Purslane Uses and Benefits

Purslane uses and benefitsJoin Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses purslane uses and benefits. Find out how this common weed has been used for centuries as a nutritious vegetable and helpful plant.

Some Facts About Purslane

History

Purslane, or Portulaca oleraceae, is an incredibly old plant. Seeds found in the modern United States date as far back as 1000 BC. But, some argue that it originated in north Africa far earlier than that because of its succulent stems and leaves. After all, that’s where many other succulents originate from. It was certainly known to the ancients, for records show that the Greeks, Persians, Indians, and Romans ate it as a vegetable.

And, indeed the most common of purslane uses and benefits is adding it to salads. Or, gently blanching it and serving it up with some oil and vinegar. Some old recipes even give instructions for pickled purslane. Indeed, people grew it in cultivated gardens as early as the 1500’s in Great Britain as a garden green. It is also used in the French Soup, bonne femme (Good Woman), along with sorrel. And, due to its hardy nature, it is found all over the world, from Europe to Japan.

More than a salad green

But, historic purslane uses and benefits are not limited to salads. Ancient people used it for urinary complaints, dry coughs and shortness of breath, and for inflammation and sores. Dioscorides (40–90 AD) recommended the leaves for headache, heartburn, and kidney and bladder ailments; he noted the juice soothes the eyes. A couple of centuries later, Galen (129–216 AD) considered it nearly a heal-all plant. In the 16th century, famous German physician Leonard Fuchs also wrote of its uses for inflamed eyes and bladder and kidney ailments, but he added toothaches, and sunstroke as well. Hear about more uses on the podcast as well as some commentary about purslane from historical figures.

What does it look like?

This succulent low-growing plant has reddish stems and somewhat small, paddle-shaped, smooth succulent leaves. The leaves have rounded tips with no spines or toothing. The reddish stems branch everywhere. The small yellow flowers have four to six petals, but they only open on sunny mornings. When it goes to seed, it forms a little capsule that opens like a lid to reveal tiny black seeds that can still germinate up to 40 years later!

Purslane Uses and Benefits

Today, it is mostly used as a vegetable and as animal feed. It is high in vitamins C and E, iron magnesium, manganese, and potassium and so it naturally supports the immune system, heart, and circulation. It’s historical uses certainly inspire a desire to at least try this plant in salads and soups as many people around the world still do. Since it grows so freely, it’s pretty easy to gather some purslane, dandelion, and other weeds to make delicious raw meals. God provides exactly what we need!

Safety

Purslane has some poisonous look alikes, so be sure you have the real purslane if you choose to harvest it from your backyard. The real plant has watery sap, not milky. The real plant is generally safe for human consumption. Be aware, though, that some cattle grazing on large amounts of purslane have suffered oxalate and nitrate toxicity. The toxicity levels depend on the growing conditions of the purslane.

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Chicory Uses and Benefits

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses chicory’s purse uses and benefits.Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses chicory’s purse uses and benefits. Find out how this common weed has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Chicory

History

Common chicory or Cichorium intybus in Latin, is well-known in the United States as the key ingredient in that New Orleans favorite, chicory coffee from Café Du Monde. However, it is a very old plant, with records of its cultivation going as far back as ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians used it as a medicinal plant. They used it as a liver tonic, sedative, and appetite stimulant.  In addition, the writings of Virgil and Pliny mention it as a tasty vegetable and salad green. The ancient doctor, Galen, wrote that it was a “friend of the liver,” thus supporting its use as such by the Egyptians.

And, of course, if it’s good for humans to eat, it’s also good for animal fodder. As it grows well almost everywhere, one of chicory’s uses and benefits was as a cheap and easy way to feed grazing animals. It came to the United States with the colonists as a medicinal herb, just as many other weeds have. And, while many colonists grew it as such, some, like Thomas Jefferson, grew it mostly for his animals.

It is eaten as a traditional Passover bitter herb and a spring tonic in many cultures.

So, if chicory’s uses and benefits through history place it as a tasty medicinal herb also useful for animals, how did it come to be used in coffee? Listen to the podcast and find out!

