Monday, July 25, 2022

Turkey Tail Mushrooms; Their Value in Health and Cancer

                                     Thank you to Andrew Ridley at Unsplash for the use of his picture here. 

Mushrooms are one of the most amazing foods to boost your immune system and health!  As an herbalist, mushrooms are one of the newest foods to add to my daily regimen.  I knew about them but did not take them until the past year and a half.  It was when my Chronic Lyme disease flared up along with gut issues that I went back to research them.  There is so much research published now on the value of mushrooms from the ones easily found at the store to the medicinal ones that are harder to find. Many people forage for mushrooms but there is the expertise needed to properly identify the ones that are safe to eat and the mushrooms that can make you deathly ill. At 71, we live in the plains area where mushrooms are not easily found, and I am not in the mood to go foraging at this point.  I buy mine and am happy to do so. 

Turkey Tail mushrooms are one of the many medicinal mushrooms that can make a huge difference in your fight for better health including the fight against cancer. In many countries, the turkey tail mushroom and other medicinal mushrooms are used by oncology doctors to fight cancer. Mushroom supplements are being suggested by many holistic vets to give to dogs with cancer.

Mushrooms have a long history of being used for food and medicine. They are used today by people around the world to improve health and fight disease. They contain polysaccharides, including beta-glucans, as well as polysaccharide-protein combinations to name some of the most important properties. Enzymes are another property they contain.

These mushroom properties along with many others they possess have been shown by research to modulate the immune system, and fight tumors and cancers. Mushrooms provide anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, liver protective, anti-inflammatory, nerve protective, brain protective, and heart-protective effects.  Many edible mushrooms contain selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B3, which is part of what makes them strong immune boosters. Some mushrooms have more potent properties for fighting cancer. Turkey Tail is one of them.

PSK or Krestin is a supplement used in Japan and China by doctors made from the Turkey Tail Mushroom for cancer. Most of the published cancer studies have used PSK.  It is the fruiting body of the Turkey Tail Mushroom extract that has shown the most promise in studies. These published studies have shown its positive effect on breast cancer, lung cancer, and rectal cancer to name just three.  Most of these studies were done on patients who also were undergoing chemo and radiation.  Research companies cannot get funding for their research using mushrooms only against cancer. That is a real issue. This research shows that taking mushrooms improves the quality of life for patients and can greatly enhance their longevity with cancer. 

I personally don't believe in chemo or radiation.  I do belong to two cancer groups on FB that use mushrooms as part of their holistic therapy against cancer with success. I have seen some stories of people who used mushrooms alone on their cancers with success. The majority use a whole program with mushrooms included. I would certainly advocate including Turkey tail and other medicinal mushrooms in your holistic path to cancer healing. It is generally given that about 3 grams of each mushroom taken once a day is needed on a program if you are sick. I would also include other mushrooms in addition because each one has its own special array of beta-glutens and other healing properties to improve immune function and health.

I can tell you that taking mushroom supplements highlighting Turkey Tail has made a huge difference in my gut function, the gut pain I was experiencing, and in my whole immune function. I take them every day in a hot drink.  You can also take them in capsules or extract form as well. I do not go a day without including them. Yes, they are expensive but worth every penny and we are retired on a tight budget.  They are just as important as some of the herbs I take. Even if you are not sick, mushrooms boost immune function to help you maintain your present health. None of these links are sponsors of this blog. I offer them for your education. 

I encourage you to investigate the links below to learn more about the benefits of taking Turkey Tail Mushroom and other medicinal mushrooms for your health. 

Here are some links to further investigate the healing properties of Turkey Tail Mushrooms for better overall health and immune function.

PSK: Japanese Cancer Treatment STILL Not Approved in the U.S. (

7 Medicinal Mushrooms that Fight Cancer (

5 Immune-Boosting Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom (

Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits, Uses and Recipes - Dr. Axe (

Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects: Gaia Herbs®

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Learn How Medicinal Mushrooms Helped me to Overcome a Nasty Jaw and Gut Infection


Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

Do you suffer from an illness such as Lyme Disease or MS?  

Is your immune system compromised? 

Is your auto-immune disease-causing severe fatigue?

When we lived in TN, deep in tick country, I ended up with Chronic Lyme Disease.  Many chronic illnesses and diseases break down your immunity, your health and your mental health. Your body is always in fighting mode. Fatigue is a common complaint which is often severe at times.

Even though I have recovered from most of the most serious effects of Lyme Disease such as brain and memory impairment, I will be fighting this the rest of my life. It is what it is, and I am grateful that the herbs work on keeping the Lyme under control. It affects my immune system to a severe degree.

As an herbalist, I was trained in Western herbs. Mushrooms were expensive and I just never got into them until last year. About in August of last year, my jaw became infected and then my throat as well.  The herb regimen knocked it down some, but my immune system could not seem to work to completely knock it out.  This went on for weeks and nothing worked completely. 

It was then that I began researching mushrooms and their immune strengthening abilities.  I was impressed enough with the days of research that I bought several mushroom powders including Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey tail, and Chaga. I made them into a drink using 4 grams each of the different dried mushroom powders above mixed in with a little hot chocolate powder.  I was not sure what to expect but after researching them, felt it was my best bet to bolster up my immune system to fight the stubborn infections. 

Within days I felt stronger physically, then my jaw and throat began to improve as well.  My physical strength has improved dramatically since using the medicinal mushroom mix every day.  I now give them to my husband as well which has improved his physical stamina. 

Along with the jaw infection, I also experienced gut problems so severe I could not eat for days without pain under my ribs. That too, is gone now as well. My stomach and digestion issues were very severe at the time, and I even considered going to the doctor, which I rarely do.  I am sure that the jaw and throat infection was filling my body with lethal toxins that were causing the gut pain.

