Saturday, June 27, 2020

Masks Are Not the Problem


The other day I was reading a rant on Facebook from someone complaining that people are extremely selfish for not wearing masks.  One of the responses to the post was from someone (I don't know) who replied "I saw someone the other day not wearing a mask, and I just wanted to go over and punch them."  Wow ... really?  People are actually tempted to resort to physical violence over something like wearing a mask?  What does that say about our society's moral core?

I belong to several holistic health Facebook groups, and those who voice their opposition to mask wearing do so because they believe that strengthening the immune system and promoting herd immunity the natural way (without vaccines) is the most effective way to eradicate this virus.  Many of these people have also read the report showing that coronaviruses can induce immune responses against one another, which aids natural herd immunity.  These individuals have also read the medical studies with regard to why masks don't work, several of which can be reviewed here. In essence, their views regarding mask wearing have nothing to do with being selfish at all. Rather, they have everything to do with their alternative views about healthcare in general.  Does this make them terrible people who should be punched?

The real problem here is not mask wearing; it's a heart problem.  There used to be a time when we listened to each other's viewpoints with open minds.  We also were intelligent enough to do our own research, so we could come to our own conclusions.  After doing that, if we still disagreed, we simply agreed to disagree.  We treated each other with respect and didn't feel the need to punch someone who had an opposing view on something.  Why have our hearts become so angry?  Why has our love for one another become so cold?

Finally, there's the issue of freedom.  There is something terrible going on in our country right now that is quickly eroding the freedoms set forth in our constitution.  We are being told what to do, what not to do, where to go, where to stand, and what to believe.  We no longer have the option to disagree or have our own opinion about anything.  Sound familiar?


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cod With Roasted Garden Vegetables


It's the best part of summer when  everything is flourishing in the garden. The summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes are aplenty!  There's nothing quite like plucking fresh veggies and herbs from the garden to cook up a healthy meal to enjoy with a glass of wine. 

I typically cook on the grill during the summer months. In addition to enhancing the flavor of  food, it also keeps the house cool on hot evenings. However, last evening, we had some storms roll through, so I opted to cook indoors.




Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. codfish fillets
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free panko
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium summer squash
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • your favorite fresh herbs, chopped
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Directions:
  1. Thinly slice zucchini and summer squash; arrange on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Slice onions into strips and arrange over squash slices.
  3. Arrange cherry tomatoes over vegetables.
  4. Drizzle all vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Roast in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes.
  6. While vegetables are roasting, melt butter; stir in panko.  Add chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I used rosemary and sage); sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir.
  7. Remove roasted veggies from the oven. Move the veggies from the center of the pan so they're closer to the edges. Arrange cod fillets in the center of the pan; top with panko mixture.
  8. Return pan to oven and bake for 20 minutes.  
Enjoy!




Thursday, May 28, 2020

Gardening is a Learning Experience

healthy plants from a previous year

When we moved here six years ago, one of our goals was to raise our own organic food. However, full disclosure here--gardening has always been a challenging learning experience for us.  The more we do it, the more we learn every year. This year is no exception. We have a small greenhouse and typically start our seeds in there a few weeks before there is no danger of frost.  However, this year, the sun was much stronger than usual, and because of this, the plants started to fry in the greenhouse. We decided to plant them in our raised beds a week early, as we didn't think they would survive in the greenhouse much longer. Although it had been unusually warm the week before, this proved to be a mistake. After planting all but the tomatoes, we had several nights of below freezing temperatures and lost many of the plants, despite covering them overnight. We had to start more plants from seed in the greenhouse to make up for the plants we lost.

The cold weather vegetables were direct-sown in the garden a few weeks ago.  These included carrots, onions, celery, beets, kale, spinach and broccoli.

On May 15, we continued planting all the plants that were in the greenhouse, including the tomatoes.  In addition to the tomatoes, we planted zucchini, crooked neck (summer) squash, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant. In a few beds, we are growing cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, and rhubarb. We also direct-sowed green beans, which are growing rapidly. Since we also lost all of our Waltham (winter) squash plants with the frost, we decided to direct sow more seeds in the garden in two of the raised beds. The plants are already sprouting up through the soil.



