How to Make Elderberry Syrup (Potent Cold + Flu Remedy)

Originally Published on Wellnessmama.com on By

How to Make Elderberry Syrup Potent Cold Flu Remedy

Elderberries are one of my most-used go-to remedies for cooler months. The dried berries of the Sambucis Nigra plant are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds that are specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly. They can be used to make a variety of remedies, and my favorite is this simple elderberry syrup.

Elderberry: A Natural Remedy for Mild Colds and Flu?

There is certainly a time and a place for conventional medicine and doctors visits. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that conventional medicine can do for a common cold or even a mild case of the flu.

If you or your child has ever had a rough case of the common cold or the flu, you know how miserable it can be. Especially for moms, it is awful to see your children feeling so bad and not be able to fix it. Thankfully, nature provides some remedies that can help avoid minor illnesses and shorten the duration if you do get them.

Black elderberries (sambucus nigra) have been shown to help avoid these illnesses and speed recovery in those who already have them. I’ve also found that elderberries seem to offer some relief of discomfort during minor illnesses.

Benefits of Elderberry

Elderberries naturally contain A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Israeli researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. They developed several formulas based on these complex sugars that have been clinically shown to help ameliorate all kinds of cold/flu. In fact:

Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.

Elderberry syrup provides the concentrated immune-supporting benefits of black elderberries in a great-tasting way. My homemade recipe uses homemade elderberry concentrate with synergistic herbs like cinnamon and ginger, plus raw honey for an extra immune boost. If you can’t/don’t use honey, see the substitution suggestions below the recipe.

Why make your own?

For one, you’ll save a lot of money!

Several natural elderberry syrups are available at health stores or online, but usually for around $15 or more for 4-8 ounces. This recipe makes 16 ounces for a cost of under ten dollars and kids love the taste!

You can also fully customize this recipe based on your needs and flavor preferences.That said, if dried elderberries aren’t available and you’re in a pinch, there are some great pre-made elderberry gummies and elderberry syrup that work just as well (just cost more). Also, if you happen to have fresh or frozen elderberries on hand, just use double the quantity listed in the recipe.

How to Make Elderberry Syrup to Avoid the Flu

A simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, honey and herbs for an immune boosting and delicious syrup. Can be used medicinally or on homemade pancakes or waffles.
Course Remedy
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 6kcal
Author Katie Wells

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  • Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
  • Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
  • Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  • Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
  • When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
  • When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a  mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  • Ta-da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.

Notes

Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients except honey in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the honey.

Standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7g | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1.5g

How long does elderberry syrup last in the fridge?

The short answer is that it really depends. I’ve found that placing the finished syrup in a mason canning jar while it is still warm creates an air-tight seal and allows it to last much longer in the fridge, up to several months. As a general rule, it lasts about two weeks in the fridge and I typically freeze whatever I won’t use during that time. You can also freeze small amounts in an ice-cube tray and defrost small amounts when needed.

If you know how, you can also can the elderberry juice concentrate or the finished syrup to greatly extend the shelf life.

Can I harvest my own elderberries?

You can, and in fact, you can even grow your own elderberry bush, but it is important to make sure you are growing the correct plant. I also recommend working with a local herbalist to find/harvest elderberries and make sure that only the berries are harvested (the stems and leaves can be dangerous).

Where is the best place to order elderberries?

We don’t have a local source, so I’ve always ordered in bulk from an online source.

What is elderberry syrup used for?

Our family uses it as a preventative remedy by taking 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day during peak cold and flu season. If we get hit with a minor illness, we double or triple that dose until we feel better.

The unique and complex flavor of elderberries also makes this syrup a great ingredient in certain recipes and I’ve made an elderberry panna cotta by substituting elderberry syrup for the sweetener in recipes.

How much to take?

This is really a question for an herbalist or naturopath, but I personally take 1 teaspoon a day as an adult and give half of this to my kids. During illness, I double or triple this amount.

Is there a substitute for honey in elderberry syrup?

Some people prefer not to use a sweetener and honey is not recommended for babies under 1-2 years old. Some easy substitutes are:

  • Use maple syrup or nutrient rich molasses in place of the honey.
  • Omit the sweetener all together (this will make elderberry juice which will need to be consumed much more quickly).
  • Make an elderberry tincture for adults. Mix the concentrated elderberry syrup with equal parts food grade alcohol like vodka or brandy instead of sweetener. This obviously wouldn’t be for kids, but is a sweetener free option for adults.

Can I use powdered elderberries?

Yes, I’ve used powdered elderberries when whole elderberries weren’t available. Just use about 1/2 cup in this recipe instead of 2/3 cup.

Can the elderberries be reused?

I don’t recommend reusing them. Ideally, the boiling/mashing process removes much of the nutrients from the berries. Also, there is some evidence that consuming large amounts of the whole berries can be problematic.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Ever taken elderberry? Will you try this recipe? What natural ways do you use to ward off illness?

