Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Natural remedy for diarrhea or constipation (the 2 for 1 remedy)

Recently, one of my kids (the goat kind) had a bout of diarrhea (he got into the chicken food).  There was no bloating, so no baking soda this time.  I called my goat mentor and she suggested Pepto and advised me to look at Fiasco Farm's website for the dosage.  While browsing there, I read that she uses slippery elm instead of Pepto.  I had some on hand and decided to give it a try.  Sure enough, it cleared up after 1 dose!  I've since used it on my human kids for diarrhea and constipation and it works great for either condition.

I mixed up a little with some water and shot it in his mouth like a dewormer.  I mixed about 1 tablespoon with enough water to make it liquid enough to be drawn up in the syringe and then gave him about 4 syringe fulls.  I did this twice, about 4 hours apart.  With the children, I mixed up a tablespoon or so with some banana and just made them eat it (I tried this with the goat but he wouldn't even think about eating it!).  They all agreed it wasn't the worst thing they had ever put in their mouths before but they didn't LOVE it. 

I would definitely advise looking at the Fiasco Farm site (http://fiascofarm.com/goats/medications-2.htm) and get some slippery elm.  I purchased the powder from Herbalcom.com but you could just as easily buy it in pill form and empty the capsules.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fun in the Sun with Green Tea

Last year my children spent extensive amounts of time in the pool.  We put it up in June and it was used just about every day through September.  The pool is a summer life saver.  What amazed me last summer, though, was that they would often get out the door without sunscreen and yet they were not getting burned.  (I know this sounds very lackadaisical, but I have always been very vigilant about sunscreen due to having been burned as a child.  My kids can count on one hand the number of times they've been even pink.  At least they could before this summer!  I was less vigilant because they weren't getting burned.)  I couldn't understand it.  I knew that the reason for this had to be something they were eating or drinking, but I never really gave it more thought than that.  Fast forward to this year...same kids, same pool, same summer sun but this year,  those little munchkins were coming in sun-kissed and pink.  I was flabbergasted.  I racked my brain but I just couldn't think of what we were doing differently.  Then one day, I read something and it hit me, green tea.  We have been big green tea drinkers for some time but lately I haven't felt like making the kind you brew (which is what the rest of the family drinks) so I've just been drinking my powdered green tea.  Also of interest is the fact that in the last 2 months, we've been hit with 2 separate illnesses (after a long spell with no illness, which is no small feat with 6 kids, 4 of which are mine, around here) neither of which effected me like it did the rest of the family.  Again, green tea is the only difference.  So, I decided to delve a little further into the whole green tea vs. UV rays subject and here's what I found.

Per the website, www.freewebs.com/herbal_remedies/sunburn.html, "Preliminary studies suggest that certain green tea polyphenols may help prevent skin cancer if they are applied directly to the skin," says Steven Bratman, M.D., an integrative physician and author of The Natural Pharmacist (Prima, 2000). "In addition, there is some evidence that green tea constituents might help protect the skin from sun damage and sunburn," he adds. In a recent study, six volunteers received applications of green tea extract on their skin prior to being exposed to UV radiation, which would normally produce redness. Those who received the highest concentration of green tea extract (10%) were almost completely protected from burning. Even a low-dose solution (2.5%) provided significant protection. Drinking green tea by the cup is also a good idea. It contains a powerful antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Researchers at Rutgers University, Piscataway, N.J., tested green tea both topically and orally on mice. They concluded that drinking green tea for two weeks before and during UV exposure diminished both sunburn and skin cancers. The stronger the tea and the more the mice drank, the less severe their sunburns.

Our experience certainly substantiates this research.  We were conducting our own little field test without even realizing it.  We normally endeavor to drink 5-6 cups of green tea a day.  We drink it cold, sweetened with a little honey and/or stevia.  I also use the green tea powder, which I buy from herbalcom.com, to make sure I'm getting as much as I need for all the health benefits.  You can google "benefits of green tea" and you'll be surprised at all the things green tea is good for.  One website listed 15 different things.  I know I have seen a substantial difference in my metabolism while drinking green tea, increased immunity, and, of course, sun protection. 

