Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Radically Natural Remedies: Herbs to Correct Female Irregularities

Is an abnormal female cycle the new norm? My instincts and observations will be considered an anecdotal source, LOL, but I'm voting yes...sadly, the female reproductive system seems to be working less efficiently and normally as the decades pass. Truly, empirical data is slim. And infertility rate reports are misleading because they include technological interventions, such as in vitro fertilization, rather than just measuring the number of women who cannot get pregnant after a year of trying without unnatural means.

Clearly, young women are having more trouble getting and staying pregnant than their mothers and grandmothers. The impaired fecundity (problems getting and staying pregnant) rate is higher now than 20 years ago, and primary infertility affects about 20 percent more (married) women now than it did in 1965. It's easy to play with the numbers and manipulate statistics...how much real scientific data do we have that can show us legitimate fertility trends? I think we need to start talking more to each other and women in our communities and searching out fertility stories and trends from the past.

Rates of infertility and irregular cycles are frighteningly high among the young twenty-somethings I know. Dysmenorrhea anyone? Menorrhagia? Oligomenorrhea? These are just latin terms for "your cycle is really messed up." How is this happening, ladies? Well, who hasn't read about the damaging hormones in industrial animal foods and endocrine disrupters in plastics and chemicals (like dioxin)? Consider that BPA exposure can increase miscarriage rates...and that's only one of the toxins getting media exposure...what else is lurking out there? Our hormones are increasingly suffering due to the industrial food supply and environmental toxins. It's not rocket science...though rocket fuel is probably a culprit.

Textbook "normal" cycles average 28 days, and the normal window is currently defined by cycles in length of 24 to 34 days. Your cycle begins the day you start your period. Ovulation "normally" occurs at midcycle, around day 14. The hormone dance that regulates your menstruation and ovulation, and affects sexual desire, include estrogen (specifically estradiol), progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The first half of your cycle is the follicular phase, and after the ovary releases the egg, you enter the luteal phase until your next period begins.

Of course there is variation in what should be considered "normal." But during the baby-making years of a woman's life, her cycle should be consistent and regular (fairly close to clockwork), not drop-dead painful and blood depleting, nor nonexistent. To have an unpredictable cycle, an irregular cycle, is certainly not desirable, nor healthy...but those cycles seem to be proliferating and redefining normal in our modern age.

Irregular cycles include:

  • Menorrhagia: excessive bleeding (often including clots and resulting in anemia), and or prolonged periods
  • Dysmenorrhea: excessively painful periods
  • Oligomenorrhea: irregularly long cycles (more than 35 days between periods with fewer periods in a year)
  • Metrorrhagia: irregular cycles with excessive flow and duration, particularly bleeding between periods
  • Polymenorrhea: short cycles (fewer than 24 days between periods with more total periods in a year)
  • Amenorrhea: infrequent and scanty menstruation (pretty much absence of periods)

Rather than drone on with a "know your cycle" lecture, I encourage you to study the subject and try to tap into older source materials and traditional/historical wisdom.  Perhaps query your grandmother or older women in your social circle about their menstrual histories. I will not delve into the varying causes of irregular cycles and reproductive organ ailments, but I encourage you to study the topic, such as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, the effects of excess prostaglandins, and how food and pollution negatively affect your hormone cascade.

In the meantime, let's look at some herbal helps that are intended to balance, tone and correct our cycle irregularities. Numerous herbalists have written on this topic and offer wonderful remedies. I borrow from many great healers and am thankful for wisdom passed down!

Chaste Tree
Some plants contain natural phytoestrogens (ex/ licorice and red clover), some promote the production of progesterone (ex/ sarsaparilla and blessed thistle), and others are adaptogens (ex/ siberian ginseng and ashwagandha) that nourish our adrenals and help our bodies deal with stress. Vitex (chastetree) is a female super herb, benefiting the pituitary gland, increasing progesterone levels, and helping to balance hormones. I recommend purchasing herbs through Mountain Rose. (If you purchase through that link or the ads on my blog, I may earn a small commission...thank you for your support!)

Herbal Estrogen Tea

This tea is to be consumed during days 1 to 10 of your cycle (adjust for your lengths if you can estimate when you are ovulating...stop the tea a couple days before ovulation), and is meant to be consumed in conjunction with progesterone tea, below.

1 part licorice root
1 part angelica root
1 part peony root
1 part vitex
1 part red clover tops

Infuse one ounce of the herb mixture in one quart of just boiled water. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain and drink six ounces, three times daily.

Herbal Progesterone Tea

This tea is to be consumed during days 11 to 27 of your cycle (again, try to adjust dates for your irregularities...).

4 parts sarsaparilla root
2 parts blessed thistle
4 parts raspberry leaf
1 part ginseng root
1 part vitex

Prepare and consume as above.

Herbs for Painful Menstruation

The following herbs are helpful for cramps and discomfort during your period:

  • Cramp bark
  • Motherwort
  • St. John's Wort
  • Chamomile
  • Wild Yam root
  • Valerian root
  • Skullcap

Make an infusion with 1 tsp. each herb, steep for 20 minutes in 2 cups just boiled water. Add some peppermint leaf for flavor and additional analgesia. Alternately, try to find a tincture with those herbs in combination, or buy singles and mix them yourself. Take 30 drops in water as needed (every half hour during intense pain periods).

Essential oils that help ease menstrual pain include lavender, chamomile, clary sage, and marjoram. Herbal oils of St. John's wort and arnica combine with the EOs to make a soothing anti-inflammatory, analgesic rub. If you don't want to source and make your own, buy my product, Labor Oil, which has a following among my midwife mentor's clients as a help for labor pain and headaches.

Herbs to Help with Heavy/Excessive Menstrual Bleeding

  • Shepherd's Purse
  • Yarrow
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Vitex

You can purchase separate tinctures of these herbs and combine them, taking 3 droppers full every 15 minutes until bleeding slows (for very heavy bleeding); use 2 droppers full every hour for moderately heavy bleeding. To make a tea infusion, combine equal parts of each herb, use one ounce to one quart of boiled water, steep 20 minutes, and drink as needed (teas are less potent than tinctures, so we use larger quantities of tea than tincture).

Is Your Grass-Fed Butter Really Pastured?

As a butter lover (fiend...pusher), I cannot sing the praises loudly enough of pastured butter.   You know what I'm talking about, fellow fanatics...The golden goodness of the nutrient-rich fat that is born of sunshine, green grasses, and healthy cows.  And we also know how rare real pastured butter is...that free-ranging, grass-fed non-franken milk cows are not a dime a dozen.  I, like many of you, have had a bit of a love affair with Kerrygold butter...second only to New Zealand, I believe, Irish pastures are green nearly year-round (don't quote me on that, though).

How might you respond if you discovered that your pastured butter wasn't?  That the grass-fed milk cows producing your butter were were living in a huge barn, eating delivered grass?  That the pastures weren't receiving the benefit of nature's most natural, nutritious, free fertilizer?  Welcome to the "zero grazing" grass-fed method.  

What defines pastured?  Is a "zero grazing" grass-fed dairy operation producing pastured milk?  Will that milk be sufficiently rich in vitamin D (are barn skylights enough)?  Is this a nourishing and sustainable option?

I'm not making any accusations, any statements about any brands of butter.  I have no knowledge of which companies are purchasing whose milk.  But the following video makes me wary of the grass-fed dairy products I might be purchasing.  I don't think the grass is the only important component in Real Milk products.  I suppose this is another reason that being far from our food production means lack of accountability and real consumer-driven quality control.

Observe the feeding method of this Irish dairy.  Sure, it's clean enough ... the cows aren't knee-deep in feces like typical feedlots or commercial dairy operations.  But is this really pastured dairy?  (And note the breed...the highly manipulated Holstein, bred for unnaturally massive milk production rates, and carriers of the troublesome mutated A1 protein.)

Contrast with this video of my friend's property, where they raise a few Guernseys (an "old world" heritage breed that naturally produces A2 milk, more easily digestible and less problematic for humans).  Are the differences between the "zero grazing" grass-fed model and the genuine pastured model significant?  You decide.

Is This a New Era of Normal? Detoxing for Life with Constant Toxic Load

I'm no engineer.  I'm absolutely not brainy with electronics.  Computers and the like regularly set my teeth on edge (as I'm sure is apparent to anyone with any tech sense, LOL).  But every so often, I dream of inventions.  I know I couldn't manage to create them, but I wish someone would!

I have a love-hate relationship with my front loading washer.  I love that I can stuff a king-sized comforter in it, but I hate that it doesn't fill with water.  I long for gushes, not trickles.  What's the point of an "environmentally friendly" washing machine that has to be run three times just to get a load clean?  Water, Whirlpool!  Water would help!  I long for the days of old-fashioned "water wasting," full-to-the-brim, heavy duty, steel-drum top loaders.  The kind my parents had.  These new, shiny, rinky dink, "designed obsolescence" appliances make me want to set my hair afire.  I would love to see someone manufacture an honest-to-goodness, super large capacity, water-gobbling top loader with a removable agitator...so I can take it out when I want to wash a king-sized comforter or sleeping bag.

Or how about a voice-activated shower shut off system?  You program it to the sound of your screaming...  So when your husband decides to bless you by washing some dishes during your "quiet time," stealing ALL the hot water, or your child flushes the toilet while you are in the shower and you get scalded, a quick "AAAIIIIEEEEEEEEE," and the water turns off instantly.

But my current desire is a special pair of glasses with which you could see all the pollution sources around you...EMFs, radiation, petroleum by-products...everything.  The glasses would detect and measure the dangers for you.

This last invention would have come in quite handy last week, when my children received burns after playing in the fresh fallen snow.  It was not a freezing cold day.  I considered the possibility of superficial frostbite (aka frostnip), in which the exposed skin surface freezes, initially feeling red and itchy, but then turns pale and becomes numb.  Frostnip typically affects the cheeks, ears, fingers and toes, but my children's marks were only on skin where snow had come into direct contact.  My children's marks looked like a sunburn, and they were warm, raw and painful to the touch...they never paled and did not numb.  So my instinct urged me to question...  If these were burns, what could be the cause?

I had recently read about continued radiation release from Fukoshima. Certainly it wasn't broadcast on CNN or MSNBC.  But my brief years as a professional journalist firmly entrenched me into a distrust of corporate media.  [Why would we expect that the "official" stories are always true?  Or that we are being given anything more than a "story" at all?  Never forget, my friends, truth is stranger than fiction and the powers that be do not trade in truth.  Ask any classically trained journalist (who still believes in sharing the unvarnished truth with the public) about PR spin doctors, and you'll get more of an earful than you ever desired.]

And perhaps the information is flawed.  But watching a Geiger reading last week at the beach in California indicating radioactivity at 1200% above normal, really raised my hackles.  And seeing a man in Missouri reading radioactivity in the snowfall started me worrying.  Frankly, I do not care the source of the pollution, be it Fukoshima or something else in the air...  When empirical evidence tells us that the problem exists, the source is somewhat irrelevant.

My children, excited for our year's first significant snowfall, did what all exuberant youth should do.  They eagerly plunged into an afternoon of snowfort building and snowball throwing.  But after an hour, they came in the house complaining.  They didn't feel quite well, and their skin itched.  An hour later, upon examination, I noticed that they had red, raw patches on their skin...only in a few places, where they had direct contact with snow.  My eldest son received snowballs down the back of his neck, my middle son had snow on his face and chin, and my young daughter had a small snowball stuffed (by a lovingly goofball brother) down her shirt.  Each child complained that the red marks, which I can describe only as burns, were tender...painful upon touch.

I have never before seen such a reaction to the snow.  I was concerned and wanted some confirmation of my suspicions...pronto.  But I don't own a Geiger counter (yet).  Thankfully, I know someone who knows someones who were likely candidates.

It could just be my imagination (or a bit of wishful thinking), but it seems to me that in our rural northwest location we are surrounded by an above-average demographic of doomsday preppers.  As we are still rather "new" here, I am unsure if this contingent is "life as normal," or if it is a recently rising trend.  But God bless those self-sufficient survivalists, some of them are quite friendly, some of them willing to share their wisdom, and some of them have Geiger counters.