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Next Economy: Exploring the Role of Community and Restorative Economics

Originally published on Sustainablesolano.org By Gabriela Estrada and Allison Nagel, Sustainable Solano

Next Economy Exploring the Role of Community and Restorative Economics

Communities have the power to shape a new economy that is equitable and just, and the transition to get there lies in creating self-determination and shared prosperity through community governance and community ownership. It also relies on moving from a mindset of scarcity to one of creating abundance.

At our recent Next Economy discussion, we explored these key elements and how they can be used, particularly within communities of color that have been disempowered and disenfranchised in the current economic system, to create a new way of approaching the economy that often draws upon traditions of supporting one another.

This discussion of Restorative Economics came from insight and lessons learned at a workshop led by project management consultant Nwamaka Agbo, who has a background in community organizing and restorative justice. Through our Next Economy series, we’ve tackled problems with the current economy and shared what we’ve learned about creating a new economy from the courses taken through Santa Cruz Permaculture’s Next Economy series, including Nwamaka’s workshop.

Restorative Economics addresses how to prioritize investment of resources back into impacted populations. Nwamaka focuses on creating a just transition that moves away from capitalism’s patterns of economic oppression that has harmed marginalized communities and placed power and wealth with a select few.

In particular, a just transition moves from:

  • Extraction to Regeneration — Moving from an economy that pulls resources (and pushes people) out of communities to one that builds up those communities.
  • Control to Governing for the Whole — Moving from those with power and wealth controlling decisions that affect impacted populations to community governance and approaches that are beneficial to impacted populations and make life better for society as a whole. (As an example, curb cuts were put in on sidewalks for wheelchairs, but then those with bikes, strollers, etc., benefited from having them)
  • Accumulation to Shared Prosperity — Moving from an accumulation of wealth among a few to supporting shared prosperity through the reinvestment of profits in the community to add community benefit. (An example is the “pay-it-forward” approach that, rather than sending loan interest income to an investor turns around and invests it in a loan to another business.)
  • Exclusion to Inclusion — Moving from excluding people from being a part of the economy to build models that give voice and build capacity for meaningful participation in the local governance and economy.

We asked attendees to reflect on the fact that capitalism is a system, which means we have agency over it and we can change it. Keeping this in mind, we asked the group to think of some practices and values we could use for a just transition. As a group, we discussed the different ideas behind Restorative Economics and did some activities to think about both how we look at economics now and new ways to redefine the economy.

We shared Nwamaka’s tenets of Restorative Economics and some examples:

  • Investing in Human Development and Capacity Building: The Restore Oakland project, of which she was a vital part, builds employable skills in recently incarcerated individuals while also creating space for furthering restorative justice and restorative economics work.
  • Remembering and Reclaiming Traditions and Collective Wisdom: Drawing on the indigenous cultures of shared prosperity that have been discouraged in the current economic system.
  • Building a Community of Practice and Social Movement Infrastructure: Practicing community governance through co-ops and other approaches, and bringing community organizations and social movements together to support each other in efforts on the ground and to shape policy.

We wrapped up by thinking of what some of the biggest challenges are in our local community and how to address them. That included creating a system of affordable housing, better community gathering space and the recognition of the true value of labor. The idea of changing from a system that commodifies land, labor and capital to a system of land trust, right livelihood and public banking was also identified.

Join us at our next discussion on May 2 to explore ways to design our economic future.

As Nwamaka told us at the Santa Cruz workshop: “Change doesn’t come from intent. It comes from deliberate action.” That is the first step towards a more just economy that works for everyone.

The funding for Sustainable Solano’s team training at the “Next Economy” course at Santa Cruz Permaculture was provided by Solano Community Foundation through their NPP Capacity Building grants program. Community conversations are made possible through a grant from the Peaceful World Foundation. Thank you to both organizations!

We will continue to share insights at our final workshop at Green Hive Spaces in Vallejo. Please join us to further the discussion on the next economy in our community.

Designing the Regenerative Economy, 6 pm, May 2

Join us to discuss the design principles and strategies needed for vocation and regenerative enterprise design. We’ll discuss how we could redesign the economy for security, prosperity and a stable climate with transformation based on permaculture design principles, methods and ethics for an economy that benefits all life.

Why Palm Oil Free

Originally published on livepuresoap.com 

oil palm

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.

The Industry:

The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.

In total, 50 million tons of palm oil is produced annually, supplying over 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production. This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products in countries such as United States, Canada, Australia and England. Palm oil can be present in a wide variety of products, including: baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, washing detergents and toothpaste.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impacts on the environment:

A large proportion of palm oil expansion occurs at the expense of biodiversity and ecosystems in the countries it is produced. Currently, a third of all mammal species in Indonesia are considered to be critically endangered as a consequence of this unsustainable development that is rapidly encroaching on their habitat.

One animal of particular importance according to conservationists is the orangutan, which has become a charismatic icon for deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra. Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, and as such, is considered “a conservation emergency” by the UN. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year for this development. The orangutan is a keystone species and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. An example of this being the spread of rainforest seeds in Indonesia, many of which can only germinate once passed through the gut of an orangutan, hence this primate is essential for the existence of the forest. But the orangutan is not the only species affected by palm oil development; their situation represents the story of thousands of other species facing the same fate in South-East Asia.