Also, a note on sunscreen, the one I use is from Dr. Ben Kim.  Every ingredient in it is good for you, unlike the ones you'll find at the local Superstore, and it even has green tea in it.  Unfortunately, the shipping charges on his site are outrageous so unless I can find other like-minded individuals who want to go in on an order and split the shipping, I may have to find another alternative.  Dr. Kim has many informative articles on his website, and he outlines the dangers of commercial sunscreens and natural measures you can take to protect your skin.  Check out his website for great recipes (he's Korean) and helpful articles.  The sunscreen can be found here:

As for green tea, drink up and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

MMS...water purifier and so much more

A few years ago, a story posted in my Raw Food World newsletter mentioned a product I'd never heard of (www.therawfoodworld.com/blog/?p=568 & www.therawfoodworld.com/blog/?p=564).  However, after reading Matt Monarch's experience with it, I quickly became convinced that it was something I needed to have.  The product is called MMS (formerly Miracle Mineral Supplement, now Master Mineral Supplement).  This product has been used for years as a water purifier and considering that the human body is more than 60% water, well, enough said.

There has been some controversy surrounding this product and because of this, I am only going to say, do your own research and make your own decision about whether or not it is for you.  It has helped us through many a rough patch.  I've used it on all of my family, dogs and chickens.  A friend recently had much success bathing her dog in it.  He didn't seem to make any great strides toward recovery until she gave him an MMS bath.  I have had the same success bathing myself, kids, dogs and chickens in it (we've also all taken it internally).  For bathing, you use 30 drops of MMS to 150 drops of citric acid (10%) or 30 drops citric acid (50%).  Again, you can google this info to find exact info on mixing. 

Anyways, I just wanted to throw this out there.  If you have experienced issues for which you have had no resolution, this may be something that would interest you.  Google it and see what you find, but remember to read both sides of the story.  Jim Humble's websites are infomative as is the CureZone website.

NOTE:  Older articles you read may mention taking numerous amount of drops (like 15 or 30).  This is no longer recommended.  The new protocol does not exceed 3 drops per any one dose.  It is recommended that you take smaller (no more than 3 drops) doses more frequently (up to every hour, I usually do every two).  Using smaller doses decreases the likelihood of nausea, which results from pathogens dying off more quickly than your liver can dispose of them.    

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Camping at South Carolina State Parks

Swansea, SC
We love to camp.  I'm not talking tents and cast iron pans over the fire here and I know some of you would say, "That's not camping!"  Our reason for camping is less about giving up all modern conveniences and more about an affordable way for a family of 6 to vacation.  We have a camper we purchased 5 years ago.  It's nothing fancy, no slide-out, but it has beds for everyone, a toilet and shower, so it works for us.  We try to take a couple mini-vacations each year camping at some of the state parks here in South Carolina.  (Check out southcarolinaparks.com for more info).  I thought I'd tell you about some we've visited and what we thought of them.

Myrtle Beach
Our first camping trip to a SC State Park was at the Myrtle Beach State Park in 2008.  We had an enjoyable stay.  Features of this park we liked: one of the few state parks with sewer; lots of trees, which means very shady (a plus in the summer, not so much in the winter); 3 playgrounds, one within the park and one right on the edge; easy access to the beach though it was a little bit of a trek; a nice pier and walking trail;  a laundry facility located within the park; numerous bathhouses; an education program that our children thoroughly enjoyed (it's always a plus as home schoolers when a vacation day turns into a school day!) wi-fi (though we don't spend much time on the computer, it is nice to have if you want to google things to do or directions); located close to the city of Myrtle Beach if you want to take advantage of any of its attractions.  Features of this park we didn't like: pricey; the beach was not the best; the bathhouse closest to our site was quite run down;  though the beach was easy to access, it was quite a trek, part of which was uphill (not the easiest with little kids and no buggy).
Our Rating: 3 stars.  We've only returned once when we had an event to attend in Myrtle Beach.  We would probably not return for a beach vacation due to the beach.

Boardwalk to/from the beach
Next up was Huntington Beach State ParkFeatures we liked: easy beach access with showers right at the end of the boardwalk; boardwalk to and from beach; nice beach with tidal pools, great for little ones; historic building on site; nice area for bike riding and viewing wildlife.  Features we didn't like: no sewer; no laundry facility (and one of our kids got sick and puked all over the bedding); no playground;  we were attacked by yellow jackets walking back from the bathhouse; little trees, not a lot of shade in some places.  Our Rating: 3 stars.  We've returned once and are planning on returning again this year.  The nice beach and close proximity to our home (2 hours) outweighs the cons when we are looking for a beach vacation close to home.

