Breast Cancer: Guidelines For Buying Safe Supplements and Herbs

Breast Cancer How To Guide For Buying SupplementsBy: Rachel Pappas, Breast Cancer Survivor and Founder of www.1UpOnCancer.com.

If your doctors are trained in conventional medicine, and you ask them about supplements and herbs, they may tell you there isn’t enough research to back that they have health benefits – and may even tell you they are unsafe. But the fact is, there is plenty of research to show that botanical, fungal, pre- and probiotic, and micronutrient-based supplements, have multiple health benefits—from boosting the immune system to fighting cancer-promoting inflammation. Some have even been proven to cause cancer cell death. They come mainly from plant-based foods, and are important, as most of us do not get enough of these nutrients from food.

As far as the safety issue, it is true: there are no guarantees that a supplement is all it is claimed to be, as they are not FDA-approved. Though the supplement and herb industry is becoming a little more regulated. And there are more measures you can take on your own to ensure you are buying a quality product.

First, know that U.S. government regulations require manufacturers to observe good manufacturing practices (GMPs), intended to help ensure there are no unsafe levels of contaminants and overall safety. And there are independent, third-party groups who test for products’ purity, strength and ingredients.

Still, your best guarantee that you are getting a safe, quality product, is to be a smart shopper.

Here are guidelines to follow when looking for supplements and herbs:

  1. Check the product label for the words “Current Good Manufacturing Practices” or “cGMPs.” This “seal” indicates that what is on the label matches what is actually in the bottle as far as ingredients and dose.
  2. Look for pharmaceutical grade. Pharmaceutical grade products have met the most stringent regulatory standards verified by an outside party. A dietician or integrative practitioner should be able to help you determine this level of quality. Or you may be able to confirm on the manufacturer’s website or call the toll-free number on the bottle.
  3. Check the label for one of these four names: ConsumerLab.com, the Natural Products Association, NSF International, and the United States Pharmacopeia.   If the label has the “seal” of one of these organizations, it has passed a stringent certification process—its manufacturing facilities were inspected and the product has been tested and found to comply with specific standards for safety, quality and purity.

Avoiding interactions

Know that some supplements and herbs can interact with each other, and with prescription and over-the-counter medications.

So tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking. But bring all information you have on the supplements with you to appointments, as most medical doctors are limited in their knowledge of natural therapies. A naturopathic doctor, herbalist, some dieticians, and pharmacists will likely be able to guide you in ensuring you are not mixing natural or pharmaceutical ingredients that could have harmful interactions.

Here are more resources to help you make informed choices:

The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. For free downloadable fact sheets on individual vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For alerts, advisories, and other actions. http://www.fda.gov/default.htm

Consumer Reports Health’s Dietary Supplements and Natural Health Products Information. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/vitamins-and-supplements/index.htm For general information on supplements and herbs, including for some specific conditions. And information on safety.

In summary, here are smart tips:

  1. Examine the label. Look for seal: Current Good Manufacturing Practices or “cGMPs” And make sure it includes the name of a third party inspector (ConsumerLab.com, the Natural Products Association, NSF International, or United States Pharmacopeia.) Do your research and find out which manufacturers subject their products to third-party verification and testing. Only buy these.
  2. Always discuss any supplements you are considering with your doctor.
  3. If your doctor doesn’t know much about supplements (most conventionally trained doctors do not) consider also discussing this topic with a practitioner who is trained in their use.

 

Founder of  1UpOnCancer.Com

Rachel Pappas is breast cancer survivor. She is the founder of www.1UpOnCancer.com. And the author of Hopping Roller Coasters, which tells the story of her and her daughter, both diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

 

How To Grow An Indoor Lavender Potpourri Garden For Breast Cancer Healing

Lavender Indoor Potpourri Garden For Breast CancerBy Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.
Lavender is a valuable and beautiful flower for your indoor breast cancer healing garden. Lavender (Lavandula) is such a wonderfully romantic flower that it should be required that every gardener grow it. This amazing plant is a native of the Mediterranean and a lover of sunny, dry, rocky habitats. Learn how to grow, harvest and use the luxurious lavender below.