The report I received from my friend was that the gentleman he queried went walking in the snow with his detector, and he reported that we were "hot."  Ten RADS an hour.  He admitted his equipment might not be properly calibrated, but considering the radioactive readings others got last week, I am inclined to believe that all is not clean and clear in the air.  I do not yet fully understand all the nuances of measuring radioactivity and the RADS reading, and I continue to study the issue.  I am desirous of confirmation or contradiction from other people with equipment.  But I am not going to sit around and do nothing, assuming that this is my overactive imagination.  If we are being exposed again (or still) to radioactivity from Fukoshima or something else, I need to be proactive to protect my family.

So my hunt for the daily radiation detox regimen begins.  In a shocking turn of events (gasp), I am not attempting in this post to reveal all the answers, remedy all ailments, firmly direct readers.  I simply want to share this part of my journey so you might begin to question the necessity of your own.  I will tell you what I've discovered and decided so far and urge you to research further and consider what it means to live in a chronically toxic environment.

Protection and Detoxification from Radiation

Treatments for nuclear contamination include familiar nutrients and supplements that protect our organs and detoxify our bodies.  The following include a few essentials that I am giving my family daily.  Most of these items have been part of our routine for years, and most of them overlap with the GAPS detox protocol, but I am increasing regularity and dosage (particularly of clay).  Please research and study beyond my recommendations, as there is much to learn and I am only sharing an overview.

Helpful herbs, foods and vitamins include:
  • Chlorella
  • Reishi mushrooms
  • Ashwagandha
  • Siberian Ginseng
  • Kelp
  • Sea salt
  • Coconut oil
  • Flushing with proper hydration (drink 1 oz. water for every pound you weigh and add 1 tsp. mineral rich real salt to every gallon of water you consume)
We hear a lot about iodine supplementation as a crucial component to radioactivity exposure.  Elemental iodine is important, but it isn't enough.  It won't protect your entire body from all types of radiation.  It is fundamental for thyroid protection, and it should be used daily.  I recommend Lugol's 5%, Iodoral tablets, and Nascent Iodine.  Take selenium with iodine, as it improves thyroid function and iodine absorption.  I recommend 200 mcg. selenium and a minimum of 50 mg. iodine daily (for adults).  To learn more about iodine and to better determine your personal dose, please read:
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is an effective and inexpensive remedy for radiation exposure.  It is especially protective of our kidneys; it binds with uranium.  Drinking a baking soda/water mixture will help flush radiation from kidneys, and a detox bath of baking soda, epsom salts (or magnesium citrate flakes) and clay will flush radiation from our bodies.  I use one to two cups of baking soda in a bath, soaking for at least 20 minutes.  When using the combo, I add 1 cup of salt, and 1/2 to 1 cup clay.

Clay can act as a sponge for absorbing and removing toxins from our bodies.  Consuming and bathing in clay is currently part of our "normal" routine.  Take care when consuming clay that you drink plenty of water, and begin with a small dose.  Some practitioners believe clay is safe for regular consumption in small amounts, others believe it should be used for temporary healing only.  Read more about consuming clay for detoxification and decide for yourself.  Good quality clay is essential, of course.  I use Pascalite, but a high quality bentonite and/or montmorillonite would be good choices as well.  My current internal dose is a teaspoon a day mixed in 24 oz. water.  I add this to my morning tonic of 2 Tb. apple cider vinegar and cellular/hormonal regenerating herbal tonic (more on those someday...maybe).  Each member of my family drinks and bathes in clay (our detox baths often include magnesium citrate, baking soda, and ACV).

I hope you are inspired to find answers and apply remedies to protect the people you love.  I owe special thanks to friends who listened to me rant and vent last week, and who helped channel my research quickly.  If we are living in the new age of normal that includes chronic exposure to toxic pollutions over which we have no control and even no warning, we should daily apply prophylactic detoxification protocols.  If you are doing the GAPS protocol, much of this will be familiar to you.  My focus now is on constant detox rather than temporary or bi-yearly detox.  I wish you all well!

Radically Natural Book Giveaway: Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse

I wish you all a healthy, happy New Year and I hope you will consider dedicating this year to healing your body.  Starting with the liver flush protocol is a gift to yourself and your family.  In fact, have your entire family do the cleanse, and enjoy the fruits of detoxifying.  My gift to one of you is the The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse book by Andreas Moritz, which I have referenced in my previous posts.  Thanks for entering the giveaway and supporting my work!  Please share this with your friends.  This post is linked at Real Food Wednesday, check out the other great posts shared there this week.  Happy healing!

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Radically Natural Remedies: Flush Your Liver for Systemic Detox

As discussed in my previous post, a liver cleanse is one of the most important steps in establishing or regaining health.  Flushing your liver and gallbladder of stones will reverse numerous maladies and aid systemic healing, including autoimmune and hormonal disorders.  It is true that health begins in the gut, which is why the GAPS protocol is so important.  But health is maintained by the liver.  To be truly well, we must address both.  The GAPS program, combined with a liver flushing program, is an effective therapy for "cleaning house," detoxifying, revitalizing immunity, repairing brain chemistry imbalances, and more.  And what better time to begin your journey of healing than the coming New Year?  I'm not one for "resolutions," but tackling important projects and turning new corners seems apropos at this time.

Whether or not you think you need GAPS (and it is highly likely that you do), a liver flush is an essential key to wellness.  If you are already on the GAPS protocol, adding a round of liver flushes will speed your healing and ensure benefits that GAPS alone cannot provide.  If you have not yet begun GAPS, but plan to do so, this is the perfect time to introduce the liver flush program.  The best news is that a liver flush is neither difficult, nor expensive.  First I will describe the flush, then I will propose a GAPS/Flush schedule.

The Liver Flush

The entire cleanse will take many months.  You do one flush at a time, but you must do enough flushes to remove all the stones currently housed in your liver.  DO NOT begin the cleanse unless you are willing to do it properly and to follow through with the entire program.  You can suffer different and worse symptoms if you do not perform the cleanse properly.  Please read Moritz's book to understand better the why and how of the cleanse.  Most adults need an average of eight flushes to remove all the stones.  

One flush requires six days, five of those being preparation days.  Plan for your sixth day (and the following seventh day) to fall on days where you can relax and be undisturbed for an evening of sleep and a morning of bathroom visits.  For example, day one would be Sunday, so that the evening of the "real flush work" lands on Friday, and Saturday morning you flush your results.  But the protocol couldn't be simpler.

*Please read Moritz's book before attempting this liver cleanse.  He reminds readers numerous times that it is imperative to do the protocol exactly as he describes, so you suffer none of the adverse affects that can occur otherwise. 

Days One through Five

  • If you cannot tolerate or do not want to drink apple juice (it made me nauseated and gave me the shakes...my body could not tolerate the sugar), use 1 teaspoon natural malic acid powder dissolved into 32 ounces water.  The L-Malic Acid is the natural, not synthetic, form.  (It is the malic acid in the juice that softens the stones, preparing them to pass.)
  • Other alternatives to the apple juice or malic acid include the herb Gold Coin Grass, cranberry juice, and apple cider vinegar.  See below for dosing.  I have not tried these methods.
  • Eat "lightly" throughout the week.  Soup is an excellent option.  And do try to cut back on fats.  That helps the olive oil drink on Day Six to be more effective.  (A large ingestion of fats prompts the gallbladder to release stones...but without the proper protocol, such as softening stones with malic acid and opening ducts with epsom salts, you can get stones stuck rather than passed, which can cause discomfort and various symptoms.)
  • During this week, it is essential that you clear out the bowels.  Even if you have regular movements, you can have impacted fecal matter lining your intestines.  You want to use this flush as an opportunity to clean your bowels, and you need to have a clear passageway for flushing out the stones.  A daily colonic (multiple enemas) is optimal.  Additionally you can use a product called Colosan (a concentrated form of magnesium combined with oxygen that acts by drawing water into the bowels...get the powder, not the capsules), or large doses of magnesium citrate (like Natural Calm...take it until you get runny bowels).  Colosan is the better choice.  But you must be sure you are having regular very soft to runny stools every day.  Doing enemas until your bowel runs clear (you have passed all dark brown and foul smelling matter) is an essential way to ensure that you are clearing your bowels.

Day Six

  • Drink 32 ounces of the apple juice or malic acid solution in the morning before eating anything.
  • Eat lightly until 1:30 pm, after which you will fast.  Drink water generously.  
  • Important:  The fasting, combined with the enemas, ensures that you do not create feces and that when you flush you will be passing only water, bile and stones.  If you have feces in your intestines, this can impede the passing of stones; stones can become lodged in your tract and can cause pain (perhaps even pancreatitis) in the next days or weeks.  Make sure you have flushed your colon...home or professional colonic therapy is essential to this cleanse.

At 6 p.m.

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in 24 ounces water.  You are making four 6 oz. servings.  (The epsom salts dilate the bile ducts, making the stones easier to pass.)
  • Drink your first serving (6 oz.) now.
  • Do not drink fresh water for 20 minutes before or after consuming the epsom salts.
  • You may add a squeeze of fresh lemon to the salt water to make it more palatable, and drinking with a straw helps to bypass taste buds.  You may rinse your mouth with fresh water after drinking.

At 8 p.m., drink your second serving (6 oz.) of epsom salts.

At 9:30 p.m., do an enema (or two or three or four...) to clean out the bowels.

At 9:45 p.m.

  • Juice three or more room temperature grapefruits.  You need 3/4 cup grapefruit juice.  (Alternatively, you may combine orange and lemon juice.)
  • Combine this with 1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.  
  • Add to a pint or quart jar and shake vigorously to mix, about 20 times, or until mixture is watery. (The oil in this mixture prompts the liver to release the stones, the grapefruit juice increases the production of bile secretions.)

At 10 p.m.

  • Stand by your bed and drink the entirety of the concoction without stopping (consume within five minutes).  After an afternoon of fasting, I found this juice mixture to be delicious.  Anyone used to a high fat diet will have no trouble...my son and I agreed that the mixture was like a delicious citrus smoothie.
  • Immediately lie down in bed, propping your head up on pillows so that your head is higher than your abdomen.  (You may also lie down on your right side with knees pulled up to abdomen.)
  • Lie still for the first 20 minutes, no talking, no moving, just resting.  Think happy thoughts about how many stones will leave your body.
  • Go to sleep.  (Don't worry if in your sleep you don't keep your head propped up.)
  • Additionally, you may use a castor oil pack over the liver area to help reduce congestion.  Wet a flannel cloth with a few spoonfuls of castor oil and lay it over your liver (located under your right lower ribs), cover it with a towel.  Have this ready to go by your bed before you drink your grapefruit oil.

Be prepared

to feel nauseated, perhaps even to vomit.  You have begun releasing toxins from your liver and it could make you feel ill.  Be prepared to begin passing watery stools in the evening, though most people do not pass anything until the morning.

In the morning

Between 6 to 6:30 a.m.

(not before 6 a.m.)

  • Drink the third portion (6 oz.) of your epsom salt water.  If you feel very thirsty, drink a glass of tepid water before drinking the epsom salts.
  • Go back to bed, but try to stay propped up; alternately, stay up and read but be restful!

Between 8 to 8:30 a.m. drink your final glass (6 oz.) of epsom salts.

At 10 a.m. you may drink freshly pressed juice (fruits, carrot).

At 10:30 a.m. you may eat a couple pieces fresh fruit.

At 11 a.m. you may eat light food.  Continue to eat lightly throughout the day, as you did the week in preparation for the cleanse.  Be sure to hydrate well.

During the morning

(most likely beginning after the final round of epsom salts) and perhaps into the afternoon, you will pass numerous watery bowel movements.  These may contain "chaff" or "foam," which is undigested bile, along with stones.  Some of your stones may be calcified; these tan or whitish stones will sink.  Some will float...these are the pea-green or greenish-black cholesterol/bile stones.  Stones may be tiny, they may be larger.  Expect anything from smaller than pea-sized to as large as an inch.  Light-colored stones are newer, the dark stones are older.  You may pass dozens, or even hundreds of stones.  (Most of mine were pea sized and blackish; I passed about 200 stones my first flush.)  Expect your stones to smell foul.  Feel free to spoon out some stones and examine them...it's a fascinating science experiment.

