Blood Deficient

I saw my acupuncturist last week for some aches and pains. I’ve been on Dr Zhang’s Chinese Herbs for over a year trying to kill the worst of my infections, Babesia. Bab’s is a parasite cousin to Malaria….not a fun visitor by any stretch of the imagination and very hard to kill. Although Bab’s is still around, I’ve had great relief from it and I live an enriched life today.

One of my aches has been a burning stabbing pain in my right elbow and shoulder. In Chinese medicine heat indicates stuck blood. (please know that I don’t pride myself in using correct technical terms…I just try to get the jist of it) Lisa, my acupuncturist, did the little pinch the fingernail tips and thought I was a little blood deficient. That really didn’t come as a surprise. I know that ever since my battle with Hemolytic Anemia last fall, even though I brought my RBC back to normal with food and herbs, I continue to battle fatigue. If you think that I am a boundless 51 yr old filled with energy who accomplishes great feats every day…then I have misled you! I am not. I do get a lot done, but it takes a lot more these days! And I usually don’t post my off days. Learning to live with a positive attitude has meant not always admitting that I feel like a piece of chewed up and spit out meat! But for those of you who visit my blog hoping to get some tips on living with these infectious diseases, I try to be a bit transparent for you.

I respond to acupuncture very quickly. Lisa got my blood flowing. I’ve been in complete menopause (literally means a pause in menses) for a year…well, she got a little flow going! I thought that was a great way for me to know that it was working. It comes as no surprise to me that after my treatment last week, my fatigue is worse. Sometimes in treating things naturally, it gets worse before it gets better.

My symptoms with Bab’s are: fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, crying, muscle pain, nerves jump in my body like the jitters (I can literally feel my nerves twitching or the energy flowing through them…it’s weird), insomnia, nausea, bloatedness….. while I’m at it I might as well blame it for overweight, silliness and sometimes offensive behavior!

Why not? Babesia is a very very wicked disease. I am grateful however that I’ve had so much relief from it and I believe that one day I will be free from it’s grip. Dr Zhang’s site now says that it’s recommended to double the dose of Artemesia and HH. My usual dose lately has just been 1 capsule per day. When it’s active I up the dose to the recommended 3 capsules per day. During this most recent activity, I’ll be upping my dose to 2 caps 3X day. I will probably up it gradually. I hate sudden death!

Here’s what it says on the fact sheet Lisa gave me. “The quality of our blood is a measure of the available nourishments circulating in our body. Blood nourishes our muscles, organs, brain, every part of us. It’s quality depends on the quality of food we eat and our ability to absorb nourishment. In other words it depends on the strength of our Spleen.” In reading about the blood it makes sense that insomnia and difficulty thinking are a problem, and fatigue in the muscles all due to a lack of blood flow. Babesia attacks and kills the red blood cells, thus a lack of blood flow.

I’ll focus my diet again on blood building foods which include, fermented apricots, fresh liver, fermented beets, dark leafy greens braised in stock with a little balsamic vinegar, infused nettle tea, bone marrow in the form of stock, grapes, sardines, figs, and eggs.

When I feel like this I don’t want to fuss much over food, the easier the better. I always try to keep most of these foods on hand and I do try to keep my diet filled with variety. I have a ton of ferments in the frig and an Autumn garden growing dark leafy greens. My fresh pastured chickens always come with livers and hearts and they are scrumptious fresh! Yes, I said chicken livers are scrumptious! Braised in a little lard with some red onion they are great. The fresher the better and be sure to not over cook.

Here’s what I had for lunch yesterday.

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Heat up the stock and add several handfuls of greens per person….they will cook down to nothing. In my mix I’ve got beet greens, spinach and kale.

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I added some fennel root that I cut from the garden and some red onion. A dash of balsamic vinegar and it was so good, I could of eaten an entire plate full.

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I threw in a leftover pastured chicken wing and added fermented beets for a good blood fortifying nutrient dense meal.

Pass The Rosehips Honey

This is the vicious lovely Multiflora Rose. These beasts beauties have been known to rip man, woman, child and beast to shreds. Just try passing one at full throttle on a John Deere and see if you don’t agree. These bad boys beauties are wicked bad.

They do have a few redeeming qualities if you are cursed blessed to have one or two or a couple dozen. The rose hips are packed with Vit C….more Vit C than an orange.

I know, I can hear you saying, “no way”. “Yes way.” However picking these tiny little seed thingies is very labor intensive. I’m cursed blessed to still have one or so more clusters of Multiflora Rose left in our back 40. Honey Some believe that the madix was made for this lovely bush from hell and believe me it’s the only way to be rid of it. But, if you are cursed blessed as I am, please make use of it.

