Posts Tagged ‘Natural Remedies’

Kathleen Wildwood ~ Long Herbal Infusions: Why Drink Nourishing Long Herbal Infusions?

This is a timely post from the lovely Kathleen Wildwood of The Wildwood Institute. David and I had the pleasure of attending many of her herb walks, classes and two wild edibles dinners hosted by Kathleen when we lived in Madison. I was just thinking about making a nettle infusion when her email came through offering permission to post her new article.

Long Herbal Infusions

Why Drink Nourishing Long Herbal Infusions? 

By Kathleen R. Wildwood, © 2015

          During the winter, people ask me what they can do to make up for the generous consumption of sweets, beer and other comfort foods and drinks that people use to keep up their spirits in the dark of the year. Though you cannot make up for the impact of these foods on your metabolism, you can drink nourishing long herbal infusions to help replace the nutrients lost, reduce cravings for less healthy beverages and foods, and help heal all kinds of health issues all the year round.

          Nourishing long herbal infusions provide large quantities of calcium and other minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and proteins in their most natural form.They also contain anti-cancer phytochemicals and antioxidants, as well as unique combinations of specific nutrients for building healthy bones, supporting the immune system, calming the nerves, stabilizing blood sugar, improving digestion and more, depending on the herb(s) you choose. They are much more effective than nutritional supplements due to their superior absorbability. They are also safer and significantly less expensive!

          I have seen nourishing long herbal infusions, taken over time, heal the following health problems: osteoporosis, anxiety, adrenal burnout, eczema, diabetes, sinus problems, severe allergies, hormonal difficulties, infertility, joint pain, high blood pressure, and more. Please note that there are other herbal preparations that can be used to heal some of these conditions and that the choice of herb matters. However, all nourishing long infusions will provide large amounts of nutrition that cannot be obtained from teas or tinctures.

Working with people as a practitioner over the last several decades, I have noticed that there is no single other food or beverage which can have such a powerful impact on improving health in everyday life, no matter what your health issues are. Drinking long herbal infusions helps people to have more energy and resilience during stressful times. People sleep better because they have enough nutrients to soothe and support their nervous system. Many a time I’ve had a client or student tell me that when they begin to drink nourishing long herbal infusions on a regular basis, their cravings for unhealthy beverages such as soda are reduced or eliminated. I have found that this approach of adding nutrition first, rather than cutting out all the “bad” foods, accomplishes the goal of greater health without as much trauma and struggle. Often, the craving for “bad” foods (usually stimulants and sedatives) occurs because the body is desperate to function without the nutrition it needs. Give it the nutrition, it doesn’t need the stimulants/sedatives as much.

          Why a long infusion, as opposed to a tea? Because you can get certain nutrients out of a dried plant only after soaking it in hot water for a long time. Scientific studies have shown that it takes at least four hours for a significant amount of minerals to extract into the water, and longer (up to eight hours) for roots, which are tougher and take longer to release their medicinal constituents into the water. If you make a cup of nettle tea (1-2 teaspoons steeped in hot water for ten minutes), you would get about 5-10 mg of calcium, but if you make a cup of nettle long infusion (1 oz. steeped in 1 quart hot water for a minimum of four hours), you will get over 200 mg of calcium per cup. And not just the calcium, but all the nutritional co-factors necessary to effectively assimilate calcium, because calcium by itself is not well utilized by the body.

          Not all herbs lend themselves to a useful preparation as a long infusion. A long brew makes some herbs unpalatable. This is nature’s way of saying you don’t need that much of those strong medicinal constituents, and that this preparation may even be harmful. As a young herbalist (if I had dared to call myself that in those days), I remember hearing about long infusions and thinking, yes, this is the way to go! So I made myself some St. John’s Wort long infusion. Can some of you guess what happened? I nearly gagged on the resulting brew – the word “vile” comes to mind! That is because St. John’s Wort contains a larger number of medicinal constituents that are stimulating/sedating, and a smaller number that are primarily nourishing – just the opposite of what we want in a long infusion.

          Although this particular herb is too strong (stimulating/sedating) to prepare as a long infusion, it does work quite well as a tincture. Herbs that are aromatic, intensely bitter or otherwise strongly stimulating/sedating are better as teas, tinctures or other preparations. Examples of herbs that are safe as teas but that could be harmful or even toxic as a long infusion are chamomile and black tea.

