Month: June 2016

Allopathic Herbalism?

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Allopathic Herbalist, what in the world is that? Recently I wrote a blog post for another web-site; www.christianherbal.org  explaining what a Clinical Herbalist is and how we work with clients. This caused me to consider the need for a further explanation. The word “clinical” has a way of throwing people off course.

Before we discuss, in greater detail, what a Clinical Herbalist is, let’s look at what I mean by an Allopathic Herbalist. I hope you will endure the length of this article as the best comes at the end!

The term allopathic is often used to describe the Western Medicine mode of healthcare, sadly a large amount of  herbalism has become very similar. The American medical system is the most descriptive picture I can provide for you. This mode of healthcare, while having its importance, is inept to provide true, deep healing. In all reality, it provides sick-care, not healthcare. If you partake in this model of medicine, you will be provided approximately 15 minutes for your appointment, to include any study time your practitioner spends with your health record. Diagnostic testing has advanced to a high degree and offers us many benefits, unfortunately many doctors rely completely on these tests, having either forgotten, or more likely, never been taught the art of studying their patients by observation and conversation. In addition, if you utilize multiple practitioners, they may contradict or overlook each other which can lead to grave results in your health. A vast amount of your M.D.’s current treatment protocols are provided by the pharmaceutical rep. that regularly visits the office with literature and samples of the latest drugs on the market. Which brings us to treatments.

Treatment options within the allopathic medical system almost always include pharmaceuticals. When people don’t feel well, they have a strong desire to feel better, quick! Your physician knows this and usually has the ‘pill to fit the bill’. The problem is, that is often where it stops, no other considerations and no other plan for complete wellness, just feel better right now.

While it may seem as though I am overly critical of this mode of medicine, let me offer a balance. Your doctor may see as many as 30 or more patients a day, make hospital rounds and be on call for after hour emergencies, they live a dizzy, fast paced life. They have spent a lot of time and money on their education and need to make their careers successful. Many, many of them have a servant’s heart but are trapped in a system that will never allow them to live this desire out. Nurses fall into this same exact situation and these people work tirelessly to help folks. It’s the system that is broken and I want to make it clear that I am not singling out the individuals within the system.

So, this is a quick peek into the window of allopathic medicine. Now, take this picture and lay it over the term “Allopathic Herbalist” and you will have an almost perfect picture of what I wish to describe for you. An herbalist working within this framework is going to leave you wanting. They offer lots of ‘bandage medicine’ that differs only in the medicine of choice from the allopathic medical world.

Have you ever felt sick and ran to the health food store for ‘something to help you feel better’? There you encounter isles marked “immune” or “allergies” and see all the bottles of goodness without one idea which one to choose? Then, from heaven, it seems, a helpful employee tells you, if you have a cold try ABC, it always works. The only problem is; do you really have a cold or is it something that only looks like a cold? If it truly is a cold, why did you catch it, and do you really want the cough to stop, what is your underlying picture that may or may not cause that remedy to be right for you? A hundred other questions should be answered before you grab your wonder bottle from the shelf.

This little example is what I mean by the difference between an Allopathic Herbalist and a Clinical Herbalist. With an allopathic picture, you just want to feel better and you don’t really care about anything else. Many a helpful and often knowledgeable herbalist, in their quest to help, is willing to offer you the quick one/two in an effort to help you feel better. In some cases, this is all that is needed and will work beautifully for the here and now, but won’t do a thing to help you build true wellness.

By contrast, a Clinical Herbalist will separate from this mode, almost entirely. They do care, very deeply that you are sick but their knowledge leads them to know that the sickness has come about due to layers of issues that must be addressed. So while they may offer you some immediate help to feel better, their real concern is why you are sick and they will address that for lasting results. They will make you feel like you are writing a book when you provide the intake paperwork they need to properly access your situation. They will take that valuable information and spend hours on end, if necessary, studying it and diving deep into the issues they see within those pages. After this, many more hours will be spent with you, talking, observing, talking, observing. While any diagnostic test information you have will be very helpful, this will be far from the core of information your Clinical Herbalist will be using. Their goal is to teach you the truths you need to know to build your health and create total wellness. It is a long, detailed process but it is lasting and deep in its results. Clinical Herbalism, in my mind, is akin to the Slow Food movement. We need to slow down, think deeply, act rightly and carefully, to build nurturing and health into our lives by this process.IMG_2279

As you could guess, a Clinical Herbalist works mostly with chronic illness/injury profiles. They are more than able and willing to help you with acute and accident situations but a standing relationship is beneficial, even for the more immediate needs.

