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Daily Herbal Habit #4 Herbal Tea

I admit I like the occasional coffee, and I am without a doubt addicted to yerba mate (see the previous post for details), which is my everyday tea.  Yet, first thing in the morning when I wake up I’ve started a new daily herbal habit, and that’s “Fresh Herb tea”.

Brewing some Sage & Parsley

When I say fresh I mean FRESH.  I literally head out to the garden to see what is blooming, take a few leaves to put in hot water and steep for 10+ minutes.   The correct technical term would be herbal “infusion”.

What you may not know is how beneficial and healing these small herbal green leafed garden companions are. I’ve compiled a small list of what I have growing, in a very small space, with minimal effort, and yet maximum benefits:

Sage is an undervalued herb, there is a medieval saying that says ‘why should a man die while he grows sage in his garden’.  It’s all in the name sage of course also means wise, but its Latin name comes from salvare, which means ‘to save’.

It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antimicrobial and it clears mucus and reduces sweating. It’s said to prevent diabetes and is incredibly beneficial in treating fevers and colds, sore throat, asthma and headaches as well as indigestion and gastrointestinal upsets. So next time you feel a cold coming on, brew up some sage, mix in some honey and you’re good to go.

Parsley is rich in vitamins A, C and E, and minerals and is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It’s also a diuretic – which means it relieves water retention.  This is great to drink or chew on after a garlicky meal as it also refreshes the mouth and breath,  this may be the original reason it made its way on to our plates as a garnish.

You can also find Rosemary Essential Oil in Wayfarers Magic: Comfrey Ointment

 Rosemary: is one of my personal favourites, It was most popular in ancient Rome, it’s prolific and easy to grow. Which is why you can spot it in many home gardens.  It not only boosts your memory but also your brain power and can clear a headache. It is an antioxidant, astringent, anti-inflammatory, stimulates poor circulation as well as being restorative and uplifting.

Thyme Culpeper noted it to be a strengthener of the lungs.  Is antiseptic, antioxidant, tonic,  antispasmodic – which means it relieves muscle spasms and was often used to expel worms.  It’s the herb to go to for asthma, coughing, whooping cough, bronchitis or hay fever.

 Peppermint: Is great for the digestion, relieves muscle spasms, has a cooling effect and yet increases

Herbs planted around the Comfrey are booming! Great companion plant!

sweating.  It’s particularly good for irritable bowel syndrome or sensitive stomachs as it increases the digestive juices, yet relaxes the stomach muscles and relieves cramps, colic and gas.

And these, are just a few of the simple garden herbs, filled with such magic – be sure to look into what you have growing in your garden.  Who knew you had such a delicious, beautiful green and affordable pharmacy right outside.

For those like their tea blended for them be sure to check out the Tea Master healthy blends over at Sensado.  More than anything, sit back, enjoy the taste and reap all the benefits of a good cup of Herbal Tea!

And for those who are still not sold on the benefits of tea, and love your coffee, here is a great post over at Healthy Ambition regarding the benefits of coffee.

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Move over superman, can Comfrey a Herb, save the world?

Well it would have been if Henry Doubleday would have had his way.  You see he was a lovely Irishman a little ahead of his time.  The story goes (I wasn’t there, so sorry to say it’s not a first hand account), back in the early 1900’s he came across some Comfrey and was somewhat amazed at it’s affects on both his own health, the way that comfrey both fertilizers the soil and brings nutrients up from deep in the earth to it’s roots, and hence making the soil even richer than ever, he even noticed the effect this wonderful herb had on the health of his livestock.comfrey_plant

He started bringing it into the UK and planting large crops, in the hope to be able to feed and heal people livestock and the soil…. I am not quite sure where and how the story ended; I do know that he passed away before being able to see his dream come to life. And  slowly this modest herb without any big name behind it, without a big company a team of marketing strategist so slowly left the forefront of people’s mind, as the medical profession turned to medicines that were supported by companies with plenty of money for research, the crystallisation of extracts of the comfrey plant overfed intravenously to rats leading this simple herb to be added unjustly to the poisons list and the public has since turned to marketed medicines.  And yet, Comfrey remains with us, modest in qualities, there for those that care enough to find out and work with it in our endeavours. Abiding it’s time where it will one day be able to rip of the binds and the cloak of invisibility to once more show that it could, can and perhaps still will save the world.  A few it’s super-powers;

