My Healing Yard, Take 2

Come along, time for another healing walk through the back yard.

A couple of weeks ago, the boys were mowing the lawn.  Suddenly the lawn mower quit. I immediately wonder: lawn mower ill or kids quitting when the job is not half finished? Jake yells to me:  "Mom, come over here, please."  I go over to see this nice sized patch of purple flowers he has neatly mowed around.  I was not sure what they were but glad he left them intact, knowing that next year the patch will be bigger!

So, my sister googled the image, a few days later, when I find some in my Mom's yard.  This purple beauty is Self-Heal (Heal All), a powerhouse healing plant from the Mint family!  Good for: sore throats and mouth sores, fevers, diarrhea, skin wounds and sores, a diuretic for kidney ills, and conjunctivitis.

This humble plant contains antibiotic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), and anti-mutagenic (think cancer) properties. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers it a cooling plant and uses it to treat the liver (inflammation) and aid circulation.

Thanks Jake for seeing these 'lil flowers in the lawn and knowing to protect them from the hungry lawn mower!

Self-Heal growing next to a friend, White Clover.

Self-Heal growing next to a friend, White Clover.

White Clover:  Colds, coughs, fever, and vaginal infections. Flower tea is used for arthritis and gout, health conditions in the same family.

White Clover

White Clover

Wild Strawberry leaves were once used as a nerve tonic, for bladder and kidney ailments, jaundice, scurvy, diarrhea, stomachaches, and gout. Fresh leaf tea was used for sore throats. Berries are eaten for scurvy and gout... something tells me to eat them just because they are yummy! Root tea was used to treat gonorrhea, stomach and lung ailments, irregular menses, and as a diuretic. What a humble little plant!

My yard is carpeted with Wild Strawberry plants. I have caught the cat's eating them on many occasions, bet they were self medicating their bellies!

My yard is carpeted with Wild Strawberry plants. I have caught the cat's eating them on many occasions, bet they were self medicating their bellies!

Rhubarb root is delightful for constipation as it stimulates the liver to release bile which promotes colon cleansing. The root helps lower cholesterol, is an antiseptic, relieves spasms, has anti-tumor effects, is a diuretic, and a general tonic for good health. 

Rhubarb stalks are a good source of calcium, anti-oxidants, are a laxative, and a purgative.  Rhubarb is high in dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Rhubarb is a rich source of polyphenolic flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  Hey, rhubarb is a "superfood" that does not have to be imported thousands of miles!

Caution: Do not eat the rhubarb leaves... TOXIC ALERT!  The triangular leaves are extremely high in oxalic acid, which can cause severe illness in people, resulting in the common belief that rhubarb is poisonous. If the plant is subject to extreme cold, the dangerous acid can migrate into the stalk, so be sure to store rhubarb in a warm or temperate space, just like the climate it normally grows in.

My Rhubarb patch, looking a little ill this time of year!

My Rhubarb patch, looking a little ill this time of year!

Bee balm: My patch is a mix of wild and cultivated.  I planted it to feed the hummingbirds and have found it attracts bees, dragon flies, butterflies, and various other flying insects!  It is Wild Bergamot! The leaf tea is used for colic, to expel flatulence (gas) and parasites, colds, fever, stomachaches, nosebleeds, insomnia, and heart troubles. It was used with measles to induce sweating and "fever" the virus out of the body.

Bee Balm

Bee Balm

Plantain: Here is a plant for your skin!  Got some pesky bug bites?  Chew up plantain leaves and put the chewed up "poultice" onto the bites.  Let them sit for a bit and soothe the bug bites.  This is back yard first aid!  Plantain is used to heal all sorts of skin issues, sores, and ulcers as it stimulates the healing process.

This plant is another healing powerhouse, used as a prominent folk cancer remedy - healing plant in South America. My yard is a cancer healing center!

Plantain is a confirmed antimicrobial.  This is what we should be making hand sanitizers out of, not toxic chemicals and over used and abused antibiotics.

Plantain's seeds (the seed stalks are an easy way to identify this plant) are mucilagenous and used to reduce cholesterol.

