Notes from the Naturopath
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Thursday, 23 June 2005
Now What?
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Put the Lime in the Coconut
Topic: Herbs
How do you get from this--


--to this?






Well, there are numerous ways!

Let's take the case of dandelion in point. Dandelion is an easy herb to find things to do with, because it is so useful to us.

First thing when collecting herbs is to consider the location from which you are harvesting plants.

~Do you have permission to harvest? If it is your yard, that is one thing, but if it is from the State Park, or property which belongs to somebody else, they might care.

~Is the location far enough from the road that exhaust fumes haven't damaged the herbs? You shouldn't pick within 50 feet of the road if you're going to ingest these plants.

~Have herbicides been used in the area? If anything good survives this type of attack, it is surely unfit to eat.

~Are there factories or commercial farms located nearby that could be contributing to soil pollution? There are a number of ways chemicals can end up in the ground.

~Have animals been suing this area for a dumping spot? Harmful bacteria could be on the plant. Always be sure to wash your fresh herbs very well.

~Are you collecting from an area which is heavily populated with the herb that you want? Please only take what you will use, and never leave an area depleted. Leave plenty enough behind to repopulate the area well.

~Never harvest endangered species of plants. There is always an alternative. There is no plant so unique that another can't do just as well. For instance, for Golden Seal, you can use Oregon Grape instead. We need to preserve the future of these precious plants for our kids.

~Leave an area in better shape than you found it, if possible. Be courteous and respectful to Mother Nature's sweet house!


When harvesting any herb from the wild, it is important to make sure you have the right plant. There aren't many that will actually hurt you, and I'm sure we all know what dandelions look like, but it's best always to be totally sure. If in doubt, do not pick the plant. I would recommend you get a good book on how to identify herbs.

Okay, so back to the case of dandelion...

Always choose plants which look healthy. Take into consideration the best time to harvest each plant. In the case of dandelion, the leaves are best when they're young and fresh. The older they get, the more tough and bitter in taste.

Pick a few dandelion leaves. Wash them and eat them. Just to get used to the taste. Dandelions are extremely nutritious to eat, they're very good for digestion, and they are one of the very best herbs for supporting proper kidney and liver function.

Mix them in salads. My kids never knew for a very long time, now they know and understand what I do. If you start doing it when they're young enough, they won't question the practice at all. The flowers are good to eat, too!

Boiled Egg Salad with Dandelion -Insalata di uova sode e tarassaco (Taraxacum officinalis)

4 boiled eggs
14 oz of tender dandelion rosettes
1 onion, chopped into rings
1 handful of chopped wild mint
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the boiled eggs into coins, and place them in a salad bowl with the dandelion leaves, chopped onion rings. Add the mint and dress with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Did you know that dandelion flowers have the highest lecithin content of anything in the whole entire plant world? Try tossing in some of these!

Dandelion Buds in Vinegar - Boccioli di tarassaco all'aceto (Taraxacum officinalis)
10 oz of small, closed dandelion flower buds
2 tbsp of salt
1 cup of vinegar
1 cup of dry white wine
2 garlic clobes
2 bay leaves
1/2 liter of olive oil

Cover the buds with salt and let them dehydrate for a couple of hours. Bring the vinegar, wine with the garlic cloves and bay leaves to a boil. Throw in the buds for a minute, then drain them and allow them to dry on a dish towel. Then put them in a jar and cover them with olive oil. Wait about a month before eating.

~ You can find more recipes like this at

Do you drink wine? I don't, but if I did, I would make some from dandelions! Here's a good recipe for that. (Hey, might as well drink a wine that will actualy be GOOD for the liver!)

I give credit for this recipe to one of my very favorite instructors in herbology, Dr. Philip Fritchey, ND, MH, CNHP.

Dandelion Wine


2 Quarts fresh Dadelion flowers
2 Quarts spring water
1 Orange
1 Lemon (Wash fruit thoroughly to remove any chemical resides)
3 Cups turbinado sugar
1/2 pack of yeast

Carefully remove any trace of stems from flowers. Place in some sort of large crock or non-metallic container. Thinkly slice the orange and lemon, and add to the flowers, along with the sugar. Bring water to boil and pour over the flowers, fruit, and sugar. Cover loosely and let set 2 days, stirring occasionally. Strain liquid into another large crock and add yest. Cover loosely again and allow to ferment in a warm place for two weeks. Skim off any foam, and carefully pour off wine, trying not to disturb and sediment. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator in tightly sealed bottles. Once cup of crushed fresh Red Raspberries may be used in place of the citrus.

