Birch Tree Leaves And Apple Cider Vinegar For Hair Growth

Natural Remedies

Herbal Hair Treatment: Birch And Cider Vinegar Hair Tonic

The medicinal qualities of the Birch Tree are well known.  For rheumatism, arthritis, gout and dropsy, the birch remedy has been much used in the past, according to the old herbalists of yesteryear.

Nelson Coon wrote in his book ‘Using Herbs For Healing’ that salicylic acid is obtained from the Sweet Birch  herb when it is distilled.  Salicylic acid is a component of aspirin, which is often prescribed for rheumatic complaints.  So there is an explanation for why Birch tree remedies have been so much used in the past for treating this and related conditions.

Note:  Salicylic acid is also found in the bark of the White Willow Tree.  This remedy was commonly used to treat headaches, rheumatism, and all sorts of aches and pains before the synthetic form was discovered, namely aspirin.

Read my earlier post on how Birch Tree leaves have been used to treat kidney stones, insomnia, rheumatism, arthritis, dropsy and gout:

Birch Tree Leaves for Kidney Stones

Birch For Hair Growth:  Oil extracted from Birch bark is similar to oil of Wintergreen, which is well-known as a stimulant to encourage hair growth.

Several modern herbalists have written of the value of Birch Tree Leaves in treating baldness.  We find references to its use in treating baldness in the writings of John Lust, who recommended pounding up fresh leaves with your mortar and pestle, and then massaging the juice into the scalp.

Birch Leaf Tea is also a good stimulant for hair growth, and to give the hair a nice shine.

But here is my own method for making a hair tonic which combines cider vinegar and Birch Tree leaves.

Simply pick a good handful of fresh Birch Tree leaves.

Chop the leaves up a little, or bruise them in your mortar and pestle.

Then put them into a jar and cover the leaves with apple cider vinegar of a good quality.

Screw on the lid and leave to infuse in a warm place for two weeks.

Shake the Birch Leaf mixture each day to bring out the nutrients.

After two weeks, strain off the liquid into a bottle which has an air-tight lid.

Use as a tonic on the hair after washing it with your regular shampoo or soap.

Simply massage around two tablespoonsful of the Birch Leaf Tonic into the hair, straight after towelling the hair semi-dry.  Leave the tonic on the hair while it is drying.

The cider vinegar neutralizes the alkaline effect of shampoo or soap, which makes for a healthy scalp.  Cider vinegar also has a helpful effect in that it encourages good circulation to the roots of the hair.

The other benefit to the hair is that the nutrients in the apple cider vinegar, combined with the Birch Tree nutrients will nourish the scalp and help to stimulate new hair growth.

Sage is another wonderful herb for the hair.  See my earlier post on how to use sage as a hair tonic.

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NZ Flax Herbal Recipe For Constipation And Cleansing

Natural Remedies

New Zealand Flax:  Phormium Tenax

Note:  NZ Flax is totally different and not related to the type of flax which linseed comes from.

I have just begun studying an old herbal from 1889, ‘The New Zealand Herb Doctor – A Book On The Botanic Eclectic System Of Medicine’, by James F. Neil, MD, USA.

‘It is no use denying the existence of the form of folly which despises things because they are cheap and easily got.’  Thus spake James F. Neil, MD., USA., on page 71 of his book, ‘The New Zealand Herb Doctor’.

James Neil was a graduate of the Eclectic College of Medicine and Surgery, Chicago, and also the Polyclinic Post Graduate College of New York.

James Neil’s powerfully informative book on herbal remedies was first published in Dunedin, NZ,  by Mills, Dick & Co., Printers And Lithographers, The Octagon.

The copy I have is one of 1000, reprinted in 1980 in Christchurch, NZ, by Capper Press.

New Zealand Flax: Phormium Tenax

James Neil writes in 1889 that flax ‘is becoming a valuable article of commerce, and is not now likely to be cut down and destroyed, as it was at one time.’

Over 120 years later, we can safely say that his prediction was true.  There has been a renaissance in Maori weaving, which makes predominant use of flax.  This renaissance of Maori weaving is mostly due to Rangimarie Puketapu-Hetet, who devoted much of her life to teaching and promoting the art of Maori weaving.

And so today, flax is nurtured in many groves of natural plantings around the country.

I have three flax plants in my own garden, which I keep to feed the birds, and for medicinal use.

I also like the idea of keeping flax growing, in the event where natural fibre clothing cannot be bought, that I can spin my own fibre. I  keep a spinning wheel, just in case.

The New Zealand native Tui bird is particularly fond of the nectar contained in the attractive, drooping fronds of rich yellow blossoms, and then, when the blossoms have all gone to seed, there remains a wealth of protein-rich seed for birds of many types to feed on.

If you love birds, then plant some New Zealand flax.

On page 58 of my copy of ‘The New Zealand Family Herb Doctor’ is the section on how to use flax root as a Cathartic, Aperient, Laxative medicine.

How To Make A Mild Laxative Using NZ Flax Root

James Neil’s method of using NZ flax root to make a laxative is more or less as follows:

Select your roots and wash them well.  Chop them finely and cover with water. Simmer for half an hour.