Plantain

Plantain

Wild Geranium: This fun little plant grows atop my septic tank.  I am not sure I would ever want to harvest it from this spot...

Wild Geranium's root is used for stopping bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoid relief (seems to me it would be healing to varicose veins as well), for gum disease, kidney and stomach ills, and as a diuretic. The powdered root is used to heal canker sores, apply topically. Externally it is used as a cancer remedy.

Wild Geranium

Wild Geranium

Motherwort

Motherwort

Motherwort: This plant, hanging here on my front porch (above picture) was an awesome gift from Martha Pickard's farm, (Nourished Roots Certified Nutrition Specialist).  I am going to tincture it as Motherwort is a wonderful healing plant for the female reproductive tract: promotes and regulates menstruation, as an aid in childbirth, as a uterine tonic, and for menstrual cramps.  I would mix it with Red Raspberry leaf and Stinging Nettle leaf for an amazing uterine tonic and female reproductive tract healing remedy.

Motherwort is also used for asthma, as a sleep aid, for heart palpitations, for sciatica, fevers, spasm, nerve pain, and stomachaches.

Motherwort is equally awesome for the heart, nourishing and strengthening the heart muscle and its blood vessels. It is a remedy for most heart diseases and rapid heart rate (tachycardia).  I would blend it with Hawthorne Berry for heart-loving nourishment!

Below is the pint of Motherwort tincture I have brewing.  The Motherwort demands respect when handling, like Stinging Nettles.  It has sweet, little, biting blossoms whorling about the stem.  Handle carefully, lest you get picked!

Thank you Jane for always keeping a supply of organic vodka at Village Wine & Liquors, Potsdam.  Keeps my tincture "squeaky clean!"

Thank you Jane for always keeping a supply of organic vodka at Village Wine & Liquors, Potsdam.  Keeps my tincture "squeaky clean!"

Nettle tea gallon.jpg

I would be horribly remiss if I did not mention my best herb friend here... Stinging Nettles. Yes, that is a gallon jug of Nettle, Red Clover flower, and Strawberry leaf tea.  Thank you John Casserly for the big bag of dried Nettles.  What a gift!

Herbs ARE very healing to body, mind, and soul.  The herbs nourish the physical body with vitamins, minerals, and healing chemical constituents that we really do not need to know their every name... just know that they work.  Herbs heal the mind because of the thinking you do to learn about their healing properties. Learning about herbs is a mind soothing activity. You are taking self-responsibility for your own health and acknowledging, at a very deep level, that you are not at the "hands" of fate and genetics.  You can do something, everyday, to make yourself feel and function from a vibrant space.  Herbs heal the soul because... well, look at my friendly connections just in this post.  My sister, Ginny, googling Self-Heal and teaching me a new plant, Martha gifting me with Motherwort, John gifting me with Nettles, and Jane gifting me with always having organic vodka available. Every time I use these healing gifts, I will think of my dear friends.  Self-Heal will always flash my sister into my mind. Herbs keep me connected with the best people and that is very soul soothing!

Creeping Wood Sorrel: This is that fun plant kids pick to eat because it is sour tasting. I ate plenty as a kid! Perhaps it is a wise, intuitive, healing action for kids who need the vitamin C after a long winter in Northern NY!  

Traditionally, the leaves were chewed to relief mouth sores, sore throats, and nausea.  Fresh leaves are poulticed and used on skin sores and ulcers, as well as cancers. Leaf tea is used for scurvy, urinary tract infections, and fevers. Caution:  Large doses may cause oxalate poisoning (much like the rhubarb leaves above).

Creeping Wood Sorrel, notice the tiny yellow flowers.  When in full bloom, flowers will be all over them.  Maybe flowers are another characteristic that attracts kids.

Creeping Wood Sorrel, notice the tiny yellow flowers.  When in full bloom, flowers will be all over them.  Maybe flowers are another characteristic that attracts kids.

 

I hope I have helped you to look at the plants in your yard from a different perspective, a healing point of view.  I always feel so sad for the lawn that people try to mold and shape into nothing but pure grass by cutting down and digging up plants and applying toxic chemicals.  When we leave nature as it is, bio-diversified, we have a healing oasis right out our back door (front door too!).

