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A Year of Celebration and Health: April

Overview:
Awareness: Alcohol, Autism, Child Abuse, Donate Life, National STD, Parkinson’s, Stress, World Health
Flower: Daisy
Gemstone: Diamond
Trees: Rowan, Maple, Walnut

Fool’s Day:
I am using this day to highlight two areas of healing that often ‘tricks’ one into thinking that they are either getting worse or better: the healing crisis and emotional trauma healing. The healing crisis, formally known as the herxheimer reaction, is characterized by a temporary increase in discomfort during the body’s process of detoxification. It occurs when internal toxins and wastes are being released faster than the body can eliminate them. A general rule of thumb for a healing crisis is the more dietary, medical and/or environmental toxins that one has accumulated over time, the more severe the effects of the detoxification during a cleanse or natural healing program.

The herxheimer reaction is an indication that the process of cleansing and detoxification is working and that the body is cleaning itself of impurities, toxins and other wastes. The reactions are temporary, but, depending on the levels of toxicity, they may occur immediately, within several days, or even several weeks later. Some people feel flu like complaints during the first few days of the cleanse because the body is dumping toxins into the blood stream for elimination. The ill-affects usually pass within 1-3 days. On rare occasions, they may last several weeks. Sometimes, the discomfort during the healing crisis is of greater intensity than before starting a cleanse.

Another crisis may come after you begin feeling your very best. There may be many small crises to go through before the final crisis is experienced. The healing crisis may bring about experiences of past conditions. While people often forget past diseases or injuries, they may be reminded during the healing crisis. On a positive note many people experience little or no discomfort at all.

When one decides it is time to heal from emotional traumas it is easy to fall into a false sense of healing. This usually occurs in the beginning of the journey. Once one opens up and starts to talk or write about the trauma event/s there is a sense of ‘I am better. I am healed.’ These feelings often stem from the fact that one is finally releasing the surface facts of the trauma. But, just doing these steps rarely deal with the core trauma issues. In reality one’s healing never ends as the triggers never fully go away. The more one continues to work on healing from the negative effects of trauma, the more positive one’s thoughts, dreams, and actions will be. Emotional healing is truly about changing one’s way of thinking and dealing with painful memories and future traumas. Do not rush the healing–it takes time, but it gets easier as one heals.

Easter:
Spring finds us entering an important Christian season. Some of the common symbols of Easter can also aid in keeping one healthy. They include: fish, lambs, rabbits, doves, lilies, date palms, and eggs. Fish contains protein, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B2, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. In moderation, lamb is an excellent source of protein and vital nutrients like omega-3, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. Rabbit is a low-calorie white meat that is rich in protein, iron, and phosphorus. Although dove is high in cholesterol, it is also a good source of protein, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium.

The bulb of the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) is antiasthmatic, antitussive, expectorant, and a sedative tonic. It helps with coughs, haemoptysis, insomnia, and fidgetiness in the later stages of febrile disease. The flower aids in healing cysts in the breast, ovaries, and skin. It also can aid in infertility where the mucus is too thick to allow an egg to enter the fallopian tubes. And, it can help with chronic bronchitis where there is a lingering thick, dried mucus. The flowers as a flower essence remedy can aid in grief, sadness, depression, and inability to let something go.

The fruit of the date palm can be beneficial with sore throats, colds, bronchial catarrh, fever, gonorrhea, and edema. When they are ground and made into a paste they can aid in healing ague. Date oil is useful in aging skin, male infertility, inflammation, sores in the mouth, and breathing problems.

Eggs are rich in muscle building protein. Omega-3 oils aid in the moisturizing of one’s skin, circulatory system, brain, eyes, and lining of the intestines. The lutein and zeaxanthin also aid in eye health. And, l-lysine aids in controlling the herpes virus.

Another favorite way to celebrate the holiday is hunting for colorfully dyed eggs. One can make their own dye natural sources. These include food, flowers, weeds, bark, moss, leaves, seeds, mushrooms, lichens, and even minerals. When gathering plant material for dyeing blossoms should be in full bloom, berries ripe and nuts mature. Never gather more than 2/3 of a stand of anything in the wild when gathering plant stuff for dyeing. (See recipes)

