The Heal-Everything Herb That Doubles As Bandages … And Toilet Paper

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The Heal-Everything Herb That Also Doubles As Toilet Paper

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It was brought to the Americas by European settlers and is now considered to be naturalized to North America. The settlers, in fact, had good reason to carry it with them: It has a long list of medicinal qualities.

It is mullein, which grows all over the forests of North America and is also known by several other names: flannel leaf, bunny ears, beggar’s blanket, Quaker rouge, hag’s taper, donkey ears and tinder plant.

Traditional folk medicine praised mullein as a remedy for asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis. The plant is also said to be a natural painkiller and a cure for earaches and headaches. It also can act as an expectorant and decongestant. As a result, for centuries the plant’s leaves and its flowers have been made into teas and tinctures, and ingested. They even smoked it (which isn’t ideal for health).

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Mullein is known to affect the respiratory and lymphatic systems. A study performed at Clemson University in 2002 found that the plant also has strong antibacterial properties.[1] Its high mucilage content is likely responsible for its medicinal properties. Astringent tannins and saponins, which help protect the plant when it is injured in nature, give the plant its soothing effect on the respiratory system. It also contains high levels of iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C.[2]

The Heal-Everything Herb That Also Doubles As Toilet Paper

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Even though mullein has been used for centuries, the Western medical community disputes the actual effectiveness of this plant, claiming “a lack of therapeutic validation.”[3] However, the herb has been evaluated and approved by the German (and government-funded) Commission E, which was established to evaluate and approve of substances that were traditionally used in folk medicine — such as mullein.

Mullein is a biennial plant, meaning that it takes two years for it to reach maturity. It is preferable to harvest the flowers and leaves in the plant’s second year of growth.[4] Both the honey-scented flowers of the plant and its soft, fuzzy leaves are used to treat ailments. The flowers are usually extracted in oil and also used to make tea, while, the dried leaves are typically reserved for making steam tents, poultice application and smoking. [5]

Across the centuries, people have used mullein as toilet paper, bandages, torches and to pad in the soles of their shoes. It should be a staple herb in every herbal medicine cabinet.

Mullein is a relatively safe herb to consume, its primary side-effect being it can cause contact dermatitis or irritate the throat when consumed, due to the fine velvety hairs that cover its leaves. It also has been known to interact with antidiabetic drugs and prescription diuretics in a negative way.[6] The seeds of some species of mullein contain high amounts of coumarin and rotenone, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. The seeds of the mullein plant should never be consumed under any circumstance.[7]

Have you ever foraged for or eaten mullein? Do you use it for health? Share your tips in the section below:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12241986

[2] Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pedersen (pg. 124)

[3] Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (pg. 270)

[4] Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore (pg. 112)

[5] Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal by Michael J. Balick (pg. 300)

[6] http://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/mullein

[7] Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory L. Tilford (pg. 102)

hydrogen peroxide report

No, Garlic Is Not Healthiest When It’s Raw. (Ferment It! Here’s How.)

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You’re Consuming Garlic All Wrong. (Ferment It! Here’s How.)

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If you’re trying to take advantage of all garlic has to offer, you have to eat it raw.

Garlic contains a property called alliin, which turns into something called allicin once it’s been crushed and exposed to air. Allicin is responsible for all of garlic’s amazing features and its distinctive smell. However, allicin has a very short life span. It is most potent 10 minutes after a clove has been crushed and almost completely gone after 30 minutes. Even though it makes food taste wonderful, cooking destroys nearly all of the health benefits in a clove of garlic.

But even in its raw state, our bodies cannot digest and process all of garlic’s nutrients. However, lacto-fermented garlic far surpasses the nutritional value of fresh garlic. In other words, if we want to experience all of the health benefits in a clove of garlic, we can maximize it through consuming fermented garlic.

The antioxidant activity of fermented garlic is much higher than that of fresh. The fermentation process also produces high levels of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide, something our bodies produce naturally, eliminates harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. As a result, fermented garlic is one of nature’s most powerful antibiotics. Plus, because of the fermentation, it also contains good probiotics. Fermented garlic really is a superfood!

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So how do you make fermented garlic? Let’s take a look:

1. Peel enough cloves of garlic to fill a one-quart jar about three-quarters of the way full. This typically takes 9 to 12 heads of garlic.

2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea salt.

3. Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving one inch of space at the top of the jar.

4. Cover with an air-tight lid. Let it sit on a countertop at approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit, out of direct sunlight, for at least 10 days. For best results, let it culture for up to 6 weeks. Don’t open the jar until you’re ready for it to be done. When you open the jar it should smell fresh and garlicky!

As the garlic ferments it will bubble and expand, filling the extra space at the top of the jar. After a day or two, sometimes it is necessary to “burp” the jar. Don’t remove the lid; just loosen it a little, let some of the pressure out and tighten it again. This usually only needs to be done once.

Most people enjoy eating the cloves of garlic whole, as the taste of fermented garlic is salty and milder than fresh garlic. Alternatively, you can substitute fermented garlic in recipes that call for fresh, such as hummus, salsa, guacamole and homemade salad dressings.

If you really are struggling with the idea of eating a clove of garlic, you can crush a clove of garlic shove it into an empty gelatin capsule and swallow it quickly before the capsule starts to dissolve.

If some of your cloves turn purple, blue or green, don’t fret, it’s natural. The sulfur compounds in the garlic can react with the copper that is found in most drinking water. These cloves of garlic are still safe to consume.

Do not consume if you notice mold growing or if it has an aroma other than the wonderful smell of garlic.

A jar of fermented garlic should last for up to one year once it’s placed in the refrigerator and if it does not become contaminated. Always use a clean utensil when removing garlic from the brine.

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional first about this method.

Have you ever made fermented garlic? Share any tips or questions in the section below:

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