This weekend I pranced around my garden and realised how fortunate I am to be able to walk out my back door and pick some pine needle for tea to get my vitamin C in for the day or rosemary tea when my chest feels a bit tight or my concentration span is a bit low, or grab some comfrey tea to give my liver a bit of a cleanse.. It really got me thinking, I wish everyone had a small section of garden that could be used as a natural pharmacy! This weeks newsletter hopefully sparks some interest in starting your own natural pharmacy! You don’t need oodles of space!
The first 20 years of my life were spent using chemical medication to suppress the symptoms I experienced on a daily basis. Itchy dry skin, red itchy eyes, hay fever, dark circles under my eyes, eczema, bloating, IBS..I was a mess! I had seen countless doctors, dermatologists, you name it and I had been! My poor parents had tried everything and the best they could do was just help me manage the symptoms. As for skin care products, I have literally (and this is no joke) tried every brand on the market! It became a running joke in our family; my mama would buy an entire range because it was recommended as hypo-allergenic and guaranteed to be my solution! Bah humbug. Two months in and I would hand the entire range over to my mama or a friend and the hunt for a new range would commence!
Most days I would take multiple anti-histamines, rub cortisone cream around my eyes and on the insides of my arms, as these were my ‘hot spots’. I would use nasal spray, eye drops and when things got out of hand (which was often) I would go on a course of cortisone to manage the eczema and inflammation. I used creams that were laced with cortisone, as my moisturiser, EEK! This was what was recommended. We knew no better! As a result of all the allergies, my immune system was compromised and the medication was destroying my intestinal flora, which wasn’t helping the situation. Leading to regular bouts of flu and lung infections. This of course led to regular courses of antibiotics! And so the cycle continued! The problem was, the cause was never identified or resolved. The symptoms were just suppressed to a level that I could manage.
Twelve years ago, I realised that I was allergic to caffeine, wheat and sugar (amongst other things, but these were my worst triggers) so I went ‘cold turkey’ with these and never looked back! I thought I missed coffee, but I realised that the smell and the taste didn’t match up! Does that even make sense? Now, I just take a giant whiff of my husband’s filter coffee in the morning. Happiness! As for sugar, I can still remember what sour worms and lemon meringue taste like (those were my favourites) but I don’t miss them. Feeling ‘yucky’ all the time just wasn’t worth it! Many have tried to convince me otherwise!
My symptoms improved, remarkably! Every symptom I had struggled with slowly improved (some more notably than others, in much shorter time span). I was able to use less and less chemical medication. Bliss! Especially less cortisone, that was my worst, I always looked like a puffer fish after a course of cortisone.
Almost exactly a year ago we moved to our family farm, which is completely ‘off the grid’. We are a two hour drive from the nearest town and 20minutes from our closest neighbour. I had to put together a basic emergency medical kit. Everything was just chemical, chemicals everywhere! I didn’t want this for my family. This is when I started looking into natural remedies and medicine for the basic ailments. Fortunately, my husband and kids are super healthy. I am too, now that I have cut out all my triggers and treated the cause, not the symptoms. I kept looking for ways to overcome allergies and skin conditions, treat general ailments and medical issues that may arise out here (lung infections, infected cuts and sores, dehydration, diarrhoea) all with nature’s pharmacy. Most of all the natural remedies I needed, I had in my backyard, or could grow in my backyard! This is where the fun started. I slowly got to know all the medicinal plants and bushes and tested them out on myself as time went by. What an experience. Pine needle tea taste like lemon tea! Rosemary like mint! What?? Yip!
Along with what I learnt to use from our garden, the mountain spring water out here, no pollution, no chemicals, no cars riding around giving off toxic fumes, we had the ideal recipe for complete health. Guess what happened? My dry skin problem disappeared. Allergies disappeared, dark circles under my eyes vanished!
