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Archive for General Knowledge

Getting Rid of Heavy Metals Oh Yes, You Have Them!

Heavy metals are everywhere in our environment. By definition they are simply metallic elements that have a relatively high density compared to water. Of course, small amounts of some heavy metals such as copper, iron and zinc are important to our health. The body often considers them “trace elements” if their concentrations are in trace amounts (generally less than ten parts per million). But in larger quantities they produce toxicity often referred to as poisoning: lead poisoning for example. What truly makes them important to our discussion here is that the human body has no real use for them in larger quantities. Once they get into the body, the body has no obvious mechanism for getting rid of them. So, it generally “suffocates” them by covering them in fatty body tissues. But often these accumulations get so large that the whole body simply gets “toxic” from them.

Of course, all of us get some toxic elements from our environment. Many are in the soil – especially if you live near toxic dumps or get your food from areas of toxic earth. And many people work in areas containing large quantities of heavy metals. In our immediate area there are many people working in sheet metal shops, many using metal grinders allowing the breathing of microscopic metal particles, and many work in the automotive industry where the used oil from engine wear is in abundance in their clothing and on their hands and arms. The oil industry is rampant with jobs which put employees in heavy metal contaminated conditions. Larger and long-living fish tend to have more mercury. And many alcohols have heavy metals in their processing.

Some common symptoms of heavy metal “poisoning” are headaches, abdominal pain and cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, difficulty breathing and fatigue. In more severe cases you may experience chronic infections, brain fog, burning or tingling sensations, insomnia, visual disturbances or paralysis.

Then what? They don’t go away on their own, so what can you do to keep yourself protected? Here are some suggestions:

  • One of my annual cleanses is a “Heavy Metal Detox.” We have numerous products containing herbs, herbal combinations, foods and mineral compounds that “bond” with these metals in a process called chelation and pull them out of their fatty tissues and dump them in the body’s waste disposal systems.
  • Add sea greens to your diet. Specifically, chlorella, spirulina, algin, and dulse work as a heavy metal detoxifying agents. I have a personal friend who saw great improvement in the condition of his adopted “drug babies”. Many drugs contain heavy metals.
  • There are also foods that electrically attract metals to help move them out of your body. The list of such foods includes lemon water, the sea greens, cilantro, garlic, tomatoes, curry, green tea, barley grass juice powder, wild blueberries, apple fruit pectin, and probiotics. You should also avoid processed foods and excess fat as these have little nutritional value and slow down the detox process.
  • A good multiple mineral and vitamin supplement is also helpful. Deficiencies in the B vitamins have been associated with easier toxicity, and vitamin C has been shown to have chelating effects on iron.

We often mention green tea for its antioxidant benefits, but green teas are also a great drink to aid in the removal of heavy metals from your body, too. It is truly a drink for your health!

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Protecting Our Bodies from Viruses and Bacteria

There are at least two things you need to do in order to fight the onslaught of viruses and bacterial infections that we face every year, especially in the spring of the year. First, and I do believe it is “first” and most important all the yearlong, you need to have a healthy immune system. A couple of years ago we wrote a short article entitled “A Child’s View of the Immune System.” It’s still available and you may have a copy just by asking for it. It describes, in very simple terms, the basics of how our immune systems work.

Sometimes we wonder why two of us can go into the same area where we see sickness at work and one gets sick and the other stays healthy. I believe this is due to the condition of the individual immune systems. Earlier in my life I spent a bit of time outside the United States, and I loved sampling the wares of the street vendors and their food carts. Often the folks I was with would come down with what we called “Taiwan Tummy” or what others called “Montezuma’s Revenge”, and I felt no discomfort. My friends called me “the man with a cast-iron constitution.” I love variety in my diet and I’ve always eaten a broad spectrum of foods and taken a good multi-vitamin. So, I do have a pretty healthy immune system and I rarely get sick.

Prepare for the season! You can do this by using the season to work on strengthening your immune system. If you’re typically a finicky eater, try to include more healthy options in your diet this time of year, and make sure to take your vitamins. And take supplements that boost your immune system. There are several that are simply labeled as Immune Support or Immune Stimulator and so on. These are generally combinations of herbs, vitamins and minerals that are known to strengthen your immune system in general. Some simple ones are vitamins like extra Vitamin C and herbs like echinacea, elderberry, goldenseal and dandelion.

Second, make yourself aware of and place in your medicine cabinet in advance, those supplements that are known to kill seasonal bacteria and viruses that we know are coming! I’ll list a few:

  • I love Schultz’s Master Tonic. When Sam Biser asked Dr. Schultz “What if a person is exposed to a killer virus?” Dr. Schultz responded “I would use a formula I call Master Tonic, a modern-day plague antidote.” It is a tincture of five herbal antibiotics (ginger, hot peppers, garlic, horseradish and white onions) in an apple vinegar base. It takes a couple of weeks, but you can make it yourself.
  • Elderberry has been shown in clinical trials to kill the flu.
  • Echinacea root has important anti-viral and anti-fungal actions.
  • A medical doctor recently stated on a radio program that the mineral zinc in proper dosages will kill viruses.
  • Several sources tell us that colloidal silver will kill both viruses and bacteria. I noted that the hospitals I have visited recently are using silver-impregnated clothes to dress wounds to keep them from getting infected.

From a previous blog, “There are many herbs, teas, supplements and essential oils to assist your body in putting up a good fight against those foreign invaders that would make you ill. Also, daily attention to our overall health and good health habits including good nutrition, plenty of rest and exercise, and adjustments of unhealthy lifestyles and habits will often “win the day.” Well, young soldiers, fight to stay healthy every day. Don’t get sick and you won’t have to work so hard to get well.”

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

A Year of Celebration and Health

February 2020
Overview:
Awareness: American Heart Association, National Cancer Prevention, National Children’s Dental Health, National Eating Disorder
Flower: Violet
Gemstone: Amethyst
Trees: Cypress, Poplar, Cedar, Pine

Groundhogs Day: Groundhogs live in the ground and it is from the ground that we get most of our minerals! Minerals come from rocks, soil, and water, and they’re absorbed as the plants grow or by animals as the animals eat the plants. They are the elements that our bodies need to develop and function normally. The body cannot create minerals. Minerals have to be digested, but the body can create 10 out of the 14 vitamins that we need if our mineral intake is up. They are needed to activate enzymes. If fact, many diseases are caused by a polluted blood stream and a mineral deficiency. There are 102 minerals that make up the human body. The major minerals, which are used and stored in large quantities in the body, are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.

The trace minerals are just as vital to our health as the major minerals, but we don’t need large amounts. Minerals in this category include chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. “Each one plays a role in hundreds of body functions. It may take just a very small quantity of a particular mineral, but having too much or too little can upset a delicate balance in the body,” says Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Essential minerals are most potent when they come from food. But if you’re struggling with deficiencies, you may need to take supplements. If so, use caution: ingesting too much of a mineral supplement can be harmful. One way the ancients supplemented minerals was to consume mineral-rich clays. The other way was by adding a hard rock to their cooking pots. There are two different methods: one was to add a rock first and then boil food over an open fire; the other was to add a hot rock to a vessel which would cook the food without using an open flame. Sodium and calcium are the top two minerals provided using this method. And, by boiling stones and water for 15 minutes any harmful bacteria should be eliminated. A limestone rock was often used in the American Southwest. This leached chemical lime from the stones into the water, which has been found to raise the pH of the water to 11.4–11.6 at temperatures between 300–600 degrees centigrade, and higher yet over longer periods and at higher temperatures. When historical varieties of maize were cooked in this water, the chemical lime broke down the corn and increased the availability of digestible proteins.

President’s Day: This is the day the United States set aside to celebrate two former Presidents’ birthdays-George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Thus, I am using this day to talk about natural birthing herbal aids.