Edisto Beach State Park is the closest park, with camping, to our home.  Features we liked: on the beach; playground; close to a family friend (we could walk to see her).  Features we didn't like: pricey; half the campground is down the road in the woods, I wouldn't want to spend that money and not be on the beach; our site flooded (it rained the entire time we were there); the beach itself is not a good swimming beach.  Our Rating: 3 stars.  Convenient to home but not worth the money.

On the trail at Sesqui
Each year we attend a convention in Columbia and for the past 2 years we have camped at Sesquicentennial State ParkFeatures we liked: reasonably priced; located close to our destination; woody and shaded; playground; nice hiking trails.  Features we didn't like: Some of the sites have a severe grade as half of the sites are located on the side of a hill; no sewer.  Our Rating: 4 stars.  We have stayed there twice and already have reservations to return this summer.  However, we would not go out of our way to stay there if it were not for our convention taking place in Columbia. 

Roasting Dogs at Poinsett
Poinsett State Park was a weekend getaway.  2 of our kids ended up sick on this vacation but we still had a great time.  Features we liked: very affordable; nice walking trail, feels like your in the mountains; roomy camp sites; woodsy, secluded environment.  Features we didn't like: it's literally in the middle of nowhere (not that we didn't like that, we just weren't prepared for it).  Our Rating: 4 stars.  We will definitely return.  We really liked this park but will make sure we have everything we need before we go!

Rolling down the hill at Givhan's Ferry
Givhan's Ferry State Park is just a hop and a skip from our house.  Features we liked: affordable; close to home; nice walking trail; woodsy, secluded environment; located on the Edisto River; playground; hill the kids (and adults) enjoyed rolling down.  Features we didn't like: I can't really think of anything.  No sewer but considering we would never stay more than a couple days, this is not an issue.  Again, this is one that is in the middle of nowhere, but we were prepared this time.  Our Rating: 4 stars.  We will definitely return when we just want to escape for a couple days.  We would never spend a week there, though.

View of the Edisto from Colleton
Colleton State Park was an anniversary get-away.  Just me, hubby and our oldest dog, Buddy.  There's not much to this park but we had a blast.  We did a Lowcountry Boil and steamed crab legs which were out of this world.  It rained the entire time and was cold (our anniversary is in December) but we couldn't have had a better time at a 5 star hotel.  'Nuff said.  Features we liked: affordable; close to home; on the river; nice walking trail; small, so it's not too busy; close to Walterboro.  Features we didn't like: no playground (if we were bringing the kids); not located in an area we would want to spend an extensive amount of time.  Our Rating: 2 stars (for the park, 5 stars for our stay there, we don't get away much!).  We probably will not go back as Givhan's Ferry is closer to our home and nicer, in our opinion.

Girls with Sally at Carowinds
Lastly, our most recent trip involved a stay at Andrew Jackson State Park, up near Rock Hill, on our recent Carowinds adventure.  Price was a big factor in choosing to stay here versus the Carowinds campground.  At only $15 a night, the money saved was worth the extra driving time.  Because we  spent a lot of time at Carowinds, we did not get to explore the park as much as we usually do, but here's what we thought about what we saw.  Features we liked: affordable; nice sized sites; on a lake; playground; walking trail (we didn't get to hike it); ducks that would come right up to you.  Features we didn't like: about 7 miles from the closest town (not a big deal).  Our Rating: 4 stars.  We would only make the trip up there if we were going to Carowinds.