Now these medicinal mushrooms are first on my supply list to keep my health up. They are expensive but your health is extremely important and without that you have nothing. To me, they have done more for my physical and immune system strength than anything else I tried over those months. You must have a healthy immune system to overcome any health issue or disease.  Even with taking herbs, it is extremely important for your immune system to be healthy enough to fight off the infection or cancer.

In the next several blogs, I am going to discuss the various mushrooms going into depth on the different properties that are used as tools against cancer, infections and to improve immunity.

All for today, Cathryn Freer, the herbladyisin

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Is Your Cup Half Full or Half Empty? Are you resilient?

What is your reaction to disasters? Do you get up and forge ahead despite the setback?

It was over a week ago, that I looked at my own disaster and how I dealt with it.  I am a researcher and writer, so my computer is extremely important to my work.  I had not realized just how long it had been since I had backed up my computer research including a story I had written for my grandchildren. Life gets away from us and its like that bowl of soup in the refrigerator that you can't remember just when you cooked it.  Backing up your computer material is like that, and it can prove disastrous.

We live out on the plains of Colorado where our internet service is questionable at times. When the computer began having issues like pages loading slowly and the computer not wanting to load up, I chalked up to bad internet service. I think deep down, I was avoiding the reality that my old computer was going out on me. Then a few days later, it refused to recognize the adapter, I bought a new adapter which did not work. It then sunk in, that the computer was in its dying last days.

I called a computer guy in town, and he gave me the bad news that it was either the motherboard or the internal connection where the adapter fits it into the side of the laptop that was the problem.  If it could be fixed, it would cost more than the computer was worth.  I was really upset. 

I ordered a new battery and external hard drive to make a last-ditch effort to save all my research and writing. When it came in, I hooked it up and started the backup process.  Within 10 minutes the drive on the machine shorted out and would not acknowledge the external hard drive. The thumb drive didn't work either. I then plugged them into my husband's computer to test the external hard drives to see if they were good. They were. 

At that point I realized all my material and files were lost. I could see the files but could not get them out. I have to say that day was not my best.  I had lost my files and we would be out the expense of a new computer.  I was used to my old one and the way it worked.  I am not a fan of change. One of the most important things lost was a book I had written for the grandkids but had not quite finished it.  Why didn't I make sure that was backed up? That was my fault entirely.

The next morning, I reluctantly got up to do the research needed to order a new computer.  After hours of reviewing computers on Amazon, I chose one. It would be a week before it arrived.  I was not cheerful to say the least. I went with this HP computer below with windows 11, This was a good choice. Then I worked to keep busy around the house feeling quite lost without a computer. I am constantly researching or looking up new articles and resources. It is amazing how much we use our computers every day and how much they have become a part of our everyday life. I remember in 2000, I hated my first one. It was such a learning curve for me. How things had changed over 21 years. It was the first time in 20 years, I had been without a computer. For years with Dell, I had paid for onsite service.  They came to the house and fixed the machine.  For most of those years, we had lived several hours away from a computer repair store. I ran a business then where having a computer was necessary to my daily business.

It was the third morning after my old computer crashed that I said to myself, you need to stop this whining and reframe your view on this whole situation.  I needed to look at the bright side of this unfortunate circumstance.

I realized that with the new computer, I could write more efficiently and effectively. 

It would have several new programs that would make my research and writing easier. 

I could rewrite the kids book making it even better than the first version. Writing the story had been good practice.

Now I that I had bought an external hard drive, I would back up every week new material I had written or downloaded.  

Disasters teach you valuable lessons. Disasters show you where you need to improve or become more disciplined in. You realize where you have gotten lazy on things.

I realized that learning a new system, Windows 11 and all the new programs on the computer was great for my brain. Learning new things grows your brain and memory.  

With a new computer we have to pay for, it would help me to focus on writing for which I would get paid.  Vocal is one of those sites where writers can submit articles or stories and get paid for pageviews.  I had been putting off submitting to that site.  Now there is no excuse.  You must find the value in the lessons learned in any misfortune.  Let it be a marker to improve and overcome your circumstances.

Yesterday, this new computer came. It has been so easy to set up and the improvements in 8 years are amazing. I had no trouble setting it up or adapting to some of the new functions. It has so many improvements over the old one including writing tools built in. It is a joy to write on. It is difference between writing on the old typewriters and the first computers. Yes, I grew up using an old typewriter with a ribbon. I must say I don't miss them at all. I am not too old to learn new technology and apps. The camera, the video and photo editing improvements are worth it when keeping in touch with my children and grandchildren as well. I had been thinking about giving video classes, but my old computer did not have the technology.

So many times, in life, it is the way we are looking at the event which makes all the difference in the world in how our life changes at that point.  A life event can either lead us into depression or we can allow it to be something that raises up our view or life in many ways. 

It is up to us how we react to that event or circumstance.  I have always been one to look at my life as half full not half empty. It has always been my view, that my life will become better and that the negative circumstance is only temporary.  

So today I am writing on my new computer and on how it will be helpful and so very positive for my writing and research projects.

All for today, Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin

Friday, March 18, 2022

Learn How Adaptogen Herbs Differ From Other Herbs Plants. 

How do Adaptogen herbs work to help the whole body to work more effectively?

Herb plants grow all over the world in every country.  They are amazing  and complex in nature.  Each herb contains properties that are unique to its species, country, and how it is beneficial to both cooking and health.

Many of these herbs are not in the Adaptogen category and I will explain the difference later in this blog. Examples that are not Adaptogen herbs are below.

To use herbs properly even in cooking you need to know how they will impact your food flavor and your health. You need to know how much to use of that herb. 