Strain when cold and sweeten if necessary.

Put into a clean dry bottle and store in the refridgerator.

Dose:  One tablespoonful to be taken once or up to three times a day as needed.

Note:  As with all constipation remedies, this herbal remedy should not be used for long periods at a time.  I would not use the remedy for longer than three days, after which, if constipation was still a problem, three days of eating only raw, grated apples should be done.  The raw apple diet is one of the best cleansing, tonic remedies to use, and it is very effective for curing constipation.

James Neil also recommends this same decoction for relief of chilblains.  Use to bathe the unbroken chilblains while the mixture is still warm.

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Spider’s Web To Treat Asthma, Consumption, Fever, And Ague

My ancient  “Vitalogy Book of Food and Harmless Home Remedies”, written by two doctors in 1904, gives some fascinating information about the use of Spider’s Web, Araneas Tela as, an oral remedy.  It is, apparently, a natural remedy that not only was used in helping to heal cuts and wounds, but was also recommended  for treating asthma, fever and ague.

This Vitalogy Book of Food and Harmless Home Remedies really does seem to have some wonderful recipes in it.  However, I wonder about the safety of some of the given remedies. No different to the questionable use  and safety of some modern-day medicines, I guess.

Whilst I have never ever tried taking a spider’s web orally, I have often snatched down a nice, lengthy cobweb to wrap around a cut on myself or my children. Cobwebs for wounds is a common old folk-lore remedy. Cobwebs have properties which help to stem bleeding, which makes them a great first-aid tool, especially if you do not have plasters or other help at hand.

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Although I might try putting a spider’s web around a cut or wound, swallowing pilules of spider web as an experiment does not appeal to me.  But, if  for some reason I was suffering a life-threatening asthma attack, stuck out in the country with no reliable medicine, I might even try swallowing a spider’s web, if I could find one,  in the hope that it might avert the attack.

So – for your information, I quote this excerpt which comes from the pens of ‘Vitalogy’ Doctors Wood and Ruddock. Nowadays, I guess we call ‘Vitalogy’ Naturopathy, or Holistic Medicine. Doctors Wood and Ruddock copyrighted their health manual  in 1904. My copy of the book was published by the ‘Vitalogy Association’ of Chicago, Illinois, in 1923.   The Queen Mother, who was a great fan of homeopathic medicine, and my Grandma Edie, would have been just four years old when this book was written, and 23 when my copy was published.

Doctors Wood and Ruddock say, in ‘Vitalogy’, p.582-3:

‘The cobweb of the spider is said to be almost a specific for fever and ague.  When rolled into an ordinary-sized pill, two or three will be generally sufficient to effect a cure, but more may be taken if necessary, and to be used every two or three hours.

Some physicians give it in about five-grain doses.  For consumption, where it has been used, it is said to have produced surprising effects.

It is also very valuable in asthma.

Applied externally, it will check the bleeding of wounds.  The brown or black spider produces for the purposes above indicated the best web, and it is usually found in cellars, dark out-houses and barns.

It is recommended in wakefulness, spasms and nervous excitement, and generally produces the most delightful state of bodily and mental tranquility.  (WARNING – THIS SOUNDS LIKE A SEDATIVE.  REMEMBER THAT NOT ALL SPIDER’S WEBS MAY BE SAFE TO USE AS ORAL MEDICINE.  SOME OF THOSE AUSSIE ONES MIGHT BE LETHAL, SINCE MANY OF THEIR SPIDERS ARE SO POISONOUS)  It is given in doses of four and five grains, in the form of pills, three times a day.


Homemade Gluten Free Pickled Ginger (Uncooked)

Herbal Recipe:  How To Make Your Own Gluten Free, Uncooked, Pickled Ginger.

This easy recipe can be used as a condiment and as an herbal remedy.

Making your own pickled ginger is a rewarding exercise. Apart from the creative process of making it, you can also gain satisfaction from the knowledge that your homemade product does not contain any added harmful preservatives which a commercial product might use.

Homemade pickled ginger is useful as an addition to curries, meat, fish or vegetarian dishes, and can also be used as a medicine, taken a teaspoon at a time.

Ginger has been used in traditional Chinese and Indian ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Ginger is an amazing herb:  In modern language, it is known as a ‘blood thinner’, as a heart and circulation booster, as a digestive aid, as an antidote to nausea and food-poisoning, for motion sickness, as an antioxidant and detoxifyer of poisons in the liver, and as a catalyst for other herbs and nutrients to be assimilated efficiently.  It is a common ingredient of many traditional herbal remedies, because of its ability to increase the effectiveness of herbs and nutrients in foods.

So – here is how to make your gluten-free,  homemade pickled ginger.

Take fresh, peeled, ginger roots. Grate up enough to fill two cups.

Pour boiling water over the grated ginger, and leave to soften for one minute.

Strain the ginger and reserve the water for tea,

Into a glass jar which has a good fitting lid, put:

1 cup wine vinegar or cider vinegar

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Stir the sugar and salt into the vinegar.

Now pack your grated and softened ginger into the jar, making sure that the ginger is covered with the vinegar.  Top up with a little more vinegar if necessary.

