Archive for September, 2012

September 29, 2012

Making Wildflower mud seed bombs

Wildflower Power Movement: Making wildflower mud seeds ‘bombs’

 As a response to cities ripping out wild gardens that people have planted for growing food and a sense of community, make some wildflower mud bombs to seed cities and other areas with wild flowers and plants.  Looking down on the earth from a plane in the sky, square green boxes are all the eye can sometimes see and one wonders where have all the wildflowers gone? Turf the square green turf and return the wildflowers!!! Make sure you plant native flowers for your area.

here are some other strange alternatives :D

http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggseedbombs.html

Making Wildflower Mud Seed Bombs:

Packets of wildflower seeds or any seeds you want to grow

Mud or plant soil, compost

Mix seeds in soil in 5:1:1 ratio. Wet soil and form into mud balls

Throw mud seed bombs wherever you want them grow.

Best time to mud seed bomb is right before rainy days.  Even if the flowers don’t grow, birds will eat the seeds. Their food supply has dwindled due to monoculture in society and lack of wildflowers.  

September 25, 2012

Chasing Waterfalls

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I did some waterfall chasing over the summer inspired by Mishy Laine and her beautiful pictures on her blog http://mishylainescorneroftheworld.blogspot.ca/

I wonder if you will be surprised as I was to learn that Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is the waterfall capital of the world, but it made sense because it’s the Niagara escarpment and near Niagara falls. So time to explore my own BIG backyard of a Country in search of waterfalls. I also added waterfall pictures from my B.C. trip.

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I saw more waterfalls than I thought! I’m looking forward to photographing more in different seasons too.

September 24, 2012

Autism and Nutrition

Autism, often called a spectrum disorder because of its varying degrees of severity,  affects millions of people worldwide, most of them male. The autism label came from American psychiatrist Leo Kanner in 1943. On the autistic spectrum there are ‘higher functioning’ individuals as in Asperger’s syndrome, and savants, who have “special talents.”

The developmental disabilities of Autism impact the individuals’ communication capabilities, resulting in characteristic repetitious body movements, language skill problems, and creates many challenges. There are learning disabilities, hyperactivity, allergies and obsessive behaviour associated with this disorder. In the 1950s parents were blamed for not giving the child enough love.

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episode/autism-enigma.html

This CBC documentary ‘The Autism Enigma’ on the “Nature of Things” explores the causes of autism gathered from the latest research. In Somalia there is no such thing as autism yet when Somali people move to North America the rate of Autism skyrockets. Autism rates are almost non-existent in Amish and Mennonite communities which live off of the land. Autism rates are higher in cities than in rural country counterparts finally leading to the conclusion that the cause of autism is from toxicity, pollution and poor standard American diet.

Recent evidence suggests that autistic children have a higher than average need for nutrients, due to digestive imbalances that affect absorption of nutrients.[1] Food refusal (a common behavior) and food sensitivities (often an unnoticed problem), puts the group at further risk of nutritional deficiency. Skin conditions are very common along with salt and sugar cravings. Skin conditions are symptoms of allergies. Eliminate allergies so that improvement can take place.

Researchers have found that psychoactive peptides from improperly digested casein and gluten based foods affect brain function negatively in people with autism. Supplement with digestive enzymes like pancreatin,  or take plant enzymes like bromelain and papain before meals to aid digestion, or eat pineapple or papaya where these enzymes come from.

Probiotics are also beneficial for digestion because they add healthy flora.  Improving digestive functioning is crucial while detoxifying other organ systems like the pancreas, kidneys, immune, lymphatic, endocrine, nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Eliminating gluten, dairy and other dietary allergies, intolerances and sensitivities helps take the burden off the immune system and improves symptoms. Toxic bacteria in the digestion tract has a toxic impact on the brain. This area of research holds a promising result.

There have been a number of studies linking improved nutritional intake with alleviating the symptoms of autism. Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine) and Magnesium have improved the condition in half the studies.[1] Speech and language improved with pyroxidine, and Magnesium reduced the side effects from the vitamin B6, improving overall condition.[2] Magnesium is relaxing to the nervous system, helps with glucose metabolism assisting the pancreas, and aids detoxification. Vitamin B complex helps metabolism, hyperactivity, nervous disorders and aids gut health.  Vitamin B6 is particularly important for amino acid metabolism in the central nervous system. Its metabolic functions include maintaining sodium balance, facilitating the release of glycogen, hemoglobin synthesis and regulating the electrical balance of the heart, nerves and musculoskeletal systems. The best way to get nutrients is through the diet, but if this is difficult take supplements. Pill supplements are harder to absorb than liquid or powder supplements that turn in to a liquid.

