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. . .

Ginsu Christmas

I’m still smiling about Christmas this year. It promised to be one of those holidays where you just weren’t sure if you could pull it off. Things were tight this year. All our needs are met, but we just didn’t have lots of extra laying around. We planned a potluck Christmas meal with family and some simple gifts. All in all, everything turned out wonderfully. There was more food than we could have hoped. The kids were all thrilled with their gifts. Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves.

It was a really GREAT time together enjoying family and fellowship.

Even the stabbing didn’t seem to put a crimp in things (WHAT DID SHE SAY?!).

With so many people in the house, at any one moment three to four people were speaking to me. I was in the living room when I heard Duke call my name. Having already answered several of his calls, I suspected that he was looking for something in the kitchen. My mom was in there, so I figured she would show him where to look. I half-listened for him to call again.

When he didn’t, I wound up my conversation and excused myself to see if he still needed me.

I walked into the kitchen to find Duke standing there with a sheepish expression on his face. He had a paper towel in his hand and said, “I messed up.” “What did you do,” I asked, my alarm growing. “I cut myself,” he replied. “How?” I asked. “I was trying to cut the toy out of the box with a knife. . . “ “WHICH knife?” I began to look around the kitchen. “That one,” he gestured towards the sink.

There, in the sink, was my Ginsu knife (as seen on TV). This is the one that you can stab holes into tin cans and cut through a pipe with. I like to use it to slice homemade bread thinly and had left it on the cutting board next to the loaf I’d been cutting for the meal. Apparently, Duke had lost patience with a pocket knife and the utility shears and then spotted the knife. Ginsu made quick work of the plastic ties that held the toy in its box. In his eagerness to free the toy, Duke also made quick work of the meaty part of his palm just below his thumb joint.

“Let me see,” I told him pulling back the blood-soaked paper towel. The wound was about an inch wide. This told me that it was quite deep as the knife had a double-pronged tip. In order for the cut to be that wide, both prongs had to have entered the wound. I cleaned the wound, stemmed the blood flow and then bandaged the hand with a plantain poultice. I could tell that it would need a stitch if he was going to work the next day. I could stop the bleeding, but any small bump would break it open again without stitches. To say that Duke wasn’t happy with this news was and understatement.

I didn’t have a suturing kit on hand – or a suturing needle and thread. This would mean a trip up to the urgent care near our home. We left our boys with their older brother, aunt, uncle and grandparents and told them we’d try to hurry. I bundled Duke into the car and tuned the car radio to cheerful music, hoping to lift his spirits.

At the urgent care, we pulled into the empty parking lot and walked to the door and read the note that basically said if you wanted to stab yourself on Christmas Day, you’d need to schedule your emergency before 4:00. They were closed. Ho, ho, ho. This didn’t help Duke’s outlook.

We got back into the car. My next stop was the local fire department. I knew it was a long shot that they’d have a suturing kit, but it was worth a shot to avoid the hospital emergency room on Christmas day. Who knows? Maybe the urgent care people called ahead to warn them to turn off the lights. At any rate, they weren’t there. The building was locked.

Back in the car, Duke was becoming less concerned about his hand and more grumpy over his circumstance. I tried to lighten the mood, which only had the opposite effect. Duke figured he earned this grumpy, and he didn’t appreciate me trying to take it from him.

In one last-ditch effort to avoid the ER, we went by a local Doctor’s Care. They were closed also. We were heading to the hospital.

When we pulled in to the hospital parking lot, Duke exclaimed, “Look at all the cars! Let’s just go home.” I reminded him that he had to have stitches in order to work. He muttered something about me doing it myself. I told him I didn’t have the tools. He grumbled some more and slumped out of the car.

As we were signing in, a guy I’ll call Steve arrived with another man. Steve was clutching a dish towel for all he was worth and looked a little pale. The man with him had run red lights to get him there. Breathlessly Steve offered only nouns, “Electric knife, turkey, finger.” As he caught his breath, he added, “I dropped the knife as I was carving the turkey and then tried to catch it. It caught my ring finger. There was blood everywhere under the table. I can’t feel the tip.” He was a younger fellow and apparently wasn’t used to seeing his own blood on the floor. Duke, on the other hand, has had his share of mishaps and was more annoyed than frightened.

Of course, not knowing what they would (or wouldn’t) find under Steve’s dish towel, the receptionist quickly filled out Steve’s form and sent him straight to the back. They needed to see how seriously he had cut himself. He returned to the waiting room with a bit of gauze around the end of his finger.

At this point, I just had to laugh. I found myself sitting between one really grumpy Duke and a really scared Steve.

Steve’s relative had left him and gone back home to enjoy the bounty there. I found out that Steve had waited all day to eat because he knew that there would be a feast. He traveled more than an hour’s drive with his girlfriend (where was she?) and was helping carve one of two turkeys when he dropped the electric knife (and then caught it). Now, here he sat, alone with me and Duke. Steve was scared of blood & needles. “And the worst part,” he said, “Is that I didn’t even get to eat. I told them I hoped I didn’t ruin their meal with all of that blood.”

I laughed and said, “Steve, if they’re like our family, that is already cleaned up and they are eating. You’ll be lucky to get a taste of banana pudding.” “No,” he grinned. “MY family LOVES me,” he added dialing his cell phone. After he hung up, I asked, “Well, are they going to bring you a plate?” “No, they went ahead and ate. I think I heard them scraping out plates in the background.”

It was entertaining to me.

Meanwhile, Duke was getting more and more disgusted with the entire process. This process included signing in (which we had already done), triage (where the patient’s condition is assessed) and registration (where the hospital makes sure they will get paid). This meant that twice, Duke’s name was called and he got up expecting to go get his hand stitched only to be met with paperwork and protocol. Having me calmly explain the process only seemed to irritate him more.

Finally, they called us back. Duke was ready to register his complaint. He stormed down the hall behind the attendant, the countenance of his black mood darkening the cheery decorations. Previously smiling nurses and interns in Santa hats gave him a wide berth and wondered who was in trouble.

We were led to an exam room at the same time as Steve. Apparently, we were lumped in some sort of group by triage that was for ‘Christmas-self-injuries-in-need-of-stitches.’ As we waited to be seen, I could see the steam rise from Duke’s ears. I figured it best to try again to get him to relax. My attempts at light conversation were met with a series of comments about how all of this waiting was ridiculous for just some stitches, etc. etc. I tried to remind him that this was Christmas Day and we had only been there a couple of hours and that they needed to have the paperwork . . . .

