Learning At The Potter's Wheel is a collection of articles on home, family, marriage, parenting, natural medicine and herbs. . . along with a few other items of interest. Have fun sorting through my junk drawer of assorted thoughts and ramblings.


The Potter has persisted in giving me treasures I don't always understand or appreciate. Patiently, He is teaching me to trust that all I really need to know is that I am in HIS hands. . .


Foeniculum Vulgare


Fruit, roots, leaves, stems.


Alpha-pinene, Amino acids, benzoic acid, bergapten, beta-carotene, beta-phellandrene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, calcium, camphor, choline, cinnamic acid, aynarin, essential fatty acids, ferulic acid, fumaric acid, iron, isopimpinellin, isoquercitrin, kaempferol, limonene, linalool, magnesium, manganese, myristicin, 1,8-cineole, p-coumaric acid, pectin, phosphorus, potassium, protocatechuic acid, psoralen, quercetin, rutin, scopoletin, selenium, sinapic acid, stigmasterol, umbelliferone, vanillic acid, vanillin, vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, & E, xanthotoxin.


Fennel is called a stomachic, because it aids in the digestion process, especially when uric acid is a problem (as with gout). It is a favorite herb for use in weight loss combinations as it helps to balance the appetite.

As a carminative, Fennel helps remove gas from the digestive tract, easing related bowel pains with it’s anti-spasmodic (relieving smooth muscle spasms) properties. Many find Fennel useful for acid stomach. It is a helpful herb in settling a stomach after chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments for cancer. This herb helps relieve colic in babies and stomach aches for all ages, especially when combined with catnip. These properties make Fennel fruit useful in many purgative and laxative formulas to offset the tendency for intestinal griping found in those formulas. Fennel tea can be mixed with Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and simple syrup to make 'gripe water' for colicky babies.

As an anti-inflammatory, Fennel is known for soothing inflamed tissue and helping to reduce the response of the irritated area. The high oil content of this herb allows it to coat tissue as it hydrates, soothing and easing pain. This property makes Fennel tea an effective eye wash.

The aromatic (having a strong aroma or smell; having a high, volatile oil content) properties of Fennel give it the ability to make unpleasant tasting herbs more tolerable, especially for children. Its aromatic quality also gives it some activity as a 'catalyst' for other herbs.

Rich in B vitamins and other nutrients, Fennel is considered a galactogogue, increasing the production and nutritional quality of milk.

Fennel also has a cleansing effect on the body. A hepatic, Fennel is considered a liver cleanser and aid. This herb promotes the functioning of the kidneys, spleen, and clearing of the lungs. While supporting the healthy function of the kidneys, Fennel also helps the system rid itself of excess fluid, classifying it as a diuretic.

As a cooking spice, Fennel has a mild, sweet flavor. The powdered plant can be used as a flea repellent.


In my personal opinion, Fennel and Dandelion together are wonderful supports for a recently delivered mother. Of course, they also offer their benefits during pregnancy. These herbs are both gentle cleansers and nutrient supports that promote both the volume and quality of breast milk while assisting the body in the release of toxins and the reestablishment of hormone levels during postnatal recovery. While dieting is not recommended for the new mother, nutritive herbs like these (and others) help to normalize appetites that may have been allowed to indulge during pregnancy. They do this by giving her body what it truly needs. In this way the new mom can more quickly regain her stamina and strength.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Congestion Clearing Tea

I read about this recipe from an article I saw on Bulk Herb Store's web site. It would be difficult for me to explain adequately how well it relieves congestion. If you are suffering with the head-throbbing, packed sinuses that tug at your inner ear whenever you swallow, this stuff is for you. We like it because it is natural, gentle and EFFECTIVE.

Place 1 teaspoon of fresh, minced garlic in 6 oz hot water. Steep for 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Honey to taste.

Today, I had a house full of stuffy kiddos, so I prepared a larger batch. I minced a large elephant clove of garlic and placed it into a large stainless steel mesh tea ball. After the filtered water boiled on the stove, I poured it over the tea ball in a tea pot and let it steep, covered. Meanwhile, I made a show of setting out special cups and saucers for our 'tea.' *wink*

I put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into each cup and placed the honey jar on the table. After 15 minutes, I poured the garlic tea into each cup with a generous teaspoon of honey. They drank it down like it was nectar. No more stuffy noses! Hooray *smile*

My children now ask for this 'special tea' if they so much as sneeze. It’s important to use a fresh garlic clove as pills, tablets, powders & etc. have had their beneficial properties processed out. Also, because this is in the form of a tea, we haven’t seen any of the problems with lingering odor or indigestion.

One other caution: have a tissue ready because after just a few sips, that stuff will leave your head -- and you will feel WONDERFUL!
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Taraxacum officinale

The name Dandelion is a borrowing of Old French dentdelion, which means, “tooth of the lion,” a reference to the tooth-shaped leaves of the plant.

Flowers, leaves, roots, tops

Beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, calcium, cryptoxanthin, iron, lutein, magnesium, manganese, mannitol, p-coumaric acid, phosphorus, potassium, saponin, selenium, stigmasterol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, zinc

It is difficult to overstate the value of this herb. In spite of the efforts to eradicate this “weed,” Dandelions continue to survive and ungrudgingly offer their benefits. Dandelions produce thick taproots that can penetrate up to several inches into the soil. These roots are one of the ways Dandelions manage to draw nutrients from the soil, making them bio-available to humans. The taproot is deep, twisted, and brittle. When the plant is unearthed, the Dandelion simply reproduces another plant from each of the pieces left in the ground.

Dandelion acts as an extremely effective diuretic, but without the common side effect of mineral depletion prevalent with diuretic drugs. This is due to the fact that Dandelion contains all of the nutritive salts for the blood, restoring and balancing the blood in such a way that anemia caused by deficiencies of blood salts disappears. The plant helps control blood pressure by reducing excess fluids in the body, as well as by the presence of mannitol, a substance commonly prescribed in Europe for hypertension.

Weight loss can release acid into the blood. Dandelion can destroy that built up acid, making it a welcome addition to weight loss combinations. A serum cholesterol and uric acid level reducer, Dandelion improves functioning of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, stomach and other digestive organs.

Dandelion acts as a digestive, promoting or aiding the digestion of food. It begins its work in the mouth as a bitter herb, promoting secretion of digestive juices with its taste. This, in turn, helps the stomach do its work more efficiently.