  • Herbal infusions (aka: teas that don’t contain any Camellia sinensis-tea bush) have been used by midwives throughout history to help with some of the negative symptoms associated with pregnancy and labor.
  • Red Raspberry: While red raspberry leaf infusion is typically recommended for the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, some women use the herbal remedy to help with nausea and vomiting in the first trimester as well. The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of the uterus, which can help make delivery easier. It also lessens complications, shortens labor by helping contractions to work more effectively; making birth easier and faster, and prevents excessive bleeding after childbirth. Women who drink red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy have been shown to have reduced use of forceps and other interventions such as, C-sections or vacuum-extractions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor.
  • Nettle Leaf: Nettle leaf is a tonic herb thought to strengthen and tone the entire system, and is particularly useful to support fertility in both men and women. In traditional herbal medicine, nettles are thought to ease leg cramps, and possibly ease the pain of childbirth. After birth, nettle is thought to promote an abundant milk supply. Nettle is particularly rich in micronutrients like carotene, vitamin C, manganese, iron, calcium, zinc and chromium. As the mother passes anything she consumes to her baby both during pregnancy and breastfeeding, nettle will not only nourish her body, but also her growing baby. In addition to nettle infusion, one can use fresh nettles in springtime (be wary of their sting) in one’s cooking.
  • Oat Straw: Oat straw was traditionally used in Europe as a tonic for health, beauty, and emotional resilience. It’s rich in both calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium work together in the body. Calcium tones the muscles and the cardiovascular system, and improves circulation both in the mother’s body and, naturally, in her baby as well. It also stimulates the muscles to contract. Magnesium then, by contrast, helps those muscles to relax, easing cramps, restless legs, as well as improving sleep. In this way, it’s thought by herbalists and midwives that oat straw can be particularly valuable for pregnant women.
  • Alfalfa: Alfalfa, like nettle, is a general restorative herb. In folk medicine, alfalfa is used to support thyroid health and it’s thought to ease morning sickness. Alfalfa hay is also given to livestock to help them produce abundant milk, and is thought to convey the same benefits to human mothers as well. Alfalfa, like nettle and red raspberry leaf and other green leafs, is also rich in vitamin K which supports healthy circulation and proper blood clotting. Low vitamin K levels is linked with bleeding and hemorrhage which may be why many midwives recommend optimizing one’s vitamin K levels during pregnancy, particularly in the weeks leading up to childbirth, with the primary recommendation being diet as well as herbs like alfalfa.
  • Lemon Balm, Rose Hips and Rose Buds: Lemon balm gives a pregnancy infusion delightful, mellow lemon-like flavor. In traditional, folk medicine, lemon balm is used for nervousness, digestive upset, and headaches. Similarly, rose hips bring a light and pleasant tartness to an infusion. Rosehips are rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C, and it’s that vitamin C that works synergistically with iron to help your body better absorb that mineral. Similarly, rose buds bring pleasant floral notes and a lovely feminine energy to an infusion. Lemon balm and rose hips added to an infusion is for their flavor more than anything else. The pregnancy infusion listed below in the recipe section tends to be inky and dark, owing to the heavy use of leafy green herbs like nettle, alfalfa and raspberry leaf. Both lemon balm and rose hips, bright in flavor, aromatic and astringent, lighten the infusion in a pleasant way.

Some uncommon plants: Each culture has their own special herbs they use for labor. Alas, a vast majority of these plants are not found on the market and need to be foraged. Some exceptions are yucca and prickly pear cactus roots used by the Lakota as an infusion to aid in childbirth. Eggplants, lemons, dates, nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes, melons, and licorice are others that have been claimed to aid in the birthing process.

*Caution: Although herbs are natural, not all herbs are safe to take during pregnancy. The FDA urges pregnant women not to take any herbal products without talking to their health-care provider first. Women are also urged to consult a trained and experienced herbalist (or other professionals trained to work with herbs) if they want to take herbs during their pregnancy. Some herbal products may contain agents that are contraindicated in pregnancy. Herbs may contain substances that can cause miscarriage, premature birth,
uterine contractions, or injury to the fetus. Few studies have been done to measure the effects of various herbs on pregnant women or fetuses.

Valentine’s Day: Many of the common symbols of this day include hearts, roses, and chocolate. It is common in Japan and Korea for singles to get together and eat Jajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce). In Wales it is tradition for a man to give the woman whom he loves a carved wooden spoon.

Rose petals and their medicine help to move and open a heart which has tightened emotionally and spiritually. Both TCM and Unani (traditional Arabic medicine) teach that rose has a powerful effect on the spiritual state of one’s heart. In Unani medicine some heart herbs are termed as “exhilarants”, which help the spiritual heart feel joy. A wonderful nervine, great for uplifting the mood and alleviating depression, rose also has antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and sedative qualities, as well as being anti-inflammatory. Rose helps regulate menstruation as well as stimulate the digestion. Rosehips, which come along after the bloom has faded, are a wonderful source of vitamins C, B2 and E. One may use rose as an herbal supplement, essential oil, or flower essence. Rose petal tincture is often used in heart formulas. Dried rose petals make a lovely addition to teas. There is a long tradition of rose water being used in medicine, including in Iran and other parts of the Middle East, as far back as the 7th century.

The observation that people prone to herpetic lesions and other related viral infections, particularly during periods of stress, should abstain from arginine excess and may also require supplemental lysine in their diet. Some arginine-rich foods such as chocolate, nuts, and seeds causes some to experience herpes outbreaks. Lysine-rich foods such most vegetables and fruits, dairy, egg whites, and meats help. Foods that contain high amounts of Vitamin C such as citrus, leafy vegetables, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bell peppers, strawberries, and papaya aid in boosting the immune system. Other immune boosting foods that contain high amounts of bioflavonoids such as citrus, many bright colored fruits and vegetables, leafy vegetables, black tea, broccoli, brussel sprouts, eggplant, wine and juice made from berries or grapes. Zinc-rich foods that also aid the immune system include pumpkin seeds, most dairy, beans, lentils, whole-grain cereals, and legumes.

If you’re an abuse survivor, there’s not one way to cope with feelings that Valentine’s Day might stir up. But if you can do things that empower you and make you feel good, that’s a step in the right direction. (And for those of you who haven’t experienced abuse but know a friend who has, Valentine’s Day is a good time to reach out and remind them you’re there for them in any way they need.) Here are some general suggestions that may work for you:

  • Surround yourself with support: Seek out friends and family who make you feel validated and won’t encourage you to return to your abuser.
  • Call a helpline: There are quite a few hotlines available for those who are or have experienced domestic abuse. There’s Day One, which is a great resource. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which you can reach at (800) 656-4673.
  • Take self-defense classes: not necessarily as a defense against a future incident of abuse, but as a way to make you feel stronger and less vulnerable.
  • Turn to therapy: Talk with a therapist or a survivor group where you can be candid about the trauma you experienced. A good online support group with over 80,000 users is Pandora’s Project (a nonprofit organization that provides support to survivors of sexual assault). https://www.pandys.org.
  • Put your own needs first: Do whatever makes you feel good and at peace. It could be meditating or seeing a silly movie or reading that book you’ve been curious about. Overall, the hope is that with the right support, no matter where it comes from, triggers like Valentine’s Day will, over time, become less impactful and destabilizing. Yes, the trauma you experienced was real, but the memories of it don’t have to keep hurting you. The more autonomy you allow yourself to have over them, the sooner they’ll fade into the background.
  • Herbal aids: There are several herbal aids one may take to help deal with triggers, memories, and nightmares. St. John’s wort is most commonly used for “the blues” or depression and symptoms that sometimes go along with mood such as nervousness, tiredness, poor appetite, and trouble sleeping. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain. Neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers. GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks, or inhibits, certain brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system. Rescue Remedy is a blend of five flower remedies especially beneficial when you find yourself in traumatic or stressful situations.

Mardi Gras: Traditional Mardi Gras foods include shrimp, grains, and legumes. All these are within the top 8 foods groups known to be allergens. In fact, researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. And, about 40% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food. There are also those who do not have allergies, but instead have intolerances. Both allergies and intolerances are labeled food sensitivities. Key differences between food allergies and food intolerances:

  • Food Allergy: Immediate response; possibly life-threatening; IgE-mediated immune response
  • Food intolerances: Response ranges from one hour to up to 48 hours; not life-threatening; possibly IgG-mediated immune response
  • Food Sensitivity Symptoms: acne, brain fog, eczema; dry and itchy skin; bloated stomach after eating; fatigue; joint pain; reflux; migraines; diarrhea; depression and mood swings; runny nose; headache; trouble sleeping and dark circles under eyes.

If you notice certain ailments or aches on a regular basis like the ones listed above, you might have a food intolerance. The tricky part is figuring out which food is to blame. Since symptoms can wait to show up until a few days after consumption, it makes diagnosis especially challenging and time-consuming. That’s why for many, food sensitivities last for decades and are largely undiagnosed. Traditionally, you would keep a food journal and embark on an elimination diet, removing possible culprits one at a time for periods of two to eight weeks (the longer the better).

Leaky gut occurs when there is damage to the lining of the intestinal tract making it more permeable to substances that should not cross the delicate lining. Normally, only nutrients from fully digested foods such as vitamins, minerals, emulsified fats, amino acids and simple sugars are able to cross the intestinal barrier that separates our blood stream from our gut. But when the gut becomes leaky, undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins are able to make it through the gut lining and they enter the
circulation, going to places in the body where they don’t belong. The body’s defense system fights back and it’s during this fight that uncomfortable symptoms are experienced.

There are several causes of leaky gut and one or more of these causes may be at work simultaneously. For example, leaky gut can be caused by damage from an autoimmune reaction, such as celiac disease which destroys the microvilli and increases permeability, or by the presence of gluten which causes the production of a chemical called zonulin which directly opens up the tight junctions, making the gut more permeable; it may also be due to damage caused by bacterial toxins in conditions such as Small
Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), which also contribute to gut inflammation leading to leakiness. And probably most importantly, leaky gut can be caused by undiagnosed food sensitivities with the immune battle between white blood cells and undigested food particles taking place in the villi of the small intestine.

