Archive for ‘Health conditions’

October 20, 2014

Wormwood the Infamous Ingredient In Absinthe

Wormwood is an ingredient used in the infamous alcoholic drink absinthe, also known as the green fairy. It is an extremely bitter herb and absinthe was traditionally poured over sugar cubes to sweeten the taste.
When used on its own, it is a powerful medicinal herb. It’s main taste is bitter, which is good for stimulating the digestive axis of the stomach, liver/gallbladder and intestines. As its name suggests it expels internal worms, while it also provides immune support.

It is best combined with aromatic carminatives like peppermint, anise, fennel, ginger, chamomile, bergamot, thyme for taste and balance, just like the ancient recipe absinthe.

I prefer wormwood macerated in red wine to temper the bitterness. Steep it for at least a couple of weeks, and then strain. I take a single teaspoon once a day, for a week. Take small doses before or after meals as an aperitif. A tincture formulation is good, but the tea infusion might be too bitter to swallow. It is Not advisable to add sweeteners, the taste cannot be masked. It is better to taste the bitters to stimulate secretions for maximum medicinal power. This is a medium strength remedy so caution is always advised. Be careful dancing with the green fairy.

Use Artemisia species medicinally in the same way, including mugwort, annual wormwood, southernwood, but wormwood is the most bitter.

Wormwood is native to Europe and Western Asia and established in the temperate regions of North America.

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Wormwood herb starting to show its tiny yellow flowers from my garden.

Common Name

Wormwood herb
Latin Name

Artemisia absinthium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial herb pick aerial parts, flowering tops bloom in July/August summer
Target Organs Digestion, stomach, nervous, urinary, reproductive
Common Uses Digestion: cooling bitter stimulant, digestive conditions, infections, poor digestion, promotes bile, indigestion, dyspepsia, flatulence, IBS, inflammation, parasites worms-pinworm, roundworm, threadworms, constipation, colic, poor appetite, anorexia, food poisoning, toxicity, headache, nausea

Stomach: all conditions,

Liver/gallbladder: congestion, infections

Moxybustion

 

Properties Cold bitter digestive, astringent, pungent, antibacterial, hepatic, liver decongestant, carminative, stimulating digestion immune, cholagogue, laxative, stomachic, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, nervine, antimicrobial, anti-emetic but emetic in large doses, vulnerary,
Constituents Sesquiterpene lactones, volatile essential oil, thujone, thujan, cineole, linalol, chamazulene, camphene, cadimene, monoterpene, pinene, phellandrene, azulene, bisabolene, flavonoid glycosides, rutin, quercetin, organic acids, amino acids, phenolic acids, polyacetylenes, lignans, ascorbic acid, tannins,

Cautions Medium strength: contains thujone a neurotoxin with narcotic properties. Large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, restlessness, tremors, convulsions. Long term use may lead to liver and kidney damage. Not recommended during pregnancy, lactation, infants, or if kidney or liver damage is present.
Dosage Use in formulations (herbal combinations) up to 25% of formula. continuous use should not exceed two months.
Macerate in red wine or vermouth: 1 small teaspoon a day for a week
Or used as an aperitif small sips before or after meals to aid digestion

Tincture: 1-2ml dilute with water 1 oz before consuming.
Mix a formula with aromatics, do not add sugar or sweeteners

Tea: 3-5g (Very bitter) infuse

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September 17, 2014

DIY Aromatherapy Deodorant

Just combine 2 simple ingredients with your choice of essential oils and you have got an easy to make, inexpensive, effective, long lasting natural deodorant.

DIY Aromatherapy Deodorant Recipe

Mix together:

1 cup baking soda
1 Tablespoon of activated powdered charcoal or less

Add Essential oils of your choice:

Good combinations are

Vetiver, Tea tree,
Lavender, Patchouli,

Place in spice, salt or pepper jars or small squeeze top bottle.

After a shower powder underneath armpits.

Powder can also be used to combat foot odour in shoes, or placed anywhere else that needs freshening up.

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July 31, 2014

Ten Things NOT to Say to People Who Have Cancer

Ten Things NOT to Say to People Who Have Cancer

These are real actual things people have said to cancer patients.

1. Don’t ask cancer patients if they are going to lose their hair, it is upsetting and misguided. Cancer doesn’t make you lose your hair, chemotherapy does. There are many types of cancer, which are treated in different ways, and it doesn’t necessarily involve chemotherapy or hair loss.

