Category Archives: elderberry

extended break— winter cave

I have to admit that I just haven’t felt like talking. Haven’t felt like making sweeping observations or synthesizing new information. So I haven’t here. But I am being urged to connect some of you with this wonderful glut of new information I have. This article here really just changed my thinking—well, not changed- this article ARTICULATED so many issues for me. I believe parents with children should read this. It will give you hope and inspiration about your kid’s physical/ psychological make up. It is about balance and regeneration. If you have brains, guts and heart, read this! 
Also, I’ve been asked about DMAE as a supplement for ADHD. Here is a good run down on it- why it works and it safe for many. I’m not in favor of websites trying to sell me stuff, while telling me they are informational. So please ignore that this source is a supplement seller. The scientific info is sound. I have had a very specific reason to use Phosphytidyl Serine and it worked very well. So if you are intrigued, have had fatigue and exhaustion issues, let me know and I’ll write up about it. 
Also, the grey times are getting at many of us. It is time to amp up our nutrition. One of the ways is with minerals. We are all lacking on the local greens front, no? Please make yourself some nettle infusion. It’s cut nettle leaf, bought from your natural food store, steep in hot water for many hours. I use 1 oz of nettles for a quart of water. This is a great source of magnesium, calcium and other minerals. It is a great helper in all things PMS and menopausal (pre, peri, whatnot). 

Are you fighting the winter sicknesses? Who isn’t? Oh those folks with no kids who work alone and never venture out and are really mellow. If this isn’t you, take heed. Here are some FLU -fighting remedies…. this doesn’t mean they will work if you have the flu. I have had a flu shot this year and I’m not ashamed of it! These herbal, natural and supplemental goodies work with your good nutrition, your herbal support, your good hygiene practices to minimize your chances of contracting the flu. Here they are:

Oscillococcininum:If you suspect that the headache (swollen glands and sore throats are my trademark) and achiness in your muscles is the beginning of the flu, please take Oscillococcininum. It is now available at drugstores as well as the Merc, Vitacost (online discount), Natural Grocers and more. Instead of the whole dosage amount under your tongue at once, I take a 1/4 of it at a time, once per hour or so. If the symptoms are better at the end of it, I know it’s working and I will continue for 24 hours. I will rest more, drink more liquids, bone broths, greens and feel better. This has worked for me all season- it also works on kids!!
Probiotics: We are steadily taking pro-biotic tabs. It helps gut flora, immunity, and balance (see above article!). 
Elderberry: We are taking elderberry lozenges. Because elderberry is especially good with kiddos. She’s gentle and boosting and reminds the body to stay strong. 
Vitamin D3. The NIH recommends for kids a daily 200IU dose. I give mine 500 IU as there is ample evidence that it is not harmful, fights infections and boosts immunity. I do not give them much if any in the summer. 
Extras that help but aren’t necessary….. cod liver oil, fish oil (I use gummies. What of it??)
Here is our flu story this year: my friend since my teenage years contracted H1N1 this winter. She’s spent 3 weeks in a coma, fighting for her life from it and the following pneumonia. While she has neither of these at the moment, she is still unconscious, in intensive care and has and ECMO machine functioning for her lungs. She is having dialysis because her liver has begun to fail. I understand and empathize with many of your feelings about vaccines, shots, big pharma… but not right now. It’s not a conspiracy- this flu vaccine is actually quadravalent. It deals with the main four types of flu out there this year. It helps with others. It doesn’t make a normally healthy and strong person sick. Please consider it. 
That being said, my youngest got the flu the day she and her sis were to get their vaccines. It was heart-wrenching. She was immediately just flattened. We got her tested that day and they determined it was Type 1- the subtype of this is H1N1. She started Tamiflu and it was amazing. Her fever dropped and it didn’t go over 99 degrees. Period. We caught it super early and saved her so much suffering.
I say a blessing to the Western medicine that has helped save so many lives, while I burn sage and chant and grow my herbs to support myself so I need very little of the Western medicine. 