*Please do not drink and drive, and please do not drink if you have a genetic history of alcoholism or any reason to suspect that you may have problems with alcohol.

Here's another drink you can make with dandelions, but this one is alcohol free! It's caffeine free, as well, and can be used as a healthy substitute for coffee:

Ground Roasted Dandelion Roots
Simply dig the roots out of the earth, wash them real good, brown them in the oven, and then chop them up and grind them and put them in your Mr. Dandelion machine!

You can put dandelion flowers, roots, and leaves into a tea. Be sure to use pure water. I like distilled for tea making purposes best, because it extracts the most nutrients from the herb. Place the herb in the water and heat just until you almost can't put your finger into the water anymore (so as not to destroy the active enzymes and vitamins of the plant), and then I like to spin it around in a blender before I strain it out to drink. You can add some type of natural sweetener to it if you like. Raw honey, stevia, or evaporated cane juice would be good sweeteners to use.

You can also make an extract quite simply from herbs. Tinctures are easy to make. Gather and wash the herbs, place them in a jar and cover with what is known as a "menstruum." The rule of thumb is 1 part dry herb or 2 parts fresh herb to 4 parts menstrum.

A menstruum is a solution used to extract the medicinal compounds from plants. There are several that you can use, but the one I use most often is made up of 1 part vegetable glycerin and 2 parts distilled water. YOu can also use 100 proof vodka, or raw apple cider vinegar (5% acidic).

Finely chop or crush the herbs to reduce the size as much as possible. A food processor, blender, or coffee grinder may be used, or just an old fashioned knife. Put the herbs into the jar and cover with menstruum, then set the jar in a suny window and leave it there for two weeks. Shake the jar at least two times a day.

After two weeks, blend the mixture up in your blender and then strain the contents though a strainer or muslin, squeezing as much of the menstruum out of the herb pulp as you possibly can. Pour into dark amber glass bottles and cap tightly. Label and store in a cool, dark place until needed. A glycerin based tincture has a shelf life of 3-5 years!

The resultant product is what is known as a whole-herb extract, and it is as safe as the original herb was itself. All the constituents are still in proper balance, preserved exactly the way nature intended for them to be, not like with drugs where certain parts of the plant are extracted, leaving the others behind.

*If using vodka as an extractant, the tincture may be heated to cook off the alochol.

You can also dry and powder your herbs, to put them into capsules. This is a very convenient way to take herbs, and it is the one with which most people are the most familiar. It is, however, the least effective way, particularly in the case of dandelion and other herbs with which part of their benefit is due to taste. Bitter herbs such as dandelion stimulate the digestion through taste buds. This benefit is lost when encapsulating herbs.

Still, though, you may choose this method. It is very convenient, and there are many other benefits to be had from dandelion, besides help with the digestive process. For instance, in addition to being extremely nutritious, dandelions also stimulate the production of both red and white blood cells. They are a wonderful antioxidant, too.

Herbs properly dried and stored can retain intact indefinately. Herbs in their original form have been discovered in tombs over 6,000 years old!

Herbs may be tied in loose bundles and hung from the ceiling, or they may be arranged in thin layers on screen and pleced in a sheltered location until they are brittle when touched. They may be placed in a dehyudrator, or heated in an oven at very low temperatures for a short time. They should be stored in air tight containers and placed in the dark. Putting each jar into a brown paper lunch bag works fine!

Just about anything that can be done with fresh herbs can be done with dry herbs, so this is a good process to use to save herbs for future used. The key is to make sure they are thoroughly dry, so as to eliminate the risk of mold. Roots and barks almost always require low heat...Air drying might not be enough.

Be sure when drying herbs that you keep the herbs separate according to type. They all look pretty much the same once they're dry!

Keep them as intact as possible, to reduce the amount of potency lost, and then powder when ready to use.

There are more ways in which herbs can be processed, but I'll save those for another day. You can make hot or cold infused oils, for instance, or you can make ointments or creams. You can also use herbs in poultices, compresses, lotions, mouthwashes, baths, or steam inhalations. There are all sorts of ways to use herbs!

Oh! And the dandelion? You can use every part of the plant! We discussed the leaves, roots, and flowers, but what about the stems?

