Archive for the ‘Random Remedies’ Category

Pre-emptive Common Cold-buster

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I whipped this one up recently when my boyfriend came down with the cold I was just getting over, just a couple days before we were heading out of town to visit relatives. He was bummed out that he was going to be sick through the holiday, so I grabbed a few things that I often take in smaller combinations and threw them all together. It worked! He felt better the next day and by the time we had to get on the bus the following day he was right as rain.

Warning: this is going to be a little heavy on your stomach. Take it when you have had a good healthy meal to absorb it. My boyfriend felt a little queasy for a couple hours after taking it. I tried it a few months later when I felt something coming on, and I did feel a little gastrointestinal heaviness for the next hour. I’m told I have a stomach of steel. My boyfriend has a more sensitive stomach which is easily upset. Take the behavior of your gut into account when proceeding.

-1000 mg Vitamin C
-500 mg Propolis

Garlic Immunity Kick:
-2 cloves finely chopped garlic (should equal about 1 tbsp.)
-2-3 drops oregano oil
-1 dropperful of neem oil
-tsp olive oil

1 cup juice of your choice, pure and without sugar/additives. I like undiluted cranberry juice, or apple cider.

Ginger Tea:
-1 tbsp chopped ginger
-1 tbsp honey
-1/2 a lemon, sliced

1. Make the tea: Chop the ginger finely, and make a 1-cup infusion with it and the lemon. Add the honey. Set aside to infuse while you make the rest.
2. Mix the Neem, Oregano Oil and Olive oil together. Mix well with the chopped garlic
3. Ingest:

Dose 1: Swallow the Vitamin C & Propolis capsules with your juice, or water.
Dose 2: Swallow the entire garlic-oil mixture in 2-3 spoonfuls. Follow with your chaser juice.
Dose 3: Sip the tea until finished

Getting Rid of BV (Bacterial Vaginosis) WITHOUT Antibiotics

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I once got this, and freaked out because I thought it was an STD. Apparently, it’s not – it’s more like an allergic reaction to something or someone with whom one was recently intimate, and it just means you need to balance out the over-reaction of your flora and fauna. All the same, it’s pretty horrifying when your honeypot smells wrong and there’s an unnatural discharge, so before you storm into that restaurant to give that cute waiter you shagged last week a sock in the jaw, chill out and read below a simple thing that I tried out based on some internet research. I did go to a gynecologist about it, but like most doctors, their default answer was antibiotics, which I am not a fan of. Whichever way you go, diagnosis is the first critical step in addressing the problem (a la Scientific Method, as well as Socrates) so one should go get diagnosed by a professional and tested for other STD’s before you go playing around down there.

What is it?
From Wikipedia:
The most common symptom of BV is an abnormal homogeneous off-white vaginal discharge (especially after sex) with an unpleasant smell.[4] This malodorous discharge coats the walls of the vagina, and is usually without irritation, pain or erythema.

Click to view photo of BV infection (While I think it’s important to publish actual, phenomenological photos of the experience, I don’t want to gross anyone out with graphic imagery without warning)
More info: Bacterial Vaginosis At A Glance from MedicineNet

My Solution
What I found ultimately worked was based primarily on the following article:

E. G. Papanikolaou1, G. Tsanadis1, N. Dalkalitsis1 and D. Lolis1 (1) Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, GR-45110, Ioannina, Greece., GR
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a polymicrobial infection of the vagina and should not be considered an exclusively sexually transmitted disease. We describe the case of a 17-year-old female virgin adolescent with recurrent malodorous vaginal discharge for 6 months. Before referral to us she had been treated unsuccessfully with conservative treatment options. Our investigation revealed Gardnerella vaginalis as the responsible factor for the vaginal infection. Because metronidazole treatment had failed as monotherapy, a new method was applied. Repeated vaginal washings with 3% H2O2, 15% NaCl and 10% providone iodine were initiated. At the end of each washing, vaginal walls were thoroughly cleaned up with a small gauze. After 10 days of treatment the odor and the vaginal discharge had ceased and 12 months later no relapse had occurred. It seems to be reasonable to use this kind of treatment in recurrent BV. Received: January 3, 2001 · Revision accepted: April 23, 2002 E. G. Papanikolaou (corresponding author)