What does it look like?

Chicory resembles dandelion in its deep taproot and rosette of toothed leaves. However, unlike dandelion, it puts up a stiff, hairy flower stalk with sparse little leaves. Stalks may grow 2 to 5 feet tall and branch several times. The blue flowers have a slight resemblance to daisies in their structure. They have the unique tendency to open early in the morning and close about five hours later. The herbalist Mrs. C.F. Leyel has observed that “the lovely blue color of the petals is changed into a brilliant red by the acid of ants, if placed on an ant-hill.”

Chicory has many cultivated species, such as radicchio and Belgian endive, specifically grown for their leafy tops.

Chicory Uses and Benefits

Chicory is a good source of folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and pre-biotic inulin.

Modern research shows that most of the medicinal properties of the plant lie in the roots. More than 100 different active compounds have been identified in this plant! Chicory root has shown activity against strains of Strep, E. coli, Staph, Candida, Salmonella, and others. Animals who graze on it show a lower incidence of worm infestations. Research confirms its traditional use against malarial fevers in Afghanistan. It also confirms its long tradition of use as a liver tonic in India and other parts of the world. Experiments with rats confirmed other chicory uses and benefits in controlling diabetes, as an anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcerative, antioxidant, reducing tumors, and more!

Safety

Be careful if you have allergies! Generally safe, even for children. Do not consume in large amounts, though, as some people have experienced adverse effects.

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Shepherds Purse Uses and Benefits

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses shepherd’s purse uses and benefits.Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses shepherd’s purse uses and benefits. Find out how this common weed has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Shepherd’s Purse

 

History

Capsella bursa-pastoris, as shepherd’s purse is known in Latin, is native to Europe, but is also found in North America and India. It is a very old plant. Archeologists found shepherd’s purse seeds in the Catal Huyuk site in Turkey (circa 5950 B.C.) during excavation. And, we know the Greeks and Romans used it in their medicines as it was found in the stomach of the Tollund man, dated to that time period. The Tollund man was a bog body recovered from a Danish bog in 1950. Old herbals from the Middle Ages also mention it.

When the Puritans came to America, they obviously knew of shepherd’s purse uses and benefits because they brought it with them to cultivate. They used it as a peppery spice by grinding up the seeds. They also fed it to the chickens to improve their eggs. They didn’t like the dairy cows to eat it, however, because it made the milk taste bad. Shepherd’s purse was also eaten as a spring green, adding a mustard-like peppery taste to salads, much like arugula.

And, of course, Native Americans soon learned of shepherd’s purse uses and benefits. They would roast and grind the seeds to make a bread called pinole. Even up to modern times, natives from Mexico and further south make pinole with maize and mix it with cacao powder to make a “super food.” You can buy it at some ethnic grocery stores, too. Historically, North American natives also used shepherd’s purse for diarrhea, dysentery, stomach cramps, and worms. But, its most popular use was for hemorrhaging, especially in women. It was especially used to help reduce bleeding after giving birth.

Because of its astringent, anti-inflammatory effects, it was also used for nose bleeds, blood in the urine (kidney and bladder stones), hemorrhoids, wounds, and rheumatism. Listen to the podcast to hear some stories about how it was used.

What does it look like?

This is another very common, weedy plant that nearly everyone has seen, but may not even have known it. Like many other weedy plants, the deeply lobed leaves form a rosette close to the ground. Then, the central stalk bears smaller leaves with the characteristic seed pods. The seed pods are small, flat, triangular, and somewhat heart-shaped, like a little purse. The flowers are small and white. Smelling the plant and looking for the distinct seed pods helps greatly with accurate identification.

Shepherd’s Purse Uses and Benefits

Today, the leaves and stems of shepherd’s purse are used as an approved herb in Germany under the Commission E Monographs for use in nosebleeds, superficial skin wounds and bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding, and abnormal uterine bleeding. It is also used in Indian Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine in much the same way as in Germany. Researchers are investigating whether one of shepherd’s purse uses and benefits might be as a biomonitor for pollution and heavy metal contamination.

