Sage Uses and Benefits

Sage is a wonderful garden plant with which you may not be familiar. Listen in as Julie discusses historic and modern sage uses.Sage is a wonderful garden plant with which you may not be familiar. Listen in as Julie discusses historic and modern sage uses.

Historic Sage Uses

Salvia officinalis comes from the Latin word “salvere,” meaning “to be saved.” Records of sage uses go as far back as ancient Egypt, where it was used to promote fertility in women. Perhaps it was clary sage that they used as other species aren’t used that way by any other culture. For example, the ancient Greeks used sage to treat snake bites. In addition, they thought that eating it made one wise and that its very garden presence brought long life.

How the Romans Used Sage

The Romans had sage uses in several areas of life. They revered it so much that just cutting it involved wearing special clothing, ceremonial foot washing, and the use of a special knife. They had noticed that if they used iron, it changed the chemical composition of the plant. They cooked with it because they believed it helped them better digest fatty meats. They also hung it on bedposts because they believed it promoted fidelity.  But, their most important sage uses were in medicinal use. It was considered by Dioscorides, Nero’s military physician, to be one of the most important herbs of the time, appearing in the official Roman pharmacopeia. The herb was used to heal ulcers, stop the bleeding of wounds, soothe a sore throat, and for ulcers.

Listen in on the podcast to hear more about Native American and Celtic uses of sage. It’s not what you think!

Sage in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the French became well-known for their crops of sage and traded it all over the known world, even as far as China. The Chinese loved sage tea so much, they traded four pounds of Chinese tea for every one pound of sage tea. Many people in China used sage to treat colds, joint pain, typhoid fever, and kidney and liver issues.

During the reign of Charlemagne, sage was planted widely by order of the king. And, in one of his schools, sage was one of 100 plants grown on the property. Even today, monasteries are required to grow it, it is such an important medicinal herb. In fact, sage was one of sixteen herbs used for therapies and played a key role in drug preparations of medieval times.

Learn more on the podcast!

Growing Sage and Sage Uses in Food

Sage is an integral part of making bread stuffing for turkey and pork. Another common sage use is in making sausage. It adds a nice flavor to cheeses, butters, and roasted root veggies, too. Due to its ability to kill harmful bacteria, it has also been used to keep meats fresh when there was limited or no refrigeration.

This pretty perennial garden plant has velvety grey-green leaves and square stems. Depending on the variety of sage you grow, the color of the flowers varies. It is a bit bushy and can be grown in pots. If you want to grow sage, remember it is a lot like other members of the mint family to which it belongs. It is native to the Mediterranean, just like thyme and oregano. So, plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Remember, these plants don’t like wet soil. Sage can take a while to sprout, so it may be better to grow it from a small plant. Watch out for mildew with sage.

Modern Uses and Discoveries

Sage essential oil contains salvene, pinene, and cineol; borneol, esters, and thujone. Some varieties also contain cedrene and salviol. Its actions are stimulant, antispasmodic, astringent, tonic, and carminative. It has been used as a mouthwash and gargle for oral complaints. It has also been used internally for fevers, blood cleanser, digestive complaints especially regarding the stomach, and also for nervous headache. Julie talks more about the essential oil on the podcast. Only one tablespoon of this herb provides 43% of RDI for vitamin K. It is also a significant source of vitamin A, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.

Do not use during pregnancy or lactation, do not use oil with children under age 10, and avoid prolonged use of the essential oil.

Rosemary Uses Beyond Cooking

Do you like to use rosemary in cooking? Well, rosemary is a delicious, aromatic herb, but it also has many historical uses beyond making food taste good. In this episode, join Julie as she discusses rosemary uses beyond cooking.Do you like to use rosemary in cooking? Well, rosemary is a delicious, aromatic herb, but it also has many historical uses beyond making food taste good. In this episode, join Julie as she discusses rosemary uses beyond cooking.

Rosemary Uses in History

Rosmarinus officinalis, but now called Salvia rosmarinus. The scientific name, Rosmarinus, comes from the Greek ‘ros’ and ‘marinus’ (“dew of the sea”), named for its origins in the Mediterranean. This herb was known even to the Egyptians as dried sprigs were found in their tombs.

