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March

Overview:
Awareness: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Colorectal Cancer, Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Hemophilia, Multiple Sclerosis, National Caffeine, National Nutrition, Pollution, Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Flower: Daffodil
Gemstone: Aquamarine
Trees: Weeping Willow, Lime, Oak, Hazelnut

St. Patrick’s Day:
The trifoliolate plant, the shamrock, is a young sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.  There is, however, no one “true” species of shamrock, but Trifolium dubium (lesser clover) is considered to be the shamrock by roughly half of Irish people, and Trifolium repens (white clover) by another third, with the remaining fifth split between Trifolium pratense (red clover), Medicago lupulina (black medick), Oxalis acetosella (wood sorrel), and various other species of Trifolium and Oxalis.

There are many uses for red clover.  Some include: a cancer prevention, indigestion, high cholesterol, whooping cough, cough, asthma, bronchitis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  Some women use red clover for symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes; for breast pain or tenderness (mastalgia); heavy bleeding, toning the womb, and for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  It is applied to the skin for skin cancer, skin sores, burns, and chronic skin diseases including eczema and psoriasis.  In foods and beverages, the solid extract of red clover is used as a flavoring ingredient.

Common food traditions for this holiday has many health benefits.  Corned Beef is high in protein, zinc, thiamin and other B-vitamins.   A 3-oz. serving of corned beef has 210 calories. Like any beef, it’s high in fat.  The typical 6-ounce portion of corned beef will consume two-thirds of the recommended daily limit of sodium.  Aim to fill at least half your plate with vegetables too and those potassium-rich veggies will help balance some effects of the sodium, particularly if you have high blood pressure.

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium and l-glutamine. Furthermore, it contains folate, zinc, sulphur, sodium, copper, anthocyanins, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids.  It’s also high in fiber.  It is particularly high in antioxidants which make it a potent disease-fighter.  Research has shown 1½ cups per day of cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, may reduce inflammation.  The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, muscle soreness, skin disorders, eczema, skin discoloration, wrinkles, age spots,  jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, allergies, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, neural degeneration, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.  It is also rich in anti-cancer compounds such as sinigrin, lupeol and sulforaphane that enhances the enzyme activity and forbid the tumor growth that lead to cancer.  Lactic acid is released from cabbage during cooking.

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap for being high in carbs, but potatoes are a complex carbohydrate perfect for those who are active.  They contain some protein and calcium, along with iron, potassium, zinc and vitamin C. A small (2-1/2 inch) unpeeled boiled potato is also good source of fiber, offering 35% more than its skinless counterpart.

Whole grains offer a “complete package” of health benefits, unlike refined grains, which are stripped of valuable nutrients in the refining process.  All whole grain kernels contain three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Each section houses health-promoting nutrients. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer that supplies B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. The germ is the core of the seed where growth occurs; it is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. The endosperm is the interior layer that holds carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals.

These components have various effects on our bodies:  Bran and fiber slow the breakdown of starch into glucose—thus maintaining a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes.  Fiber helps lower cholesterol as well as move waste through the digestive tract.  Fiber may also help prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes.  Phytochemicals and essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium and copper found in whole grains may protect against some cancers.

Researchers have shown that the quality of the carbohydrates you eat is at least as important as the quantity.  A report from the Iowa Women’s Health Study linked whole grain consumption with fewer deaths from inflammatory and infectious causes, excluding cardiac and cancer causes. Examples of other ailments that are prevented by consuming whole grains are rheumatoid arthritis, gout, asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.  Eating whole instead of refined grains substantially lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels.  Replacing refined grains with whole grains and eating at least 2 servings of whole grains daily may help to reduce type 2 diabetes risk. The fiber, nutrients, and phytochemicals in whole grains may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism and slow the absorption of food, preventing blood sugar spikes.  By keeping the stool soft and bulky, the fiber in whole grains helps prevent constipation. It also helps prevent diverticular disease (diverticulosis) by decreasing pressure in the intestines.

