Exploring Health & Healing

A place to discuss health & healing on all levels.

My Father has ALS

Posted by Thought Collective on November 22, 2011

My dear Dad, John, was just diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease) and is degenerating rapidly. He has lost the ability to use his right hand at all, and has extremely limited use of his left. His speech is slurred and difficult to understand. He is in pain.

John is a very kind and creative man. He is a fine songwriter and musician, though he can no longer play, of course. His songs and poetry are mostly about the intricacies of love relationships, and they are so true and easy to relate to that he had quite a following.

He was also a very skilled woodcarver, creating beautiful, intricate pieces displaying the beauty of nature’s creatures, big and small. Toward the end of his ability to carve, he started setting up an online business (www.molloyandwhite.com) to sell resin casts of the carvings, and to offer mold-making services. The site has now begun to expand to include the work of other artists and craftspeople. It is the business legacy he is leaving behind, and it will make such a difference to his community.

He is the author of “Ecological Agriculture,” and has been in the forefront of every movement for individual rights (women’s, children’s, animals’, and so on) – not by getting out and aggressively protesting or proselytizing, but by expecting that they would be granted, and accepting nothing less. His peaceful, friendly, generous nature always made people want to listen to his words, and his words were always full of respect and the pursuit of mutual benefit and personal dignity for all. His turn to plant and insect rights – in other words, the rights of every single living thing – are still far advanced for his time, just as his insistence on the rights of women & children once were.

He is in a pretty good place, emotionally, and as always is of excellent spiritual focus and faith. We have talked a lot about death, since I am also crippled and in pain, and he is ready and willing to make the transition when the time comes.

Mentally, logically, and spiritually, I’m right there with him. I would rather have him die than linger in pain and slowly suffocate as most ALS patients do. I would like him to get to the next place before me, so he’ll have the “lay of the land” by the time I follow him. I’m as excited about the life of the spirit after death as he is, so on one hand I’m rooting for a quick, easy death for him.

But emotionally, I feel a constant sense of panic – like the feeling I get when I’m in the waiting room at the dentist. When my Dad is free, it means I will no longer have my Daddy to talk with, to hug, to crack silly jokes with, and to go to when I need someone who loves me unconditionally and completely.

My Daddy is leaving me, and I’m torn between wanting him to go, for his sake, and wanting to cling to him and make him live as long as possible, for mine. The world will be a darker, less friendly place without him. How will I bear my disability and pain when he’s not there to cheer my heart and spirit?

I wish I could die when he dies, but of course there’s very little chance that could happen. Besides, there are people who love me, who couldn’t bear to lose me and John at the same time, or even within a couple of years of each other. So I’m going to have to live, and go through the debility of suffocating grief, without his jokes, his words of wisdom, or his warm arms to help hold me together.

I wonder how I’ll make it. I feel like I might just lose myself in the loss, and he hasn’t even died yet. He is not the entire world to me, but he has been one of the very best parts of it, and I will feel the loss of him every single day for the rest of my life.

Now I have written part of what is weighing on my heart, and I’ve dropped so many tears on this keyboard that I’m afraid it might short out. So now it’s time to pull myself together, wash my face, and work on a mitten pattern I’m making for him – something warm, because it’s full-on winter here now, and it must be easy to velcro shut with the use of one’s teeth.

He said he thinks he might not still be alive in the Spring. I think I will paint him a picture of daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, and crocuses, so we can be sure he’ll at least see them one more time.


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Herbal Tutor – Plantain

Posted by Thought Collective on September 4, 2008

Plantain (Plantago major) – Broad leaf plantain, Lance leaf plantain, Devil’s Shoestring, Englishman’s Foot

Commonly found in areas where you will find dandelion and/or red clover, plantain is a very prolific weed.  It was originally brought over from Europe by white settlers, but quickly became known by North American natives as the powerful medicine that it is.

Plantain has been used as a poultice to draw toxins out of and to heal wounds of many types, including bee stings, mosquito bites, dog bites, scorpion stings, rattlesnake bites, cuts and scrapes.  I generally chew on a fresh leaf until it is pulpy, then bind it to the wound or bite with another fresh leaf.

Internally, it has been used to treat lung infections such as pneumonia, swollen lymph glands, excessive menstrual bleeding, high blood pressure, intestinal contractions, headaches, coughs, fevers, flu, and diarrhea.

