Thursday, 31 March 2011

Herb of the Week- Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is Mothers Natures medicine cabinet wrapped up in a plant.

Aloe acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and makes an excellent energy tonic

There are over 250 species of Aloes in the world, mostly native to Africa. They range in size from little one inch miniatures to massive plant colonies consisting of hundreds of 2 foot diameter plants.
Although most Aloes have some medicinal or commercial value, the most commonly known is the Aloe barbadensis... better known as Aloe vera.

All Aloes are semi tropical succulent plants, and may only be grown outdoors in areas where there is no chance of freezing (USDA zones 10-11). However, they make excellent house plants when they are given sufficient light. Container grown Aloe plants benefit from spending their summer outdoors.

Using pure aloe vera gel from its plant form is best, as its cellular activity tends to be reduced when mixed with other chemicals.
Growing your own aloe vera plant can be fairly easy as its only requirements are lots of warm sun and little water. It does not like cold temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cold, drafty areas. It takes the aloe vera plant about 4 years to reach full maturity of about two feet tall, which is when the gel from an aloe vera leaf holds its greatest benefits. Be sure to transplant it to larger pots as it outgrows it's current one.

Older specimens may even bloom, producing a tall stock covered with bright colored coral flowers.

The nectar from Aloe flowers is a favorite food for hummingbirds!

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) Benefits

Aloe vera is one of the only known natural vegetarian sources of Vitamin B12, and it contains many minerals vital to the growth process and healthy function of all the body's systems.

Some of the minerals found in Aloe Vera include calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, chromium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. This is because the plant tends to grow in areas where soils are rich in these minerals and its roots are able to absorb them and deliver them to us in a very available form.

Numerous studies worldwide indicate that aloe vera is a general tonic for the immune system, helping it to fight illness of all kinds. Various research studies are underway to explore the potential of aloe vera components to boost immunity and combat the HIV virus, and to treat certain types of cancer (particularly leukemia). It may even have a role to play in managing diabetes by improving blood glucose levels.

The juice is said to soothe digestive tract irritations such as colitis, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. Aloe's ability to encourage the release of pepsin (a gastric juice enzyme necessary for digestion) when the stomach is full is a possible reason for its ulcer-healing effects (Journal of the American Osteopathic Society, 1963, vol.62).

In one study, oral use of Aloe for six months helped mitigate asthma symptoms in almost half of the participants. Eleven of twenty-seven patients studied who drank Aloe reported feeling better at the end of the study. Researchers think that results might be due to stimulation of the immune system, as well as naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agents in Aloe vera.

In 1994, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Aloe vera for the treatment of HIV. On-going studies worldwide show that Aloe taken in highly concentrated doses can stimulate the production of white blood cells that may help fight viruses and also tumours.

Aloe vera contains protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B12 and E, essential fatty acids and is naturally rich in:

Vitamin C which helps maintain tone of blood vessels and promotes good circulation and is essential to the health of the adrenal gland which supports our body in times of stress.

Amino acids which are chains of atoms constructing protein in our body.

Enzymes, which are the life-principle in every live, organic atom and molecule of natural raw food, rejuvenate aged tissues and promote healthy skin.

Germanium which is a mineral that some health authorities claim therapeutic benefits for: immunodeficiency, pain, cardiac disorders, circulatory disturbances and eye problems.

Aloe vera juice is said to be one of the finest body cleansers, cleaning morbid matter from the stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder, and is considered the finest, known colon cleanser. Studies have shown that it is healing and soothing in the relief of indigestion, stomach distress and ulcers. People claim relief from arthritis, bladder and kidney infections; leg cramps, constipation, hemorrhoids, insomnia, and for vaginitis, it is said to be an excellent vaginal douche.

It is also used to ease heartburn, ulcers, diverticular disorders, and other types of digestive upset. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and may be taken internally as a remedy for certain digestive complaints as certain compounds in Aloe vera reduce the secretion of stomach juices and the formation of lesions.

Animal studies and anecdotal reports claim that drinking Aloe vera juice or taking it as a tablet or capsule can reduce swelling and inflammation in arthritic joints.

In 1997, University of San Antonio researcher Jeremiah Herlihy, Ph.D., conducted a study to observe any negative effects of drinking Aloe daily. Rather than exhibiting negative effects, however, test animals receiving daily Aloe showed a remarkable reduction in leukemia, heart disease, and kidney disease. Dr. Herlihy concluded, "We found no indication of harm done to the rats even at high levels." In fact, the Aloe-drinking animals actually lived 25 percent longer than those in the control group (IASC Conference, Texas, 1997).

There is no single ingredient that makes Aloe vera potent and healthful. Researcher Robert Davis, Ph.D., an endocrinologist-biologist, explains that fifteen different compound groups of nutrients work together to make the plant effective. This means that Aloe vera's effects cannot be synthesized easily in a laboratory. On the upside, this makes the plant useful across a wide spectrum of circumstances. And because the various elements that make Aloe effective are nutrients rather than drugs, Aloe juice may complement medical treatments. In fact some cancer patients state that Aloe vera seems to reduce nausea, increase energy, and may help to minimize low blood counts caused by chemotherapy or radiation.

Aloe vera may help adults, children, and even pets receive more value from daily foods and supplements.

Apply the gel from an aloe vera leaf directly onto skin abrasions, cuts, sunburns, scalds, blisters, cold sores, rashes, and insect bites to help fight bacteria and avoid infection. The gel also has the ability to soothe pain and regenerate skin cells to promote healing with no or little scaring. Apply aloe gel 2-3 times a day to the area/wound until it is healed.

