Natural Remedies for Breast Cysts You Need Now!

woman in flowers for natural remedies for breast cystsEpisode 55-Aside from menstrual issues, we women also regularly deal with breast health issues. Do your breasts feel tender, lumpy, or painful around your period? Maybe you’re dealing with breast cysts. In this episode, we’ll talk about natural remedies for breast cysts and the difference between cysts and tumors.

Learning more about breast cysts

What causes breast cysts and who gets them?

Breast cysts seem to be correlated to the menstrual cycle. If you have premenstrual syndrome or irregular cycles, you are more likely to get cysts. They are related to hormonal imbalances, but are more common among women under age 50.

What is the difference between breast cysts and breast tumors?

The difference between a breast cyst and a possible breast tumor is that a cyst is a watery, grape-like sac, whereas a tumor is composed of connective and gland tissue. Cysts often show up suddenly and then dissolve after a menstrual cycle. You can usually move them around with your fingers and they also usually cause pain and tenderness. On the other hand, tumors persist, feel more like a mass than a grape, and grow over time. These also tend to feel firm, usually don’t move around easily, and often go unnoticed because they don’t cause much discomfort.

It is important that you understand the differences and if you aren’t sure, check with your medical professional. And of course, you should see a medical professional about any changes in breast tissue that persists or grows. Most of the time, these changes are benign, but you want to make sure you don’t have early signs of breast cancer.

Natural remedies for breast cysts

So, we have two things to focus on–balancing hormones and dissolving the cysts. We want to use diet and herbs to help prevent the cysts from appearing in the first place. And, we also want to use natural remedies for breast cysts that appear in the meantime.

Balancing hormones

First, if you are using birth control pills, understand that this could be the cause of your cysts. Birth control pills can also cause blood clots, vitamin deficiencies, headaches, depression, and increased risk for breast cancer. However, it is a personal choice and seems to offer benefits that outweigh the risks for some women. As a Christian, I do not endorse the use of birth control pills, but have used and recommend natural family planning methods.

Second, as you’ve heard me say many times on this show, diet plays a key role in hormonal health. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, quality fats and proteins, and moderate to low in grains and high carb foods is best. Eliminating sugar or reducing it helps a lot, too. Alfalfa and probiotics also help. Processed foods increase inflammation, overload the liver, and contribute to hormonal imbalance.

Now, let’s talk about herbs and oils specific to the breasts and dissolving cysts.

Natural remedies for breast cysts

Herbs

Herbs for breast cysts include herbs that dissolve cysts generally and those that address breast health overall. If you are lactating or are pregnant, use caution. In addition, herbs that help balance hormones–such as Black Cohosh or Vitex–will also help prevent cysts. Listen to my podcast about PMS to learn more about other herbs that balance hormones. These herbs should be made as teas. Then, soak a clean linen towel with the very warm tea and apply to the affected breast as a compress.

Recommended herbs: Evening Primrose oil, Burdock root, Hops, American Spikenard, Calendula, Bupleurum, Figwort, Chickweed, and Red Clover. I listed several because of availability issues. With Burdock and Red Clover, you can also take the herb internally.

Essential Oils

Geranium is the principle essential oil for breast cysts. Other oils can be added which help with the pain or stimulate drainage, such as Roman Chamomile, Lavender, or Peppermint. However, Geranium diluted in a carrier oil and then massaged into the affected breast in a circular motion helps get rid of the cysts.

Other helps

Other natural remedies for breast cysts help increase circulation to clear the cyst, but aren’t necessarily solutions in themselves. Getting mild exercise increases the flow of lymph and drainage. Couple it with breast massage, hot compresses (especially with teas from the herbs mentioned above), and drinking lots of water. Those cysts will be gone quickly!

Sign up to receive the FREE email series, 10 Herbs for Women’s Health, and learn more!

Banish Painful Periods Forever With These Tips

painful periodsEpisode 54-Many, many women dread “that time of the month” because every month, they experience crippling painful periods. When I was a teenager, I became a frequent visitor to the nurse’s office every month because of this. Of course, the nurse couldn’t dispense any pain medications, so all I ever got was a hot water bottle. That didn’t really help all that much. It wasn’t until about ten years later that I learned how to banish painful periods forever. Let me share with you what I learned.

Helps for Painful Periods

At that time, I thought all women had painful periods. I mean, all the women in my family suffered. It wasn’t really something my friends and I talked about, but there were plenty of teen magazine articles about it. I thought it was inevitable, just like acne. Every month, I just took some pain medication and hoped it would go away. But, after a while, I needed more and more medication to dull the pain. My periods were very heavy, too, and at the time, I didn’t know the two things could be related. But, years later when I made this one change, everything else changed, too.

