Monday, 10 November 2014

Manuka Honey...and a few uses!


Sometimes the oldies are the best (and cheapest!) .. so I thought I would start putting a few  'Home Remedies’ in this Blog.  If you know of any easy and simple home remedies, please let me know and I will pop it in the next Blog post to share with everyone.

In the meantime, here is a recipe for a decongestant syrup, a remedy to ease heartburn and also a remedy for acne - all containing the wonderful Manuka Honey …

Manuka Honey

You may have heard of Manuka Honey - it is a premium medical-grade honey, produced by bees that gather nectar from the flowers that grow on the Manuka bush (also known as Leptospermum scoparium) which is indigenous to New Zealand and certain parts of Australia.

Studies have found that Manuka Honey contains very powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, making it extremely effective in treating a wide variety of health conditions.

There are so many therapeutic uses for Manuka honey but one which always gets a lot of 'airplay' is the use to help leg ulcers, for which you can even buy Manuka coated dressings.  You can google and get loads of info. on this use but I thought I would just share one link here that may be of particular interest to animal owners as it has loads of info on the use of honey but also its use on animals
... click here to read all about it!

Most standard honeys contain hydrogen peroxide which is a known antiseptic but Manuka Honey is significantly different in that it has additional antibacterial properties that have the ability to destroy the infectious bacteria that cause most health complications.  Unlike standard honey, Manuka Honey is also stable so there is no concern of it losing its potency or healing properties. 

Among its many, many uses, Manuka Honey can be taken for GASTRO INTESTINAL DISORDERS ranging from Acid Reflux to Irritable Bowel Syndrome – one example of this use is for …Acid Reflux and Heartburn

All you need to do is ...

Take 1 teaspoon of Manuka Honey 3-4 times per day on a small square inch size piece of bread or toast, 20 minutes before meals, to coat the oesophagus.  How easy is that?!

Manuka Honey also has applications for SEVERE ACNE

After washing your face with warm water, apply a thin layer of Manuka Honey all over the face and leave it on for 15 minutes.

If possible, do this while in the bath while also enjoying the steam from the bath water.  

Wash off the honey with warm water after 15 mins and then with a (pre-prepared) cut lemon slice gently wipe this over the area, then wash off with warm water again and gently pat dry.

It is also brilliant to help the respiratory system - here is a remedy for ...



¼ onion, chopped finely and 3 tablespoons Manuka honey

Place the onion in a bowl and pour over the honey. Leave to stand over night. 

Take one teaspoon of the honey, three times a day.
This may be continued for up to one week.

Clears mucus and congestion. A great for remedy for children as they enjoy the sweetness.

I hope you enjoy these little remedies !  Til next time ... El x'

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A little meditation, using the breath ...

Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential; except when you are busy, then a full hour is needed !
St Francis de Sale

Well, that quote just about says it all, doesn’t it?   Actually, any amount of meditation is great for your mind, body and spirit – even just being mindful and ‘in the moment’ is of huge benefit.  

Someone once told me that if the thought of formalised meditation was too much to contemplate, just make a cup of tea, sit or stand with it and look at something wonderful (plant, animal, scenery) and just focus and enjoy those two things ie, the wonderful thing you are looking at and savour the texture and taste and feel of that cup of tea … just being in that great moment to refresh and refocus your mind is enough to set you up for a good day!

Meditation has been proven to be beneficial on so many levels – it can relieve stress, boost the immune system, decrease anxiety, improve brain function, improve clarity and focus, normalise blood pressure etc etc.  There are so many benefits, too many to list here.  I would recommend you to just do what you can when you can, as much as you can … even a few minutes a day will help.

There are so many forms of meditation available … I find that if you would like to formalise your practice you will need to try different forms out for yourself, to find something that suits you best.  The first form of meditation I learnt, when I was 18, was transcendental meditation, which employs the use of a personalised mantra.  I have learnt lots of other forms since then but I find myself always reverting back to the transcendental form. 

I will write about different practices in later posts but for now I just wanted to share a cleansing meditation with you, which uses the breath as a tool to bring focus. 

This meditation can help to clear your mind and your body, but is especially helpful for your lung health and energy.

If you can get into the habit of practising this ‘mindful breathing’ regularly, you will become calmer and calmer and more energised at the same time!  Focusing on the breath is one of the most common and fundamental techniques for accessing the meditative state.  Breath is a deep rhythm of the body that connects us intimately with the world around us.

