Wild Geranium also called Spotted Geranium, or Crane’s Bill is a perennial that grows from one to three feet tall. It has palm shaped leaves in a basal rosette pattern, that is hairy, and irregularly cleft; paired; and the lower leaves long-stalked. The branching stem is covered with tiny hairs that appear just before flowering and bear pairs of small pink or lavender blossoms, ½ – 1 ½ inches wide, with 5 petals that later develop into beak-shaped fruit pods. The entire plant tastes mildly bitter. The pointed, upright seed cases are distinctive, as are the evanescent flowers.
Wild Geranium blooms from April thru June and is found in clearings, open woods, thickets, meadows, roadsides and streams.
It is rich in tannin (10-20 percent) and the root is highly astringent, septic, and was once used to stop bleeding. It’s also used for dysentery, to relieve piles, gum diseases, and kidney and stomach ailments.
The whole plant is used. Harvest the roots and leaves just before the plant flowers. Geranium is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, and septic.
A root infusion is used as a mouthwash for ulcers and throat infections. It is also used internally for diarrhea, stomach ulcers, internal bleeding, and externally for hemorrhoids, and may help diabetics.
The powdered root is applied to canker sores. Herbalists have long prized Geraniums for their ability to reduce inflammation, tighten mucous membranes and stop minor bleeding caused by hemorrhoids, nosebleeds, abrasions, wounds and cuts. Geraniums relieve discomfort caused by sore throats, gum inflammation and mouth ulcers. Apply directly to wounds, either dry or mixed with a little water to form a paste. It also can regulate excessive menstrual bleeding. A poultice from the plant was applied to relieve swollen feet. An eyewash was made by steeping the plant in water.
Warning: Because of the plant’s highly astringent nature, extracts or decoctions may cause constipation if used for an extended period of time.
Bill Church is a certified Master Naturalist. Articles courtesy of Gilmer County Master Naturalist Association.
Many people in the United States are just becoming aware of homeopathy as a natural treatment. Homeopathy is a low cost nontoxic system of medicine used by millions of people around the world. It has been used for over 180 years as an effective treatment for chronic illnesses that fail to respond to conventional methods. Homeopathic remedies are generally dilutions of natural substances from plants, minerals, and animals.
The FDA recognizes homeopathic remedies as official drugs and regulates their manufacture, labeling, and dispensing. In Europe, there are over 11,000 practitioners along with pharmacies that carry the remedies and specialized hospitals. In Britain, homeopathic clinics are part of the national health system.
Homeopathy was founded in the late 18th century by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. Because of his frustration with conventional treatments at the time (bloodletting, the use of mercury and other toxins), he set out to find a more rational and humane approach to medicine. He formulated three principals:
1.Like Cures Like (or the Law of Similars) – A substance taken in large dose that produces the symptoms of an illness will have the reverse effect if taken in a very minute dose. This same law was the basis for the theory of immunizations and is used today with allergy testing.
2.The More Diluted the Remedy, the Greater the Potency (or the Law of Infinitesimal Dose) - This principle is probably the hardest for the rational mind to comprehend. Most of us believe that a medicine is more effective in a higher dose. Homeopathy believes the opposite. The more diluted a remedy the greater its ability to be effective. Homeopathic remedies are prepared by producing what is called a mother tincture, which is an alcoholic extract of a substance. It is then diluted by taking 1 part and mixing it with pure water or alcohol and succussing (vigorous shaking). Each time this happens it is rated as 1X potency. This is done numerous times until there is no physical sign of the original material. So how does it work? The explanation appears to lie in the domain of quantum physics and the emerging field of energy medicine. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging shows distinctive reading of subatomic activity in the remedies tested.
3. Illness Is Specific to the Individual – The conventional medical approach gives specific conditions the same or similar treatment. In homeopathy, each condition is treated individually. Practitioners of classical homeopathy consult vast compendiums to determine the remedy that most closely matches the total picture of the patient’s symptomology. It takes years of study and practice to be proficient in this process.