The first thing

The first thing I did was change my diet. I talked about this in the podcast on PMS symptoms, too. Diet is the foundation of any wellness regimen and my diet as a teen and young adult had been full of processed foods, sugar, and allergenic foods. Triggered by other health issues, I drastically changed what I ate and eliminated all allergens, processed food, and sugar. The transformation was amazing but it took three months! However, by eliminating those foods that caused a lot of inflammation and eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, I saw amazing things happen! The cramps weren’t just less intense, they were completely gone. That time of the month came along and I didn’t even know it. You can hear more about my story on the podcast!

Stress Relief and Exercise

Another major contributor to cramping and pain is stress. Sometimes it’s hard to escape or control stress, though. But, we can choose our attitude toward what’s going on around us and we can pray, leaving our burdens at the feet of Jesus. Other things we can do are meditate on God’s Word and exercise. Deep breathing, walking, running, dancing, biking, and other exercises all help us get rid of stress hormones. They also cause our bodies to release endorphins and increase serotonin levels. (Interestingly, a more whole foods diet also affects serotonin levels.)  Endorphins relieve pain and promote relaxation, while serotonin improves mood. So, exercise can be especially helpful if muscles are tight because of stress.

Herbal Helps for Painful Periods

There are times when, despite our best efforts, we still feel some tightness and cramping. A bath of Epsom salts can help as it soothes muscles and induces relaxation overall. Other herbal and essential oil helps include:

  • Rubbing a blend of lavender, clary sage, Roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, and everlasting dissolved in a carrier oil over the abdomen.
  • You could also create the blend and add it to bathwater.
  • Drinking crampbark, dang quai, squaw vine, and/or raspberry tea. You could also take the tincture. Capsules are another option.

Get more herbs for women’s health with my FREE email series! Sign up!

These tips definitely helped me, but sometimes painful periods are due to endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, tumors, or another serious condition. It’s wise to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect one of these conditions is the culprit. You may need medical treatment.


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


How to Get Fast, Natural Relief for Hot Flashes

natural relief for hot flashesEpisode 53-If you are a woman in your 40’s, you are probably in the years known as perimenopause. It is during these years–especially in your late 40’s–that you may start experiencing hot flashes as well as other symptoms of declining hormone levels. Sometimes your doctor may suggest hormone replacement therapy to ease discomfort. But, hormone therapy can have unpleasant side effects. So, you may choose to try natural relief first. Learn more about these options in this episode of Crunchy Christian Podcast.

What Are Hot Flashes and Why Do You Get Them?

First, let’s talk about what’s going on in your body. Most women know that they will cease getting their period sometime around age 50 or so and this is called menopause. But, women’s bodies start winding down and preparing for that time anywhere from four to fourteen years before that. That means that you can start experiencing symptoms of declining hormone levels as early as your late 30’s. However, for most women, symptoms don’t appear until a decade later. The age at which menopause occurs is genetic, but is also influenced by surgeries, pregnancies, and some health conditions.

Your hormonal cycle

Progesterone

The menstrual cycle is a dance between two hormones, progesterone and estrogen. We hear a lot about estrogen, but not so much about progesterone. Progesterone is produced by the remains of the egg follicle, or corpus luteum, after the egg is released. This hormone stimulates the uterus to thicken to support an embryo. So, progesterone levels are high in the second half of your cycle. Then, the corpus luteum naturally breaks down after 13-14 days if there’s no embryo. Then, of course, progesterone levels fall and you have your period.

But if there is an embryo, the corpus luteum (and progesterone) plays an important role in nourishing and supporting the growing baby until the placenta can take over. Progesterone levels remain high throughout pregnancy. It is the hormone that gives us that baby glow and makes us feel happy.

During perimenopause, your ovaries aren’t reliably stimulated to release an egg each month. That means that some months, you don’t release an egg. No egg, no progesterone, although your adrenal glands do produce a very small amount. Less progesterone then results in unpleasant PMS symptoms such as heavy bleeding, weight gain, mood swings, irritability, and more.

Estrogen

Now let’s talk about estrogen. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, both estrogen and progesterone levels are low. The low levels stimulate the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and this, in turn, stimulates the ovaries to produce more estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the follicles to mature an egg for release and levels continue to rise until ovulation, then dip briefly, and then rise again until menses.

During perimenopause, the declining number and quality of follicles means that less estrogen and less progesterone is produced. Sometimes the pituitary gland will produce more FSH as an extra effort to nudge the ovaries, but of course, it’s in vain. This is the time when hormone levels become erratic and periods become very irregular both in timing and in heaviness. We also experience more and more menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. Then finally, the ovaries aren’t producing any estrogen or progesterone. At that point, the little estrogen circulating comes from our adrenal glands and fat stores.