2. Don’t blame a person for not going to the doctor sooner, and say it is their own fault for not looking after themselves. We live in a toxic society, illness happens to everyone. Illness is a defined human trait that no one escapes from, no matter how healthy we think we are and how often we go to the doctor.

3. Don’t blame a person for getting cancer because of their lifestyle habits. Some people who smoke get lung cancer, others don’t, but it is always unfairly assumed that they are smokers. While it is not a healthy habit it is still misguided to blame people at a time when they need the most compassion and understanding.

4. Don’t say that they have negative or bad karma, and that they must have done something bad, if not in this life, then in a past life. Saying to them that they must really be unbalanced and harbour dark energy is unhelpful, or that they must think really negative thoughts to get cancer and must be vengeful, or unforgiving.

5. Don’t tell them to just think happy thoughts because negativity will do more harm. People are allowed to feel what they want to feel. It is unhealthy to suppress emotions. Expressing all emotions is natural and therapeutic. Don’t placate and pretend everything is happy when clearly it isn’t, it’s ignoring the issue. Don’t deny people their feelings just because you can’t handle the upset.

6. Don’t tell them to keep it a secret or tell them not to tell anyone like it is something to be ashamed about. It is a personal matter whether someone wants to share their health issues or not. If they do share it with you, it means they need your support, understanding and empathy during a difficult time.

7. Don’t ask if it’s okay to smoke cigarettes around a person diagnosed with cancer while you light up a cigarette anyway. Or give excuses like it should be fine because you are by an open window, or wave your arms around and act like it is clearing the second-hand smoke. Minimizing toxicity during this critical time is paramount. This should be a no-brainer.

8. Don’t think that god quotes like “God only gives us what we can handle,” or “it’s just gods plan” are well meaning. It implies that you don’t have faith or are not spiritual if we question.

9. Don’t say they should pray if they are not religious or spiritual, it is misguided if they do not believe in the power of prayer. Although some people may find other people praying for them helpful not everybody does.

10. Don’t ask them to run or walk a marathon for a cancer charity event or to donate money towards cancer causes, unless it is their idea. Otherwise it preys upon people during a vulnerable time.

These prevalent attitudes and reactions to people with cancer in society may be well intended, but they really are a way for people to distance themselves from pain and illness. It is a misguided self-protective mechanism that is really mean-spirited and lacks empathy in a time when support and understanding are important. Blame blocks healing and isn’t helpful.

What would you want someone to say to you if it was you?

February 6, 2014

The Differences Between a Common Cold, Flu and Allergies

There are many subsets and variables of viral infections that play havoc with our system. The virus strains have an ability to adapt and evolve, which means that a vaccine cannot be made for the common cold.

A flu vaccine is produced using the influenza virus that causes the flu. Flu strains are predicted every year because the virus adapts and evolves into different strains and needs to be reformulated for the yearly vaccine. Getting a vaccine is not a guaranteed treatment prevention program. The vaccine is incubated in eggs, so avoid if an egg allergy is present.

Antibiotics only treat bacteria infections, not viruses or viral infections. Overuse abuse of antibiotics is leading to the production of “super-flu” strains, which is a major threat. Proper identification of whether you have a virus or bacterial infection is important for correct treatment.

Germs are spread by coughing, sneezing or hand to hand contact in close proximity and can live on surfaces for long periods of time waiting to be picked up. Frequent hand washing can cut risk along with breaking habits like touching your face a lot and biting your nails.
Read blog on DIY natural cleaning products that will kill 100% of germs – http://earthelixir.ca/2012/01/05/diy-natural-cleaning-products/

Invading forces trigger symptoms, which is the way our immune system fights off the germs. Mucus production traps infection, coughing and sneezing tries to expel them, and fever triggers healing mechanisms. Immunity plays a big role in our susceptibility and determines how well we fight off these foreign invaders. Everyone’s immune system is different and varies as much as the virus. Some people have autoimmune disorders and are more prone to getting sick, and others are just surrounded by lots of at risk groups like children. Children will typically get up to 9 colds a year and adults get 1-3; any more than this is a sign that your immune system needs extra help.

