Butterfly Garden Success

Last fall, after much pleading on my part (plan approval is a complicated process), I was granted permission to design and create a butterfly garden at the local hospice I volunteer at.  I have also referred to it as a wildflower garden to differentiate it from the more formal garden beds I have designed and planted there. This is my butterfly garden success story!

Although I posted an update this past spring, with details of the planting methods used, the final verdict on the success of my butterfly/wildflower garden was still out back then. These pictures were taken in early summer when things (not just weeds) finally started to grow…

Zinnias
Red flax
Poppies

This week, (late summer) I am thrilled to report that the experiment was a huge success!  The warm and wet weather (and our hard work of course) has created a riot of colourful blooms in the garden…

Butterflies, Birds, and Bees…oh my!

Although I have been calling this a butterfly garden, the goal is to attract hummingbirds and bees to our new garden as well. The variety of plant shapes and flower colours in this garden is akin to a smorgasbord of delectables to attract all of mother nature’s creatures in droves. This type of garden is also referred to as a pollinator garden for obvious reasons. The stepping stones are to permit strolling through the garden as well as maintenance in the form of weeding and watering.

Hospice Garden Team

There are lots of I’s so far in this post. To clarify and assign credit where it is due in spades, (pun intended) this project (and the landscaping at the hospice in general) would never have reached this level of success without the keenness and diligence of our garden team at Ruddy Shenkman Hospice in Kanata.

These dedicated team members are on-site lots more than I am. For example, we have a watering schedule that ensures all the containers, new gardens, and new additions to older, established garden beds get attended to daily. We also have team members (one wonder woman in particular) designated for lawn cutting. With the extensive RSH property, these are huge, behind-the-scene tasks. As a (semi-retired) professional landscaper, my main role on the team is to design and create new projects (garden beds) and identify chores that need to be done to keep the gardens looking as great as they do. I’m getting good at making lists, although I still love getting my hands dirty in the planting stage.

Successes in Butterfly Garden Planning

I learned lots through the experimental process of this butterfly garden and made a few mistakes but my vision prevailed.  Phew!

The mini greenhouses on my back deck all winter were definitely a success and something I would highly recommend! Those plastic clamshell containers from grocery stores come in handy for this purpose. They make for an inexpensive propagation method to sprout seeds, especially those that require cold stratification to germinate.

Also a huge success was the idea to plant seeds under clear plastic cups. On a whim, I did this in the early spring to fill in the blanks between the transplanted sprouts from the greenhouses. Using seeds of annuals from a big box store (poppies, asters, zinnias, cosmos, cleomes, and more) I simply put four or five seeds under each cup, pushed the cup into the soil to keep it from blowing in the wind, kept the soil wet around the cups, and waited for sprouts. I was amazed!

Mistakes Encountered

Sprinkling mixed seeds last fall was (relatively) a bust. These seeds were collected from plants in my gardens as well as from my clients’ gardens. I had a garden waste bag full of seeds. Although the thought was to provide a random dispersion of plants, the randomness was a little too excessive. Especially frustrating was trying to differentiate the weeds from the desired plants.

I also regret succumbing to the complaints about my “stick garden.” In doing so I removed the stakes that showed our team where the “keepers” (as opposed to weeds) were, making it frustrating for us all.

Convincing the Doubters

I think I also earned the respect of my fellow garden team members and hospice staff that were scratching their heads in disbelief throughout. Especially when the weeds were hard to differentiate from the wildflowers and butterfly attractors. I heard the term “stick garden” mumbled a few times when all that was visible was my stakes where the plants were supposed to be growing.

Conclusion

The good news? Everyone is enthusiastically on-board now. And, the most important critics of all, a few monarch butterflies and lots of bees were spotted enjoying the garden last week!

The beauty of self-seeding annuals is that they do just that, produce flower heads full of seeds that scatter randomly in the fall. Left in place, the seeds get buried in snow and pop up next spring as new plants.

I added butterfly-loving (brightly coloured) perennials, such as coneflowers, milkweed, Russian sage, blanket flowers, and many others to the bed to fill in the blanks between the annuals.

Avocado Toast with a Twist

Avocado toast is a currently popular, healthy, lectin-free alternative to peanut butter or jam, or PB&J.  Breakfast, lunch, or an anytime snack are great reasons to give avocado toast a try.

Add Pesto for a Twist

I love avocado toast, especially with my signature twist of homemade, also incredibly healthy, pesto.