Any imbalanced system of the body can be treated effectively with homeopathy including conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma, epilepsy, skin disorders, allergy, cold and flu, headaches, fatigue, PMS, and more.
There have been numerous clinical studies done with homeopathic remedies, so why is this system just now gaining acceptance? The fact is that Americans are frustrated with the current conventional system and people are looking for other approaches to better health.
Contact David Hawkins at email@example.com.
An old Chinese proverb states, “A person will get well when they are tired of being sick.” Wellness starts with an increased awareness about yourself and your own state of health. Here are some basic principles for health and healing.
1. Take responsibility for your own health. Realizing that you are the cause of your condition is a good beginning. Learn to foster your own intuition in regard to your health. Educate yourself about your imbalance and make changes in your life to aid your body’s healing power. Getting well takes time. Watch for results and be patient with the process.
2. Maintain a positive mental attitude. A good outlook will help you to be solution-oriented and to overcome obstacles. Naturally, optimistic people are more inclined to look after their own health. They are more likely to work out, eat a balanced diet, and get regular medical check-ups. They respond to illness actively, consulting their health care practitioner promptly and following responsible treatment plans.
3. Eat wholesome and nutritious foods. Your body’s RNA and DNA are programmed for real foods: whole grains, beans, organic fruits and vegetables, and clean water. The American diet is full of fat and sugar and laden with over-processed, devitalized, and chemical rich foods. No wonder we suffer from so many degenerative diseases!
4. Exercise regularly. “Use it or lose it” applies aptly when dealing with exercise. Exercise helps the body to eliminate toxins and increases metabolic activity. Try walking and stretching programs like tai chi or yoga.
5. Be moderate and avoid excesses. If you are moderate in your lifestyle, many disease processes can be reversed quickly when they appear. This applies to wrongful diet, smoking, and excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol.
6. Get adequate rest. Good rest means good sleeping habits, but this also means slowing down our lives. Make time to relax and unwind.
7. Learn to deal with stress. Stress affects all parts of your body from the nervous system to the digestive. Good diet, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements help protect us. Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
8. Manage your time. The operative word here is “manage.” Does time rule your life? Take your watch off and see how often you look at your wrist or get nervous because you don’t know the time. Managing your time will reduce stress and allow you to really enjoy life’s activities.
9. Connect with nature: breathe fresh air and get plenty of sunshine. Most of us spend too much time indoors. When we spend more time outdoors, we tune into the natural rhythms of our planet and gain a sense of calmness and an appreciation for life.
10. Spend time with your loved ones. It is very important for good health to have healthy relationships with your family and friends. The support network you build has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself. The people around you will support you in time of need, especially if you have made time to build open and close relationships.
These simple but powerful guidelines can help you become whole again. Make a promise to yourself to be an active participant in your own health and well-being.
What is so homely and comforting on a winter’s day as a bowl of hearty stew? Its tasty blend of meat, vegetables and seasonings bring back memories of summer’s gardens. If you are a hunter, the autumn hunt for venison provides the meat, and if a farmer, the annual fall butchering and freezer-filling comes to mind as you fill your bowl with rich broth and tender chunks. As the poet Robert Burns observed,
“Some hae meat and cannot eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.”
While we may know the source of the meat in our stew, what about the other ingredients? Where did they originate? The storyteller in me is always interested in the story behind traditions, superstitions and the everyday things we take for granted, so I decided to find out just where my stew came from.
Surprisingly, none of the things I use in my recipe are native to North America. Potatoes, for example, were originally from South America, discovered first by Pizarro and later brought to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in the early 1600′s. For some time many people refused to eat potatoes, believing they caused leprosy, among other things. Ireland quickly adopted the potato and it became the mainstay of the Irish diet. This had terrible consequences when a blight struck the Irish potato crop in the mid 1800′s, causing widespread starvation and death-and a huge migration to the United States and other countries.