  1. Its main component is Allantoin which regenerates cell tissue, helping to speed up our bodies ability to self heal/ setting of wounds, injuries, fractures, broken bones and sprains. This is also said to be the key element that leading some to declare this herb the elixir of life.
  2. It is rich in vitamins, A, B1, B2, E & C especially good for vegetarians as it even has B12, which is a rare vitamin to find in plants, it even has nutrients such pantothenic acid (B5), calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sulphur, iron, Selenium, protein and phosphorus – beneficial for humans, plants and animals.
  3. It pulls nutrients to top of the soil around it and into nearby area, making it an incredibly valuable companion plant for other herbs, fruit trees and vegetables.
  4. Due to it’s richness in nitrogen and potassium it makes an amazing fertilizer, especially in today’s climate where soil nutrients are in decline, due to over-planting and lack of crop rotation.
  5. Farmers that have fed the leaves to livestock have reported a large increase of produce & health of their animals.
One of my own little home grown comfrey plants

One of my own little home grown comfrey plants

Now Comfrey is a humble plant, it just gets on with what it does best, which is to grow and grow, and then grow some more.  And while I might think Comfrey is a pretty super herb, and I do completely agree with Henry Doubleday and wished he’d lived to see his dream come true.  I hope for Comfrey that one day it will truly be recognised for it’s valuable contribution to our soils and earth, to our healing and our lives.

Notes:

For more information on full ompontents of comfrey, please check our Dr Christophers site: ‘allantoin (leaf) 13,000ppm; (root) 6,000-8,000 ppm-the biological activities are antidandruff, anti-inflammatory, anti-peptic, anti-psoriac, anti-ulcer, immuno-stimulant, keratolytic, sunscreen, suppurative, vulnerary. Symphytum is the number one plant species with the highest amount of allantoin’.

http://www.herballegacy.com/ThesisChemical.html

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Creativity = Sanity

Life can get a little crazy, endless time spent behind your computer, working, thinking bills, rent, moving, shopping, organising, chores etc.  Yet life/ soul/ spirit I fully believe also needs some time to play, this isn’t something reserved for kids – as adults we think of play or downtime as just running on the treadmill or plonking down in front of the TV, maybe even take a walk on the wild-side and head out to the pub or restaurant.  Creativity, play and ‘letting your imagination run loose’ rarely if ever makes it on to one’s agenda or to do list.

Eucalyptus Leaf print

Eucalyptus Leaf print

Yet it’s so healing, it’s freeing and incredibly satisfying. This last week I’ve spent hours working on everything so I took yesterday off to just play.  I finished the top I’d been sewing and a crochet hat. I went foraging for leaves to do some eco-dying on silk – which turned out brilliantly, while foraging I took the camera out and took some photo of the amazing Eucalyptus flowers that I’d been meaning to get on film for over a week. The leaves and plants inspire me, and hence I also used some of them to dye my apron.   I finished the new label for my body oil, and made a new batch that was just for me (yes, I have the luxury of having an extra large jar just for me :)), and I made a lovely detoxing; Comfrey, Burdock, St. Johns Wort infusion to drink over the next week.  Am doing the 30 day real food challenge, going into week 3, and could do with some extra tonic support.

Leaves with inkodye

Leaves with inkodye

So at the end of extremely relaxed, chilled day, I have a new top, a gift for a friend’s child, a apron, some captured moments on film, so lovely eco-dyed silk which I am going to make into t-shirts/ tops, some luxurious body oil, and a detoxifying elixir.

I can’t recommend enough making some time in your life to just play, have fun, let your imagination run wild, spend some quality time in nature – be creative, and your life will be all the more richer for it.

