Thursday, September 7, 2017

Protect Yourself from Forest Fire Smoke

For individuals like myself living in Oregon, we are living in the new normal of constant smoke. We have dealt with fires and smoke every summer here in the Willamette Valley where I live, however, this year is REALLY bad. We have 20 fires raging in our state currently, so the level of smoke is no surprise.

I find although everyone is annoyed and some people are strongly affected by it, there are people simply ignoring it.

I am writing this to explain:
1.  Why you should not ignore the smoke.
2. What you can do to protect yourself.
3. How you can support your body.

All fires, including forest fires create toxic gases such as nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide as well as particulate air pollutants. Fires emit carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, plus nitrogen oxides that along with sunlight will make ozone. Ozone is very hard on living tissue. It has been found that ozone from fires is at higher levels in the countryside than in cities, so country folk need to worry even more about ozone. It is thought that the pollutant nitrogen dioxide which is higher in cities, reduces the efficiency with which ozone is produced.

Although the gases are an issue, the fine particulate matter is an even bigger health hazard. The fine particles in the smoke can penetrate deep inside your lungs. On its way there, it also penetrates into your nasal mucus membranes, and your throat. When you throat gets inflamed it can occlude the openings of your eustachian tubes to your ears, which causes plugged and even painful ears. These particles also cause burning eyes and a runny or stuffy nose. More serious matters are aggravation of asthma or other lung diseases as well as aggravation of chronic heart disease. 

Some groups of people are more susceptible to health effects from the smoke than others. These individuals will be those with heart or respiratory conditions as well as the elderly and children and even teenagers. People with diabetes are more affected as they often have underlying heart disease. Additionally pregnant women should be aware that the smoke affects both her and her developing fetus. However, everyone can be effected by the smoke. 

Staying indoors as much as possible with your windows and doors shut will help. Using air filtration units will help alleviate some of the smoke that comes through the cracks and gets indoors. Do not use air filtration units that generate ozone. I have had people ask me what I use as a filtration unit, so I am listing the filter I use here with a link to Amazon. They also sell this unit straight from the manufacturer. I suggest the carbon filter with it if you are sensitive to environmental chemicals. Don't fry or broil food as it will add to indoor air pollution. Don't use the fireplace or gas stoves or even candles. Don't smoke. Don't vacuum as it spreads dust around and also adds to indoor air pollution. 

If you have to go outdoors, use particulate masks labeled as N-95 or P-100 masks to filter out the particles. Make sure they fit tight and you use them correctly.

For those of you who have already been exposed and have health effects from it, you need to evaluate if it is something serious or not. That is not something I can do for you in this blog of course, so if you  feel you have a condition needing attention, see a health practitioner right away. If you have a respiratory or heart condition that has worsened from smoke exposure, contact your health care provider immediately for guidance.

For those of you that do not feel you have a serious condition but you have a stuffy or runny nose, irritated eyes, or you feel a burning sensation or general irritation in your throat and lungs, and or plugged ears, there are things you can do to support your body. First of course, you need to remove the cause of the condition. This means either don't go out into the smoke or at least wear a mask when you do.

If you have irritated eyes, even a rag moistened in cold water can be soothing. If you have saline eye drops or a saline eye rinse this can be helpful to use to wash the eyes also.

For those with plugged ears from the smoke, the reason your ears are probably plugged is that you also have an irritated throat and the inflammation has caused the throat tissue to swell and close over the openings of the eustachian tubes. These tubes drain fluid from your ears into your throat. When they are occluded such as happens during an inflamed throat, it causes pain from backed up  fluid. We want to decrease the inflammation and edema (excess fluid in tissues) in the throat and we also want to sooth and heal the irritated respiratory tract tissues. Treating the ears, and throat can all be done at one time.

You can use astringent herbs and/or salt gargles to decrease the edema. Removal of this excess tissue fluid will result in easing the pain in the throat and re-opening the eustachian tubes, unless the swelling is really bad, in which case you will need to perform the gargles repetitively at least 3 times per day. You can gargle more often if you wish.

I am sure most of you have used salt-water gargles on an inflamed throat during a viral illness. The same salt-water gargle will decrease inflammation from smoke irritation. Additionally or as another alternative, astringent herbs can be made into a hot  cup of tea and that too can be gargled. Both the salt and astringent herbs remove edema in the throat tissue and this will decrease pain from edematous tissues and help open the eustachian tubes.