Featuring fresh basil and garlic from my backyard garden, my version of pesto can be quickly whipped up by adding parmesan, almonds, and just enough virgin olive oil (for the healthiest version) to create a paste. I use my Pampered Chef blender, love how well it works for this recipe.

Sorry, I never measure the ingredients when I blend a batch of pesto.  Or many other things for that matter.  You could Google a proper recipe for a guideline though.  Although traditional pesto recipes call for pine nuts, I prefer to use always-available-in-my-pantry almonds instead.  Remember, almonds contain healthy fatty acids.

I scrape a batch of pesto into an icecube tray, then freeze.  A few hours later, pop the cubes into a sealable container and store them in your freezer. 

Avocado toast
Cube of pesto

Uses for Pesto

My pesto cubes get added to soups, pasta, sauces, and more.  Just today I had pesto avocado toast with a few pieces of bacon left over from yesterday’s breakfast. 

Avocado toast
Crispy bacon

Pesto also makes a healthier substitute for mayo in a toasted tomato sandwich or a BLT.  I haven’t tried this yet, but can you imagine a macaroni or potato salad with pesto instead of mayo?

Use your imagination! The possibilities are endless. Let me know your favourites.

Grass or Grain-Fed, Free Range and Pasture-Raised

What’s the difference between grass or grain-fed, free-range, or pasture-raised when it comes to beef cattle and poultry? It can be confusing and advertising can be misleading. Read on to learn the difference.

Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised

Grass-fed is also referred to as pasture-raised. For beef cattle, this means the cows live on grass without supplementation from grains of any kind. In the winter months, they live on hay which is just grass in a dried state.

Grass or Grain-Fed
Pasture-raised or grass-fed cows

Poultry that is pasture-raised refers to those that have outdoor access to scratch and peck at grass and bugs but shelter from hot sun, cold or wet weather. They are also supplied with feed. In other words, they are allowed to roam (somewhat) freely to do what comes natural to them.

Grass or Grain-fed
Free-range chickens

Grain-Fed Issues

Grain-fed refers to the cattle and poultry that are raised on grain alone.

The problem for cows lies in the fact that they (like many humans) cannot properly digest grains which causes numerous health issues. The reason for this is because cows are ruminants meaning their digestion process requires a fermentation stage.

The big issue for massive, grain-fed poultry stations is the lack of space for the birds to spread their wings, literally. Chicken and eggs sold in stores may claim to be “cage-free” but that doesn’t necessarily indicate they are raised humanely.

In fact, large grain-fed cattle and poultry stations are known to support inhumane practices too. Too often cattle and poultry are packed like sardines into a small area.

Animals fed corn as the grain leads to a whole other problem as corn is highly linked to GMO issues.

Then you have individuals like myself who are allergic to wheat. It took me years to figure out why I react to some eggs but not others.

Hybrids

Some cattle start off grass (pasture) fed but then end up receiving grains to fatten them up for market. This is referred to as “finishing.” Done humanely, (without overcrowding) this should not be a deal breaker.

You may not care whether your beef, poultry, or eggs are grass or grain-fed, free-range or pasture-raised. Educate yourself on the difference and you may just start caring.

These pictures were taken at my uncle’s farm where their cattle and chickens are grass-fed or pasture-raised. I love to visit this childhood-invoking farm with my grandchildren.

Siestas Are Good for You

siestas

Have you heard that siestas (AKA naps) are good for you? Apparently, they are, especially during the hot weather we have been experiencing. This is because our body temperatures lower automatically when we sleep.

Read all about the history of siestas to see how they made sense centuries ago and continue to do so today. What started off many years ago as a necessity is now touted to be highly beneficial to our health. Whether you are accustomed to heatwaves or not, cooling off with a midday nap might be the answer this summer.

Why Siestas are Healthy

Research has shown that naps are beneficial for boosting energy, increasing creativity, and even improving short-term memory.  Parents know children that who nap during the day can maintain better behaviour and energy levels until bedtime at night.  Apparently, adults can benefit from naps too; the question is how long should adults nap for maximum productivity.

How Long Should Adults Nap For?

The same source reveals that fifteen to twenty-five minutes is an ideal length for siestas. A mere 20-minute nap can boost energy levels without feeling groggy upon waking. For adults that is. Any longer than that promotes a deeper sleep which may cause brain fog, grogginess, and low productivity, totally defeating the purpose of midday siestas.