Natural Relief

Not every woman experiences hot flashes, but many do. Doctors are not sure what causes hot flashes since those who experience them have the same hormone levels as those who don’t. And even though menopause is a universal female experience, not all cultures experience it the same way. For example, women in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula do not report any menopausal symptoms at all. In addition, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Southeast Asian women also enjoy far fewer symptoms. This leads us to believe that cultural traditions, diet and lifestyle factors can play a significant role in a woman’s menopausal experience. So let’s explore some natural relief for hot flashes.

Diet and Supplements

  • Soy
  • Omega-3’s
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin E

Essential Oils

  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Sage
  • Vitex

Learn more about essential oils for women like you!

Herbs That May Provide Natural Relief for Hot Flashes

  • Vitex
  • Licorice
  • Black Cohosh
  • Dong Quai

Learn more about these natural helps on the podcast!

You might be interested in other podcasts in this series! Check out the podcast on yeast infections.

Want to know more about natural remedies for women? Grab the ten herbs for womens’ health email series!

 


A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

7+ simple natural yeast infection remedies for you to try

natural yeast infection remediesEpisode 52-Most women at some point in their lives get a yeast infection. Most of the time, we reach for an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication. But, sometimes we experience nasty side effects from those or we have an allergic reaction. So, it’s a good idea to know some natural yeast infection remedies to try. It’s also good to understand how to prevent those infections from occurring in the first place. Let’s explore how to help ourselves with this common issue.

First, prevent yeast infections!

A bit more about yeast

One key to understanding how to prevent yeast infections is to learn more about the yeast that naturally inhabits our bodies. Everyone has yeast and it has an important role in our internal ecosystem living in all of our potentially exposed areas: skin, mouth, intestines, and vagina. These areas are naturally acidic and keep yeast in check. That’s due in part to the Lactobacilli bacteria also living there that release a slightly acidic waste that helps maintain pH.

However, when there is an imbalance, a change in pH to more alkaline can encourage yeast to migrate and become a problem.  pH can also change because of douching. In addition, keep in mind that yeast eat sugar and decomposing organic matter. Undigested food in the intestines and a high sugar diet combined with a change in pH can spell disaster. Not only can it lead to yeast infections, but it can also lead to a systemic candida overgrowth that invades the rest of your body. We’ll talk more about how such imbalances occur in just a bit.

Symptoms of an infection

Most women are familiar with the intense itching, cottage cheese like discharge, and burning associated with yeast infections. But, it is important to distinguish yeast infections from bacterial infections which have different symptoms. If you’re not sure which one you have, it’s best to see a qualified health professional for a diagnosis. Bacterial infections require a different approach, so don’t overlook this.

Why you’re getting infections

So, why did you get the yeast infection in the first place? Remember that yeast migrates from the gut to the vagina because of pH changes and an absence of the bacteria that keep it in check. And, it reproduces rapidly when you eat a lot of sugar. That makes diabetics more vulnerable to yeast infections. But, diabetics are not the only ones. Women on birth control and women who take a lot of antibiotics are also prone to more yeast infections. Listen to the podcast to hear other causes of yeast infections.

So first line of defense is prevention! Eat a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet full of good fats and plenty of fruits and veggies. Be mindful of medications, including birth control and especially antibiotics. And consider switching your menstrual products. If you experience recurring yeast infections, maybe your husband has a yeast infection, too. Then, he should try some natural yeast infection remedies at the same time as you are to prevent this.

Natural Yeast Infection Remedies

Food and supplements as natural yeast infection remedies

Your first line of defense should be nutritional. While these types of natural yeast infection remedies don’t really kill the yeast, they serve other important purposes. First, they encourage good bacteria to grow which then changes the pH of your gut and vagina. These good bacteria also compete with yeast, creating the proper balance of both in your body. Second, these nutritional helps strengthen your immune system and make it harder for the yeast to grow and spread. So, make sure to incorporate them as part of your natural yeast infection remedies strategy.

Food and supplement helps:

  • biotin and other B vitamins
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin A
  • colostrum
  • probiotics
  • yogurt
  • lacto-fermented foods
  • apple cider vinegar
  • cranberry (unsweetened)

Herbs and essential oils as natural yeast infection remedies

Now here’s where we get into anti-fungal natural yeast infection remedies from plants. These remedies are usually applied directly to the site in the form of a douche or bolus/suppository. Delicate body parts require a great deal of care when we’re talking about essential oils. So, keep that in mind.

Herbs and oils known to have anti-fungal properties:

  • Garlic
  • Pau d’Arco
  • Goldenseal
  • Echinacea
  • Tea Tree essential oil
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Roman Chamomile essential oil

Listen to the podcast to hear about additional herbal and essential oil helps.

You might be interested in other podcasts in this series! Check out the podcast on PMS.