Ramadan:
The traditional healing system of the ancient Levant is called Unani. Arab and Persian elaborations upon the Greek system of medicine influenced the early development of Unani. The medical tradition of medieval Islam was introduced to India by the 13th century with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate and it took its own course of development during the Mughal Empire. The Hellenistic origin of Unani medicine is based on four humours: phlegm (balgham), blood (dam), yellow bile (ṣafrā) and black bile (saudā’), but it has also been influenced by Indian and Chinese traditional systems. According to Unani medicine, management of any disease depends upon the diagnosis of disease. Proper diagnosis depends upon observation of the patient’s symptoms and temperament. Unani is based on the theory of the presence of the elements in the human body. According to followers of Unani medicine, these elements are present in fluids and their balance leads to health and their imbalance leads to illness.
According to Unani practitioners, the failure of the body’s ability to maintain its own health, may lead to derangement of the normal equilibrium of the body’s akhlat (humors). Abnormal humors are believed to lead to pathological changes in the tissues at the affected site, creating the clinical manifestations of illness. The theory postulates the presence of blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile in the human body. Each person’s unique mixture of these substances determines his mizaj (temperament). A predominance of blood gives a sanguine temperament; a predominance of phlegm makes one phlegmatic; yellow bile, bilious (or choleric); and black bile, melancholic. After diagnosing the disease, treatment follows a pattern (Usool-e-ilaj): Izalae Sabab (elimination of cause), Tadeele Akhlat (normalization of humors), Tadeele Aza (normalization of tissues/organs). Treatment includes regimens and therapies included in the term Ilaj-Bil-Tadbeer. These therapies include cupping, aromatherapy, bloodletting, bathing, exercise, and dalak (massaging the body). It may also involve the prescription of Unani drugs or surgery.

A key component of Ramadan is fasting during the daylight hours. It was suggested that this type of fasting could be a recommendation for the treatment of mild to moderate diseases such as non-insulin dependent diabetes, essential hypertension, weight management, and for rest of the digestive tract includes lowering blood sugar levels, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the lipids profile. During fasting hours when no food or drink is consumed, the body uses its stores of carbohydrate (stored in the liver and muscles) and fat to provide energy once all the calories from the foods consumed during the night have been used up.

Earth Day:
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Although traditionally considered a way to bring attention to modern air, land, and water pollution, it has expanded to supporting everything ‘green’. There are a few things everyone can do within their outdoor space to help the environment.

Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. It is not poisonous; it does not have to be eaten in order to be effective. It causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed. Diatomaceous earth seems to not harm earthworms nor beneficial soil microorganisms. This makes it a safe pesticide for use inside and outside one’s home. It’s also useful as a pest control for one’s animals.
Traditional farming, regrowing vegetables from scrap, composting, small container gardening, and straw bale gardens are all relatively easy to do.

Collecting rain water can help clean the soil of salt buildup and enhance root developments in plants. By not raking leaves in the fall they can break down over the winter and aid in rebuilding the soil. All these methods not only save money, but also aids in the mending of the environment.

And, lastly, let’s not forget what we can do for the pollinators. These include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even bats-to name a few. Without these friendly beings plants will not only stop producing food, but also the plants themselves will become extinct. This will cause the air not to be replenished of its oxygen. One can start helping by planting more flowering plants, not mowing a patch of weeds, and encouraging the growth of mushrooms–water collected on them seep out the healing benefits of the mushrooms which the pollinators enjoy drinking.

Arbor Day:
Trees provide us with sap, leaves, blossoms, bark, berries, and nuts—most of which have medicinal properties that cannot be found anywhere else in nature. The wood is boiled for extended periods or added to hot baths for topical use. Medicinal trees can be infused into teas, tinctures, oils and made into salves and poultices.

For the most part, careful leaf and twig harvesting isn’t a big deal. So long as your conscientious and don’t take more than a small percentage of the total tree. Bark is a different matter. Anytime you cut into the bark of a tree, you’re opening up the trunk of the tree to insects, disease and decay. If you cut around the full circumference of the tree, a practice known as girdling, the supply of nutrients is completely cut off, and the tree will die. It takes a healthy tree a full year to heal that small wound, so bear that in mind anytime you’re breaking into bark. Some trees, like beech trees, can’t heal bark wounds. If you’re harvesting 1/3 of the bark, you’re pushing the limits of that tree’s survival and crippling it for the rest of its life.

According to the Herbal Academy’s Botany and Wild-crafting Course, “As a rule, never harvest from the trunk of a living tree. Only harvest bark from a tree that has been recently cut down for some other reason or has recently fallen over on its own. The timing here can be tricky, as you only want to harvest from recently fallen trees (within a few weeks of falling or being cut down) and not those that have begun to rot and decay. Never, absolutely never, cut a tree down simply just to harvest its bark or its root bark. This is not only unethical, but unsustainable, and is the reason why so many tree species used in herbalism, such as slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), are currently at risk from over-harvesting.”

