Monthly Archives: December 2010

Burdock and its uses


Burdock has been used for centuries to treat a host of ailments. It has been traditionally used as a “blood purifier” to clear the bloodstream of toxins, as a diuretic (helping rid the body of excess water by increasing urine output), and as a topical remedy for skin problems such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, burdock is often used with other herbs for sore throat and colds. Extracts of burdock root are found in a variety of herbal preparations, as well as homeopathic remedies.

In Japan and some parts of Europe, burdock is eaten as vegetable. Burdock contains inulin, a natural dietary fiber, and has also been used traditionally to improve digestion. In fact, recent studies confirm that burdock has prebiotic properties that could improve health.

Despite the fact that burdock has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, very few scientific studies have examined burdock’s effects.

burdock flowers


Plant Description:

Burdock is native to Europe and Northern Asia and is now widespread throughout the United States as well, where it grows as a weed. In Japan and parts of Europe, it is cultivated as a vegetable. A member of the daisy family, burdock is a stout, common weed with burrs that stick to clothing or animal fur. The plant grows to a height of about 3 – 4 feet. It has purple flowers that bloom between the months of June and October. Burdock has wavy, heart shaped leaves that are green on the top and whitish on the bottom. The deep roots, which are used medicinally, are brownish green, or nearly black on the outside.

What’s It Made Of?:

Burdock consists primarily of carbohydrates, volatile oils, plant sterols, tannins, and fatty oils. Researchers aren’t sure which active ingredients in burdock root are responsible for its healing properties, but the herb may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects. In fact, recent studies show that burdock contains phenolic acids, quercetin and luteolin — all powerful antioxidants.

Available Forms:

Burdock products consist of fresh or dried roots. Burdock supplements can be purchased as dried root powder, decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water), tinctures (a solution of the herb in alcohol, or water and alcohol), or fluid extracts.



How to Take It:


There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of burdock, so burdock should only be given to children under the supervision of a doctor.


  • Capsules: 1 – 2 g 3 times per day
  • Dried root: steep 2 – 6 grams in 150 mL (2/3 of a cup) in boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes and then strain and drink 3 times a day; may soak a cloth in the liquid and, once cooled, wrap the cloth around affected skin area or wound (known as a poultice). Do not use on open wounds.
  • Tincture (1:5): 30 – 60 drops, once daily. Typically, burdock is combined in tincture form with other herbs. The tincture may also be applied to a cloth and wrapped around affected skin area or wound.
  • Fluid extract (1:1): 30 – 60 drops, 2 times a day
  • Tea: 2 – 6 grams steeped in 500 mL water (about 2 cups), 3 times per day

Topical preparations of burdock are also used for skin problems (such as eczema) and wounds.


The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Pregnant or nursing women should avoid burdock as it may cause damage to the fetus.

If you are sensitive to daises, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, you may also experience an allergic reaction to burdock.

People who are dehydrated should not take burdock because the herb’s diuretic effects may make dehydration worse.

It is best to avoid taking large amounts of burdock as a supplement because there are so few studies on the herb’s safety. However, burdock eaten as a food is considered safe.

Because the roots of burdock closely resemble those of belladonna or deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), there is a risk that burdock preparations may be contaminated with these potentially dangerous herbs. Be sure to buy products from established companies with good reputations. Do not gather burdock in the wild.

Possible Interactions:

There are no known scientific reports of interactions between burdock and conventional medications. However, you should talk to your doctor before taking burdock if you take any of the following:

Diuretics (water pills) — Burdock could make the effect of these drugs stronger, causing you to become dehydrated.

Medications for diabetes — Burdock might lower blood sugar, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Blood thinning medications — Burdock might slow blood clotting and, when taken with blood thinning medications, may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Alternative Names:

Arctium lappa; Arctium minus


Healthy eating DVD help for deaf- ASL Captioned


What is BMI? -ASL

Watch a doctor describe BMI and how it affects you.

Meatless Monday: A Meatless Loaf Even June Cleaver Would Envy (Secret Ingredient: A-1 sauce!)



Yes I know it is not Monday yet, but this was just too good not to share with you. I am always looking for  good meat alternatives. This one comes for

For the ultimate Meatless Monday challenge, we here at FFF decided to take on the iconic American comfort food recipe: meatloaf.

June Cleaver made meatloaf, as did all women who dared to call themselves housewives in the 1950s. Each woman’s meatloaf was a yardstick to measure her skill as a home cook. Meatloaf has been made in various versions for centuries, but it was the Americans during the Great Depression who added bread and eggs to the dish to stretch their pennies and added ketchup as a topping.

Like almost everyone growing up in America in the 50′s, 60′s or 70′s, I ate my weight in meatloaf as a child. To this day, when anyone says “meatloaf,” the smell, taste and texture of this comfort food fills my senses.

So, we said to ourselves, “Could we remake this comfort food classic without meat but with as much flavor and comfort as the original hamburger dish?” Our answer: “Absolutely.”

I made about a dozen versions of this dish and there are two secrets to our final fabulous dish. First, add diced cooked dates. The dates add a rich taste and sticky texture that are necessary to replace hamburger. Second, use the American classic A-1 steak sauce. When I made previous versions of this, everyone wanted A-1 to drizzle on top of their slices. So == light bulb goes on == why not add this raisin-y, flavor-packed sauce right in with the loaf mixture?!

The combination of ingredients and flavors in this final version are astounding. The texture is rich, moist and firm and holds together while cooking and slicing. This is one of my favorite veggie makeover dishes of all time. Truly remarkable. Please try it – with or without your June Cleaver apron on!