For three days following your cleanse, continue with the Colosan or enemas (preferably multiple enemas) to ensure bowel flushing.  You don't want gallstones to remain in your colon, causing irritation.

It is important to leave a two-week break (from the day you flush to your next "day one" of drinking the malic acid) between liver flushes, to allow the gallbladder and liver to recover.  Passing these stones is like mini surgery (without the horrifying side effects) and we want the body to recuperate.  But remember, you must continue to flush until you have passed all your stones.  You will know you have succeeded when you do two cleanses and you have passed no stones.

In the hours following your cleanse, you will likely feel better, rejuvenated, and experience reduction in your ailments' symptoms.  But in a few days, symptoms will return as more stones travel from the back of the liver forward toward the hepatic ducts.  So plan to keep cleaning your liver until you find no more stones.

A note on children

Andreas Moritz, author of The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, recommends that children ages 10 to 16 can do the flush, but should be given a half dose of everything and that the flush should start an hour or two earlier on Day Six.  I am comfortable having my younger children do the flush.  This protocol is noninvasive, gentle, safe and effective.  It is important to reduce the dosages for children, and not require that young children fast completely on the afternoon and evening of Day Six if they are unable to do so.  Have them eat lightly and expect that the stones will not release easily on their own on the seventh morning, because they can be caught in feces in the colon.  In this case, an enema before ingesting the grapefruit oil and again in the morning after the second dose of epsom salts should remedy the situation.

So for children, the doses would be:

  • 1/2 tsp. malic acid in 16 to 32 oz. water for days one through six (alternatively 16 oz. apple juice)
  • 2 Tb. epsom salts in 24 oz. water on evening six (start at 4 p.m., rather than 6)
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice mixed with 1/4 cup olive oil

[Children can have stones who have not been fed a toxic diet or given antibiotics and vaccines.  My children are not in that category and my children flushed dozens of stones in their first cleanses.  Various factors can contribute to stones, including environmental toxins, stress, propensity to autoimmune disorders (in our case, allergies), gut dysbiosis, and consumption of foods to which one is allergic or sensitive.  But past consumption of less-than-stellar foods could have contributed to the formation of stones.  Even once you switched to a nourishing diet, the stones are likely still housed in the liver and need to be removed.]

My 4-yr-old's stones

My 4-yr-old's stones

My four-year-old daughter passed the largest, but newest, stones of our family. (The photo doesn't show the color accurately...her stones were lighter and brighter green, not the dark brownish green that I, my husband, and my sons had.)  I did need to administer an enema the morning of her stone release (the morning after Day 6), because she did not fast on Day 6.  I don't expect young children to be able to fast.  The body will produce feces from that afternoon and evening meal, so the stones can get "caught" in the feces.  She did not easily pass the water and bile with stones that the rest of us did.  But I administered a water enema, and her stones came right out with the feces from the previous evening's meal.  So if you feed your young children the afternoon of Day 6, be prepared to administer an enema the next morning to help release the stones, as well as follow-up enemas after the flush.

I want to emphasize that my daughter was exclusively breastfed for her first year, after which she never ate processed foods, nor refined sugars.  As with all my children, she has never been vaccinated, and she has never received any drugs (even OTC).  She is the healthiest of my children, but still had some food sensitivities.  Her stones smelled of petroleum, as did all of ours.  I share this to emphasize that even young, healthy children raised on a WAPF diet are subject to environmental toxins that can affect their organs.

Alternatives to apple juice/malic acid powder

  • Gold Coin Grass tincture:  1 tablespoon on an empty stomach 30 minutes before breakfast.  This method must be used for eight days before the day of the actual flush.
  • Cranberry juice:  4 ounces of juice + 4 ounces of water, four times a day for six days.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  2 tablespoons in a glass of water, four times a day for six days.

The GAPS/Flush Schedule

The first schedule is for those of you who have not yet begun the GAPS protocol.  You will be gearing up to begin Intro, hopefully by using the excellent preparation schedule laid out by Baden Lashkov in the GAPS Guide.  (See below for purchase options.  As with the other links on this page, if you purchase through one of these links, I could accumulate a small commission.  Thank you!)

[Yes, technically citrus fruits are GAPS illegal during Intro.  So test yourself on a bit of grapefruit juice before doing the cleanse.  A mixture of orange and lemon juices can be substituted for the grapefruit juice.  If you are highly reactive to these fruits, don't use this protocol until you move to Full GAPS and can tolerate them.]

  • Before beginning Intro, do one round of the liver cleanse.
  • Begin Intro.
  • When you have reached Stage Five of Intro, do a liver cleanse using the L-Malic Acid powder.
  • Continue finishing Intro.
  • When you have begun to merge onto Full GAPS (or three weeks after your previous cleanse), do another flush.
  • Continue the flush protocol every two to three weeks until you no longer pass stones.
  • Finish GAPS.
  • Enjoy greater success and renewed health!
  • Do a liver flush every six months for the next few years, then move to once a year.
  • Go back and do the liver flush protocol from start to finish if you experience major illness or "flubs" in your diet and your health becomes impaired.  Also go back to GAPS Intro for a few weeks in this case.

If you are already on the GAPS protocol, doing Intro, just begin your liver flush program once you reach Stage Five.

If you are already on the GAPS protocol, doing Full GAPS, begin your flush program now and follow it to completion.

In a future post I will address herbs and nutrients that help to regain and maintain liver health, which you can add to this protocol.  For now, keep it simple and just begin to flush out those stones.

For More Information

Liver Flush Q&A with Andreas Moritz

 GAPS Guide 2nd ed. paperback

Buy Now!

 GAPS Guide 2nd ed. epub file (most versatile file type) 

Buy Now!

 GAPS Guide 2nd ed. mobi file (Kindle)

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You Must Flush Your Liver...GAPS Alone Isn't Enough

After years of experimenting and working through various healing protocols, I have found that certain approaches are more efficacious than others.  But I have also learned that we need to combine important aspects of varying approaches.  In my struggles to heal myself and my children from significant allergies, gut dysbiosis and hormonal disruptions, I have discovered what I believe to be effective healing strategies.  As I have shared regularly on this blog, GAPS is an integral part of recovering health.  Numerous ways to modify and enhance GAPS exist, and the program will help you to achieve gut healing.  But to be truly well, most of us need more.  GAPS alone isn't enough, so I have designed what I call GAPS Plus.

GAPS tackles one of the most deleterious health scourges that modern Americans face:  gut dysbiosis.  Health begins in the gut, where 80% of our immune system is housed.  When we suffer from leaky gut and an overgrowth of pathogenic flora, we cannot maintain good health.  We fall prey to numerous auto-immune disorders and brain chemistry imbalances.  GAPS can help you heal your gut, repopulate your body with necessary beneficial flora, and detoxify your system.

But in my opinion, GAPS is missing a key element.  To overcome toxicity and heal liver stagnation and malfunction, we must flush the liver of "stones."  The liver is a crucial organ, second only to the brain in its mechanics of regulating life systems.  Your liver controls the growth and function of every cell in your body.  Additionally, the liver is the largest gland in your body, part of the endocrine system that regulates hormonal functions.

Blockages and obstructions in the body restrict nutrient and oxygen flow to cells, beginning the cascade toward disease, such as autoimmune disorders, even cancer.  Waste matter can accumulate and build up in the organs and ducts of our body.  We see this affecting our health negatively throughout bodily systems, as in constipation (a build up of fecal matter in the intestines) or kidney stones (calcifications obstructing the flow of the kidneys), even "glue ear" or ear infections (sticky mucus combined with toxins and bacteria builds up in eustachian tubes).  The liver can suffer restricted performance through similar obstructions, particularly gallstones in the liver and gallbladder.

These stones...the result of hardened bile salts combining with trapped substances, like undigested cholesterol and toxins...can congest the gallbladder, the liver, and their ducts.  This congestion interferes with crucial health functions like digestion, blood detoxification and elimination of waste, not to mention cellular function and communication within the nervous and endocrine systems.

While about 20% of stones in the gallbladder consist of minerals (bile and calcium salts), the majority of the gallstones that become trapped in the liver are not calcified, and will not show up with imaging technology.  Only when an excessive amount of cholesterol-based stones are housed in the liver, will they appear in an ultrasound...prompting the diagnosis of fatty liver.  When the liver accumulates thousands of these stones (up to 20,000), it can suffocate and cease to function.

Just as modern Americans suffer from gut dysbiosis due to lifestyle and dietary factors, we suffer from these liver and gallbladder stones.  The most common causes of stones are the result of diet (lowfat diets, overeating, industrial foods, commercial salt, dehydration), pharmaceutical use (particularly hormone therapy and birth control pills, cholesterol-lowering drugs), fluoride ingestion, sleep disruptions (ignoring natural sleep/wake cycles) and emotional stress.  

Chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders are directly related to liver function.  And liver function is impaired by hundreds or thousands of stones that you didn't even know you had, that developed over many years...likely starting in childhood.  When the gallbladder fills with stones, surgical removal is often recommended.  How could it not be better to avoid such procedures?!  And gallstones may not house in your gallbladder, but rather move into the liver and accumulate.

This is where a liver and gallbladder flush comes into play, and my tweaking of the GAPS protocol.  As much as I, Herbalistmama, hate to admit it, herbs are not enough.  Juicing isn't enough.  Dietary protocols and nourishing real foods are not enough.  You must move out the stones.  This can be done through a noninvasive, relatively simple process at home.

Conventional medicine is behind the curve yet again in its refusal to acknowledge the simple approach to ridding the liver of these troublesome stones.  In fact, liver stones are not even widely acknowledged in the conventional approach.  While Johns Hopkins at least acknowledges the reality of "intrahepatic gallstones," the myopic approach to their widespread existence and ease of eradication points us once again to self care.

Symptoms of liver stones include:
  • Every symptom of any ailment that you suffer
LOL!  Seriously, the list is rather long, as to be expected.  Remember, stones inhibit the work of the liver.  A malfunctioning liver does cause myriad ailments, minor and major, acute and chronic.  The stones can be the root cause of diseases of the mouth, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, intestines, circulatory system, respiratory system, urinary system, nervous system, reproductive system, bones, joints, skin.  Much crossover exists between ailments caused by gut dysbiosis and liver congestion; disease-producing culprits in both cases include toxicity, intestinal disturbances, inefficient nutrient absorption, and impaired metabolism and brain chemistry.  Additionally, gallstones impair bile production, causing a host of digestive issues.

Stone-related disorders include eczema, acne, psoriasis, poor lymphatic drainage leading to numerous reproductive ailments and inflammation, thyroid disorders, other hormonal imbalances, lymphatic obstruction and its varying effects, arthritis, hemorrhagic disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, rickets, tumors, back pain, hypertension, edema, kidney infection, allergies, respiratory ailments, "high" cholesterol, all gastrointestinal disorders, impaired saliva production leading to tooth and gum disease, chronic headaches, and more.  If you suffer from any such ailments, consider flushing your liver.  If you do not feel vibrant, thriving and robust, consider flushing your liver.  If you are currently breathing, consider flushing your liver.  (LOL...but I am serious...I can't imagine anyone who would not benefit from a liver flush.)

Here is a quick self test for liver congestion:  Stand up and relax, breathe deeply a few times.  Place the fingers of your right hand along your lowest right rib and try to insert your fingers up under the ribs.  (This is where your liver lives.)  You should be able to have enough wiggle room to get your fingers in upwards to the second knuckle.  If you cannot, or if you feel pain upon moving your fingers up under your rib, you are probably congested.  Although, being able to get your fingers up under your ribs doesn't guarantee lack of stones, so assess your physical and health symptoms for your overall picture. 

