by Katherine Willow ND

At the July 15th monthly Open House I presented the topic of Summer Health.  There was a small turnout, which meant we could sit around the kitchen table and people got in-depth answers to their questions.  We also had some unexpected demos!

It started out innocently enough with an explanation of which organs are affected by the summer heat, specifically the heart, the small intestine and the liver.  We explored how small life-style changes could protect them: eating lightly and avoiding ice-cold food and drinks as well as too much fruit, and following the example of people who live in hot climates by adding cayenne powder to food in moderation to help both heart and digestion.  A bit of milk thistle, (without doing a full cleanse, which would be too much work for the liver in the summer), and digestive enzymes can be helpful if you are experiencing bloating, irritability and fatigue related to digestion–like falling asleep after meals!

At this point we were joined by Healing House Host Sandy Rawson, who had just been bitten by an insect resulting in a red, sore and swollen hand.  I had been hoping that something like this would happen and pulled out the plantain leaves that I’d picked in the lawn to show people.  Being a terrific sport, Sandy chewed the leaves as instructed and plastered them on the obviously painful hand.  Then we forgot about it and went on to the next topic.

The next topic was about sunscreen and my personal preference to use alternatives to protect the skin such as light clothing and staying in the shade.  Only with prolonged sun exposure do I recommend sunscreen.  I had purchased some products to test on people: normal sunscreen, a natural variety and a natural skin soother for after sun.  Volunteers, including a child who was surrogate-tested through his mother, all gave the same results: normal sunscreen weakened people, natural sunscreen was relatively strong and then the surprise — the natural skin soother weakened people.  The company who made it, Burt’s Bees, is a favorite of mine, and I hope this is an exception, maybe due to rancid oils.

By this time we remembered Sandy and lifted up the mashed mess of plantain leaves.  Lo and behold, in only ten minutes all the swelling, pain and redness had disappeared!  We were suitably amazed and made a mental note of this most helpful common “weed”.

This had to be the most fun Open House ever and I look forward to more Free Talks in the future.  On August 19th, naturopath Rebecca Word will be speaking on vaccinations and in September I’ll tackle the topic of natural flu prevention and treatment.  Check the Learning Centre schedule or Clinic news for times.  Here’s hoping we’ll see many of you there and have a healthy, fun and safe rest of the summer.