The milky latex in the stem of the dandelion can be used to help eliminate warts and m oles! Apply several times a day and in 7-10 days the wart or mole should fall off! It is also good to help fade "age spots."

And the puff? We called them Fairies when we were kids! What do you think they are?

May All Your Wishes for Good Health Always Come True!
Mary Jo Eshelman, ND, CTN, CNHP
allnatureworks@aol.com



The information presented is the author's personal and professional opinion, and is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing printed here is designed to take the place of a physician's advice. If you are experiencing problems with your health, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed health care professional. All Natural HealthWorks! is not responsible for any damages or ill-effects resulting from the information presented herein, nor do we make any recommendations regarding your health. We are simply here as a resource for you in making your own choices for your health yourself.



Posted by super2/allnaturalhealth at 12:18 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 26 June 2005 10:15 AM EDT
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Friday, 10 June 2005
Herbs Are Not Drugs!
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: I Want a New Drug by Huey Lewis and the News
Topic: Herbs


Herbs are not drugs, they are nutrients. People often confuse the two, because many drugs are derived from plants. The difference, however, is that they?ve been changed. When parts of a plant are extracted for drugs, it is not a whole plant anymore; but something that?s been made by man. Drugs are synthetic. Plants are made by God. When you extract substances from plants, mix them with chemicals, and heavily process them, it is then that they become drugs. When they are used as whole foods, herbs nourish the body so that the body can heal and stay well. Herbs provide nutritional support so that the body can heal itself.

The following table compares the characteristics of drugs to those of nutrients, as written by David Rowland, NMD, PhD, RNC:


Those who attempt to use nutrients as drugs will likely be disappointed ? and, of course, there is no way that a drug can truly substitute for the lack of an essential nutrient. Their very natures and the roles that they play are entirely different.

Drugs have their place. Drugs are excellent tools when immediate or drastic action is needed, as prescribed by a physician, of course. As mentioned above, drugs have a much quicker effect. Healing takes time.

If drugs are used, it is good to follow with the herbs. Herbs can help to reduce the damage from side effects, and to provide nutritional support to the body so that it can more quickly and easily heal.

Mary Jo Eshelman, ND, CTN, CNHP
allnatureworks@aol.com



The information presented is the author's personal and professional opinion, and is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing printed here is designed to take the place of a physician's advice. If you are experiencing problems with your health, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed health care professional. All Natural HealthWorks! is not responsible for any damages or ill-effects resulting from the information presented herein, nor do we make any recommendations regarding your health. We are simply here as a resource for you in making your own choices for your health yourself.

Posted by super2/allnaturalhealth at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 26 June 2005 11:12 AM EDT
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Saturday, 28 May 2005
Backyard Medicine
Mood:  lazy
Now Playing: Dandelion by the Rolling Stones
Topic: Herbs
Once upon a time I used herbs, and overcame sooooooo many problems I had. Then I ran out of money. Uh-oh! But you know what? I had a thought, and then I went to school and one of my instructors (Dr. Phil Fritchey) said the very same thing: HERBS DON'T GROW IN A CAPSULE IN A MANUFACTURING FACILITY SOMEWHERE IN UTAH! HERBS GROW RIGHT UNDER OUR FEET!

Why do the simplest things sometimes take such a long time to sink in? I knew that all along, but it somehow just didn't hit home.

So what's in my yard? All sorts of wonderful things! And I'll bet they are in your yard, as well...or at least I hope that they are!

I know some people pay lots of money to kill all those terrible "weeds." The weed killing companies do a good job of convincing us that weeds are nooooooo good!

Well, they're no good in a garden, perhaps...But then again...My garden is nothing but "weeds!" Hahaha! I wish I had a digital camera! I'd take a few pictures! You'd see! I mow all around the good weeds!

For instance, take a look at common plaintain. Everyone has it, unless they use herbicides to poison their yard.

(I would strongly suggest that if herbicides/pesticides are used in the yard, not to go barefoot outside. What a shame, too, because God put really good medicine into the plants that were meant to be walked on in barefeet. People were not born with shoes! Click here to view the risks.)

There are two types of common plaintain: Broadleaf and lanceleaf. Both types grow plentiful in my backyard!