There are many legends around this woody herb. One holds that when Mary and Joseph fled Egypt to return to Israel, they stopped near a rosemary bush. When she threw her blue cape over the white flowers of the bush, the flowers turned blue. Another bit of Christian folklore claims that rosemary can live up to thirty-three years. That’s not far from the truth. However, the reason for the claim has to do with Jesus’ life and death, since the plant has that association with Christ and Mary.

Some other rosemary uses included warding off evil. For example, in Italy and Spain, it was used as a protection from witches and general evil. In England, it was burned in the homes of those who had died from illness and placed on coffins before the grave was filled with dirt. Sleeping with a sprig under one’s pillow supposedly would ward off bad dreams and hung outside, was supposed to ward off evil spirits.

Learn more historic rosemary uses on the podcast!

Medieval Rosemary Uses

Not all people of the Middle Ages used rosemary for superstitious purposes. After all, a list of rosemary uses can be found in the Zibaldone da Canal, an early 14th-century book by a Venetian merchant. It lists 23 uses and preparations of rosemary. These include the following: for all illnesses within the body, as a face and hair cleanser, to kill worms, to get rid of rheumatism, protect against nightmares, “prolong your youth and strengthen your limbs,” protect you from serpents and scorpions, get rid of diarrhea, treat gout, address mental issues, and repel insects from eating your clothes.

There are more rosemary uses on the podcast!

Growing Rosemary

Woody perennial with needle like leaves and small blue flowers. This shrubby herb is a slow grower at first. The seeds can take weeks to sprout, and the young plants grow slowly, not flowering until the second year. However, this plant can live 30 years, so careful gardening in the early years is well worth the effort. Rosemary likes full sun and dry, sandy soil. Wet winter soil will kill the plant, even though it is hardy in mild, 20F winters. Some varieties tolerate 10F winters. Make sure the soil drains well and you’ll keep your bushy rosemary plant happy.

Modern Research and Rosemary Uses

Today, people use both the herb and the essential oil. The herb is popular for meats and stews and is sometimes infused into olive oil as a nice aromatic drizzle for salads. The essential oil is frequently adulterated, so care must be taken when trying to find a reputable source. There are three main chemotypes of rosemary essential oil. These are the camphor type—which contains terpene ketones, terpene oxides, and terpene hydrocarbons; the cineole type—which contains cineole and terpene hydrocarbons; and the verbenone type—which contains the ketone, verbenone, cineole, and terpene hydrocarbons.

Rosemary essential oil can help improve circulation and respiratory issues. It may also be helpful in cases of hair loss and acne. The traditional rosemary uses for memory and nervous tension continue, particularly as that tension affects digestion. The herb has astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant properties. Nutritionally, it contains significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, folate, calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium.

Warnings

Essential oil is not to be used by children under age 10 and pregnant women should be very cautious.

Calendula Uses for More than Skin

Discover Calendula uses for more than just skin on this podcast with Julie.Those popular, pretty, yellow and orange (and sometimes white or pink) flowers pack a punch. You might know them better as the skin herb, Calendula. Discover Calendula uses for more than just skin on this podcast with Julie.

First, marigolds and calendula are not the same plant. They look similar and are both in the Asteraceae family, but they are different plants in several respects. It gets confusing because Calendula is often known as pot Marigold or common Marigold, and even some herbals will list Calendula as Marigold! But, this is a misnomer as Calendula and true Marigold are in different plant genuses. Calendula is found in northern Africa and south-central Europe, while Marigolds or Tagetes sp. are native to the tropical and hot parts of the Americas. Most importantly, Calendula plants are edible while many Marigold species are not. Best to make sure you’ve got the right plant. And, because of their spicy, somewhat unpleasant aroma, Marigolds are the better choice for pest control in your garden. Calendula grows well in pots, but don’t try to transplant them into your garden from those pots. They don’t transplant well. Grows well in almost any soil. Prefers at least partial sun.

