Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara)

FlowerBuds(1)

Don’t confuse coltsfoot with dandelion.  Though they are in the same family, they have different functions.  Look at the stem and the leaves.  Dandelion leaves are jagged toothed.  Coltsfoot leaves are palmate (think “palm” and open your hands wide, then spread fingers).

Common names

  • Coltsfoot
  • Cough wort
  • Son-before-the-father

Coltsfoot (botanical name, Tussilago farfara L.) is one of nature’s strange creations that entail placing the cart before the horse. Especially, going by the herb’s old Latin name ‘Filius ante patrem’, it denotes ‘the son coming before the father’. Coltsfoot bears flat yellow-hued flower heads quite early in the spring and once the blooms wither away, the herb produces wide, hoof-shaped, jade color leaves. This herb is quite widespread and does not have any preference regarding the soil it is cultivated on.

The botanical name of Tussilago farfara L. (coltsfoot) aptly mirrors the plant’s therapeutic use. As the Latin term tussilago denotes cough, the dried out leaves as well as the flower heads of this plant have been used to treat this condition since early days. Coltsfoot belongs to the member of plant family Asteraceae. It is a short, perennially growing woolly herb which bears flowering stems having a solitary yellow flower head at the terminal. As aforementioned, when the flower has withered away, leaves whose shape has resemblance to hoof appear on the stems. Although coltsfoot is indigenous to Europe, this herb is widespread in places that are sandy and moist in the north-eastern and north-central region of the United States as well as the southern regions of Canada. As the blossoms as well as the leaves of coltsfoot emerge in dissimilar periods, they are harvested and sold separately too.

Since long, coltsfoot has been an extremely preferred herbal medication for treating coughs and bronchial congestion. The leaves and also the roots of this herb form an active ingredient in a whole host of patented tea blends which are available commercially in Europe to treat cough and bronchial blockages.

To continue reading, see https://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_coltsfoot.htm

Flax Seeds for Hot Flashes

Yesterday in the store it was a typical scenario; a woman experiencing hot flashes walked up to the women’s section and browsed all the supplements for menopause.   Then she asked me “What is good for hot flashes?  I sweat when it’s hot.”

I replied most people do, but after a bit more dialogue we got right to the main issue.  She is 64 and has been sweating like this since she was 50.

I asked her if she knew what her hormone levels were and she said she did not.

I thought she needed to put the supplements down since she did not know if her irregular temperature was due to insufficient or elevated progesterone, insufficient or elevated estrogen, insufficient or elevated DHEA, cortisol, TSH, etc.   A saliva test by a qualified health professional can determine this though insurance does not cover it.  Generally it is $125 to $200.

I believe that if you don’t know what is causing hot flashes, start with food first.  It is often more helpful and is cheaper than experimenting with pricey supplements for menopause control (although many are very beneficial when you know what hormone you are supporting).

When you think of inflammation, think “heat”.  When you think of hot flashes, think “the body is trying to cool the heat”.    When you think of foods to cool the body, think “Omega 3s”, such as salmon or fish oil and flax seed or flax seed oil.

Start with flax seed and grind what you need when ready for use.   Use only 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed daily as it may cause bloating.   Flax seed contains omega 3 fatty acids.    These omega 3’s “put out the fire”

At the store, we sell whole flax seed for $1.99 for 13 ounces.   Start there.  You might even find your cholesterol levels have improved.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/284290-flaxseed-flaxseed-oil-for-hot-flashes/

 

Cayenne Tea – Excellent Wellness and Anti-Flu Support

CayenneArticleMeme

You don’t have the flu but it’s out there.  You can’t avoid being in public so you want to protect your immune system as much as possible, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Try Cayenne Tea.  I’m having some this morning.  It’s an inexpensive, warming spice and a blood mover,  so it gets YOU moving as well.  Just 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne is enough to do the trick.  Sip an 8-ounce cup a few times a day.

Recipe:
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
8 ounces hot, boiling water

Enjoy!

cayenne tea

Protandim – Anti-aging Breakthrough

 

I have never been one for any supplements using the words “breakthrough” or “miracle” however when I went searching the web in September, to find a product I could really get on board with – being an herbalist and leaning towards natural supplements – I was quite intrigued with this one.

I went to the website – Lifevantage.com – and found that I can only purchase if I am introduced by a rep.  However, I checked out the ingredients and saw that they are all natural, all herbal and they are a patented formula that is capable of reaching the mitochondria via the NRF2 pathways.

