How to Soothe the dreaded sore throat

 

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It’s scratchy, tender and swollen, and you dread the simple task of swallowing. But you must swallow, and when you do, you brace yourself for the unavoidable pain.

If you’ve got a sore throat, you’re in good company; everybody gets them, and 40 million people trek to the doctor’s office for treatment every year.

The mechanics of a sore throat are pretty simple. It’s an inflammation of the pharynx, which is the tube that extends from the back of the mouth to the esophagus. The leading causes of your discomfort are:

  • Viral infections, like colds or the flu. Often accompanied by fever, achy muscles and runny nose, viral infections can’t be cured, but their symptoms can be treated. A sore throat from a viral source will generally disappear on its own within several days.
  • Bacterial infection, especially from streptococcal bacteria (strep throat). Symptoms are much like those of a viral infection but may be more severe and long lasting. Often a bacterial infection is accompanied by headache, stomachache and swollen glands in the neck. A strep infection is generally treated with antibiotics because permanent heart or kidney damage can result. Culturing the bacteria is the only way a doctor can determine the cause of the sore throat.

While those are the primary reasons for a sore throat, there are others, including:

  • Smoking
  • Acid reflux
  • Allergies
  • Dry air, especially at night when you may sleep with your mouth open
  • Mouth breathing
  • Throat abuse: singing, shouting, coughing
  • Polyps or cancer
  • Infected tonsils
  • Food allergy

A sore throat can be a minor but annoying ailment, or it can be a symptom of a serious illness. Causes range from a stuffy nose or a cold to strep throat, a bacterial throat infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. Since untreated strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever and scarlet fever, it’s important to get medical help as early as possible into the illness. Along with producing severe soreness in your gullet, strep throat may be accompanied by fever, body aches and pains and malaise.

If you have these symptoms, or if you have a sore throat lasting more than two or three days, it makes good sense to see a doctor. For mild sore throats that accompany a cold or allergy, there are soothing remedies using common household items that can stand alone or work side by side with traditional medicine to stifle that soreness.

Gargle raspberry tea. Raspberry leaf tea can make a great gargle. (To make, pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons dried leaves. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Allow to cool.) If you also have a fever, the gargle can be used as a fever-reducing drink, too. Do not drink any liquid you have used as a gargle.

Gargle with sage. This curative herb is a great sore-throat gargle. Mix 1 teaspoon in 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Add 1 teaspoon each cider vinegar and honey, then gargle four times a day.

Gargle with turmeric. Try this gargle to calm a cranky throat. Mix together 1 cup hot water, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gargle with the mixture twice a day. If you’re not good with the gargle, mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric in 1 cup hot milk and drink. Turmeric stains clothing, so be careful when mixing and gargling.

Gargle with warm saltwater. If you can gargle without gagging, make a saline solution by adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to a cup of very warm water. Yes, when your mother told you to gargle with saltwater, she knew what she was talking about. It cuts phlegm and reduces inflammation. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1/2 cup warm water, and gargle every three to four hours.

Gargle with Listerine. Another good gargling fluid is Listerine mouthwash. If you share the product with anyone else in your household, don’t drink straight from the bottle; instead, pour a small amount into a cup (and don’t share that, either).

Other remedies to try are a steamy shower, sipping warm liquids, taking an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen) most of all get lots of rest and feel better soon!

 

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Did you know you’ve probably pulled, stomped or sprayed a natural super food that grows in your backyard? Dandelion is mostly known as a backyard weed, but it has amazing nutrient qualities and health promoting properties.

All the parts of the plant can be used in various ways though the roots and leaves are the most commonly used as herbs. Who knew that this plant with puffy flowers that grant childhood wishes could offer so much benefit?

Dandelion Root and Leaves

Dandelion is a source of a variety of nutrients and the leaves and root contain Vitamins (like A,C, K and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline). The various parts of the plant have a long history of use as an herbal remedy, and every documented population in areas where it grows naturally has used it medicinally.

It also serves as an abundant natural food source, as all parts of the plant can be eaten. The root is often roasted and used in teas or consumed whole. The leaves make a great addition to salads or other dishes requiring greens and the flowers (while still yellow), can be eaten raw, cooked or even made into wine!