Deforestation for palm oil production also contributes significantly to climate change. The removal of the native forests often involves the burning of invaluable timber and remaining forest undergrowth, emitting immense quantities of smoke into the atmosphere and making Indonesia the third highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

{CLIMATE}

Pollution caused by the burning of secondary forests across Borneo and Sumatra increases the quantity of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, subsequently helping to excel climate change. Trees and plants filter such gas and release oxygen intern (through a process called photosynthesis). The removal of the forests themselves in these regions is therefore also a key factor contributing to the increase in atmospheric pollution, as less carbon dioxide is being removed from the air due to diminishing forests.

{LAND}

In addition to its impacts on the climate, conventional palm oil development causes severe damage to the landscape of Borneo and Sumatra and has been linked to issues such as land erosion and the pollution of rivers. The root systems of rainforest trees help to stabilize the soil and therefore if the forests are cleared, land erosion after rainfall can become a common occurrence.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impact on animals:

There are over 300,000 different animals found throughout the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, many of which are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation. In addition, palm oil development increases accessibility of animals to poachers and wildlife smugglers who capture and sell wildlife as pets, use them for medicinal purposes or kill them for their body parts. The destruction of rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra is therefore not only a conservation emergency, but a major animal welfare crisis as well.

Wildlife such as orangutans have been found buried alive,  killed from machete attacks, guns and other weaponry. Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades. This either occurs during the deforestation process, or after the animal enters a village or existing palm oil plantation in search of food. Mother orangutans are also often killed by poachers and have their babies taken to be sold or kept as pets, or used for entertainment in wildlife tourism parks in countries such as Thailand and Bali.

Other mega fauna that suffer as a result of this development include species like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard and Proboscis Monkey. Road networks that are constructed to allow palm oil plantation workers and equipment access to the forest also increase accessibility of these areas to poachers that are looking for these kinds of valuable animals. This allows poachers to comfortably drive to an area to sit and wait for their target where previously they may have had to trek through inaccessible areas of forest.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impacts on people:

The establishment of oil palm plantations is often promoted as a way of bringing development to poor, rural regions of Borneo and Sumatra. In reality, the industry often has devastating impacts on the people in these areas. All too often, the government’s main interest in the country’s economy leads them to allow corporations to take the land owned by indigenous peoples for their own financial benefit.

The palm oil industry is also linked to major human rights violations, including child labor in remote areas of Indonesia and Malaysia. Children are made to carry large loads of heavy fruit, weed fields and spend hours every day bent over collecting fruit from the plantation floor. Heat exhaustion and cuts and bruises from climbing thorny oil palms are commonplace in this damaging workspace. More than often not, children receive little or no pay for their efforts.

With plantations systematically destroying the rainforest land that the local people depend on, communities are continuously finding themselves with no choice but to become plantation workers. Faced with poor and degrading working conditions, they often earn barely enough income to survive and support their families. Instead of being able to thrive without it, indigenous communities become reliant on the success of the palm oil industry for their income and survival, leaving these villagers incredibly vulnerable to the world market price of palm oil which they have no control over.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

For more information on the dammaging effects of palm oil – visit: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

 Live Pure Soap is committed to creating sustainable, palm oil free body products for a better tomorrow. We understand that every person on Earth can make a difference, this is one of ours.

Live Pure Soap – Good for the planet, and your body!

Get Healthy Without Food

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Many think that whenever it comes to being healthier than it must involve food. While food is definitely important, it’s usually a process to make changes regarding food. So here are some things to consider that do not involve food.

  1. Take a breath to the count of 3,4 or 5. That’s it. Exhale and just feel your body relaxing with each exhale. It doesn’t have to be a big production, you don’t even have to tell anyone your doing it but while your at it, give a little thanks for clean air.
  2. Walk tall: Do you realize how many people only dream about being able to walk? Give thanks to your body for giving you the strength and privilege to be able to walk. A 10 minute walk can do wonders for depression, mental health. Just breathe and walk… Hey do 1 and 2 together. Now we’re multi tasking. If you have pain while walking, maybe a good time to visit the doctor to find out what’s the problem.
  3. Think for one minute about what your favorite song is. This is the song (old or new) that you know the words to the song and you hear it and it just makes you happy. For me it would be Dance Sister Dance by Santana but what’s your favorite song? All you have to do is listen to that song and breathe. Hey if you want you can do 1, 2 and 3 together and you will be a triple threat… But you can listen in the car or shower or wherever you feel like listening to it is cool!! But a triple threat will be cool!!
  4. Feel grateful for whatever you want to acknowledge. If you can walk and talk and breathe, be grateful. How about being grateful for this life that you have been given. Life can be hard but believe it or not, you are a miracle and there is nobody else exactly like you. The mold was broken and you are a beautiful soul. Even if you have done terrible things, your soul is still good. Your body just did some stuff but your soul is pure light.
  5. Have you ever day dreamed? You know just think about whatever wonderful little thing you love or a fantasy that you would love to have come true. Spend a little time dreaming about anything you want but if you want to integrate all 5 concepts. Breathing, walking, listening to your favorite song and while you are at it be grateful that you can day dream. Pretend you are a super hero and everywhere you go it’s just easy breezy and you have cool super powers. What would that feel like for you? If you want to write about it, do it but not any pressure. This is fun stuff. But writing it down would be super cool!!
Maybe just hang out and relax. This looks heavenly!!