The Various Functions of Herbs in Our Daily Life

  •  Herbs have multiple actions, even the ones used to flavor our food..
  • Garlic
  • Garlic as example is used for cooking but contains medicinal properties as well to help prevent infections in the body.  It was used in WW1 to dress the wounds of the soldiers.  It is a natural antibiotic used for hundreds of years. 

  • Cultures all over the world use garlic everyday in their meals. You can smell the garlic in every kitchen in France.

Photo by Dayana Brooke on Unsplash   Photo by Dayana Brooke on Unsplash

  • Rosemary is another herb used in cooking but as a tea helps with memory and so much more.

  • Oregano is used in various dishes but some Oregano species have potent medicinal qualities. 

  • Tumeric is used everyday in many countries such as India . Turmeric is added to almost every dish but it is one of the most researched and important herbs in India.  It has hundreds of uses in health such as for arthritis and joint pain. 

  • Some herbs such as Feverfew are used to reduce fever and to help prevent migraines.

  • Goldenseal, Echinacea, and Garlic are all herbs to use when fending off illness. Goldenseal and Echinacea are not herbs to be taken on a daily basis and Goldenseal is extremely bitter. Goldenseal can also be used on wounds to help them from becoming infected. Goldenseal and Echinacea are used as a natural antibiotic medicine for a certain amount of days.
This is a long article about how Adaptogen herbs differ from other herbs and how they impact the body and its functions in very different ways. This knowledge can really make a difference in your overall health and energy in a big way.

Please continue reading this article Here at my immortality herb plants website. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

One herb you May Not Know About for Anxiety and Calmness- Ashwagandha 

One of the most serious problems with people today is anxiety. Most families have no idea about their jobs, food costs, rising rents and it all creates horrible anxiety in many people. In my other recent blogs, I have written on some lifestyle changes to reduce anxiety but sometimes we need more help. There are several herbs that can help with anxiety.  One of the main ones I am going to talk about today is Ashwagandha. It is an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in India.  You many not of heard of it because of that.   

Ashwagandha grows as a small woody shrub in areas from Africa and the Mediterranean into India and the Far East.  It is most of the most important and revered herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. 

                                        Ashwagandha Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen meaning it is really safe to take and has a positive influence over the whole body and how it works.  It is a calming adaptogen for the whole system. It is helpful for arthritis inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, respiratory problems, nervous health problems and immuno-compromising diseases including TB, AIDS and many others. It is especially valuable in the diseases of aging.  

It has similar properties to the Russian adaptogens eleuthero and Panax ginseng in alternative medicine. It has anti-stress properties that calm down the changes in the body that occur with stress such as blood sugar changes, heart changes and rising cortisol production.  

Ashwagandha stimulates the thyroid and enhances endocrine function. It also helps to balance the adrenals, thyroid, and testes. In some countries it is used to help restore male hormone issues. 

There are some  very well designed human research studies from India that back up its benefit for anxiety and other health problems.

It is suggested you begin with 300 mg of the whole powder to begin with up to 3000 mg is a typical dose of this herb.  If you have purchased a standardized extract, 100 to 1000 mg is suggested. 

Pregnant women should not take this herb.  I

t is the root not the leaves that is used.  It does not taste great so I would suggest you either put it is smoothie or take it in capsule form.  

These suggested dosages stated above come from the expert book on this subject, Adaptogens for Medical Herbalism by Donald Yance, CN, MH, RH (AHG) which is one of my medical herbalism manuals that is for alternative medicine doctors. 

This book above contains 700 pages and goes into health and all the main adaptogens with pages of details on how each work works, how it is used and dosages. It is an amazing comprehensive book on the subjects. I use it all the time in my work. When you buy an herb, the company who manufactures that herb cannot give you information on what the herb is used for and how much to take for different health issues. 

You must buy a book such as the one I just listed above to find out that information. If the herb manufacturer listed that information, he would have his company shut down by the AMA and FDA for selling a drug that is not approved by the FDA.  

I would suggest here you consult with a holistic doctor if possible educated on Ayurvedic herbs to help you with your path to overcoming your anxiety. People are very complicated in the way their particular body works. Each individual is different and their body is different in what it needs to get healthy and well again. . One person may feel the calming effect at 300mg of Ashwagandha, where another might take up to  3000 mg.  It is best to start out at the lowest dosage in case you are sensitive to that herb. You then up the dosage over a couple of weeks until you see if it is helping. Herbs take time and it could be several days or weeks before you see improvement.  This herb comes from India so buy it from a company who lists that it is tested for heavy metals and contamination. That is extremely important for your health.

Do not use Ashwagandha with sedatives or anti-depressants without the supervision of a doctor or alternative medicine doctor since it is hard to tell how they would interact with each other. Do not use if pregnant.

Ashwagandha is rich in iron so if you have hemochromatosis which is an excess of iron in the blood. If you are low in iron it is a great food to increase you iron levels.

This herb improves thyroid and endocrine function so don't take it if you hyperthyroid conditions.

If you are allergic to nightshade plants, go very carefully with this one.

Ashwagandha can either increase or decrease the effect of barbiturate's.

I am going to list the next book in my personal library which I refer to frequently for more information and for dosages as well. It is easy for you to read but with lots of detail and  direction for the different adaptogen herbs and their dosages. 

The best book for dosage is the first book I listed above. This book has information on the adaptogens you can use on your animals and dosage for animals. It is a highly valuable book for that information.

Adaptogen Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief 

by David Winston and Steven Maimes


This is all for today. I hope this blog will help you in your path to wellness.

Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin

Wednesday, March 9, 2022


2022-  This year starts with continued stress and anxiety.   4 Herbs and supplements to help you cope.

Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

With everything from Covid to deadly wild fires and floods, 2022 is starting out with more to increase your stress level. Once you have done your best to lower your stress with diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes, there is more help.  This is one of two  or three more  blogs I am writing on this issue. Today the blog will address supplements and the next one herbs. The subject is too important to hit lightly.  So many blogs have so little real content and it doesn't really help people who are unfamiliar with the subject.