Nutritionally, it contains flavonoids, potassium, citric acid, and vitamins A and K. This is not surprising, given its traditional uses for bleeding issues.

Safety

This herb has a long history of use with adult women and is generally considered safe.  Use caution if you have a history of kidney stones and do not use during pregnancy.

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Plantain Uses and Benefits

Discover how the plantain weed can be used for health benefits.Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses plantain uses and benefits. Find out how this common weed has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Plantain

History

Plantago major (and its related species, Plantago lanceolata), as plantain is known in Latin, now grows in more than 50 countries worldwide. While first mentioned in English texts around 1265, it grew in England far earlier. Danish researchers found plantain pollen in the stomachs of mummified “bog people” dating from 200-400 A.D. Indeed, the Anglo-Saxons of 500 A.D. listed plantain as one of their sacred herbs. And, many old monasteries grew it for medicine and food as early Christians considered plantain a symbol for the well-trodden path of the many who follow Christ.

In other parts of the world, its use dates back even further. It is said that Alexander the Great knew of plantain uses and benefits and used plantain to cure his headaches. Pliny, the Roman, used it to save someone bitten by a mad dog. And, in ancient India, mongoose who fought with cobras and sustained a bite ate plantain leaves to neutralize the venom.

It also appears in many medieval nativity paintings, in Chaucer, and in several Shakespearean plays, most notably Romeo and Juliet. Desiderius Erasmus, a classic scholar of the 15th century, stated that plantain was effective against poisonous spider bites. Even King Henry VIII got in on the action, including it in his own collection of herbal recipes.

In the United States

Plantain came to the United States by way of the Puritans who brought it with them from England. They used it for deep cuts and sore feet. As people spread westward, so did plantain, and its hardiness soon made it a weed. In fact, the Native Americans called it “white man’s footsteps” because it seemed to grow wherever the white man went. They quickly learned of plantain uses and benefits, using it for wounds, bruises, boils, toothaches, diarrhea, and swelling. They also learned that plantain cured the bite of a rattlesnake.

What does it look like?

This plant is so common, nearly everyone has seen it but may not even have known it. Much like dandelion, the leaves form a rosette around a central stalk. The stalk arises about 6-8 inches from the rosette, with tiny, somewhat hairy, greenish purple flowers forming a cylinder at the top of the stalk. The leaves are oval shaped with parallel ribs, not webbed, and unevenly toothed on the edges. The part that is used is the leaf.

Plantain Uses and Benefits

Today, plantain seeds are often used for bird seed. But, historical uses continue to this day. Because of its long use for wounds, poisonous bites and stings, swelling, boils and indeed, many skin related issues, today’s herbal skin salves often include plantain. Listen to the podcast to hear how Julie used it to help her son when he suffered an insect bite.

 

Modern research supports plantain’s historic use for reducing inflammation, promoting wound healing, and supporting digestive health. Chemical constituents of plantain include flavonoids, terpenoids, glycosides, and tannins.

 

Safety

This herb has a long history of use with children and pregnant women among Native Americans. It can be eaten as a vegetable in salads, made into a tea, or used in a salve.

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Sassafras Uses and Benefits

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses sassafras uses and benefits.Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses sassafras uses and benefits. Find out how this common, aggressive weedy tree has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Sassafras

History

Sassafras albidum is a distinctly North American weed tree and North America’s only spice. Native Americans used it for centuries before explorers and colonists arrived. The Cherokee people used sassafras tea to purify blood and for a large variety of ailments, including skin diseases, rheumatism, and malaria-type fevers, and heart trouble. The Cherokee would also make a poultice to cleanse wounds and sores, while they’d steep the root bark to treat diarrhea or for ‘over-fatness.’ Other tribes used sassafras in similar ways and also used it as a thickener in stews.

When the Europeans arrived, Native Americans in Virginia pointed out ‘wynauk‘ (literally sweet wood) to British settlers. And in 1603, a newly formed British lumber company sent two ships to America for the sole purpose of exporting sassafras trees. Thus, sassafras was one of the first, if not the first, forest products to be exported from what is now the mid-Atlantic states, starting in the early 1600’s. From then on, the demand for sassafras uses and benefits grew by leaps and bounds. Find out more about it on the podcast!