Guinness is a dark Irish beer that has been found — when consumed in moderation — to reduce the risk of blood clots that cause heart attacks and improve blood flow and pressure, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Additionally, this type of beer is high in flavonoids, which are antioxidants.

Onions are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, are naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that are able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. Flavonoids are responsible for pigments in many fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that they may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Two other less common foods eaten on this day are carrots and turnips.  Carrots are rich in vitamin A and provide many benefits for our eyes and skin. Carrots are also a good source of soluble fiber, essential for both heart and digestive health.  White turnip sprouts provide high levels of glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that may help protect against some forms of cancer and provide antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic benefits.

The downside to the partaking of consuming too much whole grains and beer is both can aid in an over-growth of Candida albicans.  The carbohydrates found in whole grains are a source of glucose, which is also one of the favorite foods of candida.  Drinking alcohol can weaken your immune system’s response to candida.  It has also been shown to weaken liver function and prevent your liver from operating effectively. Your liver is one of your primary defenses against the symptoms of candida. It is responsible for processing and eliminating numerous toxins from your body. These include the metabolic byproducts of Candida albicans (acetaldehyde, uric acid, ammonia, etc).  To get rid of this excessive yeast, one’s diet needs to eliminate most carbohydrates, such as sugar, starchy vegetables, grains and fruits, as well as dietary sources of yeast, such as fermented cheeses, fermented vegetables and alcohol.

Spring (Vernal) Equinox (Northern Hemisphere):
The arrival of spring marks the end of the darkest season of the year.  As the introspective influence of winter wanes, spring symbolizes growth and fertility, bringing the reemergence of light, warmth, plants, animals, new ideas and fresh perspectives into the world.  Every March, the Northern Hemisphere welcomes this season of renewal, balance, clearing and cleansing.

One simple way one can cleanse is to drink a glass of warm water with either lime or lemon juice FIRST thing in the morning. This opens the digestion, fosters elimination, and clears the gastro-intestinal tract.  Fresh lime juice is used because it does not promote mucous production, like lemon can.  Lemon, however, is known world-wide to help stimulate the liver and digestion and help it clear.

One can also try a simple liver cleanse by increasing bitter greens in your salads or steaming more greens for dinner, like dandelion greens, arugula, or mustard greens. One might try some sweeter cooked beets, grated carrots, or red bell pepper in their salad to offset the bitter and balance it all with some healthy fat like avocado, or just plain olive oil.  Juicing vegetables of all kinds gives the body more buoyancy in the spring season to fill and build toward the warmer summer months.  Hydrate deeply by drinking freshly squeezed juice of any kind.

Blood detoxification is one of the most important parts of maintaining the overall body wellness. It is a requirement that everybody should prioritize on a regular basis. It essentially eliminates pathogens and toxic residues from the blood and helps the immune system to protect the body against any infections.  It strengthens the immune system, which, in turn, will assist in fighting off cancer and autoimmune diseases.

In the process, one’s body is aided in preventing and reversing various skin problems, like acne, pimples, dark blemishes, dull and dry skin, eczema, etc. It enhances overall health by removing various ill symptoms, like allergies, headaches, fatigue, and nausea, which can be obliterated by cleansing the toxic or impure blood in the body that is commonly the cause.

Cleansing can be achieved in several ways.  However, one of the most effective methods is using herbs to remove toxins from the body through the liver, kidneys and lymph system. Many herbs are known for centuries to serve multiple purposes including blood detoxification. Here are some effective blood cleansing herbs:

  • Red Clover is a great blood purifier and cleanses the bloodstream gradually while correcting any deficiencies in the circulation. It is a blood detoxifying herb which works with the lymphatic and circulatory systems in the body to eliminate toxins from the bloodstream.  It is also used as the main ingredient of many anti-cancer formulas. Containing high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, red clover is pleasant tasting when consumed as a drink for overall health and wellness.
  • Chaparral is an excellent antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic herb.  It helps the body get rid of heavy metals and different forms of decay and putrefaction.  It is a strong-smelling herb highly effective at blood cleansing and immune stimulation. It also increases circulation in the blood by opening the blood vessels, promotes sweating and improves the elimination of toxins from the skin and liver.  When used over a period of time, it has the ability to cleanse deep into tissues and muscles. The lymph and respiratory systems are cleansed of any harmful toxins and the entire body is rejuvenated. Chaparral is a powerful antioxidant and is known to act against free radicals to help prevent diseases related to aging.
  • Poke root is another powerful blood cleanser.  It is traditionally used as a lymph cleanser as it incites and increases the action of lymph glands in the entire body. It shows anti-cancer properties and improves the immune system. This herb has amazing health benefits including instant treatment of breast and throat infections. It acts against different types of cancers and some viruses.
  • Burdock root increases the effectiveness of the body’s elimination systems to cleanse the blood. It has a powerful diuretic effect that helps the kidney filter out impurities from the bloodstream. It boosts the ability of the liver to flush out toxins and pushes out harmful elements through the skin as well. By eliminating toxins out of the body through multiple pathways, burdock root purifies the blood with no side effects or stress. Studies show that burdock root has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it can work against a variety of cancers.
  • Dandelion leaf is an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and especially sodium. It is one of the key herbs used to purify the blood and support the kidneys and pancreas.  It is especially helpful as a diuretic and helpful for cellulite and fluid retention.  It increases urination which helps to remove certain toxins from the kidney.  The combination of root and leaves are known to be helpful in dissolving urinary stones and gravel.  As far as the pancreas goes, it is a very important herb when it comes to helping to increase insulin secretions, which is beneficial for diabetics.  As an excellent liver cleanser, dandelion aids in increasing the output of the liver as well as the flow of bile into the intestines and the activity of the pancreas and spleen. This makes it a great treatment for hepatitis, yellow jaundice, and other liver-related problems. By helping to purify the blood, dandelion helps with certain types of anemia. Certain acids that build up in the blood due to weight loss are known to be destroyed by dandelion. It also helps with low blood pressure and builds energy as well as endurance.  Dandelion is excellent for female organs as well. It is known to enrich breast milk in nursing mothers which benefits both mother and child. It is also known to aid women suffering from premenstrual syndrome, and they may find that the diuretic action of dandelion helps to relieve some of the symptoms.  The flowers of dandelion are a rich source of lecithin. This is the essential nutrient that elevates the brain’s acetylcholine.  This means that it may help retard or stop regression of mental ability caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Lecithin also aids the body in maintaining good liver function. Dandelion also helps to open the urinary passages as part of its cleansing process.  It is important to note that dandelion is also known as a bitter herb.  This means that it helps to activate the entire digestive tract and liver and in doing so helps to ease digestion, increase appetite and the flow of digestive juices, and cleanse the liver. The herb is known to help treat liver disease and sluggish liver as well as help to dissolve gallstones.
  • Lobelia has anti-spasmodic, anti-asthmatic and expectorant properties. It works as a relaxant and stimulant when used with other herbs. Lobelia is effective at cleansing the blood by eliminating toxins from the body. This cleansing herb is also suggested effective for treating respiratory disorders and conditions. It serves as a natural expectorant and cleanses the respiratory tract and lungs. The herb improves the blood flow in the body and eases pains and aches.
  • Garlic has been used in the treatment of various ailments. The herb is loaded with sulfur, a mineral which helps the body get rid of harmful toxins. It can also stimulate the liver to create detoxifying enzymes to filter out toxins out of the bloodstream. Garlic is also a natural antibiotic and can treat a variety of infections. It can strengthen the immune system to keep diseases and infections away.
  • Echinacea is an excellent immune stimulant. It is known to be one of the most powerful herbs which support lymphatic function essential for blood detoxification and immune health. Not only is this potent herb a natural remedy for cold and flu relief but also a great antibiotic and natural immune booster. Echinacea is known to contain a natural antibiotic which works by enhancing your immune cells to fight a range of bacteria and viruses. This makes the herb highly effective in treating infectious diseases and wound healing. It can also help with cancer.  One can make a tea using Echinacea and drink it to soothe tensed nerves, avoid any toxicity, infections and other diseases.
  • Sassafras uses and health benefits of the tree have been noted to aid in strengthening immunity, preventing cancer, soothing menstrual pain, to relieving adrenal stress.  The leaves detoxify the body as a diuretic by flushing the system.  The bark of the tree has also been known to aid inflammation within the body, as well as being an excellent fever reducer. Since sassafras contains analgesic properties it is known to work well in the areas of tooth inflammation or injury. It can be used as a main ingredient for a lot of natural toothpaste options.  Sassafras has also been known as a great blood purifier, whenever wanting a natural remedy for body detoxification.  It aids in the fight against pathogenic bacteria when dealing with gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes.
  • Sarsaparilla is known to contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and toxin binding properties to purify the blood and treat skin conditions.  It is also nutritious and contains vitamins A, B-complex, C and D, and minerals iron, manganese, sodium, silicon, sulfur, copper, Zinc, and iodine.  Sarsaparilla has been used in traditional medicine to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and leprosy, rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain, headaches, colds, and sexual impotence.