All the supplements in this blog will be gentle, not addicting, and do work for most people.  It beats the alternatives in prescriptions which are either addicting or have numerous side effects. There are some individuals who still need a heavier prescription drug but this is for the readers who do not.  

A word of caution.  Do not take prescriptions drugs for depression, anxiety, and more severe disorders with herbs.  You must be under a doctors supervision to lower or discontinue a drug you are taking now. Drugs may stay in the system for days or weeks, so understand that.  You may experience some tough side effects when trying to reduce your prescription medication.  If you want to try herbs, go to your doctor first to supervise and help you lower your prescription drug over weeks.  This is real serious on doing this the right way.  Drugs illegal or prescription have some heavy duty effects that can really make it so you can't work or function.

Now that you fully understand the issues above, lets go into supplements for anxiety and stress.  Supplements in the form of vitamins and minerals vary in their effects depending on the individual and their makeup.  There are a few people and I am one of them that several herbs and supplements have the opposite effect. You need to experiment with your own body on these. You start out with the suggested dosage or half the dosage if you are extremely sensitive to foods. Take that one for a week or two and notice how you feel.  I have to take half of the recommended dose on herbs that can make you sleepy. If I take an herb or supplement with caffeine in it, it affects me the same way as coffee.  If I take a 5 hour energy, it lasts for 12 hours. 

Whether you are taking OTC drugs, prescription drugs or herbs you need to monitor your individual reaction to them.  Supplements and herbs do have some potent effects including effects on blood sugar, blood pressure and cardio effects.  Its a good idea to try herbs  or supplements when you have the weekend off. Herbs and supplements such as magnesium can also effect your trips to the bathroom which if you are a trucker or have limited access to the restroom, can be an issue. 

Supplements for stress and anxiety: 

#1  Stress and anxiety can be an issue of a deficiency of magnesium.  Magnesium is important to the body and plays a part in more than 300 enzyme reactions. It supports healthy nerve and muscle formation and functions, aids in the regulation of blood pressure and aids your immune function. It calms you down when you seem to be stepping on your one last nerve. 

  • Signs you need magnesium include craving chocolate, muscle cramps, insomnia, constipation, headaches, high blood pressure, heart issues, anxiety issues, emotions that are out of control. This is especially true for women during their period and during menopause. 

With our deficient diets, magnesium is one of the nutrients we probably need to supplement if our stress level in high and we feel we are on our last nerves.  I take 3 caps before bed to help me sleep because I have such an active mind. My husband takes two because he is more sensitive to it.  I also take valerian as well which I will get into in the next blog. So taking a magnesium supplement is one of the first steps in controlling both these problems. Do start out with the minimum dosage, for magnesium can cause loose stools if you take too much.  Its good to start with 100 mg and go gradually up to about 400 mg if you are deficient.If you tend to be constipated, you can take more usually and need more.

I am going to refer you to Healthlines article (link below) on the different kinds of magnesium because one form or another of this mineral may be more effective for your health issue.

"A proprietary form of magnesium known as magnesium L-threonate, previously found to be exceptionally good at increasing brain magnesium levels, may be the best magnesium supplement for improving brain function. As a memory loss supplement, ,magnesium is a multi-purpose mineral with important roles in the brain. " If you are having memory issues or suffer from Alzheimer's you need to read the article here  from University Health News.

#2    B-Complex Vitamins are equally important in relieving stress and anxiety. Get a B-Complex that contains at least 50 mg per individual element. Ours contains 100mg of each B vitamin. Many of the formulas are so low, you will not feel anything unless you take 10 of them a day.  Read labels. Just because it says high potency does not mean it is in reality.  Some formulas contain magnesium so check that if you are going to take magnesium separately.  How strong a B-complex formula you need depends on your stress level and how long your have been stressed. If you deal with stress better than some people, you may only need a one with 50 mg each B vitamin.  It depends on the formula as well. Some formulas are more easily digestible that other formulations.

Many of your anxiety-stress formulations include -complex elements.  Listen to your body when trying new herbs, supplements and foods.  Keep a diary on how you feel beginning a new supplement, a few days later, and weeks later rating your energy level and how you feel.  It also helps to know from lab tests if you are deficient in B-12, Vitamin D, and other vitamins.  

Should you take extra B-12?  If you are suffering from Chronic Fatigue, tiredness or diaznosed anemia you may need to take extra B-12 shots or under the tongue tablets that dissolve in your mouth.  Many older people are given shots by their doctor to help them.   

#3  Multi-vitamins:  It is suggested that people with high stress lives take a multiple vitamin but it needs to be quality.  Many of the one a day types are so low in their content that they are not worth the money.  

It is important to eat organic veggies and lots of them to get the minerals and micro-nutrients you need to be healthy. Even organic vegetables may not contain the micro-nutrients that you need since it is the soil quality that is responsible for the health of the veggies.  If you can start your own garden and eat as much of your foods straight from your garden.  I am gardening in containers and so can you.  Health starts with a good diet to begin with.  Nuts of all kinds and fruit is important as well and organic is what you should do.   I know its hard, we are on a limited budget as many families and seniors but it is important to the health of your mind and body.  

#4  GABA-  This is one supplement that many people do not know about. I have used GABA on and off for years and it does work.  You will find supplements which include B-Complex vitamins and GABA. 

From Psychology Today, "Gamma-Aminobutyric acid is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain. GABA functions as a neurotransmitter, facilitating communication among brain cells. GABA’s big role in the body is to reduce the activity of neurons in the brain and central nervous system, which in turn has a broad range of effects on the body and mind, including increased relaxation, reduced stress, a more calm, balanced mood, alleviation of pain, and a boost to sleep."

