Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's a good day to be Green!

Happy St.Patty's Day to You!

Ah, to be sure, it's a good day to be Green!

Even if you're only Irish on one day a year, you can do a lot to be Green! We all know about recycling, and how that helps the environment. Have you thought about how what you buy affects the planet?
You know that I'm going to say that buying organically-grown/ low-impact products is a great way to help the planet and keep yourself healthier.
Organic and green is not only about your food, but your homes, paper products and your home heating choices.
Recycling is the easiest thing for us to do to help reduce the waste we put on the planet. I learned that San Francisco leads the country's cities in recycling ~ a whopping 63% of all it's waste is recycled! That's amazing! Now what if we personally tried to do that? Here are some ideas to help reduce your personal environmnetal impact.
One way to make recycling easier is to buy grocery products with less packaging around them. Buying bulk from your local food co-op helps, as does buying fresh food from an organic farm stand during the vegetable growing season. Use reusable containers to put things into smaller packages, instead of buying multipacked products, such as fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese or pudding. Even if you have a small household, buying family pak sizes of meats will save on packaging waste. You can then freeze the items into serving size portions that fit your needs. I wash and re-use ziplock baggies, as well. Use dish towels and cloth napkins whenever you can. I usually only use paper towels for the cat messes. Buy unbleached paper products whenever possible.

If you live in a place where you can do it, then try composting your food waste. You can put everything except meat products into the compost pile. Composted coffee grounds and egg shells are really good for your garden, along with vegetable matter.

When it comes to your homes, there are so many "Eco-" products out there now, from carpets and flooring, to paint, glass and siding. Many of these products have come to be to serve the markets of health-conscious consumers, not just Eco-friendly. With asthma prevalent in our children these days, there is a new awareness of what our environmnets can contribute to wellness or illness. There are magazines and books dedicated to the subject. Just do an internet search and you will find a wealth of information. Flooring options have really boomed in recent years! Hardwood is beautiful, but unless it's sustainably managed, it's not always a "Green" choice. Bamboo flooring is good alternative, as bamboo is very fast growing, sustainable, and makes a very durable surface. Cotton/wool/silk/hemp carpets and rugs are available, as well. You can even buy carpets and pads that contain no chemicals. Particularly in the area of home renovation and building, being environmentally concious can have a big impact on your health and that of the planet. There are so many chemicals in building materials and products, it's scary.

Tim and I got a pellet stove to help heat our home this year, and it's a choice I can feel good about. The pellets are made from sawdust waste material. It helps us cut down on our propane usage, too. We are looking into ways to make our own pellets someday in the future.
Reduce~Reuse~Recycle! If we do it more, then we have less trash! I don't know about you, but we have to pay for the town trash bags we take to the dump. Is there something you can do, today, to help reduce your trash, even just a little bit?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Springtime allergies?

Ahh, Spring! The birds returning, the plants starting to peek through the soil, and the trees all in bloom! Ack, Wait a minute~did she say the trees are all in bloom? Uh oh!

Yes, I'm an herbalist with hay fever. The Goddess truly has a sense of humor!

Well, with Spring officially starting in a few days, I thought I would write about something that I know many people struggle with~Springtime allergies. I know, first hand, how horrible a beautiful breezy spring day can make you feel! That sounds odd, but when you figure in all the allergy symptoms of itchy eyes, draining or packed sinuses, sneezing and headache, you may wish for a Winter's day again!

While there are some days that even I break out the OTC allergy pills, most of the time I can deal with my allergies using herbs (of course!). There are two herbs that I find to be the most helpful for dealing with allergies. These are Nettles and Eyebright. A blend of both of these herbs, together in tincture form, is a great way to help you thru the season and to feel better. The key to doing this is to start NOW! It takes a few weeks for the full benefit of the herbs to work.
Eyebright, while mainly associated with optical health, is a great decongestant herb for sinusitis and other congestion.Here's Eyebright in flower:

Nettles is good for clearing mucous out of the body, specifically the respiratory system. You can find this blend, ready-made, by several herbal companies. I like the blend by HerbPharm (you can find this at many health food co-ops), and also the blend from Mountain Rose Herbs (scroll down their page to see the Nettle-Eyebright blend).
Here's what Nettle looks like in flower:

The other thing that is handy to have around for congestion is Peppermint or Eucalyptus essential oil. You can rub a drop of this onto your temples and under your nose to help break up sinus congestion, and clear your nasal passages.

I hope this helps you get ready to face this year's upcoming bloom.


Monday, March 12, 2007

You never know!

It's funny, but I just never know what my customers will do with the herbs they buy from me. I always think that they will make a little tea or something. A little while ago, I sold some organic Red clover to a nice man in PA name Christian. Well, it turns out that he's an avid baker! He made some very yummy sounding biscuits with my clover and I wanted to share the recipe with you! There are also some other delectable recipes on his website, so please browse around while you are there.

I'm not much of a baker anymore, but I think that I may just have to try making these biscuits! I know that I will make them again once the fresh clover is up this Summer! MMMMMM!!
Have a great day,