Some lavender plants can surprise you. Some varieties can explode in growth and grow extremely large in height and width, while others stay incredibly small. We estimated plant sizes of common adult lavender and the approximate spacing you may need and recommend the following for an indoor garden:

Lavandula Angustifolia (True Lavender)
Can grow up to 24” tall x 22” wide (space > 2.5ft.)
Can be used for landscape, low hedges, oil production, fresh cut and dry flowers, sachet, crafting, and as a culinary delight.

Typical Uses For Lavender

  • Aromatherapy: simply stated, this is the practice of using herbs, flowers, and essential oils extracted from them for healing, relaxing, and balancing the mind, spirit, and body. The flowers, leaves, and stems are steamed, releasing the fragrant oils.
  • To scent bath water: add a few drops to the bath to enjoy the relaxing and soothing aromas of this wonderful flower, and delicately scent the skin.
  • To soothe skin irritations: such as sunburn, insect bites, eczema, minor cuts and scrapes.
  • To ease headache and tension: apply a few drops to your temples and rest quietly. Lavender eye pillows are also helpful for this purpose.
  • Lavender sachets: fill your drawers and closets with a fresh clean fragrance. Use lavender as a natural air freshener instead of the chemical-filled products saturating the market today. Sit back and place a lavender eye pillow over your eyes. Pamper yourself by sleeping with a lavender-filled pillow.
  • Lavender aromatherapy: to help reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia and mild depression. It is often referred to as a mood balancing herb that possesses a sedative and calming effect. It can also have an uplifting, refreshing and rejuvenating effect on the psyche.

Planting Lavender For A Breast Cancer Healing GardenHow To Plant Lavender
Lavender can be planted in a variety of containers; old tin cans, wooden boxes, crockery, bowls as well as pottery. Sufficient drainage should be provided to ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged.

How To Care For Lavender
Lavender very easy to care for. Their needs are minimal. Most scented herbs do not have insect problems due to their strong odors.

  1. Light & Air – Find a sunny window, a south or west exposure is best. Most herbs like plenty of light and should be turned from time to time.
  2. Temperature – Normal indoor temperatures are sufficient for growing herbs. Warmer temperatures will require more frequent waterings than cooler.
  3. Water & Fertilize – To decide if your plant needs water, stick your finger about 1/2″ into the soil. If the soil feels dry, it is time to water. If it is still wet, don’t. Herbs should not be over fertilized. This leads to excessive leaf growth and a reduced level of aromatic oils in the plant. If you wish to fertilize, do so only once a month using a half dilution of the recommended rate.
  4. Pruning – During the winter months, Lavender grows much slower due to lower light levels and shorter days. Only the top growth of the plant should be removed at any one time to prevent shock and setting back the plant, as they are slower to respond in the winter months.
  5. Insects & Diseases – It is advisable to use an insecticidal soap or other safe, organic methods of pest control such as neem insecticide, according to directions on the label.

Warning: Herbs may interact with certain medications. Talk with your doctor prior to taking medicinal herbs to prevent any interactions with medications or health conditions.

Suggested Links:
How To Grow Lavender From A Seed
Plants for Free – Propagating Lavender
How To Use Lavender & Peppermint Essential Oils

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Medicinal Herb Comfrey Has Many Therapeutic Benefits For Breast Cancer

Comfrey As A Complementary Therapy For Breast CancerBy: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Comfrey is a highly useful herb, best-known for its fast healing properties. Comfrey relieves pain and inflammation. Topically, comfrey may reduce pain in sore breasts. Comfrey strengthens tissues and helps them become resilient and flexible and is especially wonderful for breast self massage.