Strengthening the immune system requires all around proper nutrition, good quality sleep, sufficient exercise and successful stress management strategies.
Allergies will erode immunity and lead to autoimmune disorders, a myriad of other illnesses and possibly death, so it is important to eliminate allergens. The hard part is finding out what you are allergic to and then trying to stay away from it.

Both the cold and flu virus are more prominent in the winter time, or when people spend more time indoors with each other and is typically not a “season.” It was first thought that allergies were caused by nature, but it didn’t explain why people suffer from allergies in the winter time. Allergy season is typically spring and fall, but depends on specific allergens. Anyone can be allergic to anything, but it is all a sign the immune system and the body needs a boost. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Take time out to take extra care of yourself.

If a cold lasts longer than a week to ten days it is probably a bacterial infection like strep. If it lasts longer than a month it is more likely allergies.

SYMPTOMS

Common Cold
Caused by corona virus, adenovirus and subset variants

Upper respiratory
Runny nose, congestion, sore throat
Sometimes low grade fever
If a cold lasts longer than a week to ten days it is probably a bacteria infection like strep

Flu
Caused by influenza virus and subsets

More body aches, joint pain
Digestive disturbances especially in children diarrhea, vomiting
More lower respiratory ailments
Lung infections
Coughing, breathing problems, hacking
May lead to pneumonia and possibly death
Lasts longer

Allergies
If symptoms last any longer than a month then it is more likely allergies
Allergies present more itchy throat and eyes, sinus issues, congested or runny nose,
sometimes coughing

Essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, and other tree oils have typically been used to treat colds and kill germs that are even airborne. Herbs and essential oils work on so many levels that germs can’t easily adapt, and are still the best treatment and prevention.

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Article about how overuse and abuse of antibiotics is leading to superbugs

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bacteria-getting-upper-hand-in-antibiotics-arms-race-1.2555750

January 15, 2014

Winter Season in the Five Elements and Essential Oils

The Winter season is associated with the water element due to the abundance of water that falls in winter time that turns to snow and ice.  
The organ systems grouped in this season are the kidneys and bladder, which make up the urinary system wetlands.

The gland in this category are the adrenals, which sit on top of the kidneys on each side of the body. The adrenal glands secrete the hormone adrenaline, which is a necessary energy boost for the flight or fight body response when a threat is encountered.
The hypothalamus in the brain receives a danger warning or an event triggers stress and the effects on the body are instantaneous.

This reaction sends a chemical messenger which causes the hormone adrenaline, secreted by the adrenal medulla to release.
The eye pupils dilate, colour drains from the face as dry mouth and sweating begin.
The blood supply is cut off to organs like the stomach, which shuts down digestion functioning, and surface blood vessels constrict limiting blood supply. Muscle activity increases with heart and pulse rates so that it prepares the body to physically deal with danger or run away.

Sometimes the reaction is not to stay and fight or flee, but the body response becomes trapped in a frozen state of fear, which induces a paralysis that is incapacitating. Adrenaline is also produced in times of psychological stress, and if the production continues over long periods it has adverse effects on the body. If the body remains in a stressed state of being overexcited and remaining under pressure it causes stress related conditions like high blood pressure.

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The destructive emotion in the winter cycle is fear, which is a hard wired survival mechanism, but draining if it is engaged constantly. There are short term threats that engage our flight-fight-or freeze mechanisms, but long term stress, chronic fears and phobias puts strain on the body. The real and imagined dangers must be divided and applied to what constitutes a true threat. Fear is important to establish boundaries in order to learn what is good and bad, but rationality must meet clear perception and awareness.  

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The human time frame of winter is gestation and giving birth to babies, ideas and projects.  In the destructive winter water element stuck adults who act like babies are less cute than their tiny counterparts. They present a paranoid, fearful attitude and don’t know how to relax. They are unable to see how they affect others, because it is all about them and their needs. People in this rhythm need to feel nurtured and taken care of, even though they may be afraid of commitment and the future. Demanding special attention leads to a narcissistic expectancy, arrogance and a feeling of entitlement. They may play the victim to get their way and will do almost anything to attract the special attention they crave, even if it’s negative attention.