I could see it wasn’t helping so I told him, “Look, I know you’re mad, but I don’t want you to take it out on the next person who comes in here because THAT might be the person who will actually take care of your hand, and we don’t want to make THAT person mad. Besides, it isn’t his/her fault. If we’ve got to wait, why do we have to be miserable? I’m trying to pass the time pleasantly. What do you want me to do?” At this point, Duke used sign language that let me know he wanted silence. I granted his wish for about five minutes and then said, “Next time, let me use the knife.” I saw the twinkle return to his eyes as he said, “Yeah, I know what you’d do” as he drew his forefinger across his throat. “No,” I said, “THAT would be too quick.” And with that, he seemed to relax. Don’t ask me to explain Duke. I just enjoy him.

By far, the MOST unusual Christmas present I received was getting to watch up close the suturing process. I’ve studied it, but nothing beats a good visual aid. Besides, if it’s one of my kids or myself getting the stitches, I’m usually otherwise occupied trying to comfort the patient or avoid discomfort. Duke didn’t require my services in that regard, so I got on one side of the tray and asked LOTS of questions and got a nice lesson in suturing. Cool!

Poor Duke still had to stay long enough to sign papers even after they cleaned him up and listened to his heart. Finally, he was FREE!

In the car, all of the way home, he beat himself up for having ‘ruined Christmas.’ “Are you kidding?” I responded. “I got a lesson in suturing wounds. We made a new friend that let you know you aren’t the only one to hurt himself with a knife, AND we found a way to spend time alone on Christmas Day with a house full of family. THAT’S not bad, in my book.”

From family & food to stabbing and stitches, it’s definitely not your ordinary Christmas celebration. Then again, who wants ordinary?

By the way, those Ginsu knives are really GREAT knives. Just be CAREFUL! Also, we've been using the Eden Salve by Shoshanna's Garden (available at Bulk Herb Store) with great success as a treatment under the dressing. Duke hasn't had any discomfort after the initial soreness & has been able to work well with bandages to keep the wound clean. The comfrey root and other herbs in the salve really help speed healing.

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A Place for ME!

Today had the potential to be a lousy day. I woke up very tired. My system has been fighting a cold being passed around by my little one. My Dearest Duke, was up and in a whirl of activity long before I was able to compose myself and greet the family. While I dressed and fought feelings of guilt, he had already fed them breakfast, made the coffee and cleared the dishes.

Duke is the best husband in the whole world. My children are my joy. Yet, the multitude of tasks and caretaking chores that fill each 24 hours sometimes seem to define me in their eyes. I become the person that does __________ for them. Rather than a person that enjoys ________ or loves _______ or thinks ________. I feel as though I have become the person that meets a need and performs a function.

Of course, I was underestimating my dear family. My depleted physical condition was affecting my emotions. When I got to the living room, I saw something precious. Duke had moved my rocking chair.

Let me explain.

My rocking chair was a gift from Duke. When our oldest was young, I made do by learning how to hold a little one and rock my body as I sang lullabies. Duke made sure that I had a rocker for the younger ones. However, Duke also loves overstuffed, large pieces of furniture. This meant that my rocking chair sat near the fireplace, in the walkway, where passersby tripped over my feet or bumped the chair as they opened the door to the backyard. It didn’t really bother me. It was just the only place left for my chair. I would sit on one side of the room, while everyone else sprawled on the other side.

When I got up this morning, Duke had moved his GIANT recliner to the opposite side of the room. He had banished one of the clunky pieces of furniture to the dump and the recliner found its new home in its place. This freed up floor space so that my rocking chair now sits right between two other pieces of furniture. It’s like I’ve been allowed to come out of time out.

It got me to thinking.

As much as my precious family loves and cares for me, there is Someone Who cares about me in unfathomable ways and knows me more intimately. Looking at my chair in its new home, thinking about how much it means to sit WITH my family rather than across from them, HIS words came to me:

Let not your heart be troubled:
ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also.
John 14:1-3

Imagine a place that has been made for you by Someone who KNOWS all of the secrets of your heart. Even better. Imagine a place made for you by Someone who MADE you and KNOWS what will be the perfect fit.

We have a way of exposing ourselves to things for which we were never created. But, there is a place made for me by my Creator that is full of all the things I was designed to enjoy and use and touch and . . .

I will be sheltered, fed, clothed, furnished by PERFECTION. The ONE who made me will offer me things which are so me, it just wouldn’t fit anyone else. I believe that in the enjoyment of those things He has prepared, He will be glorified, because no one else could have prepared something so perfectly suited for me. In fact, I think that the things He has prepared are so perfectly suited that if you were to enter the place prepared for me, you’d likely find it nice, but not so enjoyable.

Here, I enjoy my rocking chair. It is mine, but it is a mass-produced rocker. It looks like many, many others made at the same time. In the place HE has prepared, I don’t think anything is mass-produced. There are no duplicates. Just look at each of us. Within the boundaries of the human race are limitless characteristics that make each of us unique. If there are scissors in heaven, I imagine that each tool is so intricately crafted that it will only become a tool of perfection in one hand, the hand for which it was created.

Now, read those words again:

I go to prepare a place for you.

We aren’t talking about some luxury resort with several custom rooms and extravagant amenities. He means something much more intimate.

Just as Duke instinctively knew that I’d love to sit near his chair and relax near the children and look at the fireplace warming the room, God knows a few things about my heart. He knows my tastes. He knows the things that stir me to tears, laughter or rejoicing. He knows what things will inspire me to my greatest achievements. He knows what would be a nagging annoyance. He knows what would bless me in ways I’ve never even imagined. He KNOWS.

And HE has prepared a place for ME!

You’ll just HAVE to see it!

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Leaves, flowers, root,

Beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, calcium, coumarin, hesperidin, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, saponins, selenium, sulphur, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, zinc.

Mullein has an overall gentle nature that makes it a favorite among herbalists for use with children's treatments. A nutritive (high in nutrient content), Mullein is a good choice for depleted or fragile systems. This herb supports nervous system function (a known nervine). In combinations, Mullein works well Chammomile, Catnip, and Lemon Balm.