Put on the lid and shake for a minute or so.

Leave the jar on the window-sill for two days, shaking every day.

After two days, put the pickled ginger into the fridge and use as needed.

This is best if it is used within two weeks.

A slice of pickled beetroot added to the jar will give the ginger a pinkish colour. Alternatively, you can buy some shiso leaves from an Asian grocer, and add a little to the pickle mixture.  These will give your homemade pickle a pink colour.

As a digestive tonic, take one teaspoonful per day at mealtimes.  Note:  Do not use ginger in your food, or as a herbal remedy if you are taking a chemical blood thinner such as warfarin.  Ginger, like Vitamin C, and Vitamin C rich fruits such as grapefruit,  is a natural blood-thinner, so if you take it along with a prescribed medicine such as Warfarin, then you will be doubling up on the blood-thinning effect.  Use only one or the other – traditional remedies, or the medication prescribed for you.

Personally, I think it is better to use herbal remedies, and eat the appropriate foods, so that the blood is thinned naturally, rather than take pharmaceutical preparations.  Drugs which are commonly prescribed often turn out to have very deleterious effects on the vital organs and nervous system of the body.  The side effects of warfarin are not so pleasant, and it can even induce a stroke, the very thing it is meant to prevent.  But if you have decided on the standard medical approach for preventing strokes, then do not use ginger as well.

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Herbalists And Homeopaths Can Develop Sensitivity To Their Own Potions

Did you know that Bee Keepers often develop allergies to their own bees, to their stings, and to the pollen that they carry?   This can happen after many, many years of  working as a bee-keeper.  Suddenly, one day, an allergic reaction can be experienced from a sting, when it has never happened before.  This usually results in the bee-keeper, who has suddenly become allergic to his own bees, having to give up being a bee-keeper.

The same type of sensitivity can develop in people who are constantly handling Homeopathic remedies, or Herbal medicines. It is an occupational hazard, that Homeopaths and Herbalists can become sensitive to their own remedies.  People who make these things at home need to be cautious.

The thing is that when you put  herbs or spices of any kind into a medium such as water, or alcohol, vinegar, or oil, their potency is increased  by a phenomenal amount.  A handful, or even a basketful of fresh herbs, may not present too much of a problem to most people.  But the minute that you put these herbs into alcohol, or any other medium, then the strength of the potion will become far greater than the original sum of the parts.  This means that you should avoid  storing, or making and leaving these herbal potions  to ferment, or to infuse, in places such as on the kitchen table, or in your bedroom, or any place where you spend several hours a day.  Even storing them in a room  near your bedroom will cause your health to be affected, for better or for worse, especially if you are keeping a quantity of different remedies.  The more remedies that you store, and the greater the quantities, the more intense will their effect be.  An enormous range of  unexpected symptoms could result from the synergistic effect of combining these energies.

Unfortunately, although I still use Homeopathy occasionally, or help people to find an appropriate remedy for their complaints, I cannot work as a professional Homeopath, because of the sensitivity I have to these remedies. I feel the specific effect of many remedies without even having to touch them, or swallow them.  Just having a bottle of a preparation nearby is enough for many sensitive  people, to  experience the desired effect from either a Homeopathic or a Herbal remedy. The converse applies – that you could experience an UNdesired effect from keeping a remedy nearby.

I could never be a professional herbalist who makes up specific remedies for people,  as part of the daily routine, for this reason, because I would be dosing myself with many different herbs or remedies, without having a need for them.  The same sensitivity is evident when I am exposed to chemicals such as toxic herbacides, or pesticides, and various household chemicals which most people spray around with gay abandon.  A whiff of these type of chemicals brings about definite changes in my emotional and physical state which can often be very distressing.

Blow those Doctors and critics of Homeopathy, who say that Homeopathic remedies are useless, because there is nothing in them.  These people believe that  ‘there is nothing in Homeopathic Medicines’ which can do anything at all to help in an illness.  My own experience has proven, apart from the fact that Homeopathy has often cured illnesses in our family, as has Herbal medicine, that Herbal or Homeopathic remedies which are stored, or prepared, in our much used spaces, such as kitchens, can actually CAUSE sickness.   Homeopathic preparations, or herbal ones, have an incredible power to cause physiological changes in the body, for better of worse.  And this is why you need to be cautious about making or storing these remedies.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in keeping a few of the Homeopathic First Aid Remedies, such as Arnica, Thuja, Aconite, Belladonna, Ledum, or Pulsatilla.  But it is best to keep this small collection together, away in the bath-rom cupboard, and not in your bedroom.  And it is best not to have large quantities of any one remedy, or too many different ones kept together.

The same goes, of course, to pharmaceutical preparations.  Your health could be affected by pharmaceutical drugs, or household chemicals such as insect killers and weedkillers which are stored anywhere in your house.  Even if you are not sensitive, these things will affect your metabolism and your emotions.  Of course, using these chemicals is not good for your health or the environmnent.  But even storing these things in your house is not a good practice, because you will be affected by the vibration of the chemical.  Ill health could be caused by keeping these things in your laundry, kitchen or bathroom, even if you don’t use them.