Salt-water gargles are made with warm to hot water and 1 teaspoon of salt to one cup of water. I have to admit I personally use more salt, but be careful about overdoing the salt. Don't swallow it, just gargle it and spit it out. Salt in excess is unhealthy and in  excess has even killed folks. 

I would suggest Geranium, Yarrow, Sage, or Blackberry leaves/root as choices for a gargle.   You can however use your own favorite astringent herbs. Geranium has the least taste to it. Blackberry does not taste bad and Yarrow is by far the strongest and might bother some folks. However, Yarrow also is a great anti-inflammatory and will help the throat tissue to heal faster. Although many people have Sage handy in their kitchen, don't use the old Sage in your spice cabinet that you bought 10 years ago. It is no longer good. It should be only one year old at the most. You might add some rose petals in if you have them as they are a bit astringent but also contain mucilage which will additionally leave a healing coating on the throat to soothe and help stimulate healing of the irritated tissues.

If your nose is stuffy, you will find that gargling with these herbs will also help to alleviate the stuffiness. You can even snort the herbs/salt-water into your nose to help alleviate swelling of the nasal tissues by direct application. For people who have neti pots, you can use the neti pot for this application.

To support your entire respiratory system, including your irritated throat and lungs, make sure you drink enough water. Also be sure you are eating healthy food that includes a lot of fresh organic vegetables and fruits and getting healthy oils, such as in the form of nuts and seeds or cold water fish. Lay off of recreation drugs and any other vices that might not support your body. You can also use demulcent herbs which are herbs that are known to be soothing and healing to the respiratory tract. Examples of demulcent herbs would be Marshmallow, Plantain, Licorice and Slippery elm. I would give you a few words of caution here. Everything has its good and bad side to it. Marshmallow and Slippery elm are both VERY mucilaginous. They should be taken with lots of water. Please see the contraindications for mucilage below. Licorice will cause your body to hold onto water, which is good for some people but not so good for others.  It should not be consumed by people with some types of heart disease, liver disease or kidney disease that causes them to hold water in their body. No one with high blood pressure should take Licorice unless under the supervision of a practitioner who advises it. I will list the contraindications below for Licorice too. For directions on how much herb to use in a cup of tea, you can go to Herbs by Common Name and look each of the herbs up. If you need directions for how to make the tea, you can go to Herbal Tea Making. Another method of using mucilaginous herbs is to use them as lozenges. Most health food stores sell slippery elm lozenges that can be sucked on to slowly release their healing powers. It is also easy to make a mucilaginous lozenge in your kitchen. I will give you directions to make a marshmallow lozenge in my next blog.

One last herb I would mention is Calendula. Calendula will assist in removal of the particles in the lungs, but it does this by irritation, so it might be too much for some people if their lungs are really irritated. If so, stop using it and use  the demulcents by themselves. However, it can help to increase the amount of mucus that the lungs are producing and thereby help to remove the particles from your lungs. Additionally, it is an anti-inflammatory and healer of tissues. It will help heal the irritated respiratory tract tissues. You can make a nice tea mix of Calendula, Marshmallow and Licorice. If you have high blood pressure or edema, leave the Licorice out. It is best to make the Calendula as an infusion and the two roots (Marshmallow and Licorice) as a decoction. I would suggest 50% Marshmallow, 30% Calendula and 20% Licorice as a general anti-inflammatory and healing tea for the respiratory tract.

Mucilage contraindications: Mucilage (especially in powder form) has caused esophageal obstruction. This can be avoided by mixing it in plenty of water and allowing it to sit until it has fully absorbed the water. If necessary, more water can then be added to make sure it is not too thick. If obstruction is a concern, it is also best to stay away from capsule or tablet forms. Don’t take mucilage with other herbs, or drugs as it may decrease their absorption. Large, repetitive doses may also decrease absorption of other nutrients in food. It is best to take it separately from all other consumed products. 
If your body is hydrated and you are using cut herb as opposed to powdered herb to make tea, and you follow the directions on the link for how much to use, you should not have any issues with the Marshmallow or the Slippery Elm as you are drinking them in a cup of water. Plantain (leaf) and Licorice do not have mucilage, so you don't need to be  concerned about mucilage in these two herbs. They also will not coat your throat as the mucilaginous herbs will, but they are still healing demulcents. The mucilaginous herbs coating your throat is definitely an added bonus to decrease irritation. 