          Herbs that do make effective long infusions have the following properties: One, their medicinal constituents (phytochemicals) are primarily nutritive rather than stimulating/sedating. This is what gives nourishing long infusions their characteristic tastes: bland, sweet or earthy. Two, their medicinal constituents are best extracted into water (rather than alcohol, for example). There are many herbs to choose from, depending on your needs – see the list below. Each long infusion herb has its own medicinal properties, actions and uses in addition to its nutrition – choose one or more based on your health needs and your sense of taste.

          Nourishing long herbal infusions can be enjoyed on a one-time basis to provide nutrition, thereby improving your energy and performance for the day. They can also be used on a regular basis as part of a healthy diet. Some people like to rotate them for variety, while others stick with one herb over a length of time as a tonic to help treat a particular health condition (2 cups daily for a minimum of two months). It’s fine to add honey, milk or a pinch of cinnamon, and you can drink them warm, iced or room temperature – listen to your body’s preferences.

          Long infusions are easy to make (instructions included below), and one pound is enough for one month’s supply of two cups of infusion daily. Though they need to steep for a length of time, they don’t take any longer to actually make than a regular cup of tea. You may be surprised to discover that some family members take to long infusions happily and naturally, with their improved mood and resilience of benefit to everyone. One of my apprentices has a fifteen year old son who likes his oatstraw infusion so much he makes it for himself on a regular basis. I use long herbal infusions as my daily beverage, and when I don’t drink them, I can tell how much they help by what I am missing: energy, stamina, and steady nerves. Get your year off to a nourishing start by using the instructions below to make long herbal infusions for yourself!

 

Long Infusion Herbs and a few of their uses

Oatstraw strong and steady nerves, stable blood sugar, osteoporosis, eczema

Nettle – energy, adrenal restorative, hormonal normalizer, immune, lungs, osteoporosis, vein and circulatory tonic, digestion

Comfrey – strengthens and heals bones, tendons and ligaments, repairs inflamed tissues in the digestive system and skin, memory

Mullein – lungs, coughs, congestion, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic

Red Clover – nerves, lungs, lymph, fertility, hot flashes

 

 

How to Make a Long Herbal Infusion

1.    Take one ounce of chosen dried herb (Your best guesstimate is ok if you don’t have a scale.) Rough guide: 1/8 to ¼ of a jar. Less for finely ground herbs, less for heavier herbs like roots, more for fluffy herbs that take up a lot of room.

2.    Place in a canning jar. Use a one quart jar for leaves (such as comfrey), or hardy flowers (such as red clover), one pint jar for roots, barks, or berries (such as burdock root or rose hips).

3.    Cover completely with boiling water, stir with chopstick or knife and add more water until full.

4.    Place lid on, and let sit four to eight hours for leaves or hardy flowers (such as red clover), eight hours for roots. Many people make their infusions in the evening and then strain them in the morning.

5.     When done brewing, strain and refrigerate. Infusion will keep for 48 hours in the refrigerator. (After that, the proteins start to break down and the brew will taste off.)

6.    Infusions may be reheated (preferably do not boil, but still OK to drink if it does boil), iced, sweetened, milk added, etc. Some do well with salt or tamari, such as nettle.

 

Most infusions contain large quantities of calcium, magnesium and other minerals, including trace minerals, in their most absorbable form. They also contain essential fatty acids, vitamins and protein. In addition, they each have particular medicinal qualities, actions and uses.

Many nourishing and tonifying herbs can be used as long infusions, including Oatstraw, Comfrey leaves, Red Clover blossoms, Nettle leaves/stalks, Violet leaves, Linden blossoms, Chickweed herb, Burdock root, Dandelion root.

 

© Kathleen Wildwood 2015

Granny Spears ~ ‘Herbology’

Granny Spears ~ ‘Herbology’

When we got married Ernie was bringing home about £1 17s 6d.

Now this was long before we went decimal so in todays money that would be about £1.25 a week, a couple of dollars to you Tess.

Now, although everyone thinks that we have always had free healthcare in the UK that’s not so. A visit to the doctor when we got married amounted to just over half a months pay so it was pretty much out of the question if we wanted to eat. The National Health Service got started in the late 1940′s, before then we had to pay.