Breast Massage With Comfrey Oil Benefits
Infused oil of comfrey root (best) or leaves is one of the most amazing therapeutic massage oils. Regular breast massage with comfrey has many benefit such as:

  1. Stimulates lymph circulation in breast tissue.
  2. Helps eliminate abnormal cells and congestion.
  3. Become familiar with how your breasts.

Breast Pain Relief With Comfrey Cream/Poultice
Comfrey creams are helpful as topical treatments for burns, skin alterations and sore breasts. To use comfrey for breast pain, apply a comfrey poultice of the fresh, bruised leaves. It relieves pain in an hour.

Many healing effects of comfrey are attributable to allantoin, a compound shown to speed cell production both inside and outside the body. Comfrey works so quickly that many herbalists add antibacterial salves and oils to prevent sealing bacteria inside because it heals the surface faster then underneath the wound.

Comfrey Therapeutic Actions:

  • Recommended for external use
  • Acts as an antibacterial and anti- fungal treatment
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Eases pain
  • Stop swelling
  • Stimulates cell growth
  • Very soothing to the skin
  • Inhibits further damage to tissues especially for radiation burns
  • Stimulates the production of cartilage, tendons and muscles
  • Active ingredient chlorophyll rejuvenates old cells and promotes the growth of new cells
  • Leaves or roots applied as ointment or oils treat bruising, wounds, tumors, muscular pain, and dermatological conditions]
  • Aids healing of inflammation and burns

Comfrey Warning!
When taken internally, comfrey can cause severe liver damage. Several studies have shown that comfrey contains toxic compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids or PAs, which can cause severe liver damage. Animal studies have also shown that these chemicals lead to the development of liver tumors.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Growing Sage Indoors To Nurture Breast Cancer Well-Being

Sage For Breast Cancer Gardening TherapyBy: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Growing the medicinal herb sage indoors can be fun and emotionally therapeutic. Learn how to grow, harvest and dry sage as a breast cancer gardening therapy. Another therapeutic benefit of sage is smudging. Sage smudging is a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition in which herbs are burned for emotional, psychic and spiritual purification.

Growing Sage Indoors
To raise the medicinal herb sage indoors, just plant several seeds in a five to six-inch pot. It is suggested to:

  1. Use plastic containers, as they tend to hold moisture longer than clay pots.
  2. Once the sage has sprouted, thin It back to one or two seedlings in each container.
  3. Fairly rich soil is necessary to produce healthy herbs.
  4. Plants should be placed on a sunny windowsill.
  5. When sage shoots are four inches high, enrich with water and a good liquid plant fertilizer.

How To Dry Sage
After the plants have reached maturity, they may be harvested as often as three or four times a year. To do this:

  • Cut the longer leaf stems back to about six inches and leave the little central shoots intact.
  • The Sage plant may look a trifle sad for a short time.
  • With small shears snip the gathered leaves from the severed branches, discard the stems.
  • Spread the greenery thinly on cloth or paper in a subdued light.
  • When the leaves are crispy dry, store them (whole or crushed) In a container that will keep out both light and air.

Spiritual House Cleansing With Sage Smudging
Spiritual cleansing is done to remove the negative energies or unwelcome spirits from your home using purifying herbs. It is good to cleanse your home once in a while to adjust the emotional environment of your home and maintain peace. Sage smudging is a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition in which herbs are burned for emotional, psychic and spiritual purification.

Sage Smudging For Breast CanverHow To Perform Sage Cleansing:

  1. The first step involves de-cluttering the space and turning off all electronics.
  2. Take several deep breaths and bring your mind in a relaxed and positive state.
  3. Once you have reached a positive frame of mind, prepare the sage for burning.
  4. The white sage for smudging is available in the form of wrapped long bundle.
  5. If you have loose sticks of white sage, place a handful of sage in the earthen bowl. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and light the end of the sage stick.
  6. Hold it in upward position and say your prayers, chants or requests for positive energy to cast out of any negativity.
  7. Visualize a bright light within yourself that will provide you shield against dark forces and negative energy.
  8. Offer the smoke of the sage smudge in all the directions of the house.
  9. Slowly, carry the smudge in the entire room to make sure smoke reaches every corner.
  10. Use a large feather to fan the smoke in distant areas of your house.
  11. During cleansing focus on positive thoughts, recite prayers, chants. or soothing music in the background.
  12. Once you have completed the spiritual cleansing process of the entire home, extinguish the remaining sage bundle and you can save it for future use.