Eventually, the craze faded. Today, it is still used as a thickener in Creole dishes. In communities in the Appalachian Mountains, folks persist in drinking their traditional sassafras tea just as their ancestors did. And, artisan root beer still contains sassafras, but with the safrole removed. It is removed because the United States Food & Drug Administration banned it in 1976 after a few studies found it to be a weak carcinogen in experiments with rats.

What does it look like?

This tree is unusual because it has four different leaves on the same tree. They are commonly referred to as mitten left and right, football, and three-fingers. In early spring, little clusters of yellowish flowers appear and of course, produce blue-black berries in midsummer. Do not eat the fruit, even though animals and birds eat it!

White sassafras only grows to about 6 feet and is found along roadways and in city yards. But, red sassafras, found in mountainous areas, grows up to 100 feet in some areas. One way to tell the difference is by whether the bark changes color when damaged or not. Both have historically been used, but the red variety is most prized for lumber.

Sassafras Uses and Benefits

Historically, all parts of this tree except the berries have been used. The dried root bark was mixed with milk and sugar to make an English drink called saloop. And, it is still used as a thickener in Creole dishes. If you are lucky enough to find an artisan root beer company, you may find sassafras as an ingredient on their label. You can eat the young leaves in salads and add a nice slightly sweet touch to your meal.

Medicinal Uses and Constituents

The main active chemical constituents are: methyleugenol, safrole, and camphor. The highest concentrations of these chemicals are found in the bark.  The methyleugenol provides the sweet fragrance of sassafras and repels insects, which is why it was effective against chicken lice. The safrole and camphor account for the medicinal properties and traditional uses of sassafras.  The principle sassafras uses and benefits include: blood purifier, pain reliever, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory. Learn about more Sassafras uses and benefits on the podcast!

Warning

Isolated safrole is banned by the U.S. F.D.A. The highest concentrations are in the essential oil, which is what the FDA cited studies used. Safrole does have carcinogenic properties, but the amount contained in sassafras is almost the same as in nutmeg and nutmeg was not banned. Furthermore, Peterson’s Guide notes that “there is more carcinogenic substances in a can of beer than a can of traditional root beer with sassafras as the main ingredient.”

Traditionally, sassafras essential oil was not used, but rather the whole plant parts. However, long term use is not advised. Do not use the essential oil. Even the Native Americans advised against drinking the tea for more than a week at a time. Also, do not use if you are pregnant and do not give it to children. If you happen to have a sassafras tree growing in your yard, exercise caution and good judgement.

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Red Clover Uses and Benefits

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses red clover uses and benefits. Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses red clover uses and benefits. Find out how this common plant has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Red Clover

History

Red clover, whose scientific name is Trifolium praetense, was first grown in Europe and has been used for at least 400 years. Ancients called it Triphyllon, meaning “three leaves”.   This term also relates to the common name, Clover, which stems from “clava”, meaning “three-leaved”.  While pagans have associated the three leaves with their goddess mythology, Christians have associated the three-lobed leaves with the Trinity. They associate the less common four-leafed clover with the four points of the cross. The Irish, as commonly portrayed, associate the rare four-leaf clover with luck. An old Irish rhyme dating back to the Middle Ages says a four-leafed clover has “one leaf for fame, one leaf for wealth, one for a faithful lover, one leaf for glorious health.”

As Europeans spread throughout the world to trade and conquer, red clover traveled with them. As new peoples in North Africa, central Asia, and North America encountered the pretty little herb, they quickly learned about red clover uses and benefits. And so, red clover was adopted by Russian herbalists, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, and indigenous North American healers for its ability to support healthy skin.

Additional Modern Background

Today, these pretty, little red blossoms dot the landscape everywhere from backyards and vacant lots to prairies and fields. Julie has many fond memories of red clover and shares about them in her podcast. In addition, farmers recognize red clover’s uses and benefits and plant it as fodder for their animals and to fix nitrogen in the soil. That means that it helps enrich the soil for other crops. When farming or gardening, using clover as a cover crop in fallow fields can in effect, provide natural fertilizer for the crops grown the following year. Like soy, it contains isoflavones, a phytoestrogen. And, like other legumes, can make animals who graze on it too much sterile.

