Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Raspberry Leaf - A Woman's Best Friend

This morning I am sharing another post that I wrote a few months back elsewhere. I've discovered one of the benefits of doing this is that I can read my articles with fresh eyes and revise them if needed.

Let me begin with the following admission: I am a coffee drinker. *head hanging* Yes, it's true. In fact, I love my coffee; A LOT.  But that said, I have decreased the amount that I consume on a daily basis to usually only one cup in the morning and some days none at all.  During my last pregnancy, I discovered that I actually really, really enjoy the comforting, earthy taste of red raspberry leaf tea (which tastes nothing like raspberries, by the way). It is also an excellent source of the alkaloid fragrine, which tones and strengthens the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus itself which really helps lessen or even eliminate cramps during the menstrual cycle besides making for an easier childbirth. I firmly believe that red raspberry leaf is an herb that that should be in the kitchen of every woman, pregnant or not. If you're not a big herbal tea drinker, you might find it easier to drink it iced and with a little squeeze of lemon or orange rather than hot, or even sweetened with a bit of stevia or honey. Some of my friends have mentioned these ways of enjoying it, so I thought I'd share with you. However you decide to drink it, please, please take the time to read about this fascinating herb and all that it can do for you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Herbal Poultices

In the interest of keeping all of my online herbal information in a single place, I'm re-publishing, along with some revisions and edits, the article I wrote several months back on herbal poultices.

A very neatly wrapped example of a  poultice.
Herbal poultices are an old-fashioned remedy employed by wise-folk for centuries with good reason; they are fantastic at  helping to draw out infections and speeding up healing.  A poultice can help by increasing the flow of blood around a wound or injury, relaxing tense muscles, soothing inflamed tissues, or drawing toxins out of an infected area and have been used successfully through-out the ages.

Our skin is an amazing organ that protects us from a variety of invaders, but it also has the ability to allow healing to occur when something is applied topically. Applying an herbal poultice to the site of an injury or wound  means that the skin will absorb the healing benefits of the contents almost immediately. Just stop and think for a moment about all of the commercial products that are being sold because they capitalize on this fact.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saying Hello to Comfrey

This is an article I originally posted last July.  I am sharing it again here, with a few edits, as I believe this is a great place to have it for new followers, if there are any.
The Comfrey in my garden last spring.
For centuries Comfrey has been known to be invaluable in the treatment of wounds, sprains, skin irritations, bug bites, rashes, bruises, even broken bones in both humans and animals (the origins of several of its common aliases, "Bruisewort", "Knitback", "Knitbone", "Boneset", and "Bruisewort"). There was a time when farmers regularly fed Comfrey to their livestock for various ailments or as a spring tonic after a long winter of being sun-deprived and relatively stagnant. Wise-women have also fed Comfrey to their families for its high content of protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, B12, and C. Taken in herbal folk remedies, Comfrey has been shown to heal gastric ulcers, treat colitis, heal bronchial conditions, pulmonary distress, lung congestion and cirrhosis of the liver. To that end, it can be eaten and is delicious in salads, sauteed along with other vegetables, or enjoyed in an herbal remedy as a comforting tea.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cardamom - The Spice That Heals

Having spent nearly 20 years in the Middle East, one of the most memorable culinary experiences that pops to mind is the first time I tasted cardamom. I remember being handed this hot, deliciously scented liquid out of a tiny cup without handles and thinking, "What in the world...?" And that was my introduction to Al-Qahwa,