Historical Calendula Uses

Calendula officinalis, also known as Mary-Bud, Mary-Gold, Pot Marigold and Poor Man’s Saffron, has been cultivated at least since the 12th century, but was known and used for centuries before that. The Latin name, Calendae, means the first day of the month. The Romans observed that it flowered on the first day of each month, almost like clockwork, and thus the name. But, while ancient Egyptians used calendula for skin treatments, the Greeks and Romans primarily used it in cooking and in rituals. For rituals and weddings, they would string the flowers together into garlands.

Find out about its calendula uses in cooking on the podcast.

Myths and Superstitions

Marigold legends

Some old calendula uses were more superstitious and mythical. For example, there are several stories about how it came to be called Marigold (which is confusing, as I said earlier).

One tradition stems from church legends describing an event that they say happened to the Holy Family during their flight to Egypt. The legend says that robbers came and took Mary’s purse. However, when they opened it, all that they found were the golden flowers, so the calendula was ever after known as ‘Mary’s Gold’. And thus, the calendula uses in early Catholic events in some countries.

Another folk legend describes a beautiful, golden-haired child called Mary-Gold who spent all her time watching the sun until one day she disappeared and was never found. In the place where she used to sit, there grew a little sun-like flower. The child’s friends proclaimed that the little flower was really Mary-Gold and that she had been turned into a flower. And that is the country folk came to call calendula Marigold.

Other superstitious beliefs and stories

During the medieval era, there were many other superstitious beliefs about calendula uses. One held that strewing calendula under your bed offered you protection from robbers and thieves and if you had been robbed, calendula would help you find the robbers. Another common belief was that it was considered wise to carry a bit of calendula in your pocket when going to court to ensure a positive outcome. And another story is that women who walked barefoot across calendula petals were supposedly able to communicate with birds.

Learn how calendula was thought to be a love charm and other superstitions on the podcast.

Calendula Comes to America

Calendulas came to the New World with the first European settlers. They believed the plant would protect them from native witchcraft in addition to physical ailments. They also brought it for cooking, just as they had used in soups and stews in their homelands.

By the 1800’s doctors had realized that the plant, used as a poultice, could stop bleeding. By the time of the Civil War most doctors carried dried calendula petals in their medical bags to stop bleeding and to promote the healing of wounds. And, during World War I in England, British garden designer Gertrude Jekyll led a campaign to grow and gather calendulas to get an adequate supply of calendulas to British military hospitals in France. Yes, they were using calendula for wound healing.

Modern Calendula Uses

Test tube research shows that it promotes collagen growth and influences the proteins involved in wound healing, resulting in faster healing times and less scarring. This ability to heal wounds affects internal wounds as well, making it effective at addressing stomach ulcers. Calendula also has antioxidants that fight inflammation, aging, and the formation of cancer cells. Other calendula uses include antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial actions, especially on the skin, and in the mouth. It is so gentle, calendula uses include diaper rash, mild burns, and inflamed eyes. Calendula has also been used to address varicose veins, bug bites, and delayed menses.

Contains triterpene saponins, triterpene alcohols, flavonoids, carotenoids, polysaccharides, and numerous other constituents and antioxidant groups.

Because it is an emmenagogue, do not take it internally during pregnancy. Safe for children, though. Used mostly as an ointment, salve, oil, or tea. Now sometimes also as an essential oil.

Catnip Uses for Humans

Join Julie on this episode of Crunchy Christian podcast to learn more about catnip.Catnip is a popular herb for a bit of fun with our cats, but do you know catnip uses for humans? Join Julie on this episode of Crunchy Christian podcast to learn more about catnip.

Catnip Uses in History

Nepeta cataria as a native to Europe and Asia, was known by Greeks and Romans and probably by Egyptians as well. After all, they revered cats. It is rumored that Nepeta is named after Nepete or Nepi in central Italy, where it grew prolifically. There aren’t many specific records of its use outside of medical texts. Sorry no mythology or weird historical stories. Old herbals speak of catnip uses to promote sweating, cure fevers, relieve congestion and phlegm, and help with coughs and colds. The English used it as a tea before the arrival of black tea.

While cats love it, rats, deer, and many insects hate it. While the tea made from the leaves is mildly sedating, the root has quite the opposite effect and has been rumored to make a gentle person quarrelsome.