Use aloe vera gel for general skin care. Use the gel alone or along with your favorite skin cream to help better soften and moisturize the skin. Because aloe regenerates skin cells it is also known to reduce wrinkles, eczema, acne, sun/age spots, and other blemishes. It is also gentle enough to use to care for the tender skin after radiation therapy.

The gel taken from the aloe vera plant can also be combined with wheat-germ oil and safflower flower to reduce bruising.

Applying aloe vera gel to the scalp is a good treatment for dandruff, seborrhea (dermatitis), psoriasis and hair loss that has resulted from these conditions.

Use the gel from an aloe vera plant to substitute your commercial hair gel; rub or comb small amounts through your hair and style as usual.

Apply aloe vera gel directly to damaged or diseased gums to reduce inflammation, pain, and to promote healing. Include aloe gel in dental hygiene regimens to help fight tooth decay and reduce plaque.

To create an eyewash, dissolve ½ tsp of powdered aloe gel in one cup of water. To accelerate the healing process add one teaspoon of boric acid. Pour the solution through a coffee filter before applying to the eyes.

Because the gel of the aloe vera plant is known to absorb quickly into the skin and reduce inflammation and pain, it also works well on sprains, strains, muscle pains and arthritic pain. Apply aloe gel along with a cold compress to the sore area 2-3 times per day.

Aloe gel is believed to provide relief from stomach disorders, kidney ailments, and headaches, just to name a few of aloe's internal healing benefits.

Using the yellow juice, called latex found just beneath the surface of the leaves can serve as a powerful laxative.

The gel from aloe vera also contains magnesium lactate that serves as an antihistamine, which may help to relieve sinus and chest inflammations caused by allergies.

Because aloe can have a strong laxative affect do not ingest the yellow latex found in the skin of the leaf or be cautious of the amount taken as a laxative. It is best to ingest aloe by gently blending the gel, taken from between the leafs, in a blender with juice or water.


If you are using oral corticosteroids, such as beclomethasone, methylprednisolone, or prednisone, it is important not to overuse or misuse Aloe vera juice. A potassium deficiency can develop, and you may experience toxic effects from the medication.

Although it is removed, in practice Aloe vera juice may sometimes still contain tiny quantities of the laxative compound found in aloe latex. Should you begin to have cramps or diarrhea do not ingest any more of the juice.

Allergies to aloe vera are very rare. Yet any food can be a potential allergen. Test a small amount on the inner arm to see if any reaction takes place. If no irritation on the skin is observed then it is generally tolerated. If ingestion causes diarrhea, then reduce the amount you ingest, increasing use slowly over several days until the desired amount is tolerated.

General Safety Advisory

The information in this document does not replace medical advice.

Before taking an herb or a botanical, consult a doctor or other health care provider -- especially if you have a disease or medical condition, take any medications, are pregnant or nursing, or are planning to have an operation.

Before treating a child with an herb or a botanical, consult with a doctor or other health care provider.

Like drugs, herbal or botanical preparations have chemical and biological activity. They may have side effects. They may interact with certain medications. These interactions can cause problems and can even be dangerous.

If you have any unexpected reactions to an herbal or a botanical preparation, inform your doctor or other health care provider

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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

How to Live in a Small Space

I live comfortably in 150 square feet. All my needs are met, the only reason I would want more space is to entertain and horde stuff. I realize that Vancouver as a city has space limitations for housing but just because the wealthy of the world wish to live here doesn't mean we can't make space for the average or disenfranchised citizens. There is no excuse for the amount of homelessness that exists here. They are spending millions everyday on the downtown east side and that is just to maintain it as it is. What if that money was spent building mini apartments with social services on the ground floor. What if people had their dignity, some privacy and safety in their lives? What if the cost of a roof over your head didn't cost you more than half of your wages? What kind of quality of life would you/could you have then?

 Today I am going to take you on a personal and close-up tour of my living quarters to show you how one person can exist in comfort and style in a 15x10 foot space.

This picture pretty much sums up the main room. There is a single bed with a collapsible TV tray holding my laptop beside it. In front of that is the sink and counter that comprises my kitchen space. At the end of the bed I have an old kitchen cupboard that holds dishes,pots and pans and the TV on top. The exit is just to the right of the cupboard.

This is the view from the door looking into the room. The door beside the bed leads to a hallway which goes upstairs. I use the washroom upstairs but have included its dimensions in my 150 square foot space. I have a 5x5 foot closet beside the head of the bed. Ideally I would have the 5x5 foot bathroom just off the foot of the bed. That is enough room for a corner shower, toilet and sink. if I didn't have the doorway to get upstairs to deal with, I would have turned my bed sideways and made it a bunk bed with a couch underneath. This would have given me more floor space.

The chair beside the bed can be used to sit in front of the TV tray for meals or as a bedside table. I have it there as I have a bad neck and use a traction device over the doorway while sitting in the chair. I usually hang a plastic bag off the doorknob to use as a garbage bag.
This is the wall to the left of the bed. It holds a small dresser with my favorite lamp and a large fountain. The curtain beside it is the door to my closet.