Another often over-looked organ that needs cleansing is the lungs.  During the winter they tend to be exposed to the soot and smoke of indoor fireplaces and wood burning stoves.  Lung cleansing techniques may also benefit people who smoke, people who get regular exposure to air pollution, and those with chronic conditions that affect the respiratory system, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis.

After the lungs have had exposure to a ‘pollution’, a person’s chest may feel full, congested, or inflamed. Mucus gathers in the lungs to catch microbes and pathogens, which contributes to this feeling of heaviness.  People may be able to use specific techniques to help clear the lungs of mucus and irritants to relieve chest congestion and other uncomfortable symptoms.  These include:

  • Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, involves inhaling water vapor to open the airways and help the lungs drain mucus.  People with lung conditions may notice their symptoms worsening in cold or dry air. This climate can dry out the mucous membranes in the airways and restrict blood flow.  Conversely, steam adds warmth and moisture to the air, which may improve breathing and help loosen mucus inside the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide immediate relief and help people breathe more easily.
  • Controlled coughing can help send mucus through the airways.  Coughing is the body’s way of naturally expelling toxins that it has trapped in mucus. Controlled coughing loosens excess mucus in the lungs, sending it up through the airways. (See recipes)
  • Postural drainage involves lying in different positions to use gravity to remove mucus from the lungs. This practice may improve breathing and help treat or prevent lung infections.  Postural drainage techniques differ depending on one’s position.  (See recipes)

Regular exercise can improve people’s physical and mental health, and it decreases the risk of many health conditions, including stroke and heart disease.  It forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body’s breathing rate, resulting in a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves circulation, making the body more efficient in removing the excess carbon dioxide that the body produces when exercising.  The body will start to adapt to meet the demands of regular exercise. The muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide. Although exercising may be more difficult for people with chronic lung conditions, these individuals can also benefit from regular exercise. People who have COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma should consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen.

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods and drink can reduce inflammation to relieve feelings of a heavy chest and congestion. These include: turmeric, leafy greens, cherries, blueberries, olives, walnuts, beans, lentils, and green tea.

There are a number of botanicals which can aid in healing and detoxing the skin.  One can easily turn them into DIY face masks or hair conditioners.  They include: 