In the spirit of not giving you more than you can chew, we’re going to end this so you can go on and practice. In the words of my music teacher, Keep Calm and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach that lives In Nor Cal. She encourages everyone to find their passion and enjoy life. Valerie wishes to sleep in a tee pee one day. But she’s not the camping type right now. Maybe one day she will find her tribe. Dreaming of my tribe. Donde estas?

We Should Be Pouring Time And Money Into Hemp, Period.

Originally Published on forbes.com on September 30, 2018 By Janet Burns

We Should Be Pouring Time And Money Into Hemp, Period

A ladybug crawls on the leaf of a hemp plant grown for medical research purposes at the Royal Agricultural Station Pang Da in Samoeng, Chiang Mai province, Thailand, on Friday, July 6, 2018. (Credit: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg)

For centuries, North Americans have utilized hemp in their homes, diets, and health regimens. For decades, we’ve also turned to imported products to meet much of our growing need.

And now, after years of major change for US agriculture and industry, real investment in this versatile crop stands to significantly elevate our economy and quality of life for generations to come.

The idea of upping hemp production is already common ground politically. As farmers have faced water shortages, unstable markets, and punishing seasonal conditions, communities around the country have pressured lawmakers to help them restore US agriculture with more profitable, sustainable plants.

Hemp has long been seen to fit that bill. Best known for its use in textiles, it offers wide-ranging applications that countless sectors are keen to get in on.

For example, hemp seeds in whole or processed form contain an impressive amount of protein, nutrients, and essential fatty acids, among other things — offering an efficient way to boost nutrition in human and animal diets — while hempseed oil has increasingly become a preferred ingredient in common food, beauty, and health products.

Its sturdy fibers have also been put to growing use in high-quality plastics and auto paneling, durable building materials, and other common industrial commodities. And when it comes to environmental impact, hemp is not only a low-fuss crop capable of flourishing in US farmland; it can also clean up tainted water and soil, bully weeds away, and be converted into biodiesel.

Unlike other Cannabis sativa varieties and hybrids, which are mostly grown for their chemically potent flowers (or ‘buds’), hemp is also legally distinguished from marijuana in the US as containing less than 0.3% of the cannabinoid chemical THC — considered to be the most intoxicating, psychoactive component in cannabis plants, as well as a treatment option for certain serious illnesses.

So while hemp crops can be used to extract the non-intoxicating chemical cannabidiol, or CBD, which has a demonstrated and growing list of compelling health uses, they can’t get anyone high.

In short, it’s no wonder that hemp has been described as an industrial ‘miracle plant.’

See also: Coca-Cola Is Considering CBD For Infused Beverage Line 

For Rocc Johnson, owner and operator of New Orleans’ Uptown Hemp, the plant has become both his calling in life and a way to revitalize the economy in his home state.

“I’m so excited and humbled to be part of the [cannabis] industry that’s coming to Louisiana,” he commented by phone. “For me, it’s not about money at all; it’s about a better way of life, and helping people get the knowledge to help other people.”

Johnson said he got the idea to get involved in marijuana and hemp from his uncle, a member of Louisiana’s National Guard, and from his mother, who died from cancer in 2011 after “never smoking or drinking in her life.”

Prior to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which caused widespread destruction and fatalities across New Orleans, Johnson had moved to California, and spent years there soaking up knowledge and culture around cannabis plants and the industry. After witnessing the pain and nausea his mother experienced during her treatment, Johnson decided to help bring the medicinal and economic value of cannabis back to his hometown, starting with hemp.

Since 2013, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), and other members of Congress have been gathering support to bolster hemp production through this process; they also helped to pass a 2014 version of the package, currently in effect, with new allowances for agricultural hemp pilot programs.

Like most major bills, the latest Farm Bill has not been free of controversy. At present, legislators have seemingly missed their Sept. 30 deadline to approve the package, which has stirred numerous arguments in Congress over its core principles, funding levels, and a proposed work requirement for low-income recipients of food assistance.

Under the Senate-approved version of the bill, hemp and derivatives, hemp extracts, and cannabinoids derived from hemp “would be treated as agricultural commodities and removed from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration,” according to CannaLawBlog.

The more recently House-approved version, which introduced the well-publicized provision affecting up to two million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, doesn’t take such steps to remove federal barriers around hemp. It also stipulates that anyone with a felony drug conviction would be barred indefinitely from participating in federal or state hemp programs.

According to many industry members, the latter provision — which would become permanent law, requiring change at the federal level to get rid of — would also exclude key populations from contributing to and benefiting from an enriched industry.

