Words to the Wise: Sharing Life, Lessons, and Observations

Words to the Wise is a collection of stories, observations and insight drawn from my own experience both in the past and in the present, together with my perspective on what I may have learned in the process. Occasional poetry and astrological insights will be included when appropriate. I welcome comments, suggestions and thoughts of all kinds and am happy to respond.

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Mother Nature to the Rescue

            In the centuries before medicinal drugs were common, herbs were the most important healing medicine we had.  Women were usually the ones to use them, and often a village that had a Wise Woman, as these healers were often called, was very fortunate and often healthier than those that did not. In many homes herbs are still in use for their healing properties and can supplement whatever other medicine may be in use. Also, many medicines have been originally derived from herbal sources. There are those who feel they may be more effective in their original form, rather than isolating the primary healing agent. However, opinions differ.

Many years ago, I was a young mother with mouths to feed and appetites to satisfy. I began to read up on herbs, both for cooking and ultimately, for their healing properties. Being occupied with caring for my little family and eager to keep my mind growing, I began reading up on and experimenting with what I had in my kitchen. In time this led to my giving lectures, writing articles, and learning about the many benefits of the wild herbs many think of as weeds, have to offer. Eventually, I even crafted and sold my own herbal teas and blends at a farmers' market.

I also found my love of mythology and my growing interest in herbs coming together. Remembering that before reading and writing became common, knowledge was often transmitted via tales, legends, and songs. Garlic is a good example. Everyone is familiar with vampire legends, with garlic being supposed to keep the biters at bay. In truth garlic is good for thinning the blood vampires are supposed to live on. it can help lower blood pressure. It is also both antibacterial and when raw, antiviral, thus killing what "bites" us. For instance, if you have a pimple, rub fresh garlic on it, it will heal it quickly.

As well, I was intrigued by an old song, Scarboro Faire, I often sang at my folk singing gigs. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme were featured, and I wondered if there was something magical about the combination. I made up a tea using the four dried herbs I had on my pantry shelves, and found it to be pleasant and perhaps helpful to those who drank it. Then one day a friend from far away came to visit and almost immediately fell ill. "No need to worry," he said, after I took his temperature and it was over 100. "I get sick like this sometimes and I'll be fine in 3 or 4 days.

What a good opportunity to test my tea! I made him a tea pot, added honey to sweeten it and began feeding him pot after pot. To his great surprise his fever was gone and he was up and about the next evening. I was gratified and he was amazed. It is a great remedy for recovery from any kind of flu, because thyme (in mouth washes and cough medicine) is a frequently used germ killer and immune booster; Rosemary is good for stimulating the circulation; Parsley is an excellent diuretic and provides vitamins and minerals; and sage dries up mucous and promotes longevity. Herbs are wonderful healers, and most everyone has them already in their kitchens. Symptomatic relief is available and just a cupboard away.

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Practical mystic and poet Tasha Halpert writes a column called Heartwings Love Notes for a Joyous Life, as well as a monthly astrology column for the internet. She writes a weekly perspective column for the Grafton News called Good Earthkeeping.  Her poems and essays have appeared in Quest Magazine, For the Love of Life, Heart and Wings, The Unicorn, and other publications. She is staff poet and storyteller for the Unicorn, and a regular part of Granny Moon’s Morning Feast. Her book Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life is available; She has another in preparation: Up to my Neck in Lemons, as well as a poetry chapbook: Poems and Prayers. With her writings she hopes to be of help and comfort and perhaps even entertaining.  With her husband Stephen she lives in Grafton and is the mother of 5, grandmother of 7, and great grandmother of 2.  


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