A Clinical Herbalist has been trained to look at all the fine details of you! In addition, they know all the fine details of the plant medicine they work with. Within allopathic medicine we see pharmaceuticals that are sometimes created from plants but usually amount to other substances. Within the allopathic mode of herbalism, we often see the isolated constituents, the active ingredient, taken from the whole plant, in an effort to make the remedy more effective. The problem with this is that the Creator who made these plants, created them whole and complete and when single components are taken alone, they often are no longer effective. One example of this is Hawthorn, an excellent cardiovascular tonic. German researchers thought that the active benefit from this berry came from the flavonoids, especially the one known as vitexin-O-rhamnoside, so they isolated that from the rest of the plant hoping to increase its effectiveness but instead found it to be non-effective altogether. In addition, they fed the berries to animals, minus this specific flavonoid, it was equally ineffective. Only when used as a whole food/berry does the benefit get seen. To take this example a bit further, some folks could benefit from using Hawthorn berries, others might need the leaves, others still may need an entirely different plant or a combination of plants. In some cases, a syrup would be best but in others a tincture is the right fit, for others still, a tea blended with other herbs might be what is needed or perhaps another herb altogether. These are the details you are paying your Clinical Herbalist to know. Only when all the details are combined can you truly experience herbalism as God created it.

In closing, the picture of the cactus is a visual example for me, of Allopathic Herbalism.  While it looks beautiful, organized and purposeful, it is nearly impossible to get to the meat of it, or center where real healing takes place.  I would share, if you fall and scrap up your knees, then by all means, grab the Calendula salve. Learn all you can about how to care for yourself using herbs and safely put into practice what you learn, but source your information carefully, and don’t fall into the quick, easy trap of following an Allopathic Herbalism model. If, however, your needs are complicated and serious, or you find you desire a deeper level of wellness then you currently have, find a good Clinical Herbalist and work with them to create the health you deserve. Take your time and allow them to do the same, your quality of life will vastly improve and that is our Father’s desire, see 3 John 2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

The Biblical Herbal

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This summer issue is just packed with informative articles to please everyone!

I’ve written two of the articles, one of them will become a series for Herbal Gardening, titled “In The Garden”.  The second article is titled “HolySchtick Mindset Change” where I share my testimony of how I became an Herbalist.

There is fun activities for the children in their own little section, lots of great recipes and plenty of advanced information for the hungry student.

Please consider taking a look at this issue, you may purchase as a single edition or sign up for a full subscription and receive a discount.  Click on the photo to go to the ordering page.  This is an affiliate link.

 

Our Greenhouse Update

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Just wanted to keep you all up to date on our big project here.  The wall surrounding the old greenhouse has finally been completely relocated, and may I say, it looks pretty happy in it’s new home.

Concrete work is scheduled for next week, please pray with us that we can keep this schedule and all goes well with this next phase.  We will also be moving some giant boulders and scooping out gravel to make room for the added space of the new greenhouse.

After this comes the framing.  The Lord has blessed us with some very skilled counselors and we are pretty sure about the plan at this point.

We appreciate your prayers along this journey!  We still have a long way to go and framing will most likely be the slowest step.  Still welcoming any volunteers who would like to help us, we need those muscles!!  Would you please continue to pray for us to seek out those elderly and shut-in folks in the community that we can share the bounty of this great work with.  Costs are always higher then you budget, no matter how carefully you proceed,  so please pray we can complete this project without breaking the bank.