Here are some closeups of the kitchen setup. I have a 2 burner stove top with a spice shelf in the windowsill

Beside that to the right is my water cooler which produces cold and hot water which saves me from storing water in the fridge and using the stove to boil water for tea.
Stuffed in the corner beside the water cooler is a number of things. My blender,a pot with cooking utensils, the silver container is a water alkalinizer, the pink container is my hot liquid take out cup. There is a small flask in case I want a nip of Grand Marnier, a glass water jug, and a red candle holder.
The cutting board and my porcelain two dish server stay on top of the stove when it is not in use. This gives me a bit of counter space to play with.
I also have a microwave and a convection toaster oven. That oven has cooked roast dinners, cakes and cookies and all manner of appetizers.
The microwave doubles as a bread box

Under the counter top is my mini fridge with my shopping list

Beside the fridge is a set of wire shelves that hold my food. The bottom row has pasta,rice,potatoes,canned soup. The middle row is mostly canned goods, glass jars with hot cereal,raisins,pancake mix.oils.The top shelf is smaller jars of stuff, crackers,cookies.
Beside the shelves is my heater which keeps the room toasty on a very low setting. My cats food dishes also live down here along with the Internet router.
The fridge and shelving. I keep a hot water bottle handy on top of the fridge and an ice pack in the freezer. These two items are an important part of my life as I use them frequently to control pain.
This is what's under my kitchen sink. The left side is extra paper towel, dish soap,candles and cleaning supplies.
The right side is extra kitchen appliances that don't get used everyday. My George Foreman grill, a microwave popcorn maker, my blender, a small rice cooker and usually a toaster which I removed for the picture.
A small mirror that sticks to the toaster oven with magnets allows me to give my appearance a quick check on my way out and gives me some elbow space if I want to fuss with straightening my hair
At the end of the counter I have a small stereo
The kitchen cupboard has two small drawers on top, one holds silver ware and small cooking utensils , the other is the "junk drawer" holding odds and sods, things like scotch tape,extra keys.
Below the cutlery drawer is a shelf for the dishes and Tupperware
The middle shelves hold oven mitts,bags of chips, cups and glasses and a basket at the bottom to hold receipts.
The shelves under the junk drawer hold the pots and pans
At the bottom there is a long drawer which holds all the wax paper,tinfoil etc and more odds and ends
In front of the TV I have a few small sculptures which remind to stop and slow down and find the beauty in life
Behind the TV, I have used the windowsill as a bookshelf
A few personal decorations
Beside the dresser is a cat scratch stand, my umbrella and a bag with my gear for my scooter and bicycle
Now we move into the closet.
The small cabinet on top holds essential oils, the larger shelves hold all my beauty products, vitamins,first aid stuff
Just as you walk in on the right is a wire shelf with my wireless printer/scanner with shoes stored underneath. Beside that to the left is a plastic box I store the cat food in with a small garbage can on top. A large mirror stands beside them.

On the opposite wall is a wicker shelf for clothing. At the present I have a freestanding clothes rack in the hallway but if I did not have that space, I would put a rod above the printer to hang clothes. There is enough space to put a stacking washer/dryer beside the wicker shelf if I had the hookups in place. Right now that space holds my dirty laundry bag which sits on top of a container full of craft supplies. I could have got a box that goes under the bed for them if I needed that space.
So there you have it. It's not a huge space but I can sleep, relax, work on my computer, charge up my cell phone, watch TV, cook healthy meals, get washed and dressed, read a book, have a pet and work on small crafts. Anything more is just excess baggage. In a perfect world, I would have a full size fridge, a small deep freeze and a workshop with all my tools and craft supplies at hand, but those are bonus items not impossible to live without. I'm lucky to have a beautiful garden just outside my door so I spend quite a bit of time outside weather permitting. I could entertain people out there quite comfortably if I so desired. It doesn't take me too long to do my housework, I can reach everything from my bed and best of all the rent is cheap. In a town where rents range from 1-5,000 thousand dollars a month, that is a huge thing. I would rather spend my money on a lifestyle than on rent. I hope someday to have my dream home, the perfect little cottage. Until then, I am quite comfortable in my small space.

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This post is linked to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday

and A Silly Little Sparrows, Toot Your Horn Tuesday

I'm also visiting:

 Tip Junkies, Tip Me Tueday

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Earth's Ten Commandments

The Earth's Ten Commandments, as written by an unknown sane man (I got this in an email, and want to pass it along to you... If only we all kept these, our world would be so much better)

I. Thou shalt love and honour the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival

II. Thou shalt keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.

III. Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.

IV. Thou shalt give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.

V. Thou shalt educate thy offspring for multitudes of people are a blessing unto the Earth when we live in harmony.

VI. Thou shall not kill, nor waste Earth's riches upon weapons of war.

VII. Thou shalt not pursue profit at the Earth's expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.

VIII. Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.
IX. Thou shalt not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.

X. Thou shalt consume material goods in moderation so all may share the Earth's bounty.

Think of your time on earth as being a guest in someones home. Would you visit someone, use up the last of their stuff, destroy their belongings, leave your garbage all over their floor, kill off their pets and plants? I would hope not. Be a considerate guest and your children will be invited back for a visit.

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Monday, 28 March 2011

Massage May Help Fight Depression

NEW YORK - Massage therapy may help relieve symptoms of depression, a new review of the medical literature hints.

The authors of the review, however, acknowledge difficulties with research on the effects of massage, including the fact that it's impossible to "blind" study participants or care providers to whether a person is receiving massage or a comparison treatment.

Nevertheless, they say there is "good evidence to suggest that massage therapy is an effective treatment of depression."

Depression is a huge public health problem, and treatment is often inadequate, Dr. Wen-Hsuan Hou of I-Shou University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and colleagues note in their report.

While massage can ease stress and tension and may have emotional benefits, the use of massage therapy in depressed patients is "controversial," the investigators note, and "there is no qualitative review of the treatment effect of massage therapy in depressed patients."