As far as possible, we are done with chemical treatment. Done! Obviously I recognize the importance of medicine. It most certainly has it’s place. What I would like to challenge you to do today is look further than medical intervention when you suffer from basic ailments and illnesses. Don’t run to the gp at the first sign of a cough. A Doctor will mostly give meds and antibiotics to suppress the symptoms, as this is what works the fastest. It does yes, but what else does it do to your body?? I am in no way saying turn your back on medicine completely, I’m not a fool. What I am saying is, rather than jump for antibiotics at every turn, rather try giving your body a means to repair itself first, with nature’s help. This way, your body in fact gets stronger as you heal, and not weaker. Here are a few of my favourite concoctions for ‘eina’s’ and ouchies. If you are currently taking chronic medication, always find out from your local homeopath or physician before taking any of these. It is just ideas and ways I use to ‘treat’ our issues out on the ‘prairie’
Rosemary tea: (for adults only)
Feeling drained and lethargic, no concentration? Lung infection and coughing?? Rosemary tea will sort you out. 4g fresh or dried to one cup boiling water. Steep for 10minutes and drink. Don’t drink this before bedtime or you won’t sleep. Hello sunrise! not for kiddies tho please.
Excellent for biliary/tick bite fever (even for dogs and cats). Also, an excellent way to cleanse your liver. Speeds up recovery on a cellular level and when wrapped around a broken bone or wound, it can speed up regeneration and healing (it is also known as bone knit)! If you can grow your own comfrey, this is best but if not the tea is often available from your local health store and even some grocery stores! YUM!
Known to soothe the gut use for symptoms such as indigestion, runny tummy, Irritable bowel syndrome. A very good antispasmodic. Also used as tea. If you are fortunate to have some growing in your garden, then use 1tsp leaves to 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10minutes. Not for those with kidney issues, pregnant or breast feeding moms.
Digestive issues, cold hands and feet, toothache,high blood pressure? This wonderfully powerful shrub can help. A pinch over your food two to three times daily or make a mix of a pinch of cayenne pepper, 25ml fresh lemon juice, ½ cup hot water and 1tbsp raw honey. Gargle two to three times a day to sort out laryngitis!
Eczema, psoriasis, digestive issues, antioxidant, inflammation, the list goes on! Use turmeric powder in your soups or stews. I like to make a yummy mix of golden milk in the evenings
1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tbsp raw honey, 1tbsp lemon juice, 1 cinnamon stick/1tsp ground cinnamon, 1tsp turmeric and 1tsp ginger. Boil it all up until nicely mixed and turning orange. Allow to cool a bit and drink! Potent natural antibiotic and loaded with superfoods.
cold sores, cuts and scrapes! Just break a piece of the squishy branch off and dab on the affected area a few times a day!! AMazing stuff!
My only skin care products at the moment are 1tbsp coconut oil with 1 tsp raw honey (harvested on our farm), find a farm stall in your area and make sure it is natural honey all the way. Mix together and smooth onto clean skin and leave for 10minutes. Wash off with warm water. If you still feel you need extra moisturiser, just rub pure coconut oil onto your skin and dab excess off with a tissue. You will love the feel! Super moisturised and chemical free! I have never been happier, I cringe at the thought of all that money wasted all those years!
If you suffer from acne:
try some chopped peeled tomato on the area! leave on for 10minutes, great for bringing the inflammation down, helps shrinks pores and nourishes the skin!
gas and bloating, cramps? PEPPERMINT LEAVES! peppermint tea, peppermint everything hahaha…even chewing on peppermint leaves will help alleviate these symptoms !
My hit list of some of the awesome plants to have in your garden or stock up your natural pharmacy:
* Garlic * Lemon verbena * purselane * comfrey * rosemary * basil * bulbinella * cayenne plant or cayenne pepper * turmeric * ginger * cinnamon * tomatoes * peppermint * mint, to name a few.
I will share a few more as the weeks go on. Remember to look into some natural fixes for your ailments. If you are unsure, seek out advice from your local homeopath or health store, you could even pop me a message on the contact form. I am not a medical practitioner, everything I have learnt is what I have tested on myself. As I said, I am not opposed to medical intervention at all, but I am when people run to it at the first sneeze! Save the serious meds for the serious situations (as a side note, we all know that the healthier you live the less serious medical situations you will have to deal with).
I would love for you to experience what I have. Natural ways that provide your body with more arsenal against everyday ailments! Teach your body to rely on innate ways to heal itself, with a boost from nature!