Traditional cultures have used dandelion to support digestive and hormone health and it was often consumed to support lactation or to help remedy issues like urinary tract infections.

Benefits of Dandelion

According to the How To Herb Book, this backyard super food is beneficial in many ways, including:

Liver Support and Detoxification

Dandelion has been used for years by various cultures to support healthy liver function and natural detoxification in the body. Though it hasn’t been well studied, many people with hepatitis turn to it to help support the liver. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that:

In the past, roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, dandelion was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

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Female Health and Hormone Balance

Due to its high levels of various nutrients and potential ability to help support the body’s natural detoxification systems, dandelion is often used by those with hormone imbalance, urinary infection and recurrent mastitis. Though not well studied, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from women who have used it to help remedy recurring UTIs or other infections.

Clearer Skin

Due to its natural magnesium and zinc content and its potential ability to support detoxification, dandelion is also know as being good for the skin. It can be used topically in applications like tinctures and poultices and many people also take it in capsule or tea form to help support healthy skin.

Good Source of Nutrients

Dandelion is a great source of many important vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and nutritive salts, which may help support blood health and increase iron absorption. I personally often add dried leaves to teas for a nutrient boost or use dandelion root in place of coffee.

Blood Sugar Balance

The University of Maryland Medical Center also reports that:

Preliminary animal studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people. A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.

Uses of Dandelion Root and Leaves

Perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to remove this “backyard weed” if we were more familiar with the myriad of uses it has. The entire dandelion plant can be used and if you have a safe (non-sprayed) source in your yard or community, you can consider harvesting it yourself.

Here are some of the ways to use dandelion:

Coffee Substitute

Dandelion root is tougher and more hardy than the leaf and is often used in decoctions and tinctures for this reason. The powder is often added in coffee substitutes . The root is considered a natural diuretic and is sometimes used for this purpose.

Poultices

Dandelion root and leaf are often listed as the ingredients of  teas and poultices for abscesses and sores, especially on the breast and in female health remedies as they can help support lactation and remedy urinary issues.

According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

Chopped dandelion root can be combined with myrrh to make a poultice for boils and abscesses, with honeysuckle flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat boils and abscesses, with skullcap and/or chrysanthemum flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat sore eyes, or with heal-all to treat hard phlegm in bronchitis. Can also be administered in capsule or extract form for convenience.

Dandelion Tea

The flower can be used to make tea and even to make some types of wine. The leaves and root can also be used in teas, though they have a stronger taste and are often combined with other synergistic herbs for flavor and increased nutrient absorption.

Salads and Greens

The leaves can be consumed fresh on a salad or in recipes as well as substituted for greens like kale and collards in recipes or cooking. The antioxidant rich leaves are the most diuretic part of the plant so while they can be consumed regularly, it is important to maintain hydration too.

Important Notes:

It is important to check with a doctor before taking this or any herb, especially in large amounts or if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Though it is generally considered safe, those allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine may not be able to consume it.

Anyone who gathers dandelion from wild sources (like the backyard) should make sure that the area has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and that it does not come from an area where pets may have eliminated.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2qdoz29

 

Our scary weeks dealing with MCS

So whats new with me. A few weeks ago I was at a low point to be honest, we all were. My husband had been exposed to some nasty chemicals that were a side effect of the farmers next door burning…. tires… yes not good or legal. Well this drove him out of our home and away for 2 weeks not to mention how ill he was as a result. When I say ill I mean ill…..shaking, loss of oxygen resulting in blue lips, dizziness, and so much more. This worried me to no end and threw me into a viscous cycle of eating junk again and derailing my life as well as his and my daughters.

Fast forward….to this week.

He is starting to feel better and is back with us at home but what a scary set back. This just shows us how serious this disability is. We have to take into consideration everything we do now. From a trip to the store, visiting friends with scented homes, to going for a walk this has changes our lives and isolated us.