At one hour grogginess is reduced but short-term memory can improve.  One hour and thirty minutes of sleep allow for a full REM (rapid eye movement) cycle,  and improved creativity upon waking. Longer naps are especially beneficial when making up for a lack of sleep the night before.

Children and Naps

Of course, young children need longer naps to avoid the consequences of sleep deprivation. They probably benefit more from a minimum of 90 minutes of napping.   Parents probably benefit most from their children taking longer naps too, creating a win-win situation.

Words of Wisdom

photo of woman looking at the mirror

Listening to the radio recently, I was reminded of some words of wisdom my mother shared with me years ago.

iHeartRadio’s Brooke and Jeffrey in the morning show were in the middle of a second date episode.  The pretext is this: if you go on a first date with someone and they ghost you (don’t contact you or return your calls, texts, messages etc), you contact the radio show to enlist their help to find out why. The funny part is that the ghostee is on the line listening to the ghoster’s reasons for their behaviour without the latter’s knowledge. After the dirty laundry is aired, both parties are then asked if they would be willing to go on a second date, at the expense of the radio station.

The young lady in this specific episode was (in my opinion) pretty high on herself…because (in her opinion) she’s really good-looking. When she only received a text from the ghostee within the next 24hrs, she moved on to the list of other guys she “swiped.”

You might think I’m wandering off-topic here, (I do that sometimes) but bear with me this time. I will get back to the words of wisdom from my mother.

Looks will get you the  First 5 Minutes

And after that, you’re on your own.

I heard these words of wisdom many times whenever I was primping (yes, I too was a vain teenager) in front of a mirror in preparation for an evening out.

What old-fashioned words of wisdom do you remember hearing that may not be so common today?

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Osteoarthritis, a Pain in the Hip

osteoarthritis

Is osteoarthritis ruining your life? It is mine, and I am not happy. For years it represented a minor annoyance when my right hip would click or hurt occasionally and for just a nanosecond. Recently though, the condition took a turn for the worse.

Osteoarthritis Flare-up

During Canada celebrations, I was standing around lots watching some of my grandchildren enjoy the fair-like rides. For some reason, my arthritic hip does not appreciate standing around. Within a span of an hour or so, my osteoarthritis went from a twinge once in a while to 8 out of 10 painful.

I can walk for miles, at least I could, prior to this flare-up. My hip also currently doesn’t like stairs or pivoting. Or cold. It never did like cold but today the freezer section of the grocery store made it throb.

Gardening Dilemma

I had already decided to reduce my gardening hours but now I might have to give it up completely! I hope not, will have to wait to see if the pain continues or subsides to its previous, manageable level. It has been a full week already since the flare-up occurred. Just when I think I am feeling better, it acts up again.

I realize too, that if you don’t use it you lose it. Perhaps my hip is bothering me more because I am not gardening (stretching, bending, squatting etc) enough. We (hubby and I) have also not been taking our evening, hour-long walks around the neighbourhood. We have been working at the cottage though, so that should account for something, shouldn’t it? Although, I am more of the gopher and consultant and he is the worker bee in those projects. So more standing around for me and less for him.

Treating the Osteoarthritis

Honestly, I have been taking it easy since the flare-up. In fact, I have read three books in the past week. I know that rest is the best way to alleviate the pain; I’m just not used to being sedentary. And, it scares me of what is to come.

Pain medication is not a great option for me as I react to most of them. I have been trying several herbal remedies instead but most of them take a while to take effect.

Anyone I know that has had hip replacement surgery for their osteoarthritis says they wished they had done it sooner. My problem is that my doctor retired recently and I have been unable to find a new one. I have x-rays from a year ago showing that my right hip shows moderate osteoarthritic changes. Also an issue is the waiting list for arthroscopic or hip replacement surgery here in Canada.

Arthroscopic Surgery

This would be the best option in my opinion but I’m not sure I am eligible. They can insert a tiny camera and instruments through a few minuscule holes to repair cartilage or bone malformations. This procedure can be performed in a few hours with much less downtime (as little as two days) than the alternative.

Unfortunately, hips already in the process of osteoarthritis (like mine) do not benefit from arthroscopic surgery.

Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement is much more complicated and invasive. The femoral head (the part of the joint that is supposed to be round but gets flattened/misshapen with osteoarthritis) and damaged cartilage are removed and replaced with a prosthetic (fake) joint. Doctor Domenic Carreira says these patients require a hospital stay (a few days) and the use of a walker or cane for up to four weeks after surgery.

osteoarthritis

I think I would be a great candidate according to my age, weight, activity level, lifestyle, and medical condition:

The results of total hip replacement vary depending on the individual’s age, weight, activity level, lifestyle, and medical conditions. Typically a hip replacement results in less pain and better hip function. The implants used in hip replacement do have a limited life expectancy. A joint implant’s longevity will vary in every patient, but they typically last about 20 years.

Dr. Domenic Carreira

I would love to hear from anyone that has gone through either process, especially the hip replacement surgery. Also, if anyone has any tips on how to get a doctor and on the waiting list, I would appreciate the advice!

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Dementia: Can You Prevent it?

dementia

As I get older, every time I forget something I wonder if dementia is imminent. Forgetfulness is common as we age, but just how forgetful is normal, and what level is more worrisome? We all joke about having “senior moments” but when do the jokes become reality?

What is Dementia

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes dementia as the following:

Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Though dementia mostly affects older adults, it is not a part of normal aging

CDC

Excess Protein in the Brain

Research is showing that excess protein causes a toxic, plaque-like buildup in the brain that kills off brain cells. Known medically as proteinopathies, the group of diseases that exhibit this protein accumulation includes the several forms of dementia.

Normal Aging

CDC assures that these age-related changes in our memory are perfectly normal:

  • Occasionally misplacing items
  • Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
  • Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
  • Forgetting the most recent events

This list also includes going upstairs for something, then forgetting why you went upstairs. Phew, I bet that’s a pretty common occurrence for many of us within my generation.

Worrisome Symptoms

As well as problems with memory, dementia symptoms include issues with communication, attention, problem-solving or judgment, and behavior or personality changes.

For example, if you get lost in a familiar neighbourhood, forget the name of a close friend or family member, find yourself unable to complete familiar tasks, organize or plan, notice decreased coordination, or start using inappropriate/wrong words in a conversation, you should seek medical help.

Warding off Dementia

Any activity that exercises your brain helps to keep dementia at bay. Referred to as cognitive engagement, this includes reading, puzzles, word games (like Wordle), and more.

Physical exercise also helps as it forces more oxygen into your brain. Low or inadequate levels of oxygen, medically called hypoxia, is defined by the National Library of Medicine (NLH) as:

Hypoxia, a condition where oxygen supply to tissue is inadequate, induces free radical generation leading to oxidative protein modifications and tissue damage [2427]. Oxygen supply also acts as a modulator of aging processes [28]. The cerebrovascular disorders and hypoxia-ischemia injuries in the brain are projected as a primary cause of protein pathologies that leads to cognitive impairment and dementia [2930]. In short, hypoxia-ischemia injury in the brain persuades DPMs that can lead to aging, age-associated diseases, and neurodegeneration.

NIH

Social interaction has also been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and slow down its progression if it does happen. Maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure helps lower the risk of dementia as does avoiding/quitting smoking. Avoiding or reducing saturated fats, salt, and sugar is key to a healthy diet, which in turn helps maintain that healthy weight.

Do your part to reduce your risk!

photo credit: pexels-photo-8172897

Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers

When designing summer, autumn, or winter containers be sure to follow the thrillers, fillers, and spillers rule for maximum effect. The “thriller” is the center, tallest plant. The spillers go around the perimeter of the pot; choose ones that sprawl “spill” over the edges. The fillers go in between the thrillers and the spillers to fill in the bare spots.

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Annuals or Perennials?

Most people choose annuals over perennials for their summer containers. That’s because annuals bloom all summer until frost kills them off. Perennials, on the other hand, bloom for two weeks on average, if you’re lucky. You can use a combination of both for your thrillers, fillers, and spillers. For example, perennial ornamental grasses make an awesome, inexpensive (dig a clump up from your garden) “thriller” (center) for containers.

Sun or Shade?

When designing your container, be sure to take its intended location into consideration. Some plants (both annuals and perennials) like full sun, others full shade, with others somewhere in between. Don’t try to combine these different requirements in the same container. If you do, some will thrive, and others will fizzle.

You can probably tell from these pictures that coleus and hibiscus are my favourite annuals for shade and sun containers respectively….

Fertilizer

Containers of annuals can be fertilized weekly right up until frost. This practice will keep the annuals looking cheerful as long as possible. Perennials need less fertilizer, especially those in garden beds when monthly is ideal up until August (in zone 4/5).