To investigate further, they searched for randomized controlled trials of massage therapy in depressed patients. They identified 17 studies including 786 people in all. In 13 of the trials, massage therapy was compared to another active treatment such as Chinese herbs, relaxation exercises, or rest, while four compared massage to a "no treatment" control group. Investigators also used a range of methods for evaluating mood and depression in study participants.

Overall, the studies, which were of "moderate" quality, showed that massage therapy had "potentially significant effects" in alleviating symptoms of depression, the researchers report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

It's not clear from the analysis, they emphasize, whether a person would need to undergo regular massage therapy for benefits to persist.

There are a number of ways through which massage could help people with depression, the researchers note, for example, by reducing stress and inducing relaxation; building an "alliance" between the therapist and patient; and by causing the body to release the "trust hormone" oxytocin.

"Further well-designed and longer follow-up studies, including accurate outcome measures, are needed," they conclude.

My Comments on this story:
As a Massage Therapist,  I think massage is vital to those suffering from depression. Massage is healthy touch in a world where a lot of people don't get enough touch or the wrong kind of touch (violent, sexual etc). To be lovingly nurtured, listened to, comforted and advised on healthy living is a gift well worth looking into for those that are despondent.

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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Is Milk Killing You?

Even as a child, I always wondered why we drank milk. There is not one other animal on the planet that continues to drink milk past infancy. Milk is for babies. It is a product genetically engineered to feed infants life sustaining nutrition, antibodies from the Mother and growth hormones. Adults don't need growth hormones. Once we are fully grown the only thing left for growth hormones to affect is cancer cells.

 Everyone has cancer cells but they start off small, one cell which takes a whole year to replicate into two cells and so on. It would take a lifetime for this small clump of cells to be visible. However, add milk to the equation with its growth hormones and these cells start replicating at warp speed. The milk from cows is the only milk from animals which has a growth hormone so similar to humans that our bodies recognize it and use it.

Thyroid cancer was unheard of years ago. Then farming practices changed and they started to use iodine to wash the cows udders before milking with machines. The iodine mixed in with the milk and is thought to have negative effects on the thyroid gland.

People with coloured skin ( and that includes the vast majority of people on the planet- Asian, African, Indian, Aboriginal) as well as 20 percent of Caucasians are usually found to be lactose intolerant. This means they cannot break down the sugar that is found in milk. This leads to digestive problems and mucus formation. The mucus clogs all the internal organs making them sluggish and weak, setting the host up for a litany of health problem such as chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, chronic sinusitis and allergies.

Milk is pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating a liquid to a high enough temperature to kill certain bacteria and disable certain enzymes. It destroys enzymes, vitamins, denatures fragile milk proteins, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens. Even calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. These days with milking machines and refrigerated trucks it is unnecessary.

Milk is homogenized. Homogenization is a process that breaks down butterfat globules so they do not rise to the top. Homogenized milk is harder to digest, so proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach are not broken down and instead are absorbed into the bloodstream. Often the body reacts to these “foreign proteins” by triggering the immune system, causing inflammation. It can even trigger auto-immune problems. Homogenized milk has also been linked to heart disease probably because of the fat globules that are dispersed by the process.

To learn more about milk and it's harmful effects check out the site They have thousands of articles on the subject. Here is one of their articles as an example, which gives an overview of some of the problems caused by milk and cheese.
Copyright: The Dairy Education Board
BEHOLD! The power of cheese!
The American Dairy Association has a new marketing campaign that may one day replace their successful milk mustache campaign. The Dairy Education Board welcomes the opportunity to reveal the secret powers of concentrated milk.


In 1970, the dairy industry produced 2.2 billion pounds of cheese. The population of the United States was 203 million, which translates to 10.8 pounds of cheese per person. By 1990, America's population had grown to 248 million, but Americans were eating more cheese, 6 billion pounds worth! That's an average of 24 pounds per person. In 1994, according to the USDA, the average American consumed 27.7 pounds of cheese. America's rate of cheese consumption is skyrocketing. As we approach the new millennium, America's per-capita cheese consumption will break the 30-pound per person level.

Constipated by Camembert? Sickened by Swiss? Phlegmed by port wine cheddar?
You do not have to consult Inspector Gadget or Lieutenant Columbo to solve the mystery of cheese. By the time you add up the clues in this column, you'll solve a major crime and be knighted and made an honorary member of Scotland Yard.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows 750 million pus cells in every liter of milk (about two pounds). In Europe, regulators allow 400 million pus cells per liter. France and Italy are known for their magnificent cheeses. Perhaps that's their secret: Less pus!

Since it takes 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese, a pound of cheese can contain up to 7.5 billion pus cells. If your American cheese is sliced so that there are 16 slices to a pound, that single slice of American or Swiss can contain over 468 million pus cells.

Got Provolone? Got pus!


Eighty percent of milk protein consists of casein, a tenacious glue. Casein is the glue that is used to hold a label to a bottle of beer. Try to scrape off one of those labels, then consider the effects of casein in your body. Casein is the glue that holds together wood in furniture. Behold the power of glue and behold the power of horrible bowel movements.

Casein is a foreign protein and your body reacts to its presence by creating an antibody. That antibody-antigen reaction creates histamines. Anti-histamines (like Benadryl) are used to counter the effects of histamines. Mucus and phlegm are produced as a result of cheese consumption.

Mucus congests internal body organs. Mucus creates phlegm. The average American lives his or her life with a gallon of mucus clogging the kidney, spleen, pancreas, tracheal-bronchial tree, lungs, thymus, etc.

Imagine not eating cheese or any other dairy product for just six days. An internal fog will lift from your body as the mucus leaves. Eat just one slice of pizza on day seven, and twelve to fifteen hours later, the mucus will return.