Food intolerances are the main cause of symptoms associated with leaky gut. Food intolerances create a vicious cycle in that they help maintain the reason for their development (the leaky gut) while being the direct cause of the various symptoms suffered. This vicious cycle can only end after carefully removing all sources of reactive foods and chemicals, which not only eliminates symptoms, but also allows the gut to finally heal. But this is easier said than done for a number of reasons: Food sensitivities are often dose dependent, with symptom onset delayed by many hours, and there are usually many reactive foods, not just 1 or 2 as in food allergy. And just like each person has a unique fingerprint, both food intolerance symptoms and trigger foods are different from one person to another. In other words, in two gluten sensitive people, gluten may cause digestive problems in one person and migraines in another. And in 10 migraine patients, there could be 10 different sets of trigger foods. Because of this, obviously there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Although research proves that leaky gut exists, there is no perfect test to diagnose it, diagnose its cause, or determine if a particular therapy is effective at treating it. What is known is that diet and stress are two things that play a significant role in causing leaky gut. Therefore, an individually prescribed diet, stress reduction and supplement plan are a big part of the solution. Monitoring symptom improvement is the best way to determine the effectiveness of therapy and the healing of your leaky gut. Omega-3 oils, probiotics, fibers, removing foods to which one is sensitive, and eliminating sugar to can aid in the healing of the gut.

Recipes:

  • Pregnancy Infusion: Makes 28 serving Ingredients: 2 ounces’ nettle leaf, 2 ounces’ raspberry leaf, 1 ounce oat straw, 1 ounce alfalfa leaf, 1/2 ounce lemon balm, 1/2 ounce rose hips, 1/2 ounce rose buds. Instructions: Stir all the herbs together in a large mixing bowl so that they’re evenly distributed. Set a wide-mouth funnel into the lip of a jar and spoon the mixed herbs into the jar. Cap tightly and store out of the sun. Bring about a quart of water to a boil, and then spoon a heaping quarter-cup (about 1/4 ounce) of your mixed herbs into a quart-sized jar. Cover with boiling water, cap, and let them steep overnight – about 8 hours. Strain out the herbs, and enjoy the tea. Note: Take about two cups a day during the second trimester and up to a quart a day in the third trimester. Reach out to your care provider to determine what is the right amount for you.
  • Nan-e Berenji (a cookie): 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 1 egg yolk, 2 cups fine rice flour, 1/4 cup rose water, 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds. Directions: In a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add egg yolk and mix for another 20-30 seconds. Sift in the rice flour, in three batches. Using a spatula, fold in the flour into mixture after each batch is added. Add the rose water. Knead the mixture for 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 325 F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into small 1-inch balls and flatten the cookie into a small disc. Repair any cracks on the edges and place on baking sheet. Using the curve of a small teaspoon make overlapping arch-shaped indentation marks on the top. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bottom and edges begins to turn a light golden color. Let completely cool before carefully removing from baking tray.
  • Millet & Rice Pasta: ¼ cup arrowroot starch, ¾ cup brown rice flour, ½ cup millet flour, ½ tsp xanthan gum, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tbsp light olive oil, ½ cup flax seed gel, 4 tbsp warm water. Directions: Combine the dry ingredients and set them aside. In the stand mixer, combine all of the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients slowly until a crumbly mixture forms. Form into a long roll and slice to make long noodles. Cook as normal pasta.
  • Konjac Noodles: 2 teaspoons of glucomannan/Konjac, 1/8 teaspoon of pickling lime (or 1 gram of baking powder), 2 cups of Cold Water. Directions: Pour 2 cups of cold water into a large cooking pot. Stir in pickling lime (or baking powder) for one minute. Add the glucomannan powder, stirring continuously until the liquid reaches a boil. Boil the mixture for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. The mixture will turn into a gel once the mixture cools down. Being a thermally stable (non-reversible) gel, this gel will not dissolve at room temperature. Once cool, cut the gel into small pieces or into your desired shape. When ready to serve, dip the cut glucomannan food into a pot of warm water or steam for about 3 to 5 minutes. Then serve or continue to cook in any manner one likes.
  • Vegetable Noodles: serves 2. Ingredients: 4 zucchinis, cut into thin strips on a mandolin, or julienne peeler, black pepper, freshly chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Directions: Saute zucchini in a pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil. Season with a little lemon, sea salt and black pepper. Add fresh herbs if you wish. Note: You may use: Zoodles-zucchini noodles, Poodles-parsnip noodles, Swoodles-sweet potato noodles, Toodles-turnip noodles, Coodles-carrot noodles, Squoodles-squash noodles, boodles-broccoli stem noodles (peel stem first).
  • Carob-dipped Strawberries: 8 -10 large fresh strawberries, washed and dried; 3 tablespoons coconut oil; 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or liquid stevia-to taste), optional; 2 tablespoons carob powder. Directions: Pre-line a flat tray that you will use to place your strawberries on to and keep in the fridge to cool whilst preparing the carob sauce. Pre-chilling the tray helps carob coating to set quickly. In a small mixing bowl, mix coconut oil over boiling water to melt. (Use a small saucepan of boiling water and sit bowl over the top. The heat from underneath will melt the coconut oil in the mixing bowl). Add carob powder and optional maple syrup (or liquid stevia-to taste) and mix well. Holding the strawberry at the leafy end, dip each strawberry into the carob sauce and coat well. Use a spoon to help if needed. Place onto pre-chilled and lined tray. Once all strawberries are coated, place in fridge until carob coating is set. Keep in refrigerator until ready to eat. Variations: Use raw cacao powder instead of carob for an authentic chocolate flavor. Add desiccated coconut to your carob dipping sauce or sprinkle coconut over wet carob dipped strawberries before setting. Add 1 tablespoon nut butter such as almond butter to dipping sauce for a nut fudge coating. Make carob sauce to serve as a fondue at dinner parties and let guests dip their own strawberries. Tips: Make sure your washed strawberries are pat dry before dipping into carob sauce otherwise the coating won’t stick as well. For an extra thick coating of carob, after first coat is set on strawberries repeat process for a second coating. Pre-chilling your lined setting tray in freezer will help the carob coating to set quickly. Pre-chill your washed strawberries in the refrigerator prior to dipping to also help the carob to set quickly. If your carob dipping sauce is too runny it won’t stick to the strawberries well. If it is too runny place your dipping sauce in the fridge for a few minutes or until it begins to thicken.
  • Traditional King Cake (Gil Marks): Dough-1 package active dry yeast (or 1 cake fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast); 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115°F for dry yeast; 80 to 85°F for fresh yeast); 1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115°F for dry yeast; 80 to 85°F for fresh yeast) (or sour cream); 1/4 cup granulated sugar; 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (½ stick); 2 large egg yolks or 1 large egg; 3/4 tsp table salt; 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or cardamom), optional; 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, optional; 1/8 tsp almond extract, optional; 1 tsp grated lemon zest, optional; 2 tsp grated orange zest (or orange blossom water), optional; 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or bread flour); 1/4-1/2 cup chopped candied citron (or ½ cup chopped mixed candied fruit, or ½ cup golden raisins); egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk or water)–Cinnamon Filling-(optional): 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar; 1/4 cup all-purpose flour; 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; pinch salt; 2/3 cup chopped slightly toasted pecans (or 1/3 cup pecans); ¼ cup raisins; ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted (½ stick); 1 pecan half, large bean, or other token/baby, optional. Icing–1 cup confectioners’ sugar; 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (¼ stick) (or ¼ cup cream cheese, softened), optional; 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or ¼ teaspoon almond extract); 1 tbsp milk (buttermilk, fresh lemon juice, or water); a few drops gold food coloring (or 2 to 4 tablespoons yellow colored sugar) optional; a few drops green food coloring (or 2 to 4 tablespoons green colored sugar), optional; a few drops purple food coloring (or 2 to 4 tablespoons purple colored sugar), optional. Directions: To make the dough–In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt, and, for a flavored dough (but omit this if you are using a filling), the spice or zest. Blend in 1½ cups flour. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft workable dough. On a lightly floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes. Knead in the citron, mixed candied fruit or golden raisins. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a kitchen towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. To make the optional filling–In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the pecans. Drizzle the butter over top and mix until crumbly. Punch down the dough and knead briefly. Making the cake with the filling: Roll the dough into a 16- by 10-inch rectangle, spread evenly with the filling, leaving 1 inch uncovered on all sides. If using a token, place it on the rectangle (Be sure to warn your guests.) Beginning from a long end, roll up jellyroll style. Then bring the ends together to form an oval. Place on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Making the cake without the filling: Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 24-inch-long rope. Braid the 2 ropes together, and bring the ends together to form an oval, pinching the ends to seal. OR Divide the dough in thirds and roll each piece into a 16-inch rope. If you prefer an oval shape, the strands should be closer to 20 inches. Braid by first connecting the ends of the ropes at one end. As you braid, be sure that you are pulling the strands gently taut to make a neat and even braid, otherwise your cake may bulge in some areas. When you are ready to connect the ends, unbraid a few inches at each end, then braid them together by connecting the corresponding pieces. For example, center rope to center rope. Place on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. To make the icing: In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar, optional butter or cream cheese, vanilla, and enough milk until smooth and of a pouring consistency. If desired, divide the icing into thirds and tint each third with one of the food colorings. Or you can drizzle or spread the icing over the warm cake. While the icing is still wet, sprinkle with the colored sugar. The easiest way to do this neatly is to use a pastry brush to apply icing to each section, then sprinkle with sugar, let dry, and move on to the next section. For the braided cake, follow the braid pattern around the cake, using one color at a time and applying to each icing section directly after applying while still wet (the icing dries fast!). Then allow the icing to dry and gently tap off the excess sugar before starting the next color. Serve warm or at room temperature. After cooling, the cake can be wrapped well in plastic, then foil and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do not cover with the icing before freezing. Variation: Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Beat 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese at room temperature with 1 cup (4 ounces/115 grams) confectioners’ sugar, ½ egg yolk (use the rest for the egg wash), and ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract. This can be used with or without the cinnamon filling. Hint: To make colored sugar, in a jar shake ¼ cup granulated sugar with 4 drops yellow, green, or purple food coloring.

