A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU
and health, happiness and peace.
At the Herb Farm, Nambour, Queensland, each day seems to be full on with tasks, and so many plants that require attention.
Two months have passed since sending the First Newsletter, and many readers have expressed a desire to receive further Newsletters, with research on useful herbs and edible plants, and information to inspire us all to take care of our health... so here we are again.
We will share short snippets of information on some plants, practical ways of using them in our daily lives, recipes and much more...
In many areas of Australia, summer has set in with a vengeance with relentless heat waves, extreme dry spells, and in other areas excess rain. TV news has given information of people in various areas of Australia who have been told to evacuate their homes because of bushfire and floods. Are people, in these areas prepared... and ready to go? What about the rest of us, if we were compelled to leave our homes... do we have our 72 hour kit packed and every thing ready for evacuation? If you are not sure what you should have ready, you would find the book How can I be prepared with Self-sufficiency and Survival Foods? a useful reference.
If you are feeling really fatigued in the heat,it is a good time to start to do a number of practical things to boost energy and a feeling of well-being.
Plant some herbs with pleasant aromas near your home entrance, and as you come and go, gently crush the leaves or brush against the plants and they will release their fragrances for you to enjoy. Inhaling these wonderful perfumes helps to build energy in your body. Plants that are great to experience an energy boost from, could include some of the following - thyme varieties (particularly Spanish wood thyme which releases the most delicious, sweet aroma of honey/eucalyptus/menthol which is such a joy to inhale), sacred basil with a delightful sweet aroma, lavender, sweet marjoram, pineapple sage, anise hyssop and rau om (an exquisite refreshing aroma that thrills me every time I try it... and then tasting the leaf is so special too (use these leaves in summer salads, in fact, any meat and savoury dish. As herbs have electro-magnetic vibrations that harmonise with the electrical vibrations of our cells, herbs thus enhance many functions of the body.
Various studies have shown that aromatic herbs can also be most beneficial too for relieving stress, by inhaling the aromas for a few minutes... so next time you are feeling overwhelmed or even slightly stressed go and pick a few springs of aromatic herbs, stroke the leaves and the aromas will be released, and breathe deeply to inhale the herbal fragrances. Research shows that these aromas do relieve stress, and that herbs can help decrease high levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in many functions like insulin release for blood sugar maintenance, and inflammatory response.
** Acerola cherries, bear fruit over many months in summer, and their high Vitamin C content are so valuable to help overcome heat fatigue, for building stamina, and to strengthen blood vessels. And Vitamin C, being a powerful antioxidant, provides us with protection from colds and many other conditions, and also benefits the nervous system and brain functions. Many researchers, also say, this vitamin is important for retarding the ageing process.
** Eat cooling foods in summer, like cucumber, melons, salad burnet, Ceylon salad leaves, Lebanese cress. And blend up some green smoothies with sprouts, gel from an aloe leaf, and lots of green leaves (which can include some lush green weeds at this time of the year like purslane (great for your daily dose of Essential Fatty Acids, as researchers say EFA helps to promote good brain function), fat hen and native amaranth).
Try some new salads like steaming some diced pumpkin, and then cool the cooked pumkin, and add a variety of chlorophyll-rich leaves like sweet leaf bush (which tastes like fresh peas), drumstick tree leaves, and sambu lettuce, sunflower seeds or pepita seeds, salt and pepper to taste, fresh herbs like sweet marjoram, parsley, dill, and a dash of apple cider vinegar.
Make the most of salads this summer, as leafy greens and fresh herbs are a really good source of calcium and potassium, both are essential to good health. Eat greens regularly. Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, recently identified the specific antioxidants that can lower your changes of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), an extremely common type of skin cancer. Lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce SCC risk by 50%, and leafy greens are a good source.