So – making sure you will not be disturbed for a few minutes, get yourself nice and comfortable.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply and regularly and observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body.

Give your full attention to the breath as it comes in and full attention to the breath as it goes out.  Whenever you find your attention wandering away from your breath, gently pull it back to the rising and falling of the breath.

Inhale through your nose slowly and deeply, feeling the lower chest and abdomen inflate like a balloon.  Hold for five seconds.  Exhale deeply, deflating the lower chest and abdomen like a balloon.  Hold for five seconds.

Do this 3 or 4 times, then allow your breathing to return to a normal rhythm. You will begin to feel a change come over your entire body.  Gradually you will become less aware of your breathing, but not captured in your stream of thoughts.  You will become more centered inward. You will just ‘be there’ !

Hope it helps!  ‘til next time ...
El x

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Wildflowers of Northern Spain

We are currently travelling in our motorhome around Europe and I am loving checking out the wildflowers.  Here are some pics I took in Northern Spain ... mostly by the coast.  We are now in Portugal but not gotten around to taking many pics yet !  That's all for now!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Bowel Balls !

Sorry - just couldn't resist that title !

I'm being admitted for surgery tomorrow and I am ever-conscious of the effect that anaesthetics and pain medications can have on bowel habits !  I am also informed by my 'Enhanced Recovery Nurse' that I won't be allowed to go home until I have moved them (my bowels that is!).  She did tell me I would be allowed to bring in foodstuffs into the hospital with me, just not medications.  With all this in mind I have concocted some 'Bowel Balls' which I suppose could be more appropriately called 'Digestive Truffles'?!!

Anyway, whatever you would like to call them, we now understand their purpose and so is a pic of my finished product ...

... and here is my recipe ...

½ cup ground flax  seeds 
½ cup ground goji berries, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
¼ cup oat bran
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup ground oats
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp dandelion root powder

1/2 cup good quality peanut butter or tahini
Fruit Puree* (I used just prunes for my purpose, but you could use any dried fruit)
Little water to mix if needed

Mix up dry ingredients and then mix up the fruit puree, honey, peanut butter and a little water until it forms a reasonable 'dough' you can work with.

Roll this mixture in balls and roll in a coating of desiccated coconut.

*To make the dried fruit puree, if you fruit is not already 'hydrated' and ready to ear ...
Soak one cup of dried fruit in two cups of warm water overnight.

Strain the fruit but keep the liquid because this will contain a lot of nutrients and can be drunk on its own to help bowel health. 

Place re hydrated fruit in blender and blend until you get a creamy paste like consistency.

Enjoy !  See ya soon ... El x

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Kitchen Medicine Cilantro / Coriander …

I love Coriander Y Y Y …  I think it is my most favourite (culinary) herb of all.  If I could, I would always have the leaf available and add it to everything!!   I think it is a bit of a ‘Marmite’ plant though because it seems that you either love it or hate it (ie, no inbetween!).  It seems to some that it tastes ‘soapy’ and I have seen it said that this may either be due to the presence of an enzyme in saliva or to one of the constituents that makes it taste so to some people!

Coriander’s botanical name is Coriandrum sativum and is related to the carrot and parsley family. 

We generally think of the leaf of the Coriander plant as ‘Coriander’ but there is some confusion as to whether it should be called Cilantro and it seems that this depends upon where you are in the world!  Coriander is often referred to as ‘Coriander leaves’ in the UK but it is also known as Arab, Chinese or Mexican parsley in France.  In the United States and other parts of the world, it is called Cilantro, which is the Spanish word for coriander leaves. What the?!!

What we can say for sure is that the flavours of the seeds and the leaves have quite different tastes!  The root can also be used, as it is in Thai cuisine.

Coriander is often used for ‘balancing’ the flavour of hot spicy dishes and is used for just this purpose in Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Mexican, Chinese, Indonesian, African and South American cooking.  

My Sister-in-Law, who was Thai, used to make up a simple ‘salad’ consisting of chopped carrots and cucumber, chopped sausage (could be veggie sausage), soy sauce (which she used to keep in a jar with chillies infusing in it … so it was chilli-soy sauce), lemon juice and lashings of coriander leaf.  It is delicious – and can be modified in all sorts of ways but the mixture of tastes was wonderful and the coriander leaf offsets the heat of the chilli-soy sauce.

