The Wonderful Plant Garlic

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If I could have put one plant to grow, I believe it would be garlic.

Garlic is one of the earliest documented plans to be used by humans in the treatment of disease and to maintain health. From Neolithic times in central Asia spreading to the Middle East and North Africa in 3000 BC, garlic has been used by man. Ancient medical text from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India, each prescribing medical applications of garlic. There are even biblical references to garlic, as well as garlic in the Jewish teachings and the Quran.

The wild plant of course was used first and then slowly domesticated over time, garlic has been worth its weight in gold.
Around 3000 BC, trading parties from India reached Middle East, where they introduced garlic to the Babylonians and Assyrian Empire. From these places neighboring civilizations found the plant to be useful as food seasoning, medical ingredients, and religious ingredients.

Garlic is highly nutritious but has very few calories. A 1 ounce serving of garlic contains, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. This includes 42 cal, with 1.8 g of protein and 9 g of carbs.

The medical uses for garlic are too many to name, the fact that garlic has been used for almost every ailment of the human body, is amazing. From cancer to insect bites, from athletes foot to heart problems, garlic has been used to treat almost any ailment you can think of.

There are a few drawbacks when soft prescribing or using garlic medicinally. Garlic especially fresh, may increase the risk of bleeding. Garlic can irritate the stomach and digestive track sometimes causing digestion problems. Garlic can lower blood pressure, people of prescription medication should be careful. And some people may be sensitive to garlic on their skin.

Garlic produces a chemical called allicin. This is what seems to make garlic work for certain conditions. Allicin also makes garlic smell. Some products are made “odorless” by aging the garlic, but this process can also make the garlic less effective.

As for using garlic and cooking, I think that stands for itself. Whether using the bulbs or the leaves, garlic is a wonderful addition to your culinary uses.

Garlic can be grown year-round in a pot right on your windowsill in your kitchen. I believe the fresh garlic is always better than aged garlic. I myself prefer wild garlic to the grocery store variety.

Yes, if I could grow but one plant, it would be garlic. The flavor, the culinary uses, and the medical benefits, outweigh that of any other plant that I know of.

By Rich Beresford
Rich@AroundTheCabin.com

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Why You Should Consume Seafood … Despite the Warnings

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Food & Water

Many people have read the dire warnings about the health consequences of consuming fish and shellfish. These admonishments usually center on mercury contamination—most of which is produced by coal-fired facilities, chlorine production, and mining—which is converted to an organic form of mercury (methylmercury) by the action of various aquatic micro-organisms. This organic form of mercury comes to be located in marine animals and bioaccumulates as one ascends the trophic ladder as progressively larger animals consume smaller ones. Mercury is a real threat because it is linked to cognitive impacts in children (e.g., loss of IQ points, problems with attention, decreased memory function) and various health effects in adults (e.g., cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease). People are frequently told (through various media) to limit fish consumption to prevent mercury poisoning.
These warnings are most often directed toward pregnant women, with the intent of protecting the fetus. And, like most health sound bites, turn out to be overly simplified and mostly wrong.

Health is more nuanced than “do this” and “don’t do this”, and, as usual, the mercury story told in this country is based on faulty science, perpetuates an incomplete story, and leads to worse outcomes than if the health precautions were completely ignored. Therefore, despite the ever-present cautions, I would highly recommend you consume marine fish and shellfish, especially if you are an expecting mother, so long as you understand a few details. Read on.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain fatty acid crucial for human health. It is a fat that can be found in a variety of animal foods and some marine algae, occurring most abundantly in some ocean fish and shellfish. While adults suffer a range of problems when they consume a diet limited in DHA (e.g., depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, age-related cognitive decline), it is the fetal impacts I will highlight here. This fatty acid is necessary for brain development of the fetus and the growing child. Deficiencies in DHA affect intelligence, problem solving, and eyesight. I want to be very clear: low intake of DHA by the mother results in lower IQ scores and suboptimal brain development in children. This fat belongs to a class of lipids called omega 3, which are essential to obtain in the diet because the body cannot manufacture them. Like many essential items we derive from our diet, there are different forms that occur in plants than in animals. This is another case where the plant form (called alpha-linolenic acid, abbreviated ALA) must be converted through a complex process to create DHA. This conversion process is inefficient, and even in healthy adults only 5–10% of the consumed ALA ends up becoming DHA. Further, many factors inhibit this process, including high intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which are exceedingly common in the Standard American Diet and in vegetarian diets. Therefore, it is important to consume preformed DHA—which is the kind found abundantly in many fish and shellfish. But wait, aren’t these dangerous to consume?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set guidelines for fish intake by pregnant mothers to protect the mother and, especially, the fetus from the effects of mercury. For decades, these warnings have limited the intake of foods that are an important source of DHA in the diet.
But, like the fat and cholesterol warnings, the mercury warnings also turn out to be based on cherry-picked data and an incomplete understanding of the topic.

Three major studies occurred in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s to ascertain the safety of consuming fish. Two of the studies demonstrated no negative impacts and one of them (the Faroe Islands Study) did. This latter study was used to demonstrate the harm of mercury contamination in fish and establish the warnings we are all familiar with. Because we are a reactive society that responds to fear-based recommendations, the warnings were so effective that a 2010 study found that pregnant women were not eating the suggested number of fish meals per week.

There are several pieces of this puzzle that must be explained to help you (the reader) understand why the dietary mercury warnings may be misguided. To begin, mercury is not directly toxic to the body, but instead wreaks its havoc by deactivating very important enzymes that contain selenium. These enzymes—selenoenzymes—function as antioxidants to protect fats and proteins from damage by oxidation. If the body contains ample stores of selenium, mercury cannot catastrophically interfere with these enzymes. In other words, selenium is protective of mercury toxicity. Of importance to this discussion is that many fish and shellfish contain abundant selenium in their tissues (or, put another way, the ratio of selenium to mercury is high). Through providing dietary selenium, these foods are not the danger we have been told regarding mercury. While single fish meals are not the issue here (it is the cumulative selenium and mercury ingested in the overall diet), it is useful to note that some fish, such as shark, contain little selenium compared with the mercury they provide (i.e., the selenium to mercury ratio is low). Therefore, such fish might best be limited without a good intake of selenium in diet. On the other end of the spectrum, fish such as tuna, flounder, pollock, and salmon supply much more selenium than mercury. (Note: plant foods such as Bazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and several grains can also supply substantial quantities of selenium and can be part of the overall strategy to protect the body from mercury in the diet).

