What a wonderful day! It is 5 am on the 14th November 2009, the sun is rising on the horizon, sending it rays of warmth over the new day and the birds are singing their songs of delight. Two kookaburras are laughing at the top of their voice... I wonder what joke they just shared.
My heart is full of love, happiness, and gratitude for so many blessings in my life.
People have been asking...if I am writing another book. Not at present, as life has been very full. But I do like researching, and spending time searching for practical ways of using herbs in our daily lives.
Yesterday, I read of a new use for aloe vera. The pulp of the leaf has been eaten during famine in India. Amazing! I pray that in Australia, we never have such a severe famine, that our tummies rumble. But if we do, then, try aloe for lunch! The peel of the aloe leaf would need to be removed, and the yellow sap just under the skin washed off (as this sap could have a strong purging effect), and then the inner pulp (which has no flavour) could be mixed with some other food, to bulk up the food, and also to take some of the gooey effect away from just eating aloe on its own.
The aloe gel has a good range of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, and powerful antibiotic, antioxidant, and germicidal properties. And why not, get to know the many benefits of using aloe for our health's sake now. Refer to 'How can I use Herbs in my daily life?' Aloe vera's properties are unique and have been used to treat man's many ailments from A to Z, in fact so many sicknesses can be relieved or eliminated with this 'easy-to-grow in-the-garden' remedy.
Research has found, aloe has a most beneficial effect on stimulating the immune system, and in protecting the cells of the body from invasion by microbes such as viruses (by setting up a protective barrier), and also to lubricate cells and joints to relieve pain conditions by dilating capillaries, which increases the supply of oxygen and blood to all areas of the body. It is said, that the women of ancient Egypt and Greece used the gel from the aloe plant to improve their complexion and skin texture, and lustrous hair; and many other civilisations down through the ages, have used and praised the plant. And what's more, aloe vera will grow in extremely dry conditions.
New research of plants...Often, my research of plants, is generated by someone contacting the Herb Farm for rare plants, or for information on a plant's uses. And then because of such 'new-found' plants with uses to man, I then seek them out and grow. In this Newsletter I will share brief information on Sambung, Gumbi gumbi, and Bulbelina, and possibly in future Newsletters give more details of these plants and uses.
(Gynura procumbens) is a perennial plant of the Asteraceae family, that may grow to 100 cm high. Oval-shaped, leaves to 10cm long have a rather fleshy feel. Orange flowers are similar in size and form to milk thistle (Sonchus oleraceus). The plant is well known in South East Asia, with folklore uses in Thailand, Indonesia and China, and leaves of the plant are eaten as a vegetable. The plant is often referred to as Sambung Nyawa which means 'Continuation of Life'.
The herb has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-allergy properties. Some of its uses include - migraines, constipation rheumatism, diabetes, dysentery, fevers, kidney ailments, cardiovascular conditions, cancers, leukaemia, and as a skin care elixir.
I came to hear of this herb from a man who called at the Herb Farm, who told me of his friend of 84 years, who had taken the leaves as a tea. He said, That at 70 years of age his friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He heard about the herb a few years after and started taking the tea, and completely cleared prostate cancer. He has kept up taking the herb (5 years now), and today he looks like a man of 60. He made the tea with 9 large leaves finely cut and added to a saucepan with 2 cups of water, and brought to a low simmer for 2 minutes. The liquid is strained and drunk hot or cool.
(Pittosporum phylliraeoides) is an Australian native, a small tree with linear-shaped leaves 8-12cm long. The tree's natural habitat is an area in central Queensland and has been found to extend in a narrow band stretching across to Western Australia.
Aboriginals knew of the value of the tree, with the tradition of use for various ailments including: skin disorders, as a tonic and for colds and flu, and for cramps and conditions of pain. Native wildlife have been observed eating leaves of the tree, no doubt for its healing benefits (as it would not be due to the yummy flavour of the leaves as they are quite bitter). University studies are being carried out, as the leaf infusion has been found effective for boosting the immune system, treatment of depression, and a cancer treatment.
(Bulbine frutescens) a native from Africa, of the Asphodelaceae family; drought, heat and frost resistant; perennial 40-50cm high, 6-petaled star-shaped yellow flowers are carried on upright stems over many months of the year which attract bees to your garden. Leaves are round and fleshy (but hollow and so resemble chives).
The plant is also called 'the burn jelly plant' and 'the household medicine chest' no doubt and due to its soothing, disinfecting, antibacterial and healing properties which can be squeezed from the leaves (or leaves crushed) and applied externally by rubbing onto injured skin and applying several times a day. Uses have included: burns (and it is said that there will be no blisters or scars), wounds, rashes and itches, bites, mouth ulcers, athlete's foot, chapped lips, cold sores, skin cancer, and other skin conditions. Leaves have been used in a medicinal soap bar.