A hepatic (liver function aid), Dandelion is helpful in the treatment of jaundice, hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. It has a cleansing effect on the liver, increasing bile production. This action also helps the body rid itself of toxins utilizing other organs and systems, as well as having a cleansing effect on the blood, supporting the circulatory system. It is likely because of these properties that female organs, the pancreas, spleen, urinary passages and skin diseases benefit from the addition of Dandelion to the diet. Additionally, Dandelion relieves menopausal symptoms.

A cholagogue, Dandelion stimulates the contraction of the gallbladder. This herb supports proper function of the spleen.

Dandelion supports healthy kidney function. It is regarded as a lithotriptic, a substance used to dissolve and discharge urinary and biliary stones.

In the colon, Dandelion acts as an aperient, or a mild laxative.

The use of Dandelion is beneficial in the treatment of many other conditions. These include low energy, reduced endurance, abscesses, anemia, and boils. Dandelion is an anti-rheumatic, helping relieve and prevent rheumatism. Its balancing effects on organs that regulate hormones are what may account for its reported benefits in the prevention/treatment of breast tumors.

Many people believe that Dandelion helps prevent age spots when the milky sap from the broken stems of leaves and flowers are applied. This same application is reported to help remove warts.

As an anti-spasmodic, Dandelion helps relieve smooth muscle spasms.

A tonic of Dandelion tea helps to strengthen or revitalize. This is likely also due to its nutritive properties. (A nutritive is an herb that contains rich stores of nutrients which build the body and tissues.)

Dandelion is classified as a galactagogue, meaning it increases secretion or nutritional quality of a mother’s milk. Because Dandelion is rich in many nutrients, particularly in bio-available minerals, it not only enriches breast milk in nursing mothers, but it also benefits the nursing mother.

A tea can be made from Dandelion leaves. The leaves can also be boiled and eaten like spinach. The young leaves can be used raw in salads. I find that Dandelion is a wonderful addition to soups and stocks.


  • Dandelion should not be combined with prescription diuretics.
  • Dandelion is not recommended for people with gallstones or viliary tract obstruction.
  • Care should be taken to harvest Dandelion from an area that is KNOWN to be free of pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Dandelion plants growing next to buildings should be avoided as they have likely been contaminated with runoff from the building.
  • Plants near roadways should be avoided as they have likely been contaminated by exhaust from vehicles.
  • Wash harvested leaves carefully to rid them of debris and residue.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Nepeta cataria

Leaves, flowering tops

Alpha-humulene, beta-elemene, calcium, camphor, carvacrol, caryophyllene, chromium, citral, citronellal, geraniol, iron, magnesium, manganese, myrcene, nepetalactone, piperitone, phosphorus, potassium, pulegone, rosmarinic acid, selenium, silicon, thymol, zinc

Catnip stimulates the appetite and is a popular herb for childhood illnesses as it is considered generally gentle and safe. Catnip preparations are regularly given to babies and children for stomach pains, teething and fevers. A carminative, Catnip helps remove gas from the digestive tract thereby easing gas pain. This herb is also used as an antacid, an acid neutralizer, and an aid to digestion.

Used as an enema, Catnip tea will bring down fever quickly, help eliminate mucus, and ease colon cramping. This application helps relieve the aches of flu. A garlic and catnip enema combination is also effective to fight infection, kill bacteria, viruses and parasites. This is due in part to the fact that it improves peristaltic action -- an action by which intestinal muscles contract and move material through the colon.

Catnip is known as a refrigerant, a cooling herb with fever reducing qualities that relieves thirst. Another way catnip reduces fevers is by its diaphoretic property in that it lowers fever by promoting perspiration, helping to remove waste from the body.

While Catnip improves peristaltic action, it is also an anti-spasmodic, relieving smooth muscle spasms. A soothing pain reliever, Catnip is also known as an anodyne. As a sedative, Catnip is a calming agent that reduces nervous system activity. Its nervine properties support the nervous system and help ease anxiety and body tension, promoting sleep; and relieving stress.

Catnip’s astringent properties mean that it is useful in shrinking swollen or inflamed tissues, drying fluid secretions.

Additionally, Catnip has a balancing effect on the nervous and glandular systems (particularly pituitary and adrenals), lungs, and liver. In this way, it is useful as an emmenagogue, a substance that stimulates menstrual flow and activity.

In a tincture, Catnip and Fennel work well, delivering their concentrated benefits in only a few drops.

Catnip should not be boiled. When making a tea, it should be covered while it is infusing. Use conservatively during pregnancy due to its peristaltic nature. The stimulation of muscle contractions in the colon could result in uterine cramping.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Cinnamomum verum
Chinese Cinnamon

Outer & inner bark, leaves, plant, essential oil


Alpha-pinene, benzaldehyde, beta-carotene, beta-pinene, borneol, calcium, camphor, caryophyllene, chromium, cinnamaldehyde, copper, courmarin, cuminaldehyde, eugenol, farnesol, geraniol, iodine, iron, limonene, linalool, manganese, mannitol, mucilage, 1,8-cineole, phellandrene, phosphorus, potassium, tannin, terpinolene, vanillin, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C, and zinc

Cinnamon is a warming herb which aids peripheral circulation. The diluted essential oil applied to the skin helps improve capillary circulation. While warming to the body Cinnamon is also antipyretic, meaning it can help control and quench a fever.

An enhancement to digestion, cinnamon can also aid in the metabolism of fats as it plays a role in blood sugar regulation. This makes cinnamon a useful herb in the treatment of diabetes.

Cinnamon also fights fungal infection. An excellent food preservative, Cinnamon has a strong inhibitory effect on many pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This antifungal and antibacterial action helps control the growth of many microorganisms including the one which causes Botulism and
S. Aureus, a source of staff infections. Cinnamon acts strongly against aflatoxi, a potent poison and carcinogen produced by fungi. This action makes this a useful herb in the treatment of yeast infections. In external applications, cinnamon products are useful in the treatment of minor skin infections.

Taken as a tea, Cinnamon helps to relieve upper respiratory tract infections and counteracts congestion. This tea can also help to treat gastrointestinal problems, including indigestion, flatulence (gas) and diarrhea.

Cinnamon helps alleviate dyspeptic complaints which include gastrointestinal pain or spasms, gas caused by indigestion that can sometimes include burning in the esophagus and/or nausea and/or vomiting. It is believed that this action is due to cinnamon’s cinnamaldehyde content, which has been shown to have a tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system, making Cinnamon mildly analgesic.

The ability of Cinnamon to enhance trypsin activity and hydrolysis of fats (lipolysis) is another method by which it helps aid digestion. This contributes to Cinnamon’s ability to relieve nausea and diarrhea. Additionally, these properties make cinnamon a useful tool for weight loss.