According to Andreas Moritz, naturopathic physician and author of The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, additional physical signs of gallstones in the liver and gallbladder include:
  • Brown patches on skin ("liver" spots)
  • Pimples or hair growth between eyebrows
  • Oily forehead, excess perspiration on forehead
  • Yellow tinge to facial skin
  • Premature graying hair, hair loss in center of the head
  • Yellowish or dark circles under the eyes ("allergy shiners"), puffy bags under eyes
  • Redness in whites of eyes, eyes appear "dull"
  • Red nose, indentation in tip of nose
  • White- or yellow-coated tongue, pimples or cracks on tongue
  • Bad breath, frequent burping, mucus discharge into throat and mouth
  • Crust formations at corners of mouth, ulcers in mouth
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Tonsillitis
  • Yellowish teeth, especially canines
  • Vertical ridges on fingernails, white spots on nails
  • Yellow color of feet
  • Dry, hard stools
  • Sharp, sour odor of stools
  • Pale colored stools, floating stools
  • Difficulty digesting fats (feeling nauseated after a high-fat meal)
I first learned about liver flushing many moons ago when I read Hulda Clark's The Cure for All Diseases.  Since then, I have read various similar recommendations.  Somehow I kept pushing the flush to the back corners of my "to do" list, thinking that juicing and herbs would adequately clean my liver.  After struggling with my most sensitive child's plateau on the GAPS protocol, and praying for clarity on how to better heal him, I turned again to the liver flush material.  I saw that my symptoms for the last decade pointed heavily to a stone-congested liver, as did my son's.  I decided to hesitate and procrastinate no longer, and to do my first round of liver flushing.

The bad news is that we can be riddled with thousands of stones and that it can take many months to rid ourselves of these stones.  And we must be diligent to finish the course once we begin, because if we start to move toxins out of our organs and body but do not finish the job, we can feel quite icky...not to mention remain miserably in our ailments.  But the good news, the most excellent news, is that this process works and it is not expensive, time consuming, nor painful!  (OK, there is some nausea potentially involved for one evening, and some runny stools...but what is that compared to being freed from real health maladies?!)  For my first cleanse, I passed about 150 small stones, most pea-sized, some smaller, a few a bit larger.  For anyone who doesn't think this stuff is really cool (like I do), forgive the "graphic" photo showing a sample of my stones.  The most interesting part to me was the stones' odor...it was quite unpleasant and had a strong tone of tar/motor oil/burnt rubber, which I attribute to trapped environmental toxins.

I want to emphasize that I believe the GAPS protocol is still essential to regaining health.  A liver flush complements this healing.  With GAPS, you will seal your impaired intestinal lining and eliminate your malevolent pathogenic flora.  You will begin to rebuild your necessary beneficial flora and detoxify.  A liver flush cannot accomplish the necessary goals of gut repair.  But the flush will remove the stones from your gallbladder, liver, and ducts, achieving an even greater and fuller systemic healing.  The two protocols work in concert.

I will continue next post by describing the flush and my GAPS Plus protocol.  After that, I will be giving away a copy of Andreas Moritz's guide, The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse.  In the meantime, I recommend that you read his book and become familiar with why you need to flush your liver and how to do it.  (Disclaimer:  I do not agree with Moritz's recommendation to vegetarianism/veganism.  It is not necessary to avoid gallstones, but a diet of nourishing Real Food is.  For the cleanse, however, it is important to avoid dairy and many heavy fats.  But more on that soon...)

For More Information

The Importance of Liver Flushing
Hulda Clark Information Center
Healing Your Gall Bladder

Radically Natural Recipe: (GAPS Friendly) Chocolate Mousse Super Snack

For an easy, delicious, nourishing treat, what could be more desirable than chocolate?  If you follow my blog, you undoubtedly have observed my little love affair with raw cacao and pastured butter.  My kids know what a butter pusher I am, LOL, and my middle son tells people that he values butter higher than money.  They echo my mantra, "More butter for everyone!"  And, "Butter builds brains!" Ah, how children make a mother proud!

And I lately find myself competing for the cacao stash, once the sole domain of mama.  But how can I deprive my wee ones (and big one) from the anti-oxidant-, magnesium-rich food that puts us in a good mood?  So chocolate mousse, puddings and "bites" have become a staple in our Real Food nourishing traditions.  And it's all guilt-free pleasure!

Treat yourself and your children to buttery chocolate goodness, and relax in the knowledge that you are building their bodies and feeding into their happiness!

Raw Cacao Cashew Mousse

This quick and easy "throw it together" concoction is similar to my fudge, but the ratios and temperature make it a mousse.  You can make this with any nut butter, but cashew is so creamy and mild that it makes this mousse melt-in-your-mouth amazing.  Be good to your health and spend the money on a high quality cashew butter, preferably raw (preferably sprouted, but that's really hard to find).  I use Artisana Raw Organic Nut Butters.  If you are doing GAPS, make sure you can: A) tolerate cacao (for advanced Full GAPS when regular bowels are being passed daily), and B) tolerate cashews (they are a legume, so could cause GI distress).

Mix by hand or with a hand mixer (for large batches) equal parts:
With proportionally smaller equal parts of (I always eyeball...my general ratio is 1 to 4 herbs/spices to butter/cacao.  Add to your taste!):
And raw organic honey to taste.  Start small and add more to avoid the cloyingly sweet honey flavor overpowering your chocolate.  You shouldn't taste the honey, you should taste chocolate.  (I think my ratio is 1 generous teaspoon honey to 1/4 cup cacao powder).

(Until December 1, enjoy 10% off cacao and vanilla products at LiveSuperfoods.com.    10% off cacao and vanilla category page: Use code CACAOSWEETS)

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

For a nut-free variation, use avocados and make a slightly fruity flavored mousse with an even fluffier texture.

With a hand mixer or in your blender, whip three or four very ripe avocados (not gross and moldy and stringy, but very soft with some brown spots).

Add and whip:
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon each of vanilla powder and cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
In either recipe you can substitute high quality coconut oil (raw, virgin, cold-pressed, never chemically extruded...the best you can afford).  It will change the flavor and the texture slightly.  Coconut oil is another excellent nourishing food, which I enjoy and use regularly...it's just not butter.  LOL


For More Information

Oh, pastured butter...why do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...
The Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter
Why Butter Is Better
Vitamin K2: Grass-Fed Butter's X-Factor
X-Factor of Pastured Dairy
Fat Is Your Friend!!

Life without cacao? No thank you...  Just make it the real thing!
Cacao Nutrients
Properties of Chocolate and Raw Cacao
The Health Miracle of Cacao
Cacao: Amazing Superfood

Why stop here?  Let the nourishing chocolate flow...
Real Food Forager's Raw Cacao Bites
Radically Natural Fruity Fudge
GAPS Chocolate Pudding (we all need more gelatin!)

(If you purchase from links in this post, I may earn a small commission...and I thank you for your support!)

Radically Natural Remedies: Usnea Tincture

aka: How Hubby's Hunting Helps Healing
(A little alliteration to brighten your day.)

When your husband invests time, effort, money and resources into elk hunting, but comes home empty handed, it can be a discouraging endeavour.  But when he comes home with fistfuls of Usnea, the herbalist in you says, "Elk?  What elk?"

As fall comes to a close, I've gone on a bit of a binge.  The owner of the liquor store raises his eyebrows at the cases of brandy and vodka ("suuuurre...you're making MEDicine...riiighht..."), and the neighbors do a double take when they see the empty bottles standing next to the trash can.  But when it's tincture making time, the alcohol must flow!

I plan in the next weeks to write a series on botanical medicine making, discussing tinctures and oils, and recipes for natural body and home care.  I will share my cogitations about and personal preferences on choosing a menstrum (the liquid in which you steep the herbs for tincture making).

For now, I leave you with a simple recipe for making a potent broad spectrum antibiotic.  Also known as Old Man's Beard, Usnea (OOS-nay-ah or oos-NAY-ah) is a lichen with properties of both a fungus and an algae.  It is effective against gram positive bacterias, such as streps and staphs.

The medicinal constituents of Usnea are not easily extractable in water, so an alcohol tincture is the best preparation.  To make a tincture, fill a jar with the Usnea (fresh or dried...though "fresh" harvested Usnea is already pretty dry) and then pour a minimum of 80 proof alcohol to the top of the jar.  Don't stuff the Usnea into the jar, just pack loosely.  And leave a bit of head room at the top of the jar when filling with alcohol.  

If you don't have access to wildcrafted Usnea, order some from Mountain Rose Herbs.  (If you use the shopping links on my blog, I will earn a small commission...and I thank you!)  To learn more about Usnea, please check out my post about healing sore throats and coughs.  And look at the info on this powerhouse healer at Susun Weed's site, as well as the Eat the Weeds post regarding Usnea identification.

Radically Natural Recipe: Butter Toasted Garlic Chunks

On the heels of big brother sharing his birthday cake recipe, my second son, Quinn, wanted to share with our readers his current favorite kitchen concoction.  Here to tell you more about it is Quinny, 7:

To make this recipe, you will need a whole bulb of garlic.  You will need good salt (we like the pink stuff) and extra butter (the yellow kind).  I used a mezzaluna rocking knife.  If you don't have a mezzaluna, you can just use a regular chopping knife.

  • Peel the garlic thoroughly.
  • Chop all the cloves up into a quarter of an inch pieces.
  • After you've chopped it up, put the garlic in a frying pan that is hot and has one big, heaping spoonful of butter melted in it.  Dump the nicely chopped garlic in the pan.
  • Add a small spoon (like a teaspoon) of sea salt into the pan.
  • Stir really well, but don't flip the garlic out of the pan.
  • After cooking for two minutes, add some squirts of lemon.
  • Stir for three more minutes.
  • Cook until it looks goldeny brown.
  • When it's done, spoon the garlic into a jar.
  • Enjoy!

Radically Natural POV: Real Food Matters

[On the heels of attending the regional WAPF conference in Portland last month, I had every intention of summarizing my notes and writing about the highlights.  However, life got in the way, as usual.  So until I can concoct radically new material, I wanted to revitalize some older material, injecting my conference enthusiasm into the message.  This week I've been cogitating on how and why Real Food matters so much, for every aspect of our health...mental and physical.  I hope you consider how these truths can be practiced in your lives, or how you might share the gift of nourishing knowledge with others.]

You are what you eat. Trite? Perhaps. True? Absolutely!

What you put into your bodies determines whether you are well or ill. If you want to know why you and your children are sick, examine what you're ingesting (or breathing, or injecting). To build and preserve real health (and create healthy children), you must eat Real Food...pure, natural, unadulterated, honest-to-goodness FOOD.

What our industrialized food system has created is neither good, nor pure, nor even real food. Food cannot be industrially mass-produced without being corrupted. Modern farming practices, such as monoculture planting, hybridization, genetic engineering, animal concentration camps, unnatural animal dietary practices, synthetic fertilizers and chemical herbicides/fungicides/pesticides, etc. have raped the ground; depleted soil and plant nutrients; produced poison milk, eggs, and meat that cannot nourish; and severely damaged our food supply and our collective health.

Our grocery stores are ripe with industrially produced edible foodstuffs...frankenfoods and dead foods created by profitable and powerful corporations. Food comes out of mineral-rich, poison-free ground and the sea, not from a laboratory. Just because you can chew, swallow, and even enjoy a certain "food" item does not make that item Food. And it certainly does not make it rich with the nutrients your body desperately needs to create and maintain health. Fake foods cause malnutrition and chronic illness.

You must become an informed consumer. You must learn how to cook. Read labels and learn what they mean. Better yet, buy only real food ingredients and make your meals from scratch...like great-grandma did. Understand that Real Food costs real money...and it should. Government subsidies of non-nourishing industrial food has created a false expectation of cheap food and has robbed clean food farmers of fair wages.

Become a student of food politics. Learn why corn and soy are destructive to our land, water, and our health. Accept the horrifying truths about genetically modified foods and the agendas behind them, such as sterilizing corn. Understand why wheat and high gluten grains are not recognized by the body as food (hint: it's not because our bodies were designed wrongly, it's because the grains have been so manipulated that they are no longer digestible...they are certainly not the ancient grains humans were made to consume). Understand gut dysbiosis and how to overcome it, so you can partake of Real Food and be relieved of autoimmune disorders, brain chemistry disorders and chronic illness.

Awaken to the reality that we have been sold a "bill of goods" by the food and medical industries...that the lipid hypothesis is a debunked lie shackling millions of Americans to a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering drug lifestyle that is depriving their brains and hormones of essential nutrients and causing rampant autoimmune disorders. Cholesterol is absolutely essential to good health! Fat is your friend! Learn why a Real Food fertility diet is so essential to your future children's proper development and good health. Study the optimal nourishing diet for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and why mom's nutritional stores must be constantly supported...for her future health and that of future children. Understand the significance of "second child syndrome" and how to avoid it.  Investigate our rising infertility rates.