Licorice contraindications:   Licorice is contraindicated in high blood pressure, heart failure, left ventricular hypertrophy, kidney disease, liver cirrhosis and cholestatic liver disorders. The contraindication in liver stasis disease is due to choleretic action, although this action is minimal in comparison with other choleretic herbs. Chronic licorice use mimics aldosteronism by increasing sodium resorption and potassium excretion by the kidneys. This action is due to glycyrrhizic acid content. 185 deglycyrrhizinated (de-glycyrrhinized) licorice has been investigated for its clinical use and safety. Its use has been controversial. There is 2-9% glycyrrhizic acid (glycyrrhizin) in licorice root. The deglycyrrhizinated root extract has a maximum of 3% glycyrrhizic acid in it. 
The toxic symptoms are hypertension, edema, hypokalemia, vertigo and headache. This ceases when it is withdrawn or by concurrent use of antialdosterone agents. Doses of 3 or more grams a day should not be taken for more than 6 weeks unless monitored under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner. Elderly people are more prone to pseudoaldosteronism due to a greater increase of glycyrrhetinic acid levels from increased production by their gut bacterial enzymes on glycyrrhizic acid. 365 Licorice potentiates the activity of anthraquinone drugs or herbs containing anthraquinones, like cascara and buckthorn, by increasing the wettability of the bowel contents because of the high surfactant activity of glycyrrhizin. It also potentiates the toxicity of cardiac glycosides like digitalis due to potassium loss in the urine. There may also be an additive effect with thiazide diuretics as far as potassium loss in the urine. When used with corticoid treatment, glycyrrhizic acid interferes with delta 4, 5 beta-reductase breakdown of corticosteroids, thus prolonging its biological half-life. 404 When someone discontinues the use of licorice after consuming it over a long period of time, they should withdraw from it slowly, unless they are discontinuing it due to side effects. In the case of dangerous side effects, they should immediately withdraw from its use.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Cruelty,  hate, ignorance, and greed are due to a lack of awareness of the unity of all things. 

Anything that is adverse to recognizing unity creates dis-ease. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

GMO, Corn Based, Plastic Tea Bags in Your Organic Tea

We all like the convenience of tea bags. Many of us have a lot of loose leaf teas and use tea balls or the wonderful bags from Mountain Rose Herbs that are disposable and compostable. (I do not get any money from the sale of their tea bags by the way.) However, most of us also like to purchase bagged tea to have available for guests or even ourselves. It has become complicated buying these products as the bags can be made with just about anything nowadays including plastic. 

I love green tea and enjoy trying various organic green teas. I recently purchased a bagged tea from a company by the name of Rishi®. I opened up one of the packets and the tea smelled delightful, however the bag appeared to be plastic. So, I called the company up and asked what was up with the plastic bag. I found out  it was indeed plastic but they thought it was important to know that it is made from corn. I told them I was concerned about any synthetic plastic, no matter what it was made from. I then asked if it was being made from an organic corn product. The box said it was organic, but I knew a small percent of the product is allowed to be non-organic by organic rules. They said it was not. The bag was made from market corn. I then asked the person if they realized that market corn is more likely to be GMO, than non-GMO. They did, but they said the end product (the bag) had been tested and showed no GMO corn could be found in the end product. (Not unusual with a synthesized product that is now something entirely different than the corn it started with.) I told them even if this product would not leach out plastic into my tea, and even if there is no taint of GMO left to be found in the product, I was still taking the product back to the store I purchased it at and talking to their manager about the product. There is no way, I wanted to support the growing of GMO corn. There are two possible types of GMO corn that I know of. One is the type of GMO corn that does not die when certain herbicides are sprayed on it. The one used the most has been RoundUp Ready® corn that allows the farmer to put tremendous amounts of herbicide on the plant and soil. There is also the newer 2,4-D resistant corn too. 2,4-D was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, that was used with devastating effect during the Vietnam war. The second type of GMO Corn actually secretes an insecticide called Bacillus thuringiensis. and the insecticide basically destroys the insect's gut. There is some evidence it may disrupt the human gut function also. 

Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in RoundUp has been shown to cause damage to the gut flora. You do have to question with all the research available, if GMOs are a major part of the gastrointestinal illness that has escalated. There does appear to be a correlation when you look at graphs of the two time lines.

Any way, the bottom line for me is that I don't intend to drink tea out of a plastic bag and certainly will limit any support of GMOs even if the seller tries to convince me it is OK. I don't like the effect of the insecticides and herbicides on the water, soil and food. 

By the way, glyphosate will volatilize off from fields or yards it was sprayed on, when sprayed on a hot day. It also drifts off fields or yards by the wind and we breathe it in while driving past the farmers field or walking down a side walk where your neighbor or a business sprayed it. Just some food for thought. For more food for thought, go to the last link below, even if you don't check out the others.