Got Gorgonzola? Got glue!


In the name of science, the dairy industry sponsors studies in which people drink milk. These laboratory subjects then answer surveys about what the insides of their mouths feel like. Biased dairy scientists then conclude that milk and dairy products cause no mucus.


Florence Griffith Joyner (FLO-JO) had undigested cheese in her stomach fifteen hours after eating pizza. Her internal organs were acutely congested with mucus and her neck revealed finger marks from where she tried to claw herself, gasping for breath. Behold the power of a killer.

Got Mozzarella? Got mucus! Got mortuaries?


Every sip of milk has 59 different powerful hormones. Which ones do you want your little girls to take? Estrogen, progesterone or prolactin?

In her lifetime, as a little girl becomes a big girl, then a mature woman, she will produce the total equivalent of one tablespoon of estrogen. Hormones work on a nanomolecular lever, which means that it takes a billionth of a gram to produce a powerful biological effect.

The average American now consumes nearly thirty pounds of cheese each year. That product contains concentrated hormones. One pound of cheese can contain ten times the amount of hormones as one pound of milk. Nursing cows were never supposed to pass on cheese to their calves. They were, however, designed to pass on hormones, lactoferrins, and immunoglobulins in liquid milk to their infants.

Got Romano? Got raging hormones!

See on hormones.

Got American cheese? Got antibiotics. Consumers Union and the Wall Street Journal tested milk samples in the New York metropolitan area and found the presence of 52 different antibiotics. Eat ice cream, yogurt, and cheese toppings, and you're also consuming antibiotics. Cows are fed chicken feces as supplemental protein. The droppings are baked and sanitized but the heat process does not destroy the hormones in chicken feed.
Got Parmesan? Got penicillin!


In February of 1999, the Land of Lakes Company recalled nearly four hundred thousand cases of cheese products from supermarkets in every one of America's 50 states. Cheese makes a remarkable culture medium for bacteria, which stay alive for up to six months. This year's recall was due to listeria. Eat listeria and it can take up to 45 days for you to get sick. Would you make the connection?

Cheeses can also contain mycobacterium paratuberculosis which causes diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Forty million Americans are so affected.

Got Colby? Got colds!

Got Danish cheese? Got diarrhea!

Got Brie? Got bad bowels!

BEHOLD! The power of cheese!

Robert Cohen author of: MILK - The Deadly Poison


Executive Director

Dairy Education Board
Do you know of someone who should get a copy of this newsletter?

Have them send their Email address to and it will be done!

So we have learned that milk is full of pus, iodine, steroids, hormones, growth hormone and antibiotics. You might want to reconsider that milk mustache. There are better sources of calcium and protein than milk. Leave milk to the babies and grow up be healthy!
PS. Cheese is just very concentrated milk for all those vegetarians that use cheese to fulfill their protein requirements. Just a thought.

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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Herb of the Week- Black Cohosh

Black cohosh (known as both Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa),is a member of the buttercup family. It is a perennial plant that is native to the woodlands of eastern North America. Other common names include black snakeroot, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattletop, rattleweed, and macrotys. The flowers can be unpleasantly scented causing insects to avoid it, which accounts for some of these common names.

Black Cohosh was used by the American Indians as a traditional medicine for women’s health and is still used to today as a folk remedy for hot flashes and menopausal cramps and bloating. It has also been used to treat rheumatism and even induce labor in some cases. The roots and the rhizomes are the parts of the plant that are used in the various concoctions of black cohosh which includes tablets, tinctures and the dried rhizome (root) itself

After being used as an American Indian folk remedy for gynecological problems for centuries, Black Cohosh was first rediscovered by Western Science in the middle of the Twentieth Century when it was promoted in Germany as an alternative to estrogen therapy for menopausal woman. Black Cohosh seemed to provide the same benefits of estrogen without the side effects. Since then it has been used to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness as well as rheumatism and inflammation. While the scientific data on the benefits of this plant are a bit vague, many gynecologists and obstetricians will attest to it.

Recommended Dosage

For Adults of 18, two 20-40 mg tablets or 2 mls( 40 drops) of the extract taken twice daily is recommended. If supplementing with the dried root, the British Herbal Compendium suggests 40 to 200 mgs daily in divided doses, but some traditional doses have gone as much as 3 grams a day. Black Cohosh is not recommended for children or pregnant women. As with all supplements it is wise to first consult your physician before taking black cohosh.

Side Effects
Not everyone corresponds well to it and some people have reported liver damage (yellow skin, dark urine, pain under the ribs, tiredness, and lack of appetite) after using it. Cases of Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) have also been linked to Black Cohosh use. This condition is extremely rare, and most people taking black cohosh respond well to it. Clinical trials have reported a low incidence of other adverse side effects including headache and stomach discomfort. In large doses some complaints include: gastric problems, heaviness in the legs, nausea, dizziness, seizures, lowered pulse rate, increased sweating and vision problems. If these types of symptoms persist it is important to seek medical help. Some people have also had severe allergic reactions to black cohosh: closed throat, swelled lips, tongue or face, hives. On the plus side black cohosh does not seem to interfere with other prescription medications.

Black cohosh has an estrogen-like effect, and women who are pregnant or lactating should not use the herb. Large doses of this herb may cause abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Women taking estrogen therapy should consult a physician before using black cohosh.

Large doses of black cohosh cause symptoms of poisoning, particularly nausea and dizziness, and can also provoke miscarriage.

Black cohosh should not be used by those who have full-blown measles or those who are having trouble breathing.

As I have been suffering tremendously with hot flashes as of late, I am going to try this and see for myself if it gives me any relief.