We have been advised that over time his condition may improve as his immunity returns but we have also been warned that it will get worse before it gets better. There are many MCS cases out there as the scents and perfumes industries rise. Some people don`t realize that they may be having a reaction even. I encourage everyone for their health and others to promote scent free products and environments for everyone.

Thanks as always for reading and following!

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Recipe: Marvelous Maple Salmon

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, coconut aminos, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

 

Source Adapted: http://armagazine.com/1HR9tme

Recipe: Healthier Chinese Lemon Chicken

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INGREDIENTS

Marinade
  • 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch

Breading

  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • oil for frying

Sauce

  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add coconut aminos and tapioca starch to your chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  2. Let marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is marinating add the lemon juice, maple syrup, water, tapioca starch and lemon zest to a small bowl and mix.
  4. Add the almond flour and tapioca starch to the bowl of chicken and toss to coat.
  5. In a pot with oil about three inches deep, heat on medium high to 350 degrees.
  6. Add the chicken in batches so you don’t crowd the pot or the chicken will stick together and it will lower the temperature significantly causing your chicken to be oily.
  7. Cook chicken until golden brown and when cooked transfer the pieces to a skillet (this is where we will be tossing with the sauce).
  8. When you finish all the chicken, turn off the oil, turn on the skillet onto medium high heat and add the sauce.
  9. Coat the chicken pieces in the sauce and cook for just a few seconds until thickened

Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness

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Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts.

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress!

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2qfUZZu

 

Recipe: Frozen Fruit Dessert Whip

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Ingredients

  • 2‐4 cups frozen pineapple or your choice of frozen fruit
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 lime, juiced

Directions

  1. Place frozen pineapple and coconut milk in a strong blender or food processor and pulse until combined, scraping down as needed.
  2. Pour in pineapple and lime juices and blend to combine.
  3. If mixture is too creamy, add more frozen pineapple; if too thick, add more coconut milk.
  4. Eat immediately as soft serve. You can freeze for later but it does freeze solid, I warm mine in the microwave to re soften. You can also make great Popsicles if you have a mold.

 

Dirty Dove Soap – True Beauty Should Not Come at Such a High Cost

Nobody enjoys beauty ads. The models selling the cosmetics, face creams, or hair products always look condescendingly perfect. It doesn’t help that we know they are produced by makeup artists and animation wizards. Their flawless skin causes us to frown upon our own blemishes and wrinkles.

 Their slim bodies make us self-conscious about our own weight. Their luscious hair uglifies our locks whether we think our hair is too thin, too puffy, too curly, too frizzy, or too much anything. Then we go out to buy whatever the model is selling because we are desperate to be perfect just like her. Of course, we would never admit that aloud, but that’s how we feel.

The Dove campaign is different. The models they use are real women and girls just like us. Dove ads feature real people talking about their insecurities about their looks and bring them to realize they are beautiful the way they are. It warms our hearts and makes us feel good about ourselves.

We buy Dove because we’d rather listen to the company that tells us “you are already beautiful” than the ones who scream “you are ugly and that’s why you need this product right now!”

For the company that advertises “real beauty,” we’d expect them to use natural ingredients. However, many of the Dove products feature toxic components!

This is one example:

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Dove White Beauty Bar

Here is the original product that initiated this company. It hasn’t changed and the declaration is still the same:

  • #1 Dermatologist recommended
  • Classic moisturizing formula
  • Dove doesn’t dry skin like ordinary soap
  • With ¼ moisturizing cream and mild cleansers, helps retain skin’s moisture
  • Makes skin softer, smoother and more radiant than ordinary soap
  • Suitable for daily use on hands, face, and body

The formula is the same as well, but the ingredients sound less charming:

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate Or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium Edta, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891).

What do these words even mean?!

The Reality Behind the Ingredients

Here are ingredients rampant in Dove products and what they truly can do to your body.