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It takes the constructive emotion of courage to overcome fear and paranoia. If wise discerning caution turns to excessive irrational fear, love and courage will counter it. Love is always the answer. Love will help to muster the courage to defeat fears that keep you stuck and stagnating. Use wise discerning caution instead of fear to establish boundaries and stay away from people that drain your resources. Gather your own resources and do your own groundwork. Rejuvenate and embrace down-time, and learn how to relax in the moment. This season is about beginnings so spread the seeds of your ideas and nurture dreams. Overcoming fears means recognizing and analyzing the reasons for your fears. Embrace whatever it is that scares you instead of denying, running away or avoiding, which will only amplify the fear. Fears need the light of day shone brightly at it in order to be examined, faced and dissolved.
Behaviour modification will help phobias to fears such as heights, spiders and snakes, showing anyone can overcome anything if they are willing to put in the work and have the courage to make a change to be free from fear.

ESSENTIAL OILS THAT HELP TREAT FEAR:
Juniper, Carrot Seed, Grapefruit, Goldenrod, Yarrow, Spruce, Pine

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“Fear can stop you loving, love can stop your fear,
fear can stop you loving, but it’s not always that clear.” ~
Morcheeba – “Fear and Love” Lyrics:

We always have a choice
Or at least I think we do
We can always use our voice
I thought this to be true
We can live in fear
Extend ourselves to love
Or we can fall below
Or lift ourselves above

Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear

I always try so hard
To share myself around
But now I’m closing up again
Drilling through the ground

Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear I’d love to give myself away

But I find it hard to trust
I’ve got no map to find my way
Amongst these clouds of dust
Fear can stop you loving Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving Love can stop your fear

“Fear And Love” was written
by Paul Godfrey, Ross Godfrey, Skye Edwards. Morcheeba – Fear And
Love Lyrics

December 3, 2013

DIY Natural Teeth Whitening Mouth Wash Recipe and Money Saving Dental Tips

When I moved awhile ago I had to change dentists.

When he looked at my teeth he exclaimed “You don’t have any cavities!” and asked how I was doing this. There is no secret really. I add essential oils to my natural teeth whitening mouthwash. I floss, brush after almost every meal, and I don’t use fluoride.

I always say no to the fluoride treatment at the dentist, and I always find it interesting what each dental hygienist will say about fluoride. Some say adults don’t need it, but I think if a child swallowed fluoride by accident they could possibly die over it. Why give something so poisonous? Hydrogen peroxide is safe and effective, and it whitens your teeth as a bonus. There is fluoride in municipal water systems, but why are we swallowing it when at the dentist you spit it out? Even the toothpaste with fluoride gets spit out unless some gets inadvertently swallowed, which can be harmful. No one should be ingesting fluoride and everyone should petition to remove it from the water system.

There is also no need to do x-rays every six months, which my dentist made me do growing up. All that needless x-ray exposure as a kid, it is criminal. Tooth decay doesn’t happen that fast. My dentist now said I had deep craters in my upper back teeth and he advised filling them to prevent cavities in the future because it is really hard to reach, so I did do that, WITHOUT needles. I have seen needle free dentistry anyway now, which is the way it should be. Porcelain fillings are a better choice than mercury, which they really shouldn’t be using because of toxicity.

I asked the dentist what percentage of hydrogen peroxide he used in his teeth whitening service and he said ten percent. It is very irritating to gums at that strength and that’s why they use trays to avoid contact with gums and only touch the teeth. I said I use 3% in a mouth wash formula, because it is less irritating at that strength and it is effective.

The dentist keeps saying to me that my knowledge is going to put him out of business. I don’t know about that, but here are some simple, natural, inexpensive, practical things to do for preventative dental health care.

Clove essential oil is invaluable to have on hand for good dental health and to treat any dental, gum
pain and discomfort.  Clove oil is best known for its pain-relieving eugenol constituent used to treat toothaches, sore
gums, mouth infections, and bad breath. Read more about clove oil – http://earthelixir.ca/2012/05/29/clove-essential-oil/

Hydrogen peroxide has many uses and it is a secret ingredient in many cleaning products and detergents. Hydrogen peroxide is made up of water and oxygen with the chemical symbol being (H202). Anytime you see the word “oxy” chances are hydrogen peroxide is the magical ingredient. I use hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening mouth wash, to disinfect cuts, clean produce, my toothbrush, earbuds, and all around general cleaning. Use it in the laundry to whiten and remove stains. It is really good at getting out tea and coffee stains on a white shirt. I put it in a spray bottle.
Buy food grade hydrogen peroxide that you dilute yourself from a health food store or seed sprouting garden store. The kind you buy in the drugstore to disinfect cuts is already diluted and contains binders, it isn’t food grade. Be very careful diluting it yourself, at full strength it can burn off warts. If any gets splashed on skin it will turn the skin white and burn until you wash it off. Be extra careful not to splash in eyes, wear glasses while diluting it.

