Archive for the ‘Herbal’ Category


Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

There is no question that nicotine is harmful to men also, but it is more so to women whose bodies are more sensitive to its effects. Also, statistics suggest that more men today smoke pipes, which are not quite as harmful as cigarettes since the toxicity is somewhat reduced due to a filtering system and a different way of preparing pipe tobacco. Nevertheless, whatever one might argue, it is more sensible and much easier to refrain from punishing the heart while there is still time.

Never forget that we have only one heart, from which we expect faithful service during our entire lifetime. It is a miracle in itself that the heart is capable of rendering this service unremittingly, and we should show our appreciation by caring for this marvellous gift. But we are failing this responsibility if we hasten its deterioration by careless overexertion and wilfully feeding it with poisons we know to be harmful. Such abuse will serve only to cut short the peaceful twilight years of our life. It is sad when proper understanding, regrets and a change of life-style come too late to save a person from an early grave.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Many herbs grow well from cuttings, too. Take them in the post-flowering period if possible, or if you are not letting your herbs flower (in order to get the best fragrance and flavour), take cuttings after the new growth of the spring has hardened off a bit, otherwise they may wilt and not strike. Late summer is often best of all, as the stems are now strong and more woody, and cuttings taken with a “heel” of old wood at the base have every chance of striking.

I prefer to use the same seed-box soil mixture for striking cuttings. I have found that the sand medium often recommended is not so satisfactory for herbs, and the added nutriment in the richer mixture has no harmful effect on tender new herb roots. In fact, cuttings strike so well that they then suffer very little acclimatization worries when transferred to similar soil in the open garden, window box or pot. Put the cuttings fairly close together round the outside edge of a large terracotta pot, and water them sufficiently to keep the soil moist. A mist-sprayer or small atomizer is useful, too, to keep the foliage damp during the day. Each time you pass the cutting pot, have the spray handy, as tests have proved that cuttings root better if their foliage is kept slightly moist.

You can tell when your cuttings have rooted and are strong enough to transplant by observing their leaf growth. You will have stripped most of the old leaves off when first planting them, and perhaps nipped off the top shoot as well. When new leaves are growing strongly, you can be sure your cutting is alive. Leave it a week or two longer, then transplant to its new home. Unless these new leaves are formed, the cutting has not taken root, and is not viable.

Almost all herbs grow well from cuttings, with the exception of clump-forming ones like borage, comfrey, dandelion, lemongrass and horseradish.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Artemisia dracunculus COMPOSITAE

French tarragon-is an almost purely culinary herb, having very little folk-lore or tradition behind it. Its bitter-sweet delicate flavour seems to typify the essence of French cuisine, although the plant was originally taken from Russian stock. Russian tarragon is reputed to be hardier and more vigorous and to have a stronger taste; but my own experience with French tarragon has proved to me that time spent in preparation of a good home for it in open sunshine can see it grow so abundantly as to rival its Russian parent in size without any loss of flavour delicacy. Experimenting with French tarragon, I put one small plant in early spring in a deeply dug bed, with blood and bone well under its roots and a soil rich in natural compost, in full open sunshine, and gave it plenty of water in the early settling-in period. Before the end of the summer, the bush was 2 feet high and 4 feet across, and some fifty-odd new plants had been dug and potted out from around its base. So I smile when told that French tarragon grows small and weedy.

In another part of the garden, in the partial shade of shrubs, but in otherwise similar conditions, I then planted a second tarragon. Sure enough, it grew thin and straggly as the books had foretold. It seems that in warmer climates tarragon can have, and indeed should have, the open sunshine not recommended for it in English and Continental conditions. I have since proved to my own satisfaction that this is so. Tarragon should be in your sunniest herb bed, with room to cascade sideways if it wishes. Leave an area about four feet across when setting it out in the garden. With well-fed soil, it should fill this space before the end of one growing season.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Here is an eighteenth-century French recipe that will taste just as delectable with the stronger oregano or the milder marjoram:

Marinaded Veal Chops

Slice a pocket in veal chops, and insert an anchovy fdlet in each one. Make a marinade of equal parts of oil and vinegar, to which a crushed garlic clove and crushed fresh oregano has been added. Steep the meat in this marinade for at least 2 hours, turning once. Remove, and blot dry. Then brown the chops in oil or butter and transfer them to a casserole. Add i cup of dry white wine, a few drops of lemon juice, shallots and parsley, and cover tightly. Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, or till tender. Cream can be substituted for the wine for a variation.

If you are a cole-slaw addict as I am, try this “hot-slaw” in the winter time for a change.

Hot Herb Slaw

Shred half a cabbage. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large heavy pan, and fry the cabbage for several minutes, stirring to prevent its sticking, then add a half-cup of water, sprigs of basil, dill and oregano to taste. Mix through, simmer several minutes then stir in f cup of yoghurt. Heat again quickly and serve.