You might not know what that means, but I did.  Nutrition reaching the cellular level has been the goal of almost all supplement manufacturers.

Read about NRF2 here.

I was getting excited about what this could mean for me –   especially since I had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome – a complicated disorder with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in my body – my CRP (C-Reactive Protein) levels were at 11.2 (should be at .05 for function) – and my energy was limited to 10 minutes per half hour.

I needed to know more so I called the company to ask how I can be introduced to a rep, and talk to me more about this.   A representative called me and I was quickly put in touch with a doctor.  I asked him how this could help me have energy.  He led me to several studies that had been done and were published on PubMed, on Oxidative Stress, as well as the youtube video above (and there are many other videos as well.)

More studies can be found on Pubmed.  One such study may be found here but please feel free to look it up using key words such as Protandim and Oxidative stress.

I decided to try it.  Within 1 week I began to get some energy back and today I am taking this product for over 3 months.  I am not sleeping during the day and have been able to get back to work in the health food store (before this, I was not).

If you want to know more about Protandim, please send me a message.  I’d love to share it with you.  In the meantime take a look at this Product Information sheet. You will see its patent and the herbs used, which are formulated in a proper ratio to each other, that make it possible to reach the mitochondria and nourish the cells.

Darlene

Keto Chocolate Cardamom Fudge

I learned about cardamom when a new Indian restaurant opened up in the neighborhood, and we had to check it out.  Prior to that, I had not had Indian food (“I had been deprived of many cuisines growing up in an Italian household” she said, tongue-in-cheek).
When I first bit into my food, I tasted a burst of perfume on my tongue;  I wasn’t loving it.  After a few visits, the flavor of cardamom started to intrigue me but I wasn’t yet ready to experiment with it in any of my dishes I prepared at home.

I loved its fragrance in my nose but not on my tongue, so I experimented with perfume making and massage oils.  After awhile, I was ready to try it in my own foods.  The key to keeping from biting into the enormous burst of perfume taste in your mouth is to use very few pods at a time (unless you are a cardamom pro and have developed a taste already.)  This is not a spice that requires several pods.

I recently learned that cardamom was more than just a fragrant spice.  It has some nutritional benefits, quite a few in fact.

So, what is it?  Cardamom is a spice that is in the Zingiberacaea family (the same family as ginger), and is found in hard-shelled pods.  It is often called The Queen of Spices, and ranks as the third most expensive spice in the world, following saffron and vanilla pods.  However, you can buy it in small quantities and use just a little at a time.

Cardamom, as previously stated, is a burst of perfume in your mouth, however, in small doses, the taste is hardly noticed.  It is the aroma in the nose that compliments, but it is more than a fragrant spice used in Indian dishes.  Its health benefits include preventing colorectal cancer,  improvement of cardiovascular health, prevention of gastrointestinal disorders, as an anti-depressant, and has antispasmodic and antibacterial properties as well.
cardamominfo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all its benefits, including its wonderful aroma, I wanted to experiment on my own with this intriguing herb.Because I am on the keto diet (High fat – moderate protein – low carb), I often experiment with various good Omega-3 or 6 fats in various dishes.  This morning,  I made

Keto Chocolate Cardamom Fudge 

2 Tablespoons Unrefined, Extra Virgin Cold-pressed Coconut Oil (left at room temperature so it mixes well but you can pop in microwave for 10 seconds if you like)
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter (without added sugar or salt)
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour (meal is okay)
2 Tablespoons Vegan Cream Cheese (I used this brand).
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
2 Packets of Pure Stevia (or erythritol)
4 Cardamom pods
Chopped Walnuts

Blend first seven ingredients by hand, using a fork or spoon.  Stir until well-blended.   Break open the 4 pods and sprinkle in your mixture.  Stir throughout.

Scoop out 1 teaspoon of the mixture at a time, roll into balls and put on a dish.  Flatten with two fingers if you like, or just leave in a ball.  Or, if you want to get fancy, you can put in a candy mold.  (I didn’t get fancy this morning).

This mixture should give you about 10 balls/bars.

Add about 2 chopped walnuts to each bar (or you can grind your walnuts and sprinkle on top).

Pop in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Enjoy.  (This is not a low-calorie food, however, because of its high fat content, one or two should satisfy you.)

