Horsetail Happiness

Today’s herbal angel is Horsetail (Equisetum arvense-[literally horse of the grass or meadow] you can always count on Lineas for creativity….NOT)

Equisetum arvense
Photo credit: The Internets (http://luirig.altervista.org/schedenam/fnam.php?taxon=Equisetum+arvense

This is a Silica jackpot with up to 70% found in these plants!! AND Silica is GOLD when it comes to bone formation- which is exactly what I am working on; I currently have 209 bones while the normal adult has 206.  And while I’m trying to piece those four parts back together I require lots of silica, calcium and magnesium. So besides horsetail, I am ingesting TONS of raw spinach (future Popeye the sailor, here) and getting sunshine to absorb that vitamin D that metabolizes Calcium.

And if you’d still like to make use of this intriguing cousin of the fern, the silica is also useful in polishing metal! ( I will use that AFTER the cast comes off to polish the screws keeping my bones in place) .

This plant is also amazing for stopping bleeding and treating ulcers and inflammation. Ironically enough the this plant also contains enzymes (called thiaminase) that can be harmful to horses.

          Does anyone else feel like a doctor when they get hurt and suddenly read up everything there is on their malady? Just call me Doctor Dawn 😉  

 

 

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Coffee Withdrawal…..

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The most delicious of coffees and views

Coffee…..nope unfortunately, coffee is not considered an herb for bone healing and what’s worse, IT actually can negatively affect the repair of your bones, so it’s a no go…for SIX WEEKS. Now, this would be hard for any average American coffee drinker, but humor me with your sympathy for a moment. I have been living in a country with the finest coffee (granted they export most of the best, but I had my go-to people for the best caffeinated goods ;)), and I walked to work through streets where coffee (“tinto”, rather) was wheeled up to you in a cart and handed over for a mere 500 pesos.

              By now your sympathy has run out, I understand, but this means my coffee addiction had risen to nearly 6 cups per day which means cold-turkey coffee cut-off is KILLER. I’ve tried to replace it with teas or even decaffeinated coffee, but it just isn’t the same.

        Anyone who has overcome the powerful clutches of a caffeine addiction, please impart upon me your great wisdom!

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Harvesting Fresh Coffee Beans in Colombia….when I could walk without crutches

Kicking off My Cast With Herbs

          As a blooming ethno-botanist, I will find a herbal cure or experiment with some sort of concoction long before turning to any sort of Western medicine.

        And now that I have some mandatory rest-time (thanks to a shattered ankle and a heavy, fiberglass cast), I have all the time in the world to learn and write more about herbalism!! I appreciate any comments, feedback and input as I am starting to learn!  Particularly as it pertains to piecing my shattered ankle back together and into yoga/running/rock-climbing/hiking/surfing/adventure/whatever-else-I-can-imagine shape!

        For starters, the swelling was miserable for the first few days, (granted I walked for about half an hour on the ankle, thinking it wasn’t broken-I DON’T recommend such a thing). Not to mention, healing can only occur after the swelling has subsided since the swelling decreases the blood flow to the wound site, and the blood is carrying all the necessary nutrients necessary for repair to get to the site(s) of the break. And while elevation and rest are helpful, here’s some splendid herbs that have helped alleviate swelling and hasten the healing. 

turmeric
Raw Turmeric Roots

Turmeric(Curcuma longa for those Lineas fans in the house): It’s pure magic! It’s an incredible herb for it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic and blood-purifying properties. It can be used to treat digestive issues, parasites, or applied in a paste with chickpeas to speed up healing of cuts (it’s like hummus for your wounds!! YUM!) Thankfully, today, I only need it for the anti-inflammatory properties to bring the swelling of my ankle from size 12 to it’s normal size 8W (I have hobbit feet, don’t judge me), so I’m ingesting it in the form of tonic.