Does your hair come out in handfuls on the brush or comb? Make a strong infusion of marjoram: 2 handfuls of the fresh herb in a cup of water, and simmer gently for a few minutes, then let stand till lukewarm. Rub this solution well into the scalp after washing and rinsing the hair, and gently pat dry. It conditions and strengthens the hair as well.

Marjoram oil can be rubbed into joints and sinews if they start to stiffen or cramp after heavy exercise, particularly in the cold weather. You can make your own quite easily. And if you get a toothache right in the middle of Christmas dinner, chew leaves of marjoram over the spot to deaden the ache until you can rouse out your dentist. Marjoram used regularly in the diet helps to ward off stomach upsets and acts through the bloodstream as an internal antiseptic against those tummy “wogs”.

Altogether, a happy and rejoiceful herb.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

The roots of the dandelion, dug in the second year of growth, can be roasted and used instead of coffee. Dig up the whole plant in the autumn. Cut off the leaves, and use in salads, or put through the juicer, or add to the compost heap where they are very welcome. Then wash and dry the large tap roots (rubbing off the small hair rootlets), and dry in a cool oven till quite brittle. Roast them to a light brown when needed and grind as coffee. One or two teaspoons brews a cup of pleasant flavour, which has none of the bad effects that over-indulgence in strong coffee can produce.

Another apt name for the dandelion came also from France, where pisse-en-lit was the unhappy outcome of a child’s occasional gorging on dandelion leaves and flowers. Our “Wet-the-beds” has remained to damage the dandelion’s reputation, and its more valuable qualities have been overlooked.

The commercial uses of dandelions have not yet been fully explored, but it has been found that the plants breathe out ethylene gas. This would seem to justify the gardener’s criticism of dandelions as a pest, because ethylene inhibits the growth and height of nearby plants. However, ethylene is used extensively now in artificial ripening of fruit, so some canny orchardists are putting Nature to work for them by scattering dandelion seeds under their fruit-trees. The ethylene given off can aid in the early ripening of the crop.

That most concentrated and balanced food plant, alfalfa, has a natural affinity for dandelions, and if the yellow sunny buttons and “four o’clocks” are found growing in a field, it is certain that alfalfa will grow there to perfection.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Bergamot has a natural affinity for pork dishes, and this recipe is a traditional early North American one.

4 thick pork chops, fat removed

2 teaspoons chopped bergamot Oil, salt, pepper

1\4 pint cider

Chopped gherkins, capers

Use a small sharp knife and score small slits in the chops on each side. Mix enough oil with the salt and pepper and chopped bergamot to make a paste, and rub into the slits in the meat. Leave for one hour. Then put chops under grill, and cook about 10 minutes each side under moderate heat, saving all the juices from the grill pan. Remove to shallow oven-proof dish. Pour the cider and juices over the chops, sprinkle top with chopped gherkins and capers, and brown for 5 minutes in a moderately hot oven. Serve with grilled pineapple or apple rings.

Bergamot can be propagated by root division after the first year, the clump divided in early spring as soon as the first leaves show. In any case, it should be dug up every three or four years, thinned out and replanted.

An orange salad can be given a piquant lift using freshly picked bergamot leaves. Peel and remove all the pith from the oranges, cut in neat wedges and pile in a small bowl, placing lightly bruised bergamot leaves in among the orange segments. Leave for an hour, then serve on a bed of lettuce with chopped bergamot leaves sprinkled over the top. The salad can be lightly dressed with apricot-kernel oil, or any bland salad oil, if you wish.



Monday, March 23rd, 2009

At this stage, you can start employing a simple version of thermal biofeedback to become even more deeply relaxed.

Make a mental image of yourself lying on a warm, sunny beach. Visualize plunging your hands into the hot, sun-warmed sand. Place your awareness on your right hand. Feel the heat of the sand flooding into your right hand. Picture your hand as heavy and warm. Simultaneously, repeat the phrases.

“My hand feels heavy and warm. Warmth is flowing into my hand. My hand feels quite warm. My hand is tingling with warmth.”

Keep repeating these phrases. You don’t have to use the exact words or memorize them. But say essentially the same thing. As you silently repeat each phrase, visualize a clear picture of each suggestion on your inner movie screen. Or just create the visualization out where your awareness is—in your right hand.

In a minute or two, your right hand should begin to tingle and feel warm. When it does, repeat the same thing with the left hand. Once both hands are tingling and warm, you can deepen the feeling by changing your suggestions to include both hands.

“My hands are heavy and warm. Warmth is flowing into my hands,” and so on. Visualize both hands as tingling and warm.

You will probably find that one hand becomes warmer appreciably faster than the other. If so, start with this hand. As soon as you feel tingling and warmth in this more suggestible hand, magnify the feeling, then spread mat same feeling to the other hand.

You may find you can speed up the warming process by visualizing the red glow of a hot plate or hot coals inside your hands. Or you might visualize your hands plunged into hot water.