If you are taking drugs for anxiety or depression, GABA can interact so get your doctors supervision if you take a GABA supplement.   The next blog will be on GABA because it is so unfamiliar to the majority of people who would benefit from taking it.

So next blog is herb and adaptogens that sooth nerves and anxiety. 

Herbally Yours, Cathryn Freer, the herbladyisin

Visit to learn about adaptogen herbs for health and longevity.

Learn about living with Chronic Lyme Disease, Lyme Disease and Brain Health

How Do We Survive the Stress and Anxiety of 2022? Finding peace in so much uncertainly and strive.

 How Do We Survive the Stress and Anxiety of 2022? Finding peace in so much uncertainly and strive.

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

Possible war, the horrible killing in Ukraine, Covid, lock downs, business shut downs, kids being home schooled, the devastation of fires and flooding, gas and food skyrocketing are the headlines confronting us daily from every source. We go to the store and get almost nothing for $50.00 now. We just did that this yesterday. Our gas here went up again as well.  

During these times people are becoming hopeless not knowing what their future will be.  I am sure that our parents and grandparents during the depression felt this way too.  In those days there were no unemployment insurance payments, no credit and food lines were the norm. People lost their homes and everything they had during those times. My father-in-law who died at 94 lived during the depression.  They ate only because they grew a garden, bought a milk cow, a few chickens, he fished even as a young child and hunted to help keep the family fed. They lived in a house that was vacant for several years...just squatted there.  The sold watermelon and did whatever they could to survive.  My father in law to the day he died, would not eat watermelon seeds because they saved them to replant the crop.

My mom wore flour sack dresses, shoes with holes, and ate popcorn for dinner many times.  They had little to eat for years and it was rough with harsh times.

During the civil war in earlier times the south lost everything when troops came from the North taking their food, their supplies, leaving nothing behind in their path.  

There are countless elderly and families today who are homeless now because they have lost their jobs. They already know about living out of their car.  I lived in an office for 4 months at one point in 2004 when I was suddenly without a place. The girl I was paying room and board to, didn't pay the rent. I came home from a caregiving job with my stuff packed up in the living room. No warning at all.  I had a dog at the time too. It does not take much at times and circumstances are not always in your control. 

These folks will tell you that they lived through these times and that for most part, times got better and easier eventually. People in those days, just put one put in front of the others and kept on living. They did not expect things to be easy because most of them led hard lives and worked hard every day.  Their relief from those hard times may have been years down the road but they just kept taking each day, one step at a time.

How you make it through the rough times depends on your attitude, creativity, your courage and your resilience to the adverse events in your life. 

How do you react to stress?  I remember when the kids were little and I had to sell some good furniture we had to pay the rent. I loved the hutch but it went. I learned not to get attached to things that in the long run mean nothing. They are not critical even though you love them and enjoy them. I learned through surviving those time periods that they do pass, sooner or later. It taught me many lessons that has kept me strong now into 2022 and the uncertain future we have as seniors. 

*The one thing You Can Control is your reaction to stress and negative people.   

No one can make you angry, unless you let them.  

No one make you give up or see yourself in a negative light unless you let them.  

No one can decide your future, you must do that.  

Nothing anyone says can hurt you, unless you let them. 

It is your choice to hold hatred or anger. It is your choice to forgive. It is your choice to look at your future with faith or to look at it and give up.  It is up to YOU despite the outward circumstances at this point and time. 

One thing I always focused on was my belief that my life would get easier. My belief in God gave me strength and courage to keep fighting. I never stopped believing that I would overcome the circumstances. I never gave in to hopelessness. I was a fighter and still am.  

 I used to have a bumper sticker which read, " I have no time for a nervous breakdown, I have to go to work and feed the kids. "

 After three used refrigerators died one after another, I developed more calm during these situations.  I learned how to deal with the uncertainty that lay before me day after day.  What does not kill you, makes you stronger.  You must learn from the events in your life and let them grow you rather than cause depression and defeat.  I say this from many experiences over 70 years. I say this after going through domestic violence in an early marriage, being a single mom, fighting to survive economically years ago.  You learn resilience. You learn to take a deep breathe and pray for strength and courage to take on the next day.

Stress will always be there in one form or another as we go through our path in life. It is how we react to the event or stress that makes the difference if you turn  to drinking and suicide or you get up and keep fighting.

 Here are some other stress survival tips:  

Turn off the news except for a few minutes every day. The nasty, negative news media is driving up people's blood pressure, creating heart disease, causing depression to worsen and think about harming themselves.  TURN off the news!    

Focus on every blessing you have and be grateful. It is hard to be depressed when you are grateful.  There was a time when I moved to Colorado in 2008 that the car I owned had no working heater.  It was a bad winter that year. It was necessary to have to stop to scrape the ice off every 20 min, for the defroster did not work. I saw the Canadian geese in the snow and felt thankful, it was not me out there. I gave thanks I had a job and a place to live.  I have been there and know how hard it is. 

Do NOT drink if you feel you need a drink...that is a recipe for becoming dependent on alcohol.  Do not take any substance that has addicting properties. If you already have a problem, seek help now not later.  If you are considering harming yourself or others get help and reach out now. Suicide in the deadly answer to a temporary situation.  Let someone know how badly you are feeling inside.  Let them into the pain of your heart and soul. Get help!


Instead of resorting to addicting activities, instead take a hot bath, listen to soothing music or music that makes you feel better. When I used to clean houses, there was one family who played really depressing classical music. It really did not help me work to say the least. Music can have a uplifting effect or a depressing music that lifts your mood. 

Soothing music is a so important to listen to for a calm mind or to recoup from stress during the day.

Exercise reduces stress and makes you feel good. You can exercise at home if it is not safe to go out. Most of us can walk. 