This herb can be a mild sleep aid, but I find that this is most likely due to its ability to sooth and ease pain while calming nervous tension rather than any strong narcotic properties. Depending on the individual, Mullein may not impair daytime function.

In general, Mullein is a good application for skin irritations as it promotes wound healing (vulnerary), checks bleeding (hemostatic), and acts as an astringent (contracts tissues and dries secretions). As an anti-septic, Mullein helps prevent or counteract decay or the formation of pus. All of these properties (along with its ability to ease pain) contribute to Mullein oil’s effectiveness as a treatment for earaches.

Mullein has been reported to aid in wart removal when taken internally. I believe that this is likely due to its germicidal action as it destroys germs and/or micro-organisms. These features, combined with its vermicidal action (meaning, it kills parasitic worms) and its laxative action make it a good choice when treating for parasites.

Mullein is a diuretic, eliminating excess fluid. At the same time, it soothes inflamed tissue with its demulcent (soothing mucilaginous substance) and emollient (softening and smoothing) actions. This makes it useful in kidney formulas.

In my opinion, the assistance that Mullein offers in eliminating waste via means of the colon and kidneys make Mullein a good choice for those trying to eliminate toxins from their system.

Among mothers, Mullein is a favorite to keep on hand during cold and flu season. It helps clear congestion, by loosening and expelling excess mucous from air passages. It is useful in the treatment of respiratory problems, including asthma. Mullein helps in the reduction of swelling in the glandular system, making it helpful in the treatment of bronchitis, earache, and some allergic reactions. These properties combined with Muellin’s ability to calm spasms and ease pain make it valuable in the treatment of sinusitis and related symptoms. Mullein is known as a pectoral because it helps to heal the broncho-pulmonary area.

The beneficial properties of Mullein lend themselves to help restore normal body functions and classify this herb as an alterative.

As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'

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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Althea officinales, Sweet Weed, Cheeses, Wymote, Mallards, Mauls, Schloss Tea, Mortification Root

Flowers, stems, leaves, roots

Amino acids, beta-carotene, betaine, caffeic acid, calcium, chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, iron, kaempferol, lime, magnesium, manganese, mucilage, paraffin, p-coumaric acid, pectin, phytosterols, phosphorus, potassium, quercetin, salicylic acid, scopoletin, selenium, sorbitol, tannins, vanillic acid, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, zinc.

Marshmallow root is prized for remedies. The root powder is very absorbent, binding together when moistened. Marshmallow’s constituents don’t interfere with the action of other herbs, making it an ideal medium for making pills and lozenges from other herbal extracts. The leaves are used in poultices, teas and green drinks.

Marshmallow is a diuretic which aids the body in expelling excess fluid and mucus through the increased production and elimination of urine. As a demulcent, Marshmallow helps to sooth and relieve inflammation. These properties, combined with it’s anti-inflammatory action, make marshmallow root useful in the treatment of bladder infections.

The diuretic properties of marshmallow combined with its expectorant properties make Marshmallow a good choice when treating congestion. Expectorants promote the expulsion of mucous secretions from the air passages. Because of its rich stores of nutrients which build body tissues, Marshmallow is classified as a nutritive. The combined effect of these properties makes this herb a help in the treatment of weakened systems characterized by congestion. An additional benefit of these actions is that it provides relief of headaches related to sinus pressure.

By relieving the body of excess fluids, Marshmallow helps alleviate kidney and bladder problems while providing valuable nutrients.

Both internally and externally, Marshmallow is healing for the skin, mucous membranes, and other tissues. Its emollient action helps soften and sooth irritation. Classified as a vulnerary, Marshmallow promotes wound healing and normalization of damaged tissue. Marshmallow is mucilaginous, which means that its beneficial properties are delivered in a soothing coating to inflamed tissues and sensitive areas.

Marshmallow increases and enriches milk in nursing mothers.

As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'

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. "Althaea officinalis

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Lavendula angustifolia
English Lavender

Flowers, stem

Alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, beta-santalene, borneol, camphor, caryophyllene, coumarin, geraniol, limonene, linalool, luteolin, 1, 8-cineole, rosmarinic acid, tannin, umbelliferone, ursolic acid.

Flowers are normally harvested between the end of July and the middle of August. Harvesting happens within a week’s span when the flowers are in full bloom, preservation/processing taking place immediately for maximum fragrance.


As an industry, Lavender oil ranks in the top five essential oils produced per year. The essential oil of lavender is found in the flowers and stalks of the plant. Lavandula angustifolia, yields a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. It is especially useful as an ingredient to cover disagreeable odors in herbal preparations and compounds.

Lavender flowers produce an abundance of nectar which yields a high quality honey. Lavender honey is produced primarily in the
Mediterranean. Lavender flowers can be candied and used as cake decoration. Lavender is also used to flavor sugar. The flowers are sometimes sold in a blend with black tea. Lavender lends a mildly sweet and floral flavor to foods. The dried flowers are used in most cooking applications.

In addition to essential oil, Lavender can be used in fresh bunches, as a dried herb, or powdered for
sachets and/or potpourris.

Dried and sealed in pouches, Lavender gives clothing a fresh fragrance and acts as a deterrent to moths. Bunches of lavender are also said to ward off insects. Lavender oil is also used in veterinary practice to kill lice and other parasites on animals.

At one time Lavender was considered a digestive aid and
used as a condiment at meals to soothe the stomach. As a carminative, Lavender is considered a substance that helps remove gas from the digestive tract, easing related bowel pains. As a vermifuge, Lavender is sometimes used to help expel intestinal worms.

A soothing bedtime infusion can be made by pouring boiling water over three flower heads and allowing them to steep. This makes a tea which aids relaxation.

The essential oil of Lavender is very popular in aromatherapy. Lavender’s soothing scent has nervine properties. This characteristic means that Lavender’s aroma helps support the nervous system’s function by easing anxiety and tension. A few drops rubbed on the temple will ease a nervous headache.

This property also makes Lavender a helpful treatment against hyperactivity and insomnia. A few drops of the essence of Lavender in a hot footbath can have a marked influence in relieving fatigue and can help relieve stress and depression.

Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation. Sometimes, seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows to encourage restful sleep.