For further information on GMO corn & a few other GMO articles:

GMO Beer

RoundUp® tolerant Corn

GMO Food Sold as Organic

New Pathogen Associated with RoundUp®

Glyphosate Injecting Itself into the Structure of our Bodies  This one is really eye opening, if you do not know about the relationship between the amino acid glycine and glyphosate.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

We are Creatures of the Soil

What did people do to repopulate their gut microbiome before probiotics were available to purchase at the store?

I will give you a hint. The answer is related to why people who live close to the earth, such as native people, or back to the earth organic farmers, have a healthier microbiome than a city person. These people have healthy soil on their hands, and on their food,. They are also not afraid to eat a little dirt. This is the key. Most societies also make some sort of bacterial cultured food, that was allowed to ferment. Examples would be kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut. I have cultured most of the vegetables I have grown, as well as many berries. My Grandmother use to culture meat. I have tried my hand at dry culturing pork, but not wet culturing meat in a crock like she did. My dad says it was barely edible. Most of what I have cultured has been a good experience.

Our food normally has a variety of bacteria on it that repopulates our gut. If you are living on healthy soil, growing/harvesting food from that healthy soil, and you eat fresh food right out of the garden, you end up with a variety of beneficial microbes repopulating your gut. (Watch out for dog, racoon, cat or other poo.)

With the advent of the use of chemicals on our food and soil, the microbes and fungus that once maintained a healthy soil life and fed our gut became different. The soil was no longer teaming with these wonderful organisms and minerals have either disappeared or become chlelated and unavailable due to them binding with chemicals. People started washing their food really well before eating as now their was concern about toxic microbes, and toxic chemicals. Our whole food chain changed. However, there are ways to enliven and nurture your soil back to health.

Once again, people are learning to repopulate their soils with healthy organisms. There are a variety of choices of how to do this. The concepts are pretty simple, but people approach it from different angles.  Everything from a spiritual point of view such as you get from Biodynamic Farming, which uses small energetically potentized preparations teaming with good critters and nutrients to support the soil and plants,  to scientific microbiolgoical examination of soil and application of organisms with compost, and compost type sprays. Both angles use additional common sense activities to support a good soil environment.

Nutrient cycling is possible because of the beneficial organisms in the soil.  The soil requires a variety of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. In a perennial system it also requires microarthropods. You can read more about nutrient cycling by looking at David Coleman and the Soil Ecology Society publications, or check out Elaine Ingham on line.

If you have an interest in biodynamics, there is a wonderful local group where I live. You can also check out the article I wrote on biodynamic farming.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

How to Change the World

I was asked recently what my number one environmental concern was. I found it impossible to come up with one, most important environmental concern.  We should be living in a paradise, but there is so much to be improved in our world. Our air, water and food are tainted. We are indoctrinated as little children to accept our tainted planet and society as it is. We are taught to become good little worker bees. We learn to take our place in society. However, recently many more of us worker bees have been waking up and realizing there are some serious problems in our world. Problems created from the types of activities all of us worker bees are undertaking at the command of some not so nice Queen bees (The Banksters).  These Queen bees and our acceptance as their worker bees are the root of many of our environmental problems.

When we wake up, we notice that the entire environment, the environment within us and the environment outside of us is struggling to survive, while hoping for a better future. There is much that needs to be done. Education is paramount. More people need to be educated as to the large-scale socio-political concerns that affect the planet. There are people who like to collect power/money who use their power and money to gain control over food, water, medicine, energy sources etc. Their aim is to continually gain more power and more money. In their plan we all remain their worker bees by whatever means is necessary.  These misaligned Queen bees have infected our society. We have to stop working for and feeding the Queen bees. We need to support only healthy aspects of our society.

As we educate each other, more and more people are waking out of their stupor and realizing they are automatons for these greedy Queen Bees. The Queen Bees have been able to control the worker bees as they have made the worlds population think they are all dependent on the Queen bees for their survival. People are no longer taught to be independent in thought or action. People lack the daily survival skills necessary to create their shelters, grow their own food, to take charge of their own health care. These are things we once knew how to do. These skills are easy to gain again and some worker bees have continued to pass the wisdom on to others.

We can provide for ourselves in a much healthier manner than the misaligned Queen bees can. The shelters they provide are built with toxins and are expensive. The health care provided is really sick care and is not affordable. It does not actually keep people healthy. Even the food provided is laced with chemicals and now is genetically modified. Science has shown the dangers of the toxic chemicals and genetic modification of the food. However this data until recently was kept under wraps by the people who benefit from selling toxic seeds and food (AKA Queen Bees). It is easy for them to buy silence and easy for them to use massive advertising to control the minds of the worker bees as long as the worker bees stay in their stupor.