Suggested Sage For Smudging
A good general purpose smudge is sage (Salvis Apaina), because it is a healing plant. It is known to create an atmosphere of protection and security, immortality and longevity. Sage when burned has the effect of transforming the atomic structure of the air it affects, and the living creatures who are breathing that air.

Drinking sage tea and inhaling clary sage essential oil may affect estrogen-related cancer, such as breast cancer. During breast cancer it is suggested to avoid both sage tea and clary sage aromatherapy.

Suggested Links

How To Grow Sage Indoors
How To Make Your Own Smudge Stick
When And How To Smudge

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

 

Cancer Prevention With Food, Thoughts and Botanicals

Cancer Prevention With Food Thoughts and Botanicals

By: Dr. Ellen Kamhi, The Natural Nurse.
CANCER- just hearing that word out of a doctors mouth sends fear through the listeners mind. Many people react with the thought- how could this happen to me? However, in most cases, cancer does not just HAPPEN. It can be traced to specific causes, and most of those causes are under the control of people themselves. Smoking is one behavior that directly increases the possibility of getting cancer.

Another is allowing oneself to be overweight. In fact, obesity 
increases the risk of getting three of the most common types of cancer — breast, prostate and colorectal, and also endometrial, gallbladder and kidney cancers.

Obese men are 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cancer than their lean counterparts, while obese women are 40 to 50 percent more likely.

Researchers are not certain how being overweight increases cancer risk, but they do know that excess fat changes the way the body uses glucose, forcing the pancreas to produce extra insulin, which appears to encourage tumor growth. Also, fat changes the way estrogen acts in the body, which may stimulate some cancers, such as those of the breast, prostate and uterus. Being significantly overweight may also makes it more difficult for doctors to find tumors before they grow dangerously large.

The exact program which leads to significant body fat reduction – increasing exercise and the consumption of vegetables, along with decreased consumption of junk food – is highly cancer protective as well. In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetables have been shown to have other vital health-promoting substances. In one recent study, researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, have found that vegetable consumption, particularly intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, lowers the risk of prostate cancer in men.(Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2000;92:61-68). Cruciferous vegetables in particular, may exhibit a more powerful effect against cancer than other vegetable due to their high isothiocyanate content. Isothiocyanates activate enzymes present in cells, which, in turn, neutralize carcinogens. It would be best to choose organic vegetables, because pesticide ingestion has also been linked to an increase in cancer.(Ardies, C. M.; Dees, C. Xenoestrogens significantly enhance risk for breast cancer during growth and adolescence. Medical Hypotheses, 50, 6 ,1998,457-464)

Overall detoxification aids the immune system to function at an optimum level. This is the bodys natural defense against the development of cancer. Organic fresh fruits and vegetables, raw, steamed and juiced, provide an excellent foundation. They are nourishing and easy to digest, with plenty of naturally occurring fiber. Skin brushing, jumping on a mini-trampoline, and using a sauna, are all part of the detoxification program, particularly aimed at keeping the lymphatic system flowing smoothly, which discourages the growth of cancer.
Cancer Prevention With Mind:Body Connection
A Mention of Mind/Body

It cannot be emphasized enough how important spiritual and emotional work is to the support of continued wellness. Taking some time to connect with the spiritual/emotional aspects of life is a supremely important aspect for preventing cancer. It is well known that cancer patients who attend support groups actually live longer.( Spiegel D, Bloom JR, Kraemer HC and Gottheil E. Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet. ii: 888-91. 1989). These results cannot yet be fully explained through science, but is well understood in the teachings of metaphysics as well as by indigenous shamanic healers throughout the ages.

