Friday, July 21, 2017

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 Right off the bat, I'm going to share with you which of my 'T' blends is my favorite.  It has quickly become 'Headache & Migraine T'.

Why do I love this so much?  I used to only suffer from migraines once per month.  They'd last a day and then they'd be over.  I usually had to stay home from work, or suffer all day, lowering the brightness on my computer screen.  Migraines make me very light-sensitive, and working as a Web Designer doesn't allow me to be away from the screen much.

Lately, my migraines have increased to 2-3 times per month, and now last closer to 2-3 days.  Now that things are getting serious, I know I need a real solution.

I've sworn by ibuprofen liqui-gels for years.  They are far more effective for me than most OTC painkillers, and help me miraculously with aches, pains, burns, and cramps.  

However, for migraines, ibuprofen is practically ineffective.  I've tried every OTC painkiller under the sun for migraines.  I've also tried small amounts of caffeine (usually in the form of a latte), which offers some minor relief, but one sip too many, and I'm worse off than when I started.  I've tried avoiding known-trigger foods around that special time of the month, but wind up with a migraine no matter what.  

So, I developed this T blend based on a number of herbs I learned are useful for headaches.  The original formula contained Feverfew as well (which is known to be useful in preventing migraines), but since this is such a bitter herb, I had to remove it, as the T was undrinkable.  (By the way, if you suffer from migraines, you may wish to try taking a Feverfew supplement daily.  Be aware that it may take a few months for this to start working.  I'm personally unable to use this herb due to another medical reason, but it has been shown in studies to be effective.)

This T is the ONLY thing that gives me relief from my migraines.  It is necessary to drink a half cup of it every 2-4 hours for relief, but I don't care – I am so happy to find something that helps if I can't take a day off from work!

The primary ingredient used is Rosemary, which is effective for all types of headaches.  This and Peppermint stimulate blood flow in the brain.  Also the blend includes White Willow Bark, which was the original form of aspirin; Chamomile, Skullcap, and Wood Betony are great for tension, a major contributor to headaches; Sage is for hormone balancing.  Indeed, if you also experience nausea during a migraine (or hangover!), Chamomile with help ease your tummy.

One Saturday morning, I received a text message from my younger sister that "this headache tea is the sh**!"  She woke up with a (self-inflicted) slamming headache from a nasty hangover.  Adding 'Hangover' to my packaging won't fit on the label, but it's still another great use, and good to have on hand!

Another great little trick for some quick relief (20-30 minutes) is Peppermint Essential oil.  Rub this straight on your temples (keep AWAY from the eyes, and never ingest!) for some cooling relief.  This, combined with 'Headache & Migraine T' is sure to make headache, migraine, and hangover time a little less painful.

Recently I returned from a trip to beautiful Southern Italy.  I chose to visit Southern Italy because I'd already visited the northern parts down to Rome, and I wanted to see more.  Our trip started in Sorrento/Amalfi Coast area, and ended in Sicily.  I wasn't going for the wildflowers and herbs, but this turned out to be my most memorable aspect.

All of Italy is in bloom in May, and though May is the only time I've ever visited Italy, I do agree with the guidebooks that this is the best time to go.  We stayed in Sorrento, which smelled heavily of a sweet-scented floral perfume everywhere you walked.  This was not the smell of an old lady, but rather the scent of what heaven must smell like.  I wanted to bottle it up and take it home to take a whiff whenever I get caught up in the stress of daily life (which happens almost daily!).  

In truth, I don't know which of the hundreds of blooming flowers were creating the scent – and it could have been the lemon trees set all over town, in patches of groves.  I do believe though, that it was the collective scent of hundreds of flowers, plus lemon trees, all blossoming to the fullest after a sleepy winter.

It was hard to leave Sorrento's intoxicating scent, but we had to carry on our journey.  We continued to Palermo, Sicily, where we visited the Orto Botanico – Botanical Gardens.  As was typical of Sicily, the herb section was not in the place it  stated on the map, so I did not find this section until the end.  Once I did, I wanted to photograph every herb I saw, but had to refrain from driving my husband completely crazy.

Following a few days in Palermo, with a stop in Cefalu, we traveled to the Aeolian Islands off the north-east coast of Sicily, to the island Lipari.  In my guidebook, I read about an "accessible hour-long stroll" on the northern side of the island with incredible views of the other islands.  We took a bus to Quattropani, and right after stepping off the bus, immediately booked it towards the large field of wildflowers in front of me to take photos.

As we proceeded our "stroll" downhill towards the next town of Acquacalda, I continued to notice the roadside wildflowers and herbs everywhere.  Adorable houses maintained their own gardens with wildflowers and roses.  Of everything I saw, I believe I've identified the following: fennel, pineapple weed, Queen Anne's Lace (aka Wild Carrot), olive trees, orange and lemon trees, Italian Oregano, oats, poppies, and tons of Milk Thistle.

Though the "stroll" turned out to be a 5km 4-hour hike down a bumpy, windy, deserted road, with an almost-deserted ghost town at the end, I can still say this is now my fondest memory of our trip.  I am still studying my photos to identify these plants for medicinal properties, some of which I cannot figure out, but am very sure they are not "just some weed".

Here is one I need help with...can you identify this plant?  If so, please send me a message through the contact form on this site.

I never knew cucumbers had so many uses.  Of course, if you consider the source, I did receive the following information in an email forward, author unknown.  Still, it's great to know that the vegetable I began to avoid in my salads due to a suspect lack of nutrients may not be so bad after all.  With all the household uses, I think it would be valuable to have a cucumber or two on hand to test some of these out.

  • Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. 
  • Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
  • Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
  • Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
  • Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
  • Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
  • Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
  • Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
  • Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
  • Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
  • Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.
  • Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

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