My one good standing is in the Blackberry patch (another blessing), so picking these tiny little things was another battle of flesh and blood. After getting a long thorn from this ugly lovely rose, under my thumb nail, I called it quites. I was blessed with 2/3 cup, but that was after I pulled the tiny little stems off.

Now that my finger tips are numb and calloused, I mashed my rosehips in my morter and pistal….you know, that thing we used in High School science class.

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You have to admit they are a lovely shade of red. The birds love them too, so I didn’t wait until after the first frost to pick….otherwise, there might not of been any left. I know, at this point your asking yourself why I’m going to all this trouble when all I need to do is pull a bottle of Vit C off the shelf….they have rosehips in them too.

Well, I call this “Simple Living” or “The Simple Life w/o Paris Hilton”….my daughter, Sweet Girl, can’t quite imagine what I mean by that. She thinks that I go to way too much trouble to do this thing called life. The funny thing is she meets gals all the time who say, “oh I want to be just like your mom”. She says, “come on over”!

I digress. Once you’ve smashed your berries, you can cover them with raw honey. (why raw? I’m so glad you asked. Raw honey has live enzymes, just like raw milk or raw carrot juice or raw anything. And make sure you buy your honey from a reputable source…..did you know that honey sold by….well, I won’t name them, but sold by some very well known places….if you were to ask them for their barrels the barrel would say something like….Product of CHINA or Vietnam and it will say, Honey & Corn Syrup!!!!!! I’m dead serious! So make sure it’s local raw honey!)

Okay back to the rosehips….. It makes a yummy way to take Vit C. And you’ve spent hardly anything, except for the honey, which in my case I’m gonna eat anyway. If times ever get really hard for you and they are for many right now, you only need to look as far as your back door for Vit C. If you don’t have any rosehips nearby, Pine needles also are loaded and you can make some tea. It’s good to know some foraging skills….more later on my black walnut salvaging.

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Then just take a spoonful and enjoy or use 2-3 tsp and pour boiling water over it as to make a tea. Kids love taking their vitamins this way.

Last year I made some Rose Petal Honey. The Petals are carminative, stimulant, emmenagogue, antibacterial; Astringent; and Tonic. Now it’s up to you to look all that up, I’m just sayin that Rose petals are also very good for you. Of course DO NOT ever use the ones you buy in the store or receive in from your Honey! Only use organic rose petals that have NEVER been sprayed. I only buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. I love eating it on buttered toast, with the sweet hint of rose! You can strain the petals out of the honey after it’s sat for a few weeks, but I just left mine in and they have crystallized with the honey and are so good to eat. Using a tea strainer you can also put a couple heaping teaspoons in the strainer and pour boiling water over and let steep…..mmmm rose honey tea! So good and so good for you.

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What are you foraging? Anything interesting?

UPDATE Warning:  Do NOT eat too many rosehips!  I was a bit under the weather on my B-day.  I ate too many rosehips and boy did I ever have a doubled over tummy!  DO NOT do that!  And DO NOT dumb the seeds in your compost or you will have more Multiflora Rose!  I haven’t done that, but I thought I’d mention it so you aren’t yelling at me next year when volunteers are coming up by the dozens!

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockleshells

And pretty maids in a row.

My garden grows with lots and lots of hard work and I wish I had a few maids to help me from time to time. Many woman hours have been clocked to keep my gardens producing food and medicine.

My herb garden is my Medicine Garden. With all of the talk on Health Care and whether or not it will be a government run program, in my opinion it is important for all of us to have the knowledge we need to care for ourselves. And now is the time to formulate a plan for you and your family.

My Medicine Garden is filled with all kinds of medicinal plants that I think everyone ought to own if they want to grow their own medicine. It’s taken me a couple years to get all the plants I have. Some I’ve managed to grow from seed, but frankly they just don’t do very well. The only seed plant that survived this summer was my Elecampane. I chose this beauty for it’s healing properties for colds and coughs. It’s the root that is used and is it BITTER! I made a honey syrup with it a few years ago for some asthma issues I was having. Mullein is another favorite of mine for nourishing lung health.

Elecampane

Elecampane

I placed an order with Horizon Herbs for the last remaining essential herbs that I need for my Medicine Garden. We’ve had Richo Cech as a guest on The Herb Mentor and I knew that I could trust his plants to be hardy and survive a fall planting. Included in this order was, Stinging Nettle, St John’s Wort, Motherwort and Russian Comfrey.