And in the words of Robin Rose Bennett;

“It is within your power to make your life more magical. Let yourself think magically. Symbolically. Metaphorically. Loosen up and let the boundaries between mundane and magical living become thinner. Invite yourself to see like an artist, to think like a poet’.

If your interested in trying any of the above check out:
Eco-Dying: I recommend India Flint and her book Second Skin: Choosing and Caring for Textiles and Clothing, which is incredibly inspiring, she has fabulous workshops worldwide. Check out her blog here.

Inkodye: Sun Dying ink

Infusion & Healing Herbs, recommend Robin Rose Bennett’s book The Gift of Healing Herbs: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life , I made my own blend, however she has endlessly yummy useful recipes and detailed explanation in her book.

Top: One-Piece Wearables: 25 Chic Garments and Accessories to Sew from Single Pattern Pieces (Domestic Arts for Crafty Girls) , has some great – easy to make patterns from just one piece of fabric.

30 Day real food Challenge. Highly recommend this, it’s the second time I am doing it, and so love the recipes, the food, and how I am feeling even after the first and second weeks. The benefit is the boosted health, energy and loss of any excessive fat.

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Comfrey successfully supporting self-healing and relief for Plantar Fasciitis

As someone that is against testing on animals I can at times be hard pressed to be able to trial my products on people and research the results.  However I am lucky, that I have people close to me that have a variety of ailments to test it on.  The latest human guinea pig (victim) is ineke, (who yes also happens to be my mum, not going to lie to you there), who thankfully is super active, and just completed a 880 kilometre walk of the Camino de Santiago, in Spain which consists of – a gruelling 10 miles a day, up and down hills come rain or shine.  After walking the Camino and being on the road travelling for the latst 16 months she’s returned home with a severe case of Plantar Fasciitis. To which the doctor advised that there is little to no relief and that it would take 2 years to fully recover.

Seeing this as potential opportunity to test my Comfrey Ointment on a case of Plantar Fasciitis, we started massaging in the ointment, 2 x a day, when she got up, in the afternoon and before going to bed (I believe the body works it’s hardest to heal any issues that it may face while we are sleeping – hence I also believe this is the best time to rub in any ointment that supports the bodies own self-healing, so in silent collaboration the body and herbs can work together to get you back to being your healthy new self). And adding some stretches and occasional ice-packs on her feet there was already a vast improvement.  In the first 2 weeks the pain had subsided, and she was able to walk again on the foot without any issues.  However was noticing on the days that she wasn’t using the ointment that the pain was returning again, I see that as a subtle reminder of the body to keep using the ointment.

Its now 7 weeks later, and ineke is still doing the stretches, and just using the ointment now and again at night. The pain has gone, she’s back to walking a few hours a day whenever possible and would walk the Camino again tomorrow if that was an option.  As a free additional bonus the Comfrey Ointment has also healed her cracked heels, not even something I had thought of using the ointment for, so always good to hear.

In her own words:

‘I have been using the Comfrey Ointment for my Plantar Fasciitis for over 7 weeks now, together with the ice packs, stretches and massaging the ointment in both morning and night.  My doctor told me it would be a long healing process that could take up to 2 years.

Plantar Fasciitis

Using Comfrey for Plantar Fasciitis and Cracked heels

I’ve had it since the beginning of October and now in mid-January all the pain, symptoms and discomforts have disappeared.  I am normally very suspicious about this claims or testimonials, however this comfrey ointment has certainly worked miracles for me.’

You can find the Comfrey Ointments here,  and if you are interested in ineke’s adventures on the Camino, Africa, Turkey or many other countries, you can find them on her blog here.  As well as her art work which you can find here www.inekevandenhout.com

And of course should you be planning to walk the Camino in Santiago or other Pilgrimages, my Wayfarers Magic is the Ointment for you also works a treat on Blisters, Sore Muscles, Aches & Pains.  It won’t be walking the Camino for you though, so do take enough determination, sense of adventure and good spirit to do that yourself.