A tincture of Cinnamon bark is useful for uterine hemorrhaging. However, care should be taken in the amount of Cinnamon taken by a lactating mother, as it is
capable of diminishing the secretion of milk.

Cinnamon can be utilized as a tea, capsule, and tincture internally. Externally, the diluted essential oil is applied to the skin.

Cinnamon should not be used in large amounts during pregnancy or during lactation. During these times, use only as a spice or food condiment. Teas in large amounts in patients with ulcers can be irritating to the stomach lining. Cinnamon essential oil should not be ingested, due to its potential toxicity. Undiluted essential oil should not be applied directly to any part of the body because of the potential to cause contact dermatitis in susceptible individuals. For this reason, avoid applying Cinnamon products directly to sensitive areas of skin such as the tongue and oral cavity.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.
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Stellaria media,
Also called starweed

Leaves, stems

Beta-carotene, calcium, essential fatty acids, genistein, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, rutin, selenium, silicon, sulfur, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, and E

Especially rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium

Chickweed is a demulcent. This means that it produces mucilage (that stuff that looks like mucus – you see it when you boil okra) that helps soothe and protect tender and inflamed tissue. As an expectorant, chickweed soothes bronchial spasms and helps to eliminate the mucus loosened from tissues by supporting a productive cough. The mucilage produced by chickweed stimulates bowel movements, acting as a laxative. In this way, toxins are removed from the body as chickweed does its work. These properties make chickweed useful in the treatment of bronchitis, respiratory ailments, and the relief of nasal congestion.

This herb may lower blood lipids. Chickweed is believed to help dissolve plaque in blood vessels. This action has proved beneficial in the treatment of circulatory problems. Chickweed helps remove fatty substances and tumors from the body by dissolving them. It has anti-cancer agents.

An appetite depressant, chickweed is used in many weight loss combinations. Extra chickweed can be added to combinations to increase weight loss benefits while adding nutrients.

As it heals, chickweed helps with pain and decreases swelling. This makes it useful in the treatment of boils, burns, skin diseases and warts. In topical applications, chickweed is a good addition to poultices, ointments and lip balms. When treating sores and rashes, chickweed is a good addition to a soaking bath.

Internally, chickweed can help stop bleeding of stomach, bowels, and lungs. A blood purifier, chickweed helps remove toxins from the blood. As a tea, chickweed can be used as an acne wash. Because of its high nutrient content, chickweed is often used as a vegetable and in green drinks.

Not a good choice for those trying to restore their appetite

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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What makes you an expert?

I’m not a master herbalist. I don’t claim to be the final authority in herbs, herbal blends or natural medicine. I only know what works for us. I believe that each family deserves the opportunity to be informed and make the best decision for their own health. What little I’ve gleaned, I share for that reason.

I’m not interested in short term solutions. Health, for me, is a lifelong journey. I don’t just want to know what works, but I want to know why it works. When it comes to my family, I want to be informed about the options. I want to know more than what the published promotional material says. I want to understand the issue to the best of my ability.

If I want to know about a prescription, I ask the pharmacist. The doctor might know my medical history (if he/she bothers to review the chart) and symptoms and treatments available. Doctors, however, are not always carrying around a database of the medicines available to treat various conditions. Not only can the pharmacist can tell me what prescriptions are on the market, he/she can tell me what is IN the medicine and how or if it would react with something I was already taking or eating. The pharmacist can alert me to possible side effects. If I am trying to avoid coloring agents and sugar substitutes, the pharmacist can tell me which prescription meets my requirements. A compounding pharmacist can also figure out another way to administer the prescription if I can’t take it orally. Sometimes, my first call before a medical examination is to the pharmacist. Armed with a list of the pharmacist’s recommendations, I then consult a physician for a diagnosis.

My approach to herbs is similar. I want to know what is in them. I want to understand what makes them work the way they do. I want to know how they can be effectively administered. I want to know what is safe and effective. I want to know what is gentle and what is harsh.

My Granny is a master craftswoman when it comes to crochet. If she has an entry in the state fair, you might as well not bother entering. She’ll likely take most of the ribbons home. So I went to Granny when I wanted to learn how to crochet. I wanted to know what she knew. Her response? “You can read. You’ll learn better than I can show you if you’ll just get one of those how-to books and take the time to look over the instructions.”

Well, my feelings were a little hurt, but I decided she must know what she was talking about. I purchased some books and sat down with a crochet hook and some yarn. I worked until I found a mistake and then undid the work and reworked that area. I learned ‘by the book,’ just like Granny said. She was right after all.

Like a tangled ball of yarn, I’ve found that herbs reveal their secrets to those who are willing to patiently research and follow some simple instructions. I depend on published reference material for my information. I share what I learn here, but I encourage you to also research on your own. You’ll notice right away that some materials are better than others. You’ll see outlandish statements that claim all herbs are created equal or that only one brand name can offer you the results you desire. Keep searching. Keep reading. Find the answers to your questions. The information is out there. You have the right to know.

Why depend upon some pre-mixed potion with ingredients you don’t understand? You are the expert on your family, what touches them, their environment and their diet. Take the information available and combine it with what you know. The plan you come up with will be a wonderful blend of effective practicality.

Like Granny said, all it takes is a little patience and a willingness to learn.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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A One Hour Colon Cleanse (NOT recommended!)

Duke has had the most adjustments in the transition from our prescription-taking, junk-food eating days. The improvements he has seen have made him a believer. Sometimes, however, he proceeds quickly where caution might be the better choice -- like the day he invented the one-hour colon cleanse.

Duke was suffering with some muscle aches and pains. I mixed up a tonic that included cayenne pepper. He drank it down, and the pain was alleviated. So the next day when he got up, he decided to try some more tonic as a preventative.

It was his day off. He didn't want to wake me. So, on an empty stomach he took a 'goodly portion' of the tonic. This was on top of his daily supplements, which (at the time) included two capsules of cayenne pepper. Added to this were two generous tablespoons of a men's health tincture which (you guessed it) also had cayenne.

By the time I got up, he looked pale, shaky and a little weak. I asked him if he were okay. We had somewhere to go, and he said he wasn't sure he could join us. He also told me that he ‘hadn’t been able to’ eat breakfast and wasn’t interested in trying to eat. Usually, he LOVES a hot breakfast.

It had been nearly 30 years since my mate had taken a day off from ANYTHING due to sickness. THIS was NOT NORMAL. I started questioning him about his symptoms: sweating, stomach hurting, burning in the chest, very weak, nauseas and heart palpitations -- I thought he was having a heart attack!