** Get started on some chia seeds. These are so valuable to beat heat fatigue. Chia seeds are such a nutritious food - to 23% protein with all the essential amino acids; also high in fibre, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals (particularly calcium which is 600mg per 100 grams of seeds); and the highest known plant source of Omega 3 (62% to 65%), and to a good balance of Omega 6. Omega 3 and 6, these Essential fatty Acids are called "The Miracle of EFA 'Oxygen Magnets" by Brian Peskin in his book "The Hidden Story of Cancer". He says, "These EFA oxygen magnets in the cell membrane attract the oxygen that's in your bloodstream and transfer it into the cell just like oxygen sponges".
NaturalNews, has released information, today, just published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, which indicates that a healthy nervous system needs adequate omega-3 fatty acids. People with bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, Huntington's disease and other illnesses affecting the nervous system, often have very low omega-3 fatty acids, and perhaps this is why they have difficulties with processing information. Research suggests that increasing dietary omega-3s may be a natural way to prevent and treat those conditions.
Besides being a boost to energy to the body and the brain, chia is valued for its benefits in relieving inflammatory conditions like arthritis, also high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart conditions, diabetes, skin conditions, constipation, better concentration and balanced moods... to name a few benefits.
Seeds can be eaten in hand (they have a nutty flavour), sprinkled over cereal or meals or added to baked goods. A great way to use chia is to take 2 teaspoons of the seeds and put into 1 glass of water, stir well and leave to stand. The seeds will swell up and look like jelly... some say, like caviar (I like to do this in the evening and leave it stand overnight, as this then starts the germination of the seeds which then develop living enzymes, plus an increase of nutrients, and the seeds from dried to living - become alkaline). The thick jelly-like mix can then be drunk like that, or added to any fruit juice (eg orange, passionfruit pulp, or apple juice is nice), or it can be used on breakfast cereal, or put in a blender and fresh cut herbs added, and blended to make into a thick smoothie.
Over a few weeks the daily amount of chia could be increased to 4 teaspoons daily. Recently we had a lady share, that for her condition of severe arthritis, she used the chia seeds (and over 2 months built up to taking 2 tablespoons of chia seeds a day) and this daily ritual of chia seeds has given her tremendous relief from arthritic pain. No wonder chia has been called a 'super food' with so many benefits to our health. When using chia, always make sure in the day, extra water is consumed, as to work effectively, chia needs plenty of water to go through the colon (or constipation may result).
NaturalNews, has released information just published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, which indicates that a healthy nervous system needs adequate omega-3 fatty acids. People with bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; schizophrenia; Huntington's disease and other illnesses affecting the nervous system, often have very low omega-3 fatty acids, and perhaps this is why they have difficulties with processing information. Research suggests that increasing dietary omega-3s may be a natural way to prevent and treat those conditions.
** Make some refreshing cool herb teas. Herb teas do not have to be drunk hot. In our house, we enjoy them cold in summer. I make a big pot, of a variety of herbs in the morning. All the lemon flavoured herbs I really enjoy in summer, like lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon myrtle, citronella grass and lemon grass. To the lemon flavoured herb I usually add some other great herbs to boost health like alfalfa, licorice root, stevia, nettle, comfrey, gotu kola, brahmi, sheep sorrel. Then we drink the cold herb tea throughout the day as is, or I will add the pulp of a passionfruit to each glass, or fresh squeezed orange juice. Herb teas go great with apple juice too. Herb Robert has helped many people who suffer with chronic fatigue, so add a few leaves of this to the tea too.
And you do not have to add boiling water to the herbs to make a tea. No doubt the boiling water does extract more of the flavour and properties, from the herbs. Try finely chopping some mint (or any other herbs) and adding to a bottle of cold water, and drink this through the day when feeling thirsty. Start a new trend in your area, of health promoting drinks as an alternative to soft drinks, 4X and other alcohol.
From the mail box, and feed back from people...
Wonderful feed back, when people use Herbs!
