Sunday, November 8, 2015
There are still a few straggling gold leaves on the bushes beyond my deck, but the trees are looking barren. It seemed as if one day there were leaves, and a few days later they were bare. The cast-off colors of gold and brown drifted to the ground prolifically, almost like falling snow, and the green grass is carpeted with brown. Michelle took some photos of the beautiful Japanese Maple at the front of my house last week.The night temperatures fall down into the 40s, and daytime temps seldom get higher than the 60's. Daylight Savings Time has switched so that our days seem much shorter, and they will continue to dwindle for another month and a half before they begin to lengthen again. I do not like winter much, but it does give me a reason to appreciate my quilts... and use them regularly.
This is the time when the cold and flu bugs are running rampant, the time to back up our defenses with herbal remedies. I've been making a wonderful natural chest rub for the grandchildren for many years, that I call Eucalyptus Chest Rub. It's great for breaking up congestion with essential oils in a light, natural base; it takes the place of commercial rubs that are petroleum-based. Also, we have a cold and sinus tea blend that we use, that is potent enough to knock that cold or flu virus for a loop, if you take it at the first signs of a sore and scratchy throat. That, along with tinctures of Echinacea and Astragalus whenever we are exposed to those winter bugs, help us to ward off any viruses traveling around. Astragalus is reputed to be even more effective as an immune system enhancer than Echinacea, by some herbalists. Echinacea is more effective if it is taken in a cycle, with a period of "rest" off the herb, rather than taking it continually. Here are the recipes for the chest rub and cold/flu relief tea:
Eucalyptus Chest Rub:
2 cups Olive Oil
1-1/2 ounce Beeswax
1 Tablespoon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1 teaspoon Camphor Essential Oil
1 teaspoon Wintergreen Essential Oil
1 teaspoon Peppermint Essential Oil
1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
Melt the beeswax in the olive oil. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and add the essential oils and Vitamin E oil. Stir well and pour into salve containers. When the salve has cooled and become firm, cover and label. Relieves respiratory congestion. Safer for children than petroleum products. Note: If you wish, you can make this with Lard as part of the oil, and/or add Emu oil, which has been proven to be able to travel to the deeper levels of the skin. Lard has healing properties of its own, but some prefer not to use animal products. Also, animal products can become rancid much more quickly than Olive Oil, so if it is not going to be used in a reasonable span of time, Olive Oil is a better choice.
Cold, Flu and Sinus Relief Tea:
2 Tablespoons Elder Berries, ground
1/2 cup Elder Flowers
1-1/2 cups Coltsfoot Leaf
1/2 cup Elecampane Root, ground
1-1/2 cups Dandelion Leaf
1/2 cup Dandelion Root
This tea is not good tasting (my children nick-named it Putrid Tea), but honey can be added to make it more palatable. It does work, so if you can manage to disregard the taste... it will sure make you feel better! It takes some people some time to adapt to liking the taste of herbs. I put a spoonful of tea in a coffee filter, and make my own teabag. I flatten the filter, bring two edges together and fold them down several times, then bend it in half so both ends meet and fold that down, then staple the top. Steep it in boiling hot water for several minutes... you will smell the potent herbal aroma. Drink a cup of the tea every few hours.
Another natural remedy that is available to everyone is Garlic. I use fresh minced Garlic on my salads daily, as well as including it in many other foods. Garlic supplements are available over-the-counter, if you prefer to take it in that form. My younger sister told me once that people had been mentioning to her that she smells like Garlic, and offering her breath mints! She looked at the bottle of Garlic supplements that she was taking, and it was not odor-free, as she had thought. So be aware that is available in odorless or regular form.
Even though there is a chill in the air these days, I have had a frequent visitor on my deck. The first time I saw him, he sat on the table and stared at me through the window for a long time, and when I went on with my sewing, he curled up on the back of one of the new chair cushions for an extended nap. He has come back several times... the cushions must be comfortable, and even though the deck is on the east side of my house, that area is usually sunny throughout the day. My deck seems to be a sanctuary for squirrels and cats! A few weeks ago, I saw three quite large deer amble through the yard and wander off into the woods at a leisurely pace. I tried to get a photo of them, but was afraid if I opened the door they would get spooked and run. The pictures through the window were blurry. It never ceases to amaze me that here in the suburbs of a big city, in an area that is well populated, there is so much wildlife! We are crowding these animals out of their habitat, I fear.