He excused himself to the bathroom. When he returned, it was with questions about what he had seen there and descriptions of what we will politely call burning discomfort.

That's when I got suspicious and asked him what he had ingested that morning, since he had already said that he hadn’t been able to eat breakfast. He started recalling the list of things he had taken. I tried not to laugh as I told him, "Honey, you'll be okay. You're just really, REALLY cleaned out now." He felt a little lighter for the rest of the day.

While cayenne is a food and won’t likely cause you any lasting ill effects, you CAN overwhelm your unsuspecting digestive tract and cause it to rebel. Duke does a much better job of describing this than I. *wink*

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.
read more “A One Hour Colon Cleanse (NOT recommended!)”

Not THAT Way!

Nooooo! I don’t want that!”Z-man has been educating me in the art of parenting again.

He’s my independent child. He’s got all of the enthusiasm, but lacks some of the skills needed to accomplish tasks without help.

I know this about him, but sometimes I get caught up in the hurry of going about the day and absentmindedly do things for him. Thankfully, he isn’t about to let me get away with it.

This morning, I was helping him get dressed. We went through the regular drill: underwear, shirt, pants . . . No problem. Right? Wrong!

He began to snatch at his jeans and complain loudly. I was puzzled because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Finally, I removed clothing down to the underwear. He showed me that certain items weren’t arranged properly – as all big boys know they should be. We got that taken care of and replaced clothing. I could tell he still wasn’t quite pleased with my approach, but not knowing anything more about the intricacies of boys’ clothing, we made do with what we had.

When my husband got home, I ran the scenario past him. He began to laugh and fill in the blanks for me.

Apparently, one of the highlights of Z-man’s day is to watch Daddy get dressed. Every detail is carefully observed and then Z-man follows suit. There are rules that must be followed. They are subject to change without notice (especially to mamas):

1. Little man must be standing with his back facing his helper. This is so that he can get the feel for pulling on his own trousers. This explains the protests I was getting there.

2. Pants must be unbuttoned/unsnapped and unzipped before pulling them on because that’s how Daddy does it. Of course!

3. Before zipping and snapping, we must make sure all boy parts are due south. That one I caught onto today.

4. T-shirts are not to be shoved over the head. Apparently, Daddy’s method is to thread hands through the sleeves and then raise arms over the head while the shirt is pulled down over the head and arms at the SAME TIME. I don’t get this one, but I guess it’s a guy thing.

Every rule about getting dressed that he has, I (in my female ignorance) broke. So, it’s back to mama training school for me. You’d think that I wasn’t the one to get him dressed every day to be so completely clueless on these matters!

Note to self: Z-man is constantly striving for independent living skills and not for someone to do things for him. Stop. Take a deep breath. Let the other stuff wait. We are training for a lifetime and that might take a few more minutes.

Note to God: THANK YOU, LORD, for the gift of my husband. He is SUCH a GOOD Daddy!

“. . . and let us run with patience the race
that is set before us”

Hebrews 12:1

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Good food gone (really) BAD

It happens in the best of families: One day you wake up and decide that you want to greet your future with a healthy body. However, the love of your life has cultivated a taste for foods that are decidedly NOT healthy. You embark on a campaign to convince him that your food choices MUST change. On your bad days, you are self-righteous. On your good days, you are lovingly concerned. But none of the tactics you’ve tried work, and you’d like to grow old together. What can you do?

First, put down the rope.
The quickest way to end a tug-of-war is to simply refuse to tug. Honestly, there isn’t an argument that you haven’t already used. Your spouse will not be convinced to give up the chips based on how well you defend your position. Lower the stress level and drop the subject. I didn’t say you were going to give up the cause. I just said that you weren’t going to let the matter be a point of contention in your home. *wink*

Next, rework your standard recipes
next step is to think through your family’s favorite foods and the ingredients used in them. What dish is a MUST on a daily or weekly basis in your home? Bread, spaghetti, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs are considered staple meals in many homes. You will spend a few cents more on ingredients and invest a little time, but the result will be more nutritious and more filling. In the long run, it will take less food to fill your family, helping to even out the expense. While increasing the nutrient value of these foods, begin reduce the frequency in serving them. If you normally serve a dish every week, try backing up to once every ten days. This way, they will begin to look forward to the food as an occasional treat.

Gradually introduce healthy side dishes.
nvest in organic produce and learn how to prepare it. Find a good set of knives and a cutting board to make vegetable/fruit preparation easier. Make your own sauces and dips for veggies and get creative with salads. Experiment with spices. Add finely chopped organic veggies to ground beef and casserole dishes. Learn how to steam and/or roast veggies. Introduce these with meals that are favorites, and give your family time adjust to the new flavors. If you can’t afford all organic meats, then prioritize them. Organic chicken is a good place to start as the non-organic variety is notorious for the presence of hormones, contaminants, and other toxins. Try a few meatless meals to stretch the budget and free up funds for more organic meats.

Make changes with an eye to convenience.
Remember that for these changes to become permanent, you will need to make them doable for your household. Decide where your time is best invested and concentrate on gaining skills that fit your schedule.

Serve each meal with Thanksgiving and JOY!
Finally, remember to serve each meal with JOY. Don’t sit down with a sigh and an apology that what you’ve offered isn’t as healthy as it could/should be. Be thankful that you’ve had the opportunity to try once again to provide nourishment for those you love. Let your spouse know that you appreciate his/her contribution of provision for the meal. Trust that God in His wisdom sees your heart and knows how to bless your efforts. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and every bite will be a blessing.


I Timothy 4:4-5
For every creature of God is good,
and nothing to be refused,
if it be received with thanksgiving:
For it is sanctified by the word of God
and prayer.

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Matricaria recutita or M. chamomilla
German chamomile, wild chamomile
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is less common.

Flowers, plant

Alpha-bisabolol, apigenin, azulene, borneol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, choline, farnesol, gentisic acid, geraniol, hyperoside, kaempferol, luteolin, p-coumaric acid, perillyl alcohol, quercetin, rutin, salicylic acid, sinapic acid, tannin, umbelliferone. vitamins B1, B3, and C

Traditionally, chamomile has been used as a remedy for stress (nerve tonic), anxiety, indigestion and insomnia. As a tonic, Chamomile’s properties are soothing and relaxing, helping to relieve pain and an assortment of discomforts, including headaches and fever. Chamomile can help regulate menstrual flow and relieve menstrual cramps.

Chamomile’s diuretic properties help relieve water retention. Its warming action brings blood to the surface of the skin, causing perspiration, by which toxins can be released. Chamomile has been known to help cope with the effects of drug withdrawal.

