Tag Archives: Biology

Sore Muscle Relief

I don’t quite like the feeling of muscle soreness. Do you? It’s just irritating. Every small or involuntary action that you make, like lifting your hand, for example, sends spasms of raw muscle pain and waves of discomfort up your body, making you take every step cautiously. Muscle soreness thwarts every small action that you’ve set up for yourself and that is no way to live. That is why sore muscle relief becomes important and that is exactly what we will be discussing today. Continue reading for various ways to get rid of sore muscles.

What are Sore Muscles?

Sore neck and shoulder muscles


Typically you’ll experience sore muscles after workout or a strenuous day of physical activity. This is caused by Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). This occurs when there is a sudden change in activity that exerts more pressure on the muscles and causes exertion. The muscles becomes sore as a result of that and take some time to adjust to the sudden pressure that is put on them. If you continue to exert the same pressure on the muscles then they will get used to the stress and the pain will diminish.

Muscle soreness should not be confused with a sprain or strain in the muscles which are caused by a sudden jerking action. You will typically experience sore muscles after 8-12 hours of physical activity unlike a sprain. The burning sensation that sore muscles have to is caused by the lactic acid build up in muscles. This is released in the body to supply the excess need of oxygen which is not possible for the blood to fulfill. Being an acid, it burns every time the muscle is moved.


What a Pain in the neck!

Natural Methods of Relief

The sore muscles and joints pain isn’t pleasant even though you know that something good has brought it on. Then what is one to do about it? Continue to bear it or take some measures to remedy the pain? Here are some muscle sore relief methods that you can take up.

 Cold Packs or Hot Packs…or Both?

Hot Packs – Soreness, overexertion

Cold Packs – Injury, inflammation


Kat’s Handmade Herbal Hot/Cold Packs


The most effective sore muscle remedy is Hot Packs. Better still, take a warm bath, shower or sit in a jacuzzi right after a strenuous workout for instant relief.  By using a Hot Pack or some other warm therapy you soothe the aching muscles and also send fresh blood/lymph to the area to “clean” out the lactic acid and wastes/toxin build-up.  Apply this Hot Pack for 10-20 minutes several times a day for a day or two.

Cold Packs are specifically for treating injured or inflamed conditions.  Cold reduces the blood flow to the muscles by constricting the blood vessels. Therefore, the pain and inflammation will ebb away. If a Cold bath is not possible then use a cold pack on the injured/inflamed muscles and the pain and inflammation will die down. Apply these cold packs for 15-20 minutes every hour for the first two to three days.

Both Hot Packs and Cold Packs can be used in some situations quite effectively as contrast therapy.  When you need to bring the healing power of fresh blood/lymph to the area AND bring down inflammation contrast therapy is perfect for this.  If inflammation IS present, start with a Cold pack; 10 minutes on and then transition to a Hot Pack; 10 minutes on.  Cycle a few more time and do this at least 2-3 times per day for 2-3 days.


Over-the-Counter Medicines

Certain anti-inflammatory capsules are designed to reduce the pain and ease the symptoms of sore muscles. These would include aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen etc. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking these pills.


Herbal Medication

If you aren’t into the synthetic medication forms, then you can try some herbal medicines. Ginger, dong quai, St. John’s wort, sage, arnica, devil’s claw and others are known to lead to instant relief.


Gel, cream, pill…Arnica is superior at natural pain control

Arnicare Cream, Horizontal, 2.5 Ounce Sore Muscle Relief
Arnica Montana by Hyland’s Homeopathic – 250 tablets, 30X Sore Muscle Relief

Other Methods for Relieving Sore Muscles

  • Giving the sore muscles a light massage with the help of aromatic oils is known to provide relief.



  • Doing light stretches will help to open the constricted muscles and lead to relief.



Gently, slowly, easy.


  • Swimming is another very effective way of bringing in sore muscle relief. The movement of muscles used helps to reduce the inflammation and pain.
  • Start taking vitamin supplements to aid the body in handling the stress.
  • To prevent sore muscles after running or jogging or any other physical sport, make sure that you do some warm up exercises, that focuses on working all muscle groups.
  • Increase the intensity of the workout steadily so that it does not lead to a strain on the muscles and cause sore muscles.
  • Drink water, water, water, water!
  • Gentle stretching after Hot Pack use is highly recommended!