Carrots came to us from Afghanistan. The Greeks believed it made people more ardent, so used it as a love potion. The carrot made its way to Europe in the Middle Ages, and it was in Holland that the variously colored carrots were hybridized to become the orange carrot we know today. Carrots were grown in England by the 16th century, as this early gardening manual tells: “Sowe Carrets in your Gardens, and humbly praise God for them, as for a singular and great blessing” –Richard Gardiner (1599 gardening book).
The shores of the Mediterranean Sea are the homeplace of celery, known to the Romans as sedano. The celery seed often used in pickles and other recipes comes from the small native plant called smallage that is still grown just for the strongly flavored seeds, while the stalks we generally think of as celery were first recorded as being grown in France in the 1600′s..
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more easily chewed.
–Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Stew isn’t stew without onions. Onions came from the regions of Israel and India and have been grown in gardens since before the time of Christ. In the fifth century BC, slaves building a pyramid for Herodotus held a sit-down strike until they got their onions. Folklore has it that Columbus planted onions during his visit to the Caribbean islands, and the first settlers in the US also brought onion seed with them and Grant refused to move his troops during the Civil War unless he got onions to feed them.
Stew must have its seasonings. Salt has been used as a preservative since early civilizations, bay originated in the Mediterranean and has been used both medicinally and as a culinary flavoring since before recorded history. Black peppercorns are native to India, while the red, green, hot, mild and other peppers grown for their flesh instead of their seed derive from the southern Americas.
So there we have it: our humble beef or venison stew is truly a cosmopolitan dish, coming to our stewpot from all the corners of the world.
For more history of the foods we eat, check out these websites:
Visit Granny Sue online at http://www.grannysu.blogspot.com.
Development of the immune system begins before birth. White blood cells, the most powerful agent the body has against foreign invaders, are formed in the bone marrow and liver. Next, T-cells (specific kind of white blood cell) migrate to the thymus gland behind the sternum. Here they further specialize to react against specific irritants without attacking body tissues. Then they travel through the body and lodge in various lymphoid tissues (lymph glands, spleen, tonsils, bone marrow, Peyer’s patches in the gut lining, etc.). Here they provide immunity within the cellular structures of the body. B-cells (another type of white cell) also lodge in lymphoid tissues, but are responsible for immunity in the blood stream. The lymphatic system is a series of channels by which body fluids flow into the blood. This system also carries proteins and large particles away from tissue spaces, an essential function without which we would die. The lymphatic system is a major route for absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract, especially fats.
Other specialized white blood cells; Neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and monocytes are formed only in the bone marrow where they are stored until needed to repel specific invaders in the circulatory system. Throughout life the various white blood cells are replenished in the bone marrow as needed. Special white cells (megakaryocytes) fragment in the bone marrow to form platelets and are released into the blood to aid in clotting of wounds. Some of the B-cells further differentiate into plasmablasts which produce about 500 plasma cells each. These cells become a large part of total blood volume and immediately produce antibodies at a rapid rate which circulate in the lymph system and blood stream. Antibodies then bind to specific proteins or polysaccharides (called antigens) on the surface of foreign organisms or toxins and signal the immune system to release T-cells that specifically attack invaders with that antigen.
Much can be learned about a patients’ health by observing different white cell percentages in the blood stream. Normal percentages are about 62% for neutrophils, 30% for lymphocytes, 5.3% for monocytes, 2.3% for eosinophils, and 0.4% for basophils. Neutrophils attack mostly bacteria so a larger percentage in the blood would suggest that the bacteria population is also above normal. Monocytes also attack bacteria, but they can ingest much larger particles as well. This allows them to clean up tissue damage caused by bacteria and other agents of inflammation and destruction. Eosinophils are most effective against parasites and to a lesser degree, allergies. Basophils play an important role in allergies and the inflammatory process. A shortage of white blood cells in general would suggest damage or suppression of the bone marrow. So might fewer platelets or plasma cells.