Thanks so much for your continued interest and I shall post more as we move along.

What Is This Mess About?!

IMG_2227Life in our garden is not real pretty right now, as you can see! My old friend and trusted greenhouse has been sold and now we have a big ugly mess and a whole bunch of work ahead of us.  May I share our plans and dreams with you?

For over six years now we have had a wonderland of growing space inside our 12 by 24, solar operated greenhouse. We start our flowers, herbs and veggies for the year, keep herbs overwintered, supply our chickens and ducks with wintertime greens and food for ourselves year round. It has been very successful and pleasing to us.

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We have had our trials too, in-experience is a harsh schoolmaster! Having learned what to do and more importantly, what not to do, we have decided to step our living to a new level. We are very excited to share our plans with you.

We are planning a new, bigger and better greenhouse to be sized at about 20 by 28 feet. The new one will be solar operated as the previous one was. What that means is that we do not put any power for cooling or heating into the building, instead rely completely on the sun. In the winter the sun heats it quite well thanks to our location and fairly sunny skies during the winter. For the summer, we use both bottom and top vents with solar openers to cool the building. These little gems are set to open at 80 degrees (which is the ideal temperature to maintain) and then close again when the temp. drops below 80 to help maintain that for as long as possible. Drastic change of temperatures are the biggest enemy for our greenhouse work and since we are very scattered over our property with other work and can’t always babysit the greenhouse, these openers are our best friends! This new greenhouse will be build with much beefed up materials and built to LAST!!

We plan to continue using it for much the same purposes as the old one, just more goodness growing in the soil (we grow directly in the soil). We eat a sizable amount of produce but know that we can produce much, much more then needed for ourselves (this is where it gets exciting). We plan to grow fruits and veggies for the shut-ins and elderly of our community too!IMG_0925

It has always been a burden on our hearts to try to look after the elderly. Many of them have physical or financial obstacles that prevent them from having wholesome food for their tables at the very time in life they need it most. We plan to make a dent in that problem with our new greenhouse.

Here’s where we are asking for your help, and please bear with me, this is not something I am very good at. This building project is a huge undertaking for us. If any of you know Wayne and I, you know we are most certainly not gifted as builders! We are asking for those of you who can get your hearts around our vision to assist us in any number of ways:

  1. PRAYER! Yes, that is the absolute best gift you could give us right now. Please pray for our plans to succeed and for many to eat the goodness provided by the Lord through our little effort here.
  2. Advise and wisdom! Yes, we are need of these in good measure. If you have construction or engineering knowledge, we would love to hear from you. We first thought to design a bit differently than our previous greenhouse but believe the most cost effective, strong design for which we have the ability to build may be to keep it basic. We are open to your input and help in design work if you feel led but need to complete this phase rather quickly, which leads me to the next point.
  3. Please pray for a good, honest and affordable concrete contractor! We need someone with a good skill level to do some excavating, leveling and squaring for the footer of this building. We thought we had a very dear friend lined up for this but due to medical emergencies that may not work out.
  4. Which brings us to the next point. We are very, very open to any hands on help you may have to lend. Some of the framing work, especially will be hard for the two of us to complete as we are planning to frame with 2×6 hardwood, as that is what the Good Shepherd has provided, but it weighs a lot! If you have some time and strong muscles to share, we would be very grateful!
  5. This project is a massive expenditure for us. We are not people of means but can’t help feeling the Lord wants us to proceed with this. We have been gifted some seed funds and of course have the sell funds from the old greenhouse, which we are hoping will aid us with the foundational work. If the wood we have will work and we have enough, that should not be an expense however there will be plenty of hardware costs. The skin for this new building will be very costly but hopefully will last a very long time, if we budget carefully, we can keep that cost below $4,000. If you feel this is something you could help with, we would be abundantly grateful! If you do want to share financially, there are a number of ways to do this. If you are local, you already know where we are and we will gladly receive any gift you may be able to share. If you are not local, you can simple use the ‘donate’ button on this web-site. We are also able to receive checks by mail, our mailing address is: 954 East Elm Street, Sidney, NE 69162, checks can be made out to Wayne Waller.
  6. Last but not least by any means; we need your help finding those elderly or shut-in folks that could benefit from some wholesome, fresh food. We have begun forming a list and still have plenty of room to add folks. If you know of someone, local, please contact us privately so we can plan to share with them.