Teena emailed - Thank you for suggesting I grow and drink lemon balm as a tea. Previous to this I was so stressed out, I could not cope with basic daily functions, or work. I drink 3 cups a day as cool tea, which I make up in the morning. After the first cup in the morning I feel positive, and now after taking the herb for about 3 months all stress and anxiety has gone, and the heart palpitations and digestive problems I previously had, are no longer there. I have also noticed that my memory has improved too. Thank you for telling me about this herb.
Best wishes Teena.
Recently, I was doing some research on lemon balm, and found reference to its benefits of people with dementia, Alzheimer's and that it can improve their quality of life. Out of many plants tested, lemon balm was shown to have significant ability to enhance or restore mental functions, including memory. The herb was also found to calm the central nervous system. Lemon balm has strong antibacterial and antioxidant action and its high citrol content has anti-tumor properties.
Lemon Balm has been called the elixir of life because of its reputation for promoting long life. Sit down and have a lemon balm tea. Here's to your health and longevity! Now, don't just say, that's old wives tales. There are many people who have drunk balm daily to great advantage. Like the recorded life of John Hussey of Sydenham, who lived to 116 and breakfasted for 50 years on lemon balm tea sweetened with honey. And why would a plant be given the name 'balm', if not for a good reason. After all, balm means - fragrant, to lessen the pain, to soothe, and for health.
And an email from Sonya, sharing a wonderful account of health benefits for their dog Barney...
Our Staffordshire Bull Terrier Barney has responded extremely well to gotu kola. He has a history of cancer, arthritis and a benign growth which impedes the blood flow to his heart. He's 11-years old and for the past nine years has been fed on organic meat with a blend of semi-fermented seeds, grains, minerals and other healthy nutrients. He also has green lip mussel powder, which relieves his arthritis pain. Recently he was starting to look very run down and old. We could see he was having problems with his vision - all he wanted to do was sleep. On advice from Isabell, we started adding gotu kola to his food, morning and night, two leaves a day for one week and then four (small) leaves a day. The change was remarkable. He is now back to his old self - playing with his toys, full of energy, following us around and wanting us to play with him. His eyes are a lot clearer and he looks brighter generally. The benefits to Barney's health have taken place in 4 weeks. People comment on how bright he looks for his age. The change in his mobility and vision was so amazing, we've started adding gotu kola to our daily diet too.
WOW! What a wonderful true life account of better health for Barney (and we cannot say, well... it was just placebo effect). It may interest readers on the Sunshine Coast to know that Sonya teaches Permaculture and organic gardening workshops and also topics at Sunshine Coast Libraries on Composting, and Worm farming for the back yard.
Any readers who would like to know about Sonya's Courses can contact her on mobile 0408 013 012;
and for the free library lectures, ask at any Sunshine Coast Library.
Several months ago, I had an email from Judy...
Hi Isabell, The ginko and lemon balm you sent me have been wonderful and very helpful. The vertigo has eased now thanks to the herbal tea, which I have been taking for 9 weeks.
Bob called recently, to say that, after drinking 2 cups of herb Robert tea daily for about 6-7 weeks, the skin cancers on his head have disappeared. Bob said he would keep up drinking the tea, as he preferred that than having cancers burnt off.
Information on wonder working herb...Are you growing watercress? I encourage every garden to have this nutritious plant growing, to use in salads, stir fries, smoothies, etc. The plant likes a semi-shade position, particularly in the heat of summer. I grow it in a styrofoam box, and the plants sprawl and fill the whole the box, so I get a lot of leaves to pick. It likes a high pH soil, so at least once a year give the soil in the pot a sprinkling of lime.
Watercress is a rich source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is very rich in digestive enzymes that act as a catalyst (meaning that the food we eat is more fully utilised and the body gets higher nutrient benefits). The herb is also rich in calcium, sulphur, and vitamins A, C, K and lutein (which can significantly slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, and has a positive part to play in protecting against heart disease).
Watercress is valued as a blood cleanser and blood tonic. Research has shown that watercress is rich in isothiocyanates that have been found to have a marked affect in preventing cancers.