Aiding digestion and stimulating the appetite, Chamomile has proved helpful for colitis, and diverticulosis. This herb is often found in herbal preparations for stomach disorders.

As a mouthwash, Chamomile is a useful treatment for minor mouth and gum infections.

Should not be used daily for long periods of time, as this may lead to ragweed allergy. Should be used with caution by those who are allergic to ragweed.
Should not be used with sedatives or alcohol.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Cedrus libani

Leaves, tops

Borneol, quinic acid

Cedar acts as an antiviral, antifungal, expectorant, lymphatic cleanser, and urinary antiseptic. This herb can be used externally for warts. Cedar is reported to stimulate the immune system and increase the venous blood flow.

Leviticus 14:49
And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds,
and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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When a child is born with special needs: What do I do? What do I say?

It is very presumptuous of me to even broach this topic. Maybe you’d think that the parent of a child with special needs would know just what to do or what to say, but the truth is that the responses are just as different as the people who must deal with a devastating diagnosis.

So, I’ll try and give you a little information and some direction based on my experience. However, you’ll need to figure out how it applies to your circumstance.

I REALLY have to hand it to my parents on this one. For all of the mistakes they’ve ever made, they deserve some sort of trophy for knowing how grandparents proceed when they find out their grandchild has special needs. My mom was a little weepy (well, that’s just her), and she just hugged me a lot. Most importantly, she held that grandbaby and sang to him. She didn’t know what to say, so she just sang to him and did whatever she could think of to get him to respond to her. It was so nice to see someone else relating to him as a baby and not as a diagnosis.

My dad did a lot of holding too. He seemed stunned by it all, like someone had punched him in the gut or taken something he didn’t know he had. Yet, when they were with us, Dad would either hold the baby or find something positive to say about his growth, strength, progress, color, or whatever. There were SO MANY days when all we had were discouraging reports from the medical community. It was a RELIEF to hear someone notice something positive for a change.

Having a baby in the house is supposed to be a time of joy. My parents, in their own way, helped us remember that this was a BABY. I’m sure they discussed the matter with any number of their friends and heard all sorts of miss-information, but they didn’t tell us about it. They didn’t expect us to help them through their grief. Wisely, they knew that we were processing all of these things ourselves. They leaned on others that didn’t know us and wouldn’t carry tales of conversations out of context. Mom has the gift of gab so this was a TREMENDOUS GIFT to us. It kept us from having to answer thoughtless questions or having to add ‘comfort parents’ to our long list of things we needed to do.

As far as other friends and extended family, the parents of the child will really be your guide. Even if you have a child that has the same diagnosis, there are so many treatment options and the field is changing so quickly, that what was cutting edge treatment for your child may not be the best for their child. So, when it comes to treatment options, I would only share word of mouth recommendations. The parents will likely already have REAMS of information to wade through, trying to figure out what to do. It is overwhelming enough without well-meaning family and friends adding to the pile. In my opinion, the recommendation of a parent with a positive outcome trumps any number of theories from other sources. Plus, it’s encouraging to hear what worked for another family. Become a peddler of hope.

Speaking of peddlers, beware of the predators. They are out there and they are shameless. These people will tell new parents (they are trained to spot them when they are out with their little one) that they have just the right nutrient/vitamin/enzyme/etc. combination in supplemental form that will give this child a fighting chance at a productive future. Their literature is heavy on anecdotal testimonials, and they refuse to answer probing questions. For hundreds of dollars a month, they will sell you hope and not take any of the responsibility for your financial ruin or a less than ideal outcome.

One company even offers a ‘scholarship’ for your special kid. Be prepared to be placed on a waiting list (read that mailing list) where you will be contacted and told how your child could be making progress IF ONLY you could get relatives to foot the bill NOW. Oh, and once you get to the top of the list, be prepared to add your child’s picture to their literature with your glowing reports – that is IF you want to qualify for the ‘scholarship.’

New parents are vulnerable to these tactics.
I’ll leave you to develop your own methods to protect them. >;(

One thing that EVERYONE can agree on is that whole foods free of toxins are best for optimum development in ANY child. People don’t realize the affect that foods truly have in a child’s ability to interact with his/her environment and his/her ability to learn. Yet, figuring out WHO to believe is quite the challenge. For this, I have two books and two web sites that have information everyone needs to know. The web sites are free. The books are well worth the investment.

Both of these books are crucial resources. Unraveling the Mystery of Autism, by Karyn Seroussi details one mother’s search to determine what foods were affecting her son’s behavior and development. I understand why the word autism is part of the title, but I don’t think it is a book only for parents of autistic children. I believe ALL parents wanting to know how to determine if their children are reacting badly to toxins in foods NEED to read this book.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is a mind-expanding education on how to pack the most nutrients into and eliminate toxins out of foods. She details the elements of good nutrition and what quality sources offer these things in whole food form.

The National Association for Child Development has been on the forefront of research into how to increase the efficiency of neurological pathways. At the bottom of this link -- http://www.nacd.org/more_information/health_nutrition.html -- are some specially formulated recipes that provide lots of nutrients in easily digested form. You can actually view some of the forums where moms of special needs kids share tips on what has (or hasn’t) worked for them.

WellTellMe (http://www.welltellme.com/discuss/) is a site that deals with natural health from a Christian perspective. It’s like having a Mama online. Other moms share what they have learned, their research, and what works for them. A search is likely to reveal that there is already a discussion thread on a topic you about which you’d like more information.

I mention these resources because most of them have moms with a kid that is already dealing with the diagnosis that your new little one has. When you place these tools into a new mom’s hands, you are handing her the gift of other loving moms who can relate to her experiences, and reference materials that she can draw upon for years to come.

Of course, none of this tells you what to do for your sister or your friend or your relative that just discovered their baby has _____________.

The BEST thing you can do is BE THERE and tell those parents that you BELIEVE in them. Your heart will show through even if you say some thing stupid like:
§ These children are always so loving! (Yeah, when they aren’t clobbering big brother with a toy. *eye roll*)
These children are such a blessing! (Oh, I’m so glad I finally got one of THOSE. The other ones were just duds. (:-/) )
God gives special kids to special parents. (????? I know the sentiment is good, but the parents and the child are all human. Let’s acknowledge reality. God can handle what is.)

Remind them that God is more than equal to the task of filling in all of the blanks and providing them with what they need to accomplish this task. If they are angry at God, tell them that He’s big enough to handle their anger. Remind them of what HE says about children. These parents have heard everyone else’s evaluation of their child. Send them reminders of how God sees children and the promises He makes in His word for them.