General Safety Advisory

The information in this document does not replace medical advice.

Before taking an herb or a botanical, consult a doctor or other health care provider -- especially if you have a disease or medical condition, take any medications, are pregnant or nursing, or are planning to have an operation.

Before treating a child with an herb or a botanical, consult with a doctor or other health care provider.

Like drugs, herbal or botanical preparations have chemical and biological activity. They may have side effects. They may interact with certain medications. These interactions can cause problems and can even be dangerous.

If you have any unexpected reactions to an herbal or a botanical preparation, inform your doctor or other health care provider.

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Friday, 25 March 2011

Using Trees as Medicine

Using Trees As Medicine
by Ellen Ever Hopman

Many common North American trees can be used as medicine. Their advantage over medicinal herbs is that tree medicines can be used year round. In fact, trees make among the most versatile medicine you will find.

In early spring and summer the leaves of trees are useful healing agents. In fall and winter, the bark and twigs or of the roots may be used to treat common ailments. Some simple rules must be learned, however, and followed for tree medicines to work.

Preparing Tree Medicines for Use

Here are several rules to ensure you are mindful in gathering tree medicines. First never cut the bark off of the trunk of a living tree. Especially avoid girdling the tree by removing the bark as this will kill the tree. To gather bark use that found on a twig or a root of felled tree. In these cases, it is a simple matter of striping the bark off the twig or root with a sharp knife. Medicinal agents are found in the cambium-the living green or greenish yellow layer just under the outer bark.

Once you have gathered the bark of a tree you can use it immediately or dry it for later use. To dry the bark, carefully lay it to dry in the shade, making sure that the strips do not overlap. Leaves can be tied together and hung in bunches from a string or rope in a dry, shady area.

To use the bark, simmer two teaspoons of bark per cup of water for twenty minutes in a non aluminum pot with a tight lid. Strain and drink. The dose is one-quarter cup, taken four times a day with meals. This assumes a 150-pound adult. A child weighing 75-pounds should take half as much, and a child weighing 40-pounds should take half as much again. The tea may be stored in a glass jar with a tight lid, in the refrigerator, for up to week.

When using the leaves they should be picked in the early spring no later than Summer Solstice. Steep two teaspoons of fresh or dried leaves per cup of freshly boiled water for about twenty minutes, in a non aluminum pot with a tight lid. The dose is the same as above. Add lemon and honey to the medicines as desired.
If you are making a tea to use as a wound wash or to add to the bath it may be much stronger. Use more of the tree parts and less water, and simmer or steep for longer periods.
To make a tree leaf poultice, use fresh leaves, or dry ones that have been soaked in enough boiling water to make them soft. Place the leaves in a blender with just enough water to make a mush. Pour into a glass or ceramic bowl and then add powdered slippery elm bark, a little at a time, until a pie dough consistency is achieved. Spread the poultice onto a cotton cloth and apply to the affected area. Leave on for one hour, and then discard the poultice material. Repeat daily.

A fomentation may be made of the bark or leaf tea by soaking clean cotton cloth in the tea and then applying it to an affected area. Tree leaves, bark, and nuts may also be used in healing salves. To make a salve simply place the plant material in a large non aluminum pot, and just barely cover with cold-pressed virgin olive oil. Simmer with a lid for about twenty minutes.

In a separate pot melt beeswax, and bring to a simmer. After oil mixture has simmered for twenty minutes add three tablespoons of melted beeswax for every cup of olive oil used. Stir and then strain into very clean glass jars. Allow to cool and harden before putting on the lid.

Some tree parts are used to make massage oils or oils for other purposes. Take the fresh tree parts, and put them in a shallow non aluminum baking dish. Cover with a light oil such as almond, cover, and bake in a slow oven at 110 degrees for several hours until the plant material wilts.

To tincture buds, barks, or roots, place the chopped plant material in a clean glass jar. Cover with vodka or other alcohol {80 proof or higher}, cover tightly, and allow the tincture to sit for eight days. Shake occasionally. Add 10% spring water and a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin. Strain and bottle for later use. Store in cool, dark place. For leaves and flowers; pack the plant material into a clean glass jar, barely cover with alcohol, and allow the tincture to extract until the plant material begins to wilt. Add spring water and vegetable glycerin, and strain and bottle as above. The dose is about 10 drops, three times a day, taken with water.

Green Etiquette

It is only polite to thank a tree when you have used its parts for medicine. Make a habit of giving back to the trees. A meal of fertilizer, a drink during a hot spell, or offering of herbs such as sage or tobacco are always correct. In ancient European tradition, vervain, honey, or apple cider were often given. Or a simple prayer was spoken, that the tree and its relations always have abundant sunshine, pure water to drink, healthy winds, and the companionship of birds and other friendly spirits. In this time of global warming it is wise to plant trees wherever possible and to nurture living ones. Trees are cooling. They prevent evaporation of rainwater, hold back water to prevent floods and erosion, purify stagnant and polluted water, and maintain the balance of oxygen and carbon in a world increasingly polluted by greenhouse gases. Ancient trees especially should be honored and protected.

 Tree Medicine


 Is a small tree that thrives in damp areas such as wetlands and river banks. It usually has several grayish trunks, and its female catkins develop into what look like tiny brown pine cones. Alder bark is simmered in water to make a healing wash for deep wounds. It is astringent and will help to pull the edges of a wound together. The leaves and bark can be made into a tea that will benefit tonsillitis and fever. The leaves are also used in poultices to dry up breast milk. Alder bark tea can be used as a douche or for hemorrhoids. Fresh alder sap can be applied to any area to relieve itching.


