a good idea to treat the root as well as the symptoms. Cooling, detoxifying, and anti-viral/bacterial herbs are good choices to get to the heart of the problem.

Remedy #1: Sore Throat Gargle

1 cup warm water

1 Tbs. Sea Salt
½ tsp.
Goldenseal powder

15 drops Sage (true) essence. (I can only recommend Wisdom of the Earth Essential Essences)


Gargle with mouthfuls of this mixture as frequently as desired to bring quick relief to the pain and discomfort associated with sore throat.

Remedy #2: “Coolio Tea”
1 tsp. Echinacea root

½ tsp. Goldenseal root

1 tsp. Dandelion root

1 tsp. Pepper mint leaf

1 tsp. Sage leaf

1 tsp. Chrysanthemum flower

1 tsp. Honeysuckle flower buds

1 tsp. Catmint herb


Add 12 oz. water to the first three ingredients and place in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and squeeze out all liquid from herbs. Drink ½ Cup of this formula every 2-3 hours until symptoms are gone, from that point on, drink it 3 times daily for another three days to keep symptoms from returning.


Headache:
Headaches can have a number of causes, and without proper diagnosis, are frequently difficult to treat properly. If there are concurrent symptoms of “Wind-Cold,” sore throat, stomach flu, sinus trouble or fever, treat it accordingly. If the root cause cannot be determined, treating it only as a symptom is better than not at all.
Remedy #1: “Essential Headache Relief” Apply to temples, occiput and crown a total of 30-40 drops of the following essences: Rosemary, Holy Basil, Peppermint, Spearmint, Mugwort, Anise seed, Niaouli, Lavender, Pine, and/or Spruce (red). Use care with the mints, as their effervescence can be uncomfortable if not sandwiched between any of the others and if used in excess. (I can only recommend Wisdom of the Earth Essential Essences)
Remedy #2: Auriculotherapy Points ~ Ear Lobe Frequently massage the ear lobe, paying particular attention to the upper portion where the lobe meets the auricle. Applying essence to the area may be helpful as well. (I can only recommend Wisdom of the Earth Essential Essences)

Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG) is a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a level II Reiki practitioner, an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer in private practice for over a decade. She is available by appointment. HerbaLisl.com
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.