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

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

*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.

A Year of Celebration and Health

Our year is filled with an assortment of celebrations-some a based in faith, others in history and folklore, and still others are to honor various people, groups or things. Each country, state, province, nationality and religion also has their own unique festivities. While some holidays fall on the same day, year after year; others move around the calendar. (Some calendars contain 12 months, others, 13. There are those which have different year counts. While others have a different number of days.) The following are just days that are celebrated within the United States and are listed according to the month they fall within on the Gregorian A.D. 2020 calendar.

January Overview:

  • Awareness: Birth Defects, Blood Donor, Cervical Health, Glaucoma, Healthy Weight, Thyroid
  • Flower: Snowdrop
  • Gemstone: Garnet
  • Trees: Apple, Fir, Elm, Cypress

New Year’s Day: This is the day when new beginnings are made. People make resolutions to aid in improving their lives. Certain traditions ranging from food, cleaning, even clothing are thought to bring good luck for the upcoming year. Some ‘good luck’ foods include greens, pork, rice, dates/figs, lentils, noodles and black-eyed peas. Cleaning not only covers tossing out broken/unused stuff but also airing out rooms. The physical body also needs to be cleansed and nourished. It is considered ‘good luck’ to wear clothing of certain colors and some believe it must be new. To help make the year a healthier one, you can consume food that is organic and heirloom (if possible) and allergen-free (ex: gluten, yeast, dairy and egg). Buy clothing made of 100% renewable plant fibers (ex: cotton and hemp) and has fasteners (if applicable) that are either metal zippers and snaps, stone/shell/wood buttons, or pull ties. Brooms made traditionally out of wood, broomcorn straw, twigs or horsehair and twine are eco-friendlier than the modern plastic ones. Body cleansing can include organ detoxing, skin brushing, bathing, consuming more fiber and water and getting more exercises. Also, one can nourish their mind and spirit by reading up-lifting books, going to church, meditating and seeking counseling to get rid of past traumas.

Martin Luther King Day: This is a day to honor an American Christian minister and activist who stood against social injustices in a non-violent way. But, during his life he battled personal religious conflict, severe depression and major stress. He seemed to have conquered all except stress. Everyone can change their hearts, minds and spirits. Counseling can help break down walls and overcome negative habits. Another technique to help achieve this is through nourishing the emotions with aid of flowers. The flower remedies are safe and natural methods of emotional healing discovered by Dr. Bach from the 1920’s and 1930’s in England. They gently assist the restoration of balance between the mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecisions which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. These remedies aid in allowing peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself. They are made from wild flowers and are considered safe for the whole family including pets. Common methods of use are applied on the skin or taken under the tongue. The flowers used are: Agrimony, Aspen, Beech, Centaury, Cerato, Cherry Plum, Chestnut Bud, Chicory, Clematis, Crab Apple, Elm, Gentian, Gorse, Heather, Holly, Honeysuckle, Hornbeam, Impatiens, Larch, Mimulus, Mustard, Oak, Olive, Pine, Red Chestnut, Rock Rose, Rock Water, Scleranthus, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Chestnut, Vervain, Vine, Walnut, Water Violet, White Chestnut, Wild Oat, Wild Rose and Willow.

Chinese New Year: The Chinese calendar lists this as 4,718. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the ancient Chinese medicine system is based on the Daoist view of a universe in which everything is interrelated. As the Chinese observed the world around them, they organized it into five primal powers or elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The Chinese have developed a unique method of understanding the structure of the internal organs and the body’s physiological processes. TCM is designed to promote and maintain health through diet and exercise. If illness occurs, it is treated with acupuncture, herbs and Qigong which help rebalance Yin and Yang (an energetic system that cannot be separated from one another or the universe). Thus, Chinese medicine is considered very complex and intricate. However, it treats the patient, not the disease.

The body was organized into corresponding systems know as Organ Networks. Each organ is not a separate structure, but is interconnected by an organ system that work together to keep the body functioning well. Vital substances (Qi, blood, body fluids, Jing and Shen) interact with each other to nourish and sustain the body and mind. Solid organs and Zang and hollow organs are Fu. Zang Fu deals more with an organ’s relationship to the body rather than to a specific function. The organs have difference functions, yet depend on each other to function properly. Each organ is predominantly Yin or Yang. Yang organs transform and digest. Yin organs store, in particular the Vital Substance. The Zang Fu organs are associated with specific body tissues and emotions.

The organs and all components of the body are connected by energy channels (Meridians). They are pathways for the flow of Qi throughout the body. There are Twelve Regular Meridians running vertically up and down the surface of the body with many branching channels. The Meridians are paired (the same on both sides of the body). Each Meridian is associated with a Zang Fu organ. Acupuncture points are Qi access points along the Meridians.

There are Eight Extraordinary Vessels, which do not connect to the Zang Fu organs. Only two of these channels have acupuncture points. They mostly function as reservoirs of Qi and blood for the Twelve Regular Meridians.

Recipes:

Homemade Broom: For a more durable broom that is less likely to fall apart, it is advised to use broomcorn, a variety of Sorghum – Sorghum vulgare var. technicum. Cut a straight tree limb with smooth bark and few knots or smaller limbs for your broom handle. Clean the broomcorn, shaking out loose stems, leaves, and other debris. Gather it into bundles about 1 to 1 ½ inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) thick, wrapping each bundle tightly, and trimming the ends straight. Tie individual bundles of straw tightly with twine. (This will help keep the finished broom neat.) Next, tie the bundles together, one at a time, and side by side. Keep them as flat as possible. By wrapping the twine back and forth from opposite sides around each bundle, they will lay closer together and flatter. Sharpen the end of the stick so that it can be pushed up into the end of the bundles at the center. Push it about 6 inches (15 cm) deep between the center bundles, then tie it off securely with more twine. Using sharp, heavy-duty scissors cut the ends of the straw straight across. The broom is now ready for use.

Soapy Plants: There are a number of plants that can be used as a substitute for soap without any chemical processing. These plants contain naturally occurring soap-like substances, called saponins. There are three common North American plants with significant saponin content. Directions: To use any of these plants for soap, chop up the appropriate part of the plant and rub it between one’s hands with some water or dry it for future use. (Before trying a full dose on one’s body, test for allergic reactions by rubbing a bit onto the inside of the wrist and waiting one day to make sure there is no adverse reaction. Because saponins are somewhat poisonous, and Native Americans have used them to paralyze fish, one does not want to eat these plants, except perhaps for the edible fruits and flowers of the yucca family.

  • Bouncing Bet (Soapwort): Do not use Bouncing Bet on your face, because it is very irritating to the eyes. Collect Bouncing Bet in the late summer to fall. Found nationwide, it is easiest to identify by its pretty white or pink flowers with five petals. One can use the entire plant.
  • Clematis: Clematis is a common climbing vine with white or purple flowers, and is often found dominating the tops of trees. Collect the leaves and flowers for use as soap.
  • Yucca, Agave, Spanish Bayonet, Sotol, Joshua Tree: The root contains the most saponins, but use of the root kills the plant, so please don’t use this plant frivolously (although it can re-grow if some roots are left in place). If pounding and soaking the leaves for fiber to make cordage, the soaking water will contain sufficient saponins for bathing.

Miss Hull’s Marble Cake (1865): (Light layer) Three and ½ cups of flour, three cups of white sugar, one cup of butter, ½ cup of cream or milk, whites of seven eggs, two teaspoons of cream of tartar, one teaspoon of soda. (Dark layer) Five cups of flour, two cups of brown sugar, one cup of molasses, one cup of butter, two tablespoons of cinnamon, one tablespoon of cloves, one tablespoon of allspice, one tablespoon of nutmeg, ½ cup of cream or milk (sour, if you have it), ½ teaspoon of soda and seven egg yolks. Directions: Butter and flour your pans. Put in a layer of the dark batter, then a tablespoon of light batter. Alternate with the dark and light layers throughout. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-55 minutes until golden brown and edges pull away from the sides of the pans, and toothpicks come out clean. Some people have marble cake as a MLK Day dessert.