Herbs Can Help
In order for the body to properly detoxify, it is necessary to clean out the natural filters; the liver and kidneys. Dandelion, a common weed, is used both as a food and medicine everywhere in the world where it grows. It is a potassium sparing diuretic,that works to cleanse and support both the liver and kidneys. Herbs which contain berberine, such as Oregon Graperoot and Goldenseal support the liver, and Milk Thistle has been scientifically proven to be liver protective.(Gupta, O. P.; Banerjee, S. K.; et al, Anti- inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities of silymarin acting through inhibition of 5- lipoxygenase. Phytomedicine 7:1, March, 2000, 21-24) Turmeric, the orange colored spice used in curry has additional benefits, and has been shown to have anti-tumor activities.( Navis I, Sriganth P, Premalatha B. Dietary curcumin with cisplatin administration modulates tumour marker indices in experimental fibrosarcoma. Pharmacol Res. 1999; 39(3):175-179). I keep some in a shaker and regularly add it to food right at the table.

Herbal combinations can be used as teas, capsules or tinctures. A well known combination which may give additional protection against cancer contains sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), burdock root (Arctium lappa), slippery elm inner bark (Ulmus fulva), turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Most of these herbs grow wild on Long Island. Once you learn to identify them, you can grow and pick your own, use them fresh, or dry them for year round availability.

A specific kind of mushroom, Maitake mushroom(Grifolia frondosa), contains a specific polysaccharide, called beta-glucan . One component , 3-branched, B-1,6-glucan. increases white blood cell motility and overall function of the immune system. Perhaps the ancients were not so far off , when they concluded that these mushrooms increase “chi” , which is movement or energy!!

Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®,(www.naturalnurse.com) is the author of The Natural Medicine Chest, Arthritis, The Alternative Medicine Guide, and Cycles of Life, Herbs and Energy Techniques for Women. Contact: http://www.naturalnurse.com , Facebook The Natural Nurse, 800-829-0918

How To Harvest & Prepare Medicinal Roots: Dandelion, Burdock and Yellow Dock

Harvesting Medicinal Roots For HealingBy Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Spring and Fall are both times to harvest medicinal roots used for breast cancer healing. The roots will differ slightly in chemical composition, and Fall may yield larger ones. But it is important to remember that both are valid times to gather. We need to be mindful of what plants we harvest, when, where, and how much. While harvesting leaves may not be so harmful, harvesting roots and flowers threatens a plant’s potential for regeneration and establishment, which in turn shapes how our ecosystems function and thrive into the future.

Roots make up a significant portion of our more potent plant medicinals. Roots carry the life force of the plant. Medicinally, it works the same way for us. So, let’s dig these medicinal roots; dandelion, burdock and yellow dock!

Dandelion Root

Benefits
Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine your body makes. The leaves are used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. Dandelion flower has antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system. Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist at the University of Windsor, has been studying the anti-cancer potential of dandelion root extract for almost two years. Researchers discovered that repeated treatment with low dose dandelion root extract was effective in killing most of the cancerous cells.

How To Harvest
Before you try to pull a dandelion root, know this. You can’t. They will most often break off. Instead, we must dig down and around the whole plant to get most of the root. You’ll only need a small shovel. Or, if you have a digging fork, that can also be used.

Burdock

Benefits
Burdock root is bitter. Because of this quality, burdock is used as a “bitter” which can help with digestion and appetite. Science is beginning to support its traditionally known role as a “blood purifier”, as evidence now supports its ability to rid the liver of environmental and chemical toxins.

How To Harvest
Burdock roots grow at least 12 inches or more in length and about 1 inch thick. Preferably first year roots are dug – first year burdock will not have a seed stalk. Grieve (1996) suggests that they should be dug in July. Waiting until after the first frost will make the roots starchier and sweeter.