  • Chamomile is perfect to fade dark spots on the face, and give your skin a radiant and youthful glow.
  • Cinnamon can help clear up acne.  It helps prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria so it’s perfect to add to a face or body mask.
  • Thyme is known for its ability to improve blood flow to the scalp and to help stimulate growth.
  • Turmeric is great for healing and calming your skin. It also helps the growth of your hair.
  • Calendula repairs dry skin, reduces acne scars or wounds, and cures fungal infections that may cause acne or blackheads.
  • Rose petals locks in moisture, on top of that provides a sweet scent. It also soothes irritated skin, so it’s a great refreshing spray.
  • Basil is used for both skin and hair as it is full of antioxidants and nutrients. With skin, it aids in clearing up acne, blackheads and pimples. In hair products, it helps to get rid of dandruff and promotes hair growth.
  • Witch hazel is a natural astringent. It helps fade scars, speeds up the healing of scabs and reduces redness.
  • Mint has benefits that include cleansing and tightening skin, reducing puffiness around eyes and oil reduction on the skin. It’s also popular in foot care products, as it aids severely cracked heels.
  • Lavender is can aid a number of skin concerns, including acne and eczema; use it as a facial toner. In addition to soothing skin, lavender heals inflammation and burning associated with insect bites and mild burns.
  • Aloe Vera is keeps the skin calm, hydrated and plump. One can also use it on hair, as it contains enzymes that repair dead skin cells in the scalp, ultimately leading to better hair growth.
  • Activated charcoal effectively cleanses the skin, unclogs pores, removes deeper impurities, and dead skin cells. Dirt, toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and other poisons are attracted to the charcoal molecules and washed away.  Honey, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, coffee, and cocoa are a few other popular aids.  

Life presents us with many challenges and opportunities. Although there is much over which we have little control, we do have the power to decide about some things, such as diet and lifestyle. To maintain balance and health, it is important to pay attention to these decisions. Diet and lifestyle appropriate to one’s individual constitution strengthen the body, mind and consciousness.

Palliative and cleansing measures, when appropriate, can be used to help eliminate an imbalance along with suggestions for eliminating or managing the causes of the imbalance. Recommendations may include the implementation of lifestyle changes; starting and maintaining a suggested diet; and the use of herbs.

Two herbs from India are boswellia and turmeric.  Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract taken from the Boswellia serrata tree.  Resin made from boswellia extract has been used for centuries in Asian and African folk medicine. It’s believed to treat chronic inflammatory illnesses as well as a number of other health conditions, such as osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  Because boswellia is an effective anti-inflammatory, it can be an effective painkiller and may prevent the loss of cartilage. Some studies have found that it may even be useful in treating certain cancers, such as leukemia and breast cancer.

Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a member of the ginger family. It is the main spice in curry. The root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.  Turmeric is commonly used for conditions involving pain and inflammation, such as osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a type of liver disease, and itching. Some people use turmeric for heartburn, stomach ulcers, gallstones, thinking and memory skills, inflammatory bowel disease, stress, preventing cancer, and many other conditions.

Traditional buttermilk is the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. This is the only version that has any probiotic benefit.  The methods for making buttermilk have changed over the years. In the old days, buttermilk was fermented by naturally occurring bacteria as unpasteurized butter cream sat for a length of time before churning. This process is called “ripening.” Cultured buttermilk is too processed to be of any probiotic benefit.  Probiotics aid in the control of candida within the body.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria is called dysbiosis.  During a delivery through the birth canal, a newborn picks up the bacteria Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Escherichia coli from their mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed and have been shown to be the reason why some infants born by C-section have allergies, less than optimal immune systems, and lower levels of gut microflora.

Probiotics are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestion.  Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria. When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. The healthy balance of bacteria assists with the regulation of gastrointestinal motility and maintenance of gut barrier function. Research has shown some benefits for the use of probiotics for infectious diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, gut transit, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal pain and bloating, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, Helicobacter pylori infection, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and necrotizing enterocolitis.

The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders (for example, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), and infections (for example, infectious diarrhea, H. pylori, skin infections, and vaginal infections).