Unless it was especially serious we relied on remedies passed down to us over the years, and most of the things we used involved plants, with the occasional bee added for good measure!  Usually, someone local had what you needed if you didn’t grow it yourself.

I went to teach the kids crochet again on Monday and we got around to the old days and ended up talking about plants. One of the girls said she really enjoyed her lesson in ‘herbology’. None of us knew if it was a real word, but we liked it so we decided to stick with it.

As an aside, the crochet is going great but I have a feeling I am going to be inundated with scarves and knee rugs this Christmas.

Right, back to herbology…

Honey

We used honey a lot back then, far more than most people use it now for medicinal purposes. We stored lumps of honeycomb in jars and the honey would collect at the bottom of the jar. A spoonful when you had a sore throat helped and it was one ‘medicine’ the children never minded.

It also soothes coughs, putting a lining on the throat and helping prevent irritation.

We also spread it over cuts and grazes to keep infection away and to help healing, it worked every time. Minor wounds would be lovely and clean and they really healed fast.

Burdock

We didn’t grow burdock, but there was enough of it growing wild that you could just pull it up when you needed it when it was in season. We would pick some of the fruits and store them for use later in the year. When you crush up burdock fruits they are oily and this soothes irritated skin almost immediately. The fresher they are the better but they dry very slowly so they were still of some use during the winter when fresh ones weren’t available

Making a poultice helps bring out bruises and a burdock tea is excellent for treating indigestion.

The root of the burdock plant was good for the treatment of boils. You boiled and mashed the root and placed it over the inflamed area. Drinking a tea made from burdock root was said to be good for arthritis…though none of us had it back then so I can’t be sure of that.

Marigolds

Marigolds were used to treat bites and stings, you just crush them and rub them over the affected area and relief soon follows.

These pretty flowers are a boon in the garden as they keep the aphids off tomatoes and other crops prone to blackfly like pole beans. Ernie ALWAYS planted a row of marigolds near our beans and the children used to put them in containers and move them around the tomato patch.

Chamomile

I grew this in a few rotten at the bottom barrels down the far end of the garden, it takes over if you let it escape!

Chamomile is very good at calming people down, and I used to make chamomile and lavender pouches to put in the childrens rooms to help them drift off to sleep.

Chamomile teas can either be just drunk as a drink or held in the mouth to relieve toothache or the pain of mouth ulcers.

Tansy

Tansy is a pretty yellow flower that grows as fast as a weed if you let it, another one I contained in an out of the way corner.

This stops the bugs biting very well, you just crush the leaves and rub them  on your skin. Works a treat. You don’t eat or drink tansy as it’s poisonous used like that.

Mint

Definitely contain this plant…it will take over the entire garden if it gets a chance. as well as using mint in the kitchen it is very good for calming upset stomachs and preventing the children feeling like they are going to be sick. If there were lots of colds around I would add mint to tea without milk as it seems to help fighting the germs.

Sage

Again, sage is great in the kitchen and almost as great for saving a costly trip to the doctors. Used as a bandage over the honey spread on a cut it is like a little natural bandage. It can also take the heat of burns, not open burns, but the fat splash or hot water type of burn that reddens the skin and makes it swell.

Marjoram

Marjoram makes for a decent disinfectant. Pick lots, crush it up and boil it. The liquid kills germs.

I’ll have to ask Edith if she knows where the box is that has all my old recipe books in. I had a few from mother when she died, all beautifully written out. I know there’s a notebook with them that lists all the medicinal plants my parents grew, and therefore the medicinal plants that I grew. I wonder where the box went? I’m sure we still have it somewhere.

Paul and the children are coming over on Sunday, he’s a strapping lad, he can go up into the loft and look for my box if Edith doesn’t know where it is.

Well, that’s it for today. You have a lovely weekend and I’ll speak to you soon.

Regards

Maud

Granny Spear was born in a small cottage in Devon, Southern England in 1925. Married to farm labourer Ernest, she raised her family in the heart of the countryside without any of the amenities we rely on today. Using skills passed down from her mother, who had learned those same skills from her mother, she not only survived but positively thrived living a self-sufficient, off grid lifestyle. Outliving her husband, one of her children and two of her grandchildren she stayed in the cottage until 2003 when a serious fall saw her hospitalized. She now lives with her daughter just four miles from her old home. For her 89th birthday her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought her an iPad, which she instantly rejected until they showed her Angry Birds…After much persuasion she has agreed to share some of her knowledge with us about what she calls the ‘old days’

via Gillian at Shift Frequency
SF Source ReadyNutrition  Sept 24 2014

Natural News ~ Water costs skyrocket 1,000% where half the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown

My comment on this article? It’s not too late to start a fall and winter garden. Cool season crops like spinach, kale, broccoli, Chinese greens (tat soi, bok choy), fava beans and some chards actually grow better in cooler weather. If you get a cold frame, green house and/or floating row covers, depending on your climate zone, you can extend the season even further, perhaps all winter long!

