Exploring Health & Healing

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Archive for the ‘Herbal Medicine’ Category

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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