Gardener's Grapevine 2014.02.12

This week I picked up a couple of gardening and lifestyle magazines that always offer a wealth of knowledge: Mary Jane’s Farm and Mother Earth News Healthy Living.

Mother Earth News is an old magazine which has been around for years and my husband likes it very much. Healthy Living is a fairly new offshoot of the original. Mary Janes Farm is another fairly new magazine. I discovered it about five years ago. It is geared toward healthy living with less and with nature. Mary Jane Butters is the editor-in-chief and she’s pretty amazing. She was a forest ranger in one of the national parks out west and basically lived from a backpack for years. She believes in living without excess by simply reducing, reusing and repurposing

I get a lot of mileage from these magazines as they always bring something new to the table. This month there’s an article on natural, simple solutions for simple ailments. This brought to mind a time when I got stung quite badly by bees while mowing my great-grandmothers lawn. My grandmother made a poultice out of baking soda and water to pull the sting out. It worked and from then on I was hooked on home remedies.

An article in the magazine gave some excellent tips on handling basic health issues. I want to share these tips with you as I think they are worthwhile.

Tip #1, to care for a burn: Use a clean soft cloth soaked in apple cider vinegar to provide relief and calm the burning. Aloe vera gel, which is obtainable by simply breaking off a piece of an arm on the plant, will also work, but the effects wear off rather quickly.

Tip #2, the itch and pain of insect bites and attacks: Soak a clean cloth in witch hazel and dab it on the bite. Witch hazel is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory extract that soothes and calms. For poison ivy or oak, wash the area with soap and water to remove the oily resin and spray with grindelia extract.

Tip #3, to tame inflammation: Use arnica tablets crushed and dissolved in a small amount of water or comfrey also works well made into a poultice and applied to the sprain, bruised or painful area. Doing this can reduce pain and healing time.

Tip #4, for stomach ache or nausea: Ginger or peppermint are very effective. Ginger tablets can calm acid reflux, bloating and motion sickness and helps soothe the stomach after food poisoning or a digestive tract illness. The dose, if using ginger capsules, is one to two every 15 minutes until symptoms subside.

Tip #5, for blisters: Do not break them open. Apply calendula made into a salve with petroleum jelly and cover the area with a bandage. Wash one to two times a day and reapply salve and bandage.

These are just a few ideas for caring for common issues in the everyday life of most people. There are many more available with a little research. I recently discovered a book called "Seven Wonders Everyday For a Healthier Planet" by John C. Ryan and I intend to obtain a copy and fully investigate its offerings.

This week’s church message pointed out that people's souls are like flowers, they need loving care and proper nourishment to flourish. A wonderful comparison in my opinion, keeping the soul nourished and the body in ship shape makes for increased energy and happiness. Plants respond likewise. A very good reminder for all of us.