Study and understand the difference between truly organic Real Food and everything else (like the commercial sellout companies comprising Big Organics...when organic companies married themselves to the USDA, they began the downward slide of compromise). Eschew packaged and processed foods. Eat simply...fall in love with cooking...become familiar with traditional food preparation techniques that magnify nutrient density and improve digestibility. Embrace fat as the essential human nutrient. Buy properly cultivated fruits, vegetables, grains and animal products and learn how to prepare them for optimal nutrition and enjoyment. Eventually, you, too, as you peruse the store aisles, will routinely hear yourself saying, "That's not Real Food!" Hopefully you will learn to avoid those store aisles altogether.

In addition to providing life-giving and health-building nourishment, Real Food tastes so good! You may soon become a food snob of the highest order and be constantly gratified with the gourmet meals you can prepare and savor at home! You may become a connoisseur of ethnic foods and a student of flavor blending. Real Food is more than nourishing fuel...it is gustatory delight.

The Nourishing Traditions lifestyle is the diet we should adopt to be well, to thrive, to ensure proper physical development, and to reverse the malfunctions we suffer from eating the Standard American Diet. The best thing you can do today to begin reversing your health maladies and protecting your future health (and your children) is to never again consume fake fats (trans fats, vegetable oils), and to avoid soy (except for small amounts of traditionally fermented soy) and GMO corn (which is in almost everything if you eat processed foods).

Due in large part to the popularity of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and numerous Real Food bloggers, many people are becoming familiar with the important work of Weston Price. His vastly enlightening tome, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, is a must-read for anyone desiring to understand why and how food creates and affects our health. The results of his research (compiled in the 1920s-1930s) are incredible! In a nutshell, Price travelled and studied native peoples’ diets worldwide. He compared their health, development and vitality on their traditional diets to that of their newly adopted “imported” diets (this was during the advent of U.S-produced processed/industrialized food).

Through years of interviews, research and examinations, Price discovered that when people consume industrialized, processed/refined foods, their health degenerates and their children’s physical development degrades. The generations reared on the traditional nourishing foods (including grass-fed animal meats and fats, including the offal, as well as whole seafoods for coastal peoples) possessed good bone structure, healthy teeth and vigorous immunity.  But the new generations being raised on imported processed foods had improperly developed facial bones, resulting in poor sinus and tooth palate development. The children had sinus malfunctions (stuffy nose syndrome, sinus infections, etc.) and their mouths couldn’t hold all their teeth, nor did the teeth develop properly. (Price was seeing the common modern dental problems we think are “normal” today). Also, the people on the “new” diet suffered from lowered immunity...another new development in their history. The children contracted illnesses they had never known before, such as tuberculosis. This is just the "tip" of the proverbial iceberg. Price's work is invaluable.

To learn more about the WAPF lifestyle, start with the following links:

A Message from Sally Fallon Morell
What's Wrong with Politically Correct Nutrition
Principles of Healthy Diets
Myths and Truths About Nutrition
Characteristics of Traditional Diets
The Weston Price Foundation Home Page

What we eat absolutely makes or breaks our health and our children’s proper development. And the quality of the plant foods, meat, eggs, and milk products that we consume is only as good as the diet given to the animal or the health of the ground. We can’t be properly nourished by animals who aren’t properly nourished or reared. Animals need to eat their natural diets and they need to live in natural environments. You won't get vitamin D from animal foods if the animals are confined inside all their lives. You won't get any vitamins or minerals or nutrients of significance if the animals don't consume them and the ground doesn't supply them. Dead soil and malnourished animals equals dead food. Supporting sustainable eco-agriculture and SOLE food (as much as possible) may seem like a tall order, but it is the only sane option in a world that offers synthetic "foods" that provide only malnourishment and disease.

To learn more about Real Food (what it is, why it is so essential, and how to prepare it), look at the reading recommendations on my Links and Library pages.  (This post is linked at Kelly's Real Food Wednesday carnival and FoodRenegade's Fight Back Friday.)

Radically Natural Recipe: GAPS Vanilla Fig Birthday Cake

The first week of October was my birthday, and my wonderful, number one son created this beautiful and delicious cake as a surprise gift.  It was scrumptious, and not just because my son baked it for me.  Here to share his recipe is my guest blogger, Caleb, 13:

The morning of my mother's birthday, I realized that I had not made a gift, gotten a card, or even baked a cake.  There was an idea!  Baking a cake was right there on the list of things I could do without help.  I got out the KitchenAid mixer, found a recipe, and started to bake.

Caleb's Gaps Vanilla Fig Cake

Preheat oven to 350º F
Melt 1/3 cup of butter.
Add 1/2 cup of raw honey to the melted butter.
Stir the melted honey and Butter well.

In the mixer, Beat 6 eggs.
Add in the honey/butter mixture.
Then add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1 Tbsp of pure vanilla extract.
Mix all ingredients well.

Add 1/2 cup of coconut flour and mix thoroughly.
Gently fold about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh (or dried) figs into the batter.
If the batter is too thin, add a little more coconut flour; it can't be too thin, it can't be too thick.

Pour batter into your muffin tins or cake pans.  (I use silicone muffin and cake pans. If you don't have silicone, I would suggest putting parchment paper in, or greasing with a lot of coconut oil or butter.)

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a knife blade or toothpick comes out clean.

Vanilla Icing
Beat three room-temperature egg whites until foamy, or until soft peaks form.
Boil 1/2 cup of honey until it reaches the hard ball stage.
While beating the egg whites, add the boiling honey.

I really love this recipe.  I encourage you to play around with the spices.  Add some ginger, or cinnamon, or go for a spice cake with all the above and allspice and cloves!  The fun of baking never really ends.  When I was done with the cake, I cleaned up the whole kitchen so that it looked the same as before.  (I even faked some dirty dishes in the sink to make it really authentic!)  My little sister was so eager to eat the cake, she spilled the beans.  Mom was delighted nonetheless.  I love being in the kitchen, and am eager to get other kids cooking real food. 

Original recipe came from the Internal Bliss cookbook.  I added the figs.  Enjoy!

Radically Natural Recipe: Raw Cheesecake with Coconut Cacao Mousse

My family is still healing on the GAPS protocol; we each have different sensitivities, which makes baking quite a challenge.  One child does poorly with coconut, seeds and nuts, another with eggs, another with dairy.  As we have continued the protocol without cheating, however, we find issues steadily resolving.  That's real healing...slow and steady.

My challenge this week was to create a birthday cake for little princess that everyone could eat without too many flare ups.  We are all doing fairly well with small amounts of our raw goats' milk yogurt and raw cacao, so this delicacy was the winner!  (Because of our sensitivities, we do the cheesecake without crust.)

I always joke with my family about how it takes three days to make the cheesecake, but only three minutes for them to devour it.  I adapted the raw cheesecake recipe from Nourishing Traditions; the mousse is my own creation.  I often don't measure when creating in the kitchen, so bear with me.  LOL

Before making the raw cheesecake, you need to make raw cream cheese, which requires that you've previously made raw yogurt.  I make raw yogurt with our goat milk using Culture's for Health Villi yogurt culture. We love our yogurt...it is so mild and creamy.  Once you have yogurt, strain it to make cream cheese. 

I strain my yogurt in a reusable, washable nut milk bag suspended over a bowl.  In the past, I have used a cheesecloth lined strainer sitting on a bowl, and I have also used the hanging flour sack towel method.  I found both of those to be messier than the nut milk bags (particularly the towel method).  You can find the fine mesh nut milk bags on Amazon or ebay and other places online.  They are easy to use, easy to clean.  

To make your cream cheese, just pour your yogurt into the bag, secure the top with a rubber band and hang the bag (by the rubber band) on a cabinet pull.  (If using a towel, place yogurt in middle and gather ends up, securing with a couple rubber bands and hang.)  Place a bowl under the suspended bag.  The whey drips into the bowl and the yogurt becomes cream cheese.  Your straining time will vary depending upon relative humidity in your home; you want all the whey to drip from the cheese.  I find the process takes anywhere from four to eight hours, depending upon how thick or runny my yogurt is.  See photos below.

Empty yogurt into nut milk bag
Secure top of bag with rubber band and hang from cabinet 

Allow whey to drip out completely

Raw Cheesecake (crust-free)

(Adapted from NT's Raw Cheesecake, page 566)

4 cups soft raw cream cheese (see above LOL)

4 pastured eggs, separated
1 cup raw milk
2 Tb. gelatin (I like Jensen's)
1/2 cup raw honey
1 Tb. raw Vanilla Powder
pinch sea salt
dash fresh organic lemon juice 
  • Gently heat milk and egg yolks, stir in gelatin until dissolved, remove mixture from heat.
  • In food processor (or blender), combine cream cheese with honey, vanilla, lemon.
  • Add egg yolk mixture, blend until smooth.  Transfer to bowl, put in fridge.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff (add pinch of salt, it helps firm up the whites), gently fold into cheese mixture.
  • Pour cheesecake filling into ramekins.  Refrigerate for a few hours.
  • Before serving, top with cacao mousse!

Coconut Cacao Mousse

Super easy, super delicious!  I warned you, though, I don't measure here...so I'll give you my best guess measurements based on eyeballing what I do.  Play with it, taste as you go...you can't fail with these ingredients!  When making a large batch, I use a handheld beater; smaller batches, I whisk.

In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup each:

With 1 heaping tablespoon each:
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla Bean Powder
And 1/4 cup raw honey (certainly measure and add honey to taste), plus a dash of sea salt to enhance the chocolate flavor.  Optionally, add a small spoonful of maca root powder, an adaptogenic herb/superfood rich in calcium, magnesium and B vitamins, that helps to balance hormones and increase energy

Keep the mousse at room temperature and top your cheesecake ramekins just before serving.  Enjoy!

This post is part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday.  Check out the other wonderful treats featured at her carnival.

More about Maca Root and Adaptogenic Herbs

Radically Natural Remedies for Impetigo

Impetigo is a common contagious skin infection producing blisters usually on the face, neck, hands and groin area. These blisters often fill up with or ooze yellow fluid or pus, resulting in honey colored scabs. A bacterial infection, impetigo is caused either by Staphylococcus aureus (in which case, impetigo is also referred to as golden staph) or Streptococcus pyogenes.

In addition to antibacterial botanicals, coconut oil is an effective treatment for impetigo.  Coconut is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.  Among natural healers, coconut oil is know as an effective remedy for yeast infections, and research shows that coconut oil could be an effective weapon against drug-resistant bacteria.  A published study in the medical journal Dermatitis revealed virgin coconut oil's effectiveness in combating Staph aureus.

Coconut oil's medium chain fatty acids have proven to be destructive to various viruses, bacteria and fungi.
"Laboratory tests have shown that the MCFAs found in coconut oil are effective in destroying viruses that cause influenza, measles, herpes, mononucleosis hepatitis C, and AIDS; bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers, throat infections, pneumonia, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, and toxic shock syndrome; fungi and yeast that lead to ringworm, candida, and thrush; and parasites that can cause intestinal infections such as giardiasis."  -- Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle
Combining coconut oil with the antimicrobial essential oil Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) makes an even more effective impetigo treatment.  An ancient medicine extracted from the resin of the Olibanum tree, Frankincense oil has strong anti-infectious properties and numerous medicinal benefits.  Its regenerative properties are particularly useful for skin ailments.

Raw honey, particularly Manuka honey, is another antimicrobial medicine effective for healing and soothing skin infections, wounds and burns.  Researchers are discovering that Manuka honey kills Strep pyogenes  and even helps to prevent the bacteria from binding to wound tissue.  The product of nectar from the Manuka tree in Australia and New Zealand, Manuka honey's unique antibacterial properties are rated by producers using the UMF scale (Unique Manuka Factor)...the higher the rating, the stronger the antibacterial activity.