Want to know more about natural remedies for women? Grab the ten herbs for womens’ health email series!

Easy Tips For How to Help PMS Symptoms Improve

easy tips for how to help pms symptoms improveEpisode 51-Many women struggle with monthly cramps, cravings, irritability, and other symptoms. In this podcast, Julie kicks off a series on women’s health with some easy tips for how to help PMS symptoms improve. Try these tips if you want to feel better naturally and you’ve ruled out more serious issues such as PCOS or endometriosis.

First, let’s talk about hormones and estrogen.

What are hormones and what does estrogen do?

The simplest way to discuss hormones would be to liken them to a sort of telephone system that keeps your body up to date with information.  They help your body do things. These chemicals are made in specific organs in your body, which are then sent all over your body to tell your body what to do.

Estrogen is a female sex hormone, and the majority of it is created in your ovaries. Some of it is also produced by fat cells and extra fat can affect estrogen levels in your body.

Estrogen controls important processes in the body such as the menstrual cycle. Estrogen plays a role in many body processes besides the obvious ones such as puberty and pregnancy, too. For example, it can also influence your weight, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and specific other body tissues. It can also protect you from some health issues, such as bone loss.

Estrogen’s Job Changes During Your Life

One of the most interesting things about estrogen, is how much it’s job changes through your life. When you are young and beginning to become and adult, a period of time called puberty, estrogen send signals to cause different parts of your body mature. As you reach complete adulthood, estrogen also activates the growth of adult characteristics. Estrogen also keeps your body from continuing to ovulate when you become pregnant.

How to Help PMS: Recognize the Signs of Hormonal Imbalance

Although unpleasant, the body provides you with signs that help you to be able to find answers for various conditions. Hormonal imbalances are no exception, so some of the basic symptoms could be tenderness in your breasts, changes in your menstrual cycle, or weight gain around your midsection and thighs. Other symptoms can include sudden decreases in your sex drive, mood swings, depression, difficult periods, problems in the gallbladder, and endometriosis. If you have been experiencing and of these symptoms, see your doctor to be sure you don’t have underlying serious conditions that need medical attention.

To learn about important factors that contribute to hormone imbalance, listen to the podcast!

Tips for Improving PMS Symptoms

Before I share some easy tips, I want to say that these tips are for women who have already ruled out serious health conditions.  You will find that the best ways of how to help PMS symptoms are also the best ways to help many other health issues.

Foods that Help

As you might imagine, a healthy balanced diet plays a significant role in managing PMS symptoms. Some hormones in the body are made of protein chains. But androgens such as testosterone and estrogen are made of lipids, which means they are made from cholesterol. That’s why athletes who over train and have very little body fat often don’t menstruate and also have hormone imbalances. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight with an appropriate amount of body fat. That means a balanced diet of whole foods. Cutting the sugar and the junky snacks can do a lot for PMS.

These foods can be especially helpful:

  • cruciferous veggies,
  • berries/fruit,
  • nuts,
  • seeds
  • soy and other dried beans are high in phytoestrogens but be careful.
  • probiotics

Another thing to consider is going gluten free. Just like sugar, for many people gluten can cause inflammation and gut issues. Gut imbalances have been linked to the mood swings and depression experienced during PMS. That’s because 95% of the feel good hormone serotonin is produced in the gut.

Lifestyle Helps

In the podcast, I discuss a few other ways to improve your symptoms through lifestyle changes. Listen in to learn about those!

To learn more natural tips for how to help PMS, grab the email series on 10 herbs for women.

Other information you might find helpful:

Five Favorite Essential Oils for Busy Moms You Need to Know

How to Stop Emotional Eating in 5 Simple Steps

How to Lift Mood Now! Feel Better Fast!

Amazing Sage Uses and Benefits Beyond the Crockpot

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. Roman scientists had noticed that if they used iron, it changed the chemical composition of the plant. Women 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.

Do You Know These Rosemary Uses Beyond Cooking?

TaleDo 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 people sometimes infuse it into olive oil as a nice aromatic drizzle for salads. The essential oil is frequently adulterated, so take care 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

Pregnant women and children under age 10 should not use this oil.

Surprising Calendula Uses for More than Skin

peoDiscover 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 people thought calendula was 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. People have also used Calendula 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.

Fun Catnip Uses for Humans You Need to Know

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 is a native to Europe and Asia. The Greeks and Romans knew it and probably the 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.

People have long used catnip 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.

Amazing 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.

Historical Benefits of Lemon Balm

Greeks

Melissa officinalis appears in ancient texts as far back as 2000 years. People strongly associate lemon balm with bees and  sometimes refer to it 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

Beekeepers crush the leaves 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, a worker honeybee’s Nasonov gland also contains geraniol and citral!

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

People use this herb 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.