Recipes:

Fabric Dye: To make the dye solution: Chop plant material into small pieces and place in a pot. Double the amount of water to plant material. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Strain. Now you can add your fabric to be dyed. For a stronger shade, allow material to soak in the dye overnight. Getting the fabric ready for the dye bath: You will have to soak the fabric in a color fixative before the dye process. This will make the color set in the fabric. {Color Fixatives (Mordant): Salt Fixative (for berry dyes) 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups cold water; Plant Fixatives (for plant dyes) 4 parts cold water to 1-part vinegar; Other Mordant: Cream of tartar, iron, tin, alum or chrome.} Add fabric to the fixative and simmer for an hour. Rinse the material and squeeze out excess. Rinse in cool water until water runs clear.
Dye Bath: Place wet fabric in dye bath. Simmer together until desired color is obtained. The color of the fabric will be lighter when its dry.
Note: It’s best to use an old large pot as your dye vessel. Wear rubber gloves to handle the fabric that has been dyed, the dye can stain your hands. It’s also important to note, some plant dyes may be toxic, check with the Poison Control Center if unsure. Muslin, silk, cotton and wool work best for natural dyes and the lighter the fabric in color, the better. White or pastel colors work the best. All dyed fabric should be laundered in cold water and separately.

Easter Egg Dye: Toss one’s choice of a handful – or two or three – of one of the ingredients listed below into a saucepan. Use your own judgment about quantity. This is an art – not a science! Add about a cup of water for each handful of the chosen ingredient, so the water comes at least an inch above the dye materials. Bring mixture to boiling, reduce the heat and simmer from 15 minutes up to an hour, until the color is the shade one want. Keep in mind that the eggs will dye a lighter shade. Remove the pan from the heat. Through cheesecloth or a fine sieve, strain the dye mixture into a small bowl that’s deep enough to completely cover the eggs you want to dye. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar for each cup of dye liquid. With a spoon or wire egg holder, lower the eggs into the hot liquid. Let the eggs stand until they reach the desired color. For emptied eggshells, stir or rotate for even coloring. With a slotted spoon or wire egg holder, remove the eggs to a rack or drainer. Allow the eggs to dry thoroughly. Refrigerate hard-boiled eggs that you intend to eat within two hours, and always follow tips for egg safety. Naturally dyed eggs require longer soak time in the dye solution for the color to take hold (overnight will give the best, most saturated color).
Note: Pinkish Red=raspberry, cranberry, radish, fresh beets; Orange/Yellow=yellow onion skins, turmeric powder, citrus peels, cumin, carrot tops, celery seed; Pale Green=spinach; Green Gold=yellow delicious apple peels; blue=blueberry, red cabbage; Beige/Brown=strong brewed coffee, dill seeds, chili powder; Purple=red grape juice, beet juice.

Fish Cakes (1881): Cold boiled codfish, either fresh or salt, remove the bones and mince the meat; take two-thirds as much warm mashed potatoes as fish, add a little butter and sufficient beaten eggs or milk to make the whole into a smooth paste, season with pepper, make into cakes about an inch thick; sprinkle them with flour and fry brown in butter.

Carp-Pye (1600’s): After you have drawn, washed, and scalded a fair large Carp, season it with Pepper, Salt, and Nutmeg, and then put it into a Coffin (crust), with good store of sweet Butter, and then cast on Raisins of the Sun, the juice of Lemons, and some slices of Orange-peels, and then sprinkling on a little Vinegar, close it up, and bake it.

Mansaf (family recipe): Servings: 4 people
Ingredients: 4 pieces of lamb, 1 medium chopped onion, 350 grams of jameed (dry yogurt) soaked it in warm water the day before OR 500 grams of labaneh or plain Greek style yogurt, 400 grams of small grain rice, ghee (clarified butter), 3 bay leaves, 5 full cardamoms, ½ tea spoon of cumin powder, a small pinch of saffron, ½ cup of whole blanched almonds, ½ cup of pine nuts, 4 loaves pitta bread (khubz), salt and pepper
Directions: Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Place the lamb into the skillet, add the chopped onion and cook for about 5-10 minutes until brown. Add the bay leaves, cardamom, cumin, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 ½ teaspoons of black grounded pepper. Cover it with boiling water and let it simmer for 1 ½ hours.
While the lamb is cooking, place the jameed and half the water that it has been soaked in (or the yogurt substitute) into a food blender. Add ¼ of cup of cold water and blend until it’s smooth, then slowly add it to the lamb while it’s cooking and keep stirring. This is very important to keep the consistency of the sauce thick and smooth. You can stop stirring when the whole mix starts bubbling. Cover it and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Next, wash the rice and soak it for 10 minutes in warm water. Soak the saffron in a little bit of water for as long as possible until the water turns a yellow-orange color. Place the rice into a pot and cook for the time suggested on the packet. Remove the saffron and add the water that it has been soaked in, along with 2 tablespoons of ghee, salt and pepper. In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add almonds and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Split the khubz loaves open and arrange, overlapping on a large serving tray. Add ½ cup of the yogurt sauce to the khubz to soften. Arrange the rice over the khubz leaving a hole in the centre of the rice. Spoon the meat into the rice and then spoon the ghee and nuts over the meat. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Pour the sauce into a big serving bowl. Add sauce onto the rice and the meat. Serve hot.