Preliminary research has linked them to supporting the health of the reproductive tract, oral cavity, lungs, skin and gut-brain axis, and the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Recipes:

  • Old-time Shepherd’s Pie (1912): Take a pound of cold mutton, a pint of cold boiled potatoes, one-half an onion grated, one or two cooked carrots; out the mutton and potatoes into small pieces and put them with the onion and carrot into a deep baking dish. Add a cupful of stock or water, salt, pepper and a tablespoonful of butter cut in bits. Pare and boil four medium-sized potatoes, mash and add cup of cream, salt and pepper to taste, beat until light, then add enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll out and cover the dish with the dough, make a cross cut in the center to allow tie steam to escape, and bake in a moderate oven one hour.
  • Traditional Heather Mead (a Celtic beverage): 6 pounds heather honey; 10 cups lightly pressed unwashed flowering heather tops; 4 gallons water; dry brewing yeast. Directions: Heat water to 170 degrees F, add 6 cups heather flowers, and allow to stand covered overnight. Strain liquid and boil, remove from heat and add honey. Stir until dissolved. Run hot water through a sieve filled with 2 cups of heather tops into the fermenting vessel. Allow to cool, and 5 grams yeast, and ferment until fermentation slows down. Then remove ½ gallon of ale, add 2 cups of heather flowers, and warm to 158 degrees F. Cover and steep for 15 minutes, then, return to fermenter. When fermentation is complete, prime bottles (if carbonated mead is desired), fill, and cap. Store from two weeks to two years for aging.
  • Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread (family recipe): 4 cups of whole meal flour; 2 cups of light flour; 1 tsp. baking soda; 1 tsp. salt; 2 ½ cups buttermilk. Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop out a well and pour in about half of the buttermilk. Mix the dry mixture with the milk using your hands and the lightest touch possible. Continue to add the remainder of the milk, but do not allow the dough to become too sticky. Turn the dough onto a floured baking surface and shape dough into a round flat shape. Cut a large cross into the surface (to let the devil out) and place in the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 degrees F and let bake for another 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it is finished; otherwise it only needs another 5-10 minutes.
  • Exercises to Help Clear Lungs of Excess Mucus: *Sit down on a chair with the shoulders relaxed, keeping both feet flat on the floor. Fold the arms over the stomach. Slowly inhale through the nose. Slowly exhale while leaning forward, pushing the arms against the stomach. Cough 2 or 3 times while exhaling, keeping the mouth slightly open. Slowly inhale through the nose. Rest and repeat as necessary. *On your back–Lie down on the floor or a bed. Place pillows under the hips to ensure that the chest is lower than the hips. Slowly inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Each exhale should take twice as long as the inhale, which is called 1:2 breathing. Continue for a few minutes. *On your side–Lie on one side, resting the head on an arm or pillow. Place pillows under the hips. Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern. Continue for a few minutes. Repeat on the other side. *On your stomach–Place a stack of pillows on the floor. Lie down with the stomach over the pillows. Remember to keep the hips above the chest. Fold the arms under the head for support. Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern. Continue for a few minutes.
  • Charcoal Honey Face Mask: 1 tablespoon (4 capsules) activated charcoal; 2 tablespoons raw honey. Directions: Start by placing charcoal in a small dish. Add honey and start mixing carefully (charcoal can stain so be slow and steady mixing) with the brush incorporating both ingredients. Wash face with warm water to open up the pores. Apply mask spreading evenly across face. Keep spreading if the honey starts separating. Leave mask on 5-10 minutes. Wash after with cold water and pat face dry with a clean cloth.
  • Blood Cleanser Tea: 1 cup dried Burdock root; 1 cup roasted chicory root; 1 cup dried Dandelion root; 1 cup Red Clover blossoms; 1/2 cup ground Ginger root; 1/2 cup Peppermint leaves. Directions: Combine herbs in a dark glass jar. To make tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons herb mixture per 1 cup of water. Place water in a non-metallic pan, saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes; turn off heat; allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain before serving. Start by drinking 1 to 2 cups of tea daily for at least 2 weeks to help cleanse the blood and detoxify the body.
