Monday, October 25, 2010

Herbs and Halloween~Beware !

It hasn't been that long ago when superstition was a main thread in common, ever day life.
Witches , or those believed to be witches, were burned at the stake  in 1692 in Salem Mass., by high ranking, educated, and supposedly christian men and women.
Marie Laveau was a famous Voodoo Queen in New Orleans who produced 15 children  and left a very long history of what fear and superstition can do and cause.
Many herbs, plants, and weeds that we now take for granted to be on the side of goodness, has roots in Ancient history as defenders of evil.

I've included the uses that these same plants are known for today.

Mugwort-was, in the Middle Ages thought to be a magic herb to defend against witches, and even the Devil himself. Long stems of this herb, which can grow to be five feet tall, would be hung in doorways and from ceiling rafters.....Today Mugwort is used in medicinal ways or as a tea for better digestion and bloating.
It is also known that if not used with care it can bring on very vivid dreams.

Mullein- is a familiar herb in unattended places,  old railways, vacant lots, and overgrown farmland. Its soft, grey leaves were once thought by the Romans to be a powerful repellent to demons. In the Middle Ages mullein was called “hag taper” –but not because the dried flowering stems were used as torches (which they were), but because it was thought that witches used it in incantations and in their brews. ....Today Mullein is used to flavor liqueurs and to relieve respiratory discomfort from mucus. In homeopathic medicine it is used to treat migraine's and earache's.  All parts except the flower are mildly toxic...
Rue- has also been used since ancient times as a weapon against evil. Medieval folk used rue as a defense against witches, and against the plague, to the modern mind a much more real threat. Witches used rue in their enchantments too. “Double, double toil and trouble,” said the witches in Macbeth as the cauldron of magical herbs roiled and boiled......Today Rue is a popular plant in the garden for many uses. In culinary it can be used to infuse marinades, cream cheese, egg, and fish recipes.
Medicinally it is used to treat wounds and for arthritis . It is very irritating to the bare skin, handle with gloves.

Birch- the silvery-barked tree that we cherish in our landscape, was the witches’ choice for their broomsticks.....Today, birch leaf tea may be used as a mild sleep inducer....Today Birch is thought of as strictly a landscape plant/tree...but, the sap is used in wine and vinegar and beer from the bark. Tea from the leaves, and oil extracted from the bark is used to treat leather, and in medicated soaps for eczema.

Angelica, a Strong Defence Against Witches

In a class by itself is the Halloween herb whose name says it all. Thought to be the strongest defense against witches and the plague, angelica was revered as the best herb in the medicinal plant arsenal. An angel revealed the secrets of this plant to a monk while he dreamed and from then on no witch dared to use angelica in any brews or spells. Medieval monks continued to use this imposing plant’s roots in their wines and liqueurs, free from witch-like ties.......Today Angelica is still used to flavor gin, vermouth, and chartreuse.
The leaf is also used in teas to treat colds and  cooked with acidic fruits to reduce sugar requirements.
The leaf is also used for relaxing baths.

If angelica was the most potent anti-witch herb, then mandrake, the super strong, all-purpose herb for working every spell, invoking every curse, was the witch’s most desired plant. European mandrake, also known as Satan’s apple, is a narcotic root of human like appearance, long known as a mystical plant. When a face was carved into the root, the resulting manikin became a potent weapon, capable of great evil....

Mandrake, the Witch’s Ally

Mandrake has history in the book of Genesis-30:14

Today it is used in some alternative medicine for a non harsh relief of constipation issues.

Mandrake has some safety issues...Do Not Use Without A Doctors Supervision.

Isn't history the most exciting place to poke around~

Bea Kunz...share your Halloween frights with us, please...

Art from Tacuinum Sanitatis -1474...a Medieval handbook on wellness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Discover Garlic~A Good Thing~

Garlic is so much more than a seasoning for a few specific back more than 4,000 years, garlic has been used for many different ailments...digestive issues, respiratory, fatigue, bacterial infections, toothaches, arthritis, and heart disease...all according to a review in the Nutritional Journal.

A quick guide to using garlic...again from the Nutritional Journal.

( please see your health care provider if you have health issues )

For Heart Health... take 1,200 mg daily of aged garlic extract.
For Strep Throat...gargle with a garlic solution (mix content of a garlic capsule and warm water )
Ear Infections...Use ear drops that contain garlic, (they are often combined with other herbs.) They can found in any good health food or alternative/compounding pharmacy.
Staph skin infections...use a topical garlic product...again look for this in the same places as above.

Fresh garlic bulbs will last for months..but once the bulb is broken apart it is only good for a few days.

According to Decker Weiss, NMD, a naturopath cardiologist in Scottsdale,Ariz., bugs don't develop resistance to garlic the way they do to antibiotics, Dr Weiss says he often gets better results with botanicals than antibiotics for non-life threatening infections.

Studies have shown that garlic helps protect against many cancers.

A simple and good thing~

To free choices and better health~

Bea Kunz

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spooks and Gourds or Spooky Gourds~

There are no shortage of gourds this year, not sure what prompted the surge in the abundance.
I've seen about 40 varities so far, from tiny wee ones that look like turnips to very large and deformed in the most amazing shapes.