Natural Teeth Whitening Mouth Wash Recipe

In a 100 ml bottle/ 1 drop of essential oil
Any size bottle will do
Use these measurements as a guide
Dilute hydrogen peroxide to 3% distilled water must be used to ensure no other mineral interactions.
hydrogen peroxide diluted with distilled water 1:11 (read diluting instructions on the bottle.)
Hydrogen peroxide has to be food grade for oral use.

Add 1-2 drops of essential oils.
I use peppermint or spearmint in the summer, because it is cooling, and cinnamon and clove in the winter, because it is warming.
Fennel and anise essential oil give a liquorice flavour.
Use essential oils with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide to make toothpaste for dental care. The essential oils not only add flavour to make it taste better, it adds antibacterial disinfectant germ fighting action and freshens breath.

Swish mouthwash around in mouth and rinse with water afterwards.
This mouthwash rinse also whitens teeth naturally along with its germ fighting action.
The more you use it and the more contact it has with your teeth the more action it will have.

An ancient Indian therapy: Oil pulling with coconut oil is good too if you don’t like to floss very much.

I am going to try turmeric spice mixed in a paste for teeth whitening too. It is ironic it stains everything else so use hydrogen peroxide or baking soda to clean sinks, toothbrush or hands if it gets stained.

Diet is also important and the worst thing for teeth is soda pop drinks and carbonated beverages. These drinks actually leach calcium from teeth and bones. A natural diet is recommended.

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December 2, 2013

Herbs for Hair Loss

Typically more men lose their hair, but it does affect some women although usually it is less severe. Although male pattern baldness is considered a genetic condition there are some herbs that are beneficial. These types of herbs work by preventing the conversion of the male sex hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a hormone that kills off hair follicles. The DHT hormone is a substance that also plays a roll in prostate enlargement in men. There seems to be a correlation with the kidney bladder prostate system and male hair loss so it would be beneficial to take herbs as a preventative method.
Synthetic testosterone is different than herbal versions and I would never recommend that kind of juicing to anyone.

Nutrition also plays a role and mineral deficiency is a prominent factor.
Nutrition is always important and it would be beneficial to add kelp, bladder wrack sea weeds in the diet or add beneficial supplementation like liquid trace minerals, liquid iodine.

Herbs for Hair Loss Prevention

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
This herb prevents the conversion of the hormone testosterone to DHT. It is a number one choice to take for treatment and prevention of benign prostate enlargement.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice also prevents the conversion of testoterone to DHT. Use either internal in a formula or external in a shampoo in a tea or tincture form.

Horsetail ( Equisetum spp.)
Horsetail contains silica which is important for hair and nail health and has other nutrients like silicon and selenium.

It is also beneficial to rub the scalp in small circular motions to increase blood flow circulation and stimulate the hair follicles with or without essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils may also be added to shampoo.

Essential oils for Hair Loss:
Cedar wood
Clary sage
Sage
Cypress
Rosemary
Marjarom
Spike lavender
Niaouli nerolidol

Carrier Oils
Coconut
Jojoba
Black currant oil
Borage oil

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November 8, 2013

Autumn, the Chinese Five Elements and Essential oils that Help Grief

The Chinese Five Elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine relates to the rhythms of nature and reflects natural cycles. Seasons, elements, colours, sounds, organs, glands and emotions fall into five categories. It is the basis of all natural health practices and many medical, philosophical and artistic themes fit in to it.

The autumn season in the five elements is related to the metal element, because of its enduring qualities.

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The constructive emotion for the rhythm of autumn is being reflective and pondering the past, which is necessary for learning lessons and figuring things out.
The destructive emotion of autumn is overbearing grief and sadness.
The sound that relieves the stress of grief and sadness is crying.
Being reflective for too long in the past will lead to grief and sadness.
The trees in autumn change brilliant colours before shedding their leaves, like a parade of tears that fall celebrating what once was.