Cannabis entrepreneur and organizer Bonita “Bo” Money called the idea of blocking members of the previous illegal industry from joining the new, legal one “ridiculous” — much like hemp’s continued Schedule I drug status, she said.

Money, who founded the National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA) and left a Hollywood career to promote equity in cannabis businesses, explained that the programs she helps run in California and Wisconsin take the opposite stance on prior experience.

“Here in Los Angeles, we make sure that applicants to our equity program have had a cannabis conviction, or come from zip codes affected by the war on drugs,” Money said. “For [lawmakers] to ban people with experience working in hemp from doing so again is ridiculous.”

In Wisconsin, she and her team are in the process of setting up the only social equity, Black-owned hemp farm in the state, where they hope to create more jobs for Black farmers, and plan to primarily hire military veterans and ex-offenders under the US’ long drug war — in other words, people with the need and/or skills for this new career.

See also: Canadian Military Green-Lights Cannabis Use For Most Personnel

As in Los Angeles’ equity program, the group will offer participants mentorship, job placement, and help with starting businesses in Wisconsin’s hemp industry, where close to 220 hemp licenses have already been issued under the current Farm Bill; they also plan to provide on-site housing for participants struggling with homelessness, which often impacts veterans and those recently released from prison.

“By not allowing ex-offenders to work, and not giving support and licenses to black farmers and small businesses, [officials] are trying to keep people of color out of a billion-dollar industry that they paid the price for.”

Rather than keeping people out of the industry, Money thinks regulators should focus on helping farmers sell their products: for example, by connecting them with the “biomass brokers” who deal in the fibers, stalks, and seed matter produced by industrial hemp. “What I’m finding is that a lot of farmers in Wisconsin don’t know what to do with their products,” she said. “We tried to get a list of licensed farmers to help connect them with brokers, but the state wouldn’t release that list.”

In the meantime, Money said, the hemp industry is continuing to grow under current legal conditions, though a Wisconsin rule prohibiting hemp extracts had been requiring her to export hemp from the state for extraction. Still, business is good, she said. “We have investors approaching us all the time, wanting to be a part of what we’re doing.”

Hemp activist and entrepreneur Joy Beckerman, who has spent decades building the US hemp movement, and assists many of the world’s leading hemp advocacy and industry groups, said it’s still likely that Congress will pass a pro-hemp version of the Farm Bill in the coming months — hopefully without added blows to communities that have been hurt most by nearly a century of cannabis prohibition.

“As data have proven over and over again, the war on drugs has dramatically, disproportionately impacted minorities and people of color, and [bans on ex-offenders] would continue that discrimination,” Beckerman commented by phone.

We Should Be Pouring Time And Money Into Hemp, Period_4

Cannabis entrepreneur and activist Bonita “Bo” Money poses with plants in a field of hemp. (Courtesy Bonita Money)Credit: Bonita Money

She also believes that the Senate’s Farm Bill would alleviate confusion caused by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s issuance of conflicting “guidance” to state and federal agencies, which leaves them “scratching their heads,” and often “bullies them into making decisions that directly contradict the legislative intent and spirit of the last version of the Farm Bill,” Beckerman said.

“This version of the Farm Bill deliberately amends six different Acts and broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ to fully and finally remove all ambiguities and make way for hemp as an agricultural commodity in the United States of America, with crop insurance and all,” Beckerman explained.

To illustrate how hemp programs can wither without proper support, she pointed to California, where regulators continue struggling to keep up with rules and infrastructure for the more potent (and popular) marijuana industry, from lab tests to license approvals; the state’s hemp operators, meanwhile, are still waiting for their official license application to come out.

Even though Congress didn’t pass such a bill in time to move on from the 2014 version yet, Beckerman said, farmers and leaders can continue under the permanent protection of the current agricultural pilot program pathway to learn how and where to invest their time and resources in the industry, rather than dive in without a strategy in place.

“Folks at the various state Departments of Agriculture are so excited to bring in hemp – excited to introduce any crop, really, and especially to reintroduce this extraordinarily versatile one,” Beckerman said. “But they’re not experts; they’re learning like anybody else. So getting in there, looking at proposed legislation and rules to make sure [proposals] actually make sense for the crop – on an agronomic level, on a regulatory level – and monitoring changes to that legislation, regulation, or industry, is common sense.” She went on,

The repeal of prohibition of marijuana, the repeal of prohibition of industrial hemp, has never been done in the US before. And right now it’s about the chopping of the wood, the carrying of the water, and engaging in the process, and bringing it all the way home. The work is just beginning.

Beckerman also urged supporters of hemp (and of its danker cousin) to be more vigilant than ever about federal and state-level law and policy moves going forward. “Special interests and residual hysteria will continue to try to get in there, to stomp on the little guy, and on consumer rights and safety, and to over-regulate, so it’s more important than ever that we organize and engage,” she said.

“Farmers are suffering around the country; the soil is suffering.”