Common Comfrey

Common Comfrey

Stinging Nettle

St John's Wort

Motherwort

Most of these herbs are in my daily diet. Using them as infusions gives me the vitamins and nutrients I need as a menopausal woman. Susun S Weed recommends drinking daily infusions of Nettle and Oatstraw for women in my stage of life and throwing in Red Clover once a week. (it is not recommended drinking Red Clover daily due to the high estrogen, but to drink it weekly) I use Motherwort as a tincture for hotflashes and other menopausal symptoms including anxiety and sleep. The Russian Comfrey is for my bovine girls mostly, but also for oil infusions for salves. And who wouldn’t be without St John’s Wort? I told you I’m constantly learning….when I was posting the picture of the beloved St John’s Wort, Hypericum…aha! I’ve been using Hypericum in a homeopathic remedy that I rub into soar joints and I’ve given it to my cow! I know Hypericum very well! Anyway, I can’t wait to infuse it’s lovely yellow flowers for a beautiful golden oil!

(As a side note on Susun S Weed. Susun is a very knowledgeable herbalist, however I do not embrace her spiritual beliefs and practices. I do however feel that I can sift out the information I need and leave the rest behind.)

A lot of the herb plants I ordered are very invasive so finding just the right spot for them to spread out and grow will be important. The Russian Comfrey is non invasive however. We have an overgrown hedge row of trees between us and our neighbor that is probably a good spot to put some of these plants. Your Medicine Garden doesn’t have to be all in one spot. Just so you know where to find the plants when you need them. We also grow Poke Weed…who doesn’t? The birds kindly drop seeds everywhere especially in our White Pines. You can harvest the berries and dry them for a serious immune boost. It’s the seeds that are poisonous, so as long as you don’t chew them, they will pass right out of you as they do with the birds! The young leaves are often sauteed and eaten as greens and I’ve heard that some use the big stems as you would rhubarb. Poke oil is recommended by Horizon Herbs as a treatment for Mastitis in livestock.

I’ve been using Tea Tree Oil on Josie for Mastitis, but I’d really like to find an oil that I can infuse myself. I’ll have to give Poke Oil a try.

There are so many “weeds” that are wonderful Herbal Friends. Take a walk around your property or nearby woodland and you will be surprised at what you already have right at your finger tips.

Scripture says that God gave us everything we need for life and godliness.

Seek and you will find!

(as I was writing this post I remembered one more that I MUST have….ARNICA! It is one of my most used herbs)

Arnica montana

Arnica montana

20 Tips for Companion Planting

Louise Riotte is the author of Carrots Love Tomatoes Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.

It’s a wonderful little book filled with invaluable information, pertaining to vegetables, herbs, and trees. I thought I’d post the ones that are of interest to me. I recommend this book to gardeners of all types.

This was one mistake I made this year.

#1 Beans are inhibited by any member of the onion family.

(no wonder my beans died after I planted the onions right next door!)

#2 Beans love carrots

#3 Beets like bush beans, onions and kohlrabi

#4 Beets are turned off by Pole Beans

#5 Lettuce & members of the cabbage family “like” beets

#6 Cabbage family is helped by hyssop, thyme, wormwood, and southernwood as they are helpful in repelling the white cabbage butterfly

#7 Good companions to the cabbage family are: celery, dill, camomile, sage, peppermint, rosemary, onions and potatoes.

#8 Cabbage dislike strawberries, tomatoes and pole beans

#9 Carrots companions are rosemary, wormwood and sage-they act as repellants to the carrot fly

#10 Sweet Corn does well with potatoes, peas, beans, cuc’s, pumpkins and squash.

#11 Don’t plant tomatoes near corn, the tomato fruitworm and corn earworm are identical

#12 Plant marigolds near the corn to deter Japanese beetles from chewing the corn silk

#13 Cuc’s like beans, peas, radishes and sunflowers and prefer some shade

#14 Sow 2-3 radish seeds in the cuc hills to prevent the cuc beetle

#15 Cuc’s dislike potatoes, but potatoes grown near cuc’s are more likely to be affected by phytophthora blight, so keep them apart

#16 Lettuce grows well with strawberries, cuc’s, and carrots

#17 Onions and all members of the cabbage family like each other, they also like beets, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, summer savory, and camomile.

#18 Onions do not like peas and beans

#19 Sweet Peppers like basil and okra

#20 Tomatoes-everyones favorite!