Jolene Griffiths, Master Herbalist

For more information, contact Naturopathic Dr. Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd., Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or email pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit http://TheHealthPatch.com.

Uplifting Gifting

What is a gift? The word gift wandered through multiple meanings before arriving at its current common meaning: “something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion without any particular effort or without its being earned.

Here are some “uplifting” gift ideas:

  • Take time to match the gift idea with the person. A friend of mine has a safari of animal items throughout her home. So I gifted her with an elephant salt & pepper shaker. The gift was meaningful and let her know that I’d noticed this special interest of hers.
  • Use Natural gift ideas such as health gift cards, spa gift cards or paid appointments for massage, facials, or reflexology. Candles, fruit baskets, essential oil gift sets, books or herbal teas to warm the soul may be appropriate. Herbal teas have many amazing health benefits and their aromas can evoke calm and peaceful feelings. No tea lover can ever have too much tea! Himalayan salt lamps are natural air purifiers. They cleanse the air and help ease allergies and asthma symptoms; they may help boost the mood and help one get deeper sleep.
  • Other uplifting holiday gift ideas are: Give someone a gift that is not a monetary object. Give something that will help their personal development, a personalized card, something you can share together, words of encouragement, create a keepsake wooden box and fill it with inspirational quotes.
  • Put thought into each gift. Ensure they are uplifting, positive, inspirational, motivational.

The ultimate Gift: Frankincense, Myrrh and gold. These were brought to the baby Jesus by the three Wise Men and WE are still benefiting from those today! Frankincense used as a resin or essential oil, is opening and is relaxing for both the mind and the body. Myrrh is used for inflammation and is applied to the mouth for soreness, swelling, inflamed gums and teeth, cancer sores and bad breath. Additionally, in Bible times, frankincense and myrrh, often used in combination, were burned in places of worship to help purify the air and prevent the spread of contagious diseases, including those caused by bacteria.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh were the richest of gifts that could be offered to a newborn King. But their significance lies not so much in the fabulous wealth they represented, but instead the gifts are clues to the identity of the Wise Men and their recognition of the King!

And don’t forget the importance of the gift of LOVE.

Uplifting Gifting should not be focused on the cost or size of the gift, but the true spirit of giving is doing for others with no expectation of gain.

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
The Health Patch 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, ph:736-1030, e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

*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.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Celebration Ideas

When you ponder the idea of making their holiday season (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other) an eco-friendlier one, there are ways to achieve your goal. You could debate that most modern traditions do some harm to the environment in some manner – no matter how small. But if you look into the ‘roots’ of your yearly celebration you can find inspiration. This article mainly focuses on Christmas, but many other celebrations incorporate a few basic types of items.

Greenery – Holly, Mistletoe, Wreaths, and Trees
Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. In many ancient cultures boughs and holly where hung over doors and windows, in hopes that the branches would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. In the Northern hemisphere, ancient peoples celebrated the winter solstice, and evergreen boughs symbolized the greenery that would return in the summer months as the sun regained its strength after becoming weak and sick. The Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death when Ra, their sun god, began to recover from the illness.

Early Romans marked the winter solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, their god of agriculture. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs and holly and holly wreaths as a form of decoration and also gave them as gifts. The Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The Vikings thought that evergreens were the special plant of their sun god, Balder.

Mistletoe was once held sacred by the Norse, Celtic Druids and North American Indians. Mistletoe was seen as a representation of divine male essence (and thus romance, fertility and vitality). The plant also was thought to be a symbol of peace, and anyone standing below it should receive tokens of affection. When enemies met beneath mistletoe, they had to lay down their weapons and observe a truce until the next day. This is how the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe likely began, and why a ball of mistletoe is now hung in homes during Christmas, a season of peace and affection.

Those who hang real mistletoe and holly around their homes should be mindful of pets and children. Mistletoe and holly are considered to be moderately to severely toxic, and ingesting the leaves could be dangerous. Mistletoe is commonly hung up high, but holly should be hung high as well. Early Christians also participated in the tradition of hanging holly on their homes to appear like the masses. Eventually as the number of Christians grew, the tradition became less of a pagan one and more associated with Christians and Christmas. Some people have inferred that holly and its prickly edges is symbolic of the crown of thorns Jesus wore at his crucifixion, with the red berries representing blood. Wreaths, although used all year long, are also connected with the pagan holiday of Yule, marking the winter solstice, which was celebrated by ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. This 12-day festival was held to honor the returning of the sun and the seasonal cycle. The wreaths used during Yule were meant to symbolize nature and the promise of spring. They held candles that were lit in hopes of the return of the warmth and the sunlight.

Christmas wreaths are made by twisting or bending evergreen branches, thought to have been left over after shaping a tree to fit inside a house, into a large circle which are then decorated with pinecones and a red bow. A wreath’s circular shape is said to symbolize eternal life and the unending love of God. In the 16th century, the use of wreaths during Yule was adopted by Christians and became a custom in the form of Advent Wreaths. These wreaths were traditionally made of evergreens, which also symbolize eternal life, holly oak, and red berries. The red berries and the thorny leaves of the holly oak represented the crown of thorns worn by Jesus and the drops of blood that they drew. The Advent Wreath is meant to hold four candles, three purple and one pink. The first candle to be lit during Advent is meant to symbolize hope and is a purple one called the Prophecy Candle. On the second Sunday of Advent, another purple candle, called the Bethlehem Candle, is lit. It symbolizes love to some and the manger of Jesus to others. The pink candle, called the Shepherd Candle, represents joy and is lit on the third Sunday of Advent. Peace is represented by the Angel Candle, which is the final purple candle and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Sometimes, a fifth white candle is added to the center of the wreath. This is referred as the Christ Candle, and it’s lit on Christmas Eve. These candles symbolize the coming of the light of Christ. Today, a wreath that’s hanging on the door at Christmas may symbolize the invitation of Jesus into one’s home, or it may be inviting the spirit of Christmas into the home along with good luck.

Some early Christian across many parts of northern Europe, also adopted the use of evergreen, cherry, and hawthorn trees. The evergreen tree was viewed as a sign of everlasting life with God. It is thought that around 1000 years ago in Northern Europe the fir tree was first used as Christmas trees. Many of these trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains. The cherry and hawthorn plants (or a branch of the plant) were put into pots and brought inside so they would hopefully flower at Christmas time. If one couldn’t afford a real plant, people made pyramids of woods that were decorated to look like a tree using paper, apples and candles. Sometimes they were carried around from house to house, rather than being displayed in a home.

It’s possible that the wooden pyramid trees were meant to be like Paradise Trees. These were used in medieval German Mystery or Miracle Plays that were acted out in front of Churches on Christmas Eve. In early church calendars of saints, 24th December was Adam and Eve’s day. The Paradise Tree represented the Garden of Eden. It was often paraded around the town before the play started, as a way of advertising the play. The plays told Bible stories to people who could not read.

The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is argued between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. Both claim that they had the first trees; Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510. Both trees were put up by the ‘Brotherhood of Blackheads’ which was an association of local unmarried merchants, ship owners, and foreigners in Livonia.

Little is known about either tree apart from that they were put in the town square, were danced around by the Brotherhood of Blackheads and were then set on fire. This is like the custom of the Yule Log. The word used for the ‘tree’ could also mean a mast or pole, tree might have been like a ‘Paradise Tree’ or a tree-shaped wooden candelabra rather than a ‘real’ tree.

A picture from Germany in 1521 which shows a tree being paraded through the streets with a man riding a horse behind it. This man is dressed as a bishop, possibly representing Saint Nicholas of Myra, also known as Nicholas of Bari. He was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of the Roman Empire. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. He is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus.

The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531. In 1584, the historian Balthasar Russow wrote about a tradition, in Riga, of a decorated fir tree in the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”. There’s a record of a small tree in Bremen, Germany from 1570. It is described as a tree decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers”. It was displayed in a ‘guild-house’ (the meeting place
for a society of businessmen in the city).

Germany is credited with starting the modern Christmas tree tradition during the 16th century. Devout Christians-primarily Lutherans, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics-brought decorated trees into their homes. One of several legends state that it was the German preacher and Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, who was the first to bring a tree into the home and place candles in its branches. It goes: one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. However, the custom of having Christmas trees could have easily traveled along the Baltic sea, from Latvia to Germany. In the 1400s and 1500s, the countries were then part of two larger empires which were neighbors.