Now, back to the studies used to demonstrate harm from ocean foods due to their mercury content. The Faroe Islands study turns out to be a terrible study to use for several reasons. Most importantly, the residents of the Faroe Islands were eating pilot whales (genus Globicephala), species that contain extremely high amounts of mercury in its tissues—far too much to be mitigated by the co-occurring selenium. Not to mention, this study had many other confounding issues, including (but not limited to) additional environmental toxins found in the pilot whale that could be responsible for the observed health issues, the study methods themselves, and the genetics of the resident population.

Another important part of this discussion that is not addressed by the warnings to limit fish and shellfish is that some foods help to bind ingested mercury and prevent its absorption by the body (the mercury is ultimately excreted during evacuation of the large intestine). This strategy changes the effective selenium to mercury content of the food as experienced by the body. These foods offer another layer of protection from mercury. Two important foods to mention (among several) are chlorella and plants containing insoluble fiber. Examples of the latter include fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. These foods are effective at trapping consumed mercury and carrying it out of the body. Chlorella (a blue-green alga) and the insoluble-fiber-rich foods can be ingested in the same meal as the fish and/or shellfish and prevent a large proportion of the mercury from entering the bloodstream.

As are often the case, the dietary recommendations supplied to the public in the United States are overly simplified and lack the necessary nuance reflected by the complexity of issues involved. Whether or not a person will experience harmful effects from ingesting mercury in food depends on many factors, including the species consumed, the intake of selenium in the diet, and the amount of insoluble fiber eaten in the same meal. Importantly, the avoidance of foods rich in DHA have consequences, especially to developing humans, that can limit full intellectual development (among other real risks).
The general tact in many dietary circles is complete avoidance of foods believed to be dangerous, despite the fact those foods supply critical nutritional elements that may be difficult to acquire in sufficient amounts elsewhere.

I suggest it might be advantageous to utilize strategies to minimize the harm from such foods, rather than avoid such foods outright (there is net benefit using this approach). Sustainably harvested fish and shellfish represent some of the only wild foods that can be acquired in the marketplace. These foods that are extremely valuable due to the DHA and selenium they supply, and other items not discussed here (e.g., vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins). The story of mercury in fish and shellfish is a good example of what happens when we allow fear to rule our dietary choices.

Source: http://www.learningtarget.com/nosulfites/seleniumgraph.jpg

Tagged: seafood, mercury, health, healthy eating

By Arthur Haines
Original here
http://www.arthurhaines.com/blog/2017/12/28/why-you-should-consume-seafood-despite-the-warnings

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“But Wild Food Is…”

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I lecture on wild food frequently, discussing various issues that concern this subject to a wide variety of people. For years, the information was received with interest and people appreciated learning about this part of our collective human history and what wild food can mean for human and ecosystem health. In the last year or so, there has been an increasing number of criticisms about the message of wild food. While these arguments center on important social issues, they are representative of a broader narrative that has become very pervasive and sometimes applied to topics that may not be core to the subject of privilege and power. In fact, it has become customary to disparage anyone who does not demonstrate perfect agreement with all arguments against those assumed to be in power—regardless of the intentions and merits of the arguments presented.

Here, I suggest that views linking wild food to power and privilege have, perhaps, been taken too far by those who seek social accountability. The two most frequently raised arguments are as follows.

1. “But Wild Food is Not Abundant Enough to Feed the World.”

That’s correct, the world is too populated and the wild places too fragmented to feed the entire world strictly on a wild food diet, even though anatomically modern humans consumed wild food exclusively for ca. 315,000 years (i.e., for over 97 percent of our time on this earth). Despite the fact that agricultural and industrial societies consistently degrade the land base through over-population and poor ecological practices, many believe cultivation and animal husbandry are the only strategies that should be used to feed the world’s population. Let’s discuss this idea a bit further.
I generally answer this concern (regarding the abundance of wild food) by noting that there is also not enough organically raised food to feed the earth’s population; however, no one is suggesting we should stop growing organic produce.

Why?

For them, agriculture is our cultural norm—and they always start from this context when discussing food availability (rather than our species’ biological norm—wild food). Because there is not enough undomesticated food does not mean those who can procure it should cease doing so. In fairness, this would mean that some hunter-gatherers would have to stop eating their ancestral diet (though, in general, the indigenous are considered to have rights to local wild foods, but other people living in the same area are not). It would also mean that those of us living in industrialized countries do not get to consume some of the only foods that leave the forests standing, the prairies untilled, and the marshes filled with water. The conscientious gathering of wild foods does not degrade landscapes.

Keep in mind, this argument could be used on a variety of scales. Should those who practice permaculture (a strategy that also cannot feed the entire world) consider ceasing their craft? Likewise, are there enough pumpkins to feed the world? Of course not, but some people still grow these foods and make them available to those who can pay without criticism. It may be important to offer here that there are not enough computers or iPhones for all the world to have one (but we are sure to keep such devices for waging our social concerns).

2. “But Wild Food is a Privilege.”

No, it is not. It is a birthright, one (unfortunately) that very few people today get to experience. It is the biologically appropriate diet of Homo sapiens, and without it, people experience a host of chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, neurovascular disease, depression, digestive disorders) that were essentially absent in populations who consumed wild food (i.e., in hunter-gatherers). Because only some people can now acquire wild food, as any proportion of their diet, it is considered a social privilege by those who do not fully explore the topic at hand. By assuming wild food is a privilege, it can be regarded as something no one should have access to unless everyone has access to it.

Let’s us use a comparison to understand how this argument (that wild food is a privilege) might not be well-supported. Breast milk is the biologically normal food for a human infant (and, in part, for toddlers and young children). However, for a variety of reasons, many children are not breastfed. Approximately 19% of children (according to the most recent CDC breastfeeding report card) are not breastfed in the United States, and, instead, receive some type of formula through a bottle. Formula feeding has a variety of impacts, including an increased incidence of leukemia in people who received this form of nutrition as an infant (see below). Breastfeeding is sometimes influenced by education level, income bracket, ethnicity, and nutritional status of the mom. For example, poorer moms may need to work soon after birth and are not available to breastfeed their infants or pay for a breast pump, malnourished moms do not always produce adequate milk, and some minority women don’t breastfeed because they believe it creates the image of being poor. These issues mean that breastfeeding could be regarded (by those seeking to create a negative label) as a privilege of the wealthier people of European decent. Now, the manner in which human infants have always been fed can be considered a privilege (i.e., provided a negative label).