The plants taken from the greenhouse are happy now that they are in the raised beds. They have room to spread and are really growing quickly. Before the vine plants get any larger, trellises must be installed in each bed. We found some Panacea A-Frame Plant Supports in a pack of 10 on Amazon. They should work well in the raised beds.  
Last year was also a learning experience for us, as we decided to switch from a conventional garden to raised beds.  Our decision to do this was based on our experience with gardens from previous years. It taught us that clay soil is not the best environment for healthy organic plants.  When we began the process, we purchased some raised garden bed kits online.  We dug down, put some pea stone in the bottom of each bed, along with a layer of burlap for drainage and weed control.  We then added a mixture of organic soil and compost to the beds before planting.   The plants appeared healthy for a time but did not produce well.  We quickly figured out it was because the beds were simply not deep enough.  We have remedied the situation this planting season, doubling and in some cases, even tripling the depth of each bed.  

When completed, this long bed will be a pumpkin patch.

We are continuing to install a few more raised beds, which will be home to pumpkins and  corn. 

Although gardening can be challenging at times, there is nothing more gratifying than plucking an array of fresh veggies from the garden to enjoy with dinner.  And, with some canning, freezing and dehydrating, home grown vegetables and fruit can be enjoyed throughout the year.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Apparently We No Longer Have the Right to Be Healthy


It all started in 2007.  I was living in Massachusetts, when I received a call from our electric company.  They wanted to upgrade our electric meter and needed to do it when someone was at home.  "No problem" I told them when I made the appointment.  "I work at home anyway, so I'll be here."  That turned out to be the worst decision I have ever made in my life.

Not long after this, my blood pressure went through the roof, and I was having daily migraines.  My weight started climbing at first then began to rapidly decline.  My hair started falling out, and my skin began to turn yellow.  I went from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  I also hired a home environmental company to check for mold but they didn't find anything out of the ordinary.

Soon every joint in my body began to ache, and the veins in my legs were so swollen and painful  I could hardly walk some days.  I felt like I was slowly being poisoned. I had also lost 30 pounds. At that point, I consulted with a rheumatologist. She ran all kinds of tests but nothing significant showed up in my blood work.  However, what she said to me was the turning point in finding a diagnosis. She explained that one of her other patients had similar symptoms as me.  This patient was eventually diagnosed with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).  My rheumatologist admitted she herself didn't know much about the disorder but felt I should consult with someone who was experienced  in treating EHS. I quickly found out that was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

I began to research EHS and bought a book on the subject. While reading the book, I began making changes to our home environment.   We got rid of our wireless router.  I stopped using my iPhone altogether., although we had cell phone antennas on the towers behind our house.  From the hours between seven and nine in the morning and also from three to six in the afternoon/evening, traffic flowed through our street. I could actually feel people's cell phones pinging the antennas behind our house. Each time, I had incredible nerve pain pulsating throughout my body.

We made every change suggested in the book I had purchased, including getting rid of our cable television boxes  and replacing our mattress with one that did not contain metal coils. Still, I wasn't getting any better.  I then read a section in the book about smart meters and soon realized that was what had been installed on our home back in 2007.

In 2013, our dog became very sick, as well.  His health began to deteriorate, and  right before Christmas, he fell down a flight of stairs.  We took him to the vet and it was then that we found out he had cancer.  He was suffering terribly, and two days after Christmas, we said goodbye to him.  My heart was broken.

Over the next several months, my health began to rapidly deteriorate.  I remember getting out of bed, walking down the stairs and lying on our sectional sofa in the living room.  I would remain there most of the day.  My eyes were bloodshot and burning, my tongue was burning, and my skin felt like I had a terrible sunburn. I also developed Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition. The joints and veins in my legs were severely swollen.  I could barely walk, and my life felt like a living hell.

I was finally able to find a functional medical doctor who was knowledgeable about EHS.  I marginally improved with the supplements he prescribed, but it became clear that  my home environment, specifically the smart meter and the the cell phone antennas behind our home, was greatly contributing to my illness.