Take a walk with your kids or dogs.  Walk or run the pain out of your heart.  Exercise is important when you are stressed.  Hike in areas of beauty that will help your outlook on life.  

Watch the birds and find beauty in the landscape. Get out in nature to center yourself. Take your kids with you to get them away from their electronic gagets. Teach them the beauty of the outdoors.


Take  up Yoga which benefits your blood pressure, your health and attitude.  Go for a massage which will relieve the stress and pain.  Dance to videos at home. Yoga classes can be taken online as well. 


Clean up the garage or the room that everyone has where you have thrown things into. Clean up your files in the office which no one usually has time for.  Cleaning is a good activity to relieve stress and anxiety.  

Help others which will make you realize how blessed you are. Look at what is going on in the Ukraine and you will realize how easy most of us have it here in the US.  Look at the homeless living in tents in places like California and you will feel wealthy in comparison.


Don't eat sugar and junk foods which has an effect that hurts your health and only makes you feel better while you are eating it.  Sugar adds to depression with weight gain and its effects on your blood sugar level and mood.

Find a friend or friends who lift you up and that make you feel better about your life.


 If you are going to a church, join a group that give you hope and supports you.  Once when the kids were young, my back went out, and we had to live with my mom. She was visiting my sister at the time.  We had no money, no resources and I had no idea when I would be able to work again. My mom belonged to the local church. While she was gone, one of the members came by.  He learned of our situation but I did not ask for help. I had too much pride.  It was Christmas and there was no money. It was cold and there was no money for coats and warm clothing.  On Christmas eve, there was a knock on the door. When I answered, a man was there with multiple presents and food including a turkey. In the presents were clothes for the kids and I.  The coats I needed were part of it too.  I was so overwhelmed with the generosity of my mother's church where I did not belong at that point, that I cried.  Churches do help those that don't belong to them.  Twice in the past years, people from a church we did not belong to helped us move. This year when we moved to Yuma, the local church who did not know us, helped us unload the U-Hall. 


If your friends or family depress you further, take a vacation from those who are angry and fearful.  If you know their view is set and it differs from yours, leave it alone. You are wasting time and health on those who will not listen to you. You can only save those who have an open mind. In the next 50 days before the election, avoid political conversations.  Refuse to argue with friends or family who disagree with your views. It will only drive you crazy.  Do vote and do sign any petitions that go along with your beliefs.  

Stay calm for you cannot make responsible decisions when reacting in emotion and fear.   


Fear will disable you from thinking clearly and coming up with decisions that might help you to survive.  Listen to what you are thinking and saying out loud. If you are telling yourself that you Cannot do it or survive what is happening, you won't. When you tell yourself negative statements, it will fulfill itself.   If you are swimming in a swamp with possible alligators, the best thing you can do it quickly but smartly take the best route out. Standing in the middle of the swamp giving up will get you killed.  


Life is a swamp at times, and your best path is moving through it step by step focusing on the land ahead...the way out. 

If you are calm, your children will be calmer. Be an example of strength and optimism rather than fear. 

Do not be afraid to ask for help from your family, churches, food donations, or any other sources that might be available.  If you find yourself unable to pay the rent, move in with relatives until you get back on your feet. That takes putting your family before your pride.  I know that, I was there once many years ago when I couldn't work because of severe back pain. Did I enjoy that? No but I survived and my back got better with time. 

Trim down where you can. Do you really need Netflix? Do you really need Starbucks? It is really needed to eat out as much as you do? There are no many things you have that you use only frequently, sell them on FB market place and several other aps.  Have a garage sale at your home.  


When my kids were small I cleaned houses and later took care of seniors. I did what I had to do to make a living.  While cleaning houses, I wore wrist braces because I had carpal tunnel and couldn't get hired. I learned to clean with the tips of my fingers and hands.  I did that for two years as a fact.  There are many ways to make a living and you may have to change yours to survive.  Don't let pride get in your way.  Be thankful for whatever work you can get at the time. 

Brain storm with others for answers. At times, our mind is so full of 'WHAT IFs,' we cannot see the answers even when they are staring at us.  When minds are open, things happen.  


Ask others for ideas and to spread the work you need help or work to survive.  If you ask enough people, you will get answers and find the help you need.  


Open you mind to other options, you might not have considered at an earlier time in your life.   


Focus on what you need, where you need to go, not what you don't have today. 

Where your focus goes, so does your direction and energy.  

There was a time in 2000 when I found myself without a car, credit or much money for a down payment. Taking a bus to work and walking several miles was what I had to do. Instead of complaining, I would think about the exercise I was getting walking.  I took a bus for a number of months without complaining and giving up. I left it up to God for I had no answers. I kept the focus on having a car but had no idea of how I would get one. I was working as a caregiver for a man who was rich and had a 1979 Mercedes at the time.   He adored the car and it had come over on a ship from Germany.  He was getting so dangerous with his driving that his son wanted to sell the car but the old man wouldn't budge.  In the end, I was allowed to buy the car with no money down, low payments, and a simple contract. I drove that car for years and it kept me safe.  I could never have dreamed or imagined ending up with my 1979 Mercedes. They sold it to me for $500 and it was in great shape. They did not need the money.  

When that car got stolen later and the police gave me zero chance for recovering it, I kept the faith it would be returned.  It did get recovered and with only broken wind shield wipers and out of diesel.  I never had a doubt I would find it despite being told by the local police that I was crazy. It was returned exactly two weeks later. 

If there is nothing to be done to alter your situation at this point, I direct you to the Serenity poem below and to the Psalms in the bible. 

Keep the Serenity Prayer on your wall.    This helped me through so many times in my life, I can't count them.  The second one I will leave you with is Psalms 121:1.  These two that I leave you with kept me going.

 The Serenity Prayer
(full version)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.