Plantago Major

Plantago Lanceolata

Plantain staunches bloodflow, encourages repair of damaged tissue, can be used in place of comfrey to treat bruises and broken bones, and is also used to relieve bee stings, insect and spider bites, poison ivy and rashes. What a nice thing to grow in the yard! Step on a bee? Grab plantain! It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorous properties, and it works as an expectorant, demulcent and diuretic. The seeds are a mucilagionous laxative and anti-diabetic (psyllium). It is extremely useful to have!

Then there's my favorite! The dandelion! It's my favorite flower, I swear! They look so happy with their yellow faces, smiling in my yard everywhere!

Taraxacum Officianale


Dandelion is one of the most nutritionally dense plants that there is! It is very beneficial while breastfeeding. It is also very cleansing and healing to the kidneys, liver, gall bladder and spleen. It opens passages and is effective in removing obstructions. It is an excellent diuretic, and does not deplete minerals from the body, but rather supplies them. As dandelion works to reduce excess fluids in the body, it helps to control blood pressure. It is a bitter herb and is a very good aid to digestion when eating a few leaves before meals.

You can use them to make wishes, too!

When picking herbs from the yard to use in preparations--whether tinctures, teas, tossed salads, or ointments--it is best to stay at least 50ft from the road, so as to avoid car pollution contamination, particularly when using the leaves or other arial parts. Other than exhaust fumes, most herbs you'll find in your yard are safe. A good rule of thumb is to watch what the bunnies all eat!













Peppermint is a good herb we all recognize, but how many of us know it is more than a candy, or a flavoring for chewing gum? Peppermint is one of my most commonly used herbs in medicinal formulas, due to its activating effects upon the other herbs--It acts as a catalyst.

Mentha Piperita (Labiatae)


Peppermint is good for the digestion, and may be used for nausea, colic, vomiting, and spasmodic pain in the bowels. It provides symptomatic relief of asthma and chronic bronchitis, as well as being useful for toothaches and headaches.

Besides all of that, peppermint smells good to people and bad to mosquitos! What more can you ask for than that?!



A cousin of peppermint is the herb, Melissa, which is also
referred to as Lemon Balm, or Bee Balm.

Melissa Officinalis(Labiatae)

Bee Balm is easy to grow, and is very useful for treating bee stings, among other things. It has long been revered as a remedy for nervous system complaints, and as an effective treatment for mild depression, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability.

Melissa is said to lift the spirits and lighten the heart. Interestingly enough, it is also used to relieve heart palpitations. It has carminative, nervine, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressive, hypotensive, diaphoretic, anti-microbial, hepatic, and anti-viral actions.

Another herb good for both heart palitations and a heart heavy with meloncholy is the herb known as Motherwort.

Leonurus Cardiaca(Labiatae)

Motherwort is one of the best herbs to strengthen the heart and make the mind cheerful.

It is also a rememdy for the nerves and kidneys, and is useful in relieve premenstrual tension and pain. It is known to promote relaxation without bringing about drowsiness, making it a desirable anti-anxiety herb.

Motherwort is useful in cases of delayed menstruation, and should be avoided during times of heavy menstruation and pregnancy.

Another rather grand statement in my yard is made by the plentiful burdock plants that are growing quite large!

Niu Bang Zi (Chinese) This is the name for Burdock.


Burdock is widely used in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine as a powerful detoxifying herb. It helps the body to cleanse itself of waste products, and is thought to be particularly useful in eliminating heavy metals from within the blood. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, is a diuretic, and has hypoglycemic effects. It is thought to strengthen the immune system and has anti-tumorous properties. Burdock is usueufl in any condition where toxicity is a key factor.

The only thing bad about burdock is all the burrs! They don't come out of hair too easily without using scissors...That goes for human as well as dog hair, so be careful when you harvest them! (The seeds are used to remove toxins in fevers and infections, such as measles and mumps.)

Poke is an extremely effective purgative herb, which is very useful, if you are trying to purge. However, if you are not trying to purge, you might want to go easy with poke!

Phytolacca Americana(Phytolaccaceae)When dealing with blocks, there is no more effective herb in all of nature to help clear the body of these. It works on the bowel, blood, lymphatic system and lungs. Poke was a traditional remedey for gout, fevers, and kidney stones, and today is recognized as one of the most promising cancer fighting herbs in existence and is currently the object of a great deal of study. It is excellent for cleaning lymphatic congestion as well as the liver.

The greens may be steamed and eaten, but drain water off 2-3 times duering cooking, due to the purgative effect. Poke is usually used in combination with other herbs, to balance the strong cleansing effects. Dandelion is a good choice. The berries of the poke plant are toxic. They can be cooked to remove the toxins and make preeparations, but other herbs are a better choice.