Some use it both internally and externally to treat herpes sores – whether cold sores or the genital variety.

In Chinese medicine, plantain is used to treat rheumatism, infertility, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and many pregnancy problems such as fetuses in bad position prior to delivery.

I believe plantain has pulled me back from near-fatal pneumonia twice in my life, and I swear by it for this purpose.

Here are some photos and pictures of the different types of plantain – both are used for all of the conditions mentioned above.

Any information found in this Herbal Tutor, or anywhere else on this blog site, is intended for anecdotal and informational purposes only.  We make no medical or other claims, and recommend you seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner before beginning any healing program.

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Gratitude – What’s going right

Posted by Thought Collective on July 25, 2008

There’s nothing like surviving a healing crisis to make one feel more alive than ever. Things we take for granted under normal circumstances – like being able to breathe freely, walk without pain, pick up the children, or enjoy a meal – suddenly reveal themselves as the blessings they truly are.

It’s important to cultivate that grateful spirit in our daily lives. It might have been Louise Hay who first introduced me to the concept of living life in a state of gratitude for what I have already been given. Or perhaps it was Eckhart Tolle. Anyway, both of these wise people support the concept!

In You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay writes, “Life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back…The Universe totally supports us in every thought we choose to think and believe. Put another way, our subconscious mind accepts whatever we choose to believe. They both mean that what I believe about myself and about life becomes true for me. What you choose to think about your self and about life becomes true for you. And we have unlimited choices about what we can think. When we know this, then it makes sense to choose “Everyone is always helpful,” rather than “People are out to get me.” The Universal Power never judges or criticizes us. It only accepts us at our own value. Then it reflects our beliefs in our lives. If I want to believe that life is lonely and that nobody loves me, then that is what I will find in my world. However, if I am willing to release that belief and to affirm for myself that “Love is everywhere, and I am loving and lovable,” and to hold to that new affirmation and to repeat it often, then it will become true for me. Now, loving people will come into my life, the people already in my life will become more loving to me, and I will find myself easily expressing love to others.”

So, if the Universe is going to give us what we expect, what we focus on, and what we believe in, then it makes much more sense to live a life of gratitude. Rather than focus on healing sickness – which is still a focus on sickness! – it would be better to focus on the health we are still experiencing, and the higher level of health we want. Of course, we need to treat our bodies and minds when they are unwell, but I think it makes sense to do so with an attitude of gratitude for the unwellness, because it is helping us to remember to refocus on health! We get the rest we need, or take the herbs that support our healing, or contact the people, plants or animals who represent our emotional support system – but we do so knowing that health is ours for the taking. Rather than telling our friend, “Oh, I’m so sick. I can hardly breathe!” we instead might say, “This makes me so grateful for how easy it usually is to take a breath. We normally don’t even give it a second thought, but now I’m reminded of how good it feels to breathe so freely!”

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HEALING LOG – Sinusitis & Abcessed Teeth

Posted by Thought Collective on July 21, 2008

I managed to get through my sinusitis and abcessed teeth without using antibiotics, of course. Instead, I followed my instincts and that inner voice that advised me what to take, when to stop taking it, and how to adapt my activities for healing’s sake. Here are exerpts from my Healing Log from that time:

On TUE June 24th, I was eating a cracker when a piece of it jammed up into the gum behind one of my front teeth (left, 2nd from front). When I pulled it out, it bled for quite awhile. This might or might not be relevant.

On THU June 26th, I felt a very painful toothache beginning in what seemed to be the same tooth. The pain was bad enough that I started taking 1000mg Tylenol every 4-6 hours. [I normally avoid taking pain killers, but I was in a lot of pain.]

By SAT June 28th, the pain was so intense that Tylenol was barely taking the edge off it at all, and wasn’t lasting more than about 2 hours. I phoned the dentist, even though the office was closed for the weekend and it’s a holiday weekend, and asked whether there was any way they could get me in as an emergency. I barely slept that night, as the pain kept waking me up. Started catching myself moaning with it, at times.

On SUN June 29th, I was so desperate to make the pain lighten up that I took Tylenol every four hours and began taking Extra Strength Echinacea Root Tincture. I also drank as much pure water as I could stand. In the evening, unable to sleep, I spent hours online investigating homeopathic & natural remedies, and started taking Aconite, Arnica, Pulsatilla, and the Inflam 1 that I had unopened from Wellness Technologies in Lethbridge, AB. I also began holding salt water in my mouth over the area. I experimented with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), but didn’t perceive any result other than a sense of taking action to help myself. I woke several times in the night to drink water and once to take Tylenol.

