October 17, 2013

Sunroot or Sunchoke is a Nutritious Medicinal Root Vegetable


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.



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.

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.

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.

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

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.



September 22, 2013

Equinox, Solstice, Essential oils and the Five Elements


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.


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


September 16, 2013

The Amazing History of the Tobacco Plant

When I wild-crafted plants with shamans, they would give an offering of tobacco leaves and spread some in a circle around the plant that was being harvested. The grandmother of the plant, which was the tallest or oldest plant of the bunch, is always left alone to continue, and a smaller outer piece or plant cutting would be taken. The tobacco that was spread around the plant would act as a natural pesticide to help protect the plant from invaders, while being in a depleted state after harvesting. Nicotine is a powerful neurotoxin to insects, and tobacco is a member of the potent nightshade family. Burning tobacco was used to keep bugs away. I’ve used tobacco as a very effective insecticide for the garden, and I occasionally mix it with water, although use the pure plant and not the cigarette tobacco you buy in the store.

Tobacco in the plant world is used as a very effective pesticide. There really are no medicinal properties in tobacco as we now know it, but it was touted as a cure all for everything throughout the ages. It was probably more medicinal in its undried green form, because the fresh juice was used as a wound healer, and it was also used as a snuff for anesthetic purposes. It would often be mixed together with other herbs. It is known as a sacred herb in Native cultures, and is used in ceremonies and rituals.

In small doses Tobacco stimulates the brain and nervous system, but in larger doses it acts as a depressant. Nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure, so it is considered a stimulant and not a relaxant. It is the oral fixation and the habitual fulfillment that makes it seem relaxing, it is the worlds most popular placebo. It is the nicotine that makes tobacco addictive passing through every organ in the body and in the bloodstream, and has even been found in breast milk. The level of nicotine in cigarettes is on the rise.

Now most smokers don’t even know what the tobacco plant looks like. There are over 60 species of tobacco and other than Australia most are found in the Americas.

Virginia Gold Tobacco

Store bought cigarettes now contain many additives that are toxic, like added accelerants to make the cigarette burn faster. Years ago cigarettes would extinguish by themselves if you stopped smoking it for a period of time, which was good because a lot of people seem to fall asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette and end up burning down the house. Imagine how many fires would be prevented if cigarette companies just took the accelerants out and they leave them in just to earn more profits. The accelerants also make the cigarette burn hotter so that it penetrates your lungs more. Notice that cigars don’t keep burning, but will go out if you stop smoking it for a while, depending on what artificial additives it has.

There are so many additives it is not considered so natural anymore. These are a few of the 4,000 other ingredients in it other than tobacco. When they are burned they create 200 more lung damaging compounds. If you were to inject the same ingredients in one cigarette into the bloodstream it would possibly be fatal.

Ammonia: Household cleaner
Arsenic: Used in rat poisons
Benzene: Used in making dyes, synthetic rubber
Butane: Gas; used in lighter fluid
Carbon monoxide: Poisonous gas
Cadmium: Used in batteries
Cyanide: Deadly poison
DDT: A banned insecticide
Ethyl Furoate: Causes liver damage in animals
Lead: Poisonous in high doses
Formaldehyde: Used to preserve dead specimens
Methoprene: Insecticide
Megastigmatrienone: Chemical naturally found in grapefruit juice
Maltitol: Sweetener for diabetics
Napthalene: Ingredient in mothballs
Methyl isocyanate: Its accidental release killed 2000 people in Bhopal, India in 1984
Polonium: Cancer-causing radioactive element
Urea: component of urine used to flavour cigarettes
These are harmful and even fatal in the following ways:
Fungicides and pesticides — Cause many types of cancers and birth defects.
Cadmium — Linked to lung and prostate cancer.
Benzene — Linked to leukemia.
Formaldehyde — Linked to lung cancer.
Nickel — Causes increased susceptibility to lung infections.

The filters give people a false sense that the smoke is being filtered and it is less harmful. The marketing of ‘lite’ cigarettes also gave people a false sense that they were making a healthier choice. ‘Lite’ is puffed up with CO2, but this makes people draw harder on it so they receive the same amount as a regular cigarette. There are also air holes in the filters, but they get covered with lips and fingers anyway. Now ads are being forced to show the truth of what really happens to your body when you smoke cigarettes, and even this does not deter people.