Catnip has long been used for childhood infections, fevers, aches and pains, bad-tempered moods, sleeplessness and digestive upsets. Once upon a time, it was even recommended as a front-line treatment against the dreaded fever of smallpox.

Growing Catnip

Catnip is a perennial that looks a lot like other members of the mint family with square stems and toothed somewhat heart-shaped leaves. It has small, purplish flowers. Catnip likes to grow in well-drained average soil in full sun but will tolerate some shade. It can become weedy like other members of the family, so manage the plants to prevent this. It doesn’t need fertilizer or other help and repels insects, so it’s pretty easy to grow.

Modern Catnip Uses

Modern research shows that the essential oil of catnip protects the liver from damage caused by acetaminophen use.

Research has also suggested catnip has antimicrobial activity against fungi and gram-positive bacteria. And other possible catnip uses could be as a possible natural food preservative as it is effective against common food-borne pathogens. In addition, a study published in Iran in 2013 showed that the essential oil of catnip was effective in killing oral microbial infections, especially candida.

Learn more about catnip on the podcast!

Warnings

Catnip does have possible emmenagogue and abortifacient effects, so it is best to avoid using it during pregnancy.

Benefits of Lemon Balm for Everyday

The benefits of lemon balm for the entire family are worth the effort. Join Julie on Crunchy Christian Podcast today as she talks about this wonderful, mild herb.Lemon Balm is a useful plant to include in any herbal garden. The benefits of lemon balm for the entire family are worth the effort. Join Julie on Crunchy Christian Podcast today as she talks about this wonderful, mild herb.

History

Greeks

Melissa officinalis appears in ancient texts as far back as 2000 years. It is strongly associated with bees and is sometimes referred to as bee balm. It certainly is a “balm” for bees as they can’t seem to resist the smell. Perhaps that’s the observation from which Greeks derived their mythology. The earliest texts place lemon balm in Ephesus, which is in modern day Turkey. Ancient Greek texts are rife with mythology around this plant. For example, in Greek mythology, Melissa was the nymph who discovered honey and nursed the infant Zeus, who later became king of the gods. Nymphs were said to be able to take the form of bees. For the Greeks, these Melissae were priestesses serving the great goddess mother of nature. They believed that only those who lived a righteous life could become Melissae and then return to heaven, like a bee returning to the hive. And of course, the genus name, Melissa, is the Greek word for “honeybee.”

Learn more about some ancient benefits of lemon balm on the podcast.

 

Middle Ages

In the ninth century, Charlemagne consumed lemon balm teas and tinctures to promote health and longevity. He decreed that lemon balm should be included in all apothecary and monastery gardens in his realm.

On the podcast, Julie talks more about the monastic gardens and Carmelite water!

Throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, people praised the benefits of lemon balm. They claimed it as a sort of fountain of life and overall tonic, using it in elixirs, liquors, ointments, and baths. They even used it as a furniture polish and room freshener. Lemon even makes its appearance in Shakespearean plays as an anointing herb and as an herb for grief.

It’s no wonder why settlers would bring lemon balm with them when they came to North America. The benefits of lemon balm over the years made it indispensable.

Benefits of Lemon Balm

The leaves are crushed by beekeepers to release this smell and draw worker bees to a newly-constructed hive—a technique in use since antiquity. Lemon balm contains many of the same chemicals that are found in bee pheromones, such as nerolic acid. Its actions are nervine, sedative, mild antidepressant, mild antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, antiviral, antioxidant. Contains: flavonoids, tannins, rosmarinic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, methyl carnosoate, hydroxycinnamic acid, and several phenols and aldehydes, including citral and geraniol, especially in the essential oil. Interestingly, geraniol and citral are also found in the worker honeybee’s Nasonov gland!

Also contains vitamin C and thiamin and when added to drinks, makes a refreshing summer tea. It has also been added to jams and jellies to add a nice lemony flavor. Some people even candy the leaves!