Many people make bird-houses from the bottle neck gourd, a bulbous base with a long skinny neck.

They are pretty to look at, but I'm not a crafty kind-a-gal....I simply enjoy them for a month or so and then make compost fodder of them...makes us both happy~

From the herb beds/gardens.....oregano, thymem and sage are still thriving, chives are abundant, parsley is pretty, but not a lot of it.

Roses are still offering up the most beautiful buds and blooms.
Anything in shrub form that you plan to move , needs to done within the next week...depending on where you are of course. Anything that is moved has to have enough time to adapt to the new surroundings and harden off before the first frost. We are in the SE and I don't move anything after mid-October
If you have a green-house...Calendula's ( pot marigold ) grows really well in can have a lively crop ready to plant out in the early spring.

I'm attempting Lemongrass in the green-house...will let you know how it progresses.

Happy Autumn~Do share...

Holiday Herbs, Foods, and Thoughts~

" One cannot think well, sleep well, love well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf~

A lady before her time in many areas...her quote is enough for me to be a fan.

The holiday's are the perfect time to set standards on what and how we eat, if we can control the temptations of a constant offering of food and drink during these few months...we will certainly have the rest of the year under our control.

Balance your holiday eating with whole foods and grains, lots of vegetables, some fruits,very light on sweets and drinks that are full of empty calories and negative ingredients, small portions, and chew, chew, chew....make mine water, or at least half water.....every little effort will pay great results.

Do you know...Oregano has 42 times more antioxidants than apples. Don't pass up any chance to add this delightful herb to your dinner plate.

Spices and herbs that should find their way into our daily menu.

Basil, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, curry, and as I already mentioned...oregano.

All of these play a very distinct role in our body's functions....from circulation to destroying free's all good~

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Seasonal Check-Up On Our Eating Style~

Our health is most often a direct result of what we eat, breathe and lavish upon ourselves.

Now please don't go for the clicker, I'm not going to pound you with what you should be belief is if you don't like where you are, you will find a better place.

I'm here to guide and help you if you so desire.

I hear folks say so often that making changes to a healthier way of eating is too expensive.......well, let me tell you, it is a lot less expensive than the doctor bills and the funeral cost.

Eating and living healthy is so simple and so much fun, once you commit. Granted you have to be willing to cut back(way back) on a few major items in your diet. Those being, refined sugar, bad fats, processed foods and colas. Aim for eating as much home-grown/locally grown foods as possible. Stay away from GM foods ( genetically modified ) and high fructose corn syrup

Now just a little hint on how to start. Don't buy or bake anything with refined sugar for 2 weeks. Instead eat fruit and drink plenty of water. By the end of the second week, your taste for sweets will have changed completely.(if you don't cheat) Once you get the refined sugar out of your system it will react to it as an invader, you simply will not want it, and in some cases it will take longer and some never are able to break the habit (and it is a habit) completely. But at least you can downgrade to a few well made goodies a week, versus sugar laden junk.

When excess salt is removed from our food and we get a taste of the real food underneath, ah the pleasure of eating has only just begun.

Seasoning with herbs and herb blends can help you do that.
The same herbs can take the place of fatty seasonings as well.

I'm well aware that some foods just have to have some flavor from a good type seasoning other than herbs.. My favorites are; olive oil, almond oil, and a good grape-seed oil for high heat cooking.

Please be aware that olive oil turns rancid when it reaches a certain high it isn't good for know, frying isn't all bad, it's what you fry in and how you fry that makes the difference.
( when heating oil for frying...never allow it to smoke, if it does, toss it and start over.)
( never allow the food to sit in excess oil and soak it up)
( never re-heat fried foods.)

So, do you agree that the simple changes could put you on the road to a better life with your health.

And if you really think about it, our health is all we have...once that's gone, everything else really doesn't matter. You can't have a joyful, fun filled, satisfying life if your un-healthy.

Once you start and discover the good will become a passion, and that is worth having!

Please feel free to ask questions or make donations of your own ideas. I'm a very receptive lady to others opinions.
I may not always like or use them, but I will take them and consider them carefully.

To Your Healthy and Happy Season of Foods~

Bea's Beatitudes/All About Herbs.: Herbs and Holiday's~

Bea's Beatitudes/All About Herbs.: Herbs and Holiday's~

Herbs and Holiday's~

Looking for simple ways to bring the outside in during this season ?

Don't forget about the wild-things...look outside the flower beds and garden beds, for many, those are either dormant or not looking real perky...getting ready for the winter sleep.

Autumn colored foliage, the maple, sassafras, dogwood, and others, depending on your location, will supply a fabulous arrangement for any spot you need color.

If you have or live near a wooded area with hardwoods...look for hickory nuts, black walnuts, acorns from oaks, and the lovely pinecones that most everyone has.
We have the White-pine, which looks much like a long leaf christmas tree, gives us the most awesome cones...long and slender with some variation in shapes.

The little guy beside the basket is just visiting, totally I found him in the bottom of the potting shed-container tub...petrified~he will eventually go into the small critter cemetery.

Happy Autumn~

Monday, October 04, 2010