In June of 2014, my husband left his well-paying state job as a civil engineer, taking an early retirement with a very modest pension.  We sold our home in Massachusetts and moved to the radio free quiet zone in West Virginia. When we had researched the area, we were told there would never be any cell phone towers here because of the NSA base.  We purchased just under twenty acres of land in the small, unincorporated town of Sugar Grove.  We began raising our own organic vegetables and chickens. I was able to resume my studies in holistic nutrition and herbalism, which I began while we were still living in Massachusetts.  It has been a long road, but my health has improved over time.  I am finally able to tolerate going into stores and restaurants again.  In 2017, our savings finally ran out, and we were unable to survive on my husband's small pension.  Thank God he was able to find a decent job in his field.  Over time, we have been  able to find a new normal living in rural West Virginia

A few days ago, we were on our way to Home Depot to purchase some supplies. We drove by a construction site about four miles from our home where, we thought, they were building a new house.  What I saw made me gasp!  It appeared they are constructing a cell phone tower.  How could this be?  This is the radio free quiet zone! We continued on Sugar Grove Road, then decided to turn around and go back to the construction site. I opened my window and asked a construction worker what it was they were building. At first he said it was an FBI tower, then immediately changed his story and said it was an EMS radio tower.

I have researched the matter online and found the information below. A tower application was granted in July 2019. I contacted the registrant via e-mail to inquire about the type of antennas that will be installed on the tower. I have not heard back from him.










  • Tower Characteristics
    Registration #:1311116
    Latitude:38.4812
    Longitude:-79.3320
    Structure Type:NA
    Status:Granted
    Date Constructed:NA
    Ground Elev:1979.8 feet
    Height Of Structure:187.0 feet
    Overall Height:2172.0 feet
    Structure Address:Sugar Grove Road
    Sugar Grove, WV

  • History
    PurposeStatusDateAddnl Info
    AmendmentGranted07/09/2019
    ---



  • Apparently, in compliance with FCC Guidelines, a notice was published in our local paper However, like most legal notices, it was buried in the classified section (next to the yard sales and reunions.)  Since I didn't think this would ever be a problem living in the radio quiet zone, I admit I didn't really pay attention to the classified section when I read the newspaper. 

    I must say I find it highly suspicious that a cell phone tower is being quietly constructed in a rural area (and, yes, even in the radio quiet zone) with a predominantly elderly population during a pandemic.  Could it be this tower will be bringing the dreaded 5G to our community?  Most likely.



    Perhaps you're not familiar with the hazardous health effects of 5G.  According to a new study published on sciencemag.org, the above chart illustrates some of the health effects associated with 5G technology. According to the study, "A broad range of adverse human health effects associated with RFR have been reported since the IARC review. In addition, three large-scale carcinogenicity studies in rodents exposed to levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) that mimic lifetime human exposures have shown significantly increased rates of Schwannomas and malignant gliomas, as well as chromosomal DNA damage. Of particular concern are the effects of RFR exposure on the developing brain in children. Compared with an adult male, a cell phone held against the head of a child exposes deeper brain structures to greater radiation doses per unit volume, and the young, thin skull's bone marrow absorbs a roughly 10-fold higher local dose."

    If that study is not enough to convince you of the dangers of radiation and 5G, note that in 2018, more than 200 scientists and doctors cited the large body of scientific evidence of harm when they submitted the 5G Appeal to the United Nations, calling for a moratorium on 5G. In the Appeal, these experts wrote that radio-frequency electromagnetic fields have not only been “proven to be harmful for humans and the environment” but that “damage goes well beyond the human race,” with “growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals.” In discussing the “serious hazard to public health” that 5G infrastructure on- and off-planet represents, the Appeal’s authors argued that “Inaction is a cost to society and is not an option anymore.”   For more information regarding the 5G Appeal, visit https://www.5gappeal.eu/the-5g-appeal/.


    Back home here in WV, it is clear to me that we no longer have the right to be healthy.   Who authorized the installation of this tower without the consent of the residents of Sugar Grove?

    I contacted one of our state representatives twice regarding the newly constructed tower without any response.  This lack of response tells me that our lawmakers think up-to-date technology, even in low-populated, rural areas that are predominately elderly (many of whom don't even own cell phones, computers or tablets) is far more important than being healthy.  Like our neighbors, we will be voting on June 9.






    Wednesday, April 22, 2020

    COVID-19 Information You Won't See on the News


    Based on a report published on sciencemag.org, it appears that coronaviruses can induce immune responses against one another. For example, the two coronaviruses that produce the common cold may generate cross-reactive antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, as they do with SARS-CoV-1 . This may explain why some people get the virus but symptoms are mild or they are asymptomatic.