Makes 1 loaf to serve 4 to 6 people; Prep Time 60 minutes; Cook time 30 minutes

1 cup dry brown lentils
2 medium carrots, grated
1 cup diced Medjool dates
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons A-1 sauce
1/2 cup ground or very finely minced pecans
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook lentils in boiling salted water for 30 minutes, or until soft. Drain well. Place in food processor and pulse until very small bits.

Saute the carrots, dates, onion, celery in the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until very soft, stirring frequently to remove moisture. Add in garlic, cumin, A-1 sauce and soy sauce and cook another minute.  Add this skillet mixture to food processor and pulse until very well blended.

Remove from food processor and stir in pecans, rice, bread crumbs and eggs.

Place a tin foil sling into a loaf pan and spoon mixture into pan.  Bake for 30 minutes at center of oven.

OPTIONAL GLAZE:  While mixture is baking, simmer for about 2 minutes in a small saucepan 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon vinegar, until thickened slightly.

Remove loaf from oven and spread sauce on top. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes. Slice and serve as you would meatloaf.

Make Your Own Oil of Oregano



My big brother got me going on the benefits of Oregano oil. It has a lot of uses which I will be getting to in a bit. I cringe when I go into health food stores and see the price of Oregano oil. For a descent one which holds a little more than an ounce they want 21 dollars. I paid that once and only once. People would like good health and I don’t blame them but putting it out of reach for those who can use it is just not right. I guess health is now big bucks, no more eating for health or anything like that. Oh what our elders could teach us.

It is so easy to make your own using your own ingredients! You can grow your own organic oregano and buy some good quality olive oil or grapeseed oil and you will be all set.

A lot of people aren’t aware of what a powerful germ killer and anti inflammatory oregano oil is. It also can boost the immune system, and has been used to reduce the symptoms and duration of the cold and flu and help relieve digestive problems. It has extremely high levels of antioxidants that help protect the body from disease. It can be used to treat eczema, great on acne, bacterial infections, candida albicans, aspergillus mold, staph infections, vaginal infections, pseudomonas and listeria. Certain studies reveal that it is as powerful a painkiller as the best ones on the market, with the added benefit that it is has little to zero side effects. A study from the US Dept of Agriculture showed that oregano essential oils presented antimicrobial activities against Salmonella and E.coli.

More Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

Acts as an anti-viral agent — Oregano oil can aid in protecting us against the common cold.
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory
  • Can help relieve congestion
  • Emmenagogue — Oregano oil can aid in healing irregular menstruation and reducing the negative effects of menopause.
  • Anti-allergen — Oregano oils produce a sedating effect on the hyper-sensitivity of allergies, offering relief for allergic reactions.
  • Potent anti-oxidant capacity — Through neutralizing free-radicals, oregano oil helps us slow the process of cellular deterioration, thus slowing the process of aging. Anti-oxidants aid in protecting us from cancer, eye-diseases, muscle degeneration, as well as many nervous-system disorders. Rosmarinic acid, a component of oil of oregano, is an antihistamine, and a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E.
  • Digestive aid — Stimulates the flow of bile in the digestive organs
  • Possesses powerful anti-fungal properties — With regular use, oregano oil can help protect us against fungal infections.

Oregano oil is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It is high in the vitamins A C, and E complex, as well as zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and niacin.

What you need to make it:

You will need a 1:1 ratio of oregano to oil, or you can use more oregano to make it stronger. Since I am ingesting it I used a 1/4 a cup oregano and 1/4 a cup olive oil.

1. Wash and dry your oregano. You could use fresh from the store but just make sure it is washed.

2. Place the oregano leaves in a plastic ziplock bag but don’t close it and cover the bag with a kitchen towel. Use a rolling-pin and roll over the kitchen towel for a minute so that the oils from the leaves gets released.

3. Gently heat up the olive oil until warm. DO NOT BOIL IT!

4. Pour warmed oil into a mason jar and then add the bruised oregano to it.

5. Stir with a plastic spoon for a minute or so making sure it all mixes together.

6. Put the lid on the jar making sure it is on snug. Place the jar somewhere that it wont be too hot or too cold for 2 weeks. I stick mine in my pantry on a shelf.

7. After 2 weeks, strain the oregano from the oil using a fine strainer into a clean jar or dropper bottle. I use a reusable coffee filter that I kept just for these types of things. It does a great job. Close the lid and you are done. Easy peasy.

I use 1 drop 3x a day to supercharge my immune system. DO NOT use this if you are pregnant.

For directions on how to use this externally on feet, acne etc go here:

And as always, consult your doctor or herbalist before starting any natural treatments. I’m not a doctor folks, just a herbalist 🙂




Make your own Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal makes a great hot breakfast or a quick snack. Children love their own flavored packets of oatmeal. Save on your grocery bill by making your own instant packets!

You will need:
3 cups Quick-Cooking Oats
8 Snack sized Zip Baggies
Put 1/2 cup oats in a blender and blend on high until powdery. Set aside in a small bowl, and repeat procedure with an additional 1/2 cup oats. If you’re using a food processor, you can do the 1 cup of oats in one batch. Put the following ingredients into each zip baggie: 1/4 cup un-powdered oats, 2 Tbsp. powdered oats, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Store bags in an airtight container if you aren’t using them everyday. This will help to keep them fresh.

To Use:
Empty packet into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for 2 minutes. For thicker oatmeal, use less water – for thinner oatmeal, use more water.


Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal- To each packet add 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 2 Tbsp. chopped dried apples. 
Sweetened Oatmeal- To each packet add 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Oatmeal- To each packet add 1 Tbsp. brown sugar & 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Oatmeal w/Raisins & Brown Sugar- To each packet add 1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. raisins.

Blueberries and Cream- To each packet add 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried blueberries and 1 Tbsp fat-free non-dairy creamer (Coffee Mate).
We reuse our bags which helps save money.