Bee Food: *Candy Board–5 lbs dry sugar, 3/4 c. water, 2 tsp. essential oil (lemongrass, spearmint) and amino acids mixture, 2 tsp. vinegar Directions: Mix all ingredients, the consistency will be similar to pie crust dough. Spread in two 8″ x 8″ rectangular pans. Bake at 200 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until top is crusty, middle will be jiggly. After cooling the candy board will harden. The only reason to bake this is if you want it to be a solid brick otherwise you can place it on top of wax paper within your hive. Great source for food supplement for your honey bees through winter.
*Sugar Syrup–Late Winter/Early Spring Feeding – use a 1:1 syrup ratio using 1 pound of water (2 cups) to 1 pound of sugar. Fall Feeding (if not enough honey was left on the hive after the honey flow), make a 2:1 syrup using 2 pounds of sugar per pound of water. Directions: Completely dissolve the sugar in the water by heating the water on a stove top (don’t boil just get it warm enough for the sugar to dissolve), add the sugar and stir until the liquid becomes clear. Remove from heat and cool before feeding it to your bees. May add mushroom mycelium extract of the Reishi and Amadou mushrooms to the bees’ sugar water at 1 percent concentration.
*Dry Pollen Substitute–3 parts soy flour, 1 part brewer’s yeast, 1 part dry milk (instant or non-instant baker’s milk) 1 teaspoon vitamin C (for every 6 cups of mixture). It is best to measure these ingredients by weight instead of volume. For example, if you use three pounds of soy, use one pound of yeast and one pound of dry milk. Directions: Put the first three ingredients in a bowl. Take some vitamin C tablets and crush into a powder. Add one teaspoon of crushed vitamin C for every six cups of mix. Thoroughly combine the ingredients. In the winter, the dry mix can sprinkled on the top bars or put in a feeder above the brood box. In the early spring, the mix can be placed in a bird feeder or other covered container near the hive.

Black Cherry Cough Drops: 1 teaspoon butter (divided), 1 cup black cherry bark, powdered, ½ cup elderberries, dried, 3 cups of filtered water, 1 cup honey
Equipment: 2 silicone candy molds rated for high temperatures (Try a mold that holds 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of candy per mold), candy thermometer.
Directions: Prepare silicone candy molds by buttering the inside of the mold. Set aside. In a 1 ½ quart saucepan place cherry bark, elderberries, and filtered water. Cover the sauce pan. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Shut off the heat and allow the pan to come to room temperature naturally. Strain the herbs out of the concoction. Return the liquid to a saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Stir in honey. Cover the saucepan. Bring the pan to a boil. Remove lid. Add ½ teaspoon butter to the syrup to decrease foaming. Boil over medium heat, without stirring, until the liquid reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer or the hard crack stage for your elevation. Remove from the heat. Use a ladle to ladle the candy into the prepared molds. Allow the molds to cool naturally. This could take an hour or two. Remove the cough drops from the mold. Wrap individually with parchment paper and tape. Place in a glass jar and cap tightly. Store in a cool, dry place, protected from light and heat.
Note: Cherry cough drops should last for 2 years. Cherry bark should only be used for 10 to 14 days. There is a risk of toxicity with long term use due to the cyanide alkaloids present in cherry bark and seeds. This is the almond flavor.
Contraindications: Pregnant and nursing mothers should not use cherry bark without consulting with their doctor. Cough drops are a choking hazard for young children, so avoid the choking hazard by making these candies into suckers. For children 1 years of age and over only

Almond Milk: Makes 6 cups. Soaking Stage: 1 cup raw almonds, 2 cups pure water for soaking
Method Stage: 6 cups pure water, 1/4 cup raw honey or a few dates (optional, for sweetening) Directions: Soak the almonds in 2 cups of filtered water overnight, up to 24 hours (or longer if the temperature is not too warm). They do not need to be skinned. After the soaking time, drain and rinse the almonds. Proceed with your chosen processing method below. Place nuts and 6 cups of fresh water into blender container. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour contents of blender container through the fine mesh filter into a storage container, such as a ½ gallon mason jar. If sweetening, pour 2 cups of the milk into the blender container and add desired sweetener. Blend well and add back to storage container. Mix well. Store milk in refrigerator.

Sugared Almonds (16th century): 1 pound almonds, blanched and peeled, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. rose
water, dash cinnamon
Directions: Mix sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until the syrup reaches 225°F, then add the rose water and set heat to low. Then put the almonds into a large pan over low heat. Add the syrup to the almonds a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring them constantly and allowing them to dry out before adding more. As things progress then shaking the pan may work better than stirring it. When the almonds are completely coated sprinkle with cinnamon and allow to cool.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.