Psalms 121:1

 I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills. 1 {A Song of degrees.} I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon ...
Blessings to all of you during these harsh, uncertain times.  

Cathryn Freer, The Herbladyisin

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Learn how to become proactive in solving your own health problems when standard medicine has failed you.

Education is POWER!  You can take over your health!

Right now you have either been handed a diagnosis with no real results or you feel like garbage but you don't know where to begin?  This article will give you ideas on moving forward to getting well again.

The first step is looking at your eating habits, your stress level, lifestyle habits such as drinking, smoking, junk food habits, and exercise habits.  This is the basics for improving health. 
Herbs and supplements are taken along with life style changes not by themselves. 

Don't expect to be well yesterday because it is going to take time. Spend time going through health articles to see HOW to go about making changes in your life. Join a FB group that will support your path into wellness. If there is a local group in your area that is supportive, join that and learn. 

Take baby steps each week to improve life style habits. Right them down and why it is important to improve your health.  Consider how you and your families life would change for the better if you felt better!

Next is the process of pinning down where your body is breaking down or not working properly.  Pain in one area may be actually coming from a whole different part of the body.  

  • A good physical exam is really helpful to start out including a female exam if you are a woman. Hormonal imbalances can cause havoc throughout the whole body. Endocrine imbalances such as thyroid issues can make you feel horrible affecting every function in the body. Vitamin deficiencies are another big issue causing you to feel horrible. A good physical and blood tests can rule out illness even if it does not find the problem causing your symptoms. 

Getting to the base cause of your symptoms is often frustrating and it takes time.  You have to work at it. 

Fatigue for example can have many causes and that is why standard medicine usually does not find the answer. They have 20 minutes with a patient these days. That is why they end up giving you drugs instead of getting to the base problem for your symptoms.

Treating the underlying problems such as iron deficiency anemia or hypothyroidism is where the real long term healing begins. 

#1:  I have to say that It does help if you have a diagnosis or lab tests to point the way such as being diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or liver issues.   It helps if you have lab tests to point out health issues such as in my husband's case that he is severely iron deficient anemic. 

#1a:  If you can go to your regular doctor first so your insurance will hopefully pay for some initial tests to at least perhaps rule out some health problems.  Try to get them to fund as many tests as possible.  In the end, they probably will tell you that they cannot find anything and its all in your head.  If you are blessed, they may actually find the cause of your symptoms. If they find nothing, try not to get discouraged. Pay these doctors no mind because most diseases take weeks, months or years to be severe enough to show up on lab tests. They only pay attention when the imbalance lead to an official disease state. Lab tests in hand will help you with the next step.

#2: Your next step if possible is go to a Functional  Medicine Doctor to really track down the problem. The sad thing about your visits there is that most visits and procedures won't be covered by your insurance. It takes from $200 to $500 to get into the door of a natural health doctor.  They will not just look at standard lab tests but have other tests to get to the real cause. They go by your diet, your health history, your symptoms and other factors that your standard doctor will not take the time to investigate. People are like a complex puzzle where the pieces often are hard to find and place.  At least by this point, you will have some lab tests that your insurance did pay for to help him out finding your health issue.

#3: If you cannot afford a doctor or a functional medicine doctor, it is a longer process on your journey.  

Most people at this point will not have any knowledge or education on health or herbs. 

So you need to spend time getting educated on herbs and your health issues.  

You really need at least the direction of an herbalist to try and help you.  If you have a diagnosis at least, but nothing standard medicine doctors have tried worked, at least you have a diagnosis to research. 

Ordering Your own lab tests 

#4: At this point if your doctors won't order certain tests, you can order your own  through Ulta Labs.  This lab is where I order our lab tests from. I have had great customer service from them. They are 3 hours drive from where we live.  Again I do not make money on referring you to Ulta Labs but I do have good experience on a personal level ordering from them.

You order the tests, then drive to the facility and they draw your blood. 

You do not need a doctor to order them but the cost comes out of your pocket. 

This is what I did to tract down my husband's horrible fatigue.  I ordered the tests that pertain to fatigue such as a CBC, Thyroid Panel, Iron Panel and several others to rule out what I could in possible base causes for fatigue. 

I am going to do a whole blog on ordering lab tests because it is so important.

Then you research to find out what the results could mean. That took me three weeks doing that. It was enough to make my head spin and give me headaches. It takes patience, research, and its complicated. 

There is a whole art to researching alternative medicine because most of the websites you will commonly get sent to, are bias against herbs and herbal medicine. You will have to go to Pub Med and Green med Pro to find it.  The search terms you use to research herbs make a huge difference in what information you will find there.  

Learn, Learn, Learn

There are various alternative medicine therapies that could help you to regain your health along with herbs or by themselves including Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and Massage as well.  There is aromatherapy using essential oils therapy.  You must open up your mind to possible therapeutics you do not know about now or have never tried. Some insurance companies do cover acupuncture in some cases.

There are various books on alternative medicine that will help you with designing a program for you or your family.  These are on my book shelf now. I do not get anything from sale of this books. To take back your health, you need to learn all you can about health and herbs.

Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide (2nd Edition)

Prescription for Nutritional Healing: the A to Z Guide to Supplements

Which herbs do I try first? How do I know how much to take? 

The next blogs will be on the different kinds of herbs and the benefits they each have for health and wellness.  So come back to learn more. 

All for today, Cathryn Freer, The Herbladyisin

Monday, March 7, 2022

ARE you sure you are taking herbs that are effective and Safe? Read this article to find out.

Today's blog is on the importance of buying quality herb products no matter whether it is bulk herbs or herbs in any form.  Just because you buy organic herbs is not enough to ensure that the product you are buying is healthy.