Coriander is a little powerhouse of nutrients, containing Antioxidants, Vitamins, Minerals and Volatile Oils.

Therapeutic uses …

Coriander has a cooling effect in the body and is especially used in this regard in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine to balance hot, inflammatory conditions, especially of the digestive tract. 

In India they tend to use a lot of coriander leaf in foods both to prevent and remedy symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, wind, colic and diarrhoea.   It can also be used to enhance appetite and improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients.  Coriander seeds can be taken along side laxatives to prevent any griping that they may cause.

The cooling effects of coriander can also be used to help urinary disorders, particularly those with hot burning symptoms, like cystitis.  I have included some recipes below and you can find a tea recipe there which can be used for this purpose.
Coriander may also help to remedy hot flushes during menopause.  An infusion of coriander can be used for this purpose and you can read how to do this on the next page.

In China coriander seeds are used to promote sweating and break a fever and are also used to bring out the rash in infections like chicken pox and measles, plus to stimulate the appetite.

Coriander seeds can be used to help fight colds, flu, coughs and catarrh and also act as a decongestant.  When combined with turmeric and cumin in a hot tea, this is especially effective.  This tea also makes an effective gargle for sore throats and oral thrush.

As you can see, there are so many uses for Coriander apart from just its culinary purposes.  Following are a few formulas and recipes for using Coriander…

Recipes …


Serves 4

Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp of chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh salmon fillets or steaks

Preheat your oven to the hottest setting.
Mix together the lime, chilli, coriander and olive oil to make a paste, and season with salt and pepper. 
Place the salmon fillets in a baking tray and press the paste onto the top of each piece of salmon, totally covering the fish.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and firm to the touch. Serve with basmati rice and steamed broccoli.

Coriander Pesto …

1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup almonds, cashews or brazil nuts or a mix of them, chopped finely
1 cup fresh coriander leaves
2 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold-pressed: extra-virgin
olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Blend the coriander and oil in a blender until the leaves are chopped. Add the garlic, nuts and seeds and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is blended into a paste. Add a pinch to sea salt to taste and blend again. Store in dark glass jars and in the fridge to extend shelf life.

Coriander Seed Tea ...

Coriander seeds can be made into a light yellow, aromatic tea that eases digestion and relaxes the mind and body. You can drink it on its own, but it works even better in blends.

1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ginger root

Use 1 tsp of herb mixture to each cup hot water.  Infuse for 10 minutes with the lid on the teapot or lid on the pan.  Add honey to taste.

Coriander and Fennel can help digestion while adding Cinnamon and Ginger to Coriander can help to cool fevers..

Another Coriander seed tea blend …
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1 tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp of cumin seeds

Add ½ to 1 tsp of the herb mixture to each cup of hot water and infuse for 10 minutes, with a lid on the teapot.  This tea will help soothe an irritated gut and cools the body.  Add honey to taste.

Coriander Essential Oil …
Coriander is also used as an essential oil … it is described as having a sweet, warm, herbaceous fragrance.

Coriander has soothing and calming properties which can help the digestive and the circulatory system.  Whilst being calming it can also refresh and uplift the mind and is useful for mental fatigue, migraine, tension and nervous weakness. 

Coriander essential oil is also helpful for rheumatism and arthritic pain, as well as muscle spasms and is also useful with colds and flu.  It also acts as a general cleanser of the body, to rid it of toxins and fluid wastes.

Ways to use Coriander oil …
In an oil burner – it can stimulate the mind and ease fatigue.  It can also help to improve the appetite.  Just add 2 – 3 drops to your oil burner.

Used in a bath – add 2–3 drops but note that essential oils are not water soluble so they will float on top of the bath and skin passing through the oil will be exposed to full strength essential oil.  You can either mix the essential oils into a carrier oil (eg Almond oil) first or you can even use full fat milk as a dispersant in the bath … but agitate it well before stepping in!

Add the essential oil to massage oil, cream or lotion, wherein it can help digestion and pains of arthritis or rheumatism.  Use only 4–6 drops of essential oil per treatment and always diluted in at least 10 – 15 mL oil / cream / lotion.

For babies (older than 2 months) use only 1 drop diluted first as above.  Do not use Coriander oil during pregnancy.

Enjoy using Coriander ... see you next time !

El x

Sunday, 15 December 2013

'Raw Food' Chocolate Truffles

I've been looking at raw food recipes lately and came across this one somewhere for truffles ... so I had a go and they taste pretty good!!!

Here is the recipe...

1/2 cup cashew nuts
10 dates (no stones) (I also added in about half a cup of raisins that I had)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of good quality peanut butter
1 pinch of sea salt
cocoa powder for dusting
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut

Place the cashew nuts into a food processor and pulse until ground into a powder.

Add the cocoa powder to the food processor and mix until combined and it resembles chocolate breadcrumbs.

Add the dates and a tablespoon of peanut butter and process until thoroughly combined. The mix should resemble a dough.

Sieve the cocoa powder for dusting onto a plate.

Take a piece of the dough and roll it into a ball in the palm of your hand. Then roll

it into the dusting powder. Repeat until you have used all of the mixture … then enjoy !!!

This mix should make about 20 truffles - here are a few that I made ...

I tested one on Paul and he said it was really nice ... he didn't even realise it had 'healthy' stuff in it ! Yay - a success !!!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

St John's Wort ... and others at Hampton Court

 We are currently moored up just beside Hampton Court Place on the River Thames and just 100m from our boat today I spied all these delights ...

Purple Loosestrife ... so pretty !
Purple loosestrife
Purple loosestrife
Lovely Mugwort ... I will pick some another day and write more about it ...

Apples !

Apple tree!
Apples ... out of reach!
Burdock ... such a useful herb!  I will write about this one of these days too!


... and then the highlight of my walk ... loads and loads of St John's Wort ...

Zoomed in on my bee pic !

As there was soooo much of it, I picked some St John's Wort flower heads and also a few stems to put in a little vase!  I am sure the bees didn't mind me sharing it with them - they really do have so much to play with !

When I get some more I will make an infused oil with the flower heads (which will turn a wonderful red colour) but until then I just picked a few so that I could make up a flower essence.  Flower essences are easy to make - you can read more about St John's Wort and flower essences on this website (click here).  Basically flower essences contain the essence or the energy of the plant (as in homoeopathy) ... you will not find any physical constituents in the essence as the energy cannot be measured ... just felt !  Flower essences - as in Bach flower essences - are great for use with emotional issues.

St John's Wort's botanical name is Hypericum perforatum --- a really well known herb for treating depression but it is really so much more!  The herb and oil can be used for different purposes (I use the oil in Dorn spinal therapy ... but that is a whole other story!).  For the purposes of using the flower essence it can help allergies, stress, nightmares, bedwetting, sensitivity to light, seasonal affective disorder and can also be used for 'protection' - as in psychic protection - as Hypericum is great to help overly sensitive individuals who may be open to psychic attack.

I found this great website which gives a lot of info about this essence - saves me re-inventing the wheel!!!

To make the essence you fill a glass bowl with about a cupful of spring water, then cover the surface of the water with flowers.  (Note ... While I was picking the flowers I was giving thanks to the plant ... you should always be in a good frame of mind when picking flowers, especially for energetic work).  The flowers are then left there for an hour or two (I left mine surrounded by a crystal grid also, to add an extra 'charge').  When your time is up, the water will still look clear but the flowers will be wilted.  Lift the flowers carefully out of the water with a fork - thanking them as you go - then pour the water into a clean bottle that is half full of brandy.  This is then called your 'mother essence'.  If there is any water left over ... just drink it!

To use the essence put three drops of the mother essence into a 25mL dropper bottle filled with brandy.  This is then termed your 'stock bottle'. With this you can include it in any creams / salves / lotions / oils / soaps you may make, for added benefit (just add a few drops from your stock bottle) - or just add it directly to the skin, where needed.  You can also add 20 drops to a bath or footbath - and then soak your stresses away.

To take it internally you can just add a few drops into a glass or bottle of water and sip during the day or make a 'dosage bottle' ... by putting three drops of the stock essence into a dropper bottle containing a 50/50 mix of brandy and water.  Use several drops dirctly under the tongue as needed, or at least twice a day.

So easy and so useful!  I am so happy and so blessed to have found this herb today on my walk ... wonder what tomorrow till bring !!
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