Using the breastfeeding example one more time, it can help illustrate an important concept in this entire discussion: historical normalcy. Recently, an article was published with the title of “Breastfed children have slightly lower risk of childhood leukemia”. The study demonstrated a 14–19% decreased risk of pediatric leukemia in breastfed babies. You may have missed how this title distorts the idea that humans have a biological norm. Breastfeeding is how Homo sapiens have always fed their infants (until quite recently). To create the image that breastfeeding has benefit misses the point entirely. It isn’t that breastfeeding has benefit, it is that deviating from our ancestral patterns has detriment. The title should have read “formula-fed children have a slightly higher risk of childhood leukemia”. We should start from the perspective of our biological standard, and then discuss deviations from this. Titles worded like this provide evidence of contemporary humans not understanding the ancestral context and how it relates to our health. Likewise, arguments that consider wild food to be a privilege fail to grasp this is how humans have nourished themselves and their offspring for most of our existence. It is not a privilege to consume wild food—it is the re-establishment of our natural diet.

I understand that many people, for various reasons, cannot consume wild food. I truly wish this were different. However, the way we view many issues is becoming harmful to respectful dialogue. When one group of people experience poor conditions, it doesn’t automatically mean that those who don’t experience those conditions are privileged. It may mean, in some cases, that those who experience poor conditions are simply unfortunate. Are cows who are pasture-fed and consume green plants privileged over those that are captive-raised and eat grain? I would emphatically state “no”, the grass-fed cows are receiving the diet they should experience, and the captive-raised cows are unfortunate. (Note: you may not like the example of cows, but it is quite relevant given that both cows and any human reading this are domesticated.)
I would love to have ostrich eggs to consume regularly, but my landscape doesn’t provide them. Are the residents of the Kalahari Desert privileged because this food source is available to them? Of course not.

People always want to apply negative labels—and many who do represent the world’s one percent (in terms of income and privilege). Further, they constantly suggest blanket strategies to solve the world’s issues. However, these rarely succeed in realizing tangible benefits because the lands and people are different. The juxtaposition of locally available foods and the diversity of world views held by the area’s inhabitants means that each region needs to find its own unique solutions to human and ecosystem health.

Suggesting that people follow a diet (of cultivated foods) that harms landscapes and creates chronic illness in such a high proportion of the population isn’t a solution that should be followed by anyone who has a better option, especially when you consider that sick people use more of the world’s resources.

And what about the privilege to purchase cheap food made from crops sprayed with harmful chemicals? These foods have significant external costs and create illness in humans and other-than-human persons who reside near and downstream or downwind of the fields the plants are grown in. Isn’t that a privilege worth discussing (one of no accountability)? I recently met a person who refused to purchase organically raised foods, despite knowing the harm that chemical agriculture causes, because they felt the higher cost associated with these foods represented privilege they did not want to partake in. Using social privilege concerns as a justification to pollute landscapes (when other options were present to the individual) is another example of how slanted this discussion of power has become.

While I do feel this conversation about wild food abundance and social privilege has value, the criticisms waged speak volumes to an attitude that is pervading the entire discussion of privilege and power, overlooking ideals such as personal sovereignty, ecological responsibility, and the need to apply regional solutions. Further, this attitude usually ignores our biological norms. I am not intending, with this writing, to suggest social hierarchy and the consequences of such be ignored. I am meaning to propose that when a conversation becomes more about condemnation than about finding solutions, it loses some of its original values and alienates people who would otherwise be allies.

By: Arthur Haines
http://www.arthurhaines.com/

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Herbal remedies, You might be doing them wrong.

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I’ve been using herbs all my life, as most of you have. Herbs are such a big part of our life we actually don’t think about them most the time. But the herbs I want talk to you about today deal with our healthcare.

Because of the rising cost in healthcare, or the man-made medicines that people don’t trust, or many other reasons, natural remedies are making a comeback.

One can get overwhelmed with the amount of natural remedies out there on the market. Most people would like to be able to raise their own herbs to treat their families. And for some people such as myself, gathering wild herbs is not only fun, but also very cost-effective.

The largest problem I see with herbal remedies is people trying to gather too many herbs. Instead of gathering 100 herbs to treat one ailment each, I suggest focusing on 10 to 20 herbs to treat multiple symptoms.

Knowing your own body and the loved ones you intend to treat, should come before any herbs are gathered. Finding what herbs work for you and your symptoms, is going to be trial and error that only you can do. Just because someone says some herb is a good one to use, does not mean that you are not allergic to it, or said herb will not respond to your body’s needs.

I do not believe that there is a list of herbs that everyone must have, or even one herb that everyone should use. Everyone’s body is different, what herbs works for me, may not work for you. Your herbal remedies should be very personal.

I’m going to give you one example of an herb that is very pronounced across the world. It is used for a food crop for both animals and humans. It is simple to gather, is probably in your yard, and most people overlook this herb.

Clover is nutritious and relatively high in protein content. Some Clover are high in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, chromium, phosphorous, potassium, niacin, and the list goes on.

Some of the common uses and health benefits of clover are:

White and red clovers are considered to be blood purifiers. Thus, they can be used to promote the health of the liver and the digestive system.

White clover is also sought after for its effectiveness in healing respiratory ailments. A tea brewed from young clover leaves and blossoms is said to be a good expectorant and reduces the spasm brought on by whooping cough. It is believed to be anti-asthmatic in nature.

The phytoestrogens in red clover account for its popularity as a natural remedy to alleviate menopausal symptoms.

Being a rich source of many minerals, clover is believed to aid in the proper hormonal functioning of the glands in the human body.

The calcium and magnesium content in clover help to relax the nervous system.

Clover is also believed to promote flow of lymph and improve the immunity of the body.

Clover is considered to be a diuretic and thus reduces inflammation in cases of gout. Owing to its alterative and antispasmodic properties, red clover promotes muscle relaxation and can allay cramps and aches. White clover is also considered to be effective in reducing inflammations due to arthritis. It also decongests the salivary glands and reduces ocular inflammations.

Clover is said to be beneficial in treating skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. In fact, red clover plant is often used for the treatment of various skin ailments.

Clover is said to be a cancer-fighting agent and finds use in alternative medicine for the management of certain cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases.

Red clover is rich in coumarins that are chemical compounds with anti-coagulant properties. Hence, this herb offers protection against heart disease. It thins the blood and does not allow plaque to build up on the walls of the arteries.

Warnings:
Headaches, nausea, and fatigue are some general side effects caused due to excess consumption of clover. Its high concentration of estrogen can also upset hormonal balance in women. Any medication using this herb needs to be administered under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

As I said before, your herbal remedies have to be very personal. As you can read by the list above, Clover as one herb has a multitude of uses.

Will some or all of those uses work for you? This is something only you as an individual, can find out. Some herbs will work better for you than others for different ailments.