On MON June 30th, I woke with my upper lip, under nose, and left cheek/sinus area badly swollen. It hurt to move my head, especially to tip my face downward. The one tooth that had caused me so much pain was now not hurting much, but other teeth were hurting. Afraid it was sinusitis, I went to emergency. My family doctor, also a good friend and advocate of natural healing, saw me in his clinic and thought it sounded like sinusitis. He was concerned at how severe it looked, so he gave me a 3-day sample of Clarithromycin 500mg and sent me for a sinus x-ray. The x-ray didn’t show a raging sinus infection, but he said it was still likely. He also thought I might have a concurrent abcessed tooth, but that the dentist would determine that.

When I got home from the hospital, there was a message from the dentist that they had an opening. The dentist took a dental x-ray and confirmed an abcess of the front right tooth. He said that the x-ray showed an abcess in the 2nd tooth, too, but when he tapped on it, it didn’t hurt. So, he said I need to come back next week for a root canal; in the meantime, I need to treat the infection. He confirmed that I might have both an abcessed tooth (teeth) and sinusitis, which is what it feels/looks like to me.

I tried several times to pop one of the Clarithromycin pills out of its bubble pack, but my body is violently rejecting the idea and I’ve been unable. I decided to give myself until TUE morning, to see if I can make some improvement through natural treatments.

I followed up by stopping the Tylenol and just taking the extra strength Echinacea tincture, Inflam 1 homeopathic, lots and lots of water, salt water rinses, and applications of 100% tea tree oil – externally and a tiny dot dabbed on my gums just under the infection. I also ate what I craved – garlic & turmeric in tofu, and not much else. I wanted to take fresh plantain juice – I even juiced it, but then it kept telling me it wasn’t the one, and the echinacea root tincture kept calling me back over to it, so I decided to trust the wisdom of the herbs I have known and loved for so long. Within the first day, the swelling was noticeably down, and completely gone within 3 days. The spot beside/under my nose is still tender to the touch.

So here I am, a few weeks later, feeling as good as if it never happened at all. I didn’t go back for the root canal, but I’m a little nervous about that. I have had several root canals, and every one of the teeth has become brittle and/or blackened, and some have eventually had to be extracted anyway. I’ve been hearing whispers of tooth regeneration, and I’d love to hear more about that, if anyone knows about it. Someone somewhere, long ago, suggested fresh alfalfa for tooth regeneration. Have you heard anything about this subject?

…and yes, I did note that I allowed myself to go into “fear mode” over this healing crisis. You’d think that at my age I’d be better able to redirect that energy, but I was in extreme pain and not at my best. I had sinusitis once before and came very close to dying from it. Someone in the town next to me had it at the same time, and she did die from it, when the infection ate through the bone and hit her brain. That’s really how bad it felt, too – like something chewing through the bone and heading for my brain!

On the other hand, I want to treat myself with love and kindness, and give myself a big hug for trusting my green allies – both the ones I used, and the ones I declined. That’s the kind of healing I want to participate in, and the kind that always brings me the quickest, gentlest recovery.

Your comments, suggestions, experiences, or insights are welcome. The comments section is moderated, so it might take a day before your comment shows up, but I will read every one!

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Six Steps of Healing

Posted by Thought Collective on July 9, 2008

copyrighted by Susun S. Weed (reprinted by permission)

What are the Six Steps of Healing?

These are remedies you can use for your problem in order from safest to most dangerous: Step 0 is the safest; Step 6 the most dangerous. Use Steps 0, 1, 2 and 3 as preventive medicine. Prevention is an important, though often invisible, way of healing/wholing in the Wise Woman tradition. Deep relaxation, information exchange, energetic engagement, optimum nourishment (including touch) and exercise promote health with little or no side effects.

Examples are in parenthesis: (with a few of the modalities available at each step)

Step 0: Do Nothing

(sleep, meditate, unplug the clock or the telephone)

A vital, invisible step.

Step 1: Collect Information

(low-tech diagnosis, books, support groups, divination)

Step 2: Engage the Energy

(prayer, homeopathy, ceremony, affirmations, color, laughter)

Step 3: Nourish and Tonify

(herbal infusions and vinegars, hugs, exercise, food choices, gentle massage, yoga stretches)

Note: Healing with Steps 4, 5, and 6 always causes some harm.