This article can also be viewed at Simply-Living-Simply

Herbal Remedies: Colds and Flu

If you haven’t been blessed with the latest Flu to go around, yet this year…YAY for you!  Ironically, my Doctor had just asked me, “Would you like a flu shot?” and of course not agreeing with all the stuff they put in those shots I said, “No, thanks, I’m good.”

And a week later...BAM…I had the flu!


Feeling sick? You may have the Flu or a Cold!

First come all these lovely, wonderful symptoms: 


Crankiness (more so than normal)

Runny Nose

Sore Throat


Head and Body Aches



It’s a super great idea at the onset of symptoms to take a few days off (yes, you can do this) and rest your body.  Sleep…take it easy…eat lightly(did you know this enhances your immune activity?)…and more sleep.

This allows your body a chance to heal, this is a necessity…not a luxury.  Most of the healing of your virus-damaged cells occur between the hours of midnight and 3AM, so it’s important to be able to get a good nights rest.


Even Kat…I mean Cats get sick!

On a personal note: I…did…not…do…this!  I continued to work for a whole week, exhausting my body, allowing the virus to take strong hold and then….BAM!  I was down for the count.  Don’t be like me, notice you have symptoms…take a few days off and allow yourself to heal!

Did you know that your cold/flu symptoms are a sign that your immune system is hard at work, trying really hard to throw off the infection.  That’s why it’s a great idea to NOTsuppress symptoms.  Yes…I said do NOT!  When you have a fever, you should think twice before trying to lower it…even with herbs.  Know why?  Fevers are one of your body’s natural defenses.  You see, heat deactivates viruses even better than antibiotics.

While aspirin and acetaminophen work well to alleviate pain, they can impair the immune system from working, putting those who are already in poor health at risk for more serious sinus/lung infections and sometimes even worse…pneumonia.

Conventional cold medicines like the liquids and capsules and antihistamines aren’t much better.  Be careful and very selective on what you choose to take or not take.  Sometimes these remedies have little to offer the cold or flu sufferer other than suppressing their symptoms and prolonging their misery.


Be cautious and choosy when taking over the counter medications that may suppress your symptoms and prolong your illness.


The symptoms are your bodies way of purging…detoxing…ridding the system of the foreign invaders.  

Let’s Go Herbal!

Here’s a list of some of the most beneficial herbs for colds/flu:

The Strongest Flu Fighting Herbs:





Tea Tree

Rose Geranium


Lemon Balm


The Strongest Kitchen Spices for Colds/Flu are:


Black Pepper








Tend to Get Colds/Flu Frequently-Try these super immune boosting herbs:

Siberian Ginseng




(They are also great for the lungs!)

Coughs, Sneezing, Body Aches…


Siberian Ginseng-this herb taken regularly will help decrease the amount of colds/flu you get and help prevent bronchitis.

Shizandra-taking this herb helps your system to be more resistant to the flu virus.

Astragalus-helps to increase the body’s production of interferon, which protects cells from invasions of viruses.  It has also been used to prevent both viral and bacterial lung infections.

Echinacea-this wonderful immune building herb also stops cold and flu viruses from reproducing once they have gained access to a cell.  Echinacea stimulates cells in the immune system called macrophages, these cells quickly go to the site of the infection to literally “gobble” up the microbes causing the problem.

Licorice-this herb is a twin of Echinacea in that it works in much the same manner.

Elder Berries-have long been used as a folk remedy for flu.  And those folks really knew what they were doing!  More than one compound in the berries prevent the flu virus from invading healthy cells.  Elder berries may even inhibit more serious viruses such as herpes and Epstein-Barr.  They also lower fever, ease symptoms of sinus congestion, sore throat and headaches.

Osha-a well known southwestern herb, helps ease the pain and discomfort of lungs that are sore as a result of coughing or congestion.  It also relieves the indigestion that often accompanies colds/flu’s.

Natural “herbal” antibiotics can be taken directly into the body via an Essential Oil Steam

(especially good if you have infected lungs or sinuses)


Get those healing herbs…IN!

Essential Oil Steam

3 Cups Water

1/4 tsp. Eucalyptus OR Peppermint Essential Oil

~Bring water to a simmer and turn off the heat.  Add essential oil. Set pot where you can sit down next to it.  Place your face over the pot and drape a towel over the back of your heat to form a mini-sauna.  Breathe in the steam, coming out for fresh air as needed.  Do at least 3 rounds a few times a day.

