OMG I have a blog!

Well, looks like I forgot about this little gem.  Oh so much has happened in the meantime!

I’ve- gotten married, had a baby, deferred my course, started a body image and dieting blog, I’m writing a book… and I’m back at studying!  Crazy!  Well, now I know this is still active and present, I’ll start updating it again!

Life? Seriously, you have one of those?

I don’t consider myself deprived of a life.  Sure, I work, I study, I have a family and things are busy as hell.  No, I don’t watch a lot of TV and there are about a million books I don’t have the time to read.  I don’t go out much and don’t have any hobbies.  But you know what? I still have fun.  I still connect.

The trick is quality over quantity, and patience.  I make sure that if I watch TV, it’s something I REALLY enjoy.  I have my favourites and I download them on Apple TV to watch when I have time.  Sometimes that’s scheduled in, other times I just need a break.  We don’t have normal TV set up so there’s no mindless channel surfing because god, that sucks you in doesn’t it? Flicking stations for a minute that turns into an hour that turns into a day?  I do the same with books- big series like Wheel of Time that I’d love to go back and read again are on my rain-check list.  I make sure that I still read the ones I really want though- sometimes short, easy reads like The Dresden Files, othertimes things with more bite.  But I’m a fast reader so even a giant of a book doesn’t stop me for long (I can’t read + study, I HAVE to finish the book).

I may have lied, I do have a hobby-writing.  This blog, a fiction novel and other bits and pieces.  I limit myself to set times and make sure I’m not getting myself behind, but that makes me enjoy my writing time more, and I think it makes me more productive, too.  I love to see movies and go every few weeks.  I hangout with friends online or in person every so often.  Weekends are family time, which is awesome (when nobody is getting killed)

I guess I am lucky to enjoy everything I do.  I don’t schedule fun, I let it happen and I appreciate it.  I just do it with purpose and avoid (most of) the traps that lie in between- those boring, spaced out stretches that aren’t fun, connected, productive.  Do thing with intent.  And for God’s sake, stay AWAY from Facebook…

Constituents of Herbs

What makes herbs work?  A vast array of chemicals that act together in ways that, for the most part, are too complex to understand.  Science has however pinned down a few groups of chemicals, some of which have varied actions and other that are a bit more uniform.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Tannins are what give strong black tea it’s mouth-puckering quality.  They precipitate proteins- that is, they affect the proteins in your mucous membranes so they become stronger and more resistant to damage.  Their functions are mainly along these lines- they stop bleeding and secretions, strengthen gastric and oral mucosa, they are anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.  Two herbs high in tannins are Geranium maculatum (American cranesbill) and Hamamelis virginia (witch hazel)

Alkaloids have wider ranging actions, from hallucinogens to cholagogues and anti-microbials.  Some you may have heard of include Berberine (from Barberry), Morphine (Poppy), Cocaine (Coco leaf) and Mescaline, the stuff the gives Peyote Cactus it’s reputation.

Resins are sticky solids that usually have a localised effect. They stimulate phagocytes in the area they are applied, are antispectic, healing and protective making them great for wounds and ulcers.  Calendula officinalis is a great example of this.

Volatile Oils are also present in Calendula and are more commonly known as Essential Oils.  They have a vast range of therapeutic benefits but are very potent and need to be used with care.

Mucilage in herbs consists of complex carbohydrates.  They only affect what they touch and act as a fibre when taken in large doses.  In smaller doses they are used for coating and lubricating the mucous membranes or skin to protect and sooth.  Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm) and Althaea officinalis radix (Marshmallow Root) are two of these herbs.

Flavonoids are mostly water soluble and increase tissue and capillary integrity, are anti inflammatory and stabilize cell membranes.  Silybum marianum and Achillea millefolium (Milk thistle and Yarrow, respectively) fall into this group.

Saponins are soapy- they foam when mixed with water and agitated.  They potentiate other herbs (increase the actions) but can irritate the GI tract in large doses, so use with care.  Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) and Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam) contain saponins.

Anthraquinones are the laxative constituents of herbs, present in commonly used herbs like Senna and Cascara.