Getting a real ingredient list was very difficult for a long time, because smoking was so glamorized by the media and movie stars even Ronald Reagan, the former American president endorsed them when he was an actor.

The amount of money he earned by making tobacco “cool” is unknown.

Tobacco, Nicotiana has killed more people than any other herb yet remains not only legal, but socially acceptable, while other medicinal smoking herbs are illegal and not socially acceptable.
Tobacco use related deaths are the most avoidable preventable death in the world.
Older smokers lose more grey matter and cognitive function than people who don’t smoke. Smokers are also more prone to illness, and may have to get their throat scraped out besides having other smoking related health problems.

Don’t let cigarette companies profit from your suffering or your loved ones deaths. If you are looking to quit smoking there are many natural ways and herbs that can help and break free from the habit.

Natural Ways to Quit:

Vaporizers are a better choice than cigarettes, at least to wean yourself down and hopefully kick the nicotine addiction, and it gets rid of plastic filter butt pollutants. It burns less hot so the combustible elements don’t scorch as much, and the second hand smoke is a little less than a cigarette.

Plants to the Rescue

Lobelia has very similar receptors to nicotine that quench that nicotine craving, and makes smoking taste bad if you are taking it. Lobelia works on the dopamine and nicotine receptors in the brain and helps with withdrawal symptoms.

Here is further reading on natural ways to stop smoking and heal your lung tissue.


The effects of smoking on the skin, smokers face became a coined medical term in 1985, because the negative effects on the skin were that noticeable.
Can you pick the smoker in these twins?






Addictions bring suffering and death- Buddha

September 13, 2013

13 the Natural Order of Time in the Mayan Calendar


Why does the number thirteen have such a negative superstitious connotation to it in todays society? Some societies and cultures see the number 13 as being lucky and having special significance.

Anyone who has studied the Mayan calendar has seen the recurring numbers 13 and 20.

The number13 is a very important time keeping natural number in The Maya culture.

The Mayan calendar consists of three main calendars that interlock like gear cogs in a wheel that spin different ways.


The Haab the civil calendar is the solar or sun calendar of 365 days in a year.
18 months of 20 days each for this cycle.

The divine calendar also known as the sacred round that means division of days to keep track of time to perform ceremonies and celebrations.
Each day is numbered 1-13 and then repeated. The cycle runs
260-day calendar of 20 periods of 13 days.
The day is also given a name or glyph for 20 days.
The Mayan counting system is done by 20’s instead of our 10 counting system.

The long count is used to track longer periods of time that is why it is called the universal cycle.
Each sun cycle has 2,880, 000 about 7758 solar days.


There are 13 tones and 20 glyphs in the Mayan Calendar, each number tone has a meaning and description for the day. The glyphs in the cycle of 20 days have names for each day. Find out what your Mayan name is in the Mayan dreamspell calendar with your free Mayan reading.


A piece of the Mayan Calendar in Coba ruins Mexico, Yucatan peninsula.

The Lunar calendar cycle of the moon is 13 full moons or moon cycles a year, so there should be 13 months instead of twelve months.That is why there is always a blue moon, or two moons in a month in the gregorian or Julian calendar year, which is the current ‘modern’ calendar system.

13 times 28 days in a month = equals 364, + plus one day celebrated out of time = equals 365 days in a year. The moon cycle which is 13 moons of 28 days matches the cycle of the tides. This is the natural time of a women’s cycle and it is a more accurate way to keep time than current calendar systems.

There are more calendars that track the cycle of Venus and Sirius that have survived but who knows what was destroyed during the bloody conquests from Conquistadors. Only three Maya codex books or codices have survived the intentional decimation.
If this is what has survived then the pattern may have been that they had a calendar for each of the stars and planets in our solar system. The oldest known astronomical observatory is in Chichen Itza Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula.


Other times the number thirteen appears in Mayan time keeping is
13 times 4 = equals 52 weeks in a year.
This is celebrated by having four men on top of a pole swing upside down on a rope circling 13 times symbolizing offerings for the year.

I took this picture in Mexico, near Tulum Mayan ruins of The ‘Voladores de Papantla’ who are Totonac Indians who performed this act. The voladores rite is a traditional act of worship performed to the haunting sounds of drums and a flute. This is one of the first sights seen by invading foreigners.

The numbers 13 and 20 show up a lot in the Mayan calendar, and their time keeping vibration is 13:20.

