The Wiccan Rede

Bide the Wiccan Laws we must In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Live and let live. Fairly take and fairly give. Cast the Circle thrice about To keep the evil spirits out. To bind the spell every time Let the spell be spake in rhyme. Soft of eye and light of touch, Speak little, listen much. Deosil go by the waxing moon, Chanting out the Witches' Rune. Widdershins go by the waning moon, Chanting out the baneful rune. When the Lady's moon is new, Kiss the hand to her, times two. When the moon rides at her peak, Then your heart's desire seek, Heed the North wind's mighty gale, Lock the door and drop the sail. When the wind comes from the South, Love will kiss thee on the mouth. When the wind blows from the West, Departed souls will have no rest. When the wind blows from the East, Expect the new and set the feast. Nine woods in the cauldron go, Burn them fast and burn them slow. Elder be the Lady's tree, Burn it not or cursed you'll be. When the Wheel begins to turn, Let the Beltane fires burn. When the Wheel has turned to Yule, Light the log and the Horned One rules. Heed ye Flower, Bush and Tree, By the Lady, blessed be. Where the rippling waters go, Cast a stone and truth you'll know. When ye have a true need, Hearken not to others' greed. With a fool no season spend, Lest ye be counted as his friend. Merry meet and merry part, Bright the cheeks and warm the heart. Mind the Threefold Law you should, Three times bad and three times good. When misfortune is enow, Wear the blue star on thy brow. True in Love ever be, Lest thy lover's false to thee. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will.
- Blessed Be -
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Natural Herbs that Help.

This post is largely due to my readers response to "Help With My Swollen Feet" post that I did recently. Thank You so much for your response.

Cucumbers have some medical properties that have anti-edemic abilities, but is a bit weak, ginger is a very strong herb in properties that help for swelling as is tumeric, and aloe, to be taken internally (digested). Read below.

Besides cucumber slices, there are a number of other herbs that can also help reduce swelling.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale). For centuries, India's traditional Ayurvedic physicians have recommended ginger, especially for swelling caused by arthritis. More recently, several researchers have shown that enzymes that help digest protein, known as proteolytic enzymes, also have anti-inflammatory action.

According to one report, the compound zingibain, which is one of the most active constituents in ginger, is also one of Nature's most potent proteolytic enzymes. Just one gram of zingibain can tenderize as much as 20 pounds of meat.

A Danish researcher reported one case of a woman with rheumatoid arthritis who found no relief from taking corticosteroids, which are commonly prescribed to treat the pain and swelling associated with this condition. She began taking 50 grams of ginger a day (that's almost two ounces, or 25 teaspoons) and within 30 days reported considerable reduction of swelling, as well as some pain relief. "Ginger," the researcher wrote, "produced better relief of swelling, pain and stiffness than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs."

Of course, 50 grams of ginger a day is a tall order (and you should definitely not take this much if you are pregnant). But given ginger's traditional use for treating arthritic swelling and the herb's proteolytic action, I'm inclined to believe this report.

I have, on occasion, enjoyed 50 grams of candied ginger. It's a hot, spicy candy that's available in many shops that sell gourmet items. It would be a fairly easy way to get this much ginger if you want to give this treatment a try, but ginger is also available in capsules.

Pineapple (Ananas comosus). This fruit contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain. Naturopath Michael Murray, N.D., co-author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine and several other scholarly books on nutritional and naturopathic healing, recommends taking the pure compound, which is available in health food stores, to reduce swelling, particularly the kind caused by surgical incisions and traumatic injuries. Bromelain blocks the production of kinins, the compounds produced during inflammation that increase swelling and induce pain.

Dr. Murray's suggested dose is 400 to 500 milligrams taken three times a day on an empty stomach. Personally, I love pineapple, and my own recommendation is to simply eat more of this delicious fruit.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa). India's traditional Ayurvedic physicians apply two parts turmeric and one part salt to swollen areas. Some also include ginger in this mixture. Science confirms this ancient wisdom. When researchers gave turmeric oil to experimental animals, they found that it had anti-inflammatory, anti-edemic and anti-arthritic activity.

Dr. Murray hails curcumin, the most active constituent in turmeric, as one of Nature's most potent anti-edemic and anti-inflammatory agents. He recommends taking 400 milligrams of the pure compound curcumin three times a day. Again, I prefer the whole-herb approach. I suggest simply eating more curries, heavy on the turmeric.

Aloe (Aloe vera). People in the West Indies apply the gel of aloe to treat the swelling that comes from water retention. Bahamians even drink aloe juice for this purpose. West Indians also heat the split leaves and apply the warm interior of the leaf to bruises and swollen areas.

Aloe contains an enzyme (bradykininase) that helps decrease swelling and relieve pain. It also contains magnesium lactate, which is an antihistamine, so the herb may also help relieve the itching associated with some swelling.

Arnica (Arnica montana). Arnica, also known as mountain daisy, is a favorite among homeopathic physicians for treating the swelling caused by sports injuries.

In larger doses--more than homeopathic doctors would recommend--this herb gets a thumbs-up from Commission E, the German government's group of herbal medicine experts. This group endorses external applications of arnica flowers as a quick fix for water retention, bruises, dislocations, sprains and rheumatic muscle and joint complaints. The commission suggests using two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water to make a tea to use as a wash. You can also dilute a tincture (one part tincture and three to ten parts water) to use in a compress.

Cat's claw (Uncaria, various species). Also known as uña de gato, cat's claw is an Amazonian herb that's becoming quite popular in the United States, and with good reason. Two researchers sent me a report in which they discuss several compounds (quinovic acid glycosides) that show systemic anti-inflammatory activity. They suggested that cat's claw extract was better at relieving swelling than indomethacin (Indocin), a standard nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is often prescribed for that purpose.

My own experiments with cat's claw haven't been that positive, but you can try it and see if it works for you. A newcomer from the Amazon, cat's claw contains substances that can help relieve swelling and inflammation.

Corn (Zea mays). The Chinese have used cornsilk successfully to treat swelling caused by kidney disease, according to pharmacognosist (natural product pharmacist) Albert Leung, Ph.D. In one small three-month study of 12 people with kidney disease, water retention disappeared in 9 people and mostly disappeared in 2 others. The people were given about two ounces of dry cornsilk twice a day. Cornsilk is an effective diuretic and is thus useful for getting rid of excess water.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Also a potent diuretic, dandelion can remove some of the excess fluid that causes swelling. You can eat the fresh roots, flowers and leaves or use them to make tea. You can also buy capsules.

Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora). Now a serious weed in the eastern part of the United States, multiflora rose is listed in Chinese pharmacy reference books as a good treatment for swelling. You can try a tea made with two to three teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water.

Spanish needles (Bidens pilosa). This is a plant that belongs to the same botanical family as feverfew. It is a popular folk medicine in Taiwan for all sorts of illnesses, from influenza to hepatitis. In one study with laboratory animals, Taiwanese scientists showed that this herb has significant anti-edemic and anti-inflammatory activity. More research is needed here, but I'm intrigued, and I'm on the lookout for further reports of its effectiveness.

Many Thanks to Stacy, Billy and Wendy - to whom I dedicate is post to, for without them I would not have this information.

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