    Two newly published studies, one from Stanford University , the other from USC, seem to support the above theory.  Both suggest that COVID-19 is more widespread than previously thought in the state of California. The Stanford University study revealed that between 2.5 percent and 4.2 percent of Santa Clara County residents were infected with the virus as of early April.  This is much higher than previously thought. Also, a higher infection rate naturally decreases the estimated death percentage rate from 1 percent 0.2 percent  Likewise, according to the USC study "USC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) today released preliminary results from a collaborative scientific study that suggests infections from the new coronavirus are far more widespread – and the fatality rate much lower — in L.A. County than previously thought."

    Based on the above information, this is what I believe our country needs to be doing right now to end this COVID-19 madness:

    1.  Those with active COVID-19 should quarantine themselves for two weeks.  If they remain symptom-free and have no underlying health issues, they should go out and about.

    2.  The elderly and those with compromised immune systems continue to quarantine during this outbreak.  This is just common sense.

    3. Quercetin and Zinc should be provided for everyone to take daily during this outbreak. , This is especially important for the elderly and immunocompromised.

    Why zinc?  Many studies have shown zinc prevents viral replication in the human body.  Increased intracellular zinc concentrations inhibit RNA-dependent RNA polymerases and other proteins essential for the completion of different phases of the virus life cycle.

    Many people are deficient in zinc, especially the elderly, so supplementation makes sense.

    Why Quercetin?  Zinc requires ionophores to penetrate the cell wall, delivering it inside each cell. Quercetin is a zinc ionophore. It is a plant flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables. Similar to the drug hydroxychloroquine, which is also a zinc ionophore, it has the same mechanism of action. It allows zinc to pass through the cell wall and into the cell, where it can halt viral replication.  Quercetin can be purchased in supplement form. (Quercetin glycoside is the most bioavailable form.)

    More information on this subject can be found here.

    4.  Governors need to continue reopening their states. Again, only those that have active COVID-19, as well as the elderly and immunocompromised should continue to quarantine themselves. We need to build up herd immunity the natural way that God had intended.

    Friday, April 3, 2020

    Consuming Foods Rich in Quercetin and Zinc Helps Prevent Viral Infections



    Although mitigation may help stop the spread of COVID-19, finding treatment for the virus is essential in minimizing the number of deaths from the virus. Drugs currently under investigation in the treatment of COVID-19 are hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. In fact, the FDA has recently given emergency approval for both drugs to be distributed to hospitals across the country to treat COVID-19.

    Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are quinoline medications used to treat or prevent malaria. They are also used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

    According to  one published study, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4182877chloroquine acts as a zinc ionophore. Simply put, this means is it able to transport zinc ions across the lipid membrane into cells, so it can stop viral replication. This is likely why it can be effective in treating COVID-19.

    Both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are not without side effects.  According to Drugs.com, in addition to a long list of side effects, they can cause cardiomyopathy, which can result in fatal cardiac failure and biventricular hypertrophy. This should be a major concern, especially in the elderly.

    Quercetin:  A Natural Zinc Ionophore 

    Quercetin, a plant flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, also acts as a zinc ionophore.  It has the same mechanism of action as the experimental COVID-19 drugs, allowing zinc pass through the cell wall and into the cell, where it can halt viral replication.

    Since the experimental drugs currently being used to treat COVID-19 have major side effects and also seem to be in short supply, it certainly makes sense to consider Quercetin as a viable alternative.

    It is my belief, whenever possible, it is best to obtain nutrients from food rather than supplementation. Foods that commonly contain quercetin include onions, apples, grapes, berries, broccoli, citrus fruits, cherries, and  leafy vegetables.  However, Quercetin can be purchased in supplement form.  According to one published nutritional study, Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity, quercetin glycoside is the most bioavailable form.

    Please check with your healthcare practitioner before taking any quercetin supplement.

     Zinc Inhibits Viral Replication

    Zinc is essential for multiple aspects of the immune system, including the normal development, differentiation, and function of cells belonging to both innate and acquired immunity. Consumed along with a diet rich in quercetin, it can inhibit viral replication.

    Zinc deficiency can be caused by inadequate intake or poor gastrointestinal absorption due to impaired gut health.  Imbalance of zinc causes disease and promotes disease progression. Numerous studies have shown that zinc deficiency impairs immune function.  It is a common observation in the elderly, which is likely why contracting COVID-19 is so dangerous for the elderly.

    I have heard several news reports stating one of the symptoms of Coronavirus or Covid-19 is decreased sense of smell and taste. My nutritional studies have taught me a decrease in both senses is often a sign of zinc deficiency. 