Rich@ATC 10/22/2017

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Oak Bark

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The Oak has a long history of being a sacred tree, especially to the Druids.
The bark was not only used medicinally but also to tan leather and to add flavoring to smoked fish.
Oak lumber was formerly used to build naval fleets of European nations. Whole forests were cleared to meet the demands of shipbuilders.
Oak bark has been used since the time of the Aztec empire as an effective remedy for diarrhea.
Acorns were a staple food for Native Americans, and also sustained many wild animals during the winter.
Many cultures have used decoctions from the bark to treat sore throats, coughs, and other respiratory problems.

How can it help us?
antidiarrheal
astringent
antiviral
antiparasitic
heals wounds
stops bleeding

What makes the bark so good?
tannins (15-20% including quercitannic acid, phlobatammin, ellagitannins, and gallic acid).

The outer bark, leaves, inner bark, seeds (acorn) and seed cups are also sometimes used.

NOTE: Over 600 species world wide.

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Stinging Nettle

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Stinging Nettle, plant of many uses.

For many wild food and medicinal foragers alike, Stinging Nettle really has no equal and is one of the many native super foods.

Despite this nettle is most famed and often dislikes for the irritating sting that is appropriate for his name. The leaves and stems are covered with hair like spines that can penetrate the skin. These spines subsequently break off releasing a cocktail of chemicals. The stings are easily disabled in processing by crushing, steaming, boiling or soaking. My advice to you, wear gloves while collecting stinging nettle, you should be okay.

Stinging nettle can be found on almost any waste grounds, country roads or long hedges in and around the city or country. If you cut a patch of stinging nettle back to the ground it will grow back thick and strong within days during the growing season. Stinging nettle has creeping rhizomes which are very hard to contain, unless you replant it in a container.

Stinging Nettle has been used for food, fuel, medicine, and for making things for the household such as sheets and tablecloth. Romans used nettle to thrash themselves, knowing that the rush of blood would provide relief from cold conditions. In World War II the Germans had uniforms made and spun from nettle fiber. Nettle makes fiber that is stronger than linen, and once washed a few times, becomes very soft. As a fuel, any plant matter left over from other processing can be turned into a bio fuel.

stinging_nettle_male flowers

Goats will eat fresh nettle seemingly unaffected by their stinging. Cattle have been fed dry nettle to help improve milk production. Chickens also seem to benefit from dried or boiled or mashed nettle to their diet. Feeding dried nettle to your horses helps improve digestion trouble.

Try hanging a bunch of nettle in your kitchen to dry for infusions, you will have the added benefit of deterring flies! You can also make paper from the nettle fibers!

As a food crop, stinging nettle contains high levels of vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, potassium and trace minerals and proteins. After mid June however, some nettle become grainy, having developed a high level of oxalate crystals.

Medicinally an infusion of stinging nettle is very cleansing and so will improve all kinds of skin conditions. Also widely used and associated with a sluggish, body system. Nettle is used to clean out many toxins that accumulated over the winter. Stinging nettle has been used to clean the liver and blood, help relieve gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and kidney stones.

I should also mention that stinging nettle leaves provide you a green dye, and the roots provide you a yellow dye!

From food and medicine, to so much more, stinging nettle is a wonderful plan to have on your property or in your garden.

I hope you will explore more of stinging nettle and bring this wonderful plant, into your life and into your home.

Written by Rich – ATC 7/5/2015.

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MASSH, the tool you need, to Survive

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The MASSH is created out of a solid piece of 3/16 mild steel, heat treated with a Rockwell between 48-52. The tool is 22 inches long and two pounds in weight. The MASSH is a fixed blade with no moving parts. It has a Machete Edge, Axe Edge, Shovel Edge with a convenient boot notch, Hammer head, Cross hatch saw that doubles as a rasp for making saw dust/wood shavings for ease of fire starting. This Survival Tool also has a Fire barring, for easier mechanical fire starting. A quick clip Carebeaner hole and the handle is wrapped with 550 parachute cord and includes a thumb grip for ease of use.

The MASSH is a great all around tool for hunting, camping, hiking, any out door activities including the dooms day preppers. Keep this survival tool on your back pack, in your camper, strapped to your side and it will replace your axe, hatchet, shovel & machete etc.

The MASSH is a great tool for a survival situation. It will handle all of your needs such as cutting, chopping, digging, making traps, constructing shelters, building fires, creating tinder, & splitting wood etc.

What can you use the MASSH for:

Using the shovel to dig your car out from snow.
Start a fire.
Create a snow shelter.
Dig a cat hole.
Divert water
Clear brush
Cut down trees
Secure your tie off
Create wood shavings to make a fire
Dig a hole
Making a Dead Fall trap
Create notches for any type of trap.
Grappling hook
When your up the creek without a paddle, use the MASSH
Brush hook
Home gardening
Removing roots
Tying up a boat
Creating a clothes line
Binding meat to a back rack pack
Fishing line
Prying tool
Construct a floating raft
Build a shelter

Mild steel was used in creation of the tool to bend and reduce chipping. It’s the same reason you don’t hit two hammers together. I provided 550 parachute cord for the handle for multiple functions.

What can you use parachute cord for?

Strip it down, take small cords for fishing line
Mending clothing
Quick build for shelters
Tying boats or rafts
Anchor line
Clothes line

Contact Jackly Gear
To contact Jackyl Gear please go to http://www.jackylgear.com/contact

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Are “Long-Term” Storage Foods That Important?

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This is going to fly in the face of a lot of what you’ve likely read or heard with regards to food storage but here goes: You don’t need to invest a ton of money into buying special “long-term” foods. Seriously, you really don’t. In fact, for many people doing so is just a bad idea all the way around.

A common prepper question is some variation of, “What foods store the longest?” There are some foods, such as dried rice, honey, salt, and sugar, which will last essentially forever as long as they are protected from critters and the elements. They’ve found jars of honey, still perfectly preserved, sitting next to mummies several thousands of years old. That said, kinda hard to survive on just rice and honey.

Here’s the thing, folks. Shelf life, while important, falls far behind a few other considerations when choosing what to store. First and foremost is taste and personal preference. It makes absolutely ZERO sense to store food you don’t like to eat. I don’t care if you found it at an incredible price. If you don’t want to eat it now, you aren’t going to want to eat it later. Choose food items that you enjoy. Honestly, there is such a variety out there today, it would be foolish to do otherwise.

I often hear comments like, “If I get hungry enough, I’ll eat it, even if I don’t like it.” That’s all fine and dandy but why in the hell would you voluntarily store foods you don’t like now? I mean, that just sounds asinine. You have a relatively free and open choice of what foods to store. Take advantage of that fact and store things you know you’ll actually want to eat.

Many of the foods we eat regularly also happen to have long shelf lives. The aforementioned rice is a great example. Dried beans and canned goods are also commonly found in kitchens and pantries from coast to coast. These types of foods will last a long time and you’re already accustomed to eating them. Add a few extra bags or cans to your cart each time you go shopping and build up the supply slowly.