While this looks like dessert, on a keto diet, you actually eat these first.  One should fill you so you don’t overdo your regular meal.   I can eat 2-3 for breakfast alone.

chocolate cardamom keto fudge
Inline image

I love what the cardamom adds to this.  If you are not sure about cardamom just yet, no worries, it isn’t essential to making keto fudge.  You can leave it out but I’m an herbalist!  I need herbs and love what they add to my creations.

Play around with it.  Instead of chocolate powder, add a teaspoon of Golden Milk powder if you have it.  Or you can add unsweetened coconut flakes instead of walnuts.

But if you do use cardamom, I’d love to know your thoughts.   Please leave a comment.

Pathways of Elimination: The Liver

In 1994, a Russian naturopathic physician named Ilya Metchnikoff discovered that the body would recycle whatever toxin it could not purge via the elimination pathways.  These pathways are the lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, colon lymph and blood.  Each of these pathways works with the others to break down and eliminate toxins from the body.  If one of the pathways is compromised in any way, it places greater burden on the other pathways.

Constipation is an example of the colon not functioning to its fullest capacity. Edema in the tissues is an example of the kidneys, lymph and skin not functioning to their fullest capacity.  Bloating, belching and flatulence or gas are the result of the liver not functioning well. Poor circulation is an example of the blood pathway not functioning at its best.

The key to good health is to know these seven pathways and do whatever it takes to keep them functioning optimally.

So let’s talk liver!   The function of the liver is to break down everything that enters the body and redistribute it to other organs or pathways.  Toxins will be distributed to the kidneys and colon, however when it gets overloaded, it tries to utilize every other elimination system until they become full.  The liver chemically converts destructive toxins into less harmful substances that the colon and kidneys can eliminate. When toxins fail to be eliminated due to overburdening of the pathways, they are then sent to the fat cells to be stored.

Some helpful herbs for the liver are milk thistle (silybum maarianum), artichoke leaf (cynara slolymus), dandelion root (taraxacum oficinales), ashwagandha (withania somnifera), and garlic (allum sativum).  Dandelion root is widely available in our backyards (but collect what is about 100 feet away from the roads to protect from possible pesticide contamination from neighboring yards or spray trucks).   The greens are bitter and can be added to salads, or steamed and added with other greens.

Make your own Dandelion Root Tea

Gather the entire plant from your backyard.  Some lawns will still have dandelions growing in the fall but others may need to wait until spring.  Spring dandelions are best for leaf gathering because the leaves are tender and new, but fall dandelions are best for root harvesting because they are more nutrient dense.

There are a lot of dandelion look-a likes out there so be sure you are pulling up a dandelion plant.  The leaves are long, and jagged (pictured below).

Shake dirt off before bringing into the home and remember that there are insect eggs and possibly adult insects so be sure to wash the whole plant well to remove what dirt and insects did not shake off.

Separate the root from the leaves and chop the root coarsely.  Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a saucepan and add 2 teaspoons of the root.  Cover and lower the heat to simmer for about a minute.  Remove from heat and let steep for about 40 minutes. You may add the leaves and flowers about 5-7 minutes before you are ready to strain it so as not to damage the nutrition from them.

Strain by placing a strainer over your teacup and pour.  Add honey if desired.

Drinking a few cups daily will help cleanse your liver and support its function.  If you have bloating, belching, gas, or constipation, dandelion root tea may help remove the burden.

 

Potassium-rich Foods and Herbs (And Myrrh-C Tea)

Potassium doesn’t get the attention it needs, IMHO, and yet it is (also IMHO) one of the most important minerals our bodies need.  Here is the reason:  The human body needs 4700 mg per day in order to function in optimal health.  We need potassium for heart health, kidney health, blood pressure support, weight maintenance, and more.  Too low of potassium can cause fatigue and slow heart beat, muscle spasms and malfunction, kidney malfunction, severe dehydration, migraines, edema, and death.  Too high potassium can cause rapid and irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, kidney malfunction and death.

Necessary for Brain Health and Reduction of Stroke Risk
Your nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. When you are low in potassium, your blood pressure rises and fluids don’t move “fluidly” around your cells, which, in the brain, means higher probability of severe headaches.  Because it also protects your nervous system, water balance and heart function, potassium reduces your risk of stroke.

Necessary for Heart Health
Low potassium can cause muscle spasms and cramping.  Because your heart is also a muscle, low potassium is responsible for many heart attacks.  A diet rich in potassium will keep your muscles functioning properly and your heart beating regularly.