Burdock roots accumulate toxins so be absolutely sure you’re wildcrafting well away from roadsides, industrial sites, and areas that have been sprayed.

Yellow Dock

Benefits
The roots are quite bitter. Traditionally, yellow dock has been used as a laxative, alternative, and a mild liver tonic. Yellow dock is also used for iron deficiency anemia. Perhaps because it is a vegetable source for iron, it is better digested and tolerated by most women.

How To Harvest
Yellow dock roots are at least 8 to 12 inches long much like dandelion roots and about ½ inch thick. We have quite of few dock species. Yellow dock has the “crisp” leaves with curly edges. In fall their tall greenish inconspicuous flower stalks turn a reddish-brown. First year plants don’t make flower stalks. If in doubt, a little bit of a dig will reveal its yellow-orange roots which is confirming.

Processing Your Medicinal Roots

First step: Wash and dry. Scrub off the dirt without soap. Wipe dry or air dry your roots but don’t leave them out for many days. They will shrivel, get rubbery, and lose their quality.

Second step: Cut up or grate your roots. Cut up dandelion and yellow dock for tincture. You will have to grate and dry burdock root to add it to soups and stews. (Dry in oven, it gives a nutty taste when cooked.)

Third step: Dry roots or prepare your tincture with fresh roots. Drying roots:  cut up the long roots so you can use portions of the root later. Dry roots on a tray in your oven by turning on the oven briefly to 200F and then turning it off. Leave the oven door open to allow for air to circulate. It is much easier to cut or grate fresh root, by the way, than waiting until after they are dry. Take the time to cut or grate them up.

Store your dried roots in an air tight container. Well dried roots won’t rot. If your roots become moldy, they can only be used by the compost pile.

How To Make Tinctures

  1. Fill a glass quart jar ¾ of the way with fresh roots or half way with dried roots.
  2. Cover with a good quality 80 proof vodka.
  3. Label your jar.
  4. Shake jar every day.
  5. Some herbalists say that a tincture is ready after one full cycle of the moon. So, this is 4 to 6 weeks.
  6. To use your tincture you can strain out your roots and store your tincture in a labeled jar.

Taking medicinal herbal extract could interfere with regular chemotherapy, and we urge patients not to mix the natural remedy with other cancer drugs without speaking to a doctor first.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Medicinal Indoor Herb Garden For Breast Cancer

Indoor Herb Garden For Breast Cancer
By Dawn Bradford-Lange, Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.
Herb gardens are a natural and abundant source of healing chemicals for breast cancer. A recent study revealed that many popular herbs are a great source of natural antioxidants-compounds that help neutralize free radicals-more so than those reported for berries, fruits and vegetables. Isaac Cohen, a doctor of Oriental medicine, and one of the leading authorities in the field of cancer treatment, reported in the book Breast Cancer: Beyond Convention, that several Chinese herbs show high anticancer activity against breast cancer.

So to start your medicinal breast cancer herb garden, you must have a sunny window available that receives at least five hours of sunlight per day. Most herbs hail from Mediterranean locales and need the light to thrive. Keep your home between 60º and 70º to create the ideal growing conditions.

Types of containers you can use for the plants

  • Terracotta planters are very popular.
  • Make sure your pots have drainage holes in the bottom so your herbs don’t rot.
  • Container you select should be deep 6-12 inches deep.
  • Individual 6-inch pots for each plant.
  • Take care when selecting the type of soil for your herbs, as plants are very vulnerable to soil-born diseases.

Medicinal Herbs For Breast Cancer

Don’t kill your herbs with kindness by watering too often, excess water is harmful to the roots and causes rotting. Fertilize your herbs once a month with a product labeled safe to use on edibles. Once you start to see new growth, you can begin to use your herbs for cooking. Place your pots in a sunny spot or underneath a grow light if your home doesn’t receive enough natural sunlight. Space out your herbs so that they don’t crowd each other and avoid putting your plants near a heating vent to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations.

