Monday, November 29, 2010

Destroy a virus with Elderberry

Not many things will destroy a virus. If you go to the doctor, they really don't have anything to give you. It's up to your immune system to handle it. That's not good news for those with weakened immune systems.

But there is a wonderful, completely natural solution: Elderberry. The berries of the elder tree have been found to actually deactivate the spikes on viruses so they can no longer enter your cells and replicate. Studies have shown elderberry to neutralize and reduce the ability of influenza viruses to infect the body. Israeli researcher, Madeleine Mumcuoglu, Ph.D. found that the elderberries seem to be designed as a specific weapon against the flu virus. Viruses form tiny spikes that enable them to penetrate the wall of a healthy cell and set up shop inside it, replicating more viruses. The active ingredient in elderberry breaks down these spikes within 24-48 hours, so the virus cannot spread. Patients in the study who took the elderberry juice syrup reported a much faster termination of symptoms than those who didn't take it. 20% were better within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% were well by 3 days.

The ability of viruses to alter their genetics and create new strains makes it difficult for modern medicine to come up with vaccines or anything to effectively treat them. But this doesn't stop elderberry from keeps on inactivating those viruses no matter what kind they are.

And if that's not enough to get excited about, elderberry also reduces fevers, alleviates sore throats, tonsillitis, and respiratory illnesses, such as viral bronchitis. I gave a teaspoon of elderberry concentrate to my daughter, who had a fever of 101 at bedtime, and she slept great all night and woke up without the fever.

To summarize elderberry's benefits:
  • Anti-viral
  • Colds and Flu
  • Tonsillitis and Laryngitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Sore Throats
  • Fevers
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune support

Now that's a cool herb!! So, before you run right out to the health food store for some elderberry, you need to know the best kind to buy. Herbs vary tremendously in quality. Most of the cheaper supplements are cheap because the companies buy their herbs from the most inexpensive places possible. They buy herbs at pennies per pound from India, Mexico, China, and other countries. The quality is never checked, pesticides could be used, and when they are imported to the US, they are sterilized with chemicals, such as ethylene oxide. So, you could be getting toxic chemicals on your herbs. And usually, these herbs are old and have lost their potency in the drying and encapsulating process. Capsules of elderberry are just about worthless. The best form is a liquid concentrate of the elderberry juice. It is more potent, more available to the body, and even tastes good. Take 2-3 teaspoons three times a day for maximum effectiveness for an adult. You can take it all winter long for protection from the flu (along with your cod liver oil) as well as taking it when you get sick. This is one herb I don't want to be without!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe: Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here is a delicious recipe for a side dish using butternut squash.

Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries

1 Butternut Squash
3 small Granny Smith Apples
½ cup dried Cranberries
¼ cup unrefined sugar, such as Rapadura or Sucanat (or sweetener of choice)
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and oil the casserole dish.
Peel, seed and cut the squash and apples into cubes and place in casserole dish with cranberries.
Melt oil/butter and pour over top then sprinkle with sugar and salt
Toss or stir to coat.
Cover dish and bake 45 min. to 1 hour (until squash is tender)
Stir once half way through baking time.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

How to Get Rid of a Plantar's Wart

My very first introduction to herbalism began when I was about 10 years old. I had gone to summer camp and came back home with a planter's wart, thanks to those lovely communal showers. For those of you who do not know what a planter's wart is, it is a wart that grows on the bottom of the foot. They are caused by a virus that infects the superficial layer of skin producing a thick, callus-like growth that is very painful.

After someone at church had mentioned an herbal cure for planter's warts to my mother, she gave me the choice: Either I go to the doctor and have them dig it out of the bottom of my foot with a sharp metal object, or we apply an herbal paste to the wart. Gee, I wonder what sounded more appealing to a 10 year old. Of course, I chose the herbs.

Once we started looking around our backyard, we found this particular herb growing everywhere! My mom gathered some leaves and ground them up in a mortar and pestle. She put this moist herbal mash right over the wart and covered it with a bandage to keep out all the air. After sleeping all night with it on, she applied another fresh poultice the next night.

I think we were all amazed when she removed the second bandage and found that the wart just fell off of my foot!

This experience had a huge impact on me as a child. I believe it sowed the seeds for a love of herbs and natural medicine that would not come to fruition until I was an adult.

So, what was this herb? Common wood sorrel, or oxalis acetosella. It is a small, creeping perennial plant that looks similar to clover, but the leaves are shaped like hearts. It grows in shady areas mainly, but I have even seen it growing in my pasture in full sun.

It is good for warts, and is also good for getting rid of cysts under the skin.