Deadheading and Pinching

Deadheading, or removing spent blossoms, helps to keep your containers looking nice all season. For annuals and perennials with flowers on stalks, remove the stalk right back to the first set of leaves after the flower has passed its peak. This practice often encourages repeat blooming. Others just need the faded flowers picked off.

Pinching the center of annuals and perennials encourages them to get bushier instead of leggy.

Frost Warnings

While annuals will be affected by frost, most perennials will not. Some annuals tolerate a light frost, others not so much. Of course, the first frost date varies across the globe, sometimes year to year within the same area.

In other words, frost is unpredictable.

Perennials can overwinter in your containers if you choose plants two zones hardier than what is normally hardy in your area. Otherwise, you can stick them in the ground to overwinter, to use again the following spring.

You can extend the season on both ends by heeding frost warnings in your weather forecast. In the spring I tend to start my containers early to ensure I get the annuals I want. If a frost warning is issued, I move the containers into my garage, off the (cold) cement floor, for the night in question. The same technique can be used in the fall when a sporadic early frost is in the forecast.

Once frost has set in for several days, you are fighting a lost cause. It’s then time to switch your concentration to fall or winter containers. Use the same thrillers, fillers, and spillers technique to create unique designs…

Storm Hits Ontario, Hard but Selectively

storm

Parts of Ontario were hit hard by a violent storm yesterday. Depending on where you live or happened to be at the time, you may or may not have experienced incredible damage. Most of the damage was to trees, some completely uprooted while others literally split in half. I was one of the (un)lucky ones to have the storm visit both of my properties. The first map shows you the extensive power outages in the Ottawa area. The second one shows you those affected in Ontario:

Cottage Property Damage

We were working outdoors at our cottage when the storm hit. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the tornado that destroyed neighbourhoods in Ontario back in September 2018, came close to our cottage property too. I thought I had posted about that story, but apparently not. I’m sure many of you heard the details though and have stories of your own. In short, two sons and a friend just finished installing a new roof on our cottage and were heading home when one son called to tell us of all the trees down and power outages on their way home to Ottawa. We had no damage to our property.

Yesterday’s (? tornado, the verdict is still out) storm hit closer this time. Hubby and I were working on outdoor renovations when the skies got dark and the wind picked up. That was the only warning we had. Others have said they heard warnings on TV and on their phones. As mentioned, we were outside with neither technological device handy. Just like last time.

This picture was taken by my daughter-in-law who was visiting her sister in Carleton Place. They were hit there about 20 minutes after we were hit in Ompah. The storm was cutting a swath from southwest to northeast Ontario, at least according to my contacts. From the map above it appears to have hit further north and west as well.

We quickly stashed our tools in the garage and headed indoors to watch the approaching storm from (relative) safety. I watched in disbelief as the first tree split and crashed thirty feet in front of me, then a second snapped like a twig landing on our paddle boat that was leaning against the tree. That’s when we ran for cover in our basement. These fallen trees were tall, healthy, mature evergreens (pine), part of the skyline I love so much on our property. They now lie across our lawn, between our cottage and the lake…this could take weeks to clean up….so much for renovations……again.

Many of our neighbours were not so lucky. Right next door, three massive evergreens were uprooted, two falling on their roof and one hitting the (old, unused) antennae on our roof. If not for the antennae it would have hit our roof. The good news is since these trees were uprooted, they fell slowly, so there is no damage to the roof.

Many of our other trees remain intact and unharmed, thankfully. Walking around after the storm subsided we could see an incredible number of downed trees and wind-blown furniture. What I found amazing was the sporadicness (?word) of the storm. We have a row of plastic, kid-sized lawn chairs on our deck, a few feet from the downed trees. The deck was littered with leaves but the chairs were unscathed, not even moved an inch!

Kanata (Ottawa) area Damage

Shortly after the message from my DIL in Carleton Place, I received pictures and messages from a neighbour in Kanata. I could follow the sporadic yet destructive path of the storm from my contacts. It was eery how some trees were demolished while others missed completely. Some areas (just) received heavy winds with patio furniture rearranged, but undamaged.

The trees on our street (Katimavik area of Kanata) were hit hard, at least those on the south side of the street. We live on the (north) lucky side, let with just a few small branches littering our lawn.

Upon return home, we walked around our neighbourhood gawking at all the damage. This is a video posted today.