 The bark of the root of apple trees is used for fevers. Apples are rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, and Vitamins C, B and B2. When peeled, they relieve diarrhea. Stewed unpeeled apples are a laxative. Eating apples regularly promotes restful sleep. Baked apples can be applied warm as a poultice for sore throats and fevers. Apple cider is important in this time of antibiotics, which destroy the intestinal flora. Raw, unpasteurized apple cider will restore the correct bacteria to the bowels after a course of antibiotics. Apples reduce acidity in the stomach and help to clean the liver. Add garlic and horseradish to apple cider to clear the skin. Use the mixture as a wash externally and take it internally as a drink.


 Ash is a tall tree whose compound leaves are composed of five to nine, or seven to eleven leaflets. Its bark is very tightly and regularly furrowed, and its winged, canoe-paddle-shaped seeds, called keys, hang in clusters until they are brown and drop off in the fall. The tender new spring growth of the twig tips and leaves can be simmered to make a laxative tea that will benefit gout, jaundice, and rheumatism.


 Beech trees have a distinctive, smooth gray bark that resembles the skin of an elephant. The bark is used as a tea for lung problems, including tuberculosis. It is also cleansing to the blood, through pregnant women should avoid it. Beech bark tea make a good wash for poison ivy. Beech leaves are used in poultices for burns and for frostbite.


 Birch trees have thin papery bark that peels easily -- so easily that birds actually use it to build their nests. It can range in color from chalky white and reddish brown to golden gray and yellow. The sweet birch {black birch} and yellow birch both have a nice wintergreen flavor in their twigs and bark. Birch leaf or twig tea is a laxative, and healing to mouth sores, kidney and bladder sediments, and gout. The tea also help rheumatic pains. Make a strong decoction of the twigs, bark and leaves and add it to the bath for relief of eczema, psoriasis, and other moist skin eruptions. Modern medicine has recently confirmed that betulinic acid, formed in birch sap, has anti-tumor properties that help fight cancer.


 The northern white cedar is an evergreen with a branched trunk, conical shape, and flat scale like leaves. It has reddish brown bark that hangs in hairy shreds. Another name for the tree is Arborvitae, or "tree of life," a name given to it by the French explorer Jacques Cartier after it saved his crew from scurvy. A tea is made from the leaves and twigs, and is very high in Vitamin C. Among the Algonquin it is considered a sacred tree, and they will not perform a ceremony without it. Its branches are used on the floor of sweat lodges, and it is dried and burned as an incense because it harmonizes the emotions and put one in the proper state of mind for prayer. The tea of the twigs and branches is simmered until the water in the pot begins to turn brown. It is then used for fevers, rheumatic complaints, chest colds and flu.


 Elder trees are quite small. They have clusters of white flowers in spring and black or deep purple berries in fall. They thrive in damp, moist areas. Elderberries are used to make preserves, pies, and wine. Taken as a tea, either fresh or dried, the berries benefit the lungs and nourish the blood. The young leaves of elder are used in salves and poultices for skin healing. A root bark tea clears congestion, eases headaches, and is used in poultices for mastitis. A tincture of the flowers lowers fever by promoting perspiration. Elder flowers water is a traditional remedy for skin blemishes and sunburn. Cold elderflower tea is placed on the eyes as a soothing compress for inflammation. Elderflower oil makes a soothing balm for sore nipples of nursing mothers.


 Slippery elm is a medium-sized tree with grayish bark, usually found near streams. Unlike the American elm its crown does not droop. It leaves are also larger than the American elm's with coarsely toothed margins. The inner bark of the slippery elm, which is sticky and fragrant when fresh, is used medicinally. Slippery Elm bark is available in dried and powdered forms from herbalists. It is made into paste with water and then applied as a poultice to injuries of flesh and bone, on gunshot wounds, ulcers, tumors, swellings, chilblains, and on the abdomen to draw fever out. Slippery elm is very high in calcium, and a pudding or tea of the bark can be ingested to help speed bone healing. The powdered bark in water makes a jelly that soothes bowel and urinary problems, sore throats, and diarrhea. It makes a perfect substitute milk for babies who are allergic to cow's milk. Try adding a little lemon and honey for flavor.


 Hawthorne is a small, broad, round, and dense tree with thorns and edible red fruits. The fall berries and spring new leaves and flowers make a cardiac tonic that benefits virtually all heart conditions. Be aware, however: Prolonged used does cause the blood pressure to drop. Use it for a few weeks and then take a week off to prevent a precipitous decrease in blood pressure. Use caution when combining this herb with other heart medications to prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure. For maximum benefit eat fresh raw garlic as you undergo a hawthorn regime. {Garlic provides extra cleansing of plaque in the blood vessels}.


 Is a small tree with small rounded nuts that grow tow to four in a cluster. Hazel twigs are traditionally used by dowers to find hidden sources of water. Hazel nuts are said to benefit the kidneys. Huron herbalists used the bark in poultices for tumors and ulcers. The Iroquois mixed the nut oil with bear's grease to make mosquito repellent. The Chippewa used a decoction of hazel root, white oak root, chokecherry bark, and the heartwood of ironwood for bleeding from the lungs.


 Mountain Holly is a small tree with ovarte, fine saw-toothed leaves and large orange berries. The buds were twigs that were used by Native American herbalists in decoctions and as an external wash for ulcers, herpetic eruptions, jaundice, fever and diarrhea. The leaves alone were used as beverage tea. English holly of European holly is a familiar evergreen usually seen as decoration at Yuletide. It has spiny, elliptical leaves and shiny red berries. The leaves can be used as a tea substitute and in infusions for coughs, colds and flu. Be aware: The berries of all holly varieties are strongly purgative.