Isn't it nice that God put a safety feature into herbs such as this, which are powerful medicines, by making us vomit if we use too much of the herb? That makes me feel safe to know!

Comfrey, known also as knitbone, is a very highly regarded herb said to "heal all inward wouinds and ruptures." (K'Eogh, 1735)

Symphytum Officinale(Boraginaceae)

Comfrey is an extremely useful herb with a rich history of great healing, but it has come under scrutiny lately due to one of its alkaloids. The FDA advises against taking comfrey internally, due to the presence of trace amounts of phrrolizidine alkaloids. These same akaloids are found in greater amounts in spinach, as well as beer. It is advisable to use all of these products with care. The highest concentration, by far, is found in the root. The leaves are considered safe.

Historically, comfrey has been used both externally and internally with great success to treat a variety of conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and respiratory complaints. Its reputation as an injury healer is unrivaled, as it has been used for thousands of years to promote the healing of brusies, sprains, fractures, and broken bones. It has also been used in the treatment of scars. In relation to skin, it has also been used effectively in the treatment of acne and boils as well as rashes and fungal skin infections.

Comfrey's healing power is so rapid and great, that it is not advisable to apply it directly to puncture wounds. In such cases, the wound may begin to heal so quickly that tissue may form over the wound before it is healed deeper down, with abscesses possibly forming. With deep wounds, Ajuga Reptans (Bugle) is a much better choice; otherwise, comfrey cannot be beat for bruises, boo boos, and breaks!

The last herb I am going to introduce you to from my yard this evening is the delicate little sweet tasting Ground Ivy!

Glechoma Hederacea(Labiatae)

Ground Ivy is one of those little herbs that the bunny rabbits just love so much! Do you know why? Because it is nice and sweet, and so totally safe...It's a very good choice for children.

Ground ivy was a popular treatment for chronic cough in medieval times, and was considered a valuable remedy for tinnitus, as well.

Ground ivy is a tonic, diuretic, and a decongestant. Throat and chest problems benefit from its use, and it is particularly well suited to problems involving the mucous memberanes of the ear, nose, throat. Additionally, it is useful in working with problems relating to the digestive system, such as gastritis, acid indigestion, and diarrhea. It is also considered to be of benefit to the kidneys. And it's a most pretty color of vibrant purple, as well!

I encourage you to take a closer look at the medicine you have in your own yard. What are those things you call weeds? Could the be God's gift to you, for use when you need some kind of answer to healing prayer? Has the answer been there all along?

Proper identification is very important, but remember, the body rejects what's not safe when the danger comes (in small doses) from a natural source. The roots of a plant are generally the strongest. If a rabbit can get to it, and if it goes back for more, then chances are you'll be safe. Either that, or you'll throw up or otherwise eliminate.

As a beginner, I would recommend that you stick with what you know. We all know dandelions, I'm sure! Dandelions, red clover, peppermint, lemon balm...these kinds of herbs are sure bets!

May I recommend that you obtain a couple of books to help with identification. It's good to have more than one, due to differences in photography. A few books that I like a lot are The Enclycopedia of Medicinal Plants, by Andrew Chavalier, and the Peterson Field Guide along with A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants

Herbs are God's gifts to us for providing the nourishment our bodies need to sustain our good health. They were given to us as food.

~Genesis 1:29

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.


If you have a few more dandelions or other "good weeds" than you'd like, they may be effectively dealt with in a way so as not to harm the environment and expose yourself and others, including children and animals, to the hazards of chemical intervention. Please treat your lawn naturally! Here is some help in learning how!










Newsletter featuring ways to make your yard chemical free!.


Enjoy!
And remember...Good Health is a Natural Thing!



Mary Jo Eshelman, ND, CTN, CNHP
All Natural HealthWorks!
Holistic Education and Research Unlimited...

The information presented is the author's personal and professional opinion, and is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing printed here is designed to take the place of a physician's advice. If you are experiencing problems with your health, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed health care professional. All Natural HealthWorks! is not responsible for any damages or ill-effects resulting from the information presented herein, nor do we make any recommendations regarding your health. We are simply here as a resource for you in making your own choices for your health yourself.

Posted by super2/allnaturalhealth at 11:44 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 5 June 2005 1:16 AM EDT
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