Growing It

A perennial member of the mint family, growing up to three feet tall. Square stems with oval or heart-shaped serrated leaves. Small flowers in pale yellow, white, or pink. Has a lemony smell and flavor. Grows best in cooler climates and tolerates weather down to -20F. Dislikes hot climates. Grows best in rich, well-drained soil but will grow in almost any soil as long as it isn’t too wet. Might be good to plant it with Thyme and Lavender. Grow it near your cabbage family vegetables as it helps deter insects that like those plants. Another of the benefits of lemon balm is that it attracts honeybees, as already discussed. So, you could also plant it near fruit trees or other plants that depend on bees for pollination. Be aware that like other members of the mint family, it can become invasive if not managed well.

Modern Research and Uses

This herb is used fresh, dried, in teas, syrups, ointments, and as an essential oil. The benefits of lemon balm essential oil are similar to that of the whole plant. European studies show it is effective in shortening the healing time of cold sores and shingles outbreaks.

Other studies have shown the benefits of lemon balm to include stress relief, reduce anxiety, improve cognitive function, helps with sleep, and pain relief for menstrual cramps, headache, and maybe toothache.

Safe for children, even babies. In fact, one study showed that lemon balm combined with fennel and chamomile reduced crying time in colicky babies by half compared with babies receiving a placebo.

Lavender Uses You Can’t Live Without

Listen to the podcast to hear how lavender uses turned the economy around in one American small town.

You have probably heard of lavender essential oil. Lots of people are familiar with it for helping with sleep issues. But, there are many other lavender uses that make it the oil you can’t live without. Join Julie on Crunchy Christian Podcast as she talks about lavender.

Lavender Uses You Can’t Live Without

A long history

Ancient history

Lavandula sp. (47 varieties, all with some medicinal qualities) is part of the mint family. Documented use for 2500 years. Egyptians used it in mummification and perfume. Greeks used it to fight insomnia and to treat backaches. The Greek doctor for the Roman army, Dioscorides, probably had a hand in teaching the Romans about lavender uses. He wrote that it relieved indigestion, sore throats, headaches, and healed wounds. Evidence suggests that they took his advice and Romans burned lavender in rooms where there were sick people.

Listen in on the podcast to hear additional lavender uses, including Biblical references!

Medieval lavender uses

In Medieval and Renaissance France, women who took in washing for hire were known as “lavenders.” Clothes were washed in lavender and laid to dry on lavender bushes. Lavender was used to scent drawers, perfume the air and ward off infection and heal wounds. Lavender was also used as a remedy for the Great Plague in London in the 17th century. For example, grave robbers who washed in lavender didn’t get sick. In the 16th century glove makers in France, who perfumed their gloves with lavender, escaped cholera.

Did you know two famous queens loved lavender? Listen to the podcast to learn more.

Foundation of aromatherapy

It must be noted that lavender pretty much founded the science of aromatherapy. In the 1930’s a French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé, burned his hand while working in his laboratory. Quickly, he reached for what was on hand, which happened to be lavender oil. The wound healed so quickly and completely, that he published a book, “Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales,” (Aromatherapy: Essential Oils, Plant Hormones) and coined the word aromatherapy (the therapy of aromatic plants). As a result of his findings, lavender was used by doctors during WWII to heal wounds and more research on aromatic plants began in earnest. Today, Gattefosse’s book is considered an important founding work in the field of aromatherapy.

A garden favorite

Shrubby perennial plant native to mountains of Mediterranean countries, particularly France. But, it is cultivated all over the world wherever there’s rocky, dry soil and lots of sun. It grows best in this environment and can get to about 3 feet high, occasionally a bit taller. If you listened to the podcast about Thyme, you know that the two plants like to grow near each other. They both hate wet, humid climates and soil, so if you want to keep lavender happy, remember that it naturally grows in more arid, dry, rocky places. Lavender has long been a gardening favorite as it lends both fragrance and beauty to a landscape and is fairly easy to grow.

Listen to the podcast to hear how lavender uses turned the economy around in one American small town.

Modern research on lavender uses

The essential oil of lavender is sometimes adulterated to bring up the ester content of lesser species. Generally safe for use, even with children over age 2. Creates calm and lifts mood, relieves anxiety and induces sleep, can improve memory when under stress, reduces pain associated with arthritis, menses, headache, and lower back. Also good for skin healing, insecticidal, and bruises, burns, and wounds.