Lavender’s essential oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its germicidal properties are pronounced. The essential oil is reported to have been used to swab wounds and as a surgical disinfectant (floors, walls and other surfaces) in some hospitals during World War I. It is useful in the treatment of sores, varicose ulcers, burns and scalds.

The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of Lavender also make medicinal inhalation of steam with Lavender essential oil a helpful treatment for congestion. By direct application to the skin or in bath water, Lavender is considered soothing.

Lavender constituents are believed to be effective against bacteria, fungus, microbial activity on gums, airborne molds, and even against staph germs (when mixed with other oils). It’s effectiveness in treating gum disease also makes it helpful in soothing resultant tooth aches. A distilled water preparation made from Lavender can be gargled to treat hoarseness and laryngitis.

In some French households it was once common to use Essence of Lavender as a remedy against bruises, bites and trivial aches and pains, both external and internal. An infusion of lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites as a topical application. Lavender oil (or extract of Lavender) is claimed to heal acne when used diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel

Lavender is considered beneficial for the skin, easing the symptoms of psoriasis, and other skin problems. Applied externally, Lavender can help relieve neuralgia, sprains, and rheumatism.

The oil is sometimes used in the embalming of corpses.


§ The essential oil of Lavender can mimic estrogens and should be used with caution, especially by those suffering from hormonal imbalances.

§ Ingesting lavender should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

§ Lavender essential oil should not be taken internally.

§ Although Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory effects, it should be used with caution since lavender oil can also be a powerful allergen.

As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'

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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Kelp is a term used for edible seaweed.

Fucus vesiculosis
Fucus, Sea-Wrack, Kelp-Ware
Black-Tang, Quercus marina, Cutweed
Bladder Fucus, Fucus (Varech), vesiculeux
Blasentang, Seetang, Meeriche

The dried mass of root, stem and leaves (thallus, frond, offshoots)

Primary chemical constituents of this plant include mucilage, algin, beta-carotene, bromine, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, mannitol, organic iodine, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, volatile oils, Vitamins A, E, B, D, zeaxanthin and many other minerals.

Kelp may be eaten raw or consumed in a number of other forms, including dried, tablets, granulated or ground into powder. It is also available in liquid form and can be added to drinking water. In its powdered form, it can be used as a condiment for flavoring and as a salt substitute.

Used as an external application or internally, Kelp has a reputation in helping the relief of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bladderwrack, a type of Kelp, has a chemical constituent of called alginic acid which swells upon contact with water. Taken orally, Bladderwrack forms a type of seal at the top of the stomach. Because of this property, this type of Kelp is often used in over-the-counter preparations for heartburn. The same property gives Bladderwrack laxative properties as well.

Kelp is a natural source of iodine, an essential nutrient for proper function of the endocrine system, especially the thyroid gland. Kelp has proved useful in the treatment of under active thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and goiter. Where obesity is related to hypothyroidism, Kelp is a help in weight reduction.

Iodine in Kelp helps prevent tumor growth, helps cleanse the body of radiation and acts as a natural antibiotic, fighting infection. The natural plant iodine present in Kelp is absorbed more slowly and more safely than chemical iodine. This property enables Kelp to support the adrenals, pancreas, thyroid and pituitary glands, alleviating symptoms related to poor endocrine function. These include symptoms such as low body temperature, hair loss, enlarged prostate, fetal abnormalities, poor function (or decreased function) of reproductive organs.

Rich in calcium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium and other minerals including trace minerals, Kelp helps normalize glands and hormone levels during pregnancy as well as strengthen nails, build cell membranes, and support proper function of the immune system.

For more information on the role of Iodine in support of health, read this article:
Iodine, Required for Health

While most Kelp is considered safe during pregnancy, I would take care to be sure of the source, as plants harvested from polluted waters could carry toxins such as mercury, a known neurotoxin. There are cautions against using Bladderwrack for pregnant or lactating mothers. Bladderwrack is also not recommended for use by those suffering from hyperthyroidism or cardiac problems. Excessive dosage (many times the recommended dosage) may lead to hyperthyroidism, tremor, increased pulse rate and elevated blood pressure.

As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'

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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Iodine, Required for Health

Why Do I Need Iodine?
Iodine is one of the necessary elements required by the human body for health. Iodine helps regulate the endocrine system which in turn regulates hormone production. A lack of iodine can affect your I.Q. as much as 15 points, and your height by as much as ten centimeters, according to one nutritionist.

Recently, the Dutch people made headlines by becoming the tallest people in the world. Scientists are tracing it directly back to nutrients and minerals in the diet, specifically iodine. See two reports here:

Tall Tales: New Approaches to the Standard of Living, by Richard Steckel

The Height Gap: Why Europeans are getting taller and taller -- and Americans aren't, by Burkhard Bilger

Dr. David Brownstein states that prostate cancer has a possible link to a deficiency in iodine. He says that men don't show signs of the deficiency as early or as strong as women because of the number of cell receptors in men being less than women. Cell receptors are found in breast tissue and fat cells. However, in terms of fatigue and hormone imbalance, the men suffer also. As the cell receptors grab whatever substance is available instead of iodine, the body's functions become inefficient, resulting in some of the same complaints women have suffered.

What are cell receptors? Imagine little containers, or receptacles, within each cell that must be filled in order for that cell to function properly. When enough iodine does not exist, the body has to make choices as to which cells receive the little iodine available. This means, that organs not deemed critical to survival do not get as much of the limited iodine as organs like the thyroid gland gets. Organs like the ovaries, prostate, and breast tissue that would normally have iodine do without or try to use one of the toxins in your diet or environment as a poor substitute. These substitutions result in malfunction on the cellular level and hormonal imbalance can begin, exacerbated by the phytoestrogens in plants, and other estrogens in drugs, environmental chemical contamination, etc. It becomes part of a larger domino effect of symptoms of ill health.

Often, the symptoms are treated rather than the cause (iodine deficiency). Hormonal imbalance (sometimes called estrogen dominance) is one of the symptoms of iodine deficiency. As this condition is treated with supplemental progesterone, the thyroid and other glands get the progesterone they need. The body gets a burst of energy. This increase in stamina/energy leads to an even greater need for iodine (which is already deficient in the body, leading to the original hormonal imbalance). This can leave a person with the initial feeling of wellbeing later suffering from the same symptoms (a bit of a relapse) as the body's need for more iodine now creates a greater imbalance for which the original dosage of hormone therapy is not adequate. It's a bit of a spiraling effect.