So I made a douche of the above-mentioned recipe – 3% H2O2, 15% NaCl and 10% providone iodine, used in the evening, after which i would insert 1 300mg capsule  of acidophilus and another of 1/3 tea tree oil, 2/3 vitamin E oil as vaginal suppositories. In addition to the douche (or even instead of), it’s helpful to dowse some gauze in the peroxide, wrap it around your finger, and get in there and thoroughly swab around – you may be surprised at the complexity of nooks and crannies of your vagina, in which bacteria can hide.

Later on, I went back to the gynecologist to check things out and he said everything look good, I was a little dry, but expressed concern about my remedy – his opinion was that hydrogen peroxide was very extreme. He said this was probably the reason I seemed dry. Next time I go in for my annual pap I plan to ask about it (I moved since then and see a great local RPA for ob/gyn related stuff), and will update this with her opinion on the matter – so keep that in mind if you want to try this. Despite this, I did find that it worked, and I didn’t have to take antibiotics, and I have not seen a relapse since (I’m writing this about 2 years after the fact). I also stopped seeing the guy I was seeing when it cropped up – more for other reasons, but I believe Nature sometimes has a quirky way of signaling us when we don’t see the obvious.

Using Queen Anne’s Lace for Contraception

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Queen Anne’s Lace (QAL) aka Daucus Carrota aka Wild Carrot

After going off the Pill back in 2003, I tried out all sorts of traditional birth control methods, none of which I liked. While doing research for a pen & ink piece regarding the origins of the shape of the heart, I discovered a theory that the shape comes from the seed of a now extinct plant whose claim to fame in antiquity was it’s contraceptive properties. This is where I first encountered the concept of a plant preventing conception, as well as what led me to Sister Zeus’ site (, which contains a plethora of information about Synergistic Fertility Management.

Before you mess with any kind of experimental substance not approved by the FDA and on which there haven’t been broadly sampled clinical trials, you need to do your research, and decide whether or not you are prepared for a certain level of self-experiementation. Holistic health and fertility management are not about quantifiable success rates, or being lazy, or getting a quick fix before running poff to work. That’s what Big Pharma is for. Robin Rose Bennett is considered the foremost expert, so if you are interested in using QAL, you should read her article:

How it Works
Queen Anne’s Lace works by rendering the uterine environment inhospitable to a pregnancy, thus inhibiting implantation of a fertilized ovum. So while it’s possible for fertilization to occur, and you may even feel subtle cramps resulting from the zygote attempting to implant in the uterine wall, QAL if taken correctly should result in your normal monthly menstruation. The tricky thing with birth control in general is that it varies greatly from woman to woman. So while one method, be it the Pill, IUD or an herb might work great for one person, and not at all for another. Some may have side effects, others not. Even the concentration in the herb itself can vary depending on factors of harvesting, preparation, environment, climate, and so on.

So if you’ve gotten this far, after all my quid-pro-quoing, let’s get started with some instructions I received when I first ordered QAL ( Penny’s Herb Co. More recently I’ve been buying it at Flower Power where I do my usual herb shopping, and where the ladies have a plethora of wonderful knowledge and conversation as well.)
option 1. Chew approx. 1 teaspoon of seeds thoroughly each day
option 2. Chew approx. 1 teaspoon of seeds thoroughly for 3-4 days before ovulation, during ovulation, and for 3 days after ovulation.
option 3. Chew approx. 1 teaspoon of seeds thoroughly for 5-7 days after any unprotected sexual intercourse.
option 4. Ingest 15 drops of wild carrot seed tincture in hot water in any of the three ways listed above.