Lavender is readily available in nearly every natural food stores and even today, is added to drinks, baked goods, baths, drawer sachets, wool laundry balls, pillows and linens, and simply diffused in the air. In the United States, culinary lavender flowers are added to the French herb combination Herbs de Provence. It remains a favorite herb and oil.

Thyme Uses and Benefits to Your Health

Thyme Uses and Benefits to Your Health

Thyme Uses in History

Ancient Historical Uses

Thymus vulgarisor The uses of Thyme in history goes back to ancient Egyptians, who used it in their mummification process. Apparently, they equated scent with holiness and purity. They also used thyme as a pain reliever. However, the thyme they used might have been a wilder version than the one we currently use. The currently used thyme originates from a wild version that grew in the mountains of Spain and other Mediterranean countries, as well as northern Africa and Asia Minor. It is said that the name either came from a Greek word that meant fumigate or the Greek word thumus, which meant courage. They did use it as a sort of incense to clear the air, but their thyme uses included it as a source of invigoration. They certainly used it as a fumigator as referenced by Virgil in one of hisbooks and Pliny tells us that the incense “puts to flight all venomous creatures.”
Others have said thyme was associated with grace and elegance and that if someone said you smelled of thyme it was considered a compliment. They didn’t really use it as a culinary herb, although the Romans used it to flavor cheese. The Romans also atesprigs ofit just before a meal to protect themselves from poison and for this reason, it became a favorite among emperors.

Thyme Uses in the Middle Ages

The idea that thyme invoked courage lived on into the middle ages as the ladies embroidered into their scarves a bee hovering over a sprig of thyme and gave them to their favored knights. And the traditional Roman belief that it warded off poison and could also counteract poison persisted. When the Black Death struck in the late 1340s, millions of people turned to thyme for relief and protection. They incorporated the herb into many of their herbal concoctions to ward off the disease.
Listen in on the podcast to hear thyme usesin Victorian times and more!

Growing Thyme

Thyme is a small, somewhat woody plant, usually growing only to about 8 inches tall, occasionally growing to a foot tall. It has small green-gray leaves, small purplish flowers, andisvery fragrant. Because of its size, it is ideally suited for an indoor herb garden. It likes a dry, light soil, not a super moist soil.Too moist soil is a great way to kill it.It also likes to grow alongside lavender. They are “friends,” if you will. It is a perennial, so takewinter precautions to protect the plants from frost.

Modern Research

Thyme has antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, and carminative qualities. You can use the whole herb or the essential oil. Thyme uses includewhooping cough, sore throat and congestion, colic, fever, gout, sciatica, leprosy, mouthwash, and to kill parasites. At times, it has been made into an ointment to get rid of swellings and wartsand as herbal tobacco useful for digestion, headache, and sleepiness. Can be used as a preservativeand to ward off insects. Hear about modern research about potential additional thyme uses, including MRSA, on the podcast!

Warnings

Avoid large doses in early pregnancyand if you are on doxorubicin, an anti-tumor agent, be careful about thyme. It may interact with the drug.

Oregano Uses: Do You Know Them All?

In this episode, Julie discusses common and not so common oregano uses. Join her to discover culinary and medicinal oregano uses along with some growing tips.In this episode, Julie discusses common and not so common oregano uses. Join her to discover culinary and medicinal oregano uses along with some growing tips.

Historical Oregano Uses

Origanum vulgare, or Greek Oregano as we know it (although it’s sometimes called Wild Marjoram), has a long history. Since it is native to the Mediterranean area, the first recorded use is by the Greeks. They believed that this herb was created by the goddess Aphrodite as a symbol of joy growing in her garden.  In fact, the word “oregano” comes from the Greek words oros, for “mountain,” and ganos, for “joy” meaning “joy of the mountains”. And so, they thought it was a good omen if it grew on someone’s grave and among both Greeks and Romans, they crowned newlyweds with it as a symbol of joy and peace. In addition to symbolic uses, other oregano uses were for medicine such as an antidote to narcotic poisons, stopping convulsions, and for dropsy (what is now known as edema).

Discover some additional historic uses and beliefs about oregano on the podcast.