If you sit on the lawn, so you are close to the ground, and look at just a 2 square foot space, you will be amazed at the biodiversity of plant life in just that small space.  Even more fun, try moving about your yard, sitting in different spots along your journey.  By the end of your adventure, I bet you can find 50 to 100 different species of plants!

Go ahead, take a walk and look into your grass. Sit down and really look.  I bet you can find many, tiny plants interwoven with the grass blades, struggling to come to life. That is your healing garden!

Blessings, Paula

Self-Heal... another pretty picture!  I see Wild Strawberry leaves, plantain, white clover, and wood sorrel intertwined in here!

Self-Heal... another pretty picture!  I see Wild Strawberry leaves, plantain, white clover, and wood sorrel intertwined in here!

Interview with Susun Weed, Native American Healer

Image This is a very exciting interview for me as Susun Weed's book, The Child Bearing Years, was my first book on herbs, purchased in 1993.  Susun gave me that nudge I needed to continue my walk (It all started when I was a kid watching my Grandfather stirring his herbal magic) on my holistic healing path!

The live interview happened Tuesday, November 12th @ 9 PM and has been archived at BlogTalk Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/susunweed/2013/11/13/ask-herbal-health-expert-susun-weed-and-hololistic-health-with-paula-youmell

The show begins with 90 minutes of Susun doing Q & A on herbs and healing,

the last 30 minutes of the show is our interview time together.

An edited version has been, or will be, published and archived at four different sites:

www.wisewomanradio.com,

www.womensradio.com,

www.wisewomanmentor.com and on our blog

at www.wisewomantradition.com/wisewomanweb.

Preventing Hair Loss, Restoring Hair Growth

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Amazing herbs for health, hair, skin.... Stinging Nettles, Yarrow, and Rosemary (in the order they appear above).

Recently, it seems, that many people have been asking me in my workshops:

"What can I do about hair loss, thinning hair as I age?"  This is a topic that hits home with me as I have always had very fine and thin hair.  More thinning with age?  What will I have left?

So I decided to do an experiment with me as the guinea pig.  This is all natural, no abuse to the guinea pig's (ME!) skin or eyes as happens in commercial body care product testing.

Keep in mind this is about hair growth.  It takes time and a long term commitment (uh-oh!)

1.  I have added the following herbal essential oils to my shampoo:  Rosemary, oregano, peppermint, and yarrow.  I add about 8 drops per ounce of shampoo and I recommend using an all natural shampoo.  Chemicals in our hair care products clog the pores of the scalp and contribute to unhealthy hair, scalp, and hair loss.  Aubrey Organics products are a nice choice, available at Nature's Storehouse in Canton.  Read ingredients for "whole" ingredients, just as you would on a food product label and you can find other natural brands as well.  Read the ingredients, not just the "all natural" hype label on the front of the product.

2.  I make a tea and pour it over my scalp, making certain to soak my hair, well, through to the scalp, all over my head.  It is made with the whole herbs yarrow, nettles, and rosemary.  See pictures above.  For information on making herbal teas, email me.

I make a quart every 4 days and use 1 cup per day after shampooing.  Shampoo less often, the tea lasts longer.  Keep it refrigerated and always label your quart jar.  It is fine to drink, so no panic if someone should indulge in a 'lil of your herbal, scalp tea.

3.  I then massage my scalp in two different ways.  One is the general "rub my fingers and knead the scalp" method.  The other is placing my fingers in a stationary place on the scalp and shifting the whole scalp back and forth and side to side underneath my fingers.  This helps tremendously with scalp circulation and relaxing the scalp muscles around the actual hair shaft.  Do this massaging when washing your hair, when applying the above scalp tea, and when spraying on the below concoction of herbs.

4.  A scalp spray made up of about 1/3 cup of the above scalp tea which I then add the rosemary, peppermint, and oregano essential oils to it.  I am thinking about adding drops of the tinctures of yarrow, nettles, and horsetail as well.  This is made to spray onto the scalp, before bedtime, and massage the scalp as per above.