    As with any nutrient, it's best to get zinc directly from food.  Good sources of zinc include beef. chicken, pork, flounder, sole, crab, oysters, baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, oatmeal, cashews, almonds, peas, to name a few.

    Zinc can be purchased in supplement form.  A word of caution: taking too much zinc can cause depletion of copper in the body. This can be dangerous, as copper is necessary for red blood cell formation, as well as for maintaining healthy bones, blood vessels, and nerves.

    Always check with your healthcare provider before supplementing with zinc.

    If your diet is rich in zinc, and you are taking a multivitamin and mineral tablet daily, avoid zinc supplementation unless prescribed by your doctor.

    Keep in mind that without an adequate intake of zinc, taking chloroquine, or a quercetin supplement is an ineffective treatment for COVID-19.

    The Bottom Line:  Quercetin, a zinc ionophore. assists zinc in halting viral replication.  Eating healthy foods rich in quercetin and zinc helps prevent viral infections.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    What I am doing to stay healthy right now:


    This is a difficult time for everyone. Many are concerned about getting sick with the coronavirus. I've had a few people on social media ask me what they can do  to strengthen their immune system and lessen their chances of developing COVID-19.  So, in today's post, I thought I'd share what I am doing to stay healthy and calm right now.

    1.  I  get plenty of rest.  According to physicians at Mayo Clinic, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep. So, the body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases.  For me,  I feel best when I get a full eight hours of sleep..

    2.  I eat healthy, nutrient dense foods.  These include leafy greens, such as spinach, and kale, which are packed with fiber and vitamins K and A.  Fruits, such as strawberries and blueberries, contain loads of vitamins A, C and potassium.  Fruits and vegetables are also good sources of the flavonoid quercetin, which transports zinc into cells to halt viral replication. (I will post more about this at a later date.) Onions and apples are also good sources of quercetin.


    Regarding protein-rich foods, I eat organic eggs (from our farm), organic chicken and fish.  I also enjoy organic, grass fed beef.   Eggs, chicken and beef are also good sources of zinc.

    Although it's our nature to crave carbs and sugar during stressful times, I know that filling up on these daily and not eating enough nutrient dense foods will not keep me healthy. However, I do like to snack on something crunchy, so I keep bags of Kale and Beet Chips in the pantry.  These satisfy my snack cravings while providing great nutrients.  (I can't wait to make my own once the gardens are in full swing.)


    3.  I get plenty of exercise.  I think this really helps with stress, which can weaken the immune system.   I have put together a circuit training routine incorporating hand weights and cardio, using an elliptical exerciser. I do this 3-4 times a week.  I also have several Namaste yoga DVD's, which I really enjoy using at least 4 times a week. (They air  Namaste Yoga several times in the morning on Fit TV.)  Yoga really helps me stay calm and relaxed.



    4.  I  optimize my Vitamin D levels.  According to the NIH, Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. I prefer to get Vitamin D from the sun.  Weather permitting, I enjoy working out in the greenhouse and gardens, as well as going on walks with my husband and our dog. This provides additional exercise, and 20 minutes outside on a sunny day helps to optimize Vitamin D levels.  Being outdoors in the sunshine and fresh country air just feels great!

    5  I take a few key supplements to help strengthen my immune system and protect against viral infections.  These include Sambucus Gummies with Vitamin C and ZincMullein,  and Licorice Root.  You can find more information about Sambucus and Mullein here.  I will be posting about Licorice Root, another great antiviral, in the near future.

    Probiotics are also essential for a strong immune system,   Rather than taking a probiotic capsule, I get mine by drinking kombucha tea. In addition to  providing natural probiotics, kombucha tea also aids in natural detoxification.  It works by teeming with enzymes and bacterial acids. Gluconic acid, which is found in kombucha, bind to toxins to help expel them from the body.

    (Always remember to check with your healthcare practitioner before taking any herbal supplement or natural product.)

    6.  Last, but most importantly, I spend time in daily Bible reading and prayer.  I really believe God is bigger than any adversity we can face here on earth. Looking back on my own life, I know I don't have to worry at all because He has always had my back.  I also understand He often uses adversity for my good.  According to James 1:2-4," Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  I also believe when I pray, He  listens and answers.  John 14:14 assures me of this:  "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." 