Linden and Basswood:

 Linden is a large tree found in moist, rich soils near other hardwoods. It has a heart-shaped leaves with toothed margins. The bark is dark gray, and its fruit is nut like, downy, and pea sized. It has clusters of yellowish-white fragrant flowers in the spring. Basswood, or American linden, is a close relative. Linden flower tea is a popular beverage in Europe for nervous headaches and upset digestion, hysteria, nervous vomiting, and heart palpitations. Linden flower tea can also be added to baths to calm the nerves. Linden flower honey is prized for medicinal use. Native American herbalists used the roots and bark of basswood for burns and the flower tea for epilepsy, headache, spasm, spasmodic cough, and general pain. The buds were eaten as famine food, and the bark was pounded and added to soups.


 Maples are large trees with deeply lobed, toothed leaves. The bark of the younger tress is gray and smooth, on older trees it breaks into ridges and fissures. Maples have winged seeds that hang in cluster of two. The Ojibwa and the Cherokee made a decoration of the inner bark or red maple to use as a wash for sore eyes. The leaves of striped maple, or moosehead, were used to poultice sour breasts. A decoration of inner bark of sugar maple was used for diarrhea. The Penobscot used striped maple bark in poultices for swollen limbs, and as a tea for kidney infections, coughs, colds, and bronchitis. Young maple leaves can be made into massage oil that will be soothing to sore muscles.


 Oaks are large trees with lobed leaves and acorns topped by bowl-shaped caps. The best oak for internal use is white oak, though all oaks are valuable as external washes. The tannins in oak bark and leaves are helpful in pulling the edges of a wound together and is antiseptic and antiviral. White oak bark tea is used for chronic diarrhea, chronic mucus discharges, and piles. It makes a nice gargle for sore throats and wash for skin problems such as poison ivy, burn and wounds. The tea of the leaf of the bark may be used by women as a douche for vaginitis. Use caution: Prolonged ingestion of oak is potentially harmful.


 All pines are evergreens, with needles that grow in soft, flexible clusters. Pine trees are revered worldwide as healing agents. Any pine, or other evergreen such as spruce, larch, and ceder, will have antiseptic properties useful as a wound wash. The most palatable pine for internal use is the white pine. Its needles and twigs are simmered into a tea that is rich in Vitamin C. The tea is used for sore throats, coughs, and colds. Chinese herbalists boil the knot of the wood because of the concentrated resins found there. Pine baths aid kidney ailments, improve circulation, and are relaxing to sore muscles. The aroma of pine is soothing to the nerves and lungs. Pine tea make a wonderful foot bath.


 Poplars are distinguished by their drooping catkins and rounded leaves with pointed tips. Balsam poplar was used by Native American herbalists who scored the bark and applied the resinous gum to toothaches and swellings. The sticky spring buds were gathered in May and used in salves for skin problems, sprains, sore muscles, wounds, headaches, tumors, eczema, bruises, gout, and on the chest for lung ailments and coughs. The buds were decorated and used internally for phlegm, kidney and bladder ailments, coughs, scurvy, and rheumatic pains. The root was combined with the root of white poplar in a decoction to stop premature bleeding in pregnancy. The warmed juice of white poplar was dropped into sore ears. Poplar barks are high in salicin, making them useful in treating deep wounds, gangrene, eczema, cancer, burns, and strong body odor. The inner bark of a young poplar tree is edible in the spring and can be simmered into a tea for liver and kidney ailments.

Rowan, or Mountain Ash:

 The American mountain ash and the European mountain ash have identical uses. The former has bunches of orange berries that look like tiny apples, and the latter one has red ones. Both are small, sturdy trees with compound leaves of nine to seventeen leaflets. Their clusters of white flowers, composed of five petals each, appear in spring. Rowan berries are bitter, astringent, and very high in Vitamin C. They should be picked just after the first frost when their color has deepened . The fresh juice of the berries is added to sore throat gargles, and jelly is made from the berries will treat diarrhea in adults and children. Rowan berries are added to ales and cordials. In ancient Scotland, a syrup for coughs and colds was made from rowan berries, apples, and honey.


 Walnut trees are tall and have compound, alternative leaflets. Their spring flowers are drooping green catkins that mature into large, round nuts covered in green, spongy husks that stain the hands brown when cut open with a knife. Walnut husks are medicinally active. They are anti fungal and rich in manganese, a skin-healing agent. Gather them when fresh, and rub directly onto ringworm. The tea of the hull may be used as a douche for vaginitis. For stubborn old ulcers apply the dried , powdered leaf, and then poultice with fresh green leaves. Do this for about twenty days, daily. The leaf tea increases circulation, digestion, and energy. The fresh bark may be applied to the temples for headache or to teeth to relieve pain. The dried and powdered bark, or pounded fresh bark, can be applied to wounds to stop swelling and to hasten healing.


There are more than forty varieties of willow growing in the US. They are water-loving trees, a good indicator species if your looking for a regular water source, either above or below ground. Willows have slender flexible twigs and long, narrow, simple leaves. In early spring, willows bloom with golden catkins that mature into small seed capsules in late summer. All willow barks have salicylic acid, which is a natural form of aspirin. Willow bark tea treats muscle pain and inflammation, diarrhea, fever, arthritic pain, and headache. Used externally it makes a wash for cuts, ulcers, and poison ivy. Willow bark in teas and capsules is sedative and eases insomnia. It reduces the risk of heart disease and may delay cataract formation.


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