Here are a few herbs that are particularly well suited for indoor growth:

  1. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): This is easy to grow from seed and its fresh fragrance can be enjoyed in salads and drinks. You can also make topical applications of the tea for treating certain skin problems by steeping 2 to 4 tsp. of crushed lemon balm leaves in one cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, apply the tea to your skin using cotton balls. Resource
  2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary doesn’t always germinate well from seed; grow it from cuttings or as a complete plant from the nursery. The soil needs to be well drained, but don’t let it dry out completely. Rosemary has been found to detoxify substances that can initiate the breast-cancer process. Resource
  3. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Many varieties of thyme are available. Cover the seed only lightly with soil or not at all if you are starting your thyme from scratch. Keep the plants moist until they are flourishing.Tthyme, possess terpenoids which are recognized for their cancer preventive properties. Rosmarinic and ursolic acids are major terpenoids in thyme that possess anti-cancer properties. Resource

Learn More
DIY Cutie Crate to Herb Garden
DIY: Build A Mason Jar Herb Garden
DIY Indoor Herb Gardens

Warning: Herbs may interact with certain medications. Talk with your doctor prior to taking medicinal herbs to prevent any interactions with medications or health conditions.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Healing Properties of Dandelion Tea, Tincture & Tonic

Dandelion's tea & tonics for breast cancer

By Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians.

Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, are healing from breast cancer, or just want to have healthy breasts, you need to know about the healing properties of dandelion (Taraxacum officiale).

Dandelion root is one of the most detoxifying herbs we have and it is hepatic, or tonic for the liver. It improves liver and gallbladder function, which improves digestion and elimination. Most importantly, dandelion root helps the liver clear excessive estrogens and toxins from the blood and eliminate them. When used regularly after taking a round of antibiotics or other strong medications that may disrupt digestion, dandelion root helps restore the digestion. Regular use of dandelion root tea or extract protects the liver from damage caused by pharmaceutical drugs and environmental toxins.

Benefits From Dandelion

Use dandelion root and leaf to improve liver function, promote healthy digestion and elimination, and break down tumors, malignant and benign, is well supported by folk tradition as well as modern research. And because dandelion root is a food-­‐like tonic herb, it is suitable for long-­‐ term use. (In some rare cases it may cause a loose stool and it is contraindicated while taking antihypertensive or diuretic medications.)

Who Would Benefit From Dandelion?

Women who suffer from cyclic breast pain and swelling or fibrocystic breast disease and anyone being treated for or at risk for developing breast cancer would be wise to consider dandelion root part of a long-­‐term health strategy. While harvesting dandelions from urban areas is not recommended as they contain toxins generated by air and water pollution, most health food stores and on-­‐line sources have organic dandelion root in various forms. Unlike pharmaceuticals, dandelion works slowly and deeply to bring you into balance. It can, and should, be used for months or even years as part of every woman’s wellness program.

How to Use Dandelion

Dandelion root is available in three forms: as bulk dried herb for tea; as a capsule; or as an alcohol extract or tincture. If you have a source of unpolluted dandelions, spring is the time to harvest them. Get a good sturdy trowel to dig up their long roots. Clean the entire plant and use it to make tea. Or eat the greens in salad. And of course there is always dandelion flower wine!

A Recipe for Dandelion Root Tea

Bulk dried dandelion root may be purchased from mail order sources or your local herbs shop. To prepare dandelion root tea, use 1 heaping teaspoon of dried root, or 2 teaspoons for fresh root (chopped) per 8 ounces of boiling water. Measure dandelion root into a teapot or quart canning jar and cover with freshly boiled water. Cover and steep for 40 minutes. Strain the herb and discard. Drink a half a cup of tea three times a day. The taste is bitter, which many people enjoy, but if you prefer you may combine it with other teas you enjoy, especially aromatics like lemon balm, peppermint or spearmint, and little bit of honey. Store tea in the refrigerator for no longer that two days.