They dislike potaotes and fennel and don’t plant near potatoes since tomatoes will make potatoes more susceptible to potato blight. They like chives, onions, parsley, marigolds, nasturtiums, and carrots. Planting garlic between plants can protect them from red spider. Planting your tomatoes with asparagus after the young shoots have been harvested will benefit your asparagus.

Unlike other vegetables tomatoes prefer to grow in the same place every year. They are heavy feeders so make sure you give them plenty of compost and mulch especially during dry seasons to avoid wilt disease and blossom end rot.

Reference: Carrots Love Tomatoes

Of course the book has so much more info, so pick up a copy for your own reference.

Future posts will include tips for herbs and trees from Carrots Love Tomatoes.

I did plant marigolds heavily this year in the garden and I haven’t had a single Japanese Beetle. I’m not sure if the marigolds are the reason, but they sure looked pretty anyway.

Nature Walk at Peaceful Acres


Bee Balm

It’s a beautiful time here at Peaceful Acres. Most if not all my plants are perennials. I did buy a couple annuals this year to add a little color in the front where I mostly have flowering bulbs and Coral Bells, but generally I prefer perennials. They are hardy and after you get them started they pretty much take care of themselves, Most of what gets planted the dogs manage to trapes on and do their business upon. I do love these pooches but they can be a real pain sometimes.

Joe Pye Weed

The fragrance is amazing, so sweet and beautiful!

I went for a little walk this morning and found a few treats. After mowing the field down last fall it’s pretty bare out their. But on my last mowathon, I found a Joe Pye Weed that I hadn’t hit, as well as some nasty thistle and my blackberries that I purposefully left. Honey has been attacking the multiflora rose which is an extremely deadly plant. It reaches out and literally rips me to pieces when I mow past it. I also saw Mullein which I’d like to move to my herb garden along with the Joe Pye Weed.

Thistle

One main reason to cut the field other than because of the neighbors who thought that it was ok to ride their ATV’s on our land, was the invasive plants. It will take two years to get the thistle and milk weed under control. And thus I didn’t get my goats as these plants are toxic to them. No sense in spending thousands of dollars on a barn and animals and then kill them. BUT they would have eaten all the poison ivy and oak that’s growing back there.

I do have lavender and larkspur with these great Magenta flowers which I don’t know the name of….anyone? and they partially line the driveway. I don’t do a lot of cutting because I really want to give the honey bees a treat so they can make someone some yummy honey! My four lavender are now two, so it’s hardly enough to harvest, instead I get it in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs for use in my herbal remedies and teas.

I think my little point and shoot “CoolPix” did a pretty amazing job capturing the bees today!!!

This is what it looks like “back there” in our field! All the trees are volunteers that are Bradford Pears..they are wild and therefore grew thorns that also rip the guts out of me when I mow past them! We also have a couple wild dogwood, a few oaks and maples and cedars…all of which are volunteers.

This is the blackberry patch I left purposefully. I tried to cut paths through them in the spring so I could get to the middle. It looks like I’m going to have a great harvest of wild blackberries this year!

The branches are loaded!

Echinacea purpurea is blooming. Also my seedlings are up.

My Chamomile is blooming. I love brushing past it, the fragrance is intoxicating.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into my life here.  We do hope to move to the mountains of NC in 4 yrs when Honey retires.  We love the mountains and that area of western NC has waterfalls galore.  We feel so much like we’ve “come home” when we are there.  But for now we have 5 acres of beauty to care for here in MD.  I try to do it with a smile, but I do tire of cutting grass!  Twenty two years of circles is a long time! 😀

Gardening Dilemma

I’ve had so much fun starting plants from seed this year. My “friends” on OGH Yahoo grp have been extremely helpful. I’ve learned from them and really can’t wait until next year to expand my indoor garden and explore many more varieties of veggies. My dilemma is with my sweet potato slips as I’ve come to know them. They have gone gangbusters!!!! They are getting so big that I’m not sure how I’m going to wait until warm weather to plant them. They will be in doors for at least another 1 1/2 months and by that time, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make our way threw the jungle.

Compare this growth to a week ago and you’ll see my dilemma!

I’d say I’m in big trouble! They must be growing 2-3 inches a day!

My treasured Sweet Italian Peppers and Hungarian Hot Peppers finally came up. I think I replanted them 3 times and then suddenly they appeared after weeks of waiting. I finally got a tip from my “friends” at OGH that made the difference and that was to place them in the pearlite not the soil. I also have had success with Sage, Nasturtium and Sweet William. I’m very excited.