Second, choose foods that agree with you. We all have things we dearly love to eat but we pay for later, right? I mean, I love bananas but even just a few bites of one will give me stomach pains. If you’re considering adding a new food to your storage plan, try it first. Make sure it doesn’t give you indigestion. Disaster recovery is stressful enough without adding tummy troubles to the mix.

Another thing to keep in mind is that many, though certainly not all, of these special “long-term” foods require water to prepare. Water might be in limited supply, depending upon the nature of the disaster. Do you really want to be forced to choose between drinking the water and using it to prepare the only food you have on hand? If you’re going to invest in these long-term foods, plan ahead and be sure to store extra water as well.

Many long-term foods aren’t the healthiest things on the planet, either. Frequently they are loaded with sodium, which not only isn’t very good for you but will make you thirsty, causing you to consume more water. Now, I will freely admit I’m far from the healthiest eater on the planet so don’t take this as a pot meet kettle situation. But, you need to go into a food storage plan with both eyes wide open. If you’re going to rely upon these long-term foods as a primary source of sustenance, you’re going to suffer from some nutritional deficiencies unless you also stock up on vitamins and such.

A lot of these products are also fairly expensive. For the cost of one case (12 units) of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), I could feed my family of five for several days. The food would be healthier, too.

Here’s one of my big issues with these special long-term storage foods. A proper food storage plan will incorporate regular rotation. Meaning, you use the food and replenish it as you go along. However, these long-term foods don’t encourage that practice. In fact, the whole point is that you can buy a few cases and they’ll be good for 25 years or more, right? This, to my mind, is the lazy man’s way to preparedness.

Now, with all of that said, I’m not suggesting you abandon any plans of buying these products. They have their place in some scenarios. You just need to determine for yourself if the long-term food option is right for you. What I suggest to most people is to concentrate their food storage plan on the things they already eat regularly but also have a stable shelf life, such as rice, dried beans, dried pasta, and canned goods. Then, add some long-term storage foods as a backup.

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By Jim Cobb
You can find more from Jim at http://survivalweekly.com/

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Growing Tobacco In Early America

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Growing Tobacco In Early America
Published on Apr 13, 2017

Today Justin Filipowski from George Washington’s Mount Vernon sits down with Jon to talk about the tobacco trade in early America.

Mount Vernon Website ▶ http://www.mountvernon.org/ ▶▶

Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶

Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend
Facebook ▶ facebook.com/jas.townsend
Instagram ▶ jastownsendandson

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Horehound

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Horehound (Marrubium vulgare L. ),
commonly known as white horehound, is a European native of the Lamiaceae or mint family. Other names for this ancient remedy include hounds bane, marrubium, eye of the star, a seed of Horus, marvel, bulls’ blood, and hounds bane.

Horehound is a garden mint with green and white leaves and a distinctively bitter taste. It is native to Asia and Europe. Horehound is a hardy perennial that has naturalized in North America. Although the herb grows in a wide range of climates, the best quality is grown in desert heat, but it may be found in sunny, wayside places, thriving even in poor, dry soil.

The common name horehound comes from the Old English words har and hune, meaning downy plant. This descriptive name refers to the white hairs that give this herb its distinctive hoary appearance.

Another suggested derivation is the name of the Egyptian god of sky and light, Horus. Horehound is one of the oldest known cough remedies. It was one of the herbs in the medicine chests of the Egyptian pharaohs. In Roman times, Caesar’s antidote for poison included horehound. The generic name is believed to be derived from the Hebrew word marrob, meaning bitter juice. Horehound is one of the bitter herbs used in the Jewish Passover rites. Throughout its long history, white horehound has been valued not only as a folk remedy for coughs and congested lungs.

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Recorded mention of horehound began in the first century in ancient Rome. In his manual of medicine, Roman medical writer A. Cornelius Celsus, described antiseptic uses as well as treatments for respiratory ailments using horehound juice. In his book, “On Agriculture,” first-century agriculturist Lucius Columella detailed how to use of horehound for various farm animal ailments such as ulcers, worms, and scabs. In the second century, the noted physician Galen also recommended using horehound to relieve coughing and to support respiratory health.

In his 1597 book on the history of plants and their uses, the respected British herbalist John Gerard recommended horehound as an antidote to poison and a syrup of horehound for those with respiratory problems. English physician Nicholas Culpeper echoed Gerard’s promotion of horehound in his 1652 book for physicians, stating, “There is a syrup made of this plant which I would recommend as an excellent help to evacuate tough phlegm and cold rheum from the lungs of aged persons, especially those who are asthmatic and short-winded.”

USES:

White horehound is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, indigestion, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and liver and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for lung and breathing problems including a cough, whooping cough, asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and swollen breathing passages.

Women use white horehound for painful menstrual periods.
People also use it for yellowed skin (jaundice), to kill parasitic worms, to cause sweating, and to increase urine production.
White horehound is sometimes applied to the skin for skin damage, ulcers, and wounds.

In manufacturing, the extracts of white horehound are used as a flavoring in foods and beverages, and as expectorant in cough syrups and lozenges. Expectorants are ingredients that make it easier to cough up phlegm.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s LIKELY UNSAFE to take white horehound by mouth during pregnancy. It might start menstruation and could cause a miscarriage.

If you are breastfeeding stick to food amounts of white horehound. There isn’t enough information about the safety of medicinal amounts.

Don’t use white horehound on the skin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Not enough is known about the safety of topical use.

Diabetes: White horehound might lower blood sugar. Taking white horehound along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Heart conditions: There is some concern that white horehound might cause irregular heartbeat in people with heart problems. It’s best not to use it.

Low blood pressure: White horehound might lower blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low. White horehound should be used cautiously in people with low blood pressure or those taking medications that lower blood pressure.

Surgery: White horehound might lower blood sugar. This might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking white horehound at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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Preparations:

Preparations of Horehound are still largely used as expectorant and tonics. It may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies, being given with benefit for a chronic cough, asthma, and some cases of consumption.

Horehound is sometimes combined with Hyssop, Rue, Liquorice root and Marshmallow root, 1/2 oz. of each boiled in 2 pints of water, to 1 1/2 pint, strained and given in 1/2 teacupful doses, every two to three hours.

For children’s coughs and croup, it is given to advantage in the form of syrup and is a most useful medicine for children, not only for the complaints mentioned but as a tonic and a corrective of the stomach. It has quite a pleasant taste.

Taken in large doses, it acts as a gentle purgative.

The powdered leaves have also been employed as a vermifuge and the green leaves, bruised and boiled in lard, are made into an ointment which is good for wounds.