Well, that's it for the SC State Parks.  We've also camped at Tybee Island, GA, St. Augustine, FL, and some other parks around SC.  Our favorite thus far is St. Augustine, but at 5 hours away and with gas prices as they are, we won't make it back there this year.
Tybee Island, GA

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Natural Remedies for Coping with Depression and Anxiety

Though we'd rather not think about it, depression and anxiety are daily issues for most people.  Let's face it, the world we live in is wrought with things that can cause or exacerbate these issues.  You can go to the doctor and get a prescription, but who can deal with the side effects, not to mention the cost?  (Disclaimer here:  These are serious medical conditions and if you are affected more than mildly by them, please seek help.  The info presented here is for individuals who have these conditions under control and are simply seeking natural ways of helping them to deal with them.)  Though I have not personally been effected by depression, I have people who are close to me who deal with it daily.  As for anxiety, I don't think you can be alive and not have to deal with it at some point in your life.  These are some of the means we have come up to help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times but it bears repeating.  The best treatment for ANY illness is diet and exercise.  Unfortunately, people care more about the oil they put in their car than they do about the fuel they put in their bodies.  As someone who suffers from a number of health issues, I can speak from experience and say, the only thing that got me back on my feet was changing my diet.  A good rule of thumb is eat at least 50% raw (uncooked) foods at each meal.  The less you eat the better.  You should never feel full.  All of this taxes your digestive system and causes your body to spend more time dealing with digesting and less time taking care of the other issues that need attention.  Exercise is important in allowing your body to flush out toxins, which can contribute to these conditions.  Even just 30 minutes of walking a day has proven helpful in dealing with a number of different health conditions.

You may also find that supplementing with different vitamins and minerals helps.  Often, depression and anxiety are caused by a deficiency.  SAM-e is a supplement that has gained a reputation in helping with depression and anxiety.  The dosage we've found to be effective is 400mg/daily, taken in the morning on an empty stomach.  To make SAM-e work, you also need 800mg of folic acid and 1000mcg of B-12.  Make sure your B-12 is sublingual (the kind that dissolves in your mouth) and Methylcobalamin.  Research has found this to be the most easily absorbed form of B-12.  When you find yourself under a greater amount of stress, increase to about 800mg of SAM-e.  (These are the dosages that work for us.  You may find 200mg/daily is sufficient or you may need 800mg/daily.  Start small and work up until you find the dosage that helps you to feel less stressed and depressed but not irritable.) Then once things calm down a bit, decrease back to your normal dosage.  If you start feeling irritable on SAM-e, it means your dose is too high.  Also, you may experience some stomach upset when you first begin to take SAM-e.  This will go away with time.  Don't stop taking it.  The improvement you'll feel mentally is worth a little tummy ache!

Essential oils have also been found to help with depression and anxiety.  Check out the recipes page for a great "anti-anxiety" blend.  We have used this with much success on numerous occasions.  For intense moments of anxiety, Bach's Rescue Remedy works wonders.  Regardless of why your experiencing stress, this helps, adults and kids alike.  We often use the oil blend and rescue remedy together.  

These are a few things that help us face each day, knowing we can deal with whatever comes our way.  Maybe they'll help you.  And remember, even just the act of smiling (even if you don't feel like it) has been shown to improve one's mood.  So put a smile on your face and feel better!

Difficult Gardening but Easy Dinner

Growing a garden is one of the great things about spring and summer.  Mind you, it is not a minor accomplishment here in the woods.  6 years ago, this property was untouched woods.  That's great for the whole "nature" experience, not so good for growing a garden.  The first year we planted a garden, we were so naive.  We thought we were gonna throw some seeds in the ground and that something would actually grow.  Oh, it grew.  You know those little corn cobs you buy in the frozen section of the grocery?  That's how big our corn grew.  Our watermelons were the size of a softball, with a nice red center.  Tomatoes no bigger than a golf ball.  We had been hit with the dreaded blight.  So, every year for the past 5 years, we have searched out the best way of dealing with the hand we've been given.  We've tried countless natural fungicides for the blight, a variety of things for the squash vine borers that plague our zucchini year after year, nematodes for the mole crickets and we've given up trying to grow melons and corn.  Two books that are priceless: Jerry Baker's Backyard Problem Solver and a little spiral bound book put out by Clemson Extension.  They have helped me through many a problem.  This year we are trying Actinovate for the blight.  We are also trying RootZone, which is for helping your plant deal with drought or transplanting but has also been found to help with insects and disease.  At this point, nothing is too far out there to give a try.  I'm even putting organic dry milk on the garden! (The milk is supposed to make the ph so that the fungus can't grow?!?)  So far, I'm getting tomatoes, basil, peppers and cucumbers.  The squash vine borers have pretty much obliterated my squash but I haven't given up yet!