Mulch, hugelkultur, keyhole designs and Garden Towers help to conserve water usage, and you need less water during cooler weather anyway. If you’ve never gardened before, this year might be just the year to try an herb garden in a sunny window. Yes, gardening takes some time and money to set up, but in this case, you’ll receive almost immediate cost benefits.

Plus, gardening makes you happy — a perfect antidote to this world’s insanity. Pick a crisis, any crisis … then get your hands in the dirt and you’re guaranteed to feel better. I’m not exaggerating, either. For proof, read here: Antidepressant microbes in soil: How dirt makes you happy. In a world gone mad, gardening provides cheap therapy and free food. What’s not to love? For those more economically motivated, here’s a fall forecast on food prices:

Natural News ~ Water costs skyrocket 1,000 % where half the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown

(NaturalNews) It is not as if there aren’t any economic factors influencing the price of groceries these days. Transportation alone, thanks to skyrocketing fuel prices, has lifted the cost of everything we buy at the grocery store. Now, one of the worst droughts in U.S. history is making the one thing absolutely vital for food production — an ample water supply — more expensive as well, and that, ultimately, will translate into even higher prices at the market.

To set the stage, back in February the U.S. Bureau or Reclamation released its first outlook of the year, in which the agency found insufficient water stocks in California to release to farmers for irrigation. That was the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project that had happened.

“If it’s not there, it’s just not there,” said Water Authority Executive Director Steve Chedester, who noted that it would be tough finding water in the coming year or more. Farmers were to be hardest hit, the official added, stating, “They’re all on pins and needles trying to figure out how they’re going to get through this.”

‘Paying as much as 10 times more’

One way to deal with the drought is for farmers to plant fewer fields, which would mean that early on there would be fewer crops; in the law of supply and demand, when supply is reduced but demand remains high, prices rise.

The other option would be farmers being forced to pay premium prices for the remaining available water, which would also add to the final cost of crops — costs that would have to be passed on to consumers.

Fast-forward to late summer 2014: As the drought has only worsened over the summer, farmers in California’s Central Valley, which is by far the world’s most productive agricultural region, are paying as much as 10 times more for water than they did before the state’s record dry spell forced officials to cut water supplies earlier this year.

As reported by Bloomberg Briefs, costs to raise crops in California have soared to $1,100 an acre, or $140 more per acre than last year in the Fresno-based Westlands Water District, a region representing 700 farms, according to Gayle Holman, a spokeswoman for the district. Meanwhile, north of the state capital of Sacramento, in the Western Canal Water District, water is selling for double the usual price: $500 per acre-foot, which is about 326,000 gallons.

The most severe shortages have occurred in the San Joaquin Valley, in an area from Bakersfield to Patterson and Chowchilla, said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, a group based in Sacramento that represents farmers and most agricultural irrigation districts in the state.

Whole states are running dry

The drought, as it worsens, threatens also to dramatically increase production costs that are already high in part because of an unexpected, unseasonable December frost, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last month, analysts said they believe that the price of fresh fruit will rise as much as 6 percent this year.

Meanwhile, dairy products — of which California is the largest producer — could rise as much as 4 percent. Following three years of record-low rainfall, 82 percent of California is currently undergoing extreme drought conditions, per the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website.

Mat Maucieri, a spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation, said that the rising food prices are “a function of supply and demand in a very dry year and the fact that there are a lot of competing uses for water in California.”

As shown on the U.S. Drought Monitor website, the entire states of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, along with most of Texas, Utah and Oregon, are experiencing various levels of drought conditions. California is, by far, experiencing the worst.

Sources:

http://www.zerohedge.com

http://www.nbcnews.com

http://www.zerohedge.com

http://www.washingtontimes.co

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

http://science.naturalnews.com