For ordinary cold, a simple infusion of Horehound (Horehound Tea) is generally sufficient in itself. The tea may be made by pouring boiling water on the fresh or dried leaves, 1 OZ. of the herb to the pint. A wineglassful may be taken three or four times a day.

Candied Horehound is best made from the fresh plant by boiling it down until the juice is extracted, then adding sugar before boiling this again, until it has become thick enough in consistency to pour into a paper case and be cut into squares when cool.
Two or three teaspoonful of the expressed juice of the herb may also be given as a dose in severe colds.

—Preparations and Dosages–fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Syrup, 2 to 4 drachms. Solid extract, 5 to 15 grains.

Written by Rich, for AroundTheCabin.com
1/30/2017

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For the love of Garlic

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Garlic contained many vital nutrients including vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. On top of that garlic is also delicious and very healthy, for internal and external use.

Garlic contains the amino acid Allicin, that gives Garlic that potent smell from the sulfur compounds. Allicin is one of the primary components of garlic that gives it its healthy benefits.

Eating garlic raw is more beneficial than cooking garlic, if you can get past the taste. When garlic is cut or chewed and allowed exposure to the air for at least 5 to 10 minutes, the compound Allicin to fully activated. However when garlic is cooked the Allicin is inactivated and not able to produce.

Garlic contains high amounts of antioxidants
Garlic helps lower your cholesterol
Garlic is antibacterial
Garlic is antifungal
Garlic helps thin the blood
Garlic boost your immune system
Study suggests that garlic may help prevent blood clots
Garlic help lower your blood pressure
Garlic helps with joint pain, and osteoporosis
Garlic help prevents some cancer

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Garlic is both immune boosting and antimicrobial meaning it can fight viral and bacterial infections. The best way to use garlic is to put it into your diet either cooked or eaten raw, garlic benefits are numerous.

Garlic used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. Garlic has also been used to prevent certain cancers: rectal, stomach, breast, prostate, and bladder.
Garlic has also used for earaches, menstrual disorders, hepatitis, shortness of breath, liver disease, fighting numerous infections, and many skin conditions (ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot)
Other uses for garlic include fighting fevers, coughs, headaches, stomachache, sinus congestion, gout, joint pain, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, and a host of other treatments.

          Word of warning on garlic

Check with your doctor to see if it affects any of your medications.
Do not take garlic if you have bleeding disorders, stomach or digestive problems, low blood pressure or getting ready for surgery.
Women who are breast-feeding may want to stay away from garlic as it may change the flavor of the milk they produce.
Possibly unsafe when applying garlic to your skin may cause skin irritation and some people.
Birth control pills, taking garlic along with birth-control pills may decrease the effectiveness.
Liver medications, check with your doctor.
Medications for blood clotting, check with your doctor
Heart medications, check with your doctor

Whether store-bought or harvested from the wild, garlic is a wonderful herb for us to explore and use. The culinary uses and the health benefits are astounding. I implore you to add garlic to your healthful herbs, and learn more on its benefits and uses, on your own.

And hey, it also fight against vampires!

Written by Rich, for aroundthecabin.com

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Herbs for Seasonal Cleanse

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A lot of people ask about removing toxins from their bodies or a body cleanse. One of the best things you can to to help your body out is to eat foods and herbs, that are in season.

Here in the United States, we are lucky enough to receive foods from all over the world. Food is shipped in from the southern hemisphere and Europe, from Asia and the Middle East. What I try to eat is food that has been grown local, raised local, or harvested locally.

So my suggestion is to eat local and eat what is in season.

Most people also need to concentrate on drinking more water. Drinking more water helps increase blood volume, and helps to get the lymphatic fluids throughout the body moving. This will help wash your cells and clean fluids, that have built up, and aid in the removal of waste from the body. Basically, a “super flush” going on through your body.

We also want to focus on the gallbladder and the liver cleansing both of them.

Herbs that we can use to clean up the gallbladder and liver are:
artichokes
burdock
dandelions
turmeric
yellow dock
peppermint
milk thistle

These herbs are common throughout most United States and available for most of the year. There are more out there but these are the basics.

Using these herbs in teas, and leave or roots in foods, will help your body to get your blood flowing and your digestive juices moving.

Here we should also mention that you need to have your bowels moving at least once a day. Also check with your doctor before taking any of these herbs if you’re not already taking them, to check that they do not cause problems with any of your medications. (safety first)

If after all this you are still having problems check with your local natural foods store, and/or Dr. They may have a mild laxative formula that will aid you.

Written by Rich, for aroundthecabin.com

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Goldenrod

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Goldenrod (the Solidago genus, Asteracea family) is a great plant to know.

Distinguishing Features: Long wood like stems with spiky tooth like parts which are widely-spaced, yellow flowers that grow in thick clusters.

Leaves: There can be wide variations in characteristics, but generally, goldenrod leaves are about 4 inches long and about ¾ of an inch wide, tapering to a point at the tip and narrowing at the base, with no leaf stem and small teeth around the edges. Three veins run parallel from near the base of the leaf.. The underside of the leaf is hairy, especially along the veins and the upper side has a rough texture.

Height: Most Goldenrod plants average 4 feet in height.

Habitat: There is no shortage of Goldenrod in September and October. This yellow plant can be found in moist locations, forests, fields, roadsides, compost piles, cultivated fields, and orchards throughout Canada, the U.S., and across the world.

Goldenrod is a perennial plant that is well-known for its healing properties.

The properties of goldenrod are similar to many other herbs: antifungal, diuretic, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, astringent, antiseptic, and carminative. However, the actions of goldenrod to the kidneys, urinary track, skin, allergies, and cardiovascular system are impressive.

Goldenrod is often unfairly blamed for causing hay fever in humans. The pollen causing these allergy problems is mainly produced by Ragweed (Ambrosia sp.), blooming at the same time as the goldenrod but wind-pollinated. Goldenrod pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers, and is thus mainly pollinated by insects. Frequent handling of goldenrod and other flowers, however, can cause allergic reactions.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking goldenrod if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use..

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Goldenrod may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking goldenrod.

Fluid retention (edema) due to heart or kidney conditions: “Irrigation therapy,” during which goldenrod is taken with large amounts of fluids to increase urine flow, should not be attempted in people with fluid retention due to heart or kidney disease.

High Blood Pressure: There is a concern that goldenrod might make the body accumulate more sodium, and this can make high blood pressure worse.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs): Herbal “irrigation therapy” may not work against infections and may require the addition of germ-killing medications. “Irrigation therapy” should be monitored closely. Don’t depend on it for clearing up an infection.

Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with GOLDENROD
Goldenrod seems to work like “water pills” by causing the body to lose water. Taking goldenrod along with other “water pills” might cause the body to lose too much water. Losing too much water can cause you to be dizzy and your blood pressure to go too low.
Some “water pills” include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, Hydrodiuril, Microzide), and others.