Patricia HowellPatricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. A member of the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, she is founder and director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia. Learn more at www.wildhealingherbs.com. 

Gentle Spring Detox Herbs

Nettles

Nettles

By Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) & Author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians.

After a harsh winter, signs of spring are finally appearing as the earth turns green again and life seems to burst with new possibilities. Herbs known as spring tonics are used now to cleanse the body and help us move from the contraction of winter into the expansion and growth of spring. Many of the best spring tonics just happen to also be the first wild greens, or weeds, that pop up everywhere. You may have already noticed violet, dandelion, chickweed, yellow dock, nettles and others that herald the arrival of spring.

What these plants have in common is that they gently simulate all of the organs of detoxification: the lymph glands; liver; kidneys; and skin. Think of spring tonics as seasonal house cleaners that scour away toxins and waste from every nook and cranny in the body, making everything fresh and new.

Some people embark on a juice fast in the spring as a way to eliminate toxins, but since fasting isn’t appropriate for everyone, tonic herbs are a good alternative. If you’ve been ill recently, have been or are taking medications, or are not able to devote the time needed each day to prepare special foods, you can still reap significant benefits this spring using herbal spring tonics.

Spring tonics should be made into a tea, or infusion daily. To prepare a therapeutic infusion, steep one ounce (by weight) of dried herb, or 2 ounces of fresh herb (gently crushed with a wooden spoon), in 32 ounces (by volume) of freshly boiled water for at least an hour, covered. Strain out the herb and discard. Try to drink 1 quart each day. A one-quart canning jar is perfect for preparing tonic infusions.

Here are a two common spring tonics for you to consider. If you can gather them from an unpolluted place, the wild herbs are the best, but both of the herbs described here are also readily available from herb shops and on-line herb suppliers.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioca) strengthens and supports the entire body. It gently detoxifies all tissues. Considered a blood-cooling herb, it is a specific for anyone with eczema, acne, boils or other hot, eruptive skin conditions. Stinging nettle is a delicious wild green (when cooked) that is rich in chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other vitamins. Use the leaves in place of spinach.

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) is a general tonic that relieves liver congestion. Symptoms associated with liver congestion include migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndrome, breast tenderness, breast cysts, and chronic constipation. The leaves are also a wonderful spring tonic when eaten raw in salads.

Patricia HowellPatricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. A member of the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, she is founder and director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia.

Learn more at www.wildhealingherbs.com.

 

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Breast Cancer Herb  - Viola odorata – Sweet Violet - FlowersBy: Diana Ross, Breast Cancer Yoga’s Herbal Enthusiast.
Viola odorata – Sweet Violet – Flowers

Meatless Monday is going to have a new twist this week. As I walk everywhere watching and smelling all the beauty awakening around me I see first and foremost the “sweet violet”. These heart shaped leaves come with beautiful purple scented flowers which are edible: they are so much more than pretty ornamentals for your garden. Today we are sharing the flowers as eatables in salads. Many flowers and flowering vegetables produce petals that can be added to many sweet and savory dishes for an extra kick of color and flavor, and sweet violet is no exception.


First I want to share what sweet violet is, and how valuable it’s healing properties are for breast cancer, hay fever, congestion and sinus pain. We will be sharing my Master Herbalist, Patricia Krysti Howell’s exciting plant this week too but I wanted to share this amazing plant/herb. Patricia brought it to my keen attention and all that it has to offer. It has been used for neoplasms (abnormal tissue growth in the breast) and for the alimentary canal (whole passage along which food passes through the body.) It has anti-HIV actions – that are validated. Easing inflammation and roughness of the throat in a syrup concoction. The infused violets act as a mild expectorant. Actions of violets are known mostly for it’s use in “syrup of violets” as a mild laxative or as a herbal tea.

If you choose to plant violets in your herb garden just be mindful that they spread quickly. Love to make an arugula salad, blueberries or black berries and violet flowers. Totally yummy and incredibly beautiful.

 

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross: E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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