    Despite everything that is going on in the world right now, I feel at peace. This is because I absolutely believe what Romans 10:9-10 says: "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."  I know when my time has come, I am ready.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2020

    Antiviral Tea


    Ingredients (per cup of water):

    • 5-6 fresh whole mullein leaves, medium-sized, per cup of water
    • 1 chamomile tea bag per cup 
    • 1-2 tsp. organic raw honey per cup of water
    Directions:

    I make this in a big stock pot and store it in mason jars in the refrigerator. 

    Mullein combines well with chamomile.  Since chamomile is not currently in season, I am using chamomile tea bags.
    1. Wash mullein leaves and add to a large pot.  Cover with water.
    2. Bring to a boil, turn the burner to low and let it simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Turn off the burner and let it cool a bit.  
    3. Important:  Always strain the mullein tea mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.  There are small hairs on the leaves that can irritate the throat, so straining is essential.
    4. Pour into mason jars and store in the refrigerator up to one week.
    5. Heat one cup per time then add one chamomile tea bag.  Allow to steep, add honey and stir before drinking. If you like a sweet tea, add more honey or stevia.

    Dosage:  My personal experience is 1 cup 3-4 a day for at least three days will definitely stop most viruses in their tracks.

    Ingredient Breakdown:

    Mullein

    Common mullein, or Verbascum thapsus, pictured left, should look familiar to you. It is a medicinal plant readily found in roadsides, meadows and pasture lands. It is in season in much of the U.S right now, due to the warmer winter we've had.  However, right now, it is growing low to the ground without the flowering head.  It will look more like the second picture below. Its growth is widespread here right now, which is a good thing, given the Coronavirus outbreak. I harvested some myself yesterday.  I am careful to discard any brown leaves, as these are ineffective.

    Note:  1st year plants that are not flowering are most potent.

    Mullein contains various chemical constituents like saponins, iridoid and phenylethanoid glycosides, flavonoids, vitamin C and minerals.

    A number of pharmacological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral activity have been associated with the mullein plant. With regard its antiviral activity, one test-tube study suggests that mullein extract is particularly effective against the influenza virus. It has been used to treat pulmonary problems, bronchitis, and spasmodic coughs, all symptoms which often accompany respiratory viruses.

    Chamomile

    Chamomile is one of the oldest, most widely used and well documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of healing applications. is a flowering plant in the daisy (Asteraceae) family. Native to Europe and Western Asia, it's now found around the world. German chamomile is considered the more potent variety and the type most widely used for medicinal purposes. This is the type we grow on our farm.

    Chamomile contains more than 120 chemical constituents, many of which are pharmacologically active.  They include, among many others, chamazulene,  an anti-inflammatory, and bisabolol an anti-microbial and apigenin, a phytonutrient that acts as a strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral. 

    Honey

    The phytonutrients in honey are responsible for its antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial antiviral and antifungal power. They’re also thought to be the reason raw honey has shown immune-boosting benefits.It also works as a cough suppressant. 

    You can also buy bulk mullein tea on Amazon, if you don't want to harvest it yourself.  Use one teaspoon per cup of water.

    Of course, always check with your healthcare practitioner. before using any herbal supplement.  


    Friday, March 6, 2020

    DIY Natural Hand Sanitizer & Disinfectant Cleaner


    I heard on the news yesterday that stores are running out of hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaners, due to people panicking over the spread of the coronavirus.  Upon hearing this, I remember thinking that I wouldn't use either product, due to the harsh chemicals they contain.  Instead, I prefer more natural options, both of which I decided to share on the blog today.  Both products can be easily made at home, and the items can be purchased online. Although there is an initial investment in the oils, a little goes a long way.  So, in the long run, you'll save money making your own products.

    Chemical-Free Disinfectant Spray Cleaner

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    Combine all ingredients in a large measuring cup and pour into an empty spray bottle.  Spray bottles be purchased inexpensively through Amazon and can be reused.  You can also use any empty spray bottle you may have on hand.  However, be sure to wash it out thoroughly before using.

    The powerful combination of essential oils makes this an effective cleaner to kill viruses as well as any of the commercially prepared products without all the harsh chemicals. Oregano oil contains carvacrol and thymol, both of which are antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties.  Tea tree oil contains a number of compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that have been shown to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi  Research suggests that both lavender oil and lemon verbena oil can also kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

    Note:  You can substitute 70% rubbing alcohol for the water, although it really isn't necessary, as this is a potent antiviral/antibacterial combination.