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“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”~Washington Irving

Crying flushes unhealthy bacteria out of the body and strengthens the immune system while relieving stress. It is healthier to embrace the motion of emotions. To be moved profoundly and to feel the depths of our own well is to be quenched.

It is a natural process to mourn for lost loved ones, it is a measurement of love. It reminds us what really matters, and what is important to us. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve, but being reflective too long on the past and pining away upsets a balanced life. It is stress relieving to grieve, but when it interferes with life it becomes destructive. Grief may never go away and that is understandable, but it must not become an unhealthy attachment to death. The cycle must not get stuck and be crippling. Learn to flow with the tides.

To manage grief one must look at the bigger picture beyond the cycle of rebirth and death, and an acceptance mixed with a deeper understanding must be reached. Find gratitude and a sense of meaning by embracing the whole picture. One must rise and fall with the cycle of seasons, especially upon completion.
Bringing yourself back into the present moment helps to overcome grief, but only after it has been sifted through and cherished. Being sad upon reflection provides an honest look at ourselves and others. A kind understanding is helpful to gain insights in order to grow.

Be reflective without falling in to a perpetual grief pattern by learning to accept change. Let go of the past that does not serve you any purpose anymore. Live in the present moment and savour all the aspects of life. Learn to adapt to change and harness the hard lessons of letting go. Use wisdom to filter the good and bad, learn from it, make peace and move on. Dealing with death and the little deaths that happen ironically reminds us to appreciate life.

The organs systems that are impacted are the lungs and large intestine, which is part of the respiratory and digestive system.
Remember to breathe deep and eat healthy during tough times.

Essential oils to help alleviate grief:
Good partner combinations
basil and bergamot, frankincense and neroli, marjoram and lavender, eucalyptus and mandarin

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October 17, 2013

Sunroot or Sunchoke is a Nutritious Medicinal Root Vegetable

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Sunchokes Helianthus tuberosus L.are also called Jerusalem artichokes, but it has no relationship to Jerusalem and it is not an artichoke. The better known common names for this yellow flower are sunroot, sunchoke and earth apple.
Sunchoke is the modern common name used to avoid confusion with artichokes for cooking purposes, but it does have a mild artichoke flavour.

Sunchoke is a very tall prolific perennial plant that is native to North America, and has a long history of being used by Native Americans as a root vegetable. The sunchoke flowers belong to the same family as sunflowers, and the flowers follow the sun like sunflowers do. They like to grow wild and they need lots of space, because it likes to multiply. The stalks and leaves are rough and hairy. The roots are starchy tubers that look a little like ginger rhizomes, and are edible like a potato.

It was a popular plant to use to hide the outhouse or to put in front of other unsightly eyesores, as it creates a thick, tall hedge that requires no maintenance, unless overpopulation is an issue. Perhaps there is a warning in there somewhere among the yellow flowers.

Sunchoke is becoming popular food for thought again, but when consuming lots of sun chokes it may cause digestion disturbance in the form of …um… gaseous upset. It has earned the nickname “fartichokes.” Eat a little and see how well your digestion system tolerates it.

The edible tuber roots have a high inulin content, which is a type of soluble fibre. Inulin is a carbohydrate with sweet polysaccharides that is safe for diabetics, and it is pre-biotic. Containing the Pre-biotic (FOS) Fructo-Oligio-Saccharide means that it promotes healthy bacteria, which is beneficial for feeding healthy flora in the digestion system. It balances yeast and has a positive impact on overall health. It breaks down into fructose in the gut, but might be hard to digest for some people, and may cause cramping, bloating and excessive wind, especially when consumed in a large quantities. It relieves constipation.

It is best to wait until the first or second frost to harvest, and they are dug up until springtime, weather permitting of course, or buy them where you get fresh produce. Some people prefer the springtime to dig them up. They are available year round, but peak season is October-March.
It is also best to dead head the flowers if the roots are going to get dug up and eaten, they will grow bigger.
Store up to one to three weeks raw, but once cooked eat right away. Some people say they are better stored in the fridge for a week before eating.
They are a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, FOS and of course fibre, Inulin. It improves calcium absorption, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Sunchokes are good medicinal food, but eat sparingly at first.