On a separate note, I have had a success story that will illuminate my own frayed defenses this cold new year! Picture this: January, extreme stress, life-changing events and studying for the (dammmmmnnnnnn it) GRE. I realized I had a cold-sore rearing its head. I had to cop to my emotions, my stress, my needs and attempt to mediate it all. I chose an adaptogen to help my immunity, that I could safely take in quantity since this was a crisis. Then I chose to take crisis doses of lysine. I put a little bit of essential oil (clove bud oil) on it to encourage the swelling down- it actually worked! Let me tell you it worked well. I’ve never had actual success heading cold sores off at the pass. My secret agent in all of this is the big Bear medicine, Osha root tincture. It really worked and it’s spiciness allowed so much healing in. I took massive doses of lysine (and got a much better lysine supplement that I am taking at maintenance levels weekly, not daily) and rested, did restorative yoga and meditation. Success! Sorry, it’s a pitiful story. But hopefully illuminates. Also, prepare for the GRE for months, not a week. M’Kay? Here is the article that brought up adaptogens. 

Be well, keep in touch! 

Kid’s Health

Since I changed the name of this blog (from some poorly focused garden blog to the vit/herb/ health thing), I will just start by writing about what obsesses me as a mother.
1. Kid’s thrive with good nutrition. For some this may not include milk, cheese, peanut butter, tree nuts etc. For us though, it resembles Adele Davis mixed with a little hippy mama and a dash of americana country. I mean PROTEIN. Complex carbs from whole grains. A bit of natural sugar here and there for lovin’ pep (both fruit and honey/ maple syrup). Fresh food (good eggs, homemade bread, beans and cheese, fruit, a sly vegetable when I can) and some basic nonchalance about junk food. Yep, I’ve been letting it go. Cookies at school? Whatev. A bag of candy? Yes, you can have a piece after you eat your peas and salmon cakes.
2. Kid’s immune systems might need a boost too. I use an Elderberry, echinacea syrup. It helps with the constant barrage of preschool colds, infections, germs. It is a syrup so easy to drink.
Here are two different kinds: Elderberry echinacea syrup by NOW, Nature’s way Elderberry syrup. NOW is a great vitamin company my dad always believed in.  Maybe because it was cheap?? Just sayin’; my dad was a confirmed cheapskate!  But more or less, NOW has always had less flashy packaging, less “bio-certified by lab tests” stuff and just as much potency.  So I stand by them as well.

*Just a word here: I use Lucky vitamin dot com, as well as Vitacost dot com. These two sites allow me to be busy and working and still get vitamins.  HOWEVER, I love and respect the Community Mercantile. And when I’m in Lawrence, I try to keep them in business by getting my necessities there. Supplement emergency? Go to the Merc! Need guidance? Ask Tyra! My dad, Hal Sears, helped to start and make their wonderful department what it is today. He guided and helped and healed lots of people from his place at the Merc.

Back to the info. Why elderberry? It is hugely anti-viral. It’s botanical name is sambucus. It’s an anti-oxidant and gets your immune system kicking. My daughters’ respond quickly to it. Remember that potency is not what you may think. Stronger is not necessarily better. It is important to look at how far away from it’s native environment the supplement is. There is a school of thought that believes that only whole food sources can provide health benefits. I believe it too- but pragmatically, I can’t get elderberries into my food.  Dude. I’m just not up to the task!! So I look at syrup- a glycerin extract. This means that basically the berries are soaked in glycerin (sweet, vegetable based and kid edible!). Very close to the source! No huge machines, no high concentrations that may do more harm than good, nothing created in a lab. I could recreate this in my kitchen after picking elderberries this summer! I encourage you to do this if it floats your boat. Get back to me about plant identification- I’ll give you some information on correctly identifying the elderberry plant and berries. DO NOT GO EATIN STRANGE BERRIES IN THE WOODS. Jeez. Do I have to tell you everything?? (Also, do not attempt to sue me. See disclaimer in my info section.)

be well- feed your kids and yourself good food. lay off the sugar. refined sugar makes your immune system crash- a complex thing with sugars inhibiting absorption of vitamin c I think.