Ontario Hydro and Hydro One

Both hydro companies are working overtime this weekend, trying to restore downed power lines and outages across the region. Reports of downed lines, towers and power outages are rampant on social media and news stations. These pictures are from Ontario Hydro:

Tree Removal

Tree removal services are also in great demand this weekend. Davey tree services were on our street shortly after the storm, working well after dark, then back again this morning.

Update

As time goes on, we have several updates. Environment Canada now calling the storm a derecho! Huh, a new word in my vocabulary. Here’s another one… atterradora is Spanish for scary! I’ve never heard of a derecho, but I’ve survived one! My Mexico-residing brother tells me derecho is Spanish for “straight-ahead” ………..interesting!

I hope you were one of the lucky ones that could watch the storm on the news, from a safe distance.

Herbs for Homemade Remedies

herbs for homemade remedies

Recently I told you about my penchant for alternative medicine. A big part of that is using homemade remedies, many of which come from backyard herbs. Reading The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies from cover to cover I was itching to try many of the herbs in my kitchen or garden.

Oregano

Oregano imparts a unique and subtle flavour to Mediterranean dishes, so is a staple in many kitchen spice cupboards, including mine. It is a hardy, low-growing, perennial plant, perfect for the front of your garden beds. The tiny leaves can be used fresh or dried and crumbled for storage. The leaves can be sprinkled in dishes or steeped as a tea. Oregano oil can be extracted from the leaves and stems or purchased as an essential oil but must be used cautiously (diluted with carrier oils) as it is quite potent on its own.

Uses for oregano include:

  • eliminating skin blemishes and dark spots
  • contains omega 3, heart-healthy fatty acids
  • improves cholesterol levels
  • treats yeast, fungal and viral infections
  • asthma and bronchial infections
  • weight loss, metabolism stimulation
  • boosts immune systems with its vitamins A and C


Rosemary

Another common herb, rosemary is also found in many kitchens. It lends flavour to roasted meats, especially lamb, or potatoes. Its tiny, needle-like leaves can be sprinkled directly on food or steeped in a tea.

According to research, rosemary is beneficial to:

  • improve concentration and memory
  • treat circulation issues and headaches
  • reduce joint and gut inflammation
  • treat fungus and bacterial infections
  • increase energy
  • treat hair loss
  • treat bad breath

Thyme

Varieties of thyme are endless as hardy garden perennials. Their leaves can also be sprinkled on food in the kitchen. Thyme oil or thymol is a respected disinfectant known to kill bacteria and viruses. To wipe down household surfaces, I swear by Soluguard, a product from Melaleuca that combines thyme and lemon.

herbs for homemade remedies
thyme and lemon disinfectant

Thyme can be used for the following ailments:

  • a disinfectant as above due to antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic properties
  • sore throats, bronchitis, and coughs
  • gum disease, cavities
  • acne
  • boosting the immune system
  • stomach flu symptoms
  • epileptic seizures
  • lice, crabs, worms, and scabies
  • skin lesions, sores, and warts

Dandelion

Everyone knows what a dandelion looks like. All parts of this common weed are edible. The flowers and leaves can be added fresh to salads and the roots dried for tea. The flowers can also be fermented to make dandelion wine.

The many advantages of dandelion include:

  • using the roots for liver, kidney, gallbladder, and GI issues as they remove toxins, help digest fats, and restore electrolyte balance
  • the leaves can be used as a diuretic and antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections
  • high levels of iron, other minerals, and vitamins prevent anemias caused by deficiencies
  • enhances milk production and treats mastitis for breastfeeding women
  • reduces inflammation in arthritic sufferers
  • protects bones from osteoporosis
  • controls blood sugar by stimulating the production of insulin and eliminating excess sugar from bloodstream

Chives

The pretty purply-pink flower heads on chives are very recognizable in our gardens. The leaves can be clipped at the base of the plant and used to:

  • lower cholesterol
  • prevent strokes
  • detoxify
  • flush our systems as a diuretic
  • boost the immune system

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is not as common (at least in my neck of the woods) but can be ordered from health food stores. Its berries, leaves, and roots are all useful.

The many benefits of ashwagandha include:

  • anti-inflammatory, for managing arthritic pain
  • improves immune function by reducing stress hormones and increasing white blood cell production
  • protects the brain from degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • anti-oxidant properties that help treat colon, stomach, breast, ovarian, and lung cancers.
  • improves memory

These are just a few herbs for possible homemade remedies that caught my eye. There are many more out there; do your own research!

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