The Mayan calendar is a more accurate time keeping system than the current Gregorian or Julian calendar. Some cultures and beliefs fear the number 13 and consider it unlucky, especially on Friday the 13th, but for the Maya people it is a number that signifies the natural order of the universe.



September 13, 2013

The Dark History and Dangers of Coca-cola

Coca-cola the popular beverage drink used to be made with cocaine, which was considered a medicinal ingredient at the time. The cocaine was taken out around the turn of the century in 1903, but is still made up of decocanized coca leaves, which is the same plant that produces the illegal drug cocaine and is now referred to as coca extract. Other ingredients used to include the kola nut, a plant which has lots of caffeine and is where the name cola comes from for these popular types of drinks because it was used as a base. The Company claims they don’t use kola nut now, or can’t verify it because it claims it wants to keep the recipe secret, but there is still caffeine in Coke.
It also contains loads of sugar, which is high fructose corn syrup now and includes artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which have been linked to negative health effects. It now consists of phosphoric acid, high fructose corn syrup, caramel colour and other unknown ingredients may include pesticides.

Coca leaves are a native plant to Peru where the leaves are chewed medicinally or taken in a tea to relieve altitude sickness. The leaves have to be chemically altered to get cocaine the illegal drug stimulant. The coca leaves get shipped to an American company Stepan to be “treated” and the decocanized residue is sold to Coca-cola, but what does this company do with the cocaine part they take out? It used to go to the medical industry, which at one point considered it medicine, but where does the coke end up now?

There are many reasons to NOT drink Coke. It robs the bones of minerals and causes bone loss. A link has clearly been shown that it affects women more and causes oesteoarthritis. The acidity causes tooth decay and other health problems.
Read more about the negative consequences of drinking a coke. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/22/what-happens-to-our-body-after-drinking-coca-cola/

The alleged pesticide use by this company in other countries like India have contaminated environments, the drink itself, and has led to water shortages, stealing much needed water from farmers. Coca-cola has had questionable labour practices including suppression of trade unions, monopolistic business practices, violation of intellectual property rights, poor environmental track record, and questionable marketing. The long, dark and controversial history of The Coca-cola company has been tied to Nazism, Eugenics, laundering and bribery and is too extensive to list, but further reading can be found here.



Coca-cola also funnelled money through the Grocery Manufacturing Association GMA to block initiatives for GMO labelling. Other brand names owned by the Coca-cola company are Powerade, Vitamin, Simply orange, Odwalla, Zico coconut water, Honest tea. There is a campaign to boycott Coke and these brands due to their secretive funding and anti GMO labelling stance. It’s very clear this company uses GMO’s and is doing everything they can to not let the consumer know.
Please join, share, sign the petition and boycott http://www.cokeboycott.com

Other questionable and controversial ingredients in coca cola-




The Coca-cola Santa Claus image of a bearded guy with a red and white furry suit that is now the popular representation of Santa comes from an image of a Siberian shaman.




Other Coke subliminal ad messages were more overt. This Coke advertisement “Feel the Curves” was made in 1995 and Coke had to recall the ad costing them over 200, 000 dollars because the shadow shapes on the ice cubes contained images of oral sex. Subliminal advertisement is now less overt than this blatant attempt, but it was a popular technique to airbrush sex and death wish images in silhouette shapes onto ice cubes and various other places in the ad, like how images were shadowed on the musculature of the body in the popular Levi’s jeans ads in the 80’s State of Mind.

Ultimately the choice is up to you, but buyer beware of what comes along with your purchase.



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September 12, 2013

The History of Chewing Gum

A Mayan shaman asked me if I knew what these hard slates of brownish gum resin were in a small baggie. I knew it was plant
material but wasn’t sure what it was. It turned out to be chicle the original natural source of chewing gum.
Chicle is a latex gum rubber that is collected from the Manilkara species of tropical evergreen trees in Mexico, and grows down to Colombia. The gum is like a milky latex that is collected from zig zag cuts on the tree trunks that run down to the base, and then are boiled to the right consistency to use as a gum base.
The word chicle is where the name for Chiclets gum came from. Chiclets were the first gum to have a candy coated shell. Sugarless varieties now contain toxic dyes and chemicals. Original versions used natural flavours like peppermint and spearmint. Essential oils are considered natural flavours, but usually cheaper quality synthetic versions are now used in the food industry. I was told chicle came from a maya word meaning to chew.

The shaman was surprised to know that I had seen how chiclets were made, but yet didn’t know and was not told about the chicle. The chicle is mixed with so much stuff that it doesn’t resemble the original brown colour anymore, it gets turned to light beige. Most companies do not use the natural source anymore opting for a cheaper synthetic alternative. The only U.S. company that hasn’t replaced the chicle with a disgusting artificial plastic substitute is Glee gum.
The older versions were completely natural and used as medicine besides being a breath freshener. Many resins were chewed like gum such as frankincense and myrrh along with rubbers for mouth and gum ailments.

The new plastic artificial gum is toxic to people, birds and wildlife and remains a serious environmental pollutant. With people spitting it out everywhere this sticky substance has become a bit more than a nuisance, it is impossible to clean up and it is a dangerous hazard leading some countries to ban it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicle Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

Modern gum has no medicinal qualities anymore, in fact it is quite the opposite. With the added artificial sweeteners and plasticizers, it is making gum toxic. I don’t chew gum anymore and if you saw how it was made you probably wouldn’t either. If you do choose to chew gum please dispose of it properly and do not litter and leave it to hurt wildlife.

Who knows what the lifespan of fake gum is? It just doesn’t biodegrade.
It’s time to BAN GUM.

This is how long the natural stuff can stick around…

9,000 Year Old Chewing Gum found in Sweden. A 9,000-year-old piece of chewing gum, still bearing the teeth marks of a Stone-Age adolescent, was unearthed in Sweden. A testament to mankind’s deep-seated need to gnaw on flavored rubber. If its anything like its modern cousins, the blob of honey-sweetened resin probably lost its taste 8,999 years, 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes ago. The lump of birch bark tar dates back to Neolithic times and comes complete with Stone Age tooth prints. Sarah Pickin, 23, was among five British students volunteering at the Kierikki Stone Age Centre in Finland when she found the tiny, ancient blob. ‘I was delighted to find the gum and was very excited to learn more about the history,’ she said. Neolithic people are thought to have chewed the bark tar to heal mouth infections – and also used it to glue broken pots together. The tree tar contains phenols which have antiseptic properties, explained Prof Trevor Brown, who is Miss Pickin’s tutor at the University of Derby. The gum is to go on display at the centre in Finland.


Ec8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=5768%2C4802911 Source:


Picture of 9,000 year old chewing gum
Common modern chewing gum ingredients that may cause cancer


August 29, 2013

Meridians Are Proven Physical Pathways

I had a shiatsu treatment for my neck injury. If you have read the blog on comparing natural health therapies you know that Shiatsu is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine http://earthelixir.ca/2011/10/25/natural-health-therapies/

Shiatsu is acupressure without the needles of acupuncture, but uses the hands instead to follow the same meridian energy pathways. The meridians are really one long energy highway that moves through the twelve organ systems, and have now been detected by modern technology.
Recent CT scans show acupuncture points just like ancient maps show.
Radioactive isotopes have been injected in acupuncture points that show threadlike tubules 0.5-1.5 microns in diameter and matched ancient meridian maps.
These meridian transmissions of light have also shown up in infrared photography as “hot spots” that match the acupuncture points on the meridians.

There are two other meridians that zip up the centre line of the body, front and back. They open more out to the environment than the deeper running meridians that travel through muscle and organ groups. The organ/ meridian systems are paired in the Philosophy of the Chinese Five Elements to show the dynamic connected relationships in the body.

The meridian system is like an “energy bloodstream” and the pressure points or “hot spots” are tiny reservoirs of electromagnetic energy. Science states that everything is made up of energy including us. The body has several energy systems mapped by ancient sages that is recognized in cultures from around the world. The body is electromagnetic in nature. The heart system runs on an electric current system. The body is magnetic just like the magnetic properties shown in animals to help navigate, migrate and connect with the earth.
These electromagnetic points are stimulated with hands, fingers, elbows or needles to release and balance the flow of energy while giving the immune system a boost. The immune reaction induces self healing mechanisms while relieving congestion and blocks that cause pain.

To balance your meridians you can learn to trace your own meridians and hold, tap and massage pressure points or get an acupuncture or acupressure shiatsu massage to help heal any ailment.

I have tried a lot of different massage therapies after my car accidents and I have found shiatsu to be the best at relieving pain. Skeptics are entitled to their opinion after they have tried it for themselves. Shiatsu is an ancient massage therapy that has a lot of empirical and documented evidence. Massage therapies have been proven to give benefits to many ailments and acupressure shouldn’t be considered any different.
Having been trained as an aromatherapy masseuse myself I can attest to the wonderful techniques of shiatsu, but I also enjoy learning various other massage techniques from around the world. I find all massage techniques really beneficial along with the healing power of touch. While other massages are mostly skin contact shiatsu is done through a sheet or in comfortable fitting clothes if you prefer not to have skin on skin contact. The choice is ultimately up to you all I can do is give you my experience and research on it. I wish you much healing on your journey.

  • 20130829-163653.jpg


    New CT scans reveal acupuncture points


    A writers Journal, H.D. Thoreau, Lawrence Stapleton Ed. New York, Dover 1960

    Vibrational Medicine, Richard Gerber rev.ed. Santa Fe, N. Mex. Bear 1996

    Subtle Energies, William Collinge, New York, Warner brothers, 1998

    Cross Currents: The promise of electro medicine, the perils of electro pollution, Robert O. Becker, Los Angeles: Tharcher 1990

    Energy medicine, Donna Eden

    Displaying of the infrared radiant track long meridians in the back of the human body, P. Wang X. Hu, B. Wu, Chen Tzu yen Chiu acupuncture research

    The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher Lewis Thomas rev. ed. New york, penguin 1995

    Dynamical Energy Systems and Modern Physics in Alternative Therapies May 1997,3 (3), 46-56

    Alternative and complementary therapies, alternative therapies in clinical practice, alternative therapies in health and medicine, American journal of natural medicine, journal of alternative and complementary medicines.

    August 22, 2013

    Birch and Wintergreen Essential Oil Have Almost Identical Chemistry

    P. Wintergreen, may4 '03

    Birch and Wintergreen essential oil have 98% the same chemistry and smell almost identical, but wintergreen has a stronger aroma being more fruity, fresher, greener, and sweeter smelling. What makes them chemically the same is that they share a key ingredient called methyl salicylate, and they are the heaviest essential oils known to date. Each plant is 98% esters, which turn into methyl salicylate after acetylation from the fermented fresh leaves in warm water induces an enzymatic reaction to free the glycoside bound methyl salicylate.

    Wintergreen was traditionally used for its key ingredient methyl salicylate, which was used as food flavouring for confections, non-alcoholic drinks, chewing gum, and toothpaste. It has also been used by the perfume and pharmaceutical industry but is now replaced by a cheaper synthetic alternative. It has a long history of use by Native Americans as a pain reliever and it is used in the form of teas, baths, and ointments. Methyl salicylates are aspirin like compounds.

    Wintergreen grows in open woods, moist soil and underneath evergreens. The creeping stems send up erect branches 2-6 inches high. Alternate oval leathery leaves with serrate margins hold nodding white waxy flowers near the top of the stem. It blooms anywhere from May to September. Gaultheria fragrantissima from the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and East Asia is a different species but it is used in the same way and has the same chemistry too.

    COMMON NAME WINTERGREEN aka Checkerberry, Spiceberry, Teaberry


    Latin Name Gaultheria procumbens
    Family Ericaceae (Heath family)
    Country of Origin Native North America, China, India
    Volatility Top
    Extraction Steam distilled from fermented fresh leaves. Warm water enzymatic reaction frees glycoside bound methyl salicylate


    Colour Clear yellow
    Aroma Sweet, fat, green, fruity, wet


    Caution Contraindications Medium Strength: Do not use neat, undiluted.Dermocaustic, irritating to skin.

    Anticoagulant. Caution in conjunction with blood thinning drugs

    Do not use with nephritis, it is an irritant to kidneys.

    Do not use with compromised liver function.

    Do not use in pregnancy, lactation, with children or those who are allergic to aspirin.

    Primary Uses Pain: in general-Headache, aches and pains, arthritis, rheumatism, backache, sciatica, neuralgia, gout, fever, fibromyalgia, sprains, cramps, gas, bloating, bunions, corns, cysts, warts, calluses

    Caution: blood thinner

    Respiratory: coughs, spasms

    Properties Analgesic, aromatic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, astringent, stimulant, antibacterial, anti-rheumatic, carminative, haemostatic, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, counter irritant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-coagulant



    Constituents Essential Oil Yield: .5%

    Esters 98%:

    after acetylating forms-

    methyl salicylate

    Betula spp. L. Birch bark has the same chemistry

    August 21, 2013

    Goldenrod is Falsely Blamed for Allergies

    Many people blame goldenrod for their allergies and dread seeing the tall golden plumage bloom in late summer, but goldenrod is not wind pollinated. It is hard to be allergic to goldenrod unless it is an allergy from touching the plant. Most people that blame goldenrod for their allergies are really allergic to ragweed. It blooms at the same time, but is smaller and has unnoticeable greenish flowers that are wind pollinated and often grows underneath or near goldenrod.


    Goldenrod is one of the best urinary tonics and is useful in those conditions that require a diuretic, like water retention, edema, congestion, inflammation and infection of the urinary tract and gout rheumatic conditions. There are over 30 species in Ontario and other hybrids sub-species but all of them are used in the same way. Goldenrod is native to Canada and the Solidago canadensis is the standard herb of use. Flowers were also used to make a yellow dye as well as herbal medicinal use as a tea or tincture in which case the fresh is superior to the dried versions. There is goldenrod essential oil as well used for the same purposes and helps reduce water retention and swelling externally.

    Common Name  Goldenrod herb
    Latin Name  Solidago canadensis spp.
    Family Asteraceae
    Parts Used Perennial- pick top 30% herb/ flower-late summer August
    Target Organs urinary, skin, lymph, immune, digestion
    Common Uses kidney bladder prostate tonic, infections, gout, oedema, external wounds, vascular tonic, UTI, kidney stones, inflammation infection of urinary tract, upper respiratory catarrh, gargle, laryngitis
    Properties urinary kidney prostate tonic, diuretic, astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant, vulnerary, Antifungal, styptic, lymphatic, anticatarrhal, diaphoretic
    Constituents Essential Oil, flavonoids, tannins, bitter, saponins
    Cautions mild remedy do not take during pregnancy. Use in formulations of up to 20% continuous use of no more than 2-3 months
    Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml Tea: 2-3 tsp 10-15 min fresh is preferred
    August 20, 2013

    Elecampane Beautiful Garden Flower with Medicinal Roots

    imageElecampane is a tall perennial that grows over four feet tall and has cheery golden yellow sunflower like flowers, but elecampane has thinner floret petals with fringe tips.

    The Latin name is Inula helenium with the species name Helen stemming from Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. Elecampane flowers are really that stunning and it did launch a thousand ships when it was brought to North America from Europe. It likes to grow in full sun in open moist meadows. The plant is best propagated by root division spacing four or feet apart because they have huge course leaves.

    The genus name Inula refers to the inulin content found in almost half of the plant, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels as a fibre and regulates the immune system which is good for autoimmune disorders. Inulin is a fibre but should only be used in whole form, attached to the whole plant root it is soluble starch fibre. The whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Whenever plant parts are removed the outcome and quality are always compromised.

    The root is used in herbal medicine for coughs, colds and parasites mainly but it is a good restorative and tonic for chronic fatigue and infections. It benefits the hypothalamus, and is a thymus, spleen, endocrine tonic that has digestive, respiratory and immune stimulating properties that make it good to combat infections, especially of the respiratory, digestive tract or in cases of parasitic, worm infections or food poisoning. The root was popular candied and to make ale or beer drinks out of, but even then the candied root tastes bitter and pungent. The bitter quality helps to stimulate the body through reflex reactions of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

    Common Name Elecampane root
    Latin Name Inula helenium
    Family Asteraceae
    Parts Used Perennial- harvest second year or older root in the Fall
    Target Organs immune, endocrine, digestion, respiratory, stomach, pancreas, spleen, uterus, nerves, liver, kidney/ bladder
    Common Uses endocrine restorative, spleen thymus tonic, immune stimulant, infections, coughs, colds, catarrh, bronchitis, UTI, digestive, parasites, worms, stomach upset, food poisoning, fatigue, allergies,diabetes,
    Properties digestive immune respiratory stimulant, antimicrobial, demulcent, expectorant, anti-tussive, stomachic, astringent, demulcent, bitter tonic, warming, drying, anti-allergenic
    Constituents 40% inulin,E.O: camphor, sesquiterpenes lactones; mucilage, triterpenes, bitter resin, alkaloid, helinin, sterols, calcium, magnesium
    Cautions mild remedy: combine with demulcents for dry coughs. Do not use during pregnancy it is a uterine stimulant.
    Dosage Tincture: 2-4mlTea: 2-3 tsp steep 10-15 min



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