Pray for them and send them notes to tell them that you are praying. Ask to hold their baby. Play with the baby. Delight in their baby – even if you have to figure out how to do it around tubes and such. Make meals, phone calls, feed the dog, water the grass, or whatever other practical helps you can offer. They may not have enough strength or stamina to say thank you, but they will remember your heart and forgive any inadvertent flubs.

And when you just don’t know what to say and the awkward moments come say, “I don’t know what to say. Could you use a hug?”

Psalm 127:3 contains the phrase, “children are an heritage of the LORD.” Until I had Z-man, I didn’t give that phrase a lot of thought. I was reading it one day and it occurred to me that children are the rewards that God pays Himself. This child isn’t the result of the good or bad of ME but this child is the LORD’s heritage. God called my child a reward.

On my darkest days when I didn’t know WHAT to believe, I turned away from the medical documentations and prognosis and determined that I would believe HIM. If my child didn’t measure up to men’s standards, then I’d just use God’s measure. This child is a gift God made for Himself.

Psalm 127:3
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

read more “When a child is born with special needs: What do I do? What do I say?”

Sing like no one is listening . . . but GOD!

We were reading Scripture at breakfast this morning. My 7 year old wanted to share a song he had learned. It was a really sweet song; he sounded whispy and airish as he tried to mimick the recorded music he had heard. He did a pretty good job imitating the style, and he asked me what I thought.

“That was great B!” Then I went on to describe how God had created the lungs within his chest cavity to resound with the vibrations of music and how we could use them to create music. “You don’t just have to sing from your throat or mouth and sound breathless. Sing with joy! Use the full range of what God has given you.” I paused searching for words and continued, “Sing with abandon, like it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you. Sing like no one is listening . . . but God!”

Then I showed him how to sit up straight, lift his rib cage, place his palms against the underside of the table and push (without actually lifting the table). "Now," I said, "Sing like you don’t care who hears you."

“Try again,” I encouraged him. As we listened, something wondrous happened. A full voice rang out with a new song. I was amazed at the difference. He didn’t need my look of approval to tell him that this was beautiful.

It reminded me how often I’ve cloaked my walk in garments designed to garner men’s praise. Whether I was avoiding conflict, seeking approval or just trying to fit in, so many times I lived my life as though the estimation of another person was the ultimate gain or loss.

Yet, those times when I have cast it all aside for love of HIM . . .
When I danced like no one was watching,
or sang like no one was listening,
or gave without reserve,
or rejoiced without care . . . .
THAT’s when I’ve felt HIS smile!
That’s when heart memories of things I was made for
reverberate and echo notes I’ve never heard,
but know.
Sing, child, sing!
Sing for HIM!
Let the mountains reverberate
with the sound of your song.
Let the leaves wave in the breeze of His good pleasure
at the sound of your praise.
Sing though none else sings with you.
Sing with the accompaniment of your heart.
Rejoice, for HE is GOD!

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
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Capsicum frutescens, C. annum, capsicum, hot pepper, red pepper


Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-ionone, amino acids, caffeic acid, calcium, campesterol, capsaicin, carvone, caryophyllene, chlorogenic acid, citric acid, cryptoxanthin, essential fatty acids, folate, hesperidin, iron, kaempferol, limonene, lutein, myristic acid, magnesium, 1,8-cineole, p-coumaric acid, phosphorus, potassium, quercetin, scopoletin, stigmasterol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and E, zeaxanthin, zinc

Aside from its delightful flavor in foods, cayenne aids digestion and improves circulation. Used in blends, cayenne acts as a catalyst for other herbs. Its properties as a good general stimulant make it an especially beneficial herb for the heart, also aiding the kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach. Taken regularly, cayenne can reach all areas of the body, help improve the circulatory system, regulate blood flow, and help normalize blood pressure (good for high and low blood pressure).

Cayenne peppers have been found effective in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. It has been used to help ward off colds, sinus infections, and sore throats by building the body’s immune response with its high Vitamin C content.

Taken internally, cayenne can help stop internal OR external bleeding. When applied topically cayenne powder is useful in the treatment of pain. Cayenne is a stimulant and an astringent, shrinking tissues and drying fluid secretions and checking the flow of blood as a hemostatic. A rubefacient, cayenne promotes healing by increasing circulation to an area and relieving pain. The counter-irritant properties of cayenne are another method by which it relieves pain, classifying it at an analgesic. Pour onto an external wound to stop bleeding, fight infection, and promote healing.

Cayenne can be used to keep someone from going into shock. Cayenne tincture is good for first aid kits, although I prefer to use the powdered form.

Used with lobelia, cayenne is a treatment for nerves. This is a good herb for the treatment of pyorrhea and sore throats.

A carminative, cayenne can help to expel gas from the digestive tract and thereby ease bowel pains. As a sialagogue, cayenne will stimulate the production of saliva. This herb has anti-tumor and anti-catarrhal (anti-mucous) properties. This herb is also classified as an anti-ulcer, anti-arrhythmic (regulating the heart), anti-microbial, and thermogenic, stimulating the body’s burning of fat cells.

found in the grocer’s spice rack is often not as fresh, strong or free of chemicals as cayenne sold for herbal/medicinal use. I prefer to use fresh, dried or powdered from a trusted source. Because cayenne is a fruit and a food, I feel free to use it liberally.

Avoid contact with the eyes. I caution parents to use restraint concerning the use of cayenne in the treatment of wounds on children except in the case of emergency. Cayenne is a stimulant which will at first cause a burning sensation while doing its good work, although the actual skin and tissue will not be damaged. There are other gentle styptics that I would use as a first course in children to stop blood flow; but it is good to know that cayenne is useful in this application.

My rule of thumb when using remedies on children is to first place it on the most sensitive area of your own body. If you find it comfortable and effective THEN try a small amount on the child.

Even adults can find it difficult to deal with cayenne’s heat, preferring to take their dose in powder-filled capsules. When preparing cayenne peppers for use, it is recommended that you wear gloves or first coat your hands with olive oil. Wash your hands immediately afterwards. This will help prevent the oils of the peppers from penetrating the skin and causing a painful burning sensation. If you forget to do this step once, you won’t likely forget it again.

Some cautions with which I do not agree include the belief that long-term topical applications can lead to blistering and skin ulceration. Others believe that high doses taken internally over extended periods might bring about chronic gastritis, kidney and liver damage, and neurotoxic effects.

My personal opinion is that these effects are caused by unrelated disorders and not the use of cayenne.

