‘Tis The Season For Allergies!

We often think of Allergies as a Spring and Summer issue, but Fall and Winter can be equally rough for allergies, and if you are like me, I have indoor/outdoor allergies that afflict me all year around. Now that Fall has arrived in New England I thought I would write about the different types of allergies and what you may be able to use to help in the caring of them. An allergy is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful. The immune system is the highly complex defense mechanism that helps us to combat infection. It does this by identifying “foreign invaders” and mobilizing the body’s white blood cells to fight them. In some people the immune system wrongly identifies a nontoxic substance as an invader, and the white blood cells overreact and do more damage to the body than the invader. This, the allergic reaction, becomes a disease in itself. Common responses are nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, itching, hives, and other skin rashes, headache and fatigue.

Allergens can cause an array of allergic reactions, and anything can cause a reaction to the right host. The most common are pollen, dust, certain metals, (nickel) being the most prominent, some cosmetics, lanolin, animal hair, insect venom, some common drugs (penicillin and aspirin), some food additives (benzoic acid and sulfur dioxide) and chemicals found in soap and washing detergents. Many people are allergic to mold. Molds are microscopic living organisms, neither animal nor insect, that thrive where no other life form can. Molds live throughout the house, under sinks and in bathrooms, basements, along with refrigerators and any other damp, dark place. They also thrive in the air, in the soil, on dead leaves, and on other organic material. They may be destructive but they can be beneficial. They help to make cheese, fertilize gardens, and speed decaying of garbage and fallen leaves. Penicillin is made from mold.

Mold spores are carried by the wind and are most active in the Summer and Fall months. In warm climates they thrive year round. Cutting grass, harvesting crops, or walking through tall vegetation can provoke an a reaction. Foods can also cause allergic reactions. Some of the most common are chocolate, dairy products, eggs, shellfish, strawberries, and wheat. Food intolerance is not the same thing. A person with a food intolerance is unable to digest and process the food correctly, usually due to lack of certain enzyme or enzymes. Some allergic reactions to food can occur as soon as the item is ingested and are much easier to identify and eliminate from the diet. A delayed reaction is harder to identify. Any irritating cough or tickle in the throat may be a sign of food allergy. Allergies do run in families, and it is also believed that babies who are not breast fed are more likely to develop allergies. There may be an emotional cause to the problem as well; stress and anger, especially if the immune system is not functioning properly, are contributing factors.

Food Allergy Self Test

If you suspect that you are allergic to specific food, a simple test can help you determine if you are correct. By recording your pulse rate after consuming the suspected food you can reveal if you are having an allergic reaction. Simply sit down, relax your body, deep breathing, and a calming sound can help. Then with a second hand watch count the number of beats in a sixty second period. A normal pulse is reads between 52 and 70. After consuming the food you are testing, waiting fifteen minutes and retake your pulse. If it has increased more than 10 beats, remove it from your diet for one month. Once you discover the culprit you can then speak to your doctor or a Natural Health Care provider about medications or supplements that can help you with your food or seasonal allergies. ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TRYING ANY SUPPLEMENTS OF ANY KIND.

This is not too take the place of a doctor’s advice. Always seek medical care before trying anything new. Courtesy of PRESCRIPTIONS FOR NUTRITIONAL HEALING.

Hi Vicki,

Just a quick note to say “Thank You” again. I found our time together enlightening and peaceful. I have listened to the recording a few times and discover something new each time.

I am grateful for you.

Appreciatively,
Elicia

Good evening . . .

We were your 3:00 appointment on Monday. During our reading “Flo” came through, you told me that she wanted me to plant a garden of lilies, not day lilies but ones that were fragrant . . . my husband came home today and as he was getting out of his truck he was very excited to tell me that he had brought me a gift . . . he then presented me with two Asian lilies . . . thank you Flo . . . I love them and will think of you every time they bloom and their beautiful fragrance fills the air. I broke down with a flood of tears filled with love for this lady and my poor husband couldn’t figure out what he’d done wrong . . . I had never told him what Flo had said . . . Peace and love be with you always . . .

Hi, lovely Vicki!!

First of all, I would like to thank you for the wonderful, wonderful reading you gave me and my sisters yesterday. It was incredible!!! You came out with the correct names from the very beginning, identifying correctly my brother from the start, also my cousins, my grandmother, my father, Leilanita’s ex, Miguel, my brother’s friend who built a lovely urn for him in just one night, the horrible person who was by my brother’s side for 20 years, his name, his hometown, even his plane! and on top of it, even the coquis who accompanies all of us at night, most specially my brother in Vieques!!!!

No words, Vicki, no words!!!

My sister Iris was with my sister Pilar, who doesn’t believe in life after death, and told me that she was so emotional and surprised by all the names you mentioned, the circumstances and all, that she was crying all the time. There is absolutely no doubt that Eli was there, absolutely none. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Big hugs and you’re incredibly awesome!!!