Be sure you are in a moderately warm room with a temperature of at least 70°F. Otherwise, keep your hands under a blanket. Never try to force or hurry anything. Just make the pictures and repeat the phrases.

As the blood vessels relax and dilate in your hands, more blood flows in, making your hands heavier and warmer. During this process, you unconsciously sink into a deeper state of relaxation and suggestibility.

At this point, the subconscious is able to accept vivid and powerful images of the state of health (or any other goal) that you wish to give it.



Monday, March 23rd, 2009

To practice this ancient Japanese healing therapy, place both thumbs, nails up, parallel on the table. Now press gently but firmly while making a rotating motion with the thumbs. Hold the pressure for eight seconds, then release. When you apply this to any part of the body, you are practicing acupressure.

To relieve cold symptoms, begin by applying pressure to the center of your forehead directly above the nose. Then, separating the thumbs, begin to press with a single thumb on each side of the bridge of the nose opposite the corner of each eye. Continue working on down the face, next to the nose, at half-inch intervals. You should be massaging with one thumb on each side of the nose, applying pressure for eight seconds in one spot before moving on to the next.

If you find it easier, you may use a fingertip in place of a thumb. Under no circumstances use pressure on the eyes themselves.

Now, using the tips of the third and fourth fingers instead of the thumbs, use the same pressure and motion to massage the top of the head. Then massage the center of the crown and work on down to the back of the neck.

Massaging these key pressure points will invariably bring soothing relief from sinus pain, congestion and headache for periods of thirty to forty-five minutes or more.



Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Supportive nutrition is essential if the immune system is to end viral infection swiftly. A number of small-scale studies all appear to confirm that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are partly responsible for suppression of the immune system which prolongs the severity and duration of colds and flu.

Other studies are showing that whenever the body is stressed by an infection, key nutrients such as vitamins A and C, and the mineral zinc, may be depleted more rapidly than the average diet can replenish them. This deficiency then further lowers immunocompetence. Although results are preliminary, these studies are consistent with the existence of a public health problem of deficiency in nutrients that support immunocompetence.

Unless at least 80 percent of your diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes, your body may be unable to absorb sufficient essential nutrients from the food you cat. Recent surveys have

shown that a high intake of polyunsaturated fat, in the form of pressed vegetable oils, can be immunosuppressive while the Standard American Diet with its emphasis on meat fats, dairy foods, eggs, fried foods and other animal products tends to be deficient in such key nutrients as vitamins A and C and zinc. Each of these appears essential to a high level of immunocompetence. Even if your diet were nutritionally adequate, such influences as sugar, saturated fats, alcohol, caffeine, The Pill, diuretics and other medications or stimulants can inhibit absorption of key nutrients.



Monday, March 23rd, 2009

When it resurfaces in man, the human immune system is caught completely unprepared and a sudden, widespread epidemic occurs. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was the worst pestilence to afflict the human race. Over half a million died in the U.S., and thirty million more elsewhere on this planet. Another 50,000 died in 1957 when Asian Flu hit the U.S. and infected 45 million Americans. Scientists have identified three types of influenza virus.

•TYPE A is the most frequent and severe. Its subtypes are also the most subject to variation. Type A variants have been responsible for almost every major pandemic, including the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Asian Flu of 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu of 1968. Type A variants continue to cause flu epidemics every two to three years and it is the most common flu type encountered in the U.S. during winter.

•TYPE B causes local flu outbreaks, especially in spring or summer. Because it is less subject to variations, there are no important subtypes. However, Type B viruses do experience mutational drifts that can cause devastating new strains to appear every few years.

•TYPE C is rarely encountered nowadays.

Variants of each type are named for the major surface protein and for the proteins that induce immune response against the virus. The two major proteins are hemagglutinin (“H”) and neuraminidase (“N”). Thus H1N1 is a recent subtype that was identified in Chile in 1981, while H3N2 surfaced in the Philippines in 1983.

Although by itself flu is a self-limiting ailment and is rarely fatal, complications present a potentially serious risk to the elderly, the chronically ill and to some pregnant women; to those with chronic lung diseases such as tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema; or to patients with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disorders, cystic fibrosis or obesity.

As with the common cold, the severity and duration of influenza appears related to the victim’s immunocompetence. A person with a strong immune system may recover from flu in only four or five days while the infection can persist for ten days or more in a person with a compromised immune system.

In, say, a forty-year-old adult with an average immune system, fever typically lasts three days, after which symptoms gradually ameliorate. However, even though you may suddenly feel well, it’s advisable to schedule an extra day of rest at home in case of a relapse.

Although influenza is responsible for a whole catalog of miseries, one thing it does not cause is so-called “intestinal flu.” This term is commonly used to describe a variety of gastrointestinal ailments, such as persistent indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea, which people believe are caused by a flu-like virus. However, the comparison is inaccurate. Neither flu nor cold viruses produce any kind of gastrointestinal dysfunction nor are these problems related to the aftermath of a cold or flu.