Allergy regulator histamine, neurotransmitters acetylcholine and norepinephrine stress hormones all depend on pyroxidal-5-phosphate, an active coenzyme form of B6, in their metabolism.[3]B6 helps break down amino acids including the brains conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. Serotonin has a tranquil effect on mood and sleep, so it is helpful with hyperactivity.

Supplement essential amino acid L-tryptophan is a precursor that converts to serotonin and melatonin in the body also elevating these hormones.  A pharmaceutical drug prescribed for autism is Haloperidol (Haldol). This drug interferes with function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine exhibits anti-depressant, and mild antioxidant actions that help with loss of motor control. The supplement amino acid L-tyrosine increases dopamine as well, but a broader scope of treatment is advised.

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are not made by the body and are introduced in the diet.   Omega-3, Omega-6 EFA’s aid healthy growth and nourish of nerve, blood vessels and skin. EFA’s, also known as vitamin F, can increase immunity, insulin sensitivity, and decrease stress, bad cholesterol and toxicity. EFA’s also act on prostaglandins, which increase output of digestive secretions and helps smooth muscle control. They also act on histamine, which is helpful for inflammation and allergies. Also for allergies and impaired immune function, Vitamin C and E are helpful antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage and boost immunity. Vitamin C in powder form works the best.

EFA’s would also address the skin rashes some autistics suffer from.  Hemp seed and chia seeds are good vegetarian sources of EFA’s to merge in the diet.

Supplements can help balance blood glucose levels, detoxify and regulate the nervous, immune, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

Nutritional supplementation has helped in some studies, but improve digestive absorption first with herbal tonics and diet changes, and  eliminate food sensitivities before vitamins and supplements can work optimally. Although complex, as each case has its unique challenges, a joint approach using herbal tonics with dietary change and supplements that all promote detoxification is the ideal protocol. Explore Energy medicine to help with motor skills and to help release the pent-up stress hormones that happens when the body is not functioning correctly.

[1] Alternative Med Rev 2002 Dec 472-99

[2] Cochrane Database System Rev 2002

[3] Haas, Elson. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. 122-26

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bryna, Siegel. (1996). The World of the Autistic Child: Understanding and Treating Autistic Spectrum Disorders. United States: Oxford University Press.

Kidd PM-Autism-An Extreme Challenge

Autism-B6 and Mg-Alternative Med Rev 2002 Dec.7 (6) 472-99

http://www.pubmed.com

“Autism,” Microsoft® Encarta ® online Encyclopedia 2004

http://encarta.msn.com

http:// www.ncpad.org/nutrition/condition/autism.htm

Brudnak, M.A et al. (2002) Enzyme-based therapy for autism spectrum disorders-Is it worth another look? Medical hypotheses, 58(50), 422-428

D’Eufemia, P. et al (1996). Abnormal intestinal permeability in children with autism. Acta Paedicatrica. 85,1076-1079

Knivsberg, A.M., Reeichelt.K.L. Hoien.T, & Nodland, M. (2002). A randomized, controlled study of dietary interventions in autistic syndrome. Nutr Neurosci,2, 57-72

Haas, Elson M.D. Staying Healthy with Nutrition

Celestial Arts 1992

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episode/autism-enigma.html

September 13, 2012

DIY Chicory and Dandelion Coffee

A beverage drink that is delicious and good for the liver? I had to taste it to believe it myself and I’m converted! You may never look at your ‘weeds’ the same way again.

Here’s some nutritional information and medicinal uses of the humble dandelion. http://earthelixir.ca/2012/04/24/dandelion/

Chicory flower

I’m sipping on some fresh home-brewed Chicory & Dandelion root coffee as I share this delicious news, it is a good combination together. Both chicory and dandelion are good on their own in a hot beverage, or have them together like I am enjoying.

How to make your own Chicory & Dandelion root Coffee  

Dig up some dandelion and/or chicory roots.

Wash them in a bucket of water outside.

Scrub and rinse them well removing dirt.

Cut them up and rinse them more until clean.

Grind the roots fresh (it is easier at this stage to grind the roots if you don’t have a good grinder)

or grind the roots after they have dry roasted.

Spread them out evenly on a baking sheet.

Roast the roots in a 200 °oven with the door open to dry roast

About an hour or two until golden.

Spread them around while baking and check to see that they don’t burn or get overcooked. Cool and store in a glass sealed jar.

To make coffee : Put 1 tablespoon of roasted root per cup of water and simmer gently in a pot for 5-15 minutes depending on desired strength.

The best tasting brew is when I am camping. Gather the roots, wash them and roast them on a hot rock carefully separated from the fire. Pound the roots. Brew like you would coffee. Tastes the best outdoors!

1 tablespoon of roasted roots to 1 cup of coffee

Drink it how you would like your coffee.