Red Clover Uses and Benefits

Eating young red clover sprouts in salads can give you a boost of Vitamins A, B-Complex, C, and antioxidants. Red Clover also contains the minerals Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Copper, Selenium, Molybdenum and Tin.

In addition to red clover uses and benefits to the skin as noted by the Native Americans, it also was one of the ingredients of the famous Hoxsey anti-cancer formula of the 1920’s and 30’s. Harry Hoxsey, ND who started the first cancer clinic in Mexico, used Red Clover in his treatments.   He wasn’t the only one, though. Thompsonian herbalists also use Red Clover in their anti-cancer formulas.    The fact that Red clover thins the blood and improves circulation are reasons why it is such a great cancer fighter.

In addition to helping the body with skin conditions and issues and cancer, other Red clover uses and benefits include the lungs.  It can be used to treat lung congestion, bronchitis and whooping cough, weak chest and wheezing.    This herb also has antibiotic qualities and can also be used as a gargle for throat soreness, swelling and infections.

Warning

May be contraindicated for estrogen dominant cancers, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control because it contains phytoestrogens. Because of its activity in cleansing and purifying the blood, it may interfere with the drug Tamoxifen and anti-coagulants.  Generally safe otherwise.

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Dandelion Uses and Benefits

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses dandelion uses and benefits.Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses dandelion uses and benefits. Find out how this common weed has been used for centuries to help with many health issues.

Some Facts About Dandelion

Pretty much everyone knows what a dandelion looks like, with its toothed leaves gathered around the round, almost furry yellow flowers. What looks like one flower is actually hundreds of tiny, single petal flowers arranged in a Fibonacci spiral. These flowers are an important source of nectar for bees during most of the year. In fact, more than 93 different insects have been known to visit dandelion blooms.

The dandelion is pretty abundant in all the northern climates. Some say that it came to North America with the pilgrims and new settlers, but that’s hard to prove. The first recorded use as a medicine is by Arabian physicians in the 10th century. It is so abundant that most people consider it a weed and use all sorts of herbicides to rid their lawns of it. But, one of the dandelion uses and benefits is that it is an important food source. The young greens make a delicious and nutritious salad, providing good amounts of vitamin C, A, folate, and K and also the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Aside from the leaves, you can also make dandelion wine from the flowers and dandelion coffee from the roots. Listen in to hear Julie talk about how you can make these drinks.

Dandelion Uses and Benefits

Dandelion is usually prepared as a tea or tincture and used internally, taking care to use 2-year-old roots in making the tincture. Dandelion uses and benefits include mostly kidney and liver conditions. It clears obstructions in the kidneys and gall bladder and helps the liver get rid of toxins in the body. It is also useful in urinary tract infections and jaundice. Dandelion acts as a powerful diuretic without flushing potassium out of the body because it is a rich source of potassium itself. However, these folk uses are not the only dandelion uses and benefits. Some recent research shows promise for using dandelion root extract in helping patients with certain forms of cancer. Additional studies show dandelion’s effectiveness against viruses.

Warning

Dandelion root extract can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Also, some people with type 2 diabetes may experience negative side effects from using dandelion root extract. However, eating the greens in a salad poses no risks to anyone and can form an important part of your daily diet.

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Natural Summer Foot Care

Learn natural ways to care for your feet during the active summer months.Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses natural summer foot care. Learn how to use natural remedies for warts and athlete’s foot.

Natural Summer Foot Care

Summertime seems to be fraught with foot challenges. After spending some time walking around barefoot at a pool, we often contract warts. If we do a lot of hiking or running, we may develop athlete’s foot. Over the counter conventional remedies are usually effective treatments, but sometimes we have an especially resistant case. That’s happened to me. Listen on the podcast as I tell about these challenging cases and what finally worked.