The realization of the scope of this project makes me catch my breath a bit, however I have seen the Lord move so many mountains in our lives. We know there are so many that can be blessed by this and can’t wait to get started! Please share our plans and this post with those you know who might be interested in our project. I will provide updates as we proceed. If you are able, please stop by and see, firsthand how things are proceeding. Many blessing to you all for reading to the end of my babbling!

 

Tinctures-How Much?

 

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Most of us are familiar with herbal tinctures, we used them for any number of needs.  I often get the question “How much should I take?”  It can get confusing, and there are some very important factors to keep in mind.  While it is not appropriate for me to be ‘prescribing’ herbal medicine, I can give you  some guidelines to use for your own determinations.

Dosage recommendations on the bottles of tinctures are just that ‘recommendations’. They are usually calculated for a 120 lbs. person and/or run along a ‘safe for most’ line of thought. I feel it is imperative to take a personal approach to herbalism and this certainly would include dosages.

A number of  things should always be taken into consideration such as: What is the weight as well as the age of the person. People who are very young or very old need to have consideration for that as well as weight.   For people in these categories, we often do better to give a smaller dose and consider giving it more often, rather then a normal (by weight) dose all at once or even consider another mode to administer our herbs. 

General health and wellbeing is another issue, as weaker, chronically ill people need to take things slow and easy. Often these folks are not at a point where they are absorbing nutrients very well so, again, we may choose another way to give them the herbs they need.  We have many choices to pick from and a combination is sometimes best.  Saving our tinctures for acute illnesses or first aid use may fit the bill better.  Other times tinctures fit into the chronic illness picture quite well, you just have to know the person’s situation and pick the right herbs, in tincture form for these issues.

There are also times when the dosage recommended on the bottle must be increased quite a bit for the correct result. A normal dose for one issue may be of no effect for another issue.  This is really important to consider when you are using tinctures in first aid or crisis situations, keeping in mind that you can go overboard and create problems too.  Obviously, people who are above the normal 120 lbs. dose recommendation will need to have their doses stepped up too.

People that consume a high protein diet should also be aware that taking tinctures with meals will delay their action. While this may not require an increased dose, it does need to be kept into consideration, because there may be a delay in reaction when taking tinctures with heavy protein diets.  Some herbs should be consumed with foods, others right before meals, etc.  Knowing your herbal tinctures and what you are hoping for, as an outcome can guide you in these decisions.

What the herbs are tinctured in is another consideration.  A blend or formula will also effect your dosage decisions as the more herbs in the formula, the more complicated your picture.  Some herbs assist other herbs in their actions, and others help drive the herbs into the body, to where they are needed.  Knowing what is in your formula and it’s intended purpose helps you know how to customize the dose.  Believe it or not, there are some formulas where herbs are added strictly to enhance flavor or other reasons that really don’t give you a medicinal benefit. 

With a little knowledge under your belt, you can learn how to read the labels on tinctures and source the really good manufacturers.  Of course, like anything, high quality tinctures will provide you the maximum benefit for your dose.  Good companies always include whether they used dried or fresh plant matter, what ratio the herbs to alcohol is and what percentage of alcohol is used, at the very least.

As a last consideration, pregnant and nursing women must exercise caution and knowledge in their choices of tinctures.  I always avoid using tinctures on wee babes as a general rule.  People using pharmaceuticals also do well to have professional assistance in making their choices of herbs in general and tinctures specifically.

I hope this little overview has been helpful.  As I always stress; herbalism is not about “take this much of this, for that” but rather is about taking the whole situation into account.  Know the person well, understand all their needs and individual circumstances, know the plants well, how they work and what they have to offer the situation and make a custom fit for best benefit.