~If you can’t find PURE essential oils, you may use dried herbs.


Don’t have time for a steam?  


Use your Homemade Nasal Inhaler

1/4 tsp. course salt

5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil, or EO of choice

~Place the salt in a small glass vial with a tight lid and add oil.  The salt will absorb the oil and provide a convenient way to carry the oil without danger of spilling it.  Open the vial and inhale deeply.

Last but most assuredly not least, you want to be consuming MASS quantities of liquids, to help flush everything OUT of your body.  Water, water and more water, diluted juices and teas.  Especially herbal teas.  Here is a great Cold/Flu tea recipe.


Drink some good for you Cold & Flu tea several times throughout the day.

Cold & Flu Tea

1/2 tsp. EACH

Echinacea Root, Peppermint Leaves, Hyssop Leaves, Yarrow Leaves, Elder Flowers, Shizandra Berries.

1 Qt. Boiling Water

~Combine herbs and pour boiling water over them. Steep for at least 20 minutes.  Strain and drink frequently throughout the day.  If you can’t find any or all of the herbs you can make instant tea from tinctures.  Or buy commercial tea with similiar ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Colds/Flu are absolutely no fun.  Just a few tips to remember; at first sign, stop and rest.  Take a few days, sleep, eat lightly drink a lot of fluids, rest your body.  Support your system with good for you herbs and remedies and only take over the counter chemical medications with caution and it’s okay to pick and choose.  Try not to suppress, allow your body to detox.

Once on your feet again, let’s build up that Immune System!!  That’s another post!

Do what Mom always said…Eat Your Soup!

6 Tips to Getting Going Again….. 

1. Drink water. A lot of water. Your body is getting over fighting a virus, infection, what have you, and water makes it that much easier to do so. It helps to detox your body, as well as replenish whatever was lost during being sick.

2. Eat. Sounds pretty basic, but can often be a chore when you’re not feeling your best. As long as you don’t have the flu, make sure you’re eating adequately to maintain the vitamins and minerals your body needs. This also keeps your energy up and assists in your recovery. That being said, make sure you’re eating healthy foods that your body can use, specifically foods packed with Vitamin C and Vitamins B. Immunity-boosting foods are a good idea. Comfort foods can be tempting, but make sure you’re supplementing vitamin-packed foods as well.  Stay away from dairy for awhile…to hard for the body to digest and mucous producing.

3. Get plenty of sleep. This is where your body recovers the most and can do battle with any lingering germs. Sleeping an adequate amount will greatly help your immune system, as well as help you recover faster. Adding in a nap isn’t a bad idea either, if that’s a possibility for you.

4. Assess yourself. It’s hard not to be active for a few days, never mind 2 weeks. You may need to take some more time to recover. Doing some self assessing can be beneficial; don’t start back in to anything prematurely, allowing yourself adequate time to rest and recuperate.

5. Start slow. When you’re ready to get back in to life again, whatever that means for you…take it slow.  Don’t expect your body to automatically bounce back into the groove it was in before you got sick.  It takes time.  Allow yourself to go slow, one thing at a time at back into your routine.  Allowing yourself breaks and rest.

6. Listen to your body. If you start feeling light-headed or nauseous, or anything remotely like “sick”, back off and take it easy.  This applies to anything.  You don’t want a setback and have to check out of life all over again.  Your body knows best so it’s a good idea to listen to it.

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Herbal Medicine Kit – The Terrible Three!

Leaves of three I did not see
and now I have Poison Ivy…

~ Beverly R. Titus

Welcome Back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit.  Today we are learning about and discussing Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac.  We will discuss in more depth the herbs Grindelia & Comfrey.  We will also be making several herbal remedies; Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Remedy, Paste & Bath!

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac – The Terrible 3!

The Terrible 3!

Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac are famous for the itching and oozing rashes they can cause.  Despite their names, these plants are not really poisonous at all…NO, Really!!  The danger lies in an allergen called urushiolir.

These plants are all related; so if you are one of the unlucky people to be allergic to one…you will be allergic most likely, to all three.

 The itching, blistering  and oozing rash usually associated with these Terrible Three plants appears anytime from a few hours of exposure to several days after exposure.

Other possible symptoms also may include nausea, tiredness, mental disorientation and fever.  Very bad cases can also cause breathing difficulties and kidney damage, requiring medical intervention.