On to the point of this post, some time ago, we came up with a simple little dinner we love!  We have it weekly.  I've even eaten it for breakfast.  All you need is some flat bread, olive oil, basil, tomatoes and feta (or mozzarella).  The basil and tomatoes are in no short supply here in the woods right now.  I make my own flat bread, so as to have organic, and the flat bread recipe I use, courtesy of Foodnetwork.com, is awesome, easy and quick. Check it out here:


You can probably figure out how this goes, but just in case, this is how we put it together.  First, put a little olive oil on your flat bread.  I then sprinkle on a little garlic powder but this is optional.  Next, lay out your tomatoes.  You can either thinly slice or chop, though it is easier to eat if chopped.  I sprinkle a little sea salt on the tomatoes.  Next lay on your basil, again whole or chopped but easier to eat chopped.  (After pulling off whole tomato slices and whole basil leaves in one bite, I began chopping!)  Now sprinkle on your feta chunks or grated mozzarella and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.   Isn't that easy?  My kids, who swear up and down they don't like fresh tomatoes, eat them on this.  Try it...it will be your new "go to meal" too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Natural Burn Remedy...this really works!

When my eldest was a mere three years old, he suffered a horrible burn thanks to a bowl of grits.  My DH was microwaving some (poor guy, he never got them unless he made them because I do NOT love them), the microwave went off, he was on the phone with me, trying to give me directions to a co-worker's mother's funeral, and my dear little boy opened the microwave door (which he had never done before), reached in for the bowl of grits and proceeded to pour them down the front of his body.  As you can imagine, it was not good.  He burnt his hand, chin, part of his upper arm and a big spot on his chest.  I got out of the funeral, got the call and rushed home and together we took him to the ER.  Not fun and I do not recommend the ER unless absolutely necessary!  Long story short, he suffered mostly 1st and 2nd degree burns and was sent home all wrapped in gauze with a tube of Silvadene Cream.

At this point in my life, I was beginning to dabble in natural medicine.  I didn't like the looks of the Silvadene and didn't want to keep it bandaged in a moist environment.  I just didn't see how it would heal well that way.  I resorted to my beloved copy of Herbs for Health and Healing, to see what Ms. Kathi Keville had to say about treating this burn.  I used her recipe for Aloe Burn Spray, producing results that shocked the doctors and healed my son.  The recipe calls for aloe vera juice, lavender and vitamin E.  I made some slight changes, using what I had on hand.  I did not cover the burns (we were at home and had no plans to go out, at this point) but instead let them be exposed to the fresh air.  I wrapped them in gauze when we left the house to protect the burns.  I took him to the doctor, a mere one day later, and I thought the doctor was going to fall on the floor.  He was in shock.  He ran around the practice, gathering people to come look at how amazingly fast my son's burn was healing.  I'm not joking.  A week and a half later, most of the scabs were gone and a nice pink layer of skin coated the burn sites.  An added plus, we were told that he would carry a scar there for the rest of his life and that if he got sun, the area would stay white.  Neither of those has proven true.  8 years later, you can't even tell where the burn was.

Now obviously, I am not recommending that you refrain from seeking medical attention.  Ms. Candee, in her book, Gental Healing for Baby and Child, gives some good advice on when to seek emergency help.  There are some burns that would just be too painful or dangerous to handle on your own.  Even if you seek medical treatment initially, you can follow with natural treatment, as we did.  Check out my recipes page for the Burn Remedy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Put those drugs away...Natural Remedies for Allergies

My Dogwood
 The sight of a blooming dogwood...it can almost take your breath way.  Throw in the flowering pears and azaleas and it's like you've stepped into a painting.  Unfortunately, here in the south, all this abundant beauty brings misery for young and old alike.  I have suffered from allergies since I was a young child and my children have inherited that wonderful trait from me.  How is it we seem to pass down all the undesirable traits for sure?  This year has actually been a little better for us thanks to the discovery of some little white pills.  A few months back, I purchased Hyland's Allergy Relief 4 Kids homeopathic pills on a lark.  I didn't expect them to do anything but thought it was worth a try.  Occasionally someone eats something or is exposed to a fragrance and the sneezing begins.  The suggested dosage is every 15 minutes for the first 8 doses but the sneezing stopped after the first dose!  We were shocked.  My kids are firm believers now and as soon as the sneezing or watery eyes begin, they're asking, "Mom, where's the allergy pills?"