Necessary for Blood Pressure Maintenance                                                                            You need 4700 mg but only 1500-1800 mg of sodium per day.  High blood pressure often occurs because of the imbalance of the ratio between sodium and potassium; we get too little potassium and too much sodium.  The average daily intake of sodium is just over 3000 mg per day.  The average intake of potassium is 2,640 mg per day.  Source

A single teaspoon of table salt has 2300 mg of salt.  Combine that with any processed foods you eat, and sodium that is naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables, there is an upset in the average daily diet, ripe for high blood pressure.  Source

Bone Health                                                                                                                              Potassium reduces bone absorption and is responsible for increasing bone strength.

Decreases Cellulite and Helps Maintain Desired Weight by keeping the fluids moving in the body. 

So you see, it is extremely important to be monitoring how much potassium we take in daily.  I know, it sounds like it’s just another thing to monitor but I have good news.  Most of your other minerals are found in potassium rich foods so if you only watch your potassium levels daily, you will be getting most, if not all, of the other minerals your body needs, such as the all-important magnesium and calcium, boron, phosphorous and others.

Here is a list of the 25 Top Potassium-Rich Foods Source

#1 Potatoes, with Skin (1 potato = 1,081 mg, 23% DV or Daily Value)

#2 Avocados (1 avocado = 975 mg, 21% DV)

 

potassium rich food - avocados

#3 Lima Beans (1 cup = 955 mg, 20% DV)

#4 Winter Squash (1 cup = 896 mg, 19% DV)

#5 Sweet Potato, Cooked with Skin (5” sweet potato = 855 mg, 18% DV)

#6 Prunes, AKA Dried Plums (1/2 cup = 637 mg, 14% DV).

Potassium Rich Foods - prunes

#7 Coconut Water (1 cup = 600 mg, 13% DV)

#8 Brussels Sprouts, Cooked (1 cup = 504 mg, 11% DV)

brussels sprouts - potassium

#9 Milk (1 cup = 496 mg, 11% DV)

#10 Cantaloupe (1 cup = 494 mg, 11% DV)

#11 Beets (1 cup = 442 mg, 9% DV)

Potassium Foods List - Beets

#12 Fresh Tomatoes (1 cup = 427 mg, 9%) and Tomato Products such as Canned Sauce (1 cup = 909 mg, 19% DV)

#13 Bananas (1 medium banana = 422 mg, 9% DV)

#14 Apricots, Dried (10 halves = 407 mg, 9% DV)

#15 Honeydew Melons (1 cup = 388 mg, 8% DV)

#16 Raisins (1.5 ounce box of raisins = 322 mg, 7% DV)

#17 Yogurt, Plain (½ cup = 290 mg, 6% DV)

#18 Nectarines (1 nectarine = 287 mg, 6% DV)

#19 Dates, Dried (5 dates = 271 mg, 6% DV)

#20 Figs, Dried (2 figs = 271 mg, 6% DV)

Potassium Rich Foods - figs

#21 Peanuts, Dry Roasted & Unsalted (¼ cup = 257 mg, 5% DV)

#22 Oranges (1 orange = 237 mg, 5% DV; 1 cup orange juice = 496 mg, 11% DV)

#23 Kiwifruit (1 medium kiwi = 215 mg, 5% DV)

#24 Pears (1 pear = 206 mg, 4% DV)

#25 Spinach (1 cup raw = 167 mg, 3% DV, 1 cup cooked =  840 mg, 18% DV)

For those of you on a Low-Carb Diet, or Sugar-Restricted diet, getting potassium from foods will be challenging, especially if you also are on a Paleo Diet, which restricts legumes and peanuts.   Fear not!  That’s why there are potassium-rich herbs.

Hibiscus – The American Heart Association reported that the blood pressure is lowered by the consumption of hibiscus tea. The study made by Odigie IP addresses that those people having the chances of cardiovascular disease and hypertension may be benefited by the hibiscus tea due to the presence of cardio-protective and anti-hypertensive properties. The research made at Tufts University in Boston summarizes that the anti-inflammatory properties in hibiscus tea helps to lower the blood pressure. Three cups of hibiscus tea should be consumed daily for few weeks to achieve the improvement. Due to the diuretic properties, the blood pressure is lowered by increasing urination. Those who drank 3 cups of hibiscus tea for 6 weeks found that the arterial blood pressure was decreased. The blood pressure would be effectively controlled if 8 ounces is drink 3 times per day regularly.  Source

Hibiscus Tea also has 21 mg of potassium per tablespoon.
Anise Seed – 97 mg per tablespoon
Citrus Peel – 293 mg per tablespoon

Myrrh-C Tea has hibiscus, red rooibos, passionflower, anise seed, citrus peel, oatstraw, oats, cinnamon, and myrrh gum – formulated for my husband after he had a mild stroke and was put on Warfarin and could not take herbs due to contraindication.  Myrrh-C tea is not contraindicated and is useful for blood pressure support.