Step 4: Stimulate/Sedate

(hot or cold water, many herbal tinctures, acupuncture)

For every stimulation/sedation, there is an opposite sedation/stimulation, sooner or later. Addiction is possible if this step is overused.

Step 5a: Use Supplements

(synthesized or concentrated vitamins, minerals, and food substances such as nutritional yeast, blue-green algae, bran, royal jelly or spirulina)

Supplements are not Step 3. There’s always a risk with synthesized concentrated substances that they’ll do more harm than good.

Step 5b: Use Drugs

(chemotherapy, tamoxifen, hormones, high dilution homeopathics, and potentially toxic herbs)

Overdose may cause grave injury or death.

Step 6: Break and Enter

(threatening language, surgery, colonics, radiation therapies, psychoactive drugs, invasive diagnostic tests such as mammograms and C-T scans)

Side effects are inevitable and may include permanent injury or death.

How to Use the Six Steps of Healing

If you want to remedy your problem with the least possible side effects and danger, start at Step 1. After reading Step 1, pick one remedy from Step 2 and set a time limit for working with it. If your problem is unresolved within that time, decide if the time limit needs expanding or if you are ready to go to Step 3. Continue in this manner, moving to Steps 4, 5 or 6 as needed, until your problem is solved.

Each step up increases the possibility of side effects and their severity so try at least one of the Step 2 techniques, even if they seem strange to you, before going onto the remedies of Step 3 and beyond (note also that time spent at Step 2 will help you choose appropriate remedies at Step 3 and so on). When your problem is resolved don’t stop. Go back through the steps, in reverse, before resting at Step 0.

You can continue to take remedies from a previous Step after moving on, but be cautious about the use of Step 4 remedies in combination with Step 5 remedies.

If you deem it necessary to heal through Step 5 and/or 6 (and real healing can and does take place with the aid of drugs and surgery) and have not yet tried any techniques from Steps 2 and 3, do so immediately. Engaging the energy, nourishing and tonifying will aid and abet the healing powers of the more dangerous healing ways and help prevent or moderate their side effects.

Susun Weed

PO Box 64

Woodstock, NY 12498

Fax: 1-845-246-8081

Visit Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com and www.ashtreepublishing.com

For permission to reprint this article, contact us at: susunweed@herbshealing.com

Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.

Susun is one of America’s best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women’s health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at www.susunweed.com

Susun Weed’s books include:

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $11.95 Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

Healing Wise

Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $15.95 Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $16.95. Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

For more info on menopause, visit: www.menopause-metamorphosis.com

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $14.95 Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

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Posted by Thought Collective on July 5, 2008

Welcome to Exploring Health & Healing. The purpose of this blog is to share our collective wisdom, experiences, and/or “mistakes” in the field of personal healing.

We are interested in healing on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.

What are you exploring in this area? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t?

Herbs and herbal medicine, herbal allies, homeopathic remedies, moxa, EFT, meditation, prayer, positive affirmations, creative visualization, Susun Weed, reflexology, iridology, song, dance, magic, magik, midwifery, conscious consumption, vegetarianism, vegan diet, allergies, D’Adamo diet, blood type diet, angels, fairies, faeries, music, music therapy, art, art therapy, companion animals, acupuncture, acupressure, exercise…Please send me comments about what has worked for you!

This is a moderated blog, so your comments won’t show up the moment you type them, but be assured that we will read every one!

MAILING LIST – If you would like to be notified whenever we post a new article, please leave your email address in a comment on any article.  For your privacy, I will NOT publish your comment on the blog!  We will never share your email address with anyone, ever, and we will never spam you!  Our mailing list will be all in the Bcc: (blind carbon copy) of the email, so others on the list will not see your email address, either.

OTHER BLOGS – Do you have, or know of, a blog that might be interesting to people who read this one?  Send us a comment and we will check it out.  If we think it works here, we’ll add it to our links section!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

NOTE: On the birth-day of this blog, I was in the midst of a healing crisis, as I struggled to regain my health in the face of sinusitis and two abcessed front teeth. I am allergic to all known antibiotics (not that I would be keen to take them even if I wasn’t allergic!), so I am “forced” to put my money where my mouth is and actually rely on the herbs and other natural products that I speak so highly of! I refer to this in a later post, so this note is FYI.


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