To treat impetigo and sooth blisters and scabs, just mix high quality organic cold pressed coconut oil (like Nutiva Organic or Tropical Traditions) with a therapeutic quality Frankincense EO and gently rub over affected areas.  Use as much as needed, starting with a ratio of 1 Tb. coconut oil to 5 drops Frankincense.  Go ahead and add some raw honey (Manuka if you can get it) for good measure.  Or alternate the coconut oil with honey.

Bathing the skin in raw apple cider vinegar (like Bragg's), another natural antibacterial and antiseptic, can help combat the infection and reduce inflammation and relieve itching.  Dilute one part ACV in three parts water and apply as a rinse to the affected skin, or dab on with a soaked cloth.  Follow the ACV rinse with the oil/honey treatments.

If swollen glands or other signs of systemic infection accompany the impetigo, speed healing with a lymphatic cleanse using mullein and lobelia tinctures.  Give 10 drops of each in a glass of water every three hours.  Also, support immunity and combat systemic infection with herbal medicine and nutrients, as outlined in my post on fighting infections.  Also look at my remedies for coughs and sore throats if either of these accompany the impetigo episode.

The following is a testimonial written by a friend of mine about their impetigo episode from last spring:

"Last evening we applied coconut oil for the last time on my son’s face for an impetigo infection that began more than three weeks ago, and I am reminded that healing time is directly relational to the extent of the wounding. I had never seen a skin infection like this in my life, although I had heard of impetigo and have vague memories of my sister having scabs in her ears that my mom called by that name. None of our children have ever had a skin infection before, and when our 12-year-old son woke up with a few tiny pimples around his mouth, my first thought was simply that he hadn’t washed his face well the night before after eating dinner. Three days later I was surprised that they were still there, and wondering if it was maybe hormonal changes causing them... 
Then the next morning he emerged looking so awful that I was not only seriously alarmed, but knew that something had to be done immediately about his condition! What was this thing? Not only were there golden, crusty scabs all around his mouth and nose and spreading up one side of his face, but the worst one on his cheek was like a large blister that had broken open and was sliding down his face. It was literally like his skin was coming apart at that location.
It is an awful feeling to not know what is happening or how to deal with it! (We are not medically minded, and going to the doctor was WAY down on the list for me. Like, not even on the list, unless my husband said that we had to.) But I knew even in my alarm that God knew exactly what was wrong with Benjamin, so before I did anything… I prayed. I asked Him to show me what it was, and to give me tools to deal with it. I didn’t have a ton of time to do research. The very first thing that turned up on the Internet was a picture of golden staph infection. None of the pictures was anything like as bad as Ben’s face, but it looked identical, and so my next search was for natural treatments for that condition. (I have since learned through more research that impetigo is caused by either a strep or a staph bacteria infecting the skin, and that the staph bacteria – also called bullous – produces a toxin that reduces cell-to-cell adhesion, causing separation between the top skin layer epidermis and the lower layer dermis).

The first natural cure that I found online was manuka honey, which I called Dr. Dad for right away. This wonder honey began healing the open wound on his cheek immediately, causing it to close and scab over in a nice, healthy looking type of scab. But it did not seem to be working as quickly on the areas that were still full of pus and infection. In addition, it didn’t seem to be able to keep it from wanting to spread, and little pimples were forming around the large areas of golden crust. The honey also proved to be difficult to work with in a practical manner, as I couldn’t keep his nose and mouth covered, and he had to sit still with a rag under his face to catch the warm, melting drips. I also began giving him a strong immune-system tincture by Wishgarden Herbs and olive leaf, which is reputed to kill staph bacteria. For his skin, I decided to add bentonite to draw the infection out. This did have a good effect, and I liked how the honey kept the bentonite semi-moist, but it was hard on his skin after several days of application, and it truly was not having the hoped for dramatic improvement effect.
After a week of effort, I began to resign myself to maybe going to the doctor. My good, sweet husband praised my efforts and said that he would take care of everything. Before he made the doctor’s appointment however, he decided to do his own Internet research! After about 3 minutes of being online, he called to me to wash and dry Ben’s face and to put coconut oil on it. The infection by this time was up both sides of his face, as well as spreading down his neck. It was a continuous mass of red, or blister, or golden crust. About 5 minutes after applying the coconut oil to his face, we could see white skin appearing between the red patches. It was like a miracle. I knew in my heart that this was going to take care of it! Because of the extent of the infection, it has taken two weeks of twice daily application, but it never again broke out anew or attempted to spread further, and has only continued to look better and better. His skin now is ever so slightly pinker in all of the areas that had the infection, but otherwise completely healthy. We will be continuing internal immune-system building herbs, and are so incredibly grateful for this coconut oil cure!"

For more Information

Radically Natural Reading Room: Cancer Books Giveaway

On the heels of my "Questioning Cancer" post, I wanted to do a book giveaway.  This time I'll be giving away two books, one to each winner (randomly).  These are a couple of my favorite books for understanding the medical politics surrounding the cancer industry, as well as actions we can take to protect ourselves and seek cure.

Ty Bollinger's Cancer: Step Outside the Box is an excellent comprehensive text giving the background of the cancer industry, and offering solutions for cancer as well as guidelines for the preventative lifestyle.  Bollinger wrote his tome after losing both parents to cancer treatments.  This book is a great tool for anyone concerned about cancer.  You can learn more about Bollinger's book at his CancerTruth web site.

Kelley Eidem's The Doctor Who Cures Cancer is the biography of the late Dr. Emanuel Revici, the genius who was reviled and badgered by the cancer industry, despite his success in curing the disease and helping numerous people.  Revici also developed effective therapies for other "incurable" illnesses.  This book is inspiring and educational. You can learn more about Eidem's book here.

So please sign up for the Rafflecopter giveaway and in the answer box, tell me which book you would prefer.  I will randomly choose two winners at week's end.  Thanks for participating! (This post is linked to Kelly's Real Food Wednesday and Cultured Palate's Tasty Traditions.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Radically Natural POV: The Cancer Culture

“Everyone should know that the ‘war on cancer’ is largely a fraud.‘ — Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, biochemist and father of vitamin C therapy

In my experience, one of the most controversial and contentious health topics aside from vaccination is cancer treatment. A growing number of holistically minded doctors, as well as the public, are beginning to question the efficacy and scrupulousness of the cancer industry’s approach to this disease. The cancer industry has collected billions of dollars for decades, yet has offered no cure to cancer. A five year remission rate is not a cure. That’s the best assurance that the cancer industry offers. But it isn’t a cure.

There are doctors and healing practitioners curing cancer...as in eradicating it. They are not the norm and they largely are not practicing within “the system.” Because of medical politics and FDA witch hunt corruption, these practitioners are practicing largely outside the United States. And because of the grand racket that is the health insurance industry, your carrier doesn’t cover these doctors and their clinics or pay for the treatments that cure. The medical industry at large does not acknowledge or promote the truth that cancer can be cured, does not accept or encourage non-industry cures. Corrupt parties within the industry have worked tirelessly to suppress cures, even those offered by medical research scientists.

Courageous doctors, herbalists and natural healers have helped countless people to heal from cancer, without applying poison treatments that damage the body. One of the cancer industry’s most effective spins is its use of the phrase, “died of cancer.” In reality, many people die of chemo rather than cancer. The body expires because of organ failure due to the cancer treatment, not the actual presence of cancer. I have no doubt that conventional cancer treatments have helped some people. I know there are research scientists and caring doctors, honestly attempting to solve the cancer riddle, that have contributed to advances in care.  How frustrated they must be if shut down or hindered in their quests.  Yet despite the efforts of well-meaning doctors, the lead-footed, heavy-handed, profit-minded medical establishment and its cronies are not fostering an honest war on cancer.  Because cancer can be cured...it is being cured, and the cures often are shamefully simple.  Ergo, I share the view that the cancer industry kills more people than it genuinely cures. I also concur with the belief that cancer is a symptom of a far more insidious systemic malfunction. And successful healing requires more than attacking and controlling cancer cells. We all suffer cellular mutation, we are all exposed to environmental toxins. Why do some people develop cancer while others do not? Is this really a genetics game? Is there no link between lifestyle and cancer?  Why do some people have healthy, active antioncogenes, but other people suffer antioncogene mutation?

You must do your own research, be convicted of your own understanding of truth. But I’ll give you a hint. People aren’t a victim of their genetics as much as they are of what they choose to put into their bodies. And one can’t chug soda and chow industrial food without compunction, then turn to conventional doctors solely offering pharmaceutical treatments, and hope to beat this disease that they somehow arbitrarily fell victim to. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) Truth can be stunningly unpopular, not to mention dangerous; of course, verity varies depending upon who is sharing and why. Understanding how we ended up here, a culture riddled with cancer, is key to unlocking the truth of cure.

The cancer industry operates a fear-based paradigm that results in a public willing to accept poisonous treatments that may only extend lifespan for a few years, during which time their bodies are ravaged with secondary illnesses and failures resulting from the treatment regimen. Is this option really better than discovering and pursuing alternatives? Legitimate healing treatment alternatives known to work, and to free even people diagnosed as terminal?  Why is it so terrible that the public be given the truth (with unimpeded research to back it up) that something as simple as vitamin C can ravage cancer cells?

A dear friend of ours found out a few years ago that he had prostate cancer. Rather than follow the lockstep of modern American oncology, he researched other options. He decided to pursue care at a cancer clinic outside the system (and thereby, as a result of FDA witch hunt practices, outside the United States). After his initial exams, the doctor told him (I’m paraphrasing): “It’s not the cancer I’m worried about, we can cure the cancer. It’s your liver I’m worried about.” The doctor told our friend a basic truth: People with healthy livers don’t get cancer.

[Our friend was cured by the treatments he received, which did not include chemo, radiation, or surgery.]

Somehow, despite living in the information age, our culture suffers massive misunderstandings regarding what is scientific, what is needful, what is appropriate, what is helpful. (Propaganda is a powerful tool.) We must redefine our vernacular. The public has fallen prey to a grave misconception that pharmaceutical medicine is “scientific” and everything else is wacko. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even truth-seeking, free-thinking MDs will tell you so. Our scientific vernacular needs to be reformed to comply with evidence-based veracity...science may have been hijacked by moneyed interests, but empirical science is owned by no corporation, nor government entity, and can be pursued independently and honestly by concerned people anywhere...wearing white coats or tie dyed skirts.

 Medical politics has resulted in suppression of cures, and oppression of scientists and healers working for genuine cure, wherever it is found.   The story of Stanislaw Burzynski is disturbing, to say the least.  The FDA has spent millions of dollars attempting to shut down the research and work of this pioneering doctor who is actually curing people.  But this is not the only tale of FDA corruption out of control.  The late Dr. Emanuel Revici, a dedicated and tireless doctor whose methods reversed cancer in numerous patients, a man considered a genius by his contemporaries (reportedly by even Albert Einstein), a scientist who published his finding in medical journals, was routinely ignored, harassed, reviled, smeared and sued by various arms of the cancer industry, including the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.  Let's not even get into Gerson and suppression of his cures and nontoxic, non-deadly approach to healing cancer.  The cancer industry routinely “discredits” cures known to work, perhaps because they are not profitable, perhaps because they threaten the status quo. But how many genuine cures does the industry offer? When the emperor has no clothes, yet keeps attacking so-called “errors” in other designs, perhaps the public should question the emperor.

The following is a transcript excerpt from a 1994 broadcast of the Laura Lee radio show in which she interviewed Ralph Moss, PhD, a leading voice exposing the dark side of the cancer industry, and a prolific author and consultant for integrative oncology. Moss evidenced cancer research corruption while working in the PR department of Sloane Kettering in the late 1970s. His attempt to expose the truth cost him his job.

“Twenty years ago I was hired at Memorial Sloane Kettering (MSK) cancer centre in New York as the science writer, later promoted to assistant director of public affairs. Shortly after I went to work there I went to visit an elderly Japanese scientist, Kanematsu Sugiura, who astonished me when he told me he was working on Laetrile (B17). At the time it was the most controversial thing in cancer...reputed to be a cure for cancer. We in public affairs were giving out statements that Laetrile was worthless, it was quackery, and people should not abandon proven therapies. I was astonished that our most distinguished scientist would be bothering with something like this, and I said why are you doing this if it does not work. He took down lab books and showed me that in fact Laetrile is dramatically effective in stopping the spread of cancer. The animals were genetically programmed to get breast cancer and about 80 - 90% of them normally get spread of the cancer from the breast to the lungs, which is a common route in humans, also for how people die of breast cancer, and instead when they gave the animals Laetrile by injection only 10-20% of them got lung metastases. And these facts were verified by many people, including the pathology department.