In Germany, the first Christmas Trees were decorated with edible things, such as gingerbread and gold covered apples. Then glass makers made special small ornaments similar to some of the decorations used today. In 1605 an unknown German wrote: “At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlors of Strasbourg and hang thereon roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, wafers, gold foil, sweets, etc.” At first, a figure of the Baby Jesus was put on the top of the tree. Over time it changed to an angel/fairy that told the shepherds about Jesus, or a star like the Wise Men saw. The Christmas tree made its way to North America following the German immigration patterns in the 1700s. They brought with them many of the things associated with Christmas-Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees. The trees weren’t well received due to entrenched cultural attitudes, and a fear that a leisurely celebration such as Christmas would reduce labor productivity. In fact, in 1621 Puritan governor William Bradford wrote that he tried to stamp out the “pagan mockery” of the Christmas tree, arguing that it promoted excess and lacked any origin in Scripture. A few years later, the Puritans of New England made observation of the holiday illegal, and if anyone was caught celebrating they would have to pay a fine.

The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the early 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy. But even then, New Englanders sustained their disdain for the Christmas tree and the holiday, to the point that carolers would be prosecuted for “disturbing the peace.

The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

The first Christmas trees came to Britain sometime in the 1830s. They became very popular in 1841, when Prince Albert had a Christmas Tree set up in Windsor Castle. In 1848, drawing of “The Queen’s Christmas tree at Windsor Castle” was published in the Illustrated London News. The drawing was republished in Godey’s Lady’s Book, Philadelphia in December. The publication of the drawing helped Christmas Trees become popular in the UK and USA. Live Christmas trees have been sold commercially in the United States since about 1850. The first Christmas tree retail lot in the United States was started by Mark Carr in New York, in 1851. In 1856 Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first President to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

Real Trees
Today 98% of real Christmas trees are grown on farms; whereas only 2% are cut from the wild. To ensure enough trees for harvest, growers plant one to three seedlings for every tree harvested. More than 2,000 trees are usually planted per acre. On average 1,000-1,500 of these trees will survive. Almost all trees require shearing to attain the Christmas tree shape. It takes six to ten years for a tree to attain a ready to harvest height of six to seven feet. Growing Christmas trees provides a habitat for wildlife. Christmas trees can remove dust and pollen from the air. An acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people. The most popular trees are: Scotch pine, Douglas fir, noble fir, Fraser fir, balsam fir, Virginia pine and white pine.

Most Christmas trees are cut weeks before they get to a retail outlet. It is important to keep them watered thoroughly when they reach the home. In the first week, a Christmas tree in the home will consume as much as a quart of water per day to prevent them from drying out. Live Christmas trees are involved in less than one-tenth of one percent of residential fires, and mostly when ignited by some external ignition sources. The major factors involved in Christmas tree fires are electrical problems, decorative lights, candles, and a heat source too close to the tree.

93% of real Christmas tree consumers recycle their tree in community recycling programs, their garden or backyard. In the United States, there are more than 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs. Recycled real Christmas trees have been used to make sand and soil erosion barriers and been placed in ponds for fish shelter. Cook County, IL uses old Christmas trees to rebuild housing structures for natural wildlife that has been destroyed through development.

You should not burn your Christmas tree in the fireplace as it can contribute to creosote buildup. However, it can be burned in a brush pile for fertilizer. When placed outside in the backyard it can naturally decay while providing a habitat for numerous small creatures, birds, and mushrooms. It can be ground up in a chipper and used for mulch. Also, they can be chopped up and crafted into any number of wooden objects, such as boxes and jewelry.

Artificial Trees
Artificial Christmas trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century and later became popular in the United States. These “trees” were made using goose feathers that were dyed green and attached to wire branches. The wire branches were then wrapped around a central dowel rod that acted as the trunk. In the Edwardian period Christmas trees made from colored ostrich feathers were popular at ‘fashionable’ parties.

Around 1900 there was even a short fashion for white tree. In 1930 the U.S.-based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree made from brush bristles. The company used the same machinery that it used to manufacture toilet brushes, but they were dyed green. Artificial Christmas trees made largely from aluminum were first manufactured in Chicago in 1958. Over the years, artificial trees have been made from feathers, papier mâché, metal, glass, and many different types of plastic.

Today, most artificial Christmas trees are made from PVC plastic. PVC trees are fire-retardant but not fire-resistant. Eighty percent of artificial trees worldwide are now manufactured in China. Artificial trees will last for an average six years of use, but for centuries in a landfill. They can be resold or donated when no longer of used to a home. One can also up-cycle them into small bits of greenery for other decorations.

Living Trees
A live tree can be a beautiful home accessory while serving as a decorating centerpiece for the holiday season. While there are plenty of uses for cut trees, a living Christmas tree can either be used year after year, or it can be planted in the yard to supply shade and wildlife habitat, and act as a living windbreak for decades to come.

A few things to consider before buying a living tree include: where to plant it-in a pot or yard, looking for varieties that are well-suited to one’s local climate, specific soil type, and level of sun exposure where it will eventually be placed. Different tree types required different care. If one doesn’t have a location suitable for planting a living Christmas tree, one can still buy and enjoy it during the holidays if there are friends, family, or community organizations that has a place to plant it afterward. Keep in mind that there are other varieties of trees that could be used instead of the traditional firs that can live year-round indoors, such as the Norfolk Pine.

A potted Christmas tree can be kept in its pot and moved outside to live after the holidays, and then brought inside each year for the festivities, but will require a fair bit more care than one that gets planted outside. It will dry out faster than one in the soil, so regular watering is a necessity, as is periodic re-potting to a larger container to allow for growth. And, since the roots are above ground may mean that additional protection is required in cold climates.

Before transferring the tree from different environments, one will want to allow the tree to acclimate slowly, with the general recommendation being to place the tree in an unheated but sheltered location, such as a garage, for a week or two. During this time, the roots of the tree should remain damp but not soaking, so periodic watering may be necessary. Also, a living Christmas tree is much heavier than a cut tree.

When picking the location for the tree in the home, try to choose a place that isn’t directly exposed to warm air from heaters or vents, or selectively close nearby dampers to avoid large temperature swings in that room. A cooler location is better than a warm one, and one with plenty of natural light is preferred. Water the living tree regularly according to species. Any dampness or overflow can be stopped by either placing a large saucer underneath, it or by wrapping the pot in plastic.

To water the tree slowly so that the soil can absorb it, use ice cubes. Depending on the size of the pot, anywhere from one to three trays of ice cubes can be placed on the surface of the soil, where they will melt and gradually water the tree. Covering the soil with mulch can also help keep it from drying out as quickly.

Decorate a living Christmas tree gently, and take care not to hang heavy ornaments on branches that may get damaged because of the weight. While the older incandescent Christmas lights put out too much heat to string on a living tree, many of today’s cooler LED strands can be used to light the tree, but be sure to plug them in and check the operating temperature before stringing them up.

The general guidelines on keeping a living Christmas tree indoors is to limit it to a week to ten days maximum, after which the tree should be moved back to an unheated yet sheltered transition location for at least a few days. If the ground is frozen, the tree can be moved to an outside location that is sheltered from direct winds until planted permanently. If the ground isn’t frozen, the tree can be planted outdoors as per the specific planting instructions for that variety, and the soil should be well-mulched as protection from the cold and to conserve moisture. For keeping a potted Christmas tree year-round, move it to a more permanent location with plenty of sun after the transition, where it can also benefit from a heavy mulch.

If all of this is not feasible one can always decorate a living tree that is already growing outside in one’s yard. The decorations need to be weather and wildlife friendly, such as pine cones, birdseed treats, small houses, nuts and fruits. It is within the Spirit of the Season to gift all creatures, not just fellow humans.

From Victorian times and through the early 20th century, rural Americans cut their trees in nearby forests. The tree would have been decorated with homemade ornaments made from paper, nuts, twigs, candy, and dried fruit, while the German-American sect continued to use primarily glass ornaments, apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn garlands were made after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts.

Candles were used to represent stars until the invitation of the electric lights which were seen to last longer and be less of a fire hazard. Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees in 1882. Christmas tree lights were first produced in 1890 at a cost of $300. However, many rural areas were still without electric services. Despite these setbacks Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition. In 1900, large stores started to erect big illuminated Christmas trees. The first commercially available electric string of lights, were advertised in 1903 when a string of 24 lights cost $12 or one could rent lights from $1.50. In 1917 Albert Sadacca thought of using the lights in long strings and painting the bulbs bright colors like red and green.

Tinsel and The Christmas Spider
There are stories from Eastern Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Finland and Scandinavia about how tinsel was created by the Christmas spider. In some of the tales a tree grows from a pine cone inside a house of a pauper. When the children of the household go to sleep on Christmas Eve a spider covers the tree in cobwebs. Then on Christmas morning the cobwebs are magically turned into silver and gold strands which decorate the tree. Some versions of the story say that it’s the light of the sun which changed the cobwebs into silver and gold but other versions say it’s St Nicholas.

To this day in parts of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine it’s meant to be good luck to find a spider or a spider’s web on the Christmas tree. Spider’s web decorations are also popular in Ukraine. These decorations are normally made of paper and silver wire. Beaded spiders are popular in the United States.