For internal use the leaves can be made as a tea; or chopped and made as a tincture with brandy, with a few drops taken 3 times daily. The leaves have anthraquinones, which are valued for their anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity.
From the mail box...Wonderful feed back, when people use Herbs.
Judy, emailed... The ginko and lemon balm tea you sent me have been wonderful and very helpful. Thank you. The vertigo has eased now thanks to the herbal tea, which I have been taking for 9 weeks.
My name is Katrina and I live on the Gold Coast. I recently purchased all your books, which I love. I have been using aloe to clean my teeth as I have a gum disease, with wonderful results, no more throbbing gums.
And from Dee March 2009... I love your books - I'm a bit of a herb junkie now, thanks to you!!!!
Also, out of interest - I have been suffering HORRID lower back pain and sciatica for the past 8 and a half years. For the past 6 weeks I have been eating Gotu kola and Aloe vera daily. 3 weeks ago my back pain literally disappeared. I eat a number of other herbs raw each day, eg Brahmi, Comfrey etc so I am unsure who is responsible, but THANKS SOOOO MUCH to you, I feel like a new person - COMPLETELY BACK PAIN FREE! It really feels like a miracle - You have no idea how wonderful it is! You're a legend Isabell!
Pauline wrote... My elderly husband just recently healed a cracked rib after a fall, in 3 1/2 weeks instead of 6, by taking 1 teaspoon of comfrey root powder three times a day.
Truyen emailed... rau om is a traditional Vietnamese herb to treat conditions like herpes, diabetes, snake bite, kidney stones and benefit the digestion. For a cold remedy using rau om, we simply use about 20-30 grams of leaves and stems, eating this amount 2-3 times a day, or placed in a blender and blended up with water and a little salt.
Lesley emailed... Dear Isabell, thank you for your work. I am already showing improvement in my health symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I have increased energy in my body and my thinking is improving. I am now able to walk around my home and I am seriously considering cancelling the wheelchair that I was fitted up for.
It is amazing the difference that a cup of tea a day can make.
I have called it Sunshine Tea and I make it with Dry Herbs
2 heaped teaspoons gotu kola
2 heaped teaspoons nettle
1 heaped teaspoon herb robert
¼ teaspoon king of bitter
3 leaves plantain
2 leaves of comfrey
6 leaves pineapple sage
8 stems 10cm long of brahmi
5 stems each 10cm long rosemary
5 stems each 6cm long lavender
8 stems each 10cm long thyme
1 heaped tablespoon freshly sliced / dices fresh apple or dried peach
add 3-4 cups of boiling water, stir, steep a few minutes, and drink hot or cool.
I drink 1 cup in the morning before or with breakfast, 1 cup with morning tea or lunch, and 1 cup by 2 pm. If drunk too late in the afternoon a person may find it difficult to rest at night.
It would be important that any person who would like to use this tea, or when starting with a mix of herbs (even on a lower amount of herbs) that they stay well hydrated - drinking 2 to 2.5 litres a day. As the tea will help the body detox - water is essential. Generally people with CFS suffer dehydration and low blood volume with these diseases.
Now available again at the Herb Farm...
Recently read...of the research on chia done by Dr. Wayne Coates of Arizona. He has found that the seed offer excellent balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, high quality protein, antioxidants and many other nutrients.
He encourages people to get the benefits of this versatile seed, in fact, he calls it a 'super-food' as it makes life better.
Mix the seeds in foods, sprinkle them on salads,add to baked goods, and include them when making any kind of dish. Add the seeds to water and leave to stand an hour or so (I like to leave the soaking seeds stand overnight) and the seeds will swell up like jelly and make a thick smoothie, and infact, there is an increase in nutrients, as the seeds in water are starting to germinate. Try the seeds mixed with fruit juices or in green smoothies.
People have found that chia has an energising effect, and gives more endurance and brain power. And if chia is consumed 2 -3 times a day, then the effects are greater.
Something to think about...Seven Wonders of the World
A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World". Most students listed
1. Egypt's Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall
The teacher noticed that one student had not finished her paper. So the teacher asked if she was having trouble with her list.
The girl replied, "Yes, a little, I couldn't quite make up my mind because there are so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help". The girl hesitated, and then read, "I think the 'Seven Wonders of the World' are:
1. To see
2. To hear
3. To touch
4. To taste
5. To feel
6. To laugh
7. To love"
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary, and that we take for granted are truly wondrous!
Perhaps a reminder to us all, that the most precious things in life, cannot be built by hand, or bought by man.