Dosage: The appropriate dose of goldenrod depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for goldenrod. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician before using.

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Preparations: goldenrod include tea, tincture, infused oils, poultice, and powder.

Goldenrod tonics are easy to make. Harvest any goldenrod by cutting the top third of the plant in full flower on a sunny fall day. Or, respectfully pull the entire plant, roots and all, in the late autumn or early winter. Then follow the simple directions below. Note: You can use any size jar when making a vinegar or a tincture, so long as you fill it full.

To dry flowering goldenrod: Bundle 2-3 stalks together and hang upside down in a cool, shady room until thoroughly dry. When the stalks snap crisply, store the dried herb in brown paper bags. One or two large handfuls of crushed leaves and flowers, steeped in a quart of boiling water for thirty minutes makes a tea that can be used hot, with honey, to counter allergies (especially pollen allergies), fevers, sore throats, coughs, colds and the flu; or taken cold to relieve colic in babies, and gas in adults. Dried mint and/or yarrow are tasty, and useful, additions when making goldenrod flower tea.

To dry goldenrod roots: Rinse dirt off the roots, then cut away all the stalks, leaves and dead flowers. If possible, hang your roots over a wood stove to dry; if not, place them on racks and put them in a warm place to dry until brittle. Store in glass jars. Depending on the difficulty you are addressing, goldenrod root tea may be made with large or small amounts of the roots brewed or decocted in boiling water. Or the roots may be powdered, alone or mixed with flowers, and applied to hard-to-heal wounds and sore joints.

To make a goldenrod vinegar: Chop the goldenrod coarsely, filling a jar with chopped flowers, leaves, stalks (and roots if you have them); then fill the jar to the top with room-temperature, pasteurized, apple cider vinegar. Cap it tightly with a plastic lid. (Metal lids will be eroded by the action of the vinegar. If you must use one, protect it with several layers of plastic between it and the vinegar.) Be sure to label your vinegar with the date and contents. Your goldenrod vinegar will be ready to use in six weeks to improve mineral balance, help prevent kidney stones, eliminate flatulence, and improve immune functioning.

To make a goldenrod tincture: Chop the goldenrod coarsely, filling a jar with chopped flowers, leaves, stalks (and roots if you have them); then add 100 proof vodka, filling the jar to the very top. Cap tightly and label. Your goldenrod tincture will be ready to use in six weeks, by the dropper full, as an anti-inflammatory, a sweat-inducing cold cure, and an astringent digestive aid. Medical herbalists use large doses (up to 4 droppers full at a time) of goldenrod tincture several times daily to treat kidney problems — including nephritis, hemorrhage, kidney stones, and inability to void — and prostate problems, including frequent urination.

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10 essential herbs

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Here are 10 essential herbs, including some of their uses and guidelines to get started on your herbal apothecary. Health made simple and easy.
A few herbs that you can grow indoors or outside. Herbs you can use for preparing medicines with simple techniques as our ancestors did.

As far back as 5000 BCE, Sumerians used herbs in medicine. Ancient Egyptians used fennel, coriander and thyme around 1555 BCE. In ancient Greece, in 162 CE, a physician by the name of Galen was known for concocting complicated herbal remedies that contained up to 100 ingredients. Herbs have long been used as the basis of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, with usage dating as far back as the first century CE and far before.

Herbs have been used throughout the world, for a lot longer than we remember. Most believe from the dawn of mankind.

In general use, herbs are any plants used for food, flavoring, medicine, or perfume. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs refer to the leafy green parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), while a “spice” is a product from another part of the plant (usually dried), including seeds, berries, bark, roots and fruits.

1: Aloe vera (Aloe vera): fresh leaves

Leaf juice is used topically to treat minor burns and wounds; it is antiseptic, digestive, insecticidal and emollient.

2: Chickweed (Stellaria media): fresh or dried leaves and flowers

Used internally to ease the pain of rheumatism and externally to soothe itching and other skin discomforts; it is an anti-inflammatory herb.

Caution: Pregnant women should not eat large quantities of chickweed.

3: Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): for external use—leaf and root

Contains allantoin, a substance that speeds the healing of tissue, and rosmarinic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory. It is an astringent herb used in the bath, poultices and fomentations to heal bruises, broken bones and torn ligaments.

Caution: Comfrey is not recommended for internal use because of the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can cause liver damage and cancerous tumors in the liver. Comfrey products should not be used on broken skin or be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers or children.

4: Garlic (Allium sativum): fresh bulbs (cloves), aerial bulblets, flowers
Cloves are used as a medicinal and culinary herb. The cloves are antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral.

5: Ginger (Zingiber officinale): fresh rhizome

Ginger is warming, antiseptic, analgesic and antispasmodic. It is a traditional remedy for digestive complaints, bronchitis, muscle spasm and rheumatism.

Caution: Garlic should not be used by anyone suffering from digestive-tract ulcers, high fever or inflammatory skin conditions.

6: Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): sustainably harvested fresh or dried rhizome

Rhizomes have been used to dye fibers and are still used medicinally. The yellow color of its rhizomes is attributed to berberine, a strongly antibacterial and bitter alkaloid.

Caution: Pregnant women and persons with high blood pressure should not use goldenseal. The herb should not be used for more than three months because the strong antibacterial action kills beneficial intestinal flora.

7: Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): leaves and flowers

It is antibiotic, antispasmodic on smooth muscle tissue and a depressant to the central nervous system. We carry a small vial of the essential oil of lavender with us everywhere we go, to use as first aid for burns, wounds, headaches and nervous tension.

8: Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): leaves and flowers

Antibacterial, antispasmodic and antiviral, and is used as an insect repellent and sedative. The leaf is used in tea, tincture and in the bath for its calming properties and pleasant lemon scent.

Caution: Pregnant or nursing women should consult a medical professional trained in the use of therapeutic herbs before taking lemon balm. Consult with your physician before taking lemon balm with other medications.

9: Mint (Mentha spp.): leaves and flowers

Leaves are used in tea and bath blends for their flavor, stimulating properties and fragrance. Mint leaves are also taken in tea to aid digestion, reduce gas and treat headache, colds and fevers.

10: Sage (Salvia officinalis): leaves and flowers

Garden sage contains the powerful compound thujone that controls profuse perspiration and dries up lactation. Sage tea is a traditional remedy for sore gums and throat, skin infections and insect stings, and for sharpening the memory. Currently, Salvia species are being researched for their antioxidant properties, specifically for the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Caution: Pregnant or nursing women should not take sage internally. It should not be taken internally in large amounts or for extended periods because of the side effects of thujone.