Tinsel is a type of decorative material that mimics the effect of ice, consisting of thin strips of sparkling material attached to a thread. Modern tinsel was invented in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1610, and was originally made of thin strips of beaten silver. Because silver tarnishes quickly, other shiny metals were often substituted. It was used to represent the starry sky over the Nativity.

Before the 19th century, tinsel was used for adorning sculptures rather than Christmas trees. Eventually, it was added to Christmas trees to enhance the flickering of the candles on the tree. By the early 20th century, manufacturing advances allowed for a cheap aluminum-based tinsel to be made. Lead foil was a popular material for tinsel manufacture for several decades of the 20th century until 1971 when the FDA concluded it caused an unnecessary risk to children.

Today, tinsel is typically made from PVC film coated with a metallic finish. Coated Mylar film also has been used. These plastic forms of tinsel do not hang as well as tinsel made from heavy metals such as real silver and lead.

Stockings
A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that is hung on Saint Nicholas Day or Christmas Eve so that Saint Nicholas can fill it with small toys, candy, fruit, coins or other small gifts when he arrives.

The first stockings were children’s everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. Stockings were traditionally used on Saint Nicholas Day although in the early 1800s, and then came to be used on Christmas Eve.

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. In some stories, the contents of the stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus. In other stories, some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Then, in others a child who behaves badly during the year is threatened that they will only receive only a piece or pile of coal. However, the gifts in the stocking is thought to originate from the life of Saint Nicholas, himself, as several folklore state.

One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example: St. Nicholas wanted to help a poor family, but knew that the father wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags of gold through an open window, one landed in a stocking. When the family woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after. Other versions of the story say that Saint Nicholas threw the three bags of gold directly into the stockings which were hung by the fireplace to dry. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so, the start of believing St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

Candy Canes
According to a folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some “sugar sticks” for them. In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. In addition, he used the white color of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus. From Germany, candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity. As such, according to this legend, the candy cane became associated with Christmastide. On Saint Nicholas Day celebrations, candy canes are given to children as they are also said to represent the crosier of the Christian bishop, Saint Nicholas; crosiers allude to the Good Shepherd, an epithet associated with Jesus.

A record of the 1837 Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, where confections were judged competitively, mentions “stick candy. A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The “candy cane” is found in literature in 1866, though no description of color or flavor was provided. The Nursery monthly magazine noted them in association with Christmas in 1874, and the Babyland magazine mentioned canes being hung on Christmas trees in 1882.

Recipes

  • Twig wreath: Willow or any other flexible twig, root, vine, straw, grass, wire, cane or stems Directions: Start to weave the wreath by bending the twig into a loop. Hook both sides to secure. Add the next twig by hooking it into the loop. Gently bend the twig and guide it in and around the loop. Tuck the end into the loop to secure Add another twig and gently bend around the woven twigs. As one weaves the wreath it becomes more secure. Let the natural curves in the twigs guide the direction of the weave. Build up the twig wreath to have a secure and strong wreath. This is a great basic wreath design and ready to decorate. (For the wreath to look windblown add a few loosely woven twigs into the weave.)
  • Old Fashioned Cinnamon Clay Ornaments: 1 cup ground cinnamon, plus one tablespoon; 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg; 1 tablespoon ground cloves; 1/2 cup white all-purpose glue; 3/4 cup applesauce Directions: Combine 1 cup cinnamon with clove and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl. Stir well then add applesauce and glue. Mix by hand to form smooth, clay-like dough. Cover and let sit for an hour. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. (If the clay is too stiff, an extra tablespoon of applesauce will make it more pliable. If the dough is too wet, add cinnamon to absorb some of the moisture.) Cut out holiday shapes with cookie cutters. Dust with some extra cinnamon. Add a hole in the top (or on each hand of a gingerbread man) for a ribbon with a straw or toothpick. Lift shapes carefully with a spatula and place on a parchment paper cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees F for 2-3 hours until dry and hard. Tie with a ribbon and hang on the tree or a garland. DO NOT CONSUME!
  • Old Fashioned Holiday Garland: Cinnamon Clay Gingerbread Men Shaped Ornaments (or any shape preferred); Dried apple and orange slices; Twine. Directions: Thinly slice the apples and oranges. Place the fruit slices onto a cooling rack and set the rack into a warm oven (180 degrees F). Crack the oven door so the moisture from the fruits can escape. Leave the fruit slices in the oven until they have dried completely. While the fruit is drying, prepare the cinnamon clay ornaments. When the baking sheet is full of cookies, place it in the oven with the fruit slices. When the fruit slices and gingerbread men are dry, string them along the twine in a pattern of one’s choosing. (If one’s home cannot accommodate a garland, place the dried fruit and ornaments into a bowl with a handful of cinnamon sticks for a natural, spicy potpourri.)
  • Pinecone Birdseed Ornament: Several large pinecones; Crunchy peanut butter; Birdseed; String; Scissors; Butter knife; 2 or more plates (Allergy alert: Many people have allergies to nuts. If it isn’t safe for our family to use peanut butter, you can use vegetable shortening.) Directions: Check pinecones. If they’re tightly closed up, let them sit inside the house for several days so they can “bloom,” or bake them in a 300° oven for about 10 minutes to get them to open up. Attach a length of string to the tip. Pour birdseed onto a plate. Use a butter knife to spread peanut butter all over the pinecone. Be sure to get it into all the cracks and crevices to fully coat your pinecone in peanut butter. (A separate plate will contain some of the mess.) Roll the pinecone back and forth in the birdseed to completely cover it. Once it’s covered, press the birdseed into the peanut butter and roll some more. Press the birdseed into the peanut butter to help it stick. Once your pinecone is completely covered in birdseed, take it outside and find the perfect place to hang it.
  • Bread Birdseed Ornament: Stale bread; birdseed, nut pieces; small pieces of fruit; peanut butter, cookie cutters, string, knife. Directions: Cut bread into shapes using a cookie cutter. Spread a coat of peanut butter on one side of bread. Sprinkle a mixture of seeds, nuts, and fruit onto the bread. Repeat for other side. Poke a hole in the bread and add string. Hang on a tree.
  • Beeswax Candles: Makes 2 (12 oz) candles Equipment: double boiler, stove, wooden chopstick, pencil, scotch tape, oven. Ingredients: 1 lb beeswax; ½ cup coconut oil (melted); 1-2 tbsp essential oil; medium cotton wick with wick tabs attached; wick stickers; glass jars. Directions: Pick up your wick with wick tab attached and wick stickers. Pull one of the wick stickers off the roll and place it on the wick tab, then peel the paper off the exposed side of the wick sticker. Attach the wick to the bottom center of the jar. Melt wax and oil in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, and bringing the water to a low simmer on your stove top. When the beeswax is melted, add essential oils. Stir the melted beeswax, coconut oil, and essential oils together with a wooden chop stick. Pour wax into the glass jars. Set the wick so that it’s in the center by placing a pencil across the jar and taping the wick to it. Place the candles in a warm area to harden, because if they cool too quickly the wax will sometimes crack. (Tip: Preheat oven to 170 degrees F while pouring the candles, then turn the oven off and place candles inside the oven.) Curing Beeswax Candles: Allow to cure for two days, then trim the wick to about 1/4 inch. Cleanup Tip: Since beeswax is usually difficult to remove from the item it was melted in, preheat oven to 200 degrees F, then turn it off and place the item inside. Within a few minutes, the wax is completely melted, making it easy to wipe away with paper towels. After that, just scrub with soap and water as usual. Burning Beeswax Candles: Allow candle to burn long enough so the wax melts out to the side of the jar. This helps to prevent tunneling.
  • Soy Wax Candles: Use 2 cups soy wax flakes for container candles. Follow above for beeswax, omitting the coconut oil. Cure time is overnight.
  • Peppermint Stick Candy (1921): 2 cups sugar; 1/2 cup water; l cup white corn syrup; Juice and rind of lemon; 1 teaspoon extract of peppermint. Directions: Place all together in a sauce pan. Boil without stirring until the crack stage or until a few drops become brittle in cold water. Remove from fire. Add 1 teaspoon extract of peppermint. Divide the candy in two parts and to one part add a little red vegetable coloring. Pour on buttered platters and when cool enough pull each separately then twist one around the other and form into canes sticks or cut into small pieces.

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ
Jolene Griffiths

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blogs and podcasts at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Uplift Humanity in the Holidays

I am unabashedly Christian. But I am a citizen of the world and have noted that virtually every nationality, culture, religion and human endeavor has at least one holiday this time of the year. So we’d like to think that it is both proper and desirable to use this season of the year to uplift all our brothers and sisters in this world we share together, and it should be easier this time of year to set aside our differences and celebrate our commonalities. I’ve traveled much of the world and find that when we get down to one-on-one we share many common interests: the love of food, family and fun; the desire to live in peace and pursue our dreams; a desire to enjoy, protect and care for the earth on which we share our limited span of days; and the enjoyment of sharing what we have with those around us. So this month we are spotlighting our “alikeness.” Here are some things we may consider:

Holiday foods are special in every culture. They usually include things we may only enjoy once a year. I have another blog that gives you the ingredients and preparation for Wassail or Mulled cider that we enjoy in our home. Lebkuchens from Germany are favorites; we enjoyed Baklava in Greece and Turkey; we love buttered yams and citrus fruits we get from friends from Ghana; Luqaimat (a honey drizzled dumpling) from Saudi Arabia is delightful; I enjoyed Red Papaya for breakfast every morning in Thailand; and my American list of favorites is myriad! Every country and every culture has its delights and I’m a “foody” and would love to try them all.