  1. Methylisothiazolinone – Studies have found this chemical to contribute to neurodegenerative disorders and seizures. They are looking to conduct further research on this toxin. 
  2. Fragrance/Parfum is a common skin irritant and the leading cause of dermatitis from cosmetic use. Studies suggest that this is rising skin sensitivities. 
  3. Tetrasodium Edta is made from formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Also, it is a penetration enhancer, meaning it dissolves the protective skin barrier, pathing the way for other toxins to sink into your tissue and perhaps even your bloodstream. Although the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel deemed this chemical “safe,” since it is not well-absorbed into the skin, they did suggest caution when mixing this preservative with other hazardous ingredients. 
  4. Sodium Tallowate – Vegans, cover your eyes! Sodium Tallowate, featured in the classic Dove Beauty bar, is derived from the fatty tissue of cattle. The FDA declared this additive to be safe, but according to them, GMOs are fine too. 
  5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate – About 12,200 studies testing the cumulative effect and long-term exposure of SLS linked it to :
    • Irritation of the skin and eyes
    • Organ toxicity
    • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity, ecotoxicology, endocrine disruption, and biochemical or cellular changes
    • Possible mutations and cancer

As Dove believes, women should define their own beauty, yet health hazardous have never and never will be beautiful.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2pi5lrI

Tis’ the season: Ticks- How to Avoid and Remove Them

Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. But it is important to avoid and check for ticks, and to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick completely may help you avoid diseases such as Lyme disease that the tick may pass on during feeding, or a skin infection where the tick bit you.

How to avoid tick bites

  • Learn where ticks and deer that carry ticks are most commonly found in your community. Avoid those areas if possible.
  • Cover as much of your body as possible when working or playing in grassy or wooded areas. Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. Keep in mind that it is easier to spot ticks on light-coloured clothes.
  • Use insect repellents, such as products with DEET.
  • Clear leaves, brush, tall grasses, woodpiles, and stone fences from around your house and the edges of your yard or garden. This may help reduce ticks and the rodents that the ticks depend on.
  • Remove plants that attract deer, and use barriers to keep deer—and the deer ticks they may carry—out of your yard.
  • Call your local landscaping nursery or county extension office to see if your yard can be treated for ticks with nonchemical or environmentally safe methods.

Checking for ticks

  • When you come in from outdoors, check all over your body for ticks, including your groin, head, and underarms. Comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb, or have someone check your scalp.
  • Ticks can come into your house on clothing, outdoor gear, and pets. These ticks can fall off and attach to you.
    • Check your clothing and outdoor gear. Remove any ticks you find. Then put your clothing in a clothes dryer on high heat for 1 hour to kill any ticks that might remain.
    • Check your pets for ticks after they have been outdoors.
  • Check your children daily for ticks, especially during the summer months.

How to remove a tick

Removing a tick with tweezers

Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don’t have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.

  • Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.
  • Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You could push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
  • Gently pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the tick’s body and leave the head in your skin.
  • Put the tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if needed.

After the tick has been removed, wash the area of the tick bite with a lot of warm, clean water. Be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water also.

NOTE: If you can’t remove a tick, call your doctor.

You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.

Some ticks are so small it is hard to see them. This makes it hard to tell if you have removed the tick’s head. If you do not see any obvious parts of the tick’s head where it bit you, assume you have removed the entire tick, but watch for symptoms of a skin infection.

If you have a rash, headache, joint pain, fever, or flu-like symptoms, this could mean you have an illness related to a tick bite. If you have any of these symptoms, or symptoms of a skin infection, call your doctor.

What to avoid

Do not try to:

  • Smother a tick that is stuck to your skin with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol.
  • Burn the tick while it is stuck to your skin.

Smothering or burning a tick could make it release fluid—which could be infected—into your body and increase your chance of infection.

There are some tick-removal devices that you can buy. If you are active outdoors in areas where there are a lot of ticks, you may want to consider buying such a device.

Source: http://bit.ly/2oLA2Sd

A Little update on Shop info

Hello all! I have been keeping myself busy this week puttering around and crafting it up, when came across boxes of old art and projects that I have completed a few years ago when I operated under ” The Crafty Ocelot”. I have decided to combine Green Grass Grove products and Soap into a category in my reopened shop for my Handmade Art Studio. Have a look I’ll be updating as the week goes on to add back all of my completed projects for sale. Have a great night!

www.craftyocelot.etsy.com

 

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