AND did you know that in India, the regular use of Turmeric in cooking is connected with the decreased rates of cardiovascular problems and cancer rates! The only catch is it’s bioavailability. What in the world is that you may ask? It’s the ability for your body to metabolize and use the active ingredients in Turmeric (which in this case is Curcumin (diferuloylmethane)). Typically, in Indian food pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric, but since I’m not into highly peppered pills, I’m taking the tonic version!

 

Just be careful, turmeric will stain everything you own, which IF you like a yellowy tint to your world, should be just fine!

comfrey
The Lovely Comfrey Flowers

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale-literally meaning “combined together plant officinale) – This is the go-to herb for skin and bone-healing as it was used for this purpose by the ancient Greeks centuries ago. It is typically made into a salve and applied to help everything from wounds and scars to muscle aches and wouldn’t ya’ know it: broken bones. Unfortunately, the doctors glued a giant cast on my ankle to ensure I won’t wiggle this thing around, so I am taking comfrey as a part of a tea, in order to ingest properties from comfrey root that encourage healing from the inside-out.

Comfrey is also essential for reduction of inflammation in the joints, so with Comfrey and Turmeric teaming-up, I have all the swelling to a minimum!

What is a Sustainable-arian?

A few people have laughed and others have just smiled, while others still have inquired further, and these are the ones I am writing for. The ones who ask “What is a sustainable-arian?”

 

I made this decision to become a sustainable-arian as I learned more about the truly unsustainable practices that we presently practice in obtaining food. Namely, the practice of raising animals for meat is one that poses threat not only to our environment but to our resources of freshwater, our resources of clean air and can impact global climate change. Furthermore, many of the manners in which we catch particular seafood, such as shrimp, which are caught through bottom trawling, is unsustainable. Not only does bottom trawling (which is dragging a weighted net along the ocean floor to catch the desired fish) kill habitats and destroy critical marine ecosystems, but it also has the highest rate of by-catch out of any form of fishing. Up to 90% of the trawl’s catch is often by-catch: sea-turtles, fish, marine birds and even marine mammals. By the time the nets are dragged up, the by-catch is already dead having been dragged along the ocean floor, and the habitats are destroyed.

 

As for the land-dwelling creatures, it can require 518 gallons of water for one pound of chicken! How much did that quarter pounder from a fast food joint cost? 461 gallons of water! And for a whole pound of beef it costs 1,847 gals of water. Where does this gallon count come from? Primarily, they come from the amount of water needed to grow corn and grasses in dry climates that feed the beef over it’s lifetime, as well as the costs of it’s drinking water and the cleaning and processing of meat. The impact of meat goes beyond the water, and we have all heard that “going Organic” is better, but it’s hard to control secondary consumers. What I mean is this: while you can pick organic produce to put in your diet, cows cannot and do not, therefore the feed they are given is not always certified organic (though it CAN be), but the runoff from chemicals that are sprayed on the feed can effect ecosystems and organisms further along than we realize when we bite into that burger. Make sure you do your homework and think before you buy or eat and with listed stores and details on what qualifies as organic a good place to check is http://www.organic.org/home/faq.

 

Lastly, I want to say, I’m saying trying to be a dirty hippie, and I’m sure there are many more ways I can take steps to be more sustainable (and I’m open to suggestions!) but more than anything else it’s empowering to make a statement with my diet. I have some suggestions too, eat organic, wild-caught or if we’re feeling adventurous consider eating an insect or two (thousand?), they use far less water, energy and have higher protein content! Some foods that are far more sustainable that may appeal to you more include: Wild Caught Salmon, Mussels, arthropods or fishhook caught or farmed, for more details on sustainable and safe seafood choices visit http://www.seafoodwatch.org or http://www.fishwatch.gov.

 

Whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, organic eater or sustainable-arian is to know that you have a large impact based on your choices.   It’s empowering to be conscious of the choices I make at the grocer or going out, and when people notice and ask, it’s a chance to educate about conservation and making positive, sustainable impact. Because when you have the power to choose what’s on your plate, why not pick something that makes an impact far longer than the taste lingers on your tongue?