We were finding this and yet we in public affairs were told to issue statements to the exact opposite of what we were finding scientifically, and as the years went by I got more wrapped up in this thing and three years later I said all this in my own press conference, and was fired the next day, ‘for failing to carry out his most basic job responsibility:’ i.e. to lie to the public what goes on in cancer research.”

A scared public, not armed with well-rounded information and confidence in legitimate alternative treatments, is easily led by corrupt government agencies and medical industry parties more interested in profit than in cure. A common misconception, promoted by members within the cancer industry and its PR campaigns, is that natural/alternative treatments for cancer are dangerous and only for fools. Misinformation campaigns coming out of events like the self-mutilation of Angelina Jolie and the death of Steve Jobs help to perpetuate such myths. The Jobs story in particular has received much attention and suffered speculation and spin.

I don’t know exactly why Steve Jobs died. I don’t know what treatment regimens he underwent in his pursuit to achieve health. In light of how private the man was, none of us is likely to know the entirety of his actions and his motivations. But considering the pieces of the puzzle that we do have, it is inaccurate to blame his death on the pursuit of “natural” cancer treatments. In fact, Jobs underwent typical cure regimens: surgery and radiation. His treatments may have been “unorthodox” in that they took him outside the conventional American medical system, but they were not unorthodox in the sense of conventional cancer treatment offerings...they still included surgery and radiation (and reportedly chemo).

Notoriously private about his health and his life, Jobs admitted to a 2004 surgery during a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. In 2009, Jobs reportedly had a liver transplant. While Jobs did not speak publicly about receiving chemo, he was seen at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, which may indicate he was receiving treatment there. Jerry York, a reporter for Fortune magazine, revealed after Jobs’ death that Jobs received radiation treatments in Switzerland. (See CNN articles referenced below for more information.) Surgeries, chemo, radiation and organ transplants are certainly not “natural” cancer treatments; blaming unconventional cancer treatments for Jobs’ death is simply unfounded and irresponsible.

For individuals willing to step “outside the box;” willing to research unconventional options; willing to use practitioners, treatments and clinics not dubbed acceptable by the establishment, answers abound. Those cures (like laetrile, which can stop cancer’s spread) that the establishment claims are rubbish are actually helping to heal people of cancer. Well-meaning doctors and researchers are working within the industry, but change is outrageously slow in coming. Overturning corruption and profit- and control-based stinking thinking could take decades. We must demand change by questioning and pursuing options not offered by the system. We must be the change we desire.

I am troubled when people make health care decisions based solely upon financial reasons. If their health insurance carrier won’t pay for a particular practitioner or treatment, they don’t pursue it. They stay within the system, and many times they suffer for it. How much is your health worth? Perhaps it would behoove us to drop insurance altogether rather than be victimized by its limited (by design) choices. Sadly, this is a perfect example of “you get what you pay for.” The best care is usually not the commonly provided conventional care.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion and has the right to make his own decisions. You must be comfortable with your health practices and pursuits. You deserve genuine care, not false offers of limited healing. Please, before you jump on the bandwagon driven by the cancer industry and criticize practices not endorsed by the powers that be, research the alternatives. At the very least, read Ralph Moss's The Cancer Industry before making any decisions. Read the accounts revealing the underbelly of this powerful, profitable industry, and look honestly at the other options and research available within and without the conventional medical realm. I truly hope you don’t personally need this information, but it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Check back soon for a related book giveaway!

For More Information

The Politics of Cancer by Samuel Epstein

A Holistic Approach to Cancer  Dr. Tom Cowan

The Gerson Institute

Radically Natural Remedies: Top Ten Essential Oils

I love to recommend therapeutic grade essential oils (EOs), as they are potent botanical medicines.  EOs and herbal preparations work wonderfully together, and I classify EOs as herbal (or plant) medicine.  I think of EOs as the "blood" of the plant, and the whole herb matter as its "flesh."  EOs are concentrated sources of plant medicines, and a little bit often goes a long way.  The healing actions of an EO are the same as its herbal counterpart, but produce effects more quickly and powerfully.  EOs (as well as herbs) have been used as medicine in Europe and Asia for centuries.  The French are often credited for pioneering the modern use of medicinal EOs and paved the way for scientific validation of these beneficial and efficacious plant medicines.

I often receive queries about what oils to use and how to use them.  I struggle to provide a short list of necessary EOs, as the EO repertoire is abundant, with expansive healing constituents.  But for the sake of simplicity, especially during travels, and the sake of financial expediency, I have attempted to compile a list of the ten oils I cannot live without.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but covers most ailments people encounter.  The world of essential oils and the art of aromatherapy is vast, and worth study.  [I find the term aromatherapy to be misleading for people, as the medicinal power of essential oils is imparted through topical use, ingestion, as well as inhalation.]  Single oils are powerful healing agents; EO blends create synergistic effects that enhance each oil's capability. Blending is both an art and science, and beyond the scope of this list.  See the books in resources below for more information.

I must emphasize that not all EOs are created equally; for medicinal purposes, only high quality, pure grade EOs should be used.  I am by no means an expert on companies...I personally use and recommend various EO companies.  It is very important that your EOs are pure enough for ingestion, which allows you to dose an ill body with strong medicine.    Certain popular health food store brands are not potent enough to be considered medicinal grade, nor can I feel assured that they are pure.

In the list following, I will name each plant, its medicinal properties and uses, and share how I use it most often (a quick overview and generalization...the EOs are multifunctional and broad spectrum healing agents).  I will include resources and links below.  (This post is linked at Real Food Forager's Fat Tuesday.)

Herbalistmama's Top Ten Essential Oils


Lavendula officinalisMedicinal properties: analgesic, anticoagulant, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antifungal, antihistamine, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, nervine, regenerative, sedative.
French medicinal uses: acne, allergies, burns, cramps, dandruff, diaper rash, flatulence, hair loss, herpes, indigestion, insomnia, blood pressure, lymphatic drainage, menopausal conditions, mouth abscess, nausea, phlebitis, PMS, scarring, stretch marks, tachycardia, thrush, water retention.
Additional benefits: all skin inflammations and wounds, palpitations, hypertension, convulsions, muscle spasms, pain syndromes, arthritis, headache, eczema, nervous tension, irritability, insomnia, stress, labor.

When I reach for it: skin health, burns, itchiness, frazzled nerves, insomnia, tension, cramping


Origanum Compactum
Medicinal properties: antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, immune-stimulant, anti-inflammatory.
French medicinal uses: asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, rheumatism, whopping cough.
Additional benefits: Colds/flus, fungal overgrowth, parasites, respiratory system ailments, indigestion, gum infections, inflammation/pain.

When I reach for it: viral/bacterial infections (first sign of cold/flu)


Mentha PiperitaMedicinal properties: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious, antispasmodic, astringent, decongestant, expectorant, febrifuge, hepatic, nervine, invigorating, digestive, vasoconstrictor.
French medicinal Uses: asthma, bronchitis, candida, diarrhea, indigestion, fever, flu, halitosis, heartburn, hemorrhoids, migraine, motion sickness, nausea, respiratory function, itchy skin, throat infection, varicose veins.
Additional benefits: arthritis, colic, depression, fatigue, hives, morning sickness, nerve regeneration, toothaches, muscle spasms, aches, neuralgia, ringworm, shock, mental fatigue.

When I reach for it: sore throat, stomach upset, headache


Citrus LemonMedicinal Properties: antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, diaphoretic, invigorating, tonic.
French medicinal uses: air disinfectant, anemia, asthma, cold, fever, germicide, gout, heartburn, intestinal parasites, throat infection, varicose veins, water purification, blood cell formation.
Additional benefits: acne, oily skin, warts, inflamed joints, arthritis, hypertension, mouth ulcers, poor circulation, detoxification, lethargy, aids concentration, brain stimulant.

When I reach for it: air purification, water purification, cleaning

Tea Tree

Melaleuca Alternifolia
Medicinal Properties: analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, digestive, expectorant, immune-stimulant, insecticidal, stimulant, regenerative.
French medicinal uses: athlete's foot, bronchitis, colds, coughs, diarrhea, flu, gum disease, rash, skin ailments, sore throat, sunburn, tonsillitis, vaginitis.
Additional benefits: cuts, abrasions, insect bites, wounds, all fungal infections, burns, cold sores, air purifier, chicken pox, warts, asthma, acne, sinusitis, ringworm, dandruff, upper respiratory infections, varicosities, parasites.
When I reach for it: general first aid, antiseptic, infection, cleaning, fungal infection


Betula Alleghaniensis
Medicinal Properties: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, disinfectant, stimulant.
French medicinal uses: rheumatism, muscular pain, cramps, arthritis, tendonitis, inflammation, hypertension.
Additional benefits: broken bones, joint pain, bone pain, fever, eczema, edema, UTIs.
When I reach for it: bone/muscle pain


Eugenia Caryophyllus
Medicinal properties: analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiparastic, antiseptic, antitumoral, antiviral, disinfectant, immune-stimulant. 
French medicinal uses: toothache, intestinal parasites, pain, plagues, wounds.
Additional benefits: arthritis, bronchitis, cystitis, dental infection, diarrhea, acne, fatigue, flatulence, flu, halitosis, headaches, hypertension, infections, bites/stings, nausea, sinusitis, skin ailments, mouth sores, thyroid dysfunction, ulcers, warts.
When I reach for it: mouth/tooth pain, parasitic infection


Boswellia carteri
Medicinal properties: antiseptic, astringent, anti-infectious, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, uterine tonic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, immune stimulant.
French medicinal uses: asthma, depression, ulcers.
Additional benefits: dermatitis, wrinkles, wounds, ulcers, sinus congestion, bronchitis, laryngitis, cystitis, acne, scars, diarrhea, viral infections, sciatica, increases leukocyte activity (strengthening immunity).
When I reach for it: skin infections, facial treatments


Eucalyptus globulus, radiata, smithii
Medicinal properties: analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anticatarrhal, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, antiviral, antifungal, antibacerial, anti-infectious, increases circulation.
French medicinal uses: asthma, candida, coughs, diabetes, fever, hypoglycemia, lungs, measles, migraines, respiratory stimulant, sinusitis, tuberculosis, urinary stimulant.
Additional benefits: chest/throat infections, cold/flu, viral infections (herpes), cystitis, arthritis, abscesses, wounds/cuts/burns/blisters, muscle stiffness/sprains, insect repellent, air purifier, swollen glands, immune stimulant.
When I reach for it: sinus troubles, headache


Rosemarinus Officinalis
Medicinal Properties: analgesic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, astringent, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, decongestant, diuretic, emmenagogue, endocrine tonic, expectorant, hypertensive, nervine, parasitic, restorative, stimulant.
French medicinal uses: arthritis, low blood pressure, bronchitis, cholera, colds, dandruff, depression, diabetes, mental fatigue, flu, fluid retention, hair loss, headache, viral hepatitis, irregular menstruation, sinusitis, tachycardia, vaginitis.
Additional benefits: circulation, support immune function, muscle aches, acne, respiratory distress, asthma, bronchitis, ovarian/testicular function, varicosities, tonsillitis, sinusitis, swellings, skin toner, nervous tension, PMS, lethargy.
When I reach for it: chest congestion/coughing, hair tonic, cramping

EO Applications/Uses

Topical = rub on skin anywhere as needed, use soles of feet for systemic applications (large pores speed absorption into blood stream).  Apply directly to problem areas.  For topical application, most EOs should be diluted: 5 to 10 drops of EO to 1 Tb. carrier oil (jojoba, olive, coconut, etc).  Dilute more for babies and children, as their skin is more sensitive.  [Lavender is gentle enough to use without dilution, as is Tea Tree for most people.  Once you become accustomed to regular use of EOs, you may find you need to dilute fewer of them.]
Inhalant = use EO diffuser or nebulizer, place in gently simmering water, put on tissue and inhale.
Ingestion = only with pure, therapeutic grade EOs (know your oils).  Place one to a few drops in water and drink.  This is particularly helpful for sore throats, colds, and digestive upsets.
Soaks = place a few drops of EO into a warm bath.  Be cautious with EOs known to burn, such as strong citrus oils or mints.