And some people….don’t react AT ALL to these plants!

Poison Ivy Arm Rash

John and I had personal experience with our friends…the Leaves of Three when we went back to our Homestead in May.  Our acre of land was covered with beautiful green vegetation growing beneath our towering black oak trees.  Never having seen Poison Ivy as a kid we weren’t aware that we were traipsing through this wicked stuff for over 4 days, cutting and trimming and weeding and raking…well, you get the picture!

 Low and behold about 3 days later when we arrived back home we both broke out in odd rashes.  John’s was quite severe and lasted almost 2 months, mine was very mild and had the same duration.  We opted to NOT go to the Doctors because it seems the medicine of choice for them is steroids and we didn’t believe that would be beneficial to us…only a band-aid and side affects on top of that!

Oozing Poison Ivy Rash

The best way to protect yourself from Poison ivy, Oak and Sumac is to stay away from them…of course!  But if you aren’t aware of what they look like that is hard.  Become knowledgeable…you never know when you will run into them!

Be able to identify the Terrible 3!

Some Precautions to take:

Wear protective clothing, on arms and legs.  Wear gloves and heavy shoes.  Be prepared to throw these clothes away as the oils from the plants can stay imbedded into the fibers even after multiple, multiple washings.

If you do get the oils on your skin, wash immediately in COLD water and soap.  DO NOT use hot water as we automatically think of doing.  The heat from the water will open up your pores and push the oils in and even cause them to spread.

Herbs to the Rescue!

I find it interesting that one of the herbs used to alleviate the pain and itching from the Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac grows near it…Grindelia.  I took pictures of it on our property not knowing at the time what it was.  Just that it was gorgeous.


Several Herbs are very helpful and beneficial for treating Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac; Grindelia, Plantain, Comfrey, Jewelweed.


More Helpful Tips:

 Plantain poultices help to immediately reduce swelling and itching.  Jewelweed helps to effectively fight reactions.

Comfrey and Aloe Vera promote healing and help soothe the skin irritated by the allergic reactions.

A lukewarm bath of oatmeal, herbs and Epsom salts can soothe and give relief.

For oozing rashes, mix herbal paste with ground oatmeal and cover the rash.

Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Remedy

Click HERE to print


 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Paste

Click HERE to print



 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Bath

Click HERE to print




 Recap:  Today we looked a various herbs that help with allergic reactions to Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac.  We made several herbal remedies.

 Looking ahead:  Next week we will be looking at, and discussing Shock.  We will be making a Rescue Remedy and also a Lavender Compress.

Reminder:  Gather your herbs and in this case some flowers; rock rose, impatiens, clematis, star of bethlehem and cherry plum, and your lavender!!

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Modern Homesteaders

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Herbal Medicine Kit – Heat Exhaustion & Sunstroke

Mint, oh mint Fresh green and cool. You help my tummy feel great!

~Brenda Hunter



Welcome Back….

 …to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit.  Today we are learning about and discussing Heat Exhaustion and Sunstroke.  We will be making a “It’s HOT outside Tea” and discussing various herbs.

Let’s get to it…


Heat Exhaustion & Sunstroke- Part 2

Just like your car, your body can get overheated when the air temperature soars or when you overexert yourself.  Sometimes this is heat exhaustion and sometimes, heat stroke.  Let’s look at the individual cases.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion:

 Heat exhaustion typically begins with a wave of dizziness and is often accompanied by weakness and tingling sensations.  The skin becomes pale, cool and clammy and the pulse weak.  But your body may remain normal.  These are all signs you have lost too much fluid and too many important minerals.

What to do to help?

Heat exhaustion can generally be self-treated, but your body needs to cool down quickly to avoid further damage.  Keep this person quiet and comfortable, replacing lost fluid and minerals with miso soup, fruit juices, or one of the electrolyte drink.  Also the Lavender Compress would be excellent on the forehead!


In an attempt to cool down the body begins to sweat; as a result, you lose even more water and salt.  Then….the opposite symptoms result: high fever, lack of sweating and a bounding pulse…this indicates more than heat exhaustion…this indicated sunstroke.  Sunstroke victims need to have medical attention ASAP!


What can you do while you wait for Medical Help?

 Cool the person down with ice water, have him drink it and apply cold compresses and if possible with submersion in a cold bath.