Once we are awakened from this hold the Queen Bees have had on us, it is through gaining self-sufficiency skills and learning to be independent from the Queen bees mega corporations that we will be able to say goodbye to their control. We need interdependence with others of like mind rather than dependence on ill intentioned Queen Bees.  Learning to reconnect and support each other on a community level is necessary and brings great joy and a feeling of greater purpose to individuals in the community. It is imperative that we learn the skills necessary to live on this planet in a harmonious way with each other and all planetary beings.

The process of learning physical skills is necessary, fun, self-empowering and will change our society. All of us need to learn as many life skills as possible. Touch the Earth: Start a garden if you don’t have one. Community gardens exist in most cities. If there are not enough community garden spaces, find out what needs to be done to get more city land available for gardeners.  Knowing how to grow your own food is not only important for survival; it will enhance your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth. Take the time to learn other self-sufficiency skills you have an interest in. You can never have too many life skills.

Learn to preserve the food you grow by drying, canning, fermenting, freezing and salting. Grow and preserve herbs so you can provide your own medicine.  Chickens are easy to raise and many cities allow hens. Some cities allow goats in the yard under certain conditions. If your city does not allow chickens and or goats, get the laws changed. Goats can provide milk and it is easy to make cheese. Most people don’t realize fresh goat milk tastes great. Goats are easy to care for once you understand them. Learn to use your hands to create a beautiful living environment. Learn how you can become less dependent on the electrical grid and all aspects of our out of control socio-political system.

We need to change things quickly. The fastest way to change society is to work from an energetic level. Each and every one of us on this planet, including the planet is all a twitch in the mind of Spirit whom we are intricately connected to through the breath of life. It is through the spiritual realization that we are all one that true change takes place. The more people realize this, the faster change will take place. It is necessary for us to realize we are all interconnected to understand what affects one, affects all. If you understand this, you know the most important thing that any of us can know. Help others to understand this.

The spiritual level is where change can take place the quickest. Many people realize that they co-create reality with others. The place where this creation begins to take place is on the energetic level. We have to be responsible for what emotions and thoughts we will support and nourish into reality. We, and all that exists in our environment are made up of the emotions and thoughts that we allowed to become reality in the past. We need to nourish our current thoughts and emotions that will lead us into beautiful dreams of the future for our planet. To do this we need to stay in the moment and pay attention to our emotions, and our thoughts. We need to nurture those emotions and thoughts that will create beauty and harmony in our lives.  We must all take responsibility for our current creation and work towards the changes necessary for us all to live a beautiful life. It is possible and it is already taking place around and within us!

Things to Remember & Do:

Government is not in control of our financial system. A group of large private banks and large corporations are in control. They manipulate us through the central banks and government as well as financial markets. Our feeding into this system keeps it alive.

Voting for governmental office may not change much, but voting with how we spend our money changes everything. Pay attention to where you invest all your time and energy including your money. Don’t support the large private banks and corporations if you don't see them doing good in society. Look for options. Giving them our money, gives them power.

We can take back the power we have given the mega-corporations (not all are bad). We have the power to transform our society by withdrawing your money from those who engage in destructive behavior and by channeling our money to those who are engaged in positive behavior. Be careful and educate yourself as to who the real problem corporations are. The mainstream news will not identify them for you. In fact the mainstream news will disguise the true culprits and make them look like they are your saviors. They will vilify those who are truly out to do good by the masses.

We have the power to refuse to work for companies that are not beautifying the world. Choose to only work for people who are doing good in the world. Start your own business, if you can’t find anyone in your line of business, who is providing a safe and beautiful world with the items they are selling or the service they are providing.

Learn about alternative currency, community currency, and barter systems.

Invest locally, invest with people you trust.

Get down to the nitty gritty: Money is a form of solidified energy. Where do you deposit your money. Is the bank, credit union etc. local? Does it focus on lending locally and giving money back to the local community? Where do you purchase your groceries and other things you need? Is the money staying in the local community or does it have a headquarters that is outside of your community? Where do these businesses invest their money? Is it in your local community?

This is an exciting time to be alive. We are creating a beautiful world. Our dreams lead to ideas, our ideas lead to actions and our actions lead to the materialization of our beautiful world. If we dream carefully, and choose ideas for their goodness and beauty, we can take action and be blessed by what we have created.