    Chemical-Free Hand Sanitizer

    Ingredients:


    Directions:

    Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and pour into a 2-ounce amber glass spray bottle.

    I highly recommend using organic ingredients when making any product that will be used on your body. 

    Note:  I realize the CDC is recommending hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.  Although it really isn't necessary, as this is a potent antiviral combination, you can always add it to this mixture.

    Both lavender and lemon verbena are calming scents, which we all could use right now. So, breathe deeply, always remember God is in control and carry on!


    \

    Friday, February 28, 2020

    Spinach Frittata Made Healthier With Culinary Herbs


    I enjoy cooking with culinary herbs. They really enhance the flavor of foods.  As a holistic nutritionist, I also know the medicinal benefits of spices.  There are so many good ones, but today I would like to focus on two of my favorites, oregano and garlic.

    Oregano

    Oregano, or Origanum vulgare, is a popular herb whose name means "mountain joy" It is a small, perennial shrub with multi-branched stems covered with small oval leaves and tiny white flowers.

    Oregano has amazing health benefits!  It contains rosmarinic acid and thymol. Both of these act as powerful antioxidants that have been closely linked to reducing oxidative stress in the body, thus boosting immunity.  Oregano has clear antibacterial properties, due to the presence of carvacrol, as well as the aforementioned  thymol.  Both compounds  can help defend the body against a wide range of bacteria. In the herbal world, it is considered a broad spectrum herbal antibiotic. Oregano is also loaded with fiber, a half-gram per teaspoon, so despite its small size, it can have a major impact on your digestive system health. Additionally, Oregano is a natural form of omega-3 fatty acids, the beneficial type of cholesterol that improves your heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids also help to rebalance cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation, thereby helping to reduce the chance of heart attack and stroke. Oregano also contains flavonoids and phenolic acids that help to alleviate inflammation-related diseases.

    Garlic

    Garlic, or  Allium sativum, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. It is closely related  e the onion, shallot, leek, and chive.  Garlic is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran and has long been a common seasoning worldwide.

    Garlic grows from individual cloves broken off from a whole bulb. Each clove will multiply in the ground, forming a new bulb that consists of 5-10 cloves. 

    Garlic has many health benefits.  It been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure, thus protecting the heart. Significant evidence suggests that garlic's phytochemical content can play a role in the prevention of cancer and the slowing of its progression. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in plants that protect cells from damage that lead to cancer. Additionally, crushed garlic contains allicin, which has antimicrobial and antibiotic properties that help stop the growth of unwanted organisms, such as bacteria and fungi. 

    The aromatic flavor of oregano and the pungent taste of garlic are a delicious combination  in Mediterranean cuisine This is one of my favorite recipes incorporating both.  It's the perfect healthy start to a great day!

    Spinach Frittata

    Ingredients
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup spinach
    • 1/2 tsp. chopped oregano
    • 1-2 garlic cloves
    • 1/4 cup chopped onions
    • olive oil
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F. 
    2. Crush garlic with the side of a knife and let it rest for ten minutes, then mince. 
    3. Coarsely chop spinach and set aside. 
    4. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of a 9-inch cast iron skillet; add chopped onion and cook until translucent.
    5. Add garlic to skillet and continue cooking on low for 1 minute, then turn off burner.
    6. Whisk eggs in a small bowl and pour into skillet.
    7. Sprinkle the spinach, oregano. and feta cheese over the top.  
    8. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15-18 minutes until top is slightly browned.

    Makes two servings.

    Enjoy!







    Thursday, February 20, 2020

    The Best Herbs to Treat Flu and Other Viruses



    Those that know me know that I am not an advocate of the flu shot. However,  the purpose of this blog post is not to discuss that subject.  Instead, I would rather focus on the benefits of two of the best antiviral herbs, sambucus and mullein and their effectiveness in treating and possibly preventing the flu, as well as many other viruses.

    Sambucus

    Sambucus nigra, otherwise know as black elderberry,  has been shown to be one of the best defenses against influenza.  It is a small, antioxidant-rich fruit common to Europe and North America that is still commonly consumed as a jam or wine..

    A recent study by a group of Chemical and Biomlolecular Engineering researchers from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Engineering and IT has determined that  elderberry fruit can help the fight against influenza.  Compounds from elderberries can directly inhibit the virus's entry and replication in human cells, and can help strengthen a person's immune response to the virus. "What our study has shown is that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus," said Dr Golnoosh Torabian, one of the researchers involved in the study.