Keeping immunity strong is essential to good health. About 70% of this system is in or greatly influenced by the gastrointestinal tract. This makes sense when you consider that the greatest mass of foreign particles by far pass through this part of the body on a daily basis. Processed foods, especially white flour, refined sugar, hydrogenated oils and products containing aspartame or its’ derivative acelfame, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and radiation exposure weaken the immune system and should be moderated or avoided. Stress (physical, chemical or emotional), lack of sleep and negative thought patterns also weaken it.
To strengthen immunity, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water (half your body wt. in ounces), think positive thoughts, exercise without over doing, insist on a chest and thyroid shield for dental x-rays, avoid exposure to heavy chemicals and pesticides (wash your fruits and vegetables), avoid medicines and ointments with hydrocortisone, keep your spine in alignment, tap the upper breastbone for one minute daily to strengthen the thymus, rub a reflex point at nipple level under the right armpit (it will feel tender). Natural immune boosters include shitaki , reishi and maitaki mushrooms, vitamin C, echinacea, ginger, zinc, yellow root, dandelion, fennel, parsley, chicory, hyssop and aloe.
Contact Dr. Magly at Total Health Chiropractic in Nebo. 304-286-2905.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of clinical depression otherwise called “winter blues.” It generally peaks during the months of January and February. Typical symptoms can include difficulty waking, decreased energy, carbohydrate cravings, increased appetite, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, decreased libido, withdrawal from friends and family, anxiety, and irritability.
The book Winter Blues, now in its fourth edition, by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, estimates that 25 million Americans are affected by this disorder. Dr. Rosenthal first described winter depression in the 1980s and pioneered the use of light therapy for its treatment.
Light therapy relieves most symptoms of winter blues. Due to the lack of sunlight or natural light during the winter months, it is important to use full spectrum lights. They are available in florescent, incandescent, halogen, floodlight, three-way, and plant bulbs. The original light therapy work was developed by using a light box. For therapeutic effects, sit in front of a light box over a period of hours each day.
SAD is four times more prevalent in females than males. It’s believed that the lack of light exposure, particularly sunlight, affects the pineal gland in the brain. The body’s internal clock is regulated by the pineal gland. This gland is controlled by either the presence or absence of external light, and it functions to synchronize and coordinate the body processes. Melatonin being the chief hormone of the pineal is produced only at night. Production stops when the eyes are exposed to sunlight. Melatonin is thought to be the primary regulator of the immune system. It has sedative properties and helps to reduce anxiety and panic disorders. However, when the days are shorter and cloudy, melatonin levels can stay higher than normal. Elevated melatonin levels can lead to depression, irritability and lethargy. Another neurotransmitter, serotonin, plays a part in this balance with melatonin. Serotonin helps to keep us calm, reduces stress and anxiety, and aids sleep. During the winter months the body produces less serotonin. One deficiency symptom of this is carbohydrate or sugar cravings.
There are natural ways to treat SAD, including nutrition, herbs, exercise, meditation, and light therapy. The nutritional treatment protocol is similar to that for treating mild to moderate depression:
o B- Complex vitamins high in folic acid, B6 and B12
o Vitamin C
o Tyrosine and or phenylalanine
o SAM (S-Adenosyl-Methionine)
o 5HTP (5Hydroxyl-Tryptophane)
o EFA’s (flax, borage, primrose)
Herbally, the use of St. John’s Wort has been effective. In studies, the standardized extract was used at a dosage of 300 mg, 3 times a day; and it takes at least two weeks to notice its effects. If you try it, remember to get a product that has been used in clinical trials. Not all products on the market are the same quality.
Even in the dead of winter, we are fortunate to have a few beautiful, sunny days. When that happens, take advantage of the weather and remember to go outdoors and take a walk!
Contact David Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.