A wonderful book on the restorative/healing effects of cayenne can be found at http://www.bulkherbstore.com/LFD, called Left For Dead by Dick Quinn. This book tells the story of how Dick used cayenne to help regained his health after failed heart bypass surgery. The Bulk Herb Store is also one of my trusted sources for powdered cayenne.

None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.
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What I thought I knew about Down syndrome

The emotions swirled around me.

We had plans. Our kids would be on their own in 20 years, and we would be able to enjoy each other in our retirement years. I would luxuriate in the glory that is grandchildren and daughters in laws.

I had plans. . .

With the words Down syndrome, all of those plans seemed to change. I searched for someone to tell me what this meant to me, our family, our future, our child. Clinical descriptions were cruel. I found out later, that most of them were also inaccurate. Developmental specialists were focused on spotting problems. Many parents of children with Down syndrome seemed caught up in a cause or some group support, rather than their own child. Specialists quickly reduced my child to a series of parts and pieces that needed tweaking. He didn’t just need therapy: I was told he needed PT, ST, OT, and a whole lot of other alphabets. Even his heart had a huge ASD defect.

No one was speaking English any more.

I just wanted to know how to be a mom -- IF I could be a mom -- to a child with Down syndrome. I wanted to him to soar to great heights, and I was being told that he was born without wings. “There must be some mistake,” I thought.

One of the best things that happened to us was that we didn’t know Z-man had Down syndrome for the first 5 months of his life. We knew he had trouble latching on and he was growing slowly, but we didn’t know that it had a name. We just treated him like any other baby. By the time we knew he wasn’t like any other baby, he already knew how to roll over, hold his own head, and he was nursing like a pro. The cardiologist just shook his head and told us to keep doing whatever we were doing, because a child that laughed, rolled, over and grabbed his stethoscope while gaining weight was the exception, not the rule. We determined from that moment that we hadn’t become the parents of a statistic, but a child – and we would let Z-man tell us what that meant.

Yesterday, I walked into the boys’ room and caught my breath. There, on the table – the one with rollers on the feet – was my 4 year old. He wasn’t just standing on the table; he was on his tip toes and reaching over his head to put a toy on the top bunk bed. “Z!” I exclaimed, “There was a time when I wondered if you would run and play like other kids! Now I just want you to not break any bones! Get down from there, NOW!” His face shifted from that of concentrated effort to ‘oops!’ He quickly climbed down, and left the room for other adventures.

When he exited the room, I smiled and began to praise God.

Down syndrome may be his diagnosis, but he’s all boy.

He’s my boy. . . AND he has WINGS!

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31
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What do I do when I don't know who to believe?

Since I am dealing with health-related subjects, I thought it would be a good idea to share what we do when we are faced with making health decisions in light of conflicting recommendations.

Often, there is a recommendation from the medical community, another from a natural health practitioner, another from the health food store clerk, not to mention the internet and/or library. When you are flooded with information -- much of it conflicting -- what do you do?

We have used modern medicine in our family with life-saving results. We know what it is to hand a child over to surgeons. We also know the joy of welcoming little ones with home births. I use herbs, tinctures, natural remedies, natural health practitioners, and organic foods as often as our budget will allow. My research shows me that the more I know on a topic, the more theories I will find on the remedy, the application and/or its effectiveness.

Step One:
My first step towards knowing what to do is to pray for wisdom. God has taken us places we never thought we'd be to deal with circumstances that we didn't have the education or experience to draw upon to decide what to do. We have learned that God always knows more than we do. We are glad to run to Him with our questions and trust Him to tell us what to do. This has resulted in having to stand firmly against the advice of some well-meaning (and indignant) doctors. At the same time, we have had to trust doctors with a family member's life when we had only met the practitioner one time. In each of these instances, we prayed for God's wisdom and trusted that He would bring the outcome He determined was right. Of course, you must be sure that you are praying to the One True God. There is none before Him. He promises that, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

Step Two:
The next thing we do, is arm ourselves with information and EXAMINE THE SOURCE. Really, everyone has an agenda. Follow the money trail when you are reading material on the internet or in a publication. If someone tells me that he/she is the only source of healing in a bottle, I understand the nature of their claims and read with that understanding. Their business depends on customers that believe what they say.

When it comes to my family's health, I want to know WHY you are telling me what you are saying. What's in it for you? What is your motivation? Are you someone that just likes to control others? Do you like feeling important? Do you follow your own advice? How is your health? Has following your own advice helped others? Are you a compassionate and generous person, or are you greedy? Is the recommended product truly worth the price because of the quality, or is the price highly inflated? How much would it cost me to find an alternative? These are some of the things I ask as I look over material.

I look at the author as I consider the advice. If you have questions about someone's advice, a quick search of the name using an internet search engine will likely tell you much. When it comes to books, I like to use www.amazon.com. I can go there, look up the book and read the reviews. I can also look up other published works by the author. This gives me an idea of the types of material this author has published and whether or not it has been helpful to others.

Step Three:
Trust God to supply an answer within your means. There are businesses out there that promote their remedy at hundreds of dollars each month. What good will a remedy do you if it leaves you too impoverished to feed your family? Natural remedies are all around us. Knowing how to access them can save you money and help restore and maintain your health. It is a blessing to have the convenience of retailed products, but don't believe that these are your only options. If you cannot afford the price of a remedy, look for a source in nature. God has placed many blessings within your reach. He is a kind, loving Father Who delights to teach His children.

I have compassion for hurting people who are looking for answers. It is VERY EASY to ruin your finances and health trying everything that is out there. I hope that we would all just take the time to consider prayerfully and carefully health recommendations before we decide what is right for our family. It really is the responsibility of each individual.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.
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Bastard Cinnamon. Chinese Cinnamon. Cassia lignea. Cassia Bark. Cassia aromaticum, Canton Cassia

dried bark

Bastard Cinnamon is usually regarded as a substitute for that of the Cinnarmomum zeylanicum, which it closely resembles. Cultivated trees are kept as coppices with shoots springing from the roots that are not allowed to rise to a height greater than ten feet. Their appearance is both striking and beautiful when the flame-coloured leaves and delicate blossoms first appear. The fruit is about the size of large grapes. The trees are most productive at the age of ten to twelve years, but they continue to spread and send up new shoots. The bark of the cassia is distinguished from that of cinnamon by its thicker, coarser, darker, and duller appearance. The flavor of the cassia is more pungent, less sweet and less delicate than cinnamon with a slightly bitter taste. The stronger flavor is one reason that cassia is preferred to cinnamon by German and Roman chocolate makers. Cassia is often confused with a the shrub Breynia (Breynia oblongifolia) because of their similar leaf structure, but Cassia leaflets grow in opposite pairs, while Breynia leaves alternate.

