Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Soothing Properties of Slippery Elm Bark Herb

As you can see from the picture to the left, this is not a plant that you'll see in a little herb garden, or container garden.

Slippery Elm is the inner bark from an elm tree, that also goes by the name Moose Elm, Indian Elm and Red Elm. The tree is deciduous, and grows in various parts of the US and Canada.

This is among my favorite plant remedies. It is very soothing to an irritated intestinal tract, whether it be caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Colitis, diarrhea, constipation, or any simlar condition. 

I use a tablespoon of a bulk powdered form, and shake it in a tumbler with water, and drink. It is good to drink right away, as this is a mucilaginous herb and will swell in the water....but it is this very property that soothes and coats the intestinal system. Sometimes I take it in capsule form with lots of water. I love the soothing benefits of this medicinal herb.

It is also a great at balancing the intestinal trace, helping whether you are dealing with constipation or diarrhea.

Many writings on the herb will tell you that it was eaten as a gruel by George Washington and his troops when they suffered through the bitter winter in Valley Forge. It is highly nutritious food source. It was also used as a survival food by American settlers.

Image Credit: Ohio Dept. Natural Resources via Wikimedia

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Calming Synergy Between Catnip and Fennel

At one time I had Catnip in my garden along with the Oregano, Lemon Balm and Mint plants that still remain.  They are all in the same family, and all love to spread and take over the garden if they can.  But our soil in the area where they grow allows for healthy plants, but is not of a quality that lends to spreading. 

I have never grown Fennel. 

Fennel is a very fragrant feathery-leaved plant that is often used as a garnish. It smells much like anise or licorice. 
The full plant that you see here is in bloom. The base of the fennel plant has a large bulb that is above ground.  These are available in food stores to be used in recipes.

As for the coming together of Catnip with Fennel, herbalists combine the two to benefit both the nervous system and the digestive system.  The same properties that please cats are calming to the human body. 

If you are not sensitive or allergic to either fennel or catnip, this can be soothing to spasms in the colon and intestines.  

Some have used this combination for colic. 

If you would like a fact sheet about this combination, please comment and request one, I will not post comments that contain requests...all comments are moderated.

If you have used Catnip and/or Fennel medicinally and would like to share your experience, please do share in a comment.

Image Credit: Catnip - Forest and Kim Starr - Wikimedia Commons
                      Fennel - Alvegaspar on Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Baking Soda Works for Mold or Mildew on Zucchini Leaves

This year I found that I could grow Zucchini in a very large pot as part of my container garden and it did quite well.

After producing some Zucchini for me, it formed powdery mildew or mold on the leaves, and I was at a loss as to what to do. I posted my concern on a social media site that I belong to, and received many helpful tips on how to get rid of mold or mildew on Zucchini leaves. If you visit the preceding link, it will open a new window and you can read the many helpful suggestions posted in the comments.

Of the comments, I chose the least expensive route, and what I happened to have in the house already. That was a mixture of baking soda in water. I just mixed about a half teaspoon into an old window spray cleaner bottle that I had cleaned thoroughly and added water and shook well.

I went out and removed the worst leaves, there were many new leaves coming so it wasn't hard to give the damaged leaves up. I then sprayed the leaves remaining on both sides with the solution and a bit on the stems and fruit. Sure enough, this solution worked. I repeated this once a day or every other day depending upon whether it rained or whether there was any improvement.

Pictured you see Zucchini cut and ready to go on the grill. Sometimes I marinade before grilling, but this  was lightly sprayed with olive oil, a little sea salt added, then grilled until very tender. I cut the pieces thick.

It is the end of the season now, and we did enjoy some nice Zucchini from my first attempt at growing it in a pot as part of my container garden.

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