    When taken with Vitamin C and zinc, Sambucus is quite effective in reducing symptoms of the flu.  This combination will help strengthen the immune system.  Nature's Way Gummies contain Sambucus,  Vitamin C and zinc.  They have a pleasant taste suitable for children.

    Mullein

    Common mullein, or Verbascum thapsus, pictured left, should look familiar to you. It is a medicinal plant readily found in roadsides, meadows and pasture lands.

    Mullein contains various chemical constituents like saponins, iridoid and phenylethanoid glycosides, flavonoids, vitamin C and minerals.

    A number of pharmacological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral activity have been associated with the mullein plant. With regard its antiviral activity, one test-tube study suggests that mullein extract is particularly effective against the influenza virus. It has been used to treat pulmonary problems, inflammatory diseases, asthma, and spasmodic coughs, all symptoms which often accompany the flu.

    I often harvest plants from our property for medicinal purposes. I use the leaves to make a tea to treat respiratory infections.  I also make a tincture from the leaves.  To make an ear oil to treat infections, I  combine the flowers with garlic and olive oil.  As a master herbalist, I enjoy these activities. However, for those that may not, mullein is readily available in tea, tincture and capsule form.

    Both sambucus and mullein are great to have on hand during cold and flu season. They can be purchased online by clicking the corresponding links.

    Of course, always check with your healthcare practitioner. before taking any herbal supplement.

    Friday, February 14, 2020

    Natural Options for IBS-C


    IBS-C can really affect the quality of life of those who suffer from it.  The symptoms of IBS-C include abdominal pain and discomfort, along with changes in bowel function. Bloating and/or gas may also be present. Changes in bowel function may include straining, infrequent stools, hard or lumpy stools, and/or a feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.

    Over time, the chronic constipation associated with IBS-C can cause diverticulosis, which can worsen constipation. Unfortunately, oftentimes the medications prescribed for chronic constipation either don't work well or have bothersome side effects. However, there are several natural options to treat the constipation associated with these conditions that are very effective. 

    1.  Dandelion Root - Dandelion Root works by stimulating the liver to produce bile, which helps to soften the stool for easier passage. Dandelion root can be purchased in capsule (powder) form.  Nature's Way makes a great product, which can be purchased on Amazon. It  is recommended in daily dosages of 1-4 GM and is most beneficial taken in divided doses during the day and at bedtime. However, it is not recommended for those with gallstones.



    2.  Digestic - Digestic is a non-laxative, organic, herbal blend of Papaya, Wormwood, Fennel, Cardamom, and Aloe.  It is available  in capsule form.  Although it is a bit on the pricey side, it  is extremely effective for relieving chronic  constipation associated with IBS-C and diverticulosis. Dosage is  2 and up to 6 capsules daily, depending on the severity of symptoms.

    3.  Senna Combination - I discovered this combination of herbs in one of my herbal textbooks.  It consists of senna leaves, fennel seed, ginger rhizome and catnip leaves.  While senna can cause cramping or gripping, the catnip in this formula helps to lessen this.  When taken at bedtime, the catnip also helps promote a restful sleep.  The only company I know of that produces this herbal combination is Caring Sunshine.  It is available in capsule form and is fantastic for relieving constipation.

    4.  Kombucha Tea - I prefer to get probiotics from food or drinks, rather than from capsules, and I am a proponent of kombucha tea.  However,  some just don't taste good.  However, one that does is Synergy Enlightened Gingerberry Kombucha Tea, which is delicious mixed with Welch's Rose sparkling grape juice. In addition to  providing natural probiotics, which help prevent constipation, kombucha tea also aids in natural detoxification.  It works by teeming with enzymes and bacterial acids. Gluconic acid, which is found in kombucha, as well as in fruits and vegetables, may bind to toxins to help expel them from the body.

    5.  Organic Psyllium Husk - This is really good stool softener.  It works by increasing the bulk in your stool, an effect that helps to cause movement of the intestines. It also works by increasing the amount of water in the stool, making the stool softer and easier to pass. However, one word of caution--don't use too much (a little goes a long way) and drink plenty of water while taking this.  NOW Organic Psyllium Husk is a good brand.

    Always remember to check with your healthcare practitioner before taking any herbal supplement or natural product.