Throughout herbal history watercress has been revered for building strength and stamina. Watercress macerated, has long been valued as a hair tonic, increasing thickness (see Herb Book for method of preparation).
Fenugreek is very valuable to the lymphatic system (which is often called the vacuum cleaner to the body for removing toxins). The lymphatic system relies on the movement of the body in physical movement and work, and this activity creates pressure which opens and shuts the valves of the lymphatic system, so that wastes can be eliminated. If the lymphatics become clogged, the lymph nodes in the groin, under the arms, at the base of the neck, and in many other areas of the body become blocked, and if severe, lumps will be felt in these nodes. A severe state of blocked lymphatics may lead to lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin s disease. Fenugreek seeds grown as sprouts are a great way to get optimum nutrients from this great plant. The sprouts take 2 days to grow in summer and are rich in nutrients and protein. The sprouts are alkaline, and rich in living enzymes - what could be better than that for our health. At the Herb Farm, I make more fenugreek sprouts, than any other kinds. Besides serving these sprouts on meals, often I blend the sprouts with fresh herbs, aloe vera gel (from inside the fresh picked leaf), fresh fruit like mango, pawpaw or pineapple and make a thick smoothie. Very delicious. At present I am using an excellent variety of fenugreek. I find I get 100% germination of these seeds.
Another herb to benefit and support the lymphatic system is bay leaf. Several leaves an be chopped finely and made as a tea, drunk hot or cool; or added to other herbs when brewing a tea, or regularly use bay for flavouring when cooking. If a person has very swollen lymph nodes, oil of bay can be massaged into the area, several times a day. Ask at your health food shop for oil of bay. Alternatively pick some bay leaves, chop and infuse in a little sunflower or olive oil, shake container daily, after 2-3 weeks strain out leaves, and bottle. Note: what you have made is not the pure oil of bay, but an infusion in oil, so it will not be as strong in its properties, and will be oily and a bit messy to use, but this is another way for the benefits of bay, to go to the area of the lymph nodes via the pores of the skin.
The herb meadowsweet is soothing and healing to the gastric mucosa, also reducing gastric acidity, inflammation, fluid retention, rheumatic and urinary conditions and fevers. And the plant has a wonderful refreshing cooling aroma.
Scullcap is easy to grow, and is valuable as a central nervous system relaxant and restorative.
Yarrow is a valuable herb for poor healing wounds, and also benefits the circulation.
Thuja has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory action, and is a stimulant to smooth muscles, particularly the bronchial muscles, and the genito-urinary and vascular system.
FRESH BASIL EASES ARTHRITIC PAIN
was the headline, I was given, on a Newspaper cutting, several months ago... And this is what the article said...
"SEVERAL varieties of fresh basil have been found to be as strong as anti-inflammatory medication when it comes to easing the swelling and pain of arthritis, according to a new study conducted in India. Researchers found that when taken orally, concentrated extracts from two types of basil - Ocimum americanum and Ocimum tenuiflorum - reduced joint swelling by up to 73 per cent in 24 hours.
"We assessed the anti-inflammatory capacity of both plants and found they were similar to those seen with diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that is used in the treatment of arthritis," says lead researcher Vaibhav Shinde.
"Research indicates that eugenol, the oil that gives basil its distinctive aroma, is the active molecule responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect."
Well, I did some research to find out more about the 2 basils species listed above, and it appears that the 2 species have a variety of synonym names, and we actually know very well in Australia, as...
Ocimum americanum is Ocimum basilicum called Sweet Basil and
Ocimum tenuiflorum is Ocimum sanctum called Sacred or Holy or Tulsi Basil.
So why not get these basils growing, and use them regularly for flavouring and in foods, and tea. Making lots of pesto, is a great way to use basil.
Allspice I have come to regard as a very special herb/spice. The aroma and flavour is of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Several in vitro studies of allspice berries and leaves provide evidence of strong antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant and antifungal activity, used to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. Allspice has been used to treat bruises, diabetes, fatigue, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach upset, and toothache. For gas and bloating, allspice can be made into a tea using 2 large fresh leaves finely cut, or one teaspoon of ground allspice powder steeped covered for ten minutes with 1 cup of hot water and then strained. The tea can be taken one to three times a day. It's thought to be best taken between meals, as it may interfere with the absorption of some minerals such as iron.