What causes Iodine deficiency?

Many chemicals in our environment, food and water supply mimic iodine’s chemical components, fooling the receptors in our bodies to accept these toxins. Fluoride and Bromide (a common ingredient in store bought bread) are two chemicals which do this. Even water used to irrigate organic produce can have some of these copycat chemicals.

Iodine has the highest number on the relative atomic weight scale in relation to these halogen toxins. Next comes Bromine, Chlorine, Flourine (flouride). What this means is that the cellular receptacles that are made to receive Iodine can be fooled into receiving any of the lighter toxic halogens within the cellular receptacles. Once the cell’s receptors have taken in a chemical other than iodine, the cell must continue its life cycle in that state (or have its toxin replaced by another toxin). The new cells will continue the process of looking for iodine and accepting poor substitutes (chemical toxins) if no iodine is available.

In practical terms, Bromine can be displaced by Chlorine or Flourine; Chlorine by Flourine. BUT the reverse is not true. Iodine cannot displace the lighter toxins once they are in the cellular receptacle. This is why treatment for Iodine deficiency takes 3 to 6 months. The body needs time to build new receptors and let the Iodine do its work, ridding itself of the toxins through your urine and other means. If iodine is present in the system, the cell will receive the iodine it was created to receive instead of the toxins that are present.

Another contributing factor in iodine deficiency is geographically depleted areas of iodine. If the soil in which our food is cultivated is depleted of iodine, then foods normally rich in iodine will no longer be the rich sources of nutrients they once were. This means that agricultural practices greatly influence the ability of our foods to supply us with needed nutrients.

Diets that are low sodium also contribute to iodine deficiency by further reducing the inadequate quantity of iodine made available in iodized salt. That is not to say that consumption of iodized salt will solve iodine deficiency, but that this trace amount helps prevent some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency, such as goiter.

Diets that may cause iodine deficiency include:
1. Diets without ocean fish or sea vegetables
2. Low iodized salt diets
3. High consumption of bakery products containing Bromide
4. Vegan and vegetarian diets

Complications of Iodine Deficiency
Once the cell receptors in your body have been fooled into receiving substitute toxins (because iodine was not present), the cells begin to malfunction as they attempt to utilize other chemicals that cannot replicate iodine’s benefits.

Some symptoms of Iodine Deficiency include:
This is just a partial list)
brain fog
fatigue/low energy
difficulties at work
poor eyebrow growth
slow reflexes
puffiness under eyes
dry skin
low basal body temperature (normal 97.8-98.2)
mental retardation/deficiency
delayed physical/mental development
thickened tongue

Diseases related to Iodine Deficiency
Iodine in the body helps regulate cell division – especially in breast, uterine, ovary and prostate glands. Iodine is like the referee that helps cells know when they should stop dividing and die as they would in a normal life cycle. Without iodine, cells can begin to multiply rampantly as a cancer. Some cancers (and fibroids) have been shown to reverse when iodine deficiency is addressed, disintegrating from the center of the tumor out. Why? The iodine begins to do its work of regulating the cells’ division and life cycle. The cells begin to die off as they should and the cancer cannot sustain itself.

Specific conditions that iodine can treat include:
Breast Diseases
Dupuytren's Contracture
Excess Mucous
Fibrocystic Breasts
Migraine Headaches
Ovarian Disease
Parotid Duct Stones
Sebaceous Cysts
Thyroid Disorders
Vaginal Infection

Treatments to correct Iodine Deficiency
Make natural sources of iodine a part of your daily diet and take supplemental iodine.

Expect your body to detoxify itself of the copycat toxins if you get iodine at the levels you NEED. This means that while you continue to treat your body for the symptoms of iodine deficiency (for example hormone imbalance), you also find ways to replenish the body's stores of iodine. In this example, you will likely find that after 3 to 6 months of iodine supplementation, you may be able to start backing off of the hormone therapy and eventually stop it all together as the system begins to balance itself. It takes 3 to 6 months for your cells and receptors to regenerate and utilize the extra iodine in your diet. It is at this point that most people are then able to maintain the benefits with dietary and/or decreased supplementation.

Natural food sources

Kelp, or seaweed, is considered a rich source of iodine. Cod Liver Oil (from wild-caught, deep sea, cold waters) is another rich source of iodine. Other fish which are wild-caught in deep, cold waters, having scales and not skin are also sources of iodine. These foods draw their iodine from the ocean waters and retain their richness. One of the main benefits of this organic form of iodine is that the sea’s nutrient stores are still considered rich. However, the consumer will need to investigate the food source as some waters have become polluted.

Fresh waters flow over land and transport nutrients and minerals into the sea. Plants and animals then convert these nutrients and minerals into an organic form that can be processed by the human body. Our Creator in His wisdom provided us with these plants and animals from the sea as nutrient processors that take what our bodies could not use and transform it into a bio-available form – or a form that can be utilized by a human body.

As our oceans and seas become more polluted with various chemicals and toxins, it becomes more important to be selective about what sea foods to add to the diet. Given the option, it is preferable to consume food harvested in deep, cold ocean waters than that harvested in warm shallow waters. Fish with skin absorb more of the pollutants in the waters where they live and are generally scavengers, consuming rotting or dead matter, so these are not recommended for regular consumption. The Creator has also placed shelled animals within our waters to act as filters to clean up toxins that find their way into the water. Consumption of shellfish exposes the human system to these poisons. I mention these things in order that the reader might avoid the temptation to increase the amount of sea food in the diet without taking the time to select that which is best suited to his (the reader’s) purpose.

Our agricultural lands are now considered deficient in iodine. Our food sources for land grown foods have been depleted as the stores in the soil have gone down. You would have to eat much more of these foods than you would have years ago to get the same result -- even if the food is organic. I’ve mentioned iodine in salt as a source of iodine. However, the iodine in salt is not the amount the human body needs on a cellular level. The amount in salt may only prevent goiter. A greater amount of iodine is needed to maintain proper health.

Dairy products, eggs and meat will contain iodine if the animal has been fed an iodine rich diet. In the 1980's iodine was removed from many food products on U.S. shelves.