If you are planning to walk the Camino or have walked the Camino and would like to try the ointment, drop me a line here for my special Camino de Santiago 10% off discount code.

Top #3 Uses for the Herb Comfrey

comfreyWhile comfrey was mainly used in our history as a healing herb, and it’s from this history it gained its nickname ‘knitbone’ it also has a myriad of other uses as well.

# 1 Healing: it’s history speaks for itself and is knows to support the healing of bones and sprains, while Merck drug company is now also using it in their back pain cream, and it’s listed in the Cochrane review for both back pain and arthritis. To be honest as a easy growing little plant it hasn’t had the comprehensive research it deserves, as keep in mind most research is supported financially by companies that wish to benefit from that research, so my advice is test if for yourself – it supports me as the best all-purpose ointment I’ve come across, and I literally use it for everything….

# 2 Gardening: In the permaculture world it’s most often used a companion plant and as a mulch, in winter while the leaves go dormant the roots get into full swing by pulling up to them the rich nutrients into the surrounding soil, this of course in turn creates a soil which also benefits all the surrounding plants.

#3 Fertiliser: On top of this the leaves are incredibly rich in nitrogen, so are often chopped up or turned into a rich mulch to be fed back into the soil around the garden, this is a sure fire way to give your plants and amazing boost.

There are event stories about farmers feeding the wilted leaves to their cows that improved their health and milk production – which makes it in my eyes a little strange that it is seen as a poison in Australia (one of only 2 countries that give it a bad rap) – while there is little evidence to support this, there is much more overwhelming evidence of the benefits, and no known cases to date of anyone or anything being poisoned by it.  So be sure to do your own investigations and make your own informed decisions.  I highly recommend having some in your garden, and planting some in and around your other plants and see them all flourish.

If you are interested in reading more, there is some permaculture related articles that explain the benefits in more depth, and a link to the Cochrane 60ml_ointment001review.

http://permaculturenews.org/2010/10/01/the-wonderful-multi-purpose-comfrey-plant/

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/03/18/comfrey-really-improve-soil/

https://www.openpermaculture.com/magazine/six-reasons-comfrey-amazing-permaculture-plant

Brewing up a Comfrey Storm

comfrey_brewingBrewing up a new comfrey storm, it’s quite a bit of work the most strenuous is making sure it doesn’t boil – the oil is infused with all the delightfully delicious herbs for many hours, and then carefully blended with the other ingredients to create the magical ointment.  All the real credit of course goes to the herbs themselves, without which there would be very little healing.

This batch will be my Rose Comfrey all purpose Salve, which is looking for a new name, not sure if the Comfrey Rose Ointment is enticing enough.  The Salve is incredibly healing to makers/ creative working hands as I know the crafters like myself sometimes are looking for something to recharge and heal our joints (well I am at least, call it age – or maybe just too much crafting J, so looking for a soothing, lovely inspiring name for that – anyone has any suggestions be sure to let me know. – and for now back to the careful brewing of my lotions and potions. brewing_comfrey

Comfrey: Proven relief from Osteoarthritis and Sprains

Touched base on the weekend, with the lovely Graeme Little, who inspired my ointment making and education of the endless benefits of Comfrey. Graeme was recently featured in the weekly times, farming section be sure to check out the article by clicking here.
Graeme, also kindly shared some of interesting articles and research out there that supports the claims of comfrey and it’s healing effects on back pain, strains and osteoporosis – so check it out.
The last three are for fun and much more easy reading, the gist of it all though is comfrey works, with amazing results!  Of course I know it works, however this is all great information and supports the our divine little comfrey – who has at time gotten a bad rap, how dare it grow like a weed, be un-patented, and free :)
Anyway, I also found it interesting that the Big German Pharma company Merck has ditched some of the drugs they were using for pain relief and replaced them with comfrey – in their own patented version.  Pfff, so they can try to patent it, personally I much prefer my home cooked version. I am glad though with some big pharma behind it, that it supports more research and results, it may lead to further investigation to the more benefits and help it clear some of the not so true accusations that the plant has to deal with.  Strange isn’t it that if its just good, and maybe miraculous no one wants to invest in research.  I don’t mind though how it happens, just good to see Comfrey out there and happening, making a difference in the world.
30g_ointment
Graeme’s comfrey website
Find my own ointment online at Etsy here.
Or of course if you are in South Australia can also buy it via Pure Organic Ministry or give me a shout.
Market days in July are in the planning – will relay dates shortly.

