Tag Archives: Health

If You Ever Have to Give Up Caffeine, Plus, Plus

catnip and catYep. Caffeine withdrawal is as bad as I’ve heard it was. I looked up the symptoms and have experienced them all. And I wasn’t as heavily into caffeine as many are, had already foregone coffee. Nothing helps the headaches except cold compresses on the forehead. And then there’s the nausea, fatigue (floating in and out of consciousness), inability to concentrate, muscle aches…Why, you may ask, have I put myself through this hell? Because, it means I get to live. Between severe gluten intolerance and worsening bladder irritation (plus frequent infections), I’m having to make extreme dietary adjustments. A sad place to find yourself is on the Celiac website forum with the hard-hit bladder people saying, ‘Great. More dietary restrictions,’ as they ask which supplements, aids, and foods are also gluten-free. I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching what is and isn’t good for bladder health and found a lot of helpful information on the Interstitial Cystitis network at: http://www.ic-network.com/

teaWhat have I learned? Don’t let yourself get into this state before taking decisive steps. Dietary restrictions vary from person to person, but the absolute worst bladder offenders are caffeine (in any way, shape, or form), chocolate, tomato products, carbonated beverages, sugar substitutes, (*sugar in general should be limited as it’s an irritant and not good for us, as we all know) vinegar (and it’s in a lot of stuff), anything acidic, including many fruits (all citrus). Spicy food is out, preservatives and MSG (ought to be out anyway) and say goodbye to alcoholic beverages (with a few possible exceptions). If you suffer as I do, cranberries will send you into horrific spasms. The cranberry treatment we hear so much about isn’t meant for people like me. I’m taking marshmallow root extract capsules several times a day now. I already knew it was soothing, but became convinced it was a go after all the testimony on the forum, (I may try the tea). And the doctor approved. He put me on Macrodantin–it’s done wonders for my sister, so we shall see. I hope to regain my ability to function, which has deteriorated abysmally over the fall and especially winter. I want to garden again. Most vegetables are great for whatever ails you, though not all. For the complete list of dietary recommendations for bladder health visit this IC network link. I downloaded their pdf file.

parsley (2)Fun times. Fortunately, most herbs are on the good list. And I’m finding our wonderful fresh farm milk quite soothing. For a special hot beverage, I heat a cup of milk and add a pinch of sugar and a little pure vanilla extract. It helps take the place of that ‘gotta sip something hot’ craving. Peppermint and chamomile tea are also fine. I can tolerate Twinings decaffeinated Earl Grey in moderation. My greatest challenge is my dependence on green tea to fight chronic leukemia. I’ve stuck to it religiously because I’ve seen amazing results, but green tea has caffeine, is acidic, and is giving me fits. So, I looked up decaffeinated green tea extract in capsule form and found one at Amazon that has gotten raves. Among the reviews are one from a person with chronic leukemia who says their doctor advised them to take this supplement for their condition and it worked. So I’m going to do the same and pray I can tolerate the capsules and not lose ground. Perhaps, in time, I can add some of the green tea back into my diet again. I’ve hung onto my olive leaf extract, also an immune booster and an aid for blood levels, and it doesn’t bother me. I get mine strictly from Olivus because of the high quality.

_ferny path, ferny trail through woodsToday is better than yesterday, and the day before that, or I wouldn’t be writing this. I hope tomorrow will see even more improvement. I’m doing my best to find the healing path amid all these challenges.  A terrific quote I came across on the IC forum. “God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently God thinks I’m a bad-ass” ~Author Unknown 

And so say all of us.


If Cats Ran the World There Would Be More Naps–Beth Trissel

A good thing, too, less cranky people starting fights and going to war.  Think how much kinder and gentler society would be if we all took naps. I’ve been sick this week with my third winter/spring cycle of a tummy bug.  It wipes me out, so I’ve had a lot of snoozes–often with my kitties. Thus my subject.

kitty pavel

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”  ~Carrie Snow

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”  ~Irish Proverb

catnip and cat“May sleep envelop you as a bed sheet floating gently down, tickling your skin and removing every worry.  Reminding you to consider only this moment.”  ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com

“People who snore always fall asleep first.”  ~Author Unknown (Very true as I can attest)

“I count it as a certainty that in paradise, everyone naps.”  ~Tom Hodgkinson

“I’m not asleep… but that doesn’t mean I’m awake.”  ~Author Unknown

Herbal Recipes for Fragrant Potpourri and Toilet Water–Beth Trissel

Pot-pourriHere are some potpourri making tips from my own experience and recipes from a charming book, Potpourri, Incense and other Fragrant Concoctions by Ann Tucker Fettner.  Amazon has some used copies. The toilet water recipes follow below.

For making fragrant potpourri:

Begin in the spring by drying rose petals, an essential ingredient. Other flowers such as bachelor buttons, asters, straw flowers and statice add color. Any blossoms that dry well can be used. Mints, lavender, and lemongrass are excellent herbs for fragrance. Save the peelings from citrus fruit. Additional scent comes from manufacturers who sell potpourri supplies.

Order ground orris root, lavender, and essential oils. Sachet bags can be made from circular scraps of breathable fabric all tied up with ribbons. Decorative jars also make attractive holders. Baskets filled with fragrant sachets are an appealing presentation if fund-raising is your goal.

LavenderAfter you’ve collected and dried an ample quantity of blossoms and herbal leaves, mix in your other ingredients. Use a large bowl, not plastic, but ceramic or pottery. To hold the scent, you will need a fixative, often calamus or orris root. Generally, you use a tablespoon of a fixative for every quart of dried material. Add any spices you’ve chosen, cinnamon bark broken fine, rubbed mace, ground cardamom seeds, by sprinkling them over the petals and fixatives. If you like, add the crushed citrus peel, maybe some crumbled vanilla bean, and mix well with your hands.

lavender-sachetThe ingredients must be absolutely dry or the blend will molder. To all of this, add your favorite essential oils, rose, lavender, geranium, or tincture of musk or amber. Experiment with different blends. Don’t combine all the oils in the same batch. The possibilities are endless.

When you’re satisfied that the mixture is well blended, let it age in a crock for several weeks. Don’t have a crock? Brown paper grocery bags will do. Store the mixture out of sunlight in an airy corner or attic. Stir occasionally, then package prettily and enjoy.

For making Herbal toilet water:

lavender oil 2Basic Toilet Water: To three pints of pure alcohol add one and one-quarter ounces of lavender oil, three-quarters ounce of oil of bergamot, three-quarters ounce of tincture of ambergris. Mix together and bottle. 

Rose Water: Boil two quarts of distilled water and remove from the stove. Add one-eighth ounce of rose oil, four drops of clove oil, and one pint of alcohol. Let this stand for several days before bottling.Geranium Water: To two pints of pure alcohol add four ounces of rose water, five drops tincture of musk, one ounce tincture of orris root and one ounce of geranium oil. Allow to age.

Geranium Water: To two pints of pure alcohol add four ounces of rose water, five drops tincture of musk, one ounce tincture of orris root and one ounce of geranium oil. Allow to age.

The Best Advice My Therapist Ever Gave Me–Beth Trissel

Years ago, as a depressed young woman battling anxiety, I went–against my will but under strong advisement–to see a psychologist. Filling out the ‘why are you here’ form unsettled me with questions  like, ‘Do You Think You’re Christ?’ Or ‘Do You Hear Voices Telling you To Kill People?’

No! Does anyone else? I glanced around apprehensively at the other patients in the waiting room wondering, but not daring to ask, ‘What are you in for?’ And zipped past the closed-door where rumor had it they performed exorcisms on route to my therapist’s office, fearful I might catch something–or someone–and thinking I should have worn garlic around my neck and clutched a Crucifix.

Not to worry. As it turned out, my sessions were with a kind older woman who served herbal tea and simply spoke with me.  A wise, motherly soul. Apart from the treks down memory lane and repeated urging to  take care of myself physically and soothe the inner child, the single most important thing I gleaned was this nugget of wisdom: ‘Find what it is you most want to do and give yourself  permission to do it.’

Wow. Powerful stuff. Would you believe that’s what gave me the courage to throw myself into my writing? It all began as therapy and in many ways, still is. Which is why I’ll always write as I feel led, by dreams, spirit guides, my ancestors speaking to me, Divine inspiration, and whatever calls to my heart. I will not and never have gone after what’s popular in the current publishing world.  To sell out in that regard would be to betray the muse. And I’d wind up back at the therapist’s office.

More tea, anyone? Oh, and she advises naps. And eat your vegetables.

Sleep or the Lack of it–Quotes and Witty Commentary–Beth Trissel

No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.  ~Carrie Snow
*This is so true. The world would be a far better place if everyone took a nap.
“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.”  ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002
*Amen to that.
“Early to rise and early to bed
Makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead.”
~James Thurber, Fables for Our Times, 1940
*Gotta love Thurber.
“And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.”
~D.H. Lawrence
*Beautifully said, D.H.
“There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.”  ~Author Unknown
*Or barking dogs.
However, cats are great nappers. Kitty Pavel snoozing in a sunbeam.
“Everything I know I learned from my cat: When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet’s, pee on your owner.” - Gary Smith
*But, of course! Most sensible creatures.
“Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience – unless they are still up.”  ~Ellen Goodman
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” ~E. Joseph Cossman
*Ah, the wisdom in this.
“Many things – such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly – are done worst when we try hardest to do them.”  ~C.S. Lewis
*I love CS Lewis!~
“Dawn:  When men of reason go to bed.” ~Ambrose Bierce
*That would not be me.
“There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.”  ~Edward Lucas
*I’m sure of this, even though I rarely drink any.
“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.”  ~Leo J. Burke
*And to that I add, or a new puppy. My daughter’s soft-coated Wheaton Terrier, Grady, in a calmer mode as a pup. Normally these dogs act like they’ve been shot out of guns much of the time for the first two years. But very loving!
“Consciousness:  that annoying time between naps.”  ~Author Unknown
*Clearly a big napper. Cheers!
“The days are cold, the nights are long,
The North wind sings a doleful song;
Then hush again upon my breast;
All merry things are now at rest,
Save thee, my pretty love!”
~Dorothy Wordsworth, “The Cottager to Her Infant”
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.  ~Irish Proverb
Ah, the wisdom of the Irish.
“A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting.”  ~Terri Guillemets
*Granddaughter Emma Rose as a baby snoozing alongside our pom poo Sadie Sue.
“There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness.” ~Charles Dickens
*I totally agree with this, get some of my best writing done then.
“What hath night to do with sleep?”  ~John Milton
“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”  ~Anthony Burgess
*Or get prodded a lot if you’re my hubby.
Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation.  ~Author Unknown
Coffee, anyone?
“A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky -
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
Sleepless…” ~William Wordsworth, “To Sleep”
***Because he’s not a cat. Pavel in pic again. Kitty Images by daughter Elise.
If a man had as many ideas during the day as he does when he has insomnia, he’d make a fortune.  ~Griff Niblack
“People who snore always fall asleep first.” ~Author Unknown
***Oh yes. Every time.
“When I want to go to sleep, I must first get a whole menagerie of voices to shut up. You wouldn’t believe what a racket they make in my room.”~Karl Kraus, translated from German by Harry Zohn
*Actually, I would. They’re in my head too.  Noisy bunch. And weird. Say the craziest stuff.
“Sometimes I sit up late with my thoughts, reluctant to fall asleep and leave my thoughts alone by themselves.”  ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
*Me too. Niece Cailin and Pavel napping together.
“How do people go to sleep?  I’m afraid I’ve lost the knack.  I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light.  I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.”  ~Dorothy Parker
*I loved this one! Love her.
“O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.”
~Thomas HoodMiss Kilmansegg – Her Dream
“The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed, and can’t get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.”  ~Edgar Watson Howe
*Oh man, he’s got that right.
“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.”  ~Leonard Cohen
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying.  It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.”  ~Dale Carnegie
*True, true. He would know.
Don’t fight with the pillow, but lay down your head
And kick every worriment out of the bed.”
~Edmund Vance Cooke
*Excellent advice. For that, some of us need medication.
Sweet dreams all!

“I Could Give Up Chocolate But I’m Not a Quitter” And Why Dark Chocolate Is Good For You

“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”~ Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)

The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate from A Sweet Life

“There is in fact a growing body of credible scientific evidence that chocolate contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind.

For one, chocolate is a plentiful source of antioxidants. These are substances that reduce the ongoing cellular and arterial damage caused by oxidative reactions.

You may have heard of a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. These are protective chemicals found in plant foods such as red wine and green tea. Chocolate, it turns out, is particularly rich in polyphenols. According to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the same antioxidant properties found in red wine that protect against heart disease are also found in comparable quantities in chocolate…” *For the complete article visit the Sweet Life link above.

“Exercise is a dirty word… Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate.”

Three Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate from Reader’s Digest:

1. It can help prevent heart disease:

Like tea, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are compounds that act as antioxidants…(for more visit the above link.)

2. It can improve your mood: Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of pleasure. It also contains the chemical serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. (*My excuse for eating so much of it.  Moderation is stressed.)

3. It can protect your skin: German researchers found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate absorb UV light, help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, and improve skin’s hydration and complexion.

And so on, you get the drift.  Now for some of my favorite varieties.  Feel Free to share yours:

Lindt A Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate: “A new addition! The complexity of dark chocolate is enhanced by the addition of Fleur de Sel, a premium French sea salt in this premium new chocolate bar from the Lindt Master Chocolatiers.” (Oh, look–they’re having a sale on Lindor Truffles)

Equal Exchange: “Our organic fairly-traded gourmet chocolate bars are a rich and delicious treat that supports small-scale farmers and their families. The bars combine famous Swiss standards in chocolate making with cocoa from the farmer co-operatives CONACADO, in the Dominican Republic, COCABO, in Panama, CACVRA, in Peru, and Fortaleza del Valle co-operative in Ecuador; fairly traded organic sugar from co-operatives in Paraguay; and fairly traded vanilla from Madagascar. “

Green and Black’s: “100% Fair Trade Certified~Dark 70%”

Cocoa solids are a combination of cocoa mass and cocoa butter. The latter is there to coat each individual cocoa and sugar particle, allowing the chocolate to melt beautifully and cleanly in the mouth, revealing intense, bittersweet chocolate aroma.”

Ghirardelli Intense Dark™ Chocolates:

“…deliver luxuriously deep and velvety chocolate blended with sophisticated ingredients in a variety of indulgent flavors and cacao percentages. This line of 100% all natural chocolates delivers unrivaled chocolate intensity in a delicately thin chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt slowly in your mouth.”

“It’s not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let’s face it, far more reliable than a man.”

~Miranda Ingram

“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.”

~Michael Levine, nutrition researcher, as quoted in The Emperors of Chocolate

“Researchers have discovered that chocolate produced some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can’t remember what they are.”~ Anonymous

For more great chocolate quotes visit: Chocolate Quotes and Sayings

Old Time Cures

Herbal Cures From The Shenandoah Valley

These cures are recorded in Shenandoah Voices by late Shenandoah Valley historian and author John Heatwole.  I knew John and much admired him.  He’s left a wealth of information behind in his books. For a sprained ankle take catnip, sprinkle salt on it and bind it to the ankle. ‘Mullin tea’ was also used for sprained ankles.  The leaves of the mullin plant were boiled in vinegar and water and the ankle was bathed in it while it was still warm.
Turpentine was also rubbed on a sprain.  You never covered it or it would burn.~Catnip tea was made for children with the colic.~
Queen Anne’s Lace made into a tea is said to relieve backache.~Sage and honey tea is a good brew to give to someone with pneumonia.
~Drinking tea made from aromatic sage is said to keep a woman’s hair from turning gray prematurely.~
Lobelia tea was used by Thomsonian herb doctor Gabe Heatwole as a purge.  Lobelia is an annual or perennial plant of the bellflower family.~Goldenseal and Comfort Root (*Pinelands Hibiscus or Cut-leaf Hibiscus) teas are good for an upset stomach.~If you have kidney problems, swamp root tea can be used for relief.~
Greasy mustard plaster was used on the sufferer’s chest for a deep cold.To avoid being burned by the mustard, this plaster was made with lard and spread on a cloth that could be laid on the sufferer’s chest without burning. ~

Another non-burning plaster was made with mustard, lard, and egg whites.~

A family in Singers Glen used a mustard and lard poultice for pneumonia.  When the patient’s chest started to turn red, it was removed. The patient was washed off thoroughly, and then a hot onion poultice was applied. ~

For a bad cold or pleurisy, they’d put lard on your chest with salt sprinkled on it of a night.~
A tea made of peppermint leaves will stop a stomachache.~Pennyroyal tea was used to break a fever, for upset stomach and to treat the common cold.  It is of the same family as mint and yields aromatic oil.
During the Civil War, some Valley soldiers chewed slippery elm bark when in battle or on the march. It was said to relieve thirst and hunger.~
Miss Gray Pifer of Mt. Crawford said that ‘horehound grew down near the creek. Momma made a horehound syrup with brown sugar for coughs.’
~In Page County a woman said that her grandfather smoked a corncob pipe, and if a child in the family had an earache, he’d blow smoke in the ear as a cure.  She also said for spider bite, you should cut a piece from a new potato and hold it against the bite. Eventually the potato will turn black as it absorbs the poison. ~

My Friend, Author Vonnie Davis

Thanks for having me here on your lovely and informative blog, Beth.  I’ve been looking forward to it.

*Thanks for being here, Vonnie.  I’m very happy to have you. :)

Last October I took Beth’s online course in herbal lore and the historic medicinal uses of herbs. If she ever offers it again, I highly recommend it. I took it merely for my own personal enrichment. At the time I never dreamed I’d use some of what I’d learned in my debut novel, Storm’s Interlude, recently released by The Wild Rose Press.

Beth and I exchanged emails regarding green tea usage. She sent me a link to a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic showing that green tea extract helps reduce the number of leukemia cells and shrink swollen lymph nodes. Her contribution was invaluable. You see, in Storm’s Interlude, Rachel, a nurse who does home health care, travels to Texas to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. Sunny has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Sunny is also a twin to Storm Masterson, our hero.

Storm’s not wild about Rachel’s blended form of home health care. Although she holds a Masters degree in nursing, she’s also certified in acupuncture, massage therapy and other holistic methods. Part of her treatment includes her patients taking care of healing plants. Drastic changes are made to their diets. She’s worked hard at blending traditional and non-traditional care into a home-based program that works.

Part of Storm and Rachel’s conflict is his strong desire to protect his twin sister and his fear that Rachel’s form of therapy will harm Sunny. Slowly, as he sees improvement, his respect for Rachel grows. Of course the reader is also privy to the physical attraction that simmers between the two whenever they’re near each other. Simmers? No, it explodes.

*Fascinating, Vonnie.  I’m honored to have been a part of the inspiration behind this story.  I very much enjoyed teaching that herbal lore class.  Much of that material is posted here on my blog.

~And now for a brief excerpt to introduce you to the major characters of Storm’s Interlude –

~Everyone was seated at the table when Rachel joined them for lunch. Jackson was there, sitting next to Sunny. “Hi, Jackson. Nice to see you again. Sorry, I’m late, everyone. I was on the phone with Dr. Frey. He was giving me the results of your labs. For now, things are stable and that’s very good. I want to impress upon you how good that is.”

Sunny’s face brightened. “Remission?”

Rachel didn’t want to disappoint her, nor did she want to mislead her, giving her false hope. “Not yet. But, with the levels of leukemic cells in your blood and bone marrow staying consistent for a month, we seeing a stabilizing effect. Granted, the numbers are still high. The good news is they’re not increasing.”

Storm laid his hand over Rachel’s. Pain warred with hope in his features. “You…do you and the doctor consider this a good thing?”

She nodded. “Yes. With our doing everything we can to make your sister stronger: healthy eating, exercise, sun, green tea and positive emotional reinforcement, this stabilization levels the playing field for a span of time. A span of time for Sunny to get stronger, so she can undergo the second series of chemo. I’m feeling very good about this.”

He sat back and closed his eyes. He nodded in silence.

Tears glistened in Sunny’s eyes. “Hope,” she whispered, her chin quivering.

Jackson drew Sunny to him. He kissed her forehead. “Everything good begins with hope, sugar.”~

I hope you’ll come visit me on my blog. http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

My website is http://www.vonniedavis.com


Pennyroyal:  I love the scent of this creeping plant, wonderfully intense and fragrant.  Powerfully minty.  I’ve grown pennyroyal from time to time but haven’t found it to be as winter hardy as other mints, nor is it as able to compete and tends to get crowded out if we don’t watch.  So I need to find new plants.   After last summer’s searing drought, I have to replace some other herbs and flowers as well.

Although pennyroyal is sometimes drunk as tea (though not by me) it can cause uterine contractions and should never be imbibed by pregnant women. It has long been used to intentionally cause abortions.  *Under no conditions ever take the essential oil internally! It’s a deadly poison.

A warning from this site: http://www.teainfusion.com/types/pennyroyal-tea.html

“When making pennyroyal tea, only the pennyroyal herb should be used. The essential oil of pennyroyal should NOT be used, as it is a poison. Death from untreatable organ failure can result if the essential oil is used.”

*Please bear in mind, as with all other medicinal information given to you in this series, that these practices are not necessarily condoned today.  Some would be strongly frowned upon and are related strictly in a historical sense.

From A Modern Herbal:

Pennyroyal is the smallest of the Mints and very different in habit from any of the others. Two forms of the plant are met with in Great Britain.  The plant has been introduced into North and South America. It is mentioned in the Herbals of the New World as one of the plants the Pilgrim Fathers introduced.

It is found wild and naturalized throughout the civilized world in strong, moist soil on the borders of ponds and streams, and near pools on heaths and commons. Gerard speaks of it as found abundantly:

‘on a common at Mile End, near London, about the holes and ponds thereof, in sundrie places, from whence poore women bring plenty to sell in London markets.’

Turner says: ‘It crepeth much upon the ground and hath many little round leves not unlyke the leves of mesierum gentil, but that they are a little longer and sharper and also little indented rounde about, and grener than the leves of mariurum ar. The leves grow in little branches even from the roote of certayn ioyntes by equall spaces one devyded from an other. Whereas the leves grow in little tuftes upon the over partes of the braunches…. Pennyroyal groweth much, without any setting, besyd hundsley (Hounslow) upon the heth beside a watery place.’

Like most of its near relatives, Pennyroyal is highly aromatic, perhaps even more so than any other Mint, containing an essential oil resembling in properties that of other mints, though less powerful. The flavour is more pungent and acrid and less agreeable than that of Spearmint or Peppermint.

Pennyroyal was in high repute among the Ancients. Both Pliny and Dioscorides described its numerous virtues. In Northern Europe it was also much esteemed, as may be inferred from the frequent references to it in the Anglo-Saxon and Welsh works on medicine.

‘The boke of Secretes of Albertus Magnus of the vertues of Herbes, Stones and certaine Beastes’ states that, by putting drowning flies and bees in warm ashes of Pennyroyal ‘they shall recover their Iyfe after a little tyme as by ye space of one houre’ and be revived.

Pennyroyal is often found in cottage gardens, as an infusion of the leaves, known as Pennyroyal Tea, is an old-fashioned remedy for colds and menstrual derangements.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Pliny gives a long list of disorders for which Pennyroyal was a supposed remedy, and especially recommends it for hanging in sleeping rooms, it being considered by physicians as more conducive to health even than roses.

It was likewise thought to communicate its purifying qualities to water, and Gerard tells us: ‘If you have Pennyroyale in great quantity dry and cast it into corrupt water, it helpeth it much, neither will it hurt them that drink thereof.’ As a purifier of the blood, it was highly spoken of: ‘Penny-royale taken with honey cleanseth the lungs and cleareth the breast from all gross and thick humours.’

It was deemed by our ancestors valuable in headaches and giddiness. We are told: ‘A garland of Penny-royale made and worn about the head is of great force against the swimming in the head and the pains and giddiness thereof.’

Pennyroyal Water was distilled from the leaves and given as an antidote to spasmodic, nervous and hysterical affections. It was also used against cold and ‘affections of the joints.’

Culpepper says of Pennyroyal:

‘Drank with wine, it is good for venomous bites, and applied to the nostrils with vinegar revives those who faint and swoon. Dried and burnt, it strengthens the gums, helps the gout, if applied of itself to the place until it is red, and applied in a plaster, it takes away spots or marks on the face; applied with salt, it profits those that are splenetic, or liver grown…. The green herb bruised and putinto vinegar, cleanses foul ulcers and takes away the marks of bruises and blows about the eyes, and burns in the face, and the leprosy, if drank and applied outwardly…. One spoonful of the juice sweetened with sugar-candy is a cure for hooping-cough.’

Its action is carminative, diaphoretic, stimulant and emmenagogic, and is principally employed for the last-named property in disorders caused by sudden chill or cold. It is also beneficial in cases of spasms, hysteria, flatulence and sickness, being very warming and grateful to the stomach.~

Herbal Sleep Pillows

From this very interesting site: Herbal Musings~

“For centuries, the fragrance of herbs have been captured in pillows and sweet bags to purify and scent the home. They were known by European mothers anxious to lure their offspring into tranquil sleep, by those seeking relief from headache or depression, and by the solitary who yearned to find true love. Fragrant herbs were sewn into pillows and placed at the head of the bed or between the linens. Often, their scent would be carried from open doorways and windows where they were carefully hung. During medieval times, herbal pillows and sachets were actually more of a necessity than mere fanciful decorations. They were actually designed to mask the consequences of poor sanitary conditions of the time, when fresh air was considered potentially dangerous.

It was the lady of the house who took pride in making these preparations and spent considerable time doing so. One can recall perhaps, grandmother’s rose jar lovingly placed in the “best room” where her guests would benefit from the jar’s sweet aroma. When visitors came to call, the lid was lifted and the contents stirred to release the soothing perfume. In all probability, she also made sachets or sweet bags to scent her linen and fine articles of clothing. She may even have placed small pillows of fragrant herbs near her head upon retiring to prevent nightmares and assure a good nights rest.

Today, herbal pillows are all but neglected as sleeping aids. But, if you’re willing to take a chance on this simple indulgence, they stand a good chance of resurrection.

Herbal pillows are made by sewing dried herbs into a square of cloth or bag, but without a fixative, their aroma is short lived. Many herbs lose much of their original scent when dried.

The lovely scent of the rose for instance, is greatly diminished when dried. Fixatives help to retain and develop the fragrant combination of herbs used in making potpourri, the base material for making herbal pillows.

Spices add an interesting scent to the potpourri mixture, and also act as fixatives. Cinnamon is derived from a tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), grown in China, India, and the East Indies, and was used during Biblical times to make holy oils to anoint priests and altars. The familiar sticks, obtained from the inner bark of a young tree, may be ground and added to the potpourri mixture.

Sandalwood (Santalum album), native to the Malabar Coast, is another enticing additive. Since ancient times the wood of this tree was used for making fans, musical instruments, and to line closets to ward off moths. Sandalwood is also burned at the altar, and eventually became an important ingredient in incense burned in synagogues. The chips, or shavings, are most suitable for potpourri.

Various materials are suitable for pillow coverings, such as velvet, silk, or chintz. A layer of muslin or cotton should be placed between two evenly sized squares of material, which can be 12 to 18 inches, or whatever size you care to make the pillow…On this layer, the potpourri is added, and another thin layer of cotton or muslin is placed on top…Decorating the pillows with bits of ribbon, buttons, lace, or everlastings, adds a personal finishing touch, and will help to make your dreams a little bit sweeter.”

*I didn’t include every last detail from this site so visit the original post for more info.  A very worthy site.

From another informative site I discovered:

How to Make An Herbal Sleep Pillow:

“For centuries, herbs have been used to induce a restful sleep. Herbs have been traditionally steeped in teas, used in baths or simmered in aromatherapy pots to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere that allows one to fall into a deep slumber. An herbal sleep pillow is another time-honored way to use the sleep-inducing power of herbs. An herbal sleep pillow provides a continuous scent of lavender and mint that works all night. The pillow also serves as a room freshener during the day, filling the bedroom with the light fragrance of mint and lavender.”

FOR STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS on making a pillow please visit the site:

And Sweet dreams~

*Please note, I linked the images so that if you click on a picture it will take you to the site where you can glean yet more information about herbal sleep pillows or purchase those that they make, all depending on the site~