Iodine is present in all parts of the black walnut tree. Iodine is in the highest concentration in the outer hulls of the nuts. This is also the part used for vermifuge solutions. Black walnut is also a significant source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, sulfur, copper and silicia, with the meat being a good source of essential fatty acids.

Land-based food sources of iodine include:
Egg Yolk

It has been observed that when iodine is consumed in an acid reactive medium, the iodine is more readily utilized by the body. Drinking a glass of water with a spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar along with these foods helps your body process the iodine in the food. Without knowing the science, our grandmothers were securing the health of future generations by serving some of these foods preserved in a vinegar solution.

For further study:
The following is a partial list of my source material for this article. While I have found these volumes informative and useful, my listing them here is not an endorsement of their personal philosophies and/or belief systems. I list the web sites as a convenience to the reader and because I find the price competitive, not as an endorsement of these businesses. Purchasing volumes used or borrowing them from the local library would save the reader even more money.

Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It,
Dr. David Brownstein, M.D. (Medical Alternatives Press, 2004)

Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health,
by D. C. Jarvis, M.D. (Henry Holt & Co, January 1958)

The Cure for All Diseases,
Hulda Regehr Clark
(New Century Press, January 1995)

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Baked Pasta & Cheese

Here in the U.S. this recipe is more commonly known as macaroni & cheese. My mother makes this as her specialty dish.

{Sorry about the photo. The family got to it before I could get the picture taken. :-)}

Since our diet changed, I realized that I would have to find a way to make the old favorites fit within our new guidelines:

  • No gluten. We do our best to avoid eating wheat, barley, oats and rye as these grains contain a protein known as gluten. In children with difficulties learning, gluten can (not necessarily always) impair neurological development. So, we try to stay away from wheat-based pastas.
  • No homogenized or pasteurized dairy products. Again, we have seen difficulties with the development of allergies and other health issues which can be triggered by consumption dairy products that are homogenized and/or pasteurized.
  • No soy products
  • Organic foods within our budget.

So, with those guidelines in mind (and apologies for my faltering conversions to metric measurements), here is my recipe.

Empty Dish Macaroni & Cheese
Note: none of these measurements are EXACT, but approximate

¼ cup [1.25 ml] organic (or homemade) mayonnaise (without soybean oil) OR ¼ cup (total volume) of raw butter, olive oil, coconut oil (you can mix these to suit your taste)

2 cups [.48 L] whole, raw milk OR a mixture that equals 2 cups (total volume) of yogurt, cream, kefir, curds, and/or whole milk

2 cups [.48 L] (plus a little extra) grated raw cheese – for me, this usually equals about 8 to 10 ounces [225 g to 280 g] of cheese in a solid block

2 eggs

sea salt & ground pepper to taste

8 oz pasta [225 g] – quinoa, brown rice, vegetable, elbow or any other style will do. My family prefers elbows or some other pasta that seems to hold the cheese as opposed to thin noodles.

Preheat oven to 350˚F. [177˚C]

Cook the pasta until it is al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes LESS than recommended by the directions on the box. For me, this means adding the pasta to boiling, salted (sea salt) water and allowing it to cook on the boil for about 5 to 6 minutes.

Immediately remove from the stove and pour off the liquid, cooling the pasta with cold water to keep it from continuing to cook. It is okay if the pasta is underdone at this point. You want it to be underdone.

Place the mayonnaise (or oil blend), milk and eggs into a casserole (2” x 9” x 13”) [6 cm x 23 cm x 33 cm] dish and mix with a fork or spoon until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes, I throw in a dash of paprika.

Add the 2 cups of grated cheese. We most often use mild cheddar, but you can use a blend of your favorite cheese for a more sophisticated taste.

Once the cheese and sauce are well blended, add the drained pasta to the casserole. Fold the noodles into the sauce until they are all well coated. At this point, you may wish to add more cheese. I place extra as a topping over the casserole.

The mixture should be liquid. The excess liquid will combine with the egg and cheese and complete the cooking of the pasta.

Place this into your pre-heated oven for 35 minutes. You may wish to turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking time to allow the top to get a hint of bubbly brown.

I call this an Empty Dish Macaroni & Cheese, because there are seldom any leftovers the next day.

VARIATION: You can add your favorite organic wieners, sliced into the mix. When we do this, we use Applegate Farms (http://www.applegatefarms.com/stadium.shtml), but you could also use a nice homemade sausage.

This is one of those simple dishes that nicely showcases the quality of your ingredients. The healthy fats make it a satisfying and filling side dish, or a nice meal all by itself. I like the ease with which it goes together when time is short and the pantry supplies are low. It can easily be dressed up with your selection of additional ingredients, but plain is a favorite at our house.

Yields: 8 to 10 generous servings (which means my family gets seconds!)

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Brewing an Enjoyable Cup of Tea

There really isn’t a wrong way to make tea. There are just better ways and not-so-great ways. I’m no expert. I am a lifelong tea drinker. Much to my parents’ dismay, I no longer drink the syrup known as sweet tea here in the southeastern United States. They’ve managed to adjust to this change. . . .

I digress.

I learned to love hot tea at a Chinese restaurant. Their green tea had a strong, smooth flavor and aroma that was WONDERFUL. It inspired me to go home and try to make my own. The result was a bitter, chemically tasting cup of disappointment.

So, the NEXT time I went to the Chinese restaurant, I asked them how they made such wonderful tea. All you needed was a teabag and some hot water, right? Well, yes and no. It takes a little more than that if you actually expect to enjoy the tea.

The first thing I learned was that you must use the purest, filtered water you can find. Chlorine has a taste and odor. Drinking tea is an aromatic experience. Water from the tap (even well water with its mineral content) will change the flavor of your tea in ways that are not always pleasant.

The second thing I learned was that you NEVER steep your tea in a metal pot or pan. Tea will react to metal and leech some of the metallic taste into the brew. This isn’t so much the case with stainless steel, but your best bet is to allow your tea to steep, covered, in a ceramic cup or teapot. The reason for covering the tea while it steeps is so that none of the essence of the tea will evaporate with the steam and so that the brew will not cool so quickly. The retained heat will help the tea brew properly.