Hugs and kisses,
Leilani
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Herb of the Month: Verbena Officinalis

Compared with its flashy garden verbena cousins, common vervain (Verbena Officinalis) is an unprepossessing plain Jane. You may know it for keeping Vampires free to walk in the sunlight if you are a fan of the CW’S Vampire Diaries. It has also been an herb that was used for magic and religion. There is no herb in the garden more worthy of attention, for this simple plant without fragrance, without an outer look of power, without a flower of significance, was singled out from among all other plants and herbs as the most sacred of the growing things of earth between the Pillars of Hercules and the roots of the Caucasus.

Vervain is one of some 250 species of annuals, herbaceous perennials, and sub shrubs in the genus Verbena. Although most members of the genus are native to tropical and subtropical America, vervain is native to southern Europe; it probably came to North America with the early English settlers.

The loosely branched stems are stiff, erect, and four angled. They may grow to 2 and 1/2 feet tall. The leaves opposite and rough in texture, are of three types. Those lowest on the stem are coarsely toothed and stalked; those in the middle, also stalked, are oval and deeply lobed or cut; while the leaves highest on the stem are oval or linear, stalk less, and irregularly toothed.

From early summer through early fall, tiny purplish flowers occur in narrow spikes at the tips of the stems or in the leaf axils. Only a few flowers are open at any time. They are insect pollinated. The dry fruits contain four nut lets that are dispersed by ants. Vervain is hardy in Zones 4 through 8. It is a great plant in the landscaping area. And is easy to start from seed.

You may know other family members more readily in the garden such as blue, an American native, and has been used for both food and medicine. Lemon vervain is another name for the familiar fragrant herb lemon verbena. Chaste tree, used to treat gynecological disorders, Aztec sweet herb and Mexican oregano are other herbal relatives.

Vervain’s reputation as a sacred plant dates at least to ancient Egypt, where is was thought to have sprung from the tears of the goddess Isis as she mourned the death of the god Osiris. It was also sacred to the Persians, Druids, and worshippers of Thor in Scandinavia. The Greeks called it hierobotane, “holy plant;” the Roman version of the name was herbal sacra. Both used the altars of the temples; the generic name Ver-bena “leafy branch,” alludes to this practice. Legend has it that vervain was also used to stanch the bleeding of Christ’s wounds on the cross; the herb is sometimes known as herb-on-the-cross. During the Middle Ages, vervain was an ingredient of magicians and witches potions, but common folk could
use it for protection, as Gertrude Foster notes in Herbs for Every Garden (1966): “Vervain and Dill/ Hinder witches from their will.” It was also highly re-guarded as an aphrodisiac, earning it the name herbal veneris, “herb of love.”

Uses

Vervain is one of the classical medicinal herbs; it has been used to treat practically every known disorder from snakebite, nervous disorders, and headaches to “pain in the secret parts.” A medieval cure for a throat tumor called for tying part of a vervain root around the throat and drying the rest over a fire. As the fire shriveled the root, the tumor would shrivel, too, or so the theory went.

James A. Duke’s Photochemical and Ethno botanical Databases list more than fifty medical conditions for which vervain has been used, but it has never been proven effective in alleviating them. In China, vervain has been used experimentally to treat malaria, blood flukes, coughs and inflammation. It is suspected of poisoning cattle in Australia, and touching it can cause dermatitis in humans. The common name vervain is believed to come from the Celtic words fer, “to remove,” and faen, “stone,” in reference to its reputation for curing kidney stones. A 1994 study of vervain and six other herbs traditionally used to prevent and treat kidney stones did find some beneficial effects, but the researchers concluded that more effectible and equally innocuous substitutes are well known.

The delicate young leaves may be par-boiled and eaten or brewed into a tea. A big batch of tea added to your bathwater is supposed to be soothing. The flowers may be made into wine, used as a garnish, or, as they do in Turkey, used to flavor salt. The seeds of blue vervain may be roasted and ground for use in fried cakes.

Or plant some vervain to keep the pigeons and turkeys happy. Two more commoon names, pigeon grass and turkey grass, commemorate these birds’ attraction to the herb, but both names have also been applied to other plants.

Growing It

In Europe, vervain is found growing wild in well drained or dry alkaline soil or in sun or half shade. Vervain is not choosey about soil but likes a sunny place. It’s advised to plant them well back in the border, planting them in a close growing line, and facing them with some shorter and compact perennial.

Vervain reseeds readily. The Druids advised gathering plants when neither the sun nor the moon is in the sky and leaving honey combs on the ground in exchange for the harvest.

Sources

Goodwin Creek Gardens. Article provided by The Herb Companion Magazine.