  • Traditional Golden Milk: 4 cups milk; 1 tbsp. turmeric powder; 2-3 tbsp. honey; 2 whole cardamom pods, optional. Directions: Bring milk to a rolling boil. Stir in turmeric powder. Add cardamom if you like. Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes. Pour into serving mugs or glass. Stir in honey or sweeter of choice. Enjoy.
  • Authentic Indian Curry (family recipe): 2 large onions, diced; 4 or 5 medium-sized garlic cloves; ginger; chilies; 4 or 5 whole cloves; star anise, whole; peeled plum tomatoes; garam masala; ground coriander; ground cumin; turmeric powder; 2 or 3 bay leaves; lemon; a few 1” sticks whole cinnamon; vegetable oil; meat, optional. Directions: Start off by peeling and finely dicing the two onions. A tip to avoid tears: Slice the onion in half length-wise, leaving the root uncut. Chop off an inch or so opposite the root. This should prevent the aroma from stinging your eyes. Finely dice the onions. If you prefer your food mild, use two or three small red or green chilies. Note that the smaller the chilies, the hotter they are. Peel and slightly dice chilies. To decide how much ginger to use, place the ginger root next to the garlic and use slightly more ginger than garlic. Peel the garlic and cut into small chunks. Peel and slightly dice the whole chilies. Place garlic, ginger, and chilies into a blender and mix into a smooth paste. Drizzle 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a pot with cloves, whole star anise, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Once the cloves begin to lightly crackle, your oil is hot enough to fry the onions. Carefully place onions into the oil and wait for them to brown. The darker the onions are (as long as they are not burned!), the darker your curry will be. A darker curry is more authentic. Once the onions are ready, turn the heat way down and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Allow this to fry together. If you are cooking this dish with meat, dice the meat to the desired size and add it to the pot. Now add the rest of the garlic paste and slightly fry for 5 to 6 minutes at a high heat, stirring frequently. Now it’s time to add the tomatoes. Use fresh if you like, but canned tomatoes are much easier. It’s time to add the spices. Begin with the coriander and stir the sauce after adding each spice. About 2 or 3 small teaspoons will be enough. Next add 3 or 4 teaspoons of garam masala, 2 or 3 teaspoons of cumin, and about 3 teaspoons of turmeric. Remember to stir between each additional spice. Cover the pot so that a small gap remains and allow the sauce to simmer for 60 to 90 minutes on a low heat. Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice according to taste and serve with rice, chapatis, or naan bread.
  • Traditional Root Beer: 10 cups water; 3 tablespoons sarsaparilla root; 1 tablespoon ginger root; 1 tablespoon licorice root; 2 teaspoons dandelion root; 2 teaspoons birch bark; 1 star anise pods; 1/4 cup sassafras root bark; 3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey; 1/2 cup ginger bug (strained)-{recipe below}. Directions: Fill a large stock pot with 10 cups water, and then spoon in the sarsaparilla, ginger, licorice, dandelion, birch, and star anise. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then stir in the sassafras bark, and continue simmering a further 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Next, allow the decoction to cool to room temperature – about 2 hours. Strain decoction, discarding the herbs. Stir in the ginger bug, and pour into flip-top bottles – allowing at least 1 to 2 inches of headspace in each bottle. Ferment the root beer at room temperature about 2 days, allowing more time during cold weather. Transfer to the fridge for 3 days to allow the bubbles to set, and serve cold over ice.
  • Ginger Bug: *To Start the Bug: 2 cups water; 2 teaspoons sugar; 1 ounce fresh ginger diced *To Feed the Bug: 5 teaspoons sugar; 2 1/2 ounces fresh ginger diced *To Use the Bug: 8 cups fruit juice or sweetened herbal tea. Directions: *Preparing the Bug: Warm the water in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir in the sugar until it dissolves fully. Cool the sugar water to room temperature. Drop the ginger into a pint-sized jar, and then cover it with the sugar water. Seal the jar, and let it culture at room temperature for one day. *Feeding the Bug: The next day, and each day for 5 days, stir 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2-ounce ginger into the jar, and then close the jar tightly. Between 3 and 5 days, you should start to see bubbles forming, and your bug should smell yeasty and gingery. When you see bubbles, your bug is ready to use. *Using the Bug: To use the bug, strain 1/2 cup of the liquid and mix it with 7 1/2 cups liquid such as fruit juice or sweetened herbal tea, bottle and ferment up to 3 days.

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

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

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.

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