Culinary uses

Today, one of the most popular oregano uses is as a staple herb of Italian cuisine. It is also widely used in Greek food and other Mediterranean cuisines. You can also find it in Latin American and Turkish dishes. It is most frequently used in roasted, fried or grilled vegetable and meat dishes, including fish. Its popularity in the U.S. began when soldiers returning from World War II brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”, which had probably been eaten in southern Italy for centuries.

Gardening and Growing Tips

If you want to enjoy culinary or medicinal oregano uses, take care that you are getting true oregano and not marjoram. True oregano is Greek oregano, wild oregano is often marjoram and plants grown from seed are also often adulterated with marjoram, so make sure you get a reliable source. Grow in full sun in hardiness zones up to about zone 5 (although that’s pushing it) Grow it in pots so you can overwinter it indoors. Needs well drained soil. To make sure that it keeps producing leaves for you, don’t allow it to flower. Leave about 4-6 pairs of leaves and pinch off the tips above that. That will make the plant bushy, too.

Modern Medicinal Oregano Uses

Oregano has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, expectorant, and stimulant properties. The most common oregano uses include bacterial infections of the GI tract and respiratory system. However, it is also a stimulating diaphoretic useful for colds and flu, antiseptic gargle/mouthwash for inflammations of mouth and throat, treats infected cuts and wounds and can help with pain such as tension headaches and rheumatism. Only use for acute issues. Long-term use can alter liver metabolism.

Nutritionally, oregano is a significant source of Vitamin B6, C, E, and K, folate, manganese, magnesium, calcium and iron. And oregano is full of antioxidants, more than any other herb in the mint family.

On the podcast, Julie talks about several modern scientific and medical studies that explore other possible oregano uses. Listen in!

Warnings

Tisserand and Young warn that Oregano Essential Oil is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition, oregano oil irritates mucus membranes and you should use caution when using it on the skin. There are additional warnings about oregano uses on the podcast.

Can a Health Coach Help You Achieve Your Goals?

Can a Health Coach Help You Achieve Your Goals?Have you ever wondered what a health coach does and how she might be able to help you? Today on Crunchy Christian Podcast, Julie talks with health coach and holistic nutritionist, Tresa Rolando Salters of Live Well Blessed. Tresa is also a featured speaker at the upcoming Family Wellness Conference.

Tresa, tell our listeners a bit about what led you to become an integrative nutrition health coach.

 

Well, I had problems with reflux, and I went to the doctor, and he put me on medication. And, I actually felt worse on medication. So, I stopped it, and I did some research. I decided to try going gluten free to see if that would make a difference. I had an endoscope, and it didn’t look great. But, I got started on the gluten free diet and did it for about six months. And when I went back for another endoscope, the doctor said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” And from there, I felt like I needed to help others. I had heard about this integrative nutrition program a few times in my research. So, I decided that becoming a health coach and getting a degree in holistic nutrition was the right path.

So, what is the difference? For example, what can a health coach do? How do they help?

 

Well, the way I see it is they’re just a guide for someone to live a healthier life. That may mean eating healthier or integrating really good healthy habits into their lifestyle. And when I work with somebody, I start by telling them to keep a journal of what they’re eating and what they’re doing every day. And we talk about all the different pieces such as, Are you moving your body? Are you drinking enough water? Tresa talks about other things she does for people and how she integrates her faith on the podcast.

That sounds great! A lot times people have great intentions and they just don’t know how to go about it. So, a health coach like you can come alongside them and encourage them and give them the steps to take. It sounds like an accountability partner or support person.

 

That’s exactly right. It’s really huge just have somebody to check in with and know that they care about you because new habits can be hard to get going.

You also have a background in essential oils from what I understand. So how do you integrate that with being a health coach?

 

I was always interested in any kind of natural solution and I’ve been with doTERRA for about four and a half years. They offer a lot of education and I have learned so much about the oils. So, I started experimenting and my family started eliminating medications and household products that were toxic. So, I really try to help my health coach clients understand that they have these other alternatives and I share the oils with them. I start with simple things like you know, add some lemon to your water. Hear more from Tresa about this on the podcast.

On another note, on your website, you do mention that you are a trained in Christian yoga. I’m curious about how you’ve been able to overcome its association with Hindu worship and make it truly part of your worship of the Lord. Can you share a bit about that.