All told, a strong American hemp industry could provide billions of dollars in renewable revenues and hundreds of thousands of jobs, especially in regions that have been devastated by damaging and/or departed industries and under-invested social resources, Beckerman said.

Money pointed out that hemp is already poised to outshine recreational and medical cannabis production, and that CBD products (which hemp can provide) are currently outselling THC products at a rate of 10:1.

“Moving forward, hemp will be even bigger than cannabis,” she said. “[Lawmakers] need to look at the history: when George Washington was president, people were required to grow hemp. If they didn’t, he’d throw them in jail.”

She continued, “Hemp affects so many industries — its uses are never-ending — and I think the government is afraid of that.”

” Hemp could change the world, not just the US. It will change communities, it will change the way we treat medically. It will improve our lifestyle, completely.”

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families,” Money added, “and to have that quality of life.”

Janet Burns

I’m a freelance writer covering tech, media, science, and culture. My background includes the areas of writing, editing, and education, and I received Bachelor and Master of Arts Degrees from the University of British Columbia and California State University, East Bay, respectively. My work’s also been published by mental_floss, AlterNet, Salon, and the Atlantic’s CityLab, among others. For more of it, check out my online portfolio at janetburns.contently.com or my cannabis news and culture podcast at patreon.com/TheToke.

Liberation From The Kitchen

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

How would you feel with some extra free time?  It’s easier than you think.

Let’s look at the current situation.  Many men and women work full time jobs.  After they get off work, they have to get home and figure out dinner for themselves and maybe their families.  Not sure about how many people feel about cooking dinner after working at least 8 hours, but it can be exhausting and that’s not exactly the first thing you feel like doing.

So how do you deal with this feeling of not wanting to cook?  Many people decide not to cook and instead go to their favorite take out or restaurant and buy dinner.  Not only is this pricey but most of the packaging comes in plastic.  Hopefully you grab something healthy for your body.  But if not then you bought something bad for one’s body and is bad for the planet as well.

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Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

How about thinking about a new solution?  I know this is not a new idea but actually a very old idea.  So maybe you have a good friend that is in the same situation as you.  So before you cook dinner you give them a quick call and say, “Hey friend, I’m making some mushroom soup and salad.  I cannot eat it all.  Would you like to stop by on your way home from work and pick some up on your way home?  Bring your own container and we’ll save the planet.”  Your friend is not only grateful but she replies, “Thanks so much!! I made some almond meal cookies and I’ll bring you some.”

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The next night the cookie making friend calls her making friend and says, ” I made some quinoa with pesto sauce would you like me to bring some over?”  And they were both fed happy and they had the strength to carry on another day.

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So if everyone started to do this, it would just create a world where people are sharing, caring and being fed.  It would be really great for the planet, families wallets and it would allow people to share some time together instead of being in the kitchen.

You can also try new and different food and if you like to cook, then someone to tell you how awesome your food is.  Also there’s nothing wrong with just giving food to someone with no expectation in return.  As you give, so shall you receive.  This is how we will transform our planet.  One small gesture of sharing at a time.  Let’s start the cycle of giving and receiving.

About the Author:  Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor.  Her dream is to see all people healthy and happy.  She shares with you healthy recipes, Anything good for Mother Earth as Mother Earth is in need of healing. As you Heal Yourself, You heal the planet.

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Originally Published on LungInstitute.com on 15 July 2016 By Cameron

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Looking for a natural way to increase oxygen indoors?

For those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the desire for more oxygen can be a demanding one. Although there are options available for increasing oxygen through means such as oxygenators and air purifiers, there are a variety of natural alternatives for increasing air quality that are beneficial for both body and mind. The Lung Institute believes the home should foster an environment of good health and well-being, and with your health in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen indoors.

5. Areca Palm

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As with all plants, the Areca Palm is biologically engineered to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. However, what sets the Areca Palm apart is its ability to also purify the environment it’s placed in by removing dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Areca Palm does well in filtered light and needs to be watered often. For one person, four shoulder high plants should suffice.
Best Placement:

The Living Room

4. Snake Plant a.k.a. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

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Considered highly efficient in oxygen production, the Snake Plant otherwise known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is unique for its nighttime oxygen production, and ability to purify air through the removal of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Snake Plant does well in window light and needs to be watered weekly. For one person, six to eight waist level plants are recommended. In an air sealed room, these plants are capable of producing enough oxygen to breathe normally.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

3. Money Plant

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Featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. However, despite the benefit of its high purification rate, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs and small children if its leaves are ingested.

Recommendation & Care:

The Money Plant prefers indirect light and needs to be watered every week or so. For one person, three 18-inch plants are recommended.
Best Placement:

Any room but keep out of reach of pets or small children.

2. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4

Arguably the prettiest entry on the list, the Gerbera Daisy is often used as a decorative element in gardening. However, the Gerbera Daisy is also distinct for its ability to produce high levels of oxygen at night while removing harmful chemicals, such as benzene and trichloroethylene. Beneficial for those suffering from sleep apnea and breathing disorders, keep this one on the nightstand for better sleep.