The third thing I learned is that you boil the water, not the tea. This was hard for me to grasp as I grew up in a house where a busy mom tossed tea bags into cold water in a metal pot and placed the whole thing, uncovered onto the stove to boil (breaking a bag or two, usually) before she caught it and moved it to the side. But, if your goal is a satisfying cup of tea, you have to let go of the past. *wink*

In addition to using filtered water, you’ll want to pay attention to what kind of container you use to boil your water. A tea kettle isn’t required, but it is convenient as they come with pour spouts and a handle for ease of filling and pouring. I prefer to use stainless steel, enamel, or glass to boil water. However, I have found that the baked enamel kettles are not as durable and can peel with age, exposing metal that will rust when exposed to the water. I will not use no-stick containers. I don’t trust the coating to stay on the pan and out of my food.

When it comes to kettles, I like those that have both a large opening in the top for filling and cleaning as well as a pour spout with a hinged whistle cover. This keeps me from losing the cap when I get busy (by accidentally dropping it into the trash or down the drain). Even though I am using filtered water, I like having the ability to get into the kettle through the large opening to clean thoroughly on a regular basis. I use a vinegar and water solution for this task.

A tea pot is optional as well. If you have a glass container with a cover, or a cup with a saucer, you really have all you need. A tea pot is nice to have on hand when you know you will be drinking more than one cup. These can be expensive, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money. Find something that will make you happy without breaking the bank, and you’ll have just the right tea pot for you.

Here is my method for brewing tea:
1. Boil filtered water in a stainless steel container on your stove.


Food molecules - especially the molecules of water - have a positive and negative end in the same way a magnet has a north and a south polarity. . . .

Of all the natural substances - which are polar - the oxygen of water molecules reacts most sensitively. This is how microwave cooking heat is generated - friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of molecules are torn apart, molecules are forcefully deformed, called structural isomerism, and thus become impaired in quality.

2. Place tea leaves (or bag) into your tea cup, tea pot, or glass container. When the water on the stove comes to a boil, pour it over your tea in the container and cover with a lid. Your tea leaves can be placed inside of a clean cloth bag, a stainless steel ball, a special infuser, or left loose to steep in the water. Allow the tea to steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. Longer steeping times produce a stronger tea.

3.Strain your tea and serve with your choice of sweeteners. Some people prefer cream in their tea. I do not. For sweeteners, I prefer stevia, agave nectar or xylitol. Some people prefer honey, but I do not as (to my taste) it tends to overpower the tea.

This picture shows you some other options for brewing containers. You can allow your tea to steep in something as simple as a glass jar with a lid. You can use a regular tea cup and place the saucer over the top during the steeping. When it is time to strain your tea, you can pour it through something as simple as a bit of cheesecloth or use a special basket made for that purpose. You may prefer to leave the tea in the bottom of the cup. The choice is yours.

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Today's Truth

My heart knows a song
My ears haven’t heard
My voice blends with notes
No man ever penned
My hands lift in praise
My feet move with delight
As I travel new paths
I know . . . not by sight

The familiar isn’t comfortable
I’m not the same
I’ve been changed completely
By the Name above all Names

Let me live in THIS truth
May I move in THIS way
As I touch the old things
With the light from His Day

Let my reality be that
Which these eyes have not seen
Let my reality be what
My heart knows is plain

When the old circumstances
And the old wisdom comes
To tempt me to return
To the ways that are done
May my heart swell again
With a song not my own
As I trust in this truth
The old life is gone!


And they were all amazed,
and they glorified God,
and were filled with fear,
We have seen strange things to day.

~~Luke 5:26~~

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Marcus E. McDonald

You are likely wondering who is Marcus E. McDonald.
Before December 1, 2007, I would have given you a blank look and said, "I don't know."

However, something altogether sad and wonderful at the same time happened. Mr. McDonald managed to die at just the right time so that his obituary would appear in Saturday's newspaper. This just happened to be a Saturday when Duke had the time and the extra pocket change and decided to purchase a newspaper. Other days of the week he's working. If he gets the Sunday paper, there's so many sections that we pretty much just scan the verbiage.

But a Saturday paper is just small enough that you might spot a treasure hidden away. That's what happened at our house. We aren't obituary readers. Unless we know we've lost a friend or a loved one, we just don't bother checking it out. So, it was just one of those wonderful things that happened by 'chance' that Duke decided to glance through the obituaries. There, he saw the grinning snapshot of a man in a t-shirt with more than just the standard fill-in-the-blank details. This was an actual letter from Marcus E. McDonald.

We didn't have the pleasure of knowing Mr. McDonald, but he sounds like our kind of fella. Something tells me that I won't be the only blogger posting this obituary. Something tells me that Mr. McDonald would have liked it that way. I suspect that whoever speaks tomorrow is going to have a tough time outdoing the deceased.

COLUMBIA — Can-Sir (lung), by God’s will, finally got me, Marcus Edward McDonald of Columbia, SC 29212 (born and raised in Greenville, SC) on Thursday, November 29, 2007, at age 58. I am writing this obituary, while still alive, on 9/14/07 so my family doesn’t have to go through this. My funeral will be held Monday at 2:00 p.m. December 3, 2007, at Faith Presbyterian Church with interment immediately thereafter in Bush River Road Memorial Gardens. Sorry to have you driving all over the place from the church to the cemetery, but it’s my funeral and I don’t want to hear any excuses for not staying for the interment! Karl McAllister Sr., Pastor, FPC and a great friend of mine, will reside. The pallbearers will be Elders: Steve Arneson, Brad Zamboni, Mike Ruff, and Deacons: Randolph Fuller, Doug Reynolds, and Craig Mandish, in honor of both “Offices” I served as both a Deacon and an Elder and do testify that they are both Spiritual Offices with different duty emphasis only, especially “teaching” (for the Elder).

Surviving me are “God’s best ever gifts to me,” other than all our salvation, which is sure and secure in Jesus the Christ. First, Lisa McDonald, my beautiful, organized, intelligent, Godly wife, mentor, cheerleader, and friend, affectionately known to some as “Lisa Jane,” a nick name I hung on her about 22 years ago that “stuck”...and we are both glad it did, just like our love and enjoyment of each other did. Seems the closer we got to God, the closer we got to each other - try it - you’ll like it. 2nd (in descending order of age) is my wonderful Amanda (Mandy) Joan McDonald, my eldest and “funniest” daughter who I called Roo cause no one else ever knew what it really meant. Roo and I swore not to ever tell. Hey Roo, I took our secret to the grave, surely you can too. Then you can tell ‘em in your own obituary. I can’t wait till you get up here. Man, all these people laugh “forever” (git it?) at a good joke or ruse. You gonna feel like a star in Heaven...I do. 3rd is my “gentle rock of Gibraltar,” Ashley Claire McDonald. In many ways Ash, you are the prettiest because of your “inner beauty” as well as your being photogenic. “The first of my girls to get a college degree” (through perseverance) and a Masters, albeit from Clemson. That would never happen to a Carolina Grad (Lisa and I) in heaven. She was also just awarded Career Counselor of the Year for Charleston County School District. Now for #3- Mary Elizabeth McDonald (“Wiba” to me), (Lisa and mine’s first) what a lovely name...(Mary) Mother of Jesus, (Elizabeth) Mother of John You, young lady, are very special and it will be cool to see (and according to the Bible I can watch) where you end up. You sing to God’s glory, “perform” to everyone’s dismay, you are smart as a whip and pretty as a tulip. Man, oh man, you got it going on! Just don’t ever forget to whom the glory should go for the gifts you received straight from Him, God. So, give back. 4th is Sarah Alice McDonald (Lisa and mine’s 2nd) named for her grandmother (Alice Gorman) and Abraham’s wife (Sarah) and deliberately spelled with an “H”, the dominate letter in YaHweH, God’s official name. Sarah, I always admired your inner “still and graceful” confidence. You are gonna be just fine and do great things. Thanks for being the humble winner you are. Nobody hugs better than you, Peanut and I love you!

That’s really about it. I was a simple man that did not like change (or socks) very much. I started McDonald Enterprises in 1972, after graduating from Carolina in 1971, (one life - one job) and gratefully sold it to my nephew, Bo Ivester, in April 2007, about 35 years later. I was married to Lisa since 1987, and more in love and “enjoyment” with her when I died than when we first married! I led each of my daughters to Christ at our kitchen table and discipled them regularly all their life. Jesus and I literally “walked and talked” all the time since about 1986, and I kept a real “short list of un confessed sins since then”. I believe the reason I was so “free in Christ” (Gal. 5:1, my favorite Bible verse) is because I was so continually forgiven by Him, not because I ever earned “even the thought of righteousness worthy of salvation” but purely because of His grace (God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense) to me. I remember saying in ’86, “I ain’t gonna be a closet Christian any more” and I believe I was not. I also hope you are not but if you don’t know Jesus, please understand, according to Him, you’ll never see me again because I’m in Heaven with Him and you can’t get here without Him. Please, think about it and do something about it! My Pastor, my Wife and 4 Daughters, or the Elders and Deacons carrying me, will be glad to show you, even at my funeral, how to receive “The Only Savior available”, Jesus. For those of you that read this and come to my funeral, I thank you on behalf of my family because that’s who you are doing it for, I ain’t gone be there ... I’m in heaven, thank God! If you can’t make it, visitation will be at Caughman-Harman Funeral Home on Bush River Road from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, 2007, so drop by but don’t dress up for me. See, my invitation is like Jesus’ invitation to salvation to you...come as you are (and a smiley face goes right there)!

Goodbye for now,

Marcus, aka Markie.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Faith Presbyterian Church, 1811 Dutch Fork Road, Irmo, SC 29063, designated to either the McDonald Scholarship Fund or Growing Through Faith. Marcus was given the opportunity to attend and graduate from the University of South Carolina through a personal scholarship and would like to continue to do that for others. He was also passionate about retiring the debt at his church.

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Hyssopus officinalis

Flowers, leaves, shoots

Alpha-pinene, benzaldehyde, beta-ionone, beta-sitosterol, borneol, caffeic acid, camphor, carvacrol, choline, eugenol, ferulic acid, geraniol, hesperidin, limonene, linalol, marrubiin, oleanolic acid, 1,8-cineole, rosmarinic acid, thymol, ursolic acid

The flowering tops of Hyssop are most used in herbal preparations. The flowers present in blue, red and white. The tops are cut in August for medicinal use. The greens can be used in salads and soups.

Hyssop is usually given as a warm infusion mixed with Horehound.

As a tea or infusion, Hyssop promotes expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract and relieves congestion. One old remedy for ‘debility of the chest’ recommends infusing 1 ounce of dried hyssop flowers in one pint of boiling water [writer’s note: always used distilled water for infusions & tinctures] for ten minutes. Sweeten with honey. Take a wineglassful three times per day until the condition improves. This remedy is also considered a vermifuge. A vermifuge is an agent that expels intestinal worms.

The green tops are sometimes boiled in a soup for the treatment of asthma. A tea of the Hyssop flowers and green tops is said to tone a ‘feeble stomach.’ A tea from the green tops drunk several times a day is reported to help rheumatism.

Catarrh is an excessive secretion of thick phlegm or mucus by mucous membranes or a deposit of hardened mucus or secretions anywhere in tissues. Hyssop has proved to be an effective treatment of chronic catarrh because of its expectorant, stimulant and diaphoretic properties. A diaphoretic helps the body remove waste from its system by means of perspiration, reducing fever if present. Hyssop is sudorific, which means it causes perspiration. An expectorant helps the body expel mucous from air passageways

As a carminative, Hyssop helps remove gas from the digestive tract, easing related bowel pains and pressure.

These benefits stem from Hyssop’s particular volatile oil which is stimulative, carminative, & sudorific. This highly aromatic essential oil is found in the leaves, stems, and flowers.

Hyssop is reported to help regulate blood pressure when taken internally. Other conditions helped by internal applications include circulatory problems, epilepsy, fever, gout and weight problems.

Externally, application of fresh green Hyssop to wounds promotes healing. An infusion of the leaves can be applied topically to ease muscle pain, help remedy bruises, and treat discolored contusions.

A Hyssop bath can prove beneficial, but a large quantity of the leaves would be required for such an application, making it somewhat impractical.

It is not recommended to use Hyssop during pregnancy. As with all herbs, avoid use of plants that have been exposed to toxic chemicals or have not been certified 'chemical free.'

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.


Purge me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean:
wash me,
and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7


Whiter than snow;
yes, whiter than snow;
Now wash me
and I shall be
whiter than snow.

~~James Nicholson, author~~
~~~William G. Fischer, composer~~~

Click here for full lyrics & tune

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