Allspice is a traditional remedy for muscle aches and pain. A warm poultice may be made of a strong leaf tea decoction applied to painful joints or other areas of pain, and left on for at least 20 minutes.
Certain people may be allergic to using pure allspice essential oil (which is a concentration of eugenol) and may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or skin rash after taking allspice. Any person with chronic digestive disease, such as duodenal ulcers, reflux disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel, or diverticulitis should use it as the pure oil very sparingly. For this reason, generally using the leaf for flavouring and therapeutically is much more acceptable, safe, and side effect are not likely to take place.
* Coconut Salad (serves 6-8)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 lime or lemon
½ teaspoon salt
1 handful fresh mint leaves, finely cut
1 teaspoon finely cut chives
1 handful currant, or sultanas, or pepita seeds
Warm a fry pan over medium heat, and gently toss the coconut, turning it with a spoon until golden and fragrant, and then place in a large mixing bowl. Shred or crate the carrots finely. Grate the lime/lemon rind and juice the fruit too. Mix the rind, juice and salt. Mix all the prepared ingredients with the coconut. Toss and serve.
* Brain Booster Smoothie
Blend together 2 ripe pears, 1 apple, 2 large handfuls purslane,1 small cucumber with peel, juice of 1 lemon, lime or orange, 2 cups of water, or a chilled herb tea.
YOUR BODY'S IMMUNE SYSTEM: what is it?
You can't feel it or take its pulse or temperature, yet your immune system works tirelessly around the clock, from birth to old age, to keep you safe. The immune system fights for your health all day every day. Your body uses the immune system as one of the mechanisms for defending itself against disease, but when your immunity becomes tired and run down, you can get sick.
Essentially, the immune system is a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by foreign invaders. These are primarily microbes (germs) - tiny, infection-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. The human body provides an ideal environment for many microbes, and they try to break in. The purpose of the immune system is to keep them out, or if this fails, to seek out and destroy the invaders.
The process to "seek out and destroy" is part of "an immune response" and is a sequence of defensive actions mobilised by the immune system. This triggered mechanism attacks organisms and substances that invade the body and cause sickness. Maintaining a well-balanced functioning immune system is a vital component of your body's self defence to help keep you safe.
This is where herbs can play a valuable role in our daily life, to strengthen various body functions and immune response. Herbs that are blood cleansers and blood builders, herbs that are adaptogens, alteratives, antibiotics, antiseptics, antioxidants, expectorants, vermifuge, prophylactics and tonics, these herbs can all be our special friends to keep us strong and healthy.
Some inspiring quotes to ponder on...
A man though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more.
Henry David Thoreau:
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Sandra Day O'Connor:
We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.
We have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here.
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.
May you live all the days of your life.
And in signing off...Recently we have added more pictures of herbs and self-sufficiency food plants to our web site.
I mentioned in my book 'How can I be prepared with Self-sufficiency and Survival Foods?' that we hoped to make more pictures accessible on the web site, so do have a look, and periodically we will add more.
And do feel free to print out the newsletter, or forward it on the family and friends.
If you would like to get the latest Herb Farm catalogue, please send an email to with 'please email me a catalogue' as the subject.
We will update the catalogue 2 times a year, usually early January and July.
I encourage readers to use herbs daily. Now you may not be an old dog like Barney, but herbs can do wonderful things for our well-being, if we use them regularly.
Herbs are so special.
Our health is so precious.
Until next newsletter, Isabell Shipard
For any further informationon herbs and edible plants do have a look at this website, and Isabell's books. You are welcome to contact Isabell Shipard by email
or phone 07 54411101 during Shipards Herb Farm open hours - Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat, from 10 am to 2 pm.