Enjoy! mmmmm *sip

 

September 5, 2012

Feverfew Treats Migraine Headaches

Feverfew is best known for treating and preventing migraines and headaches. Approved in Canada and England to prevent migraines research concludes it is effective in reducing the pain, intensity, duration, and number of attacks in 70% of migraine cases studied. It is important to discuss and treat root causes of headaches and migraines, and to rule out more serious reasons. Common reasons for migraines and headaches are allergies, food allergies, anxiety, stress, depression, liver congestion, constipation, and toxicity. Know what your triggers are and work from there.

Feverfew

Feverfew is a medium strength remedy and caution is strongly advised because overeating fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers. Eat 1-4 fresh leaves a day preferably in salads, or on a sandwich to avoid this. Use in tincture formulation with demulcent herbs, and avoid long-term use and high doses. Seek guidance from a professional health practitioner.

Common Name  Feverfew herb
Latin Name  Tanacetum parthenium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial-herb leaves picked in summer during growing season
Target Organs/Areas Head, cardiovascular, lungs, digestion, reproductive, muscles, nerves
Common Uses Head: migraines, headaches,dizziness, tinnitus, pain, inflammation, relaxes, sedate,

Cardiovascular: relaxes,dilates blood vessels, inflammation, increases circulation, arthritis, colds, cramps, neuralgia, sciatica, fibromyalgia, tension,

Digestion: digestive stimulant, digestive bitter,

Female reproductive: amenorrhea, stimulant, spasmodic dysmenorrhea, PMS,

Properties anti-migraines, analgesic, antiseptic, vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, relaxant, sedative, digestive stimulant, digestive bitter, bitter, uterine stimulant, emmenagogue, 
Constituents Essential oil:  lactones- parthenolides, camphor, borneol, terpenes, esters; bitter resin, inulin (in root) gums, tannic acid, pyrethrin
Cautions Medium strength: Caution may cause mouth ulcers, use with demulcents. Avoid continous long-term use. May cause dermatitis. Avoid high doses. Do not use in pregnancy, breastfeeding.
Dosage Tincture: Best used in formulation combined with demulcents : 2-4ml             

Tea: 8g / 1 teaspoon Infuse 5-10 min

Eat: 1-4 fresh leaves a day preferably in salads, or on a sandwich.

September 4, 2012

Bee-balm ~ Oswego Tea

Bee-balm or Monarda is a beautiful wildflower native to North east North America. It is known for the popular beverage Natives call Oswego tea, and is also cooked in stews, and used to flavour salads. Being aromatic the essential oil makes great perfume and keeps insects and flies away.

Monarda fistulosa has beautiful tubular lavender-purple pinkish flowers.  The common name is known as Wild Bergamot, not to be confused with the citrus bergamot orange – Citrus bergamia L. used in EARL GREY tea, but it smells similar and is now sometimes combined. English Settlers that came to North America named it that because they thought it smelled just like earl grey tea and introduced it to England in 1744. Having a high geraniol content it smells like geranium flowers mixed with citrus and mint.

Monarda fistulosa

Monarda didyma has showy red flowers that smell like citrus and mint. The leaves make a wonderful tea dried or fresh. The common name is Bee-balm because it attracts bees, along with hummingbirds and butterflies. It is also called Scarlet bee-balm because of the colour of the flowers. The M. didyma species has a higher thymol content that makes it smell more like citrus thyme.

Monarda didyma

The stems are square with paired grey green leaves and rough on both sides. It prefers moist, light soil. Being a mint family member it likes some shade from the hot afternoon sun.  Use all Monarda species the same way. Enjoy!

Common Name  Bee balm/  Wild Bergamot
Latin Name  Monarda didyma (Bee balm) Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial- pick herb from spring until it flowers in July-August
Target Organs circulatory, digestion, respiratory, nerves, lymphatic, skin, urinary, reproductive
Common Uses Respiratory: infections, colds, flu, nasal congestion, coughs, fever, swollen lymph

Digestion: digestive catarrh, indigestion,  constipation, gas, bloating,

Urinary: UTI,  incontinence, infection

Female reproductive: spasms, cramps, PMS, balancing

Nervous system: relaxant, stress, depression

External: wounds, inflammation,

Properties antimicrobial, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic (digestive, general, respiratory, uterine,) antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, astringent, warming carminative, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, digestive stimulant, stimulating emmenagogue, relaxing, secretolytic, stimulating expectorant, febrifuge,  nervine, rubefacient, relaxant, stomachic, tranquilizer, uterine relaxant, (neural, peripheral vasodilator), vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil Yield: 0.4%-0.6%

Monoterpenes

Monoterpene  alcohols: geraniol 90% 

Phenol: thymol(found in M. didyma)50%

Cautions Mild remedy. Do not use during pregnancy or consult with a professional.
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml                Tea: 2 tsp. infuse 5-10 minutes

 

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