Recommendation & Care:

The Gerbera Daisy prefers bright sunlight during the summer, spring and fall, and indirect light during the winter. It needs to be watered regularly with the soil being kept moist. Due to the decorative nature of the flower, the amount of recommended flower pots is up to the discretion of the planter.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

1. Chinese Evergreens

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The Chinese Evergreen is one of the most common household plants and for good reason. This plant emits a high oxygen content while purifying indoor spaces of harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins. As its name suggests, it is quite popular in China specifically for its high efficiency in removing harmful pollutants from the air.

Recommendation & Care:

The Chinese Evergreen does well in full shade, and only needs to be watered occasionally with a focus on keeping the soil moist. The number of plants kept is at the owner’s discretion.

Best Placement:

The Living Room

Along with the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, what else can I do to breathe easier?

Although keeping oxygen-generating plants, such as our top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, may increase the quality of life for those suffering from COPD, they are not a form of treatment. And though indoor plants may ease the symptoms of COPD, they will be ineffective when outside the home or workplace.

Currently COPD has no cure; however, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of cellular research. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us at (888) 510-7519 today to find out if you qualify for cellular therapy.

Thinking about starting an indoor plant collection? Have a few suggestions of your own? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts and comments on our list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen below!

The Cuban Mop: The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You’ve Never Heard of (and How to Use It)

Originally Published on Remodelista.com on May 22, 2018 on By Justine Hand

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use ItWhen it comes mops, I have a hate-hate relationship. Either I struggle to wield the heft of rope mops or find myself searching in vain for matching replacement heads for sponge mops. Plus, both models are really hard to clean. I often feel as though I’m just spreading the dirt around. Finally, for dust bunnies under the bed, I’ve long been searching for an alternative to the widely used Swiffer, with its plastic parts and expensive, not-eco-friendly disposable cloths.

Enter the Cuban mop. Its genius lies in the simplicity of its design—no bells and whistles, just two sticks that screw together into a T. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, easy to use, and a cinch to clean: just throw the soiled towel in the washing machine. Because it uses any old rag, I’ll never again have to trek from hardware store to hardware store for a matching head. And I can use it wet or dry. (Bye-bye Swiffer.) The wooden Cuban mop is also, in my opinion, the most aesthetically pleasing of mops. Since it’s made with all-natural, reusable components, it’s among the most eco-friendly mop options. In fact, it just might be the perfect tool.

Here’s how to use one.

Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista.

What Is a Cuban Mop?

As the name suggests, the Cuban mop originated in Cuba, and it’s a simple T-shaped wooden tool with a long handle, usually wrapped with cloths or rags. In the US, the mops are widely used among the Cuban immigrant population, particularly in Miami.

What You’ll Need

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_2

  • Cuban Mop: I bought my IMUSA Cuban Mop from the Cuban Food Market via Amazon for $17.95. (Note: Some Amazon reviewers were unhappy with the quality and size of this mop, but I bought it because there are not a lot of options out there. Though a bit crude in terms of finishing, my mop works great and is still nicer to look at than most. The handle, though admittedly short for taller folks, is the same length as my commercial sponge mop. In my opinion, this version is worth the money, but I can see an opportunity for someone to improve on craftsmanship.) Quickloop also makes a similar mop that looks quite sturdy; $16.
  • Absorbent Cotton Rag or Towel: I bought these Cuban Style Cloths, again, on Amazon for $16, but any old rag will do. (Note: The product sample image on the Amazon page shows yellow stripes. The ones I received, shown, have blue stripes.)
  • Cleaning Product: I use Rubio Monocoat Natural Soap; it’s a ready-to-mix concentrate for cleaning oil-treated floors.

How to Use a Cuban Mop

Step 1:

Wet any absorbent, medium-size cloth—an old hand towel, dish rag, or even cloth diaper will work—with your favorite cleaning solution. Squeeze excess liquid, and lay the towel on the floor.

Note: If you want to use your Cuban mop with a dry rag, skip this step.

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_5

Step 2:

Wrap the cloth around the Cuban mop as follows:
Above: To use, simply push the mop along, being careful not to lift it off the floor. When one side gets dirty, flip the mop and use the other side. Once both sides are soiled, remove the cloth, rinse, re-wet with cleaning solution, squeeze, and rewrap.

(Lizzie, shown using the mop, is tall, about 5’10”. You can see that she is able to effectively use the mop, though a longer handle would be more comfortable for her.)

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_3

How to Clean the Cuban Mop

To clean your mop between uses, simply remove the cloth and toss in the washing machine. Easy and eco-friendly.

The right tools always make housework less of a chore. Here are more of our cleaning favorites:

Swept Away: Utilitarian Household Goods from a San Francisco Designer
10 Easy Pieces: German-Made Cleaning Staples
5 Favorites: Display-Worthy, Artisan-Made Dustpan and Brush Sets

Top 6 Reasons Plogging is Awesome

What is Plogging?  It is jogging and picking up trash =Plogging.  We’ll get straight to the reasons.  We’ll count down like the Casey Casem Top 40.