Because the holidays are often associated with events with family and friends, it may often be a difficult time for many as well. Those with recent losses of family members, close friends, jobs, resources, and other meaningful things in their lives may need a special lift at this time of year. You can do tremendous good by being sensitive to these folks. Visit a nursing home with just cookies and Time to Talk and Listen! My first gift to each grandchild every year is a card telling them a goat has been given to a woman in a third world country in their name. It is the most important gift I give them! Practice and teach charity as a way of life.

Learn to be a good caretaker of our planet. Make “earth-friendly” a way of life. If you use live trees, get one with roots and plant it after the holidays. If yours was cut down, chip it up after the holidays and recycle it as compost or mulch. Make edible ornaments and use them in your gatherings, or use them as gifts. And don’t forget the wildlife when you choose trees and ornaments.

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is “gifting”. Make your gifts special – match them with something meaningful or “special” for the individual. It takes time, but the time is the most special part for most of us. And while gift cards are very popular these days, try to find unique ones. Food cards may be useful and needed by many on your list, as are clothing items, but also consider things like spa services, travel allowances, store cards to help bear the burden of needed vitamins and supplements.

The greatest gift you can give at ANY time of the year is “LOVE’ – and we spell that T-I-M-E! Life is busy; time is precious; and time, once spent, is not recoverable. Make every minute count and show others how important they are to you by gifting them with your very precious time.

For more ideas on this subject check out our staff blogs for this month on our website. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blogs and podcasts at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

History of Iridology

The effort to understand changes in the eyes and to correlate such changes to alterations in the human body is said to date back to the time of the early Chaldeans (c. 800-539 BC)-even longer ago for domesticated animals. Human iridology research started in 1670 when Dr. Philippus Meyens published Chiromatica medica, describing the eyes of his patients when they became sick or injured. He also noticed changes in the eye that came with healing and was able to link points on the iris to specific parts of the body. By observing the eye, he was eventually able to identify areas in the body in need of support which would show up in the eye long before physical symptoms would manifest.

woman blue eye

“The upper part represents the head, Since the stomach has a close relationship to it, then all diseases originating in the stomach are found in the eyes. The right side of the eyes show as the liver, the right thorax and the blood vessels. The left side of the eyes can show all organs which lie on the left side, therefore the heart, left thorax, spleen and small blood vessels. Conditions of health and disease arising from the heart are found here, especially weakness of the heart or fainting. “The lowest part of the eyes represents the genitalia and also the kidneys and bowels, from which colic, jaundice, stone, diseases of the gall and venereal diseases are to be found. These signs consist of vessels, weals and flecks.” (Quoted from Herget aus Rossdorf.)

Not long after, in 1695, the works of Johann Eltzholtz appeared, and nearly a century later, in 1786, Christian Haertels published a dissertation in Gottingen titled De Oculo et Signo. But the true originator of modern iridology was Dr. Ignatz von Peezely, a Hungarian physician. He first published his ideas in 1893. The story goes that, as a boy, he found an owl with a broken leg. At the time he noticed a prominent black stripe in the iris of one eye of the owl. He nursed the bird back to health and then noticed
that the black line was gone, replaced by ragged white lines. From this single observation Peezely developed the notion of iridology. Peezely’s idea was that the iris maps the rest of the body in some way, and therefore the flecks of color in the iris reflect the state of health of the various body parts. This basic approach is called the homunculus approach. Reflexology, auricular acupuncture, and even chiropractic therapies all follow this same approach.

The modern popularity of iridology, especially in the US, can be traced back to Dr. Bernard Jensen, a chiropractor. He published more than 50 books and received global awards of distinction and recognition for his field of work and service to the global community in iridology and nutrition. Dr. Bernard Jensen stated, “Iridology is the art and science of analyzing the delicate structure of the colored portion of the eye, the iris. The iris reveals the basic constitutional health level of an individual with detailed information pertaining to their physical strengths and weaknesses. The iris can communicate information on all the specific organs of the body and the effects of crises or chronic health challenges to each organ, tissue inflammation levels, and tissue integrity throughout the body. Iridology is a sister-science to nutrition. Each cell, tissue or organ in the body has specific identifiable nutritional needs. When the cell does not receive adequate nutritional values (due to faulty diet, poor absorption and digestion, environmental pollution, high stress levels, etc.) the iris reflects these conditions. Usually these depletions are noticeable in the iris long before they would be discernible through blood work or laboratory analysis, thus making iridology nutritional support strong useful tools for preventive self-care.”

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

*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.

Children’s Health – Early Development

One of the most important measures of preventing childhood disease is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for less than three months is correlated with a reduced risk of asthma in children.

Another important fact for children is a healthy diet. Children with healthier diets tend to have less childhood diseases. What researchers have found can encourage parents to pursue a healthier wholefood diet for their children.

Researchers also discovered that the daily consumption of grapes, oranges, apples and fresh vegetables has assured less allergies and asthma.

A few tips on the care of children’s health are:

  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Let children help plan and prepare one meal each week.
  • Eat together as a family as often as possible.
  • Take time eating, and chew slowly.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of water.

In another study, it is clear that children with allergies may benefit from eating a diet with high proportions of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. And don’t forget to include nuts in children’s diets as well (including walnuts, pecans and almonds), but not until at least two years of age.

The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. It is very important to maximize their future well-being.

Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK Phone: 405-736-1030 e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net

*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.

Keep Your Nose in It

smell, nose, olfactory, health, healthy, natural

Your nose is not just that pretty thing in the middle of your face. It works for you in many ways. It is a major component of your overall respiratory system. It filters trash to keep it out of your lungs; it warms outside air before it entered the lungs to prevent the pain of a cold day; and it, along with the adjoining sinuses, humidifies incoming air to prevent the entire system from drying out.

Here are a few interesting facts about the nose’s filtration importance: city dwellers may inhale 20 billion particles of foreign matter every day; while you are in heavy traffic, you may breathe as many airborne free radicals as a pack-a-day smoker; even if you are a nonsmoker, if you are in close association with smokers you raise your risk of lung cancer by 30%.

Your nose is a leading component in the distinction of smells.
~ This can be emotional. Think about the smells of your mother’s kitchen, or your favorite restaurant. The loss of your sense of smell can, therefore, take much of the joy out of eating.
~ This can be activating. Think about what the smell of a gym does to your energy level. Or think about your response to the smell of your favorite partner’s cologne or perfume.
~ This can be comforting. Think about the smell of your favorite room at home, your family’s favorite activities, or even your own motor vehicle.
~ This can be lifesaving. Your sense of smell may alert you to the presence of toxins, poisons, or other dangers.

The loss of the sense of smell is called anosmia. And this sense seems to deteriorate in most people shortly after the age of 60. Many people lose it completely. It is a chemical sensing system and requires the release of molecules to send signals to specific parts of the brain. The nerve bundle that does this is in the top part of the nose and is connected directly to the brain.

I read one article on the internet that listed over a dozen reasons why a person may lose their sense of smell. Some were unavoidable, such as injuries and birth abnormalities. Some were developmental, like developing polyps or problems with the central nervous system, or simply aging. Some came as a side effect of normal living, like cold, allergies, and chronic sinus conditions. But many were preventable, like inhaling toxic chemicals, tobacco smoke, illegal drugs.

Complete loss of the sense of smell is difficult (some say impossible) to treat. But I found a number of alternative remedies on the internet which have helped many to regain the sense of smell. Here is a “short list”:
~ Warm castor oil drops in the nose can alleviate swelling and inflammation.
~ Warm garlic tea can relieve cold and flu symptoms to help you breathe easier.
~ Chew small pieces of ginger to unblock a stuffy nose.
~ Make a tea from honey and cayenne pepper. Its capsaicin can clear congestion.
~ Warm honey-lemon tea stimulates the olfactory nerves
~ Continued, long term bentonite clay baths may detox your body so as to restore your sense of smell.
~ Drink warm apple cider vinegar with a bit of honey to thin nasal mucus and enhance smell.
~ Ask a practitioner about “oil pulling” using sesame or coconut oil as it helps oral health!

There are also several minerals that have been associated with the loss of smell. Consider:
~ B-12 is necessary for all nerve tissue health.
~ A vitamin E deficiency may lead to nerve damage which might diminish your sense of smell.
~ Zinc is also necessary for many sensory benefits.

Since smell is directly associated with your sense of taste, a loss of the smell sense can cause eating disorders as well and if you don’t eat, you don’t get nutrients for other body systems either.

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.