A Spoonful of Medicinal Plants a Day Will KeepThe Doctor Away!

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"Ounce for ounce, herbs and spices have more antioxidants than any other food group" - Michael Greger

A special thank you to Rachel Potter for this wonderful share about medicinal gardening!

There’s an old saying about why chopping wood is so effective: “It warms you twice - once when you chop it and again when you burn it.” The same is true for medicinal gardening. The process of planting it is healthy in the sense that gardening gets you out in nature, it raises your heart rate, and it gets you up close to healthy foods that you might choose to eat and plant and eat again. The end result, the medicinal herbs - will also help maintain your quality of life and your overall health.

In the last decade people have gotten progressively more concerned about what they are eating. The locavore movement began in California and traveled across the U.S. as people grew more disenchanted with processed foods, factory farms, pesticides, and genetically modified foods. More and more people are choosing to buy food that is grown or raised within a specific geographic location in order to feel certain they know what they are purchasing and ingesting. This began with fruits, vegetables, and meat, and branched off into different directions, including medicines.
As healthcare in the United States has become increasingly impersonal and expensive, both young and old people are looking again at traditional methods of healing, including folk remedies. Many of these are made with herbs that can be foraged locally or grown in the backyard. The pharmaceutical industry develops medicines all the time by researching plant chemistry, and plants are already the base of our health pyramid. People figure why not try to grow some of your own and experiment with various remedies?

If you are thinking about trying home- and garden-based medicines, there are already many people who produce salves, tinctures, teas, and elixirs locally. Experiment with a few of them and see if they work for you. If they do, look at their ingredient list. Are any of them ones you might consider adding to your own yard or garden? Gardeners are often up for new challenges and will include medicinal herbs like sage in their landscaping for its aesthetic value. It’s not much of a jump from sage to growing comfrey or planting an elderberry bush.

When planning and designing your medicinal garden, it’s important to take numerous factors into consideration just as it is for landscaping, or food or flower gardens. Not only do plants grow better and avoid predation by pests when you locate them by complementary plants, but a practical garden like an herb garden is best placed where it is handy. If you’re cooking, you do not want to trek a half mile to cut off some thyme or rosemary. Fortunately, there are many types of software to aid in design and implementation of your garden, no matter which plants you want to include.

The thing about gardening is that by gardening you become much more aware of how the things around you become part of you, and not just your experiences, but part of you at a cellular level. If you extrapolate that to life, it becomes more obvious that you should surround yourself with healthy, natural people and things that nourish your spirit and your body. “You are what you eat,” is a cliche phrase, but true. It’s also true that you are what you do, so choose carefully!

Get Back To Natural Leadership For What Ails You!

"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired" - Fannie Lou Hamer
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Does this quote resonate with you? Have you been miserable over the past few weeks with any of the horrible colds or the flu that have been raging throughout the country? I know that I have been plagued by a sinus and ear infection which led me to being crabby with despair. The only upside has been that my house seems quieter when my ears are all muffled!

Just a few days ago the CDC announced that the flu has become an epidemic in over 25 states. As always, it has affected the very young and old the most. Emergency rooms across the country have been overrun with sick contagious people. If you can catch it soon enough, you may be able to  receive a prescription such as Tamiflu to help ease symptoms before they become too serious. IF you can get to your doctor soon enough.

I'm on my second antibiotic for my infection. I've been miserable and willing to try anything to relieve the pain. My 17 year is an outdoor enthusiastic and lives all things nature. He makes Pine Tea and steams a variety of leaves to cure different ails. I jokingly asked him if he had any herbal cures for me and naturally, he did. I just wasn't willing to put damp moss in my ear for the pain or crushed willow. Give me some Motrin! His suggestion spurned me on to look up any unique plant medicinal cures other than those that I've already heard about. With all our high tech medicines and cures these days, we tend to forget that most, if not all, medicines start at the roots - with plants.

Plants have been the drug of choice for civilizations for thousands of years. There are still modern day plant collectors that risk their lives to find plants that can be used to formulate or improve our medicines today. Everything starts and ends with Mother Nature. Here are some "natural" medicines to try this sickly season. Many of them act as immune system boosters to help you boost your body's fighting power. You can either find them in a tablet form or make them at home Outdoor Life.

  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea (those pretty cone flowers in your summer garden)
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Balm
  • Cinnamon
  • Mullen
  • Barberry (the berries are bitter but they help your immune system)
  • Yarrow

These are a just a few of the hundreds of natural medicines out there. Just be sure to do some research first and check with your doctor. Before becoming skeptical of these remedies just remember what people used prior to modern day medicines and continue to do so today. When you are miserable, you are ready to put wet moss in your ear for pain.......

"When the best leader's work is done the people say "We did it ourselves!" - Lao Tzu

I live in a small community outside a large city where we still have farmland and relatively little crime. This summer there was an uproar on behalf of some residents because the planning commission changed their master plan  and ordinances without consulting the public to allow an out of state developer build some "high end" apartments in the backyards of some of our community members. Needless to say that did not go over well within the township! It was amazing how quickly a grass roots community initiative grew up against the apartments. People talked with one another and shared views. Opposition signs went up along with an informative website. Residents called the township en mass. A petition was successfully complied. They won! The initiative is tabled until 2016 which will give the group more time to strengthen their leadership stance and have an impact on the rest of the community. It was organic grass roots leadership at it's finest. I love it!

You never know where leadership will sprout and flourish. It's like the plants and herbs that we use to soothe what ails us when we are sick. It's similar to the unique ancient plants that have been utilized for years as a base to spurn better medicines and build us up. Popping a "leadership pill" isn't always the best remedy. Sometimes we need to sit back and look around us to really see that what we need is right in front of us. We use good old fashioned grass roots leadership  to get back to the basics and make things happen for our "community"

Leadership can't be forced, it has to be natural and organic. Forced leadership is a dictatorship. Organic leadership grows from the "ground up" because strong leaders create something special through contribution, culture, and community. Natural leadership means leading where you are  and giving others the vision so that they can drive a common goal.

Here's what Natural Leadership looks like:

  • Grass roots from the people doing the work
  • Lead from where you are. No titles needed
  • Compassion
  • Humanistic
  • Morphs to meet the needs of others 
  • Values people
  • Hands off - let your people drive the process while you guide them
  • Form a network or community to achieve
  • Culture is key
  • Motivating - a call to action
  • Effortless  and natural. It feels right
If you look closely, natural or organic leadership is just like taking herbs or plants to strengthen your system. They both grow from the ground and enable things (YOU) to flourish and become a stronger person!