There are a couple other things that are supposed to really help with allergies but I have never done either consistently enough to vouch for them one way or the other.  One is eating local honey.  I do buy local honey and use it but I read that you should take a couple teaspoons a day to receive the allergy benefits.  I have a hard time taking it straight but have been mixing it into my green tea.

The other natural allergy reliever is Quercitin.  I found some great info at the following link:
http://www.immunesupport.com/92fal004.htm.  According to this site, taking 1000 to 2000 mg per day will help with allergy and asthma symptoms (I suffer from both).  It also suggests taking Bromelain with it to improve the absorb-ability of the Quercitin.  My mom swears by quercitin (which can be obtained through onions and apples as well) but again, I've never been consistent enough with it to know whether it would work for us.

Both Hibiscus and Nettle are great antihistamines and since they can be taken in tea form, would be easy to administer to kids.

I usually order my herbs from either Iherb.com or Vitacost.com and for this I found Iherb to have the better pricing if you buy the Now Foods brand.   I may have to place an order and give this one a try as well.  I purchased my Hyland's pills through Frontier and they had the absolute best price but if you don't have a way of ordering through them wholesale, then I suggest Iherb for the next best price.

So, I hope this helps.  I'm gonna go help myself to a teaspoon of honey and let the experiment begin!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Castor Oil For Insect Bites & Stings

Well, I guess I will finish this Castor Oil series and put it to bed, for now.  So far, we've done Castor oil for injuries, bruises or blood pooling and now insect bites.  When my son was about a year old, he got into some ants and before I knew it, his little hand looked like one of those surgical gloves that people blow up.  I rushed him to the ER (pre-natural medicine days!) and they pumped him full of Benadryl.  However, as the swelling would subside, a large area (the size of 4 quarters, sometimes more) would turn black, I guess the damaged tissue was dying off.  A few years later, after the discovery of that awesome book I mentioned in Part 1, I took three of her treatments for insect bites and combined them.  I had already been using lavender essential oil on bug bites but it did not prevent the tissue from dying.  While on vacation one year, my son got several bites on his foot.  The book recommends Castor oil, lavender and aloe, among other things, for bites.  I mixed and applied these 3 and within minutes the swelling was already going down.  Later that day, you could hardly tell where he had been bitten!  For 6 years we had watched every ant bite swell, turn black and take weeks to heal, causing much pain and irritation.  With the Castor oil/lavender/aloe we were business as usual in one day.  It was wonderful!  Now my son is no longer paranoid about getting bit by ants, though he still obviously tries to avoid them.  At least he has a quick fix should he get bitten.  Also of note is that it works even if you do not catch it immediately.  He has been bitten at times when we didn't have the needed items available or he wasn't at home, but as soon as he was able to apply it (within a day) it would begin healing and he has never again experienced the black, dying tissue.

There is no formal recipe for this.  I usually just mix it in my hand and rub it on.  If I had to give measurements I would say I use about a teaspoon of aloe gel (you could also use juice), 5 drops of lavender and 1/2 tsp of Castor oil.  Aloe is anti-inflammatory, lavender is calming, therefore quieting inflamed skin and Castor oil speeds up lymphatic flow and disperses toxins, per the book Gentle Healing for Baby and Child by Andrea Candee.  This works!  Do not hesitate to try it.  You can get all of these ingredients at Iherb.com but I actually purchase my essential oils in bulk from NewDirectionsAromatics.com.  I'm sure you can also get them at a health foods store but you will pay twice as much or more.