6)  You’re outside getting fresh air.  Most people spend too much time inside.  But with Plogging you have to be outside to do it.  Otherwise, you’re just cleaning your house.  We all know being outside has many benefits from getting Vitamin D to Fresh air.  So get outside and Plog away.

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Photo by Daniel Frank on Pexels.com

5) You find some pretty cool stuff.  I found $20 the other day just laying there waiting for me.  I haven’t checked to see if it’s counterfeit or not.  I also found an I Phone adapter, plastic bottles, cans which I recycle, a shirt that say, “Shut the Fuck Up.”  I mean what else do you need in life after you have this shirt?

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

4)  You do get a work out.  When you start picking up trash, you can squat and lunge as you pick up trash.  Pretty soon you will begin to feel your legs getting a little tired.  So you definitely get a leg work out!!  (Make sure you use good form when you pick up trash.  Once you really get into it, you will want to invest in a grabber to give your legs a break.

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

After she ties her shoes she can pick up some trash while she’s down there.

3)  It can be a social event.  I joined a group of Ploggers and met some really cool people.  Everyone is really nice and it’s a great way to meet new people.  There’s actually a group that also kayaks and picks up trash on Rivers and Lakes too.  So if you want to do that, there’s always that too.

2) Because you are doing something good, you suddenly begin to get really good luck.  You generate a lot of good Karma and good things just start coming to you.  This you will have to just try to see if it works.  If you’ve been a jerk lately, go Plogging and then quit being a jerk after that.

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Photo by Djalma Paiva Armelin on Pexels.com

1)The most important reason is that you are helping Mother Earth and all of the marine life.  You are also helping our planet to be cleaner and healthier thereby creating a healthy world and you can be the change you want to see in the world.

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Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

So remember no matter where you are on the Planet.  You can do this and you will be recognized as an Official Earth Angel.  Mother Earth needs you now and all you have to do is commit to picking up 5 pieces of trash per day.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  She’s on a mission to share the news of how to be kind to Mother Earth.  The good thing is that as you Heal Yourself, You Heal The Planet.

How Long Does it Take for a Glass Bottle to Degrade in a Landfill?

Originally Published on Education.Seattlepi.com

How Long Does it Take for a Glass Bottle to Degrade in a Landfill

When a dropped glass shatters or a rock chips the car’s windshield, it’s tempting to think of glass as a fragile material. Actually, it’s one of the longest-lasting man-made materials. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services estimates that it takes 1 million years for a glass bottle to decompose in the environment, with conditions in a landfill even more protected. Glass artifacts from glassmaking’s beginnings in Egypt, around 2000 B.C., still exist.

Naturally Occurring Glass

Examples of the long-lasting qualities of glass come from glass made in nature, an opaque material called obsidian. It results from volcanic activity melting silica rock or sand to form black, red, gray, brown or green glass. Natural obsidian deposits were mined by prehistoric peoples to make weapon points, cutting tools, mirrors and other objects. In Iraq, obsidian use dates back to Paleolithic times, around 30,000 BP. In North America, the Obsidian Cliff deposits in Yellowstone National Park were formed about 180,000 years ago and mined by native Americans for more than 10,000 years.

Glass Components

The basic ingredients for glass are silica sand, soda and lime. Other ingredients give glass its color, clarity or opaqueness, and strength. Different minerals give glass color, with gold giving red, manganese purple and cobalt blue. Raw ingredients need very high temperatures — ranging from 2,600 to 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit — to change into molten glass, depending on the composition. Molten glass is pressed, blown, molded, drawn or cast into glass objects. Once formed and cooled, glass doesn’t readily react with other substances to change its structure.

Long-Lasting Glass

Glass items exist from throughout the history of glassmaking, whether they were buried in archaeological remains, sunk in sailing vessels or carefully preserved by collectors. Glass can change in appearance after it is buried, with chemical reactions between the surrounding soil and the glass often resulting in iridescent surfaces. This adds to its beauty but doesn’t detract from its strength. Glass can be brittle or strong, depending on its composition. Older glass is more brittle than modern glass, but this does not affect its decomposition rate in landfills. In landfills, glass isn’t exposed to degradation by wind or erosion.

Recycling Glass

Originally, glass was a rare and precious commodity, because it took so much fuel to melt the ingredients and because of the labor-intensive production. Modern methods allow mass production of glass containers and objects. In 2011, Americans contributed 11.5 million tons of glass to the municipal solid waste stream. Glass lends itself to indefinite recycling without loss of strength. Broken into cullet, recycled glass goes into new containers or to products such as kitchen tiles, wall insulation and abrasives.

The Value of Recycling Glass

Given the long life of glass and the ease with which it can be recycled, it makes sense to recycle glass. As of 2011, Americans recycled more than 3 million tons of glass, an increase from 750,000 tons in 1980. Most recycled glass comes from beverage and food containers. Cullet costs less than virgin glass and saves energy because it melts at a lower temperature, which in turn means lower emissions of greenhouse gases, such as nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to run a computer for 25 minutes, according to British Glass.