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WAYS TO PREPARE SUNCHOKES

Sunchokes will oxidize like a potato so dip them in water with lemon juice or keep them in water until ready to use, because they will turn brown. Do not cook in aluminum or iron pans.
The skins are edible like ginger skin is, and when cooking it is best to leave the skins on and remove peels later if desired. Wash, scrub and remove rootlets or strings if any are present before cooking. Goes well with mint, onion, garlic, chives, thyme, cumin, black cumin, pepper, turmeric, rosemary, lemon citrus, lemon verbena, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

RAW
Eat Sunchokes raw topped on a salad or mixed in salsa, grated or thinly sliced and tastes like jicama. Try small amounts at first to see if your digestion can handle it this way. They can also be added to juicing recipes.
I wonder what it would be like thinly sliced and pickled like ginger.

STEAMED
Sun chokes are better steamed and not boiled, which will make them mushy. It does make good puréed soup mixed with nut or coconut milk.

SAUTÉ or STIR-FRY
They make a great water chestnut stir-fry substitute, they have a similar texture and taste.

BAKED
Oven bake them brushed with oil and herbal seasonings and bake for 20-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Bake with sweet potatoes and other root vegetables to make root chips.
I wonder what they would taste like flavoured and then put in the dehydrator and dehydrated overnight.

Food and Cooking (2004 edition), page 307, Harold McGee indicates that the flatulent effects of Sunchoke roots are due to complex fructose-based carbohydrates that are not digestible by humans.

Long, slow cooking allows enzymes present in the fresh tuber to convert these to fructose over time.

McGee recommends 12-24 hours at 200 F / 93 C.
The result will be soft and sweet, akin to a vegetable aspic.

Note that the ogliosacharrides in beans are a different class than the inulin in Sunchokes, and the digestive supplement Beano is not effective with sunchoke.

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http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34060/what-cooking-methods-prevent-the-gaseous-side-effect-of-sunchokes

September 22, 2013

Equinox, Solstice, Essential oils and the Five Elements

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In the Chinese Five elements the cycle of equinox and solstice rules the earth element, because it marks the times of transition in between the changing seasons. The transition time lasts two weeks before, and two weeks after the solstice or equinox. This is a separate time period that when calculated together makes up a season of its own. The change of season and transition times may leave us susceptible to getting colds and feeling rundown. Extra nutrition and rest help us through these tough transitional times.
Two weeks before the autumn equinox is when school is back and projects and routines rule. People start referring to it as the end of summer, and the change of season is upon us.
Any transition requires extra nourishment and rest. Taking care of yourself first will help, especially when you are taking care of others. It is like when you are flying in a plane. Turbulence strikes and the oxygen mask drops, and you have to put on your own mask first before you help others who need assistance with their masks.

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In the Chinese Five elements the destructive emotion is worry, while the constructive emotion is compassion. Compassion can involve legitimate concern, but when concern becomes overwhelming it can turn into mindless worry. Worry usually involves things that are beyond our control.
Stay compassionate instead of worrying and becoming apathetic by knowing your boundaries and limits. Avoid playing the morbid martyr by loving yourself and others unconditionally. It is important to stay grounded during times of transition. There are legitimate concerns and need to plan for the future, but don’t get overwhelmed by things out of your control. Bring yourself back to the present moment. Concentrate on being in the eye of the hurricane, the centre of the wheel in the tornado. Finding order within yourself while chaos is all around you takes quite a balancing act.
The sound that relieves the stress of worry is singing.
Singing alleviates worry and listening to music and dancing of course realigns us with our joy. Let the music speak for itself … don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright, and don’t worry be happy.

If you tend to worry too much make a special time period to focus on worries. Take at least fifteen minutes to write down and sort your worries in categories of what you can control, and what you can’t. Problem solve by writing down solutions, goals, and then take whatever steps necessary to alleviate worries.


The organ systems involved are the stomach, spleen.

The spleen organ is considered the nurse of the body, because it works with the immune system and makes antibodies, which are proteins that bind to foreign particles so that white blood cells can destroy it. It is one of the main filters of blood, and plays a major part in removing harmful bacteria and abnormal cells, and makes new blood cells.
During times of transition it is important to get extra rest and nutrition to help build immunity and soothe away stomach worry.

Essential oils to help alleviate worry:
Ginger and peppermint, coriander and lime, cinnamon and clove, palmarosa and orange

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