 

It’s something that I even struggled with myself, because I love yoga. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. And I’ve always loved how it made me feel. And when I decided to become a yoga teacher, it was one of those things that I was really trying to balance. But I did some research on it. And it’s really interesting for you to know that, actually, yoga predates the Hindu religion by about 1000 years. So, yoga was around for a long, long time. And then the Hindus kind of took it and made it part of their religion. But yoga was already there. And you know, there’s only so many ways that you can move your body. Hear Tresa talk more about this on the podcast!

Listen to the podcast and hear some tips from Tresa!

You have a special offer for our listeners today. Can you talk about that?

 

I’m offering a free mini class of my Moving Through the Bible program for families. Get the link to a little video that I did that just shows a sample class. It’s a shorter version of the class so you can check it out. And try it out and see if it’s something that you might be interested in. We meet twice weekly online and it’s a monthly membership. We do Bible stories and I even share some health and wellness information for families. Try it and see what you think!

Hear more from Tresa at the Family Wellness Conference!

 

Easy Postpartum Exercise Tips

easy postpartum exercise tipsHave you ever wondered about postpartum exercise and how to do it safely? Gentle exercise is an important part of the recovery process and integral to health. Today, Julie interviews Beth Learn of Fit2B Studios about her journey and about some easy postpartum exercise tips. Beth is one of the speakers at the upcoming Family Wellness Conference.

So, Beth, we were talking about how your interest in fitness started in high school. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about how that came about?

Yes, I randomly took a step aerobics class when I was a junior in high school and I did it kind of on a whim. I showed up to that first class in a dress, a long dress and tights. And I loved it!  I was totally lost the whole time and going the wrong direction, but I look back on that moment as a definite wake up to God’s calling in my life, just a love for movement to music and choreography.

Learn more about Beth’s journey on the podcast as she discusses her adventures in high school and college.

You continued to get training in different areas, right? Tell us about how you got into postpartum exercise and diastasis recti. First, can you tell us what that is?

Diastasis recti essentially means a thinning of the connective tissue that joins the two sides of your abdominal wall. That then allows the two sides of your abdominal wall to shift apart, which creates a gap between your abdominal muscles. For example, after pregnancy, those babies really stretch us out for a long time and sometimes in some people that gap doesn’t resolve and then they get pregnant again and it gets a little bit worse, or then they have some other type of trauma. Maybe they have a C-section, maybe they’re in a car accident. Maybe they suffer an abuse incident where their stomach is punched. There’s a lot of different variables that go into it that can cause further thinning and widening of that connective tissue.

I became aware of diastasis recti in college and really in my initial certification when I was 18, it got a mention, as in “women who are pregnant get diastasis and you should have them splint their tummy muscles with a towel while they’re doing crunches. After I had had two children, I was getting ready to launch Fit2B because I would be a stay-at-home mom and start a business. Then, I happened to meet up with a local physical therapist who specialized in core rehab. We talked for hours and in the end, I decided that Fit2B had to be diastasis aware as I created postpartum exercise videos.

On the podcast, Beth and Julie talk more about how diastasis recti impacts many aspects of life and health. Tune in to hear about it!

Can you share a few tips for postpartum exercise at home?

You know, I get asked this question a lot and I really try to tailor it to the conversation because the best tips will vary from person to person. But one of the first things I will say is that number one, it doesn’t have to be hard. It does not have to be about your vanity. Assess your motivations. If your motivations are to be healthier, to be stronger, to have more energy, to get better sleep, to have better intimacy, to improve your heart health, go for it.

Studies show that 150 minutes a week of moderate to strenuous activities is all it takes.  That’s roughly 23 minutes per day. You don’t have to be a hot sweaty mess. My goal is not to be super ripped and scrawny. My goal is for when my 12-year-old son says, “Mom, let’s go jump on the trampoline,” I can say yes. I want to be purposeful and usable and I can accomplish that in 15 to 30 minutes a day and even take one day off a week to do nothing. So, first, it does not have to be hard.

Hear more tips on the podcast! And be sure to check out Beth’s podcast at Fit2B Radio. You can hear Beth talk more about postpartum exercise and diastasis recti at the Family Wellness Conference.