Grief is the most draining of emotions, depleting both energy and brain power. Most people know that there are several stages of grief, including: shock, denial, protest and depression (though not in any particular order). Every person experiences and deals with grief differently, and some may have trouble working through the depression phase. However, there are natural remedies that can help everyone through the process.
The scent of marjoram is a traditional remedy for grief. You can purchase the essential oil and apply a drop or two to a tissue or handkerchief, or grow and dry marjoram and make it into a sachet. Both would make nice gifts to ease the pain of a grieving friend or loved one.
Ginseng helps the body deal with all kinds of stresses, including grief and loss. Ginseng is available as tea or capsules, but also powdered and fresh. During times of grief, increase your intake of Ginseng. Ginseng tea or root would be a good gift to offer someone who is grieving, or find a recipe calling for fresh Ginseng root.
When grieving, it’s important to be aware of your intake of sugar, processed foods, caffeinated foods and alcohol. Each of these can worsen depression.
An herbal supplement of Saint Johns’ Wort, taken three times a day, can help lift your outlook. Or, make tea from the dried herb, allow to steep for 10 minutes, strain, then cool. Drink twice daily. The down side? It takes up to four weeks to see results however, and the fair skinned should avoid the sun when taking Saint Johns’ Wort.
SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID
One of the biggest regrets to accompany grief relates to “things left unsaid.” Some psychiatrists recommend picturing the lost one near the end of their life, then speak out loud of anything you wish you said before the person died. Express your sorrow, confusion, anger – whatever feelings you have relating to that person. Other psychiatrists suggest writing a letter to the deceased saying what needs to be said, then burning or shredding the letter as you wish them a final farewell.
Grieving people are more susceptible to illness and disease. It is important to take steps to boost the immune system during a grieving period. Daily doses of Vitamin C and D can help.
Progressive relaxation has shown to increase immune cell activity, if regularly practiced three times a day. The progressive relaxation process includes tensing and relaxing muscles to increase blood flow to the different parts of the body.
Anything that increases circulation will strengthen the immune system, relax tense muscles, and lift the spirits. Specifically, for grief, the American Yoga Association recommends the standing sun, knee squeeze and seated sun poses. However, since grieving people tend to become more sedentary, anyv exercise, even a slow, 15-minute walk will make a difference.
WARM YOUR HANDS
Under stress, the body restricts the flow of blood to the extremities, so they are colder than the rest of the body. If you warm your hands, blood flow increases again, lowering the level of stress and improving circulation for a healthy immune system.
Well, the time off from the garden has ended. We finished last year’s in early November, and with the arrival of the seed packets recently, the game is again afoot. The seed trays and potting soil have been sterilized and set out for this year’s garden.
It is early in the season yet, being winter and all. However with row covers, it won’t be long at all before we can sow lettuces, peas and more outside. Meantime, the “spare bedroom” has become the seed nursery again.
In a review of the seed collection we have, it seems that this year will be a year for cabbage. Our stock seed was getting a little too old (germination rate drops the older it gets), so it’s time to plant the old and place the new into stock.
Today we planted four trays of cabbage; two green species and a red.
I”ve mentioned my intention to re-invent the herb garden, and that process begins with two trays of chive seeds and half a tray of dill seed.
Soon I’ll plant parsley, yarrow and stevia outside in the new perennial garden location.
But not yet. Not quite yet.
Once the ground temperature reaches 40 degrees though, the rules of the game change. I can harvest the winter carrots, the horseradish, the winter garlic. I can start dividing and transplanting the herbs that need moved – Lemon balm, thyme, oregano, lavender.
But for now, we have to keep our planting reined in – don’t want to get too far ahead. Cabbage, chives and dill…
That’s a good start.
Of course, she knows there are still critters under the snow. She never finds them, but she sure does sniff around under there.
Something’s been here, Mom.
Something touched this piece of grass.
I love the way her ears flap when she runs.
Funny how we measure time by the height of a tree or abundance of a bush. I can remember when we broke ground in our tiny garden – now expanded to the size of a football field. I remember the year we planted the apple and pear trees, when I sowed the small seed that now is a tangled wandering mess of oregano that covers four square feet. I remember the year I brought home a tiny, scraggly chocolate mint plant – that has since taken over half of the perennial garden.
This will be the year of the chives.
I’ve been wanting chives for several years. I even bought a plant a few years back and placed it in the garden. That was the year we expanded our flock of hens, and the new leghorns taught our lazy fat hens how to fly out of their fence. The chives were not big enough to survive the scratching.
Apparently, I bought chive seed sometime late in the season last year — two packs. I put them up for the year, and forgot about them. I didn’t go through my saved seed before I ordered new seed this spring, and I ordered more chive seed — two packs.
So, I started lots of chives — two trays. I’ll plant at least six (or more) of the starts in the new perennial garden we’re starting this year – and perhaps the rest I’ll take to the plant swap with the CEOS club, give to friends or sell at a farmer’s market.
I love chives. I like to chop them when they’re fresh and freeze them in freezer bags or ice cubes. I’ll toss an ice cube into the rice cooker, warming soup, etc.
Chives have been reported to have anti-cancer, anti-clotting, antibacterial, antiviral and decongestant properties. Studies have shown that a greater intake of allium vegetables(onions, garlic, leeks) is associated with lower risk of several types of cancers, especially stomach and prostate cancer. The leaves of chives have been found to have a high antioxidant activity and are also packed full of flavanoids.
In Chinese herbal medicine, chives are used to control bleeding and to treat fatigue. The leaves can be applied to insect bites, cuts and wounds and the seeds used for treating problems associated with the kidney, liver and the digestive system. Chives have also been shown to help lower cholestrol when included in a balanced diet. They are rich in vitamin A and C and contain a small quantity of iron.
Chives are a pretty plant as well. Spiky little bunches with pink flowers in the spring. The seed I plant now will bloom in a year – and will season our foods for years to come.Everyone needs at least one bunch in their garden, or in a pot on the porch.
I’ll keep you posted on the chive development as the season progresses. And years from now, I’ll likely remember this year as “the year we planted the chives.”
Within the seed packets that arrive in the mail, so sprout the dreams for this year’s garden.
Of course, we ordered the staples, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, half runner beans. The spaghetti squash were such a hit last year, we’re trying them again this year. Pumpkins, peppers, leaf lettuce — all things we’ve done before.
But this year, I’m also hoping to grow more supplemental feed for the chickens. Amaranth, sorghum, lots of sunflowers. I’m even trying peanuts, but I’m not so sure they’ll be for the chickens.
I’m revamping the herb garden this year as well. It didn’t take long for the oregano, thyme and chocolate mint to over grow the original herb garden, and now with so many chickens, rabbits and deer, the herb garden really needs moved inside the main garden fencing.
I’ve spent a small part of the winter researching ways to combine gardening and sewing, two of my favorite creative outlets. I’m planning much of the herb garden for some new aromatic projects from the sewing machine.
Most of the herbs I have established were planted for medicinal purposes – and they’ve matured enough to start some serious dividing and harvesting this year. I have thought about making tinctures, but I think mostly I will work with dried at first. This will definitely be the year to harvest Echinacea, comfrey, horseradish. I also hope to get new starts of lavender, and will attempt to start some from seed. More chives, more parsley – which I put in darn-near everything I cook now.
As for the veggies, I don’t see us trying much new. Some different beans, maybe. What we’re learning now is how much to plant for our canning purposes, and how best to grow it. We need to improve our method for corn, and would like to trellis the cucumbers somehow. More, more, more peas — not quite so many potatoes. Try eggplant – again. Perhaps three times will be the charm.
The one new thing we’re starting this year is Asparagus – to be planted and not harvested for several years to come. I never liked asparagus – until I tried fresh picked, cooked right. It was superb. Who knows what will happen? But if we don’t plant it, we’ll never have our own.
Dreams, plans – some which can’t be harvested for years. All arriving in small packets to the mail box.