Organic should mean that they don't use pesticides on the product or chemicals.  That is often not the reality.  When we lived in California and was buying some organic produce from a farm, we were told that a neighbor sprayed their produce with insecticides at night when no one was around. This farm also bought lettuce from the store, when they had a lettuce failure from birds destroying the crop. 

How can you the consumer tell if it the farm's lettuce or lettuce from the store? You can't so you are relying on their ethics and honesty. 

Organic is only as good as the ethics of the farmers who sell you their crops.

Another example is Moringa powder. In 2012 through 2014 we sold it as a business.  I researched companies throughout India through the body that certifies these companies. We lost 500 bucks from one who never sent us the product and who we found out later was using the organic certificate from another company fraudulently.  

We then put in another order from a well regarded company with a valid organic certificate that was taken by the FDA in San Diego for improper labeling. When it was tested they found dirt, insects, and  mouse residue. We lost the money on that order.  That was our very sad experience importing Moringa powder. That was the end of our trying to import quality moringa powder.

Organic does not tell you the complete story at all.

Their are many problems with goldenseal being sold which is not real goldenseal but a plant that looks similar and used as an substitution.  If you find cheap goldenseal powder it may not be the root which is the most medicinal part of the plant or a substitution that is not goldenseal at all. 

Each herb has certain parts that are more medicinal than other such as the leaves or root. In some cases the whole herb is potent in medicinal value.  

There may be 20 different kinds of Thyme but not all of them are medicinal. Some may be ornamental or for cooking but lacking the true medicinal values.  You must have the medicinal Thyme species for medicine.

Where was the herb grown?  In what kind of soil was it grown? 

 In India there is much pollution  in the soil from chemicals found  in the Ganges river.  That river supplies much of the irrigation for the crops and herbs.  Herbs grown in polluted ground takes up that pollution

If the herbs are dried improperly there may be mold introduced into the herb product or lost if dried at high heat drying.  

If the herb is stored, how is it stored.  Is it safe from contamination, dirt and mice?

These are all the stages of herb processing that can cause a product to look fine but may be useless for your health problem. If you had a reaction to an herb, it could be the dirt or contamination that you are really having an reaction to.

What a quality company does in testing the bulk herb products to ensure quality and safely of the product you buy and consume.

The following is from Nature's Sunshine herbs which I do not sell anymore but I buy from them for our family.  

This same quality of testing should be part of every company's core value but it is not. If they do not state on their website the testing procedures, you have no idea if they do test and what tests they perform on their product material they buy.  

Look up the website for the products you are buying or call them to find out.  If they will not tell you about the tests they perform, then they are not testing the products. If they give you evasive answers, you know the truth.

These same 4 steps below should be performed from any company you buy from. 

If not you may be wasting your money and not get any value on helping your health.  The 4th step below especially costs a lot of money to the company so the product will cost you more.

Cheap herb products without testing may do little to improve your health and could hurt your health through contamination by chemicals, dirt, insects, mouse parts and mold.  

"Four Steps To Proven Quality

1. Raw Material Sourcing
Quality begins at the source, and we scour the world for the finest herbs and natural materials. Our on-site vendor inspections guarantee that only the cleanest, purest material becomes part of our products. We cut no corners and regularly reject raw material that does not meet our exacting standards.`

2. Formulate for Efficacy
With over 40 years of experience and proven techniques, NSP combines the wisdom of expert formulators with natural health legends to create unique, effective products with proven results. Customers consistently tell us that NSP products work when others fail. Our effective products truly
transform lives and build loyalty as our customers discover improved health and wellness.

3. Quality In-House Manufacturing 
NSP invests millions of dollars annually in Quality Assurance, including state-of-the-art equipment, testing methods and qualified personnel. We develop, manufacture, test and store our products on site in our 200,000 square foot facility, so we aren’t beholden to outside vendors or companies. Because we control the entire process, we KNOW what’s in our products
and what is not.

4. Finished Product Testing
We work meticulously to ensure that the precise amounts of the right parts of the right plant species are included in our formulas. This testing includes HPLC and infra-red analysis of botanical blends and analytical assays for vitamin and mineral label claims. We likewise develop our own testing methods (which tend to be even more thorough than vendor or competitor testing). Some of these are used to measure active herbal constituents whenever we make label claims for botanical extracts."  from the Nature's Sunshine website itself.  

There are many quality herb companies other than Nature's Sunshine but there are many more who do not do any tests other than the basic tests required by standards set by the FDA. These standard tests are not enough to ensure a quality product.

This next piece is from Banyan Herbs where I buy all my Ayurvedic herbs from. Testing is imperative for products coming from India or China.  This is stated on their website and is very clear on their testing for products,


Banyan requires microbiological testing and certificates of analysis from all of our suppliers for every batch of herbs; however, we do not solely rely on vendor certificates of analysis for testing data. All of our herbs and tablets are tested at third party labs. Our labs use all appropriate testing methods, with criteria and methods of analysis determined by the following third-party organizations and protocols:

  • BAM (Bacteriological Analytical Manual) is the FDA’s preferred laboratory procedure for microbiological analyses of foods and cosmetics. These are a collection of procedures used for the detection of bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast, mold, and microbial toxins.  
  • AOAC (Official Methods of Analysis) International evaluates chemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology methods of analysis.
  • USP (simply USP) is an organization that sets standards for public health and related programs to help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines, supplements, and foods.

The standards are as follows and are measured in colony forming units per gram (CFU/g):

Total aerobic microbial count <10^7 CFU/g
Total combined yeast and molds <10^5 CFU/g
Coliform <10^4 CFU/g
E. Coli absent in 10 gm
Salmonella absent in 25gm
Staphylococcus aureus absent in 25 gm"

I cannot stress enough the importance of buying herbs from companies who test their products properly and have company ethics! 

All for today.   Cathryn Freer, the herbladyisin