Natural Summer Foot Care for Warts

People often think that a fungus causes warts. Not true. It’s actually viral. That means that warts can reappear even after you get rid of them. Keeping your immune system strong helps keep the virus that causes warts dormant. Another thing that helps is keeping your skin clean and dry. Always wear flip flops in shared showers (such as dorms, locker rooms, and pools) and wash and dry your feet well. Now, most people have had warts on their feet at some time or other. I encountered a particularly hard case with my son one year. While his warts were all over his hand, they could just as easily have been all over his feet. And, the treatment is the same. I used an essential blend of thuja, ravintsara, tea tree, geranium, and niaouli. After applying after every handwashing over the course of about 36 hours, the warts started falling off!

Helps for Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that grows in warm, moist environments, just like other fungi, such as mushrooms. Keeping your feet dry and increasing air circulation around your toes are the first natural summer foot care tips you should follow. You can also help yourself by taking a pro-biotic on a regular basis. This will help your natural flora defend you. It will also complement any other remedies you try.

Apple Cider Vinegar

One summer I contracted a weird foot infection that didn’t look like athlete’s foot, but it sure itched! It wasn’t scaly like the usual fungal infection. Instead, it had these hard, red spots almost like warts. But, I knew my issue wasn’t caused by warts. Anyway, I had tried tea tree oil first. That seemed to keep it from spreading, but the hard, red spots were still there. So, for my natural summer foot care, I decided to soak my feet in apple cider vinegar. I sat there for a while, maybe 20 minutes, with my feet in the vinegar. My feet started to feel tingly and I noticed that there was something different about those hard spots. I repeated this treatment a few more times and the spots dried up and scaled off, leaving my skin smooth.

Essential Oils for Athlete’s Foot

Essential oils effective against athlete’s foot are: tea tree, lavender, oregano, and thyme oils. I mentioned that tea tree oil only kept it from spreading, but that could have been because I waited so long to begin using it. And, I didn’t apply it often enough. I only applied it once or twice a day. If you choose to use essential oils, begin using them as soon as you see symptoms. And, make sure you apply them at least three times and up to five times daily. You can use lavender or tea tree without dilution, but if you choose to use a “hot” oil like oregano or thyme, dilute it in some olive oil or almond oil before applying. You can also add a few drops of one of these oils to some corn starch and use as a medicated foot powder.

Don’t have essential oils? What about herbal treatments? Listen to the podcast to find out about herbal salves you can use as natural summer foot care for athlete’s foot.

 Additional Resources

Alternative Treatments for Warts: A blog post about my adventures with wart treatments.

A Story About Bacterial Infection at the Beach: Don’t expect the lifeguard station to have bandaids, as I discovered. Read more about this adventure by clicking the link.

Dr. Axe talks about Black Walnut: read a super in-depth article about Black Walnut and its properties.

Don’t forget to subscribe! Check out the new gardening e-book collection in the Julie Naturally shop.

Natural Hydration Drinks for Summer

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses natural hydration drinks. Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses natural hydration drinks. Ditch those sugary electrolyte sports beverages and learn how to properly re-hydrate after hiking, biking, running, swimming, and the like. Nourish your body right!

Natural Hydration Drinks Perfect for Summer

Now that we’re all more active, we run the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Our first instinct is to reach for those grocery store sports drinks. But, those are full of sugar, not to mention synthetically produced electrolytes. What can we do instead? What natural hydration drinks did our ancestors drink, especially since farm labor kept them in the fields for long hours in the hot sun?  They didn’t have those colorful sports drinks we have.

A word about water

Before we talk about natural hydration drinks, we need to talk about your water needs. If your diet is high in fats and fruits and vegetables, you are getting some hydration from the food you eat. A high protein diet may cause you to get dehydrated faster. That’s why the best snack to take on a hike is trail mix. Too much water taxes the kidneys, just like too much protein also taxes the kidneys. How much is recommended? The rule of thumb is men should drink 13-15 cups and women, 9-11 cups, but there are actually no real scientific studies to support that. Each person’s need depends on age, gender, weight, and activity level. Remember what I said about fruit and vegetable intake, which usually accounts for about 20% of your water need. Other sources of water include tea, coffee, milk, juice, and soda.

Signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion

So how do you know if you’re dehydrated? Let’s briefly discuss the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. The easiest and most obvious sign of dehydration is dark urine and excreting less urine. If you are also feeling sluggish and tired and craving sugar, you need to get hydrated. If you experience dizziness, fainting, confusion, or heart palpitations, get medical attention immediately. Severe dehydration is an emergency. Don’t let it get that bad!

Heat exhaustion often occurs along with dehydration since it happens because of not getting enough fluids. If the body can’t cool itself in the extreme heat, you may experience many of the severe dehydration symptoms. But with heat exhaustion, you will also experience muscle cramps, headache, lots of sweating and cold clammy skin, and feeling tired. It is very important that you get to a cool place and help the body cool down. Get hydrated, too. Otherwise, it may progress to heat stroke. However, plain water is often not enough. Try these natural hydration drinks instead.

Fruits and Vegetables for Natural Hydration Drinks

On the show, Julie talks about how to use lemon, cucumber, celery, and watermelon to help address hydration needs. She also discusses how to make tasty natural hydration drinks from ginger and oranges. Her family has used traditional fermentation techniques to create healthy inexpensive alternatives to sports drinks.

Other drinks

Julie also briefly discusses kombucha and water kefir as health drinks that can help with keeping hydrated on a hot day. Listen and find out more!

 Additional Resources

Weston Price Foundation: Lots of information about the health benefits of lacto-fermented foods and beverages.

Nourished Kitchen: a post about different types of fermented drinks and needed supplies.

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Herbal First Aid Essentials

Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses herbal first aid. Join Julie Polanco on this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast as she discusses herbal first aid. She talks about what you need to keep in your cupboard or take with you on your outdoor adventures. Ready to stock your medicine cabinet with natural helps for scrapes, bruises, and other emergencies? Let’s dig in!

Herbal First Aid Essentials

Before we dig into the herbal first aid and what to stock, let’s talk a bit about first aid. What do we need our remedies to do? We need herbs and essential oils that will soothe and heal burns and scrapes while also keeping infection away. If they can help stop bleeding, that’s great, too. What about muscle sprains and bruising? Headaches? Nausea? Stomach aches? Let’s see what we can keep on hand to address these occasional needs. (If you are experiencing muscle aches, bruising, headaches, nausea, or stomach aches frequently, something more serious may be going on. You need more than herbal first aid).

You can get a FREE PDF, Putting Together a Natural First Aid Kit, by clicking HERE.

Natural Items

These items are not herbs or essential oils, but they are natural items that are very useful in a variety of ways.

Apple Cider Vinegar

As I mentioned in the last episode, apple cider vinegar helps repel mosquitoes. It can also be used for soothing sunburn if diluted and for soothing bug bites. It can also help with poison ivy exposure and minor indigestion. It’s inexpensive and great to have around.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is safer than rubbing alcohol and you may choose to include it for minor wound cleaning, not deep wounds. Use diluted or sparingly, though. It can also be used for sanitizing, too, since it effectively kills yeast and other fungi, bacteria, and viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Bring it along in a small bottle on hikes and it effectively cleans any wildcrafted food you collect. It will also keep your toothbrush and dishes clean on those summer camping trips.

Hear about some additional natural items to include in your herbal first aid kit on the podcast.

Herbal First Aid Kit Essentials

Cayenne Pepper

Believe it or not, sprinkling dried and powdered cayenne pepper directly into bleeding wounds stops the bleeding. It doesn’t sting, either. Cayenne causes the blood to redistribute throughout the body and coagulate at the wound site.

Witch Hazel

This astringent, anti-inflammatory herb helps ward off infection, soothe sore throats, and help with irritated inflamed skin.

Arnica

This herb is essential for muscle aches and pains and helping heal bruises faster. It usually comes in a cream or gel.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an absolute must. It is antimicrobial and antiviral and gentle enough to be used on children’s skin. It’s very good at warding off infections and soothing burns and scrapes. Also helpful with warts and other skin issues.

Julie talks about additional herbal helps on the podcast. Tune in and stock up!

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