Heat Exhaustion/Stroke Prevention

Heatstroke is predictable and preventable. Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:

Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.

Wear light-colored clothing if you’re in the sun. Dark clothing absorbs heat. Light-colored clothing can help keep you cool by reflecting the sun’s rays.

 Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.

Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.

Never leave children or anyone else in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in just 10 minutes. It’s not safe to leave a person inside a parked car in hot weather for any period of time, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in the shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.

Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, follow the same precautions and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Taking breaks and replenishing your fluids during that time will help your body regulate your temperature.

Get acclimatized. Limit the amount you spend working or exercising in the heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness, including heatstroke. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.

Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a physical condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services at the event in case a heat emergency arises.

It’s HOT outside Tea!

Click HERE to print



Recap: Today we looked at and discussed Heat Exhaustion and Sunstroke. We also made a tea: “It’s Hot Outside”

Looking Ahead:  Next week we will be discussing in more depth all of the herbs we used in our “Its Hot Outside” Tea:  Mulberry leaves, Peony root bark, Licorice root, Ginseng.  We have looked at Peppermint in past Herbal Med Kit Postings.

Reminder:  Next week we will be reviewing information…look ahead to the following week and gather the following supplies for our Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Post: Grindelia & Comfrey!

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Blessings to you and yours,






 I am also a Contributing Author at:



Kidney Stones – Oh MY!

Kidney Stones

Joe Pye Weed


About the best that can be said of kidney stones is that once you go through the experience, you may find yourself willing to go out of your way to make sure they do not come back again! One bout is enough to make most people re-think their diets and make some changes!

About half the people who get kidney stones will suffer them again, along with the symptoms of sudden, sharp waves of pain, nausea, and profuse sweating that accompany this problem. Severe cases are also accompanied by bleeding and, if there is an infection, even fever. As with any kidney condition, please see your physician or naturopath to determine the exact cause of your symptoms and the severity of your condition.

Kidney stones are mineral deposits made up of calcium, uric acid or the amino acid cysteine. There are numerous theories as to how these stones form, but no ones knows for absolute sure. Contributing factors may include:



Lack of exercise

Repeated kidney infections

History of kidney issues in your family

In some herbal books it is said that lemon juice reduces the size of kidney stones, but most herbal remedies including those based on lemon juice and hydrangea do not actually dissolve stones. Instead they help eliminate the stones and reduce or relieve the pain that occurs as they are eliminated. The larger the stone, the more uncomfortable this can be. Good herbs that help reduce infection, pain and spasms are cramp bark, goldenrod and joe pye weed, aptly nicknamed “gravel root” for its ability to get rid of stones.

At least 75% of kidney stones are composed of calcium combined with phosphate or oxalic acid. Medical experts believe that these stones result from an accumulation of unused calcium and lack of general exercise.

Since calcium phosphate stones are most common in alkaline urine, cranberries and other herbs that acidify urine also help prevent stones. Levels of the enzyme urease, which contributes to kidney stones, are increased by bacteria and the alkaline urine they produce. If you are prone to kidney stones, play it safe and avoid the following oxalic acid rich foods:



Beet Greens


Green Tea


Uric acid stones are found in urine that is too acidic. If you get this type of stone eat the following foods:



Apple Juice



These foods will help make your urine more alkaline. Also consider changing or modifying your diet. One thing that can cause your urine to be overly acidic is an overabundance of PROTEIN. The herbs Meadowsweet, Sarsaparilla, Joe Pye Weed and Plantain help rid the kidneys of excess uric acid.

Kidney Stone Tea

2 tsp Hydrangea Root

1 tsp Wild Yam Root

1 tsp Cramp Bark

1 ½ Qt Water

1 tsp Joe Pye Weed

½ tsp EACH Corn Silk, Plantain Leaf, Yarrow Leaf

*Add hydrangea, wild yam and cramp bark to water in a saucepan.

*Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

*Remove from heat, add rest of herbs, cover pan and steep for at least 20 minutes.

*Strain and keep refrigerated.

*Drink 3-4 Cups daily.

*If bleeding occurs with your Kidney Stones, add 30 drops of Shepherd’s Purse tincture to each cup of tea.

A tea is most especially appropriate when treating a kidney infection because you should be drinking plenty of water to keep the kidneys flushed and help kidney stones from forming. You can also take this formula as a tincture; 2-3 droppers-full per day.

Blessings to you and yours,





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