Late Spring / Early Summer is the perfect time to do a "Spring Cleaning" on ourselves...


Morning is the natural time for flushing out the system, before any solids are taken and in place of any caffeine, begin with the following "liver flush" drink. The liver is the largest and one of the most important organs in our body, a complex chemical laboratory, which sorts out all of our toxins... and for most of us, it has been sorely overworked because of dietary abuses. The "liver flush" will aid in restoring it, as well as in cleansing the kidneys and intestinal tract.

LIVER FLUSH:

2 Tablespoons cold-pressed oil (preferably Olive)

Juice of 1 large or 2 small Lemons

Juice of 1 or 2 Oranges (or 1 Grapefruit)

1 to 4 cloves of Garlic (if this is too strong, the Garlic can be eaten in a luncheon salad later)

Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Throw the ingredients into a blender on high; to break down the Garlic and emulsify the oil with other liquids. After drinking the mixture, follow immediately with 2 cups of herbal (not black) tea, this is a great time to customize your herbal blends to treat any problem areas that you may have.

And while this is the season to be outdoors, so are the pests... but these helpful tips may make it just a little more enjoyable:

Use Citronella to keep mosquitos at bay (typically burned in candles or the plant itself, as a centerpiece.

The essential oil of Rose Geranium makes a great tick repellent, worn neat on the body as a fragrance, or by adding about 20 drops of the eo (essential oil) to 2 Tablespoons of Almond oil (which contains Sulphur, also a tick repellent), you can cover more skin surface with this mixture. It is also safe to use on your pets, rubbed into their hair or a drop of Rose Geranium eo directly onto a cloth collar.

And Cinnamon for ants: Cinnamon acts as a natural repellent, since ants can't stand the smell. So soak a cotton ball in a solution of Cinnamon eo and water and wipe down any common