These are Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes that I salvaged after the seeds wintered over in the garden bed.

Everything got a good drink today with some fish fertilizer…except the Sweet Potatoes! 😉

My Rite of Passage (girl talk)

I thought I’d write a little about the “rite of passage” I’m in. Yes, as it’s known “the change” or “menopause”. I was dreading this as much as I dread going to the dentist. As it turns out, if one has lived well and continues to do so, it’s not a big deal especially when compared to what I’ve been through with Lyme Disease. The hot flashes don’t even compare to the night sweats from Bab’s (Babesia- American Malaria). So, I’m the last person to complain about dressing in layers or throwing off the covers at night or turning down the thermostat. Bring it on! The only part I’m not cool with is the extra “natural” weight gain. Susun Weed talks about this being an added benefit to going through this change more smoothly. The extra ten pounds of “good” fat, good muscle and good bone will be your best ally. It’s finding that place of accepting a body that doesn’t look like a teenager any longer. It’s accepting the new me. The healthier me. So, I’ll continue walking and running and gardening and doing whatever I can, but learning to accept the new body that now houses the new me.

We’ve been eating organic farm fresh foods for awhile now, probably 10-15 yrs. My body isn’t full of preservatives and additives. I don’t eat sugar. I don’t eat whites of any kind except soy free chicken egg whites with the orange yolk. I eat lots of grassfed meat, raw dairy, raw ferments, and organic veggies, lots of good fats and some supp’s and herbs mostly for the Lyme. I don’t take Rx med’s unless my life depends on it; literally. I’ve been a “wise woman” for awhile using herbs and such. As a result not only am I finding healing from the wretched Lyme Disease, but I suppose I have assisted my body with this “passage”. I’m actually celebrating this time of life. It’s been 40 long yrs that I’ve lived out the curse…I’ve done my time. I’m looking forward to this phase of life. The kids are leaving home gradually, and we’ll retire soon. Like I’ve posted before, life is hard, but God is good.

Psalm 34:8

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Here are some good suggestions by Susun S. Weed; The Wise Woman of herbs. I found her site Menopause Metamorphosis. There she talks about many of the issues facing woman in this passage. I took note of some basic herbs and nutrition guides that will be of help to anyone.

1. Good Protein: raw yogurt (I do all raw), lentils, grassfed meat, soy free eggs, lots of raw dairy including cheeses.

2. Phytoestrogens: Nourishing herbal infusions, lentils, roots and seeds.

3. High Quality Fats: Help the thyroid and immune system. Herbal infusions. full fat raw yogurt, organic chocolate (see my recipe for guiltless chocolate), EVOO, raw butter, nuts and seeds.

Some of the herbs she listed are: Stinging Nettle, Oatstraw, Red Clover , and Comfrey.

A. Stinging Nettle: (Urtica dioica) builds energy and strengthens the adrenals, makes bones flexible, gives you healthy hair, and beautiful skin. 1 Cup of Nettle Infusion=500 mg Calcium, generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron and zinc. Excellent source of Vit A, D, E and K. And is a good source of B Vitamins.

(couldn’t find a pic of Oatstraw)

B. Oatstraw: (Avena sativa) reduces high cholesterol, increases libido, and strengthens the nerves. It has a generous 300 mg of Calcium, and plenty of minerals. Steroidal saponins nourish the pancreas and liver, improve the digestion and stabilize moods. And is a good source of B Vitamins.

C. Red Clover: (Trifolium pratense) is better than its cousin Soy. Red Clover contains 4 phytoestrogens compared to soy which has 1 (isoflavone). It in fact has 10x more phytoestrogens than soy “milk”, fewer calories, more calcium, and no added sugars! It is the world leading anti-cancer herb. It also improves memory. And is a good source of B Vitamins.

D. Comfrey: (Symphytum) leaf is free of the compound (PAs) found in the root that can damage the liver. It is also known as “knitbone” an ally to those with thin bones. Comfrey contains special proteins used in the formation of short-term memory cells. (that’s what I need) And it has a soothing mucilage that adds flexibility to joints, eyes, vagina, and the lungs.

Directions for making a Herbal Infusion

1 oz = 1 Cup

1 oz of Nettle leaf, Oatstraw, Red Clover, Comfrey or other herbs. Add to a Qt size jar and fill with boiling water. Allow to brew for at least 4 hrs or overnight. Strain and drink 1-2 cups/day.

Disclaimer: All information is for educational purposes only. If you need medical advice please seek it from a trained professional.