How *I* take it now, is a bit different, and after more than one unwanted pregnancy, this is what I feel is most foolproof:
Chew approx. 1 teaspoon of seeds thoroughly each day from the end of menstrual flow, up to the first day of your next menstrual period. I consider my period a safe, infertile time, and prefer to take a break from sexual activity in favor of introspection and self-pampering, so I stop taking the seeds when bleeding. I start up again when sexually active. However, I am informed by my healer/RPA that this is often where many women mistakenly get pregnant – one CAN be fertile in the middle of one’s cycle, cine ovulation can occur anywhere from 10-14 days after the first day of your cycle. I’ve read that certain hormone-rich foods such as yams can also induce hyper-ovulation.

Why QAL totally rocks my world
What I always hated about the Pill was the All-or-Nothing nature of it. (If you don’t already know, being on the Pill means taking it continuously, and in the beginning you’ll have to wait 1 month before you’re protected). So when you get involved with a guy, you start questioning. “Is he worth the hassle? Or the cost if my health plan doesn’t pay for it? Am I even gonna be into him 3 months from now?” If you decide to go off it, you’re unprotected save for condoms (which we all know can break or slip off), so you feel like you have to be nervous and cautious about who you’re fooling around with — god forbid you find yourself carrying the spawn of some fling from your last Brazilian vacation. With QAL, you take it as needed. Too busy for sex this month? Leave it in the cabinet, it’ll keep. Have you and your lover just gotten tested and are ready to pound each other into the mattress sans condom? Then go for it, right here, right now, on the kitchen floor, and take a teaspoon each day until your next period. If the condom breaks, if you’re in that yes-we’re-together/no-we-aren’t/we-can’t-decide-if-we’re-breaking-up limbo, if you or your boy-toy decide to go on sabbatical, observe Ramadan, or sublimate your Svadhisthana energy for a spell, QAL bends to your rhythms. Sometimes I wonder if the lack of adequate birth control is the root of the reason women are so obsessed with seeking out ‘committed’ relationships instead of self-exploration in love’s varied forms.

Oh yeah, and if you don’t want to pay for it (It costs me about $30 for 8 ounces from Flower Power[url], or about $10 a month), it’s growing for free, fields of it, and can be harvested for seeds in the fall. If you’re going to do this, obviously you should study up on herbology and/or hire an expert to help you identify it. There are poisonous plants as well as ineffective ones that look similar and you absolutely need to ensure you are collecting the correct herb.

Yeah but how do you know it actually works??
I have experienced a total of three unwanted pregnancies in my life, so I am quite sure that I am quite fertile. When I first started using the QAL, I had little way of knowing it would actually work, but decided, when I had the opportunity with a lover with whom I was fluid-bounded, to test it out by going the full monty during my fertile week. We hadn’t discussed birth control and as far as he knew, I was still on the Pill. I didn’t tell him about it and I’m not sure what I would have done had I ended up pregnant by him. I don’t think I would recommend this way — it’s always nicer to know your lover is onboard should an unplanned pregnancy occur. Which brings up another important point — that if your’e going to venture into this realm, you need to think about what you will do if you should accidentally get pregnant. I was quite prepared to follow up with a clinical abortion, and this is the recommendation of most herbalists whenever one has used herbs to interfere with the progression of a preganancy, due to the unknown long-term effects of such interruption.

So I decided I had to KNOW then and there, and folowing our throws of passion, I took the Queen Anne’s Lace until the end of the month, and was overjoyed upon seeing the first blood of my next period. This is how I decided to trust it as my sole form of birth control when with lovers that I know and trust enough to have unprotected sex with.

This was in 2004. Since then, I have experienced 2 unwanted pregnancies, which I fully realize undermines my championing of the herb as a contraceptive – but hear me out. I take responsibility for both pregnancies and do not consider it a mark against the efficacy of the herb; In the first instance, I stopped taking it too soon after my last tryst. I still don’t know if I simply miscalculated ovulation, ovulated late, or ovulated twice that month, but I ended up going to my current women’s health practitioner for the abortion pill. The second time it happened it was nary a few months after the first, and I was simply so busy on a project at work demanding late nights and early mornings that there were a couple of days i forgot to take it. This is why I use my current method, outlined above, as opposed to basing dosage on when I believe ovulation occurs. I imagine knowing one’s cycle was near effortless way back when one menstruated in sync with all the other women in  tribe, but times change and travel, stress, dietary changes and a litany of other aspects of modernity muddle the formula. This poses another problem in general with holistic methods in the modern age – they were usually developed during more leisurely times, through the experience of many in one’s community, and by our relationship with the wild. What a contrast to now, when they more often appear a counter-culture side-note to the hustle-bustle of our disconnected modernity.