5.  Oh, and I am taking a saw palmetto and horsetail herbal tincture (easy to make with the herbs, good vodka, and a month's time to let the herbs "steep" into the vodka.  Horsetail is good for hair and skin health and saw palmetto is an herb for hair loss prevention / restoration.

Did I not say I was being a guinea pig?!

Today, as I write, it is November 9th.  I have been playing this hair restoration game for about 1 month now.  I imagine it will take at least 6 months before I can see any major changes (yes, my hair grows slowly!).

See what I mean about this being a long-term commitment... let's just see if I can stick to this hair restoration challenge and then report back my fabulous results.  Then, I will patent my formulas and become the rich, modern day Lady Godiva (Yes, I will also need to make some more of that face cream and take care of aging on the face as well) riding the streets of Potsdam!

Horse or Harley? Horse called Harley?

Horse or Harley? Horse called Harley?

If all else fails, I still have this gorgeous Doo-Rag (from my Harley riding days), graciously modeled by my Thanksgiving pie pumpkin!  I will plop it onto my head and tie into place, forget about making any more scalp tea, and then, I will buy another Harley.  Or maybe a horse and I will name her Harley!

Doo-Rag

Update March 2019: It is 5 1/2 years later, where the hell does the time go?

Time & commitment to the process is absolutely required. I cannot say I have been consistent with above stuff.

What I do now, 5 1/2 years later:

Medicinal Herbs ARE Food

Dandelion: use the flower, leaves, & roots.

The part used depends on the season.

Burdock Root: love your liver up with this powerful, healing herb.

"One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedence of chemical therapy over whole food nutrition.  

It is substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of nutritional starvation." -Dr. Royal Lee

Herbs are Food!

Herbs, whether taken in tea form, tinctures, or eaten whole, are food.  So often we get the message from main stream media and medicine:  Do NOT use herbs as they are potentially dangerous.  This is as crazy as saying that eating carrots are potentially dangerous.

Carrots are high in carotenoids, precursors to Vitamin A, that have healing affinities for the skin and eyes (and many other healing affinities but that is another blog post).  People eat carrots knowing the nutrients in carrots are good for skin, normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotenoid

Herbs are just a plant (leaf, root, stems, bark, berries, seeds), like a carrot, that have nutritional and healing properties with affinities for certain tissues:

  • Hawthorne berry for the heart

  • Saw palmetto for the prostate

  • Red Raspberry leaf for the uterus

  • Rhubarb root for the colon

  • Milk thistle for the liver

  • Nettle as a general nutritive herb

  • Dandelion and burdock root for liver cleansing

The list does go on & on & on.  These are just a very few example of herbs and the tissue / organ they have affinities for healing because the herb adds good, whole food nutrition to your body cells.  This is the same thing a carrot (or broccoli, beets, kale, sweet potatoes,squash, celeriac, etc.) does: feeds your body cells.

With that said, I recommend you

  1. read up on the herb you want to take.  Learn about the herb and its healing affinities before you make the decision to take it.

  2. Contact your local herbalist for help in choosing the right herb, or blend of herbs, to add to your whole food dietary plan for health and healing.

  3. Eat a whole food diet. Your body cells require whole food nutrition to function properly in each moment, replicate as normal & healthy cells, and keep you whole for vital longevity.

  4. Herbs are amazing nutrition for the body but they cannot make up for a refined, processed, junk food product diet. I use the word product because these things are products, not real food.

Herbs are whole foods.  Use them wisely for whole body healing.

Stinging nettle, one of my favorite herbs... wait, it IS my favorite.

Nettles are a powerhouse of nutrition and healing energy for the whole body.

stinging nettle small.jpg

I wrote this article 2 months ago.  Yes, I am way ahead in article writing, all the time, as I have so much to share about my passion with real food, health, and healing! I just received this video on Wednesday, October 16th.  It seemed fitting to add it in here!

One of my favorite natural healers, mentors, speaking about the benefits of herbs and healing: http://herbdocblog.com/article/Video/medicinal-herbsdont-get-bullied/

There are 6 new, mini videos about herbs and healing on his blog post.