The healing Magic of Comfrey

comfrey ointmentI for one, have this innate believe that whatever illnesses, aches and pains that we might have, there is a natural solution, just often times we may not know of it, it doesn’t quiet have the marketing clout or PR budgets that a packaged product might have, and lets be honest most research is paid for by pharmaceuticals, so more often than not natural products don’t quiet have the field testing or quantifiable scientific research behind it.

The reason I bring this up is, that in the past and often my favorite herbs of all times can been seen to get undeserved bad rap, please see sources articles at the bottom if you’d like some more information on all that.  Comfrey has a vast history, it was used to heal bones, bump and bruises by the gladiators, was used by wise women and healers in medieval times to the point it earned the nickname ‘knitbone’, which it is still know by today, and is still widely used.

While it gets an undeserved wrap for internal use, it is still a star for external treatments and highly recommended.  I personally use it for almost everything, I make my own organic ointments from an organic sunflower oil infused with comfrey, to which I add burdock, devils claw, calendula, lavender and horsetail as well as some all healing essential oils such as juniper, cedarwood, bergamot and frankincense – all organic and all natural ingredients (I love seeing and knowing what goes into my concoctions, as then I know what it is where it comes from). In the rose version I’ve used Rose geranium and Rose otto oils instead of the other essential oils, which smell incredibly delicious and great to use on your face at night.

comfrey ointmentIn my lip balms which are a new comfrey offshoot,  I add lemon balm, lemon verbena, calendula and camomile as well as peppermint essential oil for that hint of freshness.

My body oils are something I’ve been using myself for ages and really works a treat, it’s the same comfrey infused oil as listed above, only I’ve added sweet almond oil, coconut oil, arnica oil and grapefruit Essential oil which is a great start to the day and is great for the skin and cellulite too.  As you can tell, am loving comfrey and the products. I’ve tested it on any issues that come up for me, pulled a muscle in my neck last week and apply the ointment before going to be and voila, after two nights it’s gone, I use it on my RSI, burns and any achy muscles, I see it help my mum’s arthritis, and a friends eczema – I even use it as a night cream and am loving that too.  I suggest you try it, or look into what natural remedies and products work for you.

I recall someone asking me once if I would drink petroleum, to which of course the answer is no – however we do daily slather our skin, which is our largest organ in just that – I dare you to go and read the label of the product you are using. I was shocked that indeed my oh so healthy cocoa butter that I was using was also a petroleum based, nothing other than a bi-product from the petrol industry – of course from that day onwards I’ve stocked up on organic coconut oil and have been using my home made recipes ever since. You can make so much right at home and it’s equally as good, cheap and much healthier for you, your skin and the environment.

Anyway, if your looking for some healing you can drop me an email if your in Adelaide and would like to buy some, I can at times be found at the Flinders Street Market, or in stock at the Organic Ministry and online you can also find my products on etsy.com, click here.

Or would like to find out more, please feel free to check out some of these resources:
Comfrey website (this is the place in French Island that I first learnt all about the magic of comfrey )
Scientific Research  (although do look at whose funding the research, no all research is created equal – I wish it were)
Summary and a good detailed overview of comfrey
Herbs are Special website, more interesting information about comfrey

Another good source of information and uses

 

 

Is illness hereditary? Can we heal ourselves?

I personally believe we can; you can see more in this enlightening youtube video by Bruce Lipton, who I love listening to is the one who introduced the idea to me, through his research, he did an interview with Wayne Dyer awhile back – where they discuss what is possible, our conscious and unconscious minds – and the power we have over our own lives. Very interesting, recommended viewing: