compiled by Dee Finney
|12-18-05 - DREAM - I was living at my 16th St. house.
It was early morning and I was getting ready for school.
I was talking on the phone to a long distance friend when a girl from school came over to walk with me to school.
I made sure I had my wallet and keys in my big purse and chose to take the brown purse rather than the larger black purse. . As we left the house, we left a night light on for my Mother for when she came home from the hospital. (She died June 21, 2005)
We started walking to school, making comments on how nice the neighborhood was getting over time as we walked up Wright St. towards 20th St. where the elementary school was.
When we got to 20th St., we had to go left and we got into a black car and drove the rest of the way to school. (About 1 more block)
When we went into the school on 20th St., the classrooms weren't set up like normal, they were more like labs with small tables.
On one table was a narrow file drawer with envelopes lined up inside. Inside the envelopes were series of photographs someone took. I decided to look at the photographs.
The first envelope had a series of photographs of a tropical hurricane as it got stronger and stronger and created more and more damage to a small palm tree.
The second envelope had photos of a man being dressed in a Halloween type costume that was very realistic, including fur and they made him look like a cat. The man lay on the floor then, and someone set him on fire.
I didn't want to believe they would actually set this man on fire to take his photo.
The third envelope was of another storm. I don't know if it was a hurricane. The landscape looked more like the mid-west somewhere and the series of photos showed one spot with more and more damage as the storm photos continued.
There was a whole line of these envelopes and I decided I didn't need to see more of this negative horror photo stuff today.
We went into another lab class where people had been gambling all night and had left their mess for us to clean up.
There were red and green flowered quilts mounded on top of these tables and we were told to pick up any loose nickels and dimes ad quarters left behind on top of the quilts.
I dropped the coins from the table I was cleaning into a blue pouch bag that was in my purse.
Then I noticed that the man who had been using the table I was cleaning had left behind his notebooks that he had been writing in.
Two of the notebooks had lists of names of his personal contacts. The next one was some kind of writing and I saw a word highlighted 'ETHOS'.
Definitions of ethos on the Web:
The last notebook, was bright green and when I opened it up, I saw it was entirely handwritten - a compilation of herbal cures for every imaginable disease that could hit mankind.
|IF YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR OWN : SOME TIPS
It's most important to always harvest herbs at the time that the particular plant segment you're after is at the peak of its medicinal power. Here are the general guidelines you should follow:
Leaves and stems: Pick these parts before the plant flowers. Do it in the morning after the dew has dried but before the sun has a chance to evaporate any of the plant's oils. (During our western North Carolina summers, that's usually around 10:00 A.M.)
Flowers: Harvest them before they reach full bloom and at the same time of morning as you'd gather leaves and stems.
Fruits and berries: Gather them at peak ripeness.
Roots and rhizomes: Dig these in the fall as the leaves start to change color, just after the plants' sap has returned to the ground.
Barks and twigs: Collect them in the spring as the first leaves appear and the plants' sap is rising.
A lot of herbs won't need washing, especially if they're organically grown and are not dirty. (Roots, of course, should be carefully washed.) If you're going to use just the leaves, hang the whole plant upside down in a dry, shady, well-ventilated place. If you're using roots, barks, or stems, chop the pieces thinly and place them on screens so they'll get plenty of air. Roots that don't contain volatile oils can go in a solar drier or in direct sunlight; however, those with volatile oils must be dried out of the sun.
In my house, I dry with the gas oven—using the racks already there and leaving just the pilot light on and the door partly open—and in my bathroom. The bathroom has a huge skylight and heats up quickly, so I place the herbs on long, screened racks on top of the bathtub, and I crack the skylight. Either way, most herbs take three or four days to dry fully (a few will get done in less time).
Herbs should be bottled immediately after drying, to prevent any loss of medicinal essences. To keep volatile oils from escaping, use glass, not plastic, containers with tightfitting lids. (The more I use herbs for healing, the more convinced I become that such care is truly necessary. That's another reason to grow your own: to ensure that they're properly harvested, dried, and stored.) Store your herbs in a spot that's away from direct sunlight and intense heat.
Now, you're all set . . . except for one thing: Which herbs do you want on your shelf? I'll share my seven favorites here-the ones that I use the most, that have been easiest for me to grow, and that I can no longer even imagine being without.
If I could grow only one medicinal herb, comdrey (Symphytum officinale) would be it. Both the leaves and, roots have numerous uses. Comfrey can be used internally or externally, and it's so easy to grow that many gardeners regard it as a pest!
This herb is a vulnerary, which means it helps wounds heal by encouraging cell growth and repair. I've used it on everything from surface wounds to—taken internally—hernias. After I tore my perineum during childbirth, I made a poultice of steamed comfrey leaves and set it on the tear. I have friends who wrap lightly steamed leaves in gauze and wrap that bandage around burned areas. (Keep burn dressings moist and regularly changed.) I even use it on bee stings: Just chew up part of a leaf—the masticating and the saliva will help activate the plant's healing enzymes—and put it on the affected area of the skin.
To take comfrey internally, you can make a hot tea (heat approximately one ounce of leaves in a pint of water) or "green juice." For the latter, mix four to five young leaves in a blender with pineapple juice until you get a deep green concoction; then swig it down. I drank a blenderful a day of green juice when I wanted to heal my perineum. (Remember, though, to imbibe comfrey drinks only for medicinal purposes. Extensive drinking may lead to esophageal or stomach cancer.)
Comfrey is also a demulcent (it soothes damaged or inflamed tissues, such as ulcers). Furthermore, a strong tea made from the roots can serve as an anticatarrhal (something that helps eliminate or prevent the accumulation of mucus) . . . can soothe asthma, whooping cough, and other lung ailments . . . and can help stop hemorrhaging.
While you can grow comfrey from seed or mail-ordered nursery plants, it takes little effort and no expense to propagate it by root division. Just cut a clump of roots from a neighbor's plant, and transplant it. Comfrey grows well in sun or shade, although it does prefer a moist area. Don't raise it in the middle of your garden, and never rototill it—it'll spread so much it may take over!
This is definitely my second favorite healing herb. It's the best herbal blood purifier (it cleans out toxins in the blood), is an excellent antibiotic (it fights infections), and is a good stimulant (it increases body energy). I use it mostly as a general antibiotic whenever I have an infection and when I need to fight colds, sore throats, and flu germs.
Use the root of the plant. Many herbalists make a strong tea from some ground root (one source suggests steeping a teaspoon of dried root to one cup of water) and drink it as often as necessary to relieve their symptoms. I like to store my echinacea in tincture form (a concentrated mixture of alcohol and herb). Then if I feel a cold coming on, I take one-half dropperful (about one-sixteenth of a teaspoon) as needed to rid myself of the cold before it becomes a problem. In acute stages, I'll take a half dropperful eveiy two hours for two days and then twice a day for two weeks. The only times it hasn't worked for me have been when I've failed to take enough doses. (Echinacea has no known toxicity level, although if you take a lot, you may experience slight dizziness or nausea.)
Echinacea is sold by many seed companies as a flower. (It's sometimes called purple coneflower or black sampson.) In my experience, it doesn't grow readily from seed. It's easier to buy plants. You can grow either Echinacea purpurea or E. angustifolia, although I've heard the latter has greater medicinal properties.
This herb is a remedy for almost anything! Garlic's an antibiotic, a blood purifier, an antiseptic (something applied to the skin to prevent bacterial growth), an expectorant (it
helps expel mucus from the lungs and throat), a stimulant, a diaphoretic (it induces sweating), an antispasmodic, a nervine (calms nervous tension), a carminative (relieves gas and bowel pains), and a vulnerary. It can even destroy parasites in the digestive tract . . . help heal lung ailments . . . and counter both high and low blood pressure.
Don't boil garlic or it will lose its medicinal properties. Using it fresh is best. I simply munch on a clove when I want to avoid a cold. (Admittedly, this remedy does make my husband, Walker, tend to avoid me!) You can eat a clove a day to help lower high blood pressure. And when I need an expectorant, I crush cloves in just a bit of water . . . simmer the liquid gently to make steam . . . and put my nose-under a towel "tent"-over the vapors.
I've recently discovered Michael Tierra's recipe for garlic oil-it's in his book, The Way of Herbs (Pocketbooks, 1983). To make this healing liquid, put eight ounces of peeled and minced garlic, and enough olive oil to cover the herb, in a wide-mouthed jar. Close the jar tightly, put it in a warm place, and shake
it several times a day for three days. Then press and strain the oil through unbleached muslin or cotton cloth . . . and store it in a cool place. Take one teaspoon of oil a day for colds, flus, fevers, and infectious diseases. For earaches, insert a few drops into the affected ear with a wad of cotton. And rub the oil directly onto the skin to ease aches and sprains.
Garlic is easy to grow, but-at least here in North Carolina-it takes almost a full year to mature. We plant ours before the ground freezes-anytime in August or September. We sow the biggest and best of our stockpiled cloves (growing-tip up, two inches deep and six inches apart) in raised, double-dug beds. (We also compact the soil just a tad with a board right before we plant. All alliumsgarlic's botanical name is Allium sativum like that.)
Garlic prefers a sunny, sandy, moist location. The green tips start to die back and turn brown sometime in July. Harvest the cloves when that happens or they'll begin to rot or to send forth lots of little buds from the ground, which will weaken the parent plant. Dry the bulbs out of direct sunlight on racks where they get adequate ventilation.
According to Michael Tierra, angelica (Angelica archangelica) improves the circulation and thus warms the body, so it's one of the best herbs to use if you tend to feel cold in winter. In addition, angelica relieves spasms and gas in the stomach and intestines (which makes it a carminative). It's also beneficial for coughs, colds, pleurisy, and all lung diseases. Those who drink more alcohol than they should will find that a regular intake of angelica creates a distaste for drinking. Last, Alan Chadwick (the founder of biodynamic/ French intensive gardening) recommended angelica tea as an excellent herb for mental uplift.
On the other hand, angelica is a strong emmenagogue (it promotes menstruation), so it should not be used by pregnant women. And since it tends to increase the sugar level in the bloodstream, diabetics should not take it, either.
I often use the angelica root in tincture form (remember, I'll tell you all about making tinctures next issue) to help stengthen my lungs and improve my mental faculties. You can make an infusion (a tea made by steeping, not boiling) of angelica by pouring a pint of boiling water over one ounce of bruised root. (Make any infusion in a tightly closed, nonmetallic container, letting it steep for ten to
twenty minutes.) Take two tablespoons of that, three to four times a day, to relieve gas. Alternatively, you can drink the tea for several days when your heart, lungs, skin, stomach, or intestines could use a tonic. Or you can make a poultice of leaves to help relieve rheumatism.
I enjoy watching the foliage and flowers on this plant as it grows. It's best to watch it carefully, though, because once it does flower and start to set seed, the root will begin to rot, so you must harvest it quickly.
You can keep an angelica plant in your garden for several years by cutting back the flower stalks. Or you can let it mature and selfseed, and then transplant the little babies if necessary. This is easier than starting angelica seeds, because they're viable for only a short period. If you want to sow your own plants' seeds, do it almost immediately after harvesting. The seeds need light to germinate, so press them gently into the earth but don't cover them. Angelica loves a rich, moist soil and a spot that provides a little shade. Incidentally, this plant attracts a lot of beneficial predatory insects to your garden.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is my favorite sedative. I make a tincture from the root and feed it to my little boy whenever he's hyperactive, or when he can't sleep because of a cold. It works quickly. I like to drink valerian tea to help me relax during my menstrual period. (Don't boil the root when making a tea—make an infusion instead.) It really helps promote sleep and lessen pain.
I was unaware that valerian has antispasmodic properties until someone mentioned them to me. Shortly after, they were put to the test. I had a friend who had such severe muscle spasms that he wanted to go to an emergency room. When he started taking some valerian tincture, his pain subsided almost immediately.
I also worked several months with a gardener who had epilepsy. He used some of my valerian tincture . . . and during the entire time I worked with him, I never saw him have a seizure. After that, I read in Mrs. M. Grieve's A Modern Herbal (Dover, 1971) that valerian is, indeed, used as an anticonvulsant. She also says it strengthens eyesight, especially when vision has been weakened by the optic nerve's lack of energy.
A couple of words of caution: Very rarely, valerian will stimulate—not soothe—someone, in which case that person's enzymes are not changing the herb's essential oil into valerianic acid (which has the calming effect). In addition, I read in The Rodale Herb Book (Rodale, 1974) that if taken too frequently or in excess, valerian can cause "headaches, spasmodic movements, or hallucinations." (I've never experienced any of those problems, though.)
I've had no difficulty growing valerian from seed, and after the first year that it flowers, there are plenty of easy-to-transplant little seedlings within wind range. If you do have trouble starting valerian from seed, find someone who has some plants. They'll most likely either have extra seedlings or need to divide their main plants (this should be done every third year). If need be, you can order one plant, let it grow, and transplant its selfsown seedlings.
Valerian plants do best when spaced about 15 inches apart. They are perennial, so plan to replace the ones you dig up for their roots. The herb should do well in all soils but prefers a rich, loamy seedbed.
This is a wonderfully delicate, almost applescented plant—one I delight in growing. I'll be describing German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), the annual. This grows taller, flowers more, and spreads more easily than Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), a lowgrowing perennial. Both share similar medicinal properties, though.
Many people know of chamomile as a sedative and nervine—a tea to drink when you're restless or upset. It can help the insomniac face the night, it relieves pain, and it's a safe treatment for children's colds, nervous disorders, and indigestion. (My little one doesn't ever resist drinking this tea, since Peter Rabbit drank it when he got sick.)
You can make chamomile tea by steeping one-quarter ounce of flowers in a pint of boiled water for ten minutes. I prefer the stronger effect derived from using one ounce of chamomile pet pint of water. (You can make a tincture of it, as well.) The flowers are the only part of the plant you use. Externally, you can apply a hot compress (by soaking a cloth in the tea) to sore joints and muscles and other aches and swellings.
Chamomile tea can also be used to relieve menstrual cramps. It should not be drunk by any pregnant woman, as it it often used to induce menstruation. (It's certainly not as strong an emmenagogue as angelica, pennyroyal, black cohosh, or tansy, but you should take no chances.)
Chamomile isn't difficult to grow. As a matter of fact, ours continually self-sows and comes up in the pathways between our beds. The simplest way to establish plants is to gently press the seeds into the soil (they need light in order to germinate) after all danger of frost is past . . . leaving about four to five inches between each one. The seeds will probably not be viable unless they're subjected to an annual freezing and thawing cycle (which happens in our garden).
Once the plants flower, harvest a large number of blooms, but allow some to set seed. Blooms can be somewhat tedious to harvest, although I've learned to speed up the process and eliminate any cleaning by just pinching the flowers off between my nails into a very clean basket.
Calendula officinalis (also known as pot marigold) doesn't get the recognition it deserves. As with chamomile, you use only the flower heads. Calendula is an antiseptic and a vulnerary, and it's also an astringent, which means it can be used to stop hemorrhages and secretions and to treat swollen tonsils or hemorrhoids. You can use a hot tea to induce sweating (when you want to work a fever out of your system), to soothe ulcers and cramps, and to help heal skin eruptions. Make the beverage by infusing one ounce of herb in one pint of water.
Externally, calendula will help stop bleeding and promote healing of wounds. (It's often used in poultices.) You can also use calendula oil externally—as you would the poultice—or for earaches, as you would garlic oil. (Make calendula oil by soaking two ounces of flowers in one pint of olive or sesame oil'for three days and then straining the liquid before bottling it.)
Calendula is a pretty plant to grow and it attracts a lot of helpful insects to the garden. It's an annual, and you can get a jump on the season if you start your seeds in the greenhouse (the soil temperature must be at least 60°F). Later, set your transplants out nine to ten inches apart.
To get the purest medicinal part of the plant, you should pull and use only the petals of each flower. I've not done that so far—I have so little time as it is! To compensate, I increase the proportion of the herb in any mixture I'm making. If you do dry just the petals, put them on a paper towel or they may stick to your drying screen.
The herbs described above form my basic medicine chest, but that's not to say that I rely solely on herbs: Modern medicine has its place. I certainly don't try to mend broken bones, sew up my own wounds, or do any kind of surgery. But I do use my herbs more and more. Because of this I haven't had to go to a doctor in the last five years except for pregnancy and emergencies.
As you learn more about herbs, you'll realize that a lot of culinary herbs can be used medicinally, as well, and that some of your worst garden weeds can be your best healing friends. Maybe we can pursue some of these together later on. Remember, though, whenever you use an herb, do it with love, respect, and thanks for that part of nature that can help us to better help ourselves.
If you have any questions, I highly recommend consulting Michael Tierra's book The Way of Herbs. [EDITOR'S NOTE: You can order The Way of Herbs for $4.95 plus 75¢ shipping and handling from Simon & Schuster, Mail-Order Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.]It's the only book I've found that assumes you know very little about using herbs, so it's therefore extremely informative. Michael's also better than most other herb writers at giving specific formulas and dosages. He is a practicing herbalist in California and has used what he tells about in his book.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The herbal remedies in this article should not be used as substitutes for professional medical attention for any serious health disturbance or for any chronic warning symptoms. When in doubt, consult your physician.
From The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra, copyright© 1983 by Michael Tierra. Reprinted by permission of Pocketbooks, Inc.
Using Herbs Safely
The following general advice is excerpted from the very useful chapter "Cautionary Notes on Herb Use" in Michael Tierra's The Way of Herbs. Specific cautions for the seven herbs discussed in the accompanying article are given in the article itself.
When properly used, herbs are the safest and surest medicines available However, one must be well aware of the power of herbs both to heal and, if misused, to cause imbalance. Herbs produce no side effects when used in the amounts required to effect a cure. Negative effects occur only when one fails to observe the cautions that herbalists have recognized after many years of experience.
FDA EVALUATION OF HERBS
The Food and Drug Administration has surveyed some of the available literature on chemical composition and pharmacology of herbs and has suggested that some herbs, commonly used as herbal medicines, are "unsafe. "However, it must be realized that these herbs were not judged unsafe on the basis of proper usage, but only based on the presence of a known toxic substance or on the report of severe overdose reaction. Virtually all foods and medicines contain substances that are toxic in large enough doses, so this does not shed much light on the true toxicity of the herb ....
In addition, by extracting ingredients from some herbs and feeding very large doses to laboratory animals, tumors have been induced in these animals. These substances are very weak carcinogenic agents and there is no evidence that the use of the herb itself is at all a health threat. Among the herbs which have been shown to contain a weak carcinogen are sassafras, nutmeg, cloves, basil, and tarragon.
HERBS FOR CHILDREN
When giving herbal remedies to children, the dosage should be decreased. As a general rule, the dose should follow the body weight, so that a forty-pound child would get no more than half the dose of an eighty pound child. The doses recommended in this book are the adult doses, representing a body weight of about 150 pounds for purposes of calculation. Therefore, women weighing less than 150 pounds, for example, should begin with a lower dosage. When treating very young children, only the very mild herbs should be used, such as lemon balm and catnip. [ED ITOR'S NOTE: The doses suggested in Olivia's article are also adult'doses.]
Here are some good sources for the herbs mentioned in this article:
The Sandy Mush Herb Nursery, Rt. 2, Surrett Cove Rd., Leicester, NC 28748 (catalog $2.00, refundable with order)
Rutland of Kentucky, P.O. Box 182, Washington, KY 41096 (catalog $2.00)
Sunnybrook Farms Nursery, 9448 Mayfield Rd., P.O. Box 6, Chesterland, OH 44026 (catalog $1.00, refundable with order)
Taylor's Herb Gardens, 1535 Lone Oak Rd., Vista, CA 92083 (catalog $1.00)
Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 N. Pacific Hwy., Albany, OR 97321 (catalog free)
|The Chinese used a method of medicine called acupuncture
In the 3rd century, they a found a wine that acted like anesthetic, and they also used herbs before the age of written history
The Chinese had many natural remedies some of which included natural herbs and acupuncture.
The discovery of medicine in ancient China started more than 2,000 years ago. In Ancient China, the Chinese's goal to make medicine was to make an elixir of life to make emperors immortal and help them live eternally. Eventually, in their quest to make an elixir of life, they made series of medicines and remedies. That is how China began the search for medicine.
An elixir of life is a potion that the Chinese believed would make you live forever. The Chinese believed that this liquid potion was made from the gods, and whoever drank it would be rewarded with eternity, which means you would live forever. The Chinese wanted to try to make an elixir because they wanted to make the emperors immortal. That is why the ancient Chinese tried to discover a potion that would make you eternal.
The idea to discover an elixir and the science of medicine was influenced by Tao Ch'ien, a famous poet and philosopher. In his poetry and philosophy, he believed that if the Chinese discovered a method of turning metal into gold, which would last forever, they would at the same time discover the elixir of life. With this belief, doctors and pharmacologists began to search madly for a technique to make metal into gold. This belief also made doctors try to discover other ways to make people immortal, and that led to the making of the elixir.
After creating many medicines (such as herbal medicines like an Euryale seed which treated urination problems and animal organs, like the pig's liver, that helped someone's eyesight) which were discovered during the rush to make an elixir of life, Tsou Yen, a pharmacologist, formed a theory on how he thought diseases were caused. He believed two spirit-like life forces called Yin and Yang flowed through the body. He said that diseases were thought to be caused when either Yin or Yang were out of balance. After his belief was spread, many doctors in China tried to make a way to make the Yin and Yang balanced inside the body. This was when a pretty famous treatment was made, which is still used today.
About a century after the discovery of medicine, acupuncture was invented in China. Acupuncture is a treatment, which doesn't involve any drugs. Needles are put in certain parts of the person's body. The Chinese believed that if you put the needles in those specific spots, Yin and Yang would be balanced. When the forces were balanced, it was believed to relieve your pain and you wouldn't get any diseases. That treatment was the most commonly used one at the time.
Later in the years, Chinese medicine was becoming a little bit more advanced. Once again, Tsou Yen turned medicine-making into a science. He wrote theories about elements, and he made a system of rules of classifying large and small objects. Shen Nong then put herbal medicine in two categories: "Four Spirits" and "Five Tastes". Shen thought that if drugs or any other medicines that made your body respond to either cold, hot, warm, or cool, they would go in the "Four Spirits" group. If a medicine is sour, bitter, hot, sweet, or salty when it was tasted, it would be in the "Five Tastes" group.
These discoveries and events led to the invention of medicine. If the Chinese did not discover medicine, today's doctors would not have such advanced medicine we have today. The modern world has benefited on the inventions and discoveries made by China.
One of the most famous doctors was Tao Chi'en. He was the first to influence doctors to make a study of elixirs. He was also the one to pass the belief that if the Chinese discovered a method to make metal into gold, they would at the same time discover the elixir of life. With this belief, Li Shao-Chun was the first to make an attempt on making a metal to gold.
Li Shao-Chun was the first doctor, or pharmacologist, mentioned in early Chinese records. He was the one to pass a belief that gold made from a red metal called cinnabar could make a person immortal. He said if a man ate from dishes made from that gold, the man would be rewarded with eternal life by the goddess, Spirit of the Furnace. This belief of his was influenced by Tao Chi'en's thought. Soon many doctors spread many theories about making gold for the emperors.
A poet named Ko Hung organized most of the beliefs about making the immortal gold in a book. In his book, he also put formulas for making elixirs of life. Ko was the first to put all the methods of turning metal into gold and all the ways of making elixirs into a book.
Later in the years, people believed that doctors could bring people back to life. The people thought this because a famous doctor named Bian Que had brought a prince "back to life" in the year 201 B.C. This happened when he went to the state called Guo, and he saw a funeral of a prince going on in the state. The prince was dead for half the day, but Bian Que went to the body and did acupuncture on the prince's wrists and thighs. He also gave the prince many drugs and herbs. Soon, the prince came out of his coma and he was alive again!!!! The people were so amazed that Bian Que was named the Shaman of Life!
In 100 B.C., Shen Nong invented the first set of herbal medicines. He had made a graph full of herbs and their uses. He also showed a lot of doctors how the herbal medicine was made. With this discovered, Tao Hung Ching put all of Shen Nong's knowledge of herbs into a book. Herbal medicine had been invented in 100 B.C..
In Hong Kong, Alexander Yersin discovered the first identified parasite in China called the Yersinia Pestis. A parasite is a tiny little germ that you cannot see, but it could enter your skin and cause disease. This parasite was found in most of the diseases in China such as Malaria which is when a mosquito injects some sickening juice in you skin. After finding a parasite, many Chinese doctors developed a series of remedies to stop this parasite. This was the first parasite discovered in China.
Li Shizen was a famous pharmacologist noted in Chinese records, too. He travelled through China to find every medical achievement there was. He then summarized them from his time, and he listed the 1,892 herbs and listed the 11,000 prescriptions in a book. He also corrected mistakes in some medicine uses and he classified all the herbs used in medicine.
There were many interesting ways to make medicine in ancient China. The ingredients for China's unique medicines were mostly herbs. Of course, there were no supermarkets and malls to go to buy the things for medicine. So, to get the stuff for medicine, most doctors had to get their herbs from a farmer, or some doctors grew their herbs by themselves. But the long process to make remedies was very exhausting. The first step for making the ancient medicine was to grow the herbs in the fields of China.
The Chinese had learned how to grow herbs and raise animals 4,000 years ago. The Chinese grew their herbs in mountainous terrains and narrow terraces, which are grassy fields that have a series of banks. In the terrains, they grew their herbs in a rich, yellow soil called loess. It was said that loess was blown in from the Mongolian Desert. To cut the herbs from the fields, they used a wooden knife, called a Leem, to cut the weeds. After getting the herbs, the herbs were given to the doctors. That was how the doctors got the herbs.
The herbs were dried by the sun. The herbs were left there for a couple of hours. After it was dried, it was then soaked in cold water. Next, the doctor or pharmacologist took the herb and he/she mashed the herb into a powder with a wooden cylinder bar. After that, they took the powder and mixed it with some water and stirred it to form a liquid. After this procedure, the herbal medicine is done. Some of the liquidized herbs were potable, but other herbs were rubbed on your skin if you had skin disease and fractured bones. That was how they made some of the herbal medicines.
Not all medicines were herbs. Some of them used animal organs or animal parts. To get the organs, the doctors cut the animal with a bronze knife. They took out the organs that were good for sicknesses, such as a sheep's eye. The organs or parts were cleaned in water, then the parts were given to patients for them to eat so that patient could be cured. The rest of the body of the animal was dried and stretched on a stick. To eat it, the people had to boil it in water.
In Ancient times, the Chinese believed that two dragon spirits could be in your heart. They were the black dragon, and the white dragon. The black dragon spirit represented bad luck and evil. The white dragon spirit represented eternity and good luck. Each spirit was believed to be in a person's heart, and either the black or white one lived in your heart. In order to know if you either have the white or black dragon spirit in you, a doctor has to inspect your tongue.
The Chinese believed if your tongue's color was yellow, it would mean that fire from the dragon has risen in your stomach. If your tongue has a purple color, that means that your heart is pumping unhealthy blood. If you had a yellow or a purple tongue, the Chinese believed that you would have the black dragon spirit. You would have the white dragon spirit if you had a healthy red tongue. This was one of Ancient China's religious beliefs, and with this belief, the Chinese doctors discovered a way to rid the black dragon spirit. It is called the heat treatment.
The heat treatment was another treatment used in ancient China. For this process, a doctor places a needle in your skin, and the doctor burns mugwort, an herb. The heat from the burning mugwort is carried through the needle and into the body. This was supposed to relax your mind and to excite your spirit. If you had the black dragon spirit in you, the Chinese believed the heat treatment could make it go away.
In Ancient China, there were people who had a lot of sicknesses and diseases such as skin disease, urination problems, chicken pox, and lack of energy. To get treated, these people had to go to the village doctor. If you went there and you had asthma or you were depressed, the doctor would cure it by letting you eat some ginseng weed, which is an herb.
There were many other medicines that helped the people. If you had skin problems, the medicine the ancient Chinese would give you to eat would be dried sea horse. If you were a man and you thought you needed more energy in your sex life then the ancient Chinese would give you some dried gecko for you to cook and eat. There were many other medicines that had numerous nutrients and minerals such as the cow stomach which has a lot of iron in it, or the sheep's eye which has many vitamins in it.
Colds and Flu
Chinese Medicine considers Colds and the Flu to be some combination of Heat, Cold, Wind, Dampness and Dryness. The possible combinations of these factors are nearly endless, but, the symptoms of the basic patterns are a little easier to recognize. For example, when Cold invades the body, the tongue fur will be white; When Heat invades, the tongue fur will be yellow; When Dampness invades, the tongue fur will look greasy.
Usually Cold or Heat will combine with Wind to invade the body. These common patterns are listed below along with typical symptoms. Match your symptoms with those in the chart and find the Chinese Medicine description of the kind of cold/flu you have. Then treat it accordingly.
It is important to distinguish between the types of cold and flu in order to select the best remedy for what you have. Just as important is to catch the cold before it gets too far. Chinese Medicine describes the usual progression of the Heat diseases as starting at the surface where it invades the Wei (Protective) Qi. At this level, there is usually a low fever and an aversion to cold, maybe a headache, thirst and cough. At this level, the invading pathogen can be pushed back out thru the pores. Treatment is usually herbs that induce sweating such as Gan Mao Tuire Chong Ji or Yin Chiao or Gan Mao Tong. If you take the medicine, drink warm water and bundle up and sweat, it is an easy matter to get over the cold overnight.
If the progression of the disease is not stopped at this point, it penetrates deeper into the body. At the next level it affects the Qi of the body. Fever gets worse as does thirst, but, other symptoms vary with the organs affected.
There are 2 more levels to which the disease can travel. Penetration to the Ying level will have symptoms that will include an even higher fever. Sleeplessness and rashes may appear. When the disease passes into the Blood level, all symptoms become extreme. Fever is critical, rashes become skin eruptions and sleeplessness becomes coma. There may be vomiting of blood.
I am purposely not going into the details of the deeper stages to which a cold or flu can penetrate. If you are unable to effect recovery within the first 3 days, the disease is likely to push further in and become more severe. If it does progress deeper, see a doctor. If you don't fully recover from even these common maladies, they can linger and manifest much later as much more serious problems. I want you to be able to help yourself, but, you must also know when to call for help. This would be the time!
Cold diseases progress in a somewhat different manner. As Cold first penetrates the body, fever and headache occur as well as an aversion to cold. The next stage manifests alternating chills and fever and loss of appetite. The third stage is marked by sweating, thirst and an aversion to heat.
From here the disease penetrates to the Yin aspects of the body. Fever may disappear. Diarrhea and vomiting occur. The fifth stage affects the Kidneys. The extremities are cold and the desire for sleep is great. The final stage shows signs like some parts of the body are hot and other parts are cold.
The first 3 stages of Cold invasion are bad enough, but, they can be treated easily and successfully. If Cold penetrates to the forth stage where it affects the Spleen and diarrhea or vomiting occur, see a doctor. When the disease is at the surface, it can be pushed back out. When it penetrates to where it affects the Spleen and Kidneys, the situation becomes very serious. When the digestion is involved (4th stage) it is difficult to get the necessary nutrition to fight the disease. When the Kidneys are involved, all organs will be adversely affected. (The Kidneys are the root of Qi in the body.) The final stage is when Yin and Yang become likely to separate and death occurs.
Progression to the deepest levels is not a certainty. An untreated cold does not have to evolve to the most critical stages. Sometimes, your body can recover on its own in a week or two. Without help, your body will use up its resources fighting the cold. If it doesn't overcome the cold quickly, your body's defenses will become depleted and unable to defend against the next attack. If you can stop a cold/flu at its earliest stages of progressing, a speedy and full recovery are assured using up the least amount of the body's resources. Just remember, if the symptoms worsen, call a doctor for treatment/advice. Don't hesitate.
PLANTS IN A BIBLICAL GARDEN
by the Rev. Marsh Hudson-Knapp
I would like to introduce you to plants that we have grown in the Biblical Garden at the First Congregational Church of Fair Haven, United Church of Christ. You could grow them in your garden as well!
The very first tree mentioned by name is the FIG. Adam and Eve used fig leaves as clothing when they became ashamed of their nakedness (Gen. 3:7). Later, the prophets understood the fig as a symbol of peace. When Micah spoke of the great day of peace, he declared, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares... neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and fig tree" (Micah 4:3-4).
The LENTIL appears next in the Biblical history. Remember tricky Jacob? He talked his older brother Esau into trading his birthright as oldest son for a bowl of lentil soup (Gen. 25:29ff).
Through the Exodus, the greatest
event in the entire history of our Jewish ancestors, God saved our
people from suffering and slavery, and led them toward a land of
promise. Before the Exodus, the HYSSOP plant was used to spread
blood from a sacrificial lamb over the top and sides of each doorway
in the homes of God's people
Every year our Jewish brothers and
sisters celebrate this deliverance by observing the Feast of
Passover. One part of the Seder meal involves eating bitter herbs, a
reminder of how bitter life was for our ancestors when they were
slaves. ENDIVE, CHICORY, DANDELION, and ROCKET may have been among
the bitter herbs of the Exodus
Initially our ancestors felt thankful to be set free. In time, however, they began to grumble against God and Moses their leader. Their life in the wilderness had become difficult and discouraging. Many longed for the fruits and spices they had enjoyed back in Egypt. "We remember the fish we ate back in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers..." (actually CANTALOUPE) "the MELONS, the LEEKS, the ONIONS, the GARLIC, but now that our strength is dried up, and there id nothing at all but this manna to look at. 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like the bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it and ground it in mills or beat it in mortars and boiled in it pots and made cakes of it, and the taste of it was like cakes baked oil. 9 When the dew fell upon the camp at night, the manna fell with it...." (Numbers. 11:5-9).
In spite of their bitter complaining, God provided blessings for the people in the wilderness, including the miraculous MANNA. "It was like CORIANDER seed..." (Ex. 16:31). We now believe that the TAMARISK tree may have been the source of honey-like crystals which the Israelites ate. When insects pierce the skin of this plentiful desert tree, its sap flows and crystallizes.
Tamarisk with its fluffy bloom
Even to the present day, our Jewish sisters and brothers celebrate the ever-certain presence of God in the Festival of Tabernacles (or Booths). They build an outdoor shelter, and use MYRTLE branches in its construction. This reminds them that even in their simple shelters during the Exodus, God went with them.
While our ancestors lived in the desert God instructed them, through Moses, to build a tent of worship in the center of their camp. There they could meet with the Lord (Ex. 25:8ff). The light in the tent was a candelabrum, or menorah. Its branches arched upward like the branches of the SAGE plant. The VICTORIA SAGE, and CLARY SAGE are handsome cousins of the biblical plant.
God told Moses to make the end of each branch of the menorah like an ALMOND (Ex. 28:33). Why an almond? The almond blossom served as a herald of spring to our ancestors, and as a promise of hastening events. Do you remember Aaron's rod? This almond branch brought by Moses' brother Aaron on the Exodus journey was placed in the tent of Go d's presence, and the next time someone went into the tent it had bloomed and produced almonds (Numbers. 17:1-8).
After Moses died, Joshua was chosen to lead the Israelites into the promised land. As they settled the country different cities were assigned to different tribes. Among them was the city of Dilean, whose name is the word BOTTLE GOURD (Josh. 15:37-38).
Once our ancestors settled in the land God had promised, judges rose up from among them to provide leadership. One such judge, Gideon, led the people of God against an onslaught by the Midianites. In the midst of the battle, the Israelite men needed food, but the people of the nearby town of Succoth refused to feed them until they could be sure of the outcome of the battle. Gideon threatened to punish the people of Succoth by scourging them with the THISTLE. When the battle ended, Gideon returned, and may have used the GLOBE THISTLE to carry out his threat (Judges. 8:7,16).
BARLEY reminds us of a later scene from the story of Ruth. Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth returned to Israel after both of their husbands had died. To obtain food, Ruth went into the barley fields to collect leftovers from the harvest. There, in one of the Bible's beautiful love stories, she met her husband-to-be, Boaz (Ruth 1:22).
Sometime later, during the reign of King David, his son Absolom organized a rebellion. Some of David's men remained faithful and retreated with the king into the wilderness. The people of Manahaim fed them, among other things, beans - probably BROAD BEANS which we grow in our garden (2 Sam. 17:27-28).
Since Go d's people had become thoroughly settled in the Promised Land, it was time to build a house proper for worshipping the Lord. David's son Solomon turned to Hiram, King of Tyre whose great forests to the North offered majestic timber suitable for the house of the Lord. Our tall JUNIPER is a cousin of those trees (1Kings 9:11). The builders lined the entire inside of the temple with CEDAR, making it like one great cedar chest. Imagine the aroma that greeted you when you went to worship! Our ARBOR VITAE are members of the cedar family, which also includes the great cedars of Lebanon (2 Chr. 2:3,8).
The arbor vitae
The vestments or special clothing worn by the priests who led worship and offered sacrifices at the temple were also products of nature. The robes were made of FLAX, combed and woven into fine linen (Ex. 39:2), and decorated with POMEGRANATES, symbols of fruitfulness and great value (Ex. 39:24-26).
Beautiful olivewood, probably from the RUSSIAN OLIVE, was also used in carvings of the cherubim inside the temple (1Kings 6:23,31-33).
During a later period, after Israel had divided into northern and southern kingdoms, the King of Syria besieged Samaria, and caused a terrible food shortage. People offered to pay large sums of money for anything to eat, even for "Dove's Dung", the common name for the little flower STAR OF BETHLEHEM (2 Kings 6:24-25).
During the reign of corrupt Ahab and Jezebel in the Northern Kingdom, the prophet Elijah survived as one of the few people still faithful to God. After putting the Queen's favored prophets of Baal to a test, defeating them, and winning the right to slaughter them, Elijah rose to the top of the Queen's hit list! In fear, Elijah retreated to the wilderness near Sinai, and threw himself down under a BROOM TREE. He felt so discouraged he wanted to die, but angels came and renewed his spirit (1Kings 9:4ff)
Hollyhocks trumpet their joy!
It appears that everyone in the Bible had their times of trial, just as we do. Satan's test of Job was perhaps the worst of all. One of his many sufferings Job experienced was the loss of appetite. At that time HOLLYHOCK and MALLOW were used to flavor foods. Today we enjoy the flavor in marshMALLOWs. But to poor Job, even mallow had lost its taste (Job 6:6-7).
We all know at least something of the story of Jonah. He ran away from Go d's call, and was retrieved by God through the help of a whale! Jonah did go to tell the people of Ninevah to repent, as God had asked him to do in the beginning. The people of Ninevah repented, and God saved them just as he had saved Jonah. Jonah was angry, though. He had wanted God to punish these wicked people. Pouting, Jonah retreated to the desert. God sent a CASTOR BEAN PLANT to grow up and shade the reluctant messenger. The next day, however, a worm killed the plant, and once again Jonah felt angry at God. The Castor Bean reminds us of Jonah and his struggle with God, as well as our own struggles with God (Jonah 4:6-7).
The COTTON PLANT connects us with the next time in history, when our ancestors of the faith lived under the rule of King Xerxes of Persia. One brave woman named Esther risked her live to save her people from slaughter. One detail of the story mentions that the curtains of the king's palace were made of cotton (Est. 1:6).
The real thing - cotton puffs
When his beloved had been away, her return reminded him of the first flowers of spring, particularly the TULIP (Song 2:12). He saw his beloved as a "lily of the valley, a lily among the brambles..." (Song 2:1-2,16). Since the flower we know as Lily of the Valley is not native to the Holy Land, the HYACINTH seems among the most likely plant to have been the Bible's lily, particularly the GRAPE HYACINTH. However, the phrase "lily of the valley" probably refers to all beautiful flowers in general, much as our word "posey" does.
In the philosophical writings of Ecclesiastes we read of the discouragement many of us feel when growing old, and the time when "desire fails" (Ecc. 12:5). The plant, Desire, is our CAPER BUSH whose blossom is a real beauty!
The writer of Ecclesiastes also speaks of the beauty of wisdom, comparing it with the roses of Jericho. Our RUGOSA ROSE is a modern version of that simple but beautiful flower.
The simple beauty of the old rugosa roses
Isaiah warned God's people while also assuring them of God's mercy. "DILL is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over CUMIN" (Isaiah 28:27). God will not destroy us, but the Lord does insist on removing our impurities. NIGELLA is the source of BLACK CUMIN seed.
Isaiah 28:24-28 Does
he who plows to sow plow continually? does he continually open and
harrow his ground? 25 When he has
leveled the surface of it, doesn't he cast abroad the dill, and
scatter the cumin, and put in the wheat in rows, and the barley in
the appointed place, and the spelt in the border of it? 26 For
his God does instruct him aright, and does teach him. 27 For
the dill are not threshed with a sharp threshing instrument, neither
is a cart wheel turned about on the cumin; but the dill are beaten
out with a staff, and the cumin with a rod. 28 Bread
grain is ground; for he will not be always threshing it: and though
the wheel of his cart and his horses scatter it, he does not grind
The prophet Amos proclaimed judgment on the people who had undermined justice among Go d's people. He said they were like the sour poison of WORMWOOD (Amos. 5:7).
The prophet Jeremiah declared that those who trust in themselves and NOT in God were condemned "like a shrub in the desert." He was probably referring to the JUNIPER shrub that often occurs alone in the wilderness of the Holy Land (Jeremiah 17:6). Jeremiah warned that those who trust in the things of this world would one day "flee like the JUNIPER in the wilderness", seeking for some place to hide when trouble comes (Jeremiah 48:6). Our RUG JUNIPER stays safe by keeping close to the ground!
Still, God's prophets always held out the truth of God's mercy. Those who return to the Lord will always find mercy. God will make them bloom again like the IRIS (Hosea. 14:5).
The front garden in Spring!
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament reminds us not only of our blessings, but also of our responsibilities. The First Letter of Peter urges us to deeply root ourselves in God and God's Word. In time, "The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of the Lord abides forever" (1Peter 1:24-25). The fragile blossoms of the VIOLET, today as then, remind us of our own vulnerability, and dependence on the One who is God.
Jesus made the same point when he
taught about GRAPES. A branch cut off from the vine will not only
fail to bear fruit, but will wither, die, and be thrown into the
fire to burn. On the other hand, those who stay deeply connected to
the vine, though they may be pruned at times, will bear much fruit,
and prove to be Christ's true disciples
One important way to tell Jesus' true followers from the false, he taught us, is by their fruit. In Luke 6:44-45, we read, "For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a BRAMBLE BUSH. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man... evil...." Our garden contains both grapes and brambles to remind us of our choice.
Jesus taught that the WHEAT and the TARES grow together all the way to the harvest, but that the tares then will be thrown into the fire, while the wheat will be gathered into the barn and treasured (Matthew. 13:24-30). John the Baptist had given the same warning when he sought to prepare people for the coming of Christ. "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear the threshing floor, and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire" (Matthew. 3:12).
One of the main teachings of Jesus focused on the use of our possessions. Jesus condemned religious people who felt glad to tithe (to give God 10% of) their MINT, DILL, RUE, and CUMIN but failed to commit their time, money, and selves to God and to people in need (Matthew. 23:23).
Chocolate peppermint - a modern descendant of Biblical mints. Lovely aroma!
At the same time, Jesus showed how God can make miracles out of even small gifts to his service. He took the few BARLEY loaves and fish from a small boy, and fed a huge multitude with them (John. 6:8ff).
Jesus taught the same truth about acting in faith. Faith, even if it is small like a MUSTARD SEED, can grow into something substantial when given to God with an open heart (Matthew. 4:30-32).
Jesus told a parable about a rebellious son who left his father, and then found himself in deep trouble. He got so hungry he wanted to eat the CAROB PODS that were usually fed to the pigs. Yet when the boy headed back home, his father ran out to welcome him back to the family. Jesus reassured us all that God always reaches out to welcome us back home with love and joy no matter how far we may have strayed from him (Luke.15).
At times people reach out to Jesus as he reaches out to us. On PALM Sunday, when Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, people waved branches of the PALM tree, welcoming Jesus as the long awaited messiah (John. 12:12f).
Even though God loves us, the walk of the faithful still involves suffering. Evil attacks us just as it struck out at Jesus. The CENTAUREA plants in our garden are relatives of the thorns that were made into a crown and placed on Jesus' head to mock and hurt him (Mark. 15:17ff). Throughout his life, and especially in his passion, Jesus joined us in every emotional and physical pain of the Christian walk. He never drew back from our pain, even unto death.
After his crucifixion death, those who loved Jesus anointed his body with ALOE and spices and placed it in a tomb (John. 19:39f). Three days later, to their surprise and delight, they discovered that he was no longer dead! He LIVES! POPPIES, like those that grow in Israel outside the Garden Tomb,
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