As promised, here is my special blend that I am never without.  I have a bottle in my purse, a bottle upstairs, a bottle downstairs and a bottle in my car.  I also hand out bottles to friends and family whenever possible and have received nothing but praise and thanks.  So here goes...I take a 2 oz bottle of Castor oil or fill a 2 oz bottle with Castor oil, add 10 drops of lavender, 10 drops of tea tree, and 5 drops of chamomile.  This will help with anything... rashes, bruises, cuts, bites, etc.  I've had friends who had wounds that just would not heal, put this on it and within a couple days the wound was healed.  I've used it on hurt chicken feet, dog bites on my cats, tick bites on my dogs and goats, goose eggs on my kids' heads and so on and so forth.  So there you go.  If you do not have any Castor oil in your house, get some!  Throw some lavender and tea tree essential oils in while your it at.  You won't be sorry!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Castor Oil For Hematomas

A few years ago, I awoke one Saturday morning and went to go let our Lab, Koda, outside.  We have a laundry room off of our garage and he gets to sleep in there.  He was shaking his head constantly and upon examination, one of his ears was about 1/2 thick or more and squooshy.  We immediately called the vet, not sure what was going on.  They informed us that, without a doubt, he had an aural hematoma or ear hematoma.  Possibly from shaking his head around (he's constantly jumping in the pond and then shaking off), he had hit something and injured his ear, causing it to fill up with blood.  We were ready to throw him in the truck and do whatever to get him fixed up.  Unfortunately, they also informed us that they did not have an anesthesiologist in on Saturdays and that the surgery to fix this required the dog be put under.  They place a drain in the ear to drain the blood and then it later has to be removed.  According to them, if this is not done, it may heal on its own but the dog's ear will be extremely disfigured, like someone ran a thread through it and then pulled the thread tight.  We were supposed to wait until Monday and bring him in, or I guess we could have also opted for the ER vet.  Well, I had my Castor oil with a little lavender oil mixed in, remembered it was good for bruises because it dispersed the blood, so we gave that a try.  3 times a day, my husband rubbed his ear with it, rubbing and massaging.  We noticed improvement right away but by the third day, his ear looked completely normal and he was acting completely normal.  I later took him in for his annual visit and the vet could not believe it.  She said he must not have had a hematoma because there is no way his ear looked like that without having been drained.  (She also told me straight up that she does not believe in natural medicine because she only believes in things for which she's seen proof.  Yet she saw proof and denied it.)  As you can imagine, I was thrilled that once again, natural medicine had done something to shock and amaze a practitioner of modern medicine.  This had happened to me before with my son, but that's another story.  Next I'll tell you about castor oil vs. the ant bite, and I'm not talking about your average ant bite either.

Koda with 2 perfectly normal and beautiful ears!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Castor Oil For Injuries

I first learned about the wonderful (and non-yucky) uses for castor oil through a book that has become a cherished companion to me for going on 10 years now.  It's called Gentle Healing for Baby and Child by Andrea Candee.   This book sits patiently on my shelf, waiting for the next time I lovingly pull it down, cradle it in my hands and seek it's assistance for the current emergency.  Okay, maybe that's a little over dramatic.  Just suffice it to say, I LOVE this book!  Anyways, during an emergency some years ago, I opened it and discovered by new best friend, castor oil.  I have used it for just about anything you can imagine and plan to tell you about every one, okay, maybe 3, but that is why this is part 1.  Too much to put in one post.  Today is my first example.  One of my goat kids was running around, being a kid and acting crazy, I was watching from the window, when all of a sudden, he went to jump off the top of the picnic table and his foot (hoof?) got caught in between the slats and he jumped but his leg did not follow.  I threw my sandwich down on the counter and ran out the door, mentally imagining how I was going to nurse this goat with a broken leg.  Fortunately my son was nearby and already had him on the ground by the time I got out the door.  He stood up but wasn't putting any pressure on the leg.  My son felt around but Nat didn't act like anything really hurt, he just wouldn't put the leg down.  Here comes today's star, castor oil.  I mixed up a little with some lavender essential oil, and some St. John's wort tincture.  According to my book, you are supposed to use St. John's oil, but I didn't have any so tried the tincture.  I went out, rubbed and rubbed and rubbed some more on his leg, all the way up on the inside.  Within, an hour, he was back to normal, putting pressure on the leg and running around.  He may have done that anyway, but part 2 and 3 will prove without a doubt that castor oil works!

How could someone so innocent looking cause so much trouble?!?

I get mine at Iherb.com (use code CAN094 for $5 off your first order).  I use the Home Health Brand.  The 32 oz bottle is the best deal and then you can just make smaller size bottles of it mixed with your favorite oil blends.  I'll tell you my special recipe in part 3 of the castor oil posts.  You can also get some food grade castor oil at Walmart if you are in a pinch and need it now.