Try including myrrh-c tea in your daily strategy of increasing potassium in your diet, while helping to maintain normal blood pressure.   It sells for $10 per ounce plus S & H.  Payable via paypal at darlene.rose50@yahoo.com.
Be sure to specify Myrrh-C tea.
ke myrrhctea

 

 

 

Herbal Infused Garlic Oil

  • “Gahhhhhhhlic!” Whenever anyone says garlic like that, I can hear the love in the tone.  “Gahhhhhhhlic!”    Mmmmmm.   Who doesn’t love garlic?  I grew up in an Italian home where garlic was a staple and used liberally in everything from sauces and gravies to fish and vegetables and casseroles.

    And salads.

    And soups and stews.

    You get the picture.  I love gahhhhhhhlic!

    Maybe you didn’t know that garlic is a potent antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibiotic as well.  Garlic’s therapeutic value tops the list of home remedies to keep as a staple in your home.   Keep a large jar around; you can use it for flavoring your favorite foods, add nutrition to your diet, take as a wellness protocol and even use for ear and skin infections.   So!  Are you ready?

    There are a few ways to infuse the oil. If you are making a flavor oil for culinary purposes only, you can use a cold infusion, sometimes called solar infusion by adding your garlic to a jar with olive oil and letting it sit for no longer than 10 days (to prevent botulism) and then refrigerate immediately.  Or, you can use a crock-pot, or put in the oven, or use on the stove in a double-boiler. I like using solar infusions when using dried herbs however when using garlic for a remedy, it is best to use one of the other heat-extracted methods. Because this is fresh garlic, and because I want to use this for medicinal as well as therapeutic and culinary purposes, I used a double-boiler.   Heat infusions such as this will extract more of the volatile oils that provide such good medicine.

    You will need a clean, dry mason jar.   I used fresh garlic at a ratio of 1 part garlic to 5 parts oil.  I used a garlic press to mince the garlic from one very large bulb.

 

101217 minced garlic and press

One clove at a time I put through the garlic press (no need to peel – just put it in and skuhweeze! You can pull the peels out of the press after each clove is minced).

101217 garlic press

Once you have finished pressing your garlic, you will want to weigh your jar.  My jar weighed 6.2 ounces.

101217 medium jar on scale

Now, add your garlic to the jar.  Weigh it.  The amount of garlic I used weighed 1.2 ounces.  I get that by taking the total weight of 7.4 ounces and subtracting the weight of the jar.  7.4 ounces – 6.2 ounces = 1.2 ounces.  You can use more garlic if you are just going for garlic to add to your food, but because I want a higher yield of oil to use for remedies, I chose to use a 1:5 ratio (1 part garlic to 5 parts oil).

101217 one point two ounces garlic

Now add your olive oil.  (Use extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil. It’s not enough to say extra virgin or 100% pure olive oil.  However, not all olive oil is truly extra-virgin, cold-pressed.  Here is a list of some true olive oil brands.  (There are others but you may be surprised to find your $3.00 cheaper version is likely vegetable oil, not olive oil at all.)  Authentic Olive Oils   

Notice the weight is 11.3 ounces.  This means I added 5. 1 ounces of oil to the jar.  I get that by subtracting the original weight of the jar, 6.2 ounces, from the total weight of      11.3 ounces.

101217 five point one ounces evoo

I don’t have a typical double boiler but I use my large stock pot with a stainless steel bowl.  When using a make-shift double-boiler, be sure no water is able to get inside the bowl as it boils.  Turn on high until it boils, then put the temperature to medium-low for about 10 minutes.

 

After 10 minutes, add it back to your jar and seal it up.  Make sure to label what it is and the date you infused it.  This will be good for one year as long as it is refrigerated.

101217 garlic infused evoo

I can use this for ear infections,  or as a wellness remedy of 10 drops per day under the tongue.

Or, I can add to sauce.  Or fish.  Or soups and stews!