Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Garlic Oil for Earaches and Other Infections

            When my fiancĂ© was a young child, he was plagued with recurring ear infections so bad that his eardrums were lanced 9 times in 11 months around the age of 4.  One time, his right eardrum burst because he had been left in the care of his uncle, who did not heed his childish cries to take him to the hospital until blood was pouring out of his ear.  So his hearing is bad in his left ear, and much worse in his right. 
            His earaches could have been stopped at the mild stage—or even later—if his mother had known to put oil in the ear and plug it with a cotton ball.  My mother used “sweet oil,” which I believe is almond oil, on nine children and never had to take an earache to the doctor.  I used garlic oil on my children when their ears ached.  But his mother didn’t know it, and waited until it was an emergency to take him to a doctor, something that happens way too often to too many children.
            I got the idea for using garlic oil from a letter in Mother Earth News, at a time when I happened to have a bad earache.  That writer squeezed garlic oil and vitamin E capsules in the ear; I decided to make garlic oil by the same recipe as for Oil of St. John’s Wort, which I got from the Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable, by Juliet De Baircli Levi (Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 1976).  (She uses garlic extensively, but not in oil.)  Once I dropped the warm oil into my ear and plugged it, the pain was gone within an hour; the infection within a few days.
            Since then, I’ve found garlic oil useful as a topical antibiotic on scratches, scrapes, wounds, and road rash; and as an internal antibiotic in dogs and cats, clearing up colds and distemper.  Garlic oil in the ear can fight an infection anywhere on that side of the head, including teeth and sinus infections
For toothaches, I use it in concert with a piece of cabbage on the nearest cheek, held in place with an elastic bandage.  Tooth infections are stubborn; the pain will go away quickly with cabbage and garlic oil, but it takes most of two weeks to kill the infection.   In the end, however, the only cure for a bad tooth is to fix it or remove it.
Some people are allergic to garlic oil in the ear, and a sensitivity can develop.  This happened to my elder daughter, who found that Oil of St. John’s Wort was still effective.  If you use garlic oil in you ear and it hurts more, clean it out with a Q-tip and use something else.  Sweet oil works simply because it stops cold air from irritating inflamed tissues, and the warmth also kills germs.
            To make garlic oil: peel some cloves of garlic; slice them up; put them in a small jar; and cover them with olive oil.  Place the jar in a pan of hot water and heat it to a low simmer; allow it to simmer for ½ hour; remove from the water bath and let it cool; drain the oil off the garlic and bottle some in a dropper bottle for easy use.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener       541-955-9040      rycke@gardener.com

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My favorite pot recipies: Oatmeal cake and Gingersnaps

Pot Butter

2 sticks (one cup) butter, unsalted
1 cup (or more) pot shake (leaf or broken buds), crumbled.
1 cup (or more) water

Put all ingredients in the top of a double boiler, or in a metal or glass bowl within a larger sauce pan of simmering water, or crock pot set on low heat.  Simmer on low for 2 hours; strain out the pot and throw it away; allow butter and water to cool in refrigerator; pour water out from under the solidified butter.  Yields ¾ cup pot butter.

Oatmeal Spice Cake

1½ cup boiling water
1 cup oats
½ cup butter

Pour boiling water over oats and butter; cover; let soak 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together:

1½ cup wheat flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. nutmeg

Set aside.  When oatmeal is done soaking, add:

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together.  Add flour and spices; mix thoroughly.  Bake in a greased 9x9x2” pan at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For pot cake, make it with pot butter or add finely powdered leaf to the oats to soak.

Pot Gingersnaps

¾ cup pot butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses

Cream together above ingredients; add:

2 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. salt

Mix together into a stiff dough; refrigerate 3 hours.  Form into 1-inch balls; roll top in granulated sugar; place 3” apart on greased cookie sheet; bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until just set; immediately remove from baking sheet.  Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Or, roll dough very thin on the greased cookie sheet; cut into diamonds or squares (diagonally or at right angles); and bake until just set at 300 degrees, approximately 10 minutes; remove from sheet when crisp; store well-dried cookies in sealed jars.

Another alternative is to make rolls of frozen dough, cut ¼ inch slices. Sugar tops, and bake as needed.

The "secret" of making thin, crisp, sugary cookies by ball or drop, rather than thick, chewy or hard cookies is: Go heavy on the sugar (mounded in the cup); light on the flour (not quite filled); and a smallish (medium) egg.  Sugar melts, spreads, and melts in the mouth; too much flour makes cookies hard; too much egg makes them chewy; water makes them soft.

If you roll the dough thin and cut out the cookies, this is not important, and more flour might be better than less.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Be Careful with Vitamin D

I learned about Vitamin D overdose the hard way.  I took a double dose of D3 (800 units) with the rest of my vitamins for two days in a row.  The next day, about 12 hours after the second dose, I started feeling achy in every muscle in my body.  I Goodsearched “body aches, vitamin D” and found a couple of sites among all the hype that mentioned overdose symptoms.  It turns out that Vitamin D deficiency causes body aches, but so does overdose; and some people are sensitive to vitamin D supplements.   Another symptom is frequent urination, no doubt to flush the excess from the body.
 Within an hour or so it was inflaming my stomach; cold tea went down, but not-too-hot tea burned going down, and came right back up.  I had gone to work with my housemate to help; I soon realized that he would have to work alone.  Not only did every muscle ache, but I could not generate body heat.  The bitter cold went to my bones despite layers of clothing, and every muscle cramped.  I spent the day in my customers’ recliner with my feet in front of their fireplace, trying to stay warm and relatively relaxed; napping was impossible with the body aches.
What’s interesting is that I’d taken higher doses of D in the past: 1000-unit oil capsules that did not cause a reaction.  The new 400-unit tablets did, combined with a multivitamin containing another 400 units one day and Calcium Citrate with 400 units of D the next.
It may be that I set myself up for a reaction with my treatment of a toothache; I was taking 800 mg of ibuprofen every four hours, along with Oil of St. John’s Wort in the ear, a cold mask, twice daily Listerine, and occasionally dropping Oregano Oil on the tooth.  I’d left off the cabbage on the cheek; I wasn’t sure if the real problem was a tooth infection irritating my ear and sinuses, or a slight sinus infection irritating the tooth.  Garlic oil seemed to irritate the ear more; I may have become sensitive to it, as happened to my daughter a few years back.
I left off the ibuprofen for about 12 hours, but resumed as the tooth began to ache.  Through the day and the night, I kept drinking water and urinating, trying to wash the excess D out of my system.  I was eventually free of body aches and not excessively sensitive to cold, but it took all night, getting up to drink and pee about 5 times during the night.
I’d always known that one has to be careful with vitamins D and A, because they are oil-soluble and do not wash out of the body as easily as Vitamins B and C, and overdoses happen.  A few years ago, a friend with many health problems was talked into 2500-unit (or 25,000; I’m not sure) megadoses by a naturopath; she got body aches, and I told her that too much Vitamin D could be dangerous, especially with her particular problems.  It turns out that the healthiest of us can run into trouble with too much vitamin D.