*One popular theory is that the shape is actually that of a Sylphium seed, the contraceptive of choice in the ancient Greek city-state of Cyrene. I disagree with this, and believe the shape to be derived from that of a woman’s vulva, but which retained the more generalized word for one’s center & core. Here is a photo of the piece Key to My Heart; Semiotic Divergence & Transference

Curing a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) with Oregano Oil

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Urinary Tract Infection noun
Infection of any part of the urinary tract, esp. the urethra or bladder, usually caused by a bacterium, Escherichia coli, and often precipitated by increased sexual activity, vaginitis, enlargement of the prostate, or stress. Abbreviation: UTI

Oregano oil: Twice a day, for three days, ingest 2-3 drops, diluted in a mind oil such as olive oil, or juice (undiluted, it will burn your mouth!). When I did it, I felt relief after the first day, but just as with antibiotics, it’s important to take it for the full three days to ensure the responsible bacteria have been killed off.

While I have read that this is sufficient all on it’s own to rid one of a UTI, the other thing I feel worth mentioning is that I threw in a clove or 2 of raw chopped garlic into my meals during those days, and the occasional glass of unsweetened, undiluted cranberry juice. It’s doubtful that garlic & cranberry on their own would be enough to solve the problem, but I feel that simple combinations are highly effective in targeting these sort of bacterial issues.

It’s been years since I had one, and I found that simply staying well hydrated is enough to prevent them. Urine after all, is sterile, and peeing flushes out whatever bacteria may have made their way up there.

The traditional treatment is of course antibiotics, which as you may have already gathered, I have a very low opinion of. As a matter of fact it was the treatment of a UTI which landed me in the hospital over 10 years ago, when a doctor was too lazy to write out a clear prescription, the pharmacy stupidly misinterpreted how many days-worth I should receive despite certain syntactical conventions to guard against these sort of things, and I, in my naive and unquestioning faith in western doctor’s & medicine, did not question it. (The scribble which should have been “3D,” or “3 days” was interpreted as “30,” or “30 days”), Around day 17 I got terribly sick and went to the hospital where the mistake was discovered. A week later my body seemed to develop a delayed allergic reaction, and I was hospitalized with a swollen face, a full-body rash and overwhelming fatigue, which was treated with corticosteroids and antihistamines, and took me a month to recover from. Hence the anti-antibiotic sentiments you will find sprinkled throughout the site.

Peppermint Tea-tree Oil Toothpaste

Monday, January 11th, 2010
This is my personal derivative of some other home-made toothpaste recipes I found online. Practically speaking, Sodium-bicarbonate is the only thing you really need, though my dad once told me that in the Marines when they ran out of toothpaste they would just use salt.

(Makes about 1/4 cup)
-3 tbsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
-1 tbsp sodium chloride (salt – as an abrasive)
-1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil (gives it a pasty quality)
-6 drops essential pepermint oil (for taste)
-6 drops tea tree oil (a natural antibacterial)

Mix the baking soda and salt together in a bowl until well-integrated. Next, mix together the oils: squeeze the appropriate amounts of essential oil & tea-tree oil into a tablespoon, and then cover with olive/sunflower oil to the brim before pouring over the powder. This is to ensure consistent taste & consistency throughout. Mix until “pasty.” Store in a closed jar (ideally glass or ceramic – I’ve been hearing too many weird things about plastics and phyto-estrogens lately), at room temperature.

Infinitely preferably to commercial toothpastes, not only because it’s missing that icky toothpaste aftertaste likely to ruin one’s breakfast in favor of a subtle minty-salty freshness, but my incidence of cavities has gone down considerably since using it. Of course, this could be the result of a few factors right around the same time I started making it – such as greater attention to my dental hygiene in general, as well as the reduction of refined sugar in my diet to nearly nil.