Rich Beresford 2016 7 25
Written for AroundTheCabin.com

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Burdock Root

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Burdock root is a medicinal herb and food that has powerful anti-tumor, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Burdock root is one of the top recommended herbal remedies for cancer due to the belief that it can stop cancer cells from metastasizing and it is one of the star ingredients of the famous natural cancer remedy known as Essiac tea.

It is also highly beneficial for colds, flu, sore throats, bronchial congestion, ulcers, gallstones, anemia, kidney stones, chicken pox, gout, measles, strep throat, urinary tract infections, bladder infections, hepatitis, and enlarged prostates. Burdock root is an essential blood purifier and detoxifying herb as it can neutralize and safely eliminate poisons and toxins from the body.

Burdock is one of the most important herbs for treating chronic skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and shingles. It can also help to stimulate metabolism, re-grow hair, strengthen nails, and aid in edema and weight loss. Burdock root is an effective painkiller that can help alleviate symptoms of inflammation that affect auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, bursitis, lupus, and diabetes.

Fresh burdock can be juiced with celery, kale, and apple or used in recipes similarly to carrots. It is often steamed or added to soups and stews. It has a subtly sweet and earthy flavor that works well with potatoes, mushrooms, and onions. Dried burdock root is often used as a medicinal tea.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried burdock root and let steep for at least 10 minutes or more, sweeten with honey if desired. Burdock root can be readily found in a cream, salve, tincture, extract, and capsule form. It’s potent healing abilities has made it a vital herb for your natural medicine cabinet.

From our friend at: http://www.medicalmedium.com/blog/burdock-root

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Purslane Or Spurge?

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PURSLANE
• Excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids (better than fish oil!)
• An excellent source of Vitamin A, one of the highest among green leafy vegetables
• A rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids
• A rich source of dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
• Decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
• Autoimmune diseases such as lupus.
• Maintaining heart health.
• Lowering cholesterol.
• Regulating blood pressure.
• Enriching brain health.
• As an anti-depressant.
• Boosting the immune system
• Inflammatory bowel disease.
• Rheumatoid arthritis.
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SPURGE

IF THERE IS A WHITE SAP, IT IS NOT PURSLANE!

  • Nothing eats it.
  • The sap is possibly toxic enough to cause blindness if it gets in the eyes.
  • It is an annual that doesn’t germinate readily until warmer weather, so pre-emergents are often applied too soon to stop it. (Most pre-emergents work only for 8-10 weeks and are spread in early spring.)
  • Each plant can produce a full crop of several thousand seeds in 5 weeks.
  • The flowers are so non-descript as to be thought absent, so it is easy to accidentally miss flowering and let it go to seed.
  • There are 12 weed species of spurge that are all very similar, varying as little as having a tiny spot on the leaves (Spotted spurge is what I found the most photos of, but was not what was in my yard.)

    The sap of this plant is a mild skin irritant and can cause a rash in some people. The sap is poisonous and considered carcinogenic.

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Clover and Cyanide

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Question…Why don’t the bugs eat the clover in my yard?

Ok …here we go…

Under ordinary conditions, cyanide is safely bonded to sugar molecules that are sequestered in secure pockets inside each plant cell. The enzyme that separates the cyanide from its sugar lies outside that pocket. When an insect chews the clover leaves, the cyanide-sugars and enzymes mix—like bending and shaking a plastic glow stick—and this releases the poisonous cyanide concoction.

THAT is the answer..

I know, I know,(here it comes)… BUT WAIT, YOUR SAYING WE CAN EAT IT?… Yes, you can.

Cyanide is a naturally occurring chemical, generally considered to be poisonous if consumed in large enough amounts. According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry the following foods naturally contain cyanide:

almonds
millet sprouts
lima beans
soy
spinach
bamboo shoots
cassava
tapioca

Additionally cyanide is found in most any fruits that have a pit, or core, like cherries, apricots, and apples. The site reports that no foods are consumed in large enough quantities to be toxic. Cyanide can also be produced by certain bacteria, fungi, algae, and as a by-product of industrial manufacturing and waste. If industry is producing cyanide in your area it may enter local water supplies. If this water is used to grow plants in your area, those plants will also absorb the additional cyanide, so take note of the water and industry in your area. The same risk, thankfully, does not exist for fish in cyanide polluted waters as they do not absorb the cyanide. In general, it is import not to stress too much over cyanide in foods.

*** Small amounts of cyanide may even be good for you by helping to lower blood pressure.

In small doses, cyanide in the body can be changed into thiocyanate, which is less harmful and is excreted in urine. In the body, cyanide in small amounts can also combine with another chemical to form vitamin B12, which helps maintain healthy nerve and red blood cells.

In large doses, the body’s ability to change cyanide into thiocyanate is overwhelmed. Large doses of cyanide prevent cells from using oxygen and eventually these cells die. The heart, respiratory system and central nervous system are most susceptible to cyanide poisoning. (NOT good)

BACK to White Clover..
With all this in mind, clover can be good for you. It is high in protein, has beta carotene, vitamin C, most of the B vitamins, biotin, choline, inositol, and bioflavonoids.

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Plantain edible weed

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Plantain (Plantago major) is a weed commonly found in the wild and (much to suburbanites’ dismay) the lawns of almost everyone living in temperate climates. It is traditionally used to treat minor cuts and a wide range of skin disorders, including dandruff, eczema, sunburn, and bug bites.

This herb is also said to be good for soothing inflamed bronchial passages and sore throat. European research supports the use of plantain as a treatment for bronchitis, sore throat, and cold symptoms.

Studies have demonstrated that the juice of the plantain plant is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Plantain contains allantoin, an anti-inflammatory phytochemical that kills germs, speeds wound healing, and stimulates the growth of new skin cells (many commercial cosmetic creams and lotions list allantoin as an active ingredient).

The best thing about the herb plantain is that it is easy to find and easy to use (there are over 200 species!). Unless you live in the desert or the tundra, there’s a good chance you have plantain growing right in your own backyard. It is readily identified by the green, nubby spikes, which stick up out of a cluster of round leaves.

To soothe bug bites, eczema, poison ivy, or other minor skin irritations, rub fresh plantain leaves on the affected area. You can also make a soothing poultice of fresh, mashed leaves and a little cool water (this one feels good on sunburns). Plantain is also available as a supplement in liquid extract and capsule form at most health food stores—the usual dosage is 1 teaspoon of liquid extract three times a day, or up to 6,000 milligrams in capsules per day for treatment of bronchial symptoms.

There have been no toxic reactions reported with the use of plantain. Be sure to follow the directions on commercial preparations—consuming extremely large amounts could cause diarrhea, skin rash, or other allergic reaction.

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