Cassia is a stomachic, carminative, mildly astringent, and reported to be an emmenagogue. Cassia has also been found capable of decreasing the secretion of milk in lactating mothers. A tincture of cassia can be useful in uterine bleeding and menorrhagia, the doses of 1 drachm (approximately 3.55163 ml, or 4.37 grams, or 1/8 of an ounce) being given every 5, 10 or 20 minutes as required. Cassia is used most often to flavor other drugs, being helpful in diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and to relieve flatulence.

The oil of Cassia is a powerful germicide, but it is also an irritant. This property makes it and impractical remedy in topical applications unless diluted. It is a strong local stimulant, sometimes prescribed for stomach aches, flatulence (colic), and other gastric distress.

Keep away from pets as Cassia oil has been found to kill a moderately sized dog (six drachms) in five hours. Two drachms could do the same in forty hours, inflaming the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane.
Not recommended in quantity for nursing mothers as it could stop or decrease milk production.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

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Frangula purshiana, chitticum bark, Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry


Aloe-emodin, anthraquinones, barbaloin, beta-carotene, casanthranol, chrysophanic acid, chrysophanol, frangulin, malic acid, myristic acid, calcium, iron, linoleic acid, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C

The name Cascara Sagrada means 'Sacred Bark,' a name given this plant by Native American Indians. Chitticum bark acts as a colon cleanser and laxative (as the pronunciation of its name suggests). It is one of the strongest herbal laxatives, but is not a purgative. Cascara Sagrada has been found effective for colon disorders, constipation, and parasitic infestation. This is a very bitter tasting herb when taken as a tea. This bark can soothe the nerves and promote sleep. It is a safe laxative for pregnancy & can be used for children. Cascara Sagrada works by increasing the secretions of the liver, stomach, pancreas and lower bowel without being an irritant. Additionally, its action helps tone the intestines and regulate the colon without being habit forming. Many herbal combinations for the lower bowel utilize this herb. When used at the onset of illness or a cold, Cascara Sagrada can help clean the colon and system, supporting healing.

Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.

Thank you VERY much!

My children teach me more than I can ever hope to teach them. They are often accurate reflections of my own attitudes and demeanor. As a mama, I do my best to keep track of a LOT of details at the same time. This can give me a distracted air . . . until something goes wrong.

When something goes wrong, I am suddenly find the time to set aside other tasks to attend to the emergency at hand. I seem to be able to correct bad behavior without giving it a second thought. I can become quite focused when picking up or cleaning up the latest spill and deliver a stirring lecture on the merits of thinking of others, etc.

I have a long list of stirring lectures that can be delivered on a moment’s notice:
  • How could you do that?
  • What were you thinking?
  • Don’t ever do that again!
  • Why would you imagine that this was okay?
I’ll stop there, but you get the idea. In its context, none of these lectures was out of control or abusive. They were conceived and delivered at appropriate moments in the natural course of family life.

But something was missing.

I started noticing that the children had developed a method for getting my undivided attention that was at the same time effective and discouraging.

I didn’t realize that’s what they were doing at first. At first, I thought they had all decided at once that they would take extreme measures to send me to the very edge of my patience.

Then, somewhere in a dark, dusty corner of my memory, I recalled something someone had told me about called the Mama Store. She used it to encourage good behavior in her children. At first, I passed it off as simple bribery – something that I wouldn’t want to use in child training. But my children are trained to know what is expected of them, so I decided that the Mama Store might just be worth a shot to use as an encouragement for good behavior.

I started a box of goodies that held everything from extra art supplies, coupons for treats, little cheap plastic toys, balloons, and whatever else I could find that was cheap and available. Every item had a value placed on it and the clear plastic box was placed on a high shelf. This was my Mama Store.

My next step was to figure out how to keep track of good and bad behaviors. At first, I settled on a chart with tally marks in one place for good and another for bad. The end of each day was adding up both, subtracting the bad from the good and determining the total. The problem with this method was that the smallest of my children were unimpressed. The chart was always in a different room and the concept of marks on a chart translating into prizes was too vague for their concrete thinking.

Then, I hit on something that appealed to the mercenary in the older children and was concrete enough to motivate the younger ones: MamaBills and DaddyDollars. I created a sheet of these on my computer, printed them out, cut them apart and we were in business.

All of a sudden, behaviors that were annoying began to be something that could cost you a MamaBill. Behaviors that were helpful and joyful would earn you a MamaBill. Listening to a tired daddy when he got home and helping him with his work could get you a DaddyDollar. Remembering to do something without being told, helping the younger ones, respecting your older sibling, all of these things could gain you a wealth of MamaBills or DaddyDollars which would translate into coveted prizes at the end of the day!

The store hours are at my discretion. You must keep up with your own money (I do help the Z-man with his). Asking for payment means you get nothing. Those hard earned MamaBills and DaddyDollars can be lost to poor behavior. That’s right; Mama or Daddy can charge fines for poor behavior.

Children begin to struggle with the desire to whine versus the desire to protect his/her stash of MamaBills and DaddyDollars. Negotiations over whether or not to do something are easily eliminated as the children see that these things will cost them the money they had been saving for a special treat from the Mama Store. Leaving chores undone will mean that you have to pay Mama in MamaBills for doing your work.

But do you want to know the absolute BEST thing about MamaBills and DaddyDollars?

They remind me to say, “Thank you” to my children. I carry around with me little slips of paper that tell me to look for efforts of goodness in my little ones. I have little bits of encouragement to give to them at my discretion. It reminds me to stoop down, get at their eye level, smile and say, “Know what? You’re a great kid. I saw what you just did, and I appreciate it. Here’s a MamaBill.” My expression is genuine because it isn’t based on some philosophical concept of parental attachment that is a fuzzy, confusing idea to them. My expression is a validation of a concrete action on their part. Their little faces fill with pride as they seem to say, “You NOTICED!” The look on their face is priceless – worth far more than a MamaBill or DaddyDollar.

I am reminded the power of saying a simple, “Thank you,” and I get the opportunity to delight in my children.

~~Psalm 37:4~~
thyself also in the LORD:
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

~~Romans 1:20-21~~

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world

are clearly seen,

being understood by the things that are made,

even his eternal power and Godhead;

so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God,

they glorified him not as God,

neither were they thankful;

but became vain in their imaginations.

read more “Thank you VERY much!”