(I'll list those lesser known)

analgesic = pain reducer
anticatarrhal = helps remove mucus from body, soothes mucus membranes
antiseptic = prevent infection, inhibit growth of microbes
astringent = constrict tissues 
carminative = prevents formation of gas 
diaphoretic = promotes sweating
diuretic = promotes urination
emmenagogue = stimulates blood flow in pelvic region/uterus
expectorant = promotes expulsion of mucus/phlegm from respiratory tract
febrifuge = regulates fever
nervine = benefits nervous system

Helpful Resources

Herbs2000 EO Database
Mountain Rose Herbs (If you purchase through this link, I will earn a commission)

Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

"Birth works; we just have to get out of the way!" 
-- Midwife Elizabeth Davis, "Hearts and Hands"

I am a birth junkie.  I thrill at the miracle and beauty of babies beginning, becoming, and finally, being born.  I am more than partial to home waterbirths (mine were the most empowering experiences of my life), but I am absolutely passionate about Real Birth.  As an aspiring midwife and a woman who has suffered debilitating pregnancies, but was blessed so much through giving birth, I desire to help build a positive birth culture in this country.

It is crucial for women to understand that, contrary to the FDA's and ACOG's manipulations and misinformation, pregnancy IS NOT an illness!  I hope to share with as many women as I can as much as I can...to assist you all in having a healthier, natural, more positive pregnancy and birth; and baby care, too!  An empowering and healthy birth is just the beginning.  A world rich with learning experiences awaits after baby arrives.  I hope to inspire as yet "non-crunchy" mamas to join the natural mama lifestyle, so all women and children can reap the benefits of natural birthing, natural living, on-demand and extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, no vaxing, no circ-ing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, real food eating, real medicine self-treating, and more!

If you are planning for your first pregnancy and birth, seeking your first Real birth experience, or just want to stay abreast of information and issues, please peruse the resources listed under the Real Birth category in my Library.  I have found them to be invaluable.  Also, see below for external resource Links.

I hope to provide more content here in future.

Essays and Articles
FDA Attacks Real Birth
Laboring Under Delusions: Fear Facilitates Our Broken Birth Culture

Pregnancy/Birth Resources and Issues
FDA seizes, threatens to destroy waterbirth pools (what's next...confiscating blow-up kiddie pools?!)
Maternal Mortality Facts
Maternal Deaths Resultant from Hospital Birth
Maternal Death Rates Linked to C-sections
Why We (as a Culture) Truly Need Homebirth
Deadly Deliveries (Amnesty Int'l Report: highlights how hospital births contribute to or cause maternal death; includes nationwide C-section rates)
Unnecesarean blog
Cesarean Rates
World Life

Children's Health
National Vaccine Info Center
Int'l Medical Council on Vaccination
Diaper Swappers for awesome used and new cloth diapers and more!
Diaper Pin for great cloth diaper reviews
Kellymom's Extended Breastfeeding fact sheet...because the benefits of breastfeeding just keep going!

Savoring Life's Happy Accidents

I reflect occasionally on the happy accidents in life ... the serendipitous moments that shape significant creations or beget precious memories.

I'm sure fellow photographers can relate to this concept.  You can work for hours to design the ultimate shot.  It could be flawlessly framed, given absolute attention to detail in aperture, shutter, lighting...yet 50 shots may result in only one good picture.  Such is the nature of the work.  And after driving away from the scenic destination where you painstakingly plotted a tripod-enabled photography session, you glimpse light cascading through mist-covered trees at a bend in the road.  Suddenly, you stop your car to quickly capture the moment, and the shot becomes your favorite of the day.

Or perhaps one day you are chasing your children, or a butterfly, or a sunbeam, camera carelessly in hand.  And while snapping happily with no thought to composition, you achieve art.  Beauty.  Unplanned perfection.  Better yet, your hour-long meticulous efforts to create a prize-worthy portrait were rewarded unexpectedly when someone disturbed the scene.  What was intended to be a portrait became art when a child abruptly ran through the frame. 

In these moments, we realize that beauty erupts with no thought, no intention...just reaction or momentum.

Relationships are sometimes birthed from accidental happenstance; I imagine more often than not, we find ourselves enveloped in a remarkable relationship not of our making, nor planning.  From the machinations of life, sometimes obtuse or even irritating, emerge meaningful exchanges that blossom into beloved friendships.  I can thank happy accidents for more than one esteemed friend.  Years ago, I was introduced to my best friend through more than one haphazard meeting, including an Azure food co-op drop that technically didn't exist, and a run-in at the office of a holistically minded "natural family" friendly pediatrician that I visited only once (for an appointment that I made with hesitancy and nearly canceled).

Another dear friendship came to me through a box of books, purchased in an online homeschool classified ads site, the first one I came upon through my Google search.  And I can recall how a PayPal glitch in my online salve shop led to a potential customer email that later developed into a valuable friendship.  Ironically, I had been reviling the efforts I had expended and confusion I had suffered in attempting to set up said shop.  In the end, business hasn't been great, LOL, but the friendship has been wonderful.

Some of my favorite happy accidents happen in the kitchen.  One hectic day, while making a batch of Cacao Bites, I neglected some butter and honey left to "slowly and gently" melt on the stove.  The resultant browned butter and thickly caramelized honey made the most delightful Cacao (Caramel) Nibbles we've yet enjoyed.  I'd love to be able to credit Divine inspiration, but I must admit it was rather a case of Divine intervention; the butter and honey were discovered before irredeemable damage had been done.

Delicious meals have materialized out of an explosion of creative energy, or simply from one too many dashes of a misread, misplaced spice.  And a batch of undercooked cacao cupcakes became a moist, chewy, coveted family favorite, made all the more appealing by a child vigorously dosing the mixing bowl with cinnamon and ginger behind mama's back.
One of my favorite happy accidents, spotting a "Store Closing" sign at an immense used book store (ah, the happiest of places), resulted in the addition of several longed for, and now well-loved and well-used, additions to our family library.

While I do not classify children as accidents, even when our womb is blessed unexpectedly, I want to close these cogitations by expressing my gratitude and joy for my "unexpected" (in timing) but dearly desired children.  They are gifts, they are challenges, they are works of art...they enrich my life beyond measure.  And the day I met their father, while I did not know it at the time, was the happiest "accident" of my life.

Radically Natural Remedies for Winter Ick

This winter seemed to be a particularly long illness season.  Since these bugs like to hang around into spring, I thought it wasn't too late to share some remedies.

In December, I posted a long list of remedies for sore throats and coughs.  I wanted to follow up with a couple of my favorite tips for ear infections and general remedies for colds and congestion.  I'm thankful that my family did not suffer bounceback infections this winter.  I think we got one mild upper respiratory bug that lasted a few days.  Aside from a nourishing Real Foods diet with regular consumption of homemade gelatinous broths, a basic remedy repertoire can improve or ensure wellness.

When we enter cold/flu season, I begin pulling out certain herbs and nutritional supplements to give to my family prophylactically.  When we are exposed to friends who are sick, or when we feel we might be coming down with something, I increase dosage and add a few essentials to the mix.

My first secret to wellness?  We swab our ears daily with 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide.  We also use it as a gargle if we feel the slightest scratchiness in our throats.  If we know we've been exposed to a bug, we do our ears and our noses and throats.  My husband travels frequently (by air) for business, and he takes H2O2 with him to use prophylactically and he always doses when he gets home.  

Colloidal silver is another natural medicine I constantly stock and use frequently during illness season.  For general illness, we drink a teaspoon three to five times daily in water.

For immune boosting and infection fighting, I dose the family daily with:

  • Elder berry elixir (three tsp. daily; I make my own, but you can buy Sambucol)

My "winter ick" botanical necessities include:

  • Garlic (broad spectrum antibiotic)
  • Usnea (more potent broad spectrum antibiotic, particularly effective against strep)
  • Red clover (blood purifier)
  • Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, lemon (good EO info can be found at Heritage Essential Oils)...taken internally; diluted and applied externally to bottom of feet, palms of hands, on throat, chest, back; inhaled through diffusion
  • "Thieves" type essential oils blends

General advice for dealing with cold/flus/infections:

  • Homeopathics for respiratory infections include Boiron Coldcalm, Boiron Oscillococcinum (take at first sign of flu), Dulcamara, Aconite.
  • For sinus and/or chest congestion, do an essential oil steam with eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint.  Boil water and pour it into a large bowl.  Add one to two drops of each oil to the steaming water, lean over the bowl, tent a bath towel over your head, and breathe slowly (through mouth or nose depending upon condition) for a few minutes.  Keep your eyes closed, as the EOs can sting.
  • Do not fear fevers.  The body utilizes heat to destroy invaders; to allow your body's defenses to work, fevers should be left alone.  If you want to help a fever to burn more efficiently, use a combination of yarrow, elder and peppermint.  (Tincture dose is 30 drops every hour for high fevers.) This can bring comfort and regulate fever without eliminating the fever.  Do not be concerned with any fever under 104º unless it is a very little baby.  Temperature readings vary depending upon method used (oral, axillary, tympanic).

My favorite tips for ear infections:

  • First, get an otoscope and learn how to examine your child's ears.  Learn what a healthy inner ear looks like and what an inflamed ear drum looks like.  This will save you trips to a doctor.
  • Gauge the severity of the ear infection by monitoring your child's temperature and discomfort.  If the child is screaming in pain, has a high fever, and liquid draining from the ear, you may have a perforated ear drum.  In my opinion, this does not necessarily require medical intervention, as it can resolve naturally, but you need to be the judge of what you believe is best for your child.
  • It is helpful to treat both ears, even if only one is affected, as the canals are connected.
  • If the eardrum is not perforated, use garlic/mullein ear drops, an antibiotic treatment that relieves pain and inflammation.  (Make your own (see below) or purchase Herb Pharm drops.)  You can also use colloidal silver as drops or swab canal.
  • To relieve pain and help heal the infection, heat half an onion and secure it over the ear.  Make sure it is warm, not hot enough to burn the ear.  Cut an onion in half and peel, then gently heat in a small covered sauce pan with a bit of water, just until quite warm.  (Don't use the microwave...for anything...ever.  Please.)  It is helpful to secure the onion over the ear with an ace bandage or by tying a large thin tea towel around the head (like a flour sack towel), or an old t-shirt cut into a large strip.  [I have personally used this method and it works well to bring relief!]
  • Clogged sinuses can lead to clogged ears...remember, the tunnels are all connected.  :)  To relieve earache pain and ear congestion, do a massage with lavender EO, rosemary EO, eucalyptus EO combined with mullein oil (or coconut or olive if you don't have any mullein).  Massage around the front of the ear, up over the ear, behind the ear, down along the jaw and down the throat.  Use firm (but not agonizing) pressure, go slowly, use little circular motions with your finger pads as you follow the path:  up, around, down.  Do this five times a session, throughout the day.

Garlic/onion honey syrup recipe

Chop half an onion and a head of garlic.  In a saucepan, just cover onion and garlic with raw honey.  Gently simmer (don't boil, keep the heat quite low) for at least 30 minutes, an hour is better.  Bottle and keep in the refrigerator.  Serve by the spoonful throughout the day.  You can strain the honey or just serve whole.

Garlic/mullein ear drop recipe

In a small saucepan, gently simmer a chopped head of garlic and a handful of crushed mullein leaves/flowers in enough olive oil to cover the herb matter.  Keep the heat low and simmer for 20-30 minutes and allow the herb matter to steep in the oil until it comes to room temperature, or allow it to steep overnight.  Strain the oil and bottle, refrigerate when not using for long periods of time, but warm to apply.  Administer a few drops into each ear as often as needed, at least every 30 minutes.

You can buy mullein and other high quality bulk herbs from

Mountain Rose Herbs

For more information:

My writeup on 

Treating Pink eye

My writeup on 

Treating Croup

Relieve Earache with Natural Medicine

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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