Coming soon...Castor Oil vs. the Aural Hematoma (huh?  I didn't know what it was either. I'll explain.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Natural Treatment of Infectious Coryza

Our Brahma, Nancy Sinatra, the one who started it all!
I've had a lot of interest in exactly how I treat my chickens naturally for Coryza so I thought I would spell it out a little more specifically, though with me nothing is exact or the same from day to day. But this is what seems to be working today.

When I first notice the chicken is feeling ill (she stays on the roost after everyone else is off or kind of just stands around the chicken yard) I immediately get her and put her in a large tub lined with hay. If you have multiple chickens sick, you would need to isolate them in another coop or pen of some sort. I provide her with fresh water (I use distilled and put 5 drops of GSE in it, which is grapefruit seed extract if you didn't happen to read my previous post) and food (our food consists of laying crumble, scratch, sunflower seeds, wild bird food, diatomateous earth, kelp and green tea powder). At this point, they may or may not still be eating and drinking. I then begin dosing them with 3 droppers full of colloidal silver (I buy Silver Boost from Iherb, more about that at the end of the post) in the morning and evening. I also give them water with a couple drops of GSE a couple times a day (mid morning and late afternoon). If the chicken is no longer eating, it is absolutely essential to get something down her. I use almond milk or store brand ensure and add 1/2 t of my homemade drench. This is made from 2oz of hemp oil, 2 oz of molasses, 1 oz of corn syrup, 1/2 T of kelp and 1/2 T bee pollen which I smash with a mortar and pestle. I give about 2 T of this milk mixture twice a day. When you are administering this much this many times a day, it can get a bit time consuming so I would often skip the GSE in water and just add a few drops to the milk mixture. Obviously the more vigilant you are, the quicker your chicken will get better, but sometimes life happens and we just have to do the best we can.

I will also admit that during all this, I have thought, more than once, that it would be so much easier to just humanely end the chickens life and not have to deal with this anymore but unfortunately, I am not at a point where I can do that. All my chickens have names and distinct personalities. In the future, I do not plan to name chickens but this was our first go around and they are as much pets at this point as egg providers.

For the colloidal silver, I purchase mine from Iherb.com (use code CAN094 to save $5 off your first order). The Morningstar Minerals Silver Boost is a concentrated formula that you dilute yourself so you actually get several bottles from 1 bottle. They suggest you dilute down to 5ppm. I dilute down to a little more than 10ppm. I use an 8oz bottle (my old silver bottle), put in 1/2oz of Silver Boost and fill the rest with distilled water. I give my kids 1 teaspoon a day (usually) or when we are being exposed to people who are sick (best on an empty stomach) and it really helps keep everyone well. Also, on the subject of silver, I would advise against making your own as the only reports of anyone turning gray from its use came from people who made their own and took massive doses.

Anyways, I hope this helps anyone dealing with respiratory illnesses in chickens and if you have any questions, please feel free to post them!

As of June 2011, we have remained free of all illness. We are putting a dropperful of GSE in a gallon of water (total of 4 separate waterers) daily and everyone has remained well. We have had a couple of instances where someone sounded congested but they did not get sick and in both cases, by the next day, no longer sounded congested. Also, we have had chicks born from chickens who previously suffered from coryza and they have shown no signs of illness. I believe they are carriers and will never exhibit any signs of illness. I believe that the chickens we purchased from the farm are also carriers as they have never gotten sick and I believe that Nancy Sinatra was not born and raised on that farm. I think she came from somewhere else and when exposed to the carriers became ill. If you have chickens with this condition, it is imperative that you understand that you cannot bring in any new chickens and you cannot give chickens away to anyone who already has chickens. If you are going to keep them, you can only increase your flock by hatching out eggs from your infected chickens. 

Update:  As of January 2012, we are still free of illness.  We now have an automatic waterer and are not as vigilant as we used to be about making sure they get the GSE everyday but even through the cold, we have not had one chicken get sick.  We have also not had any of the chickens we hatched out show any signs of illness, however I am quite sure that they are carriers and will not get sick.  

****Also, please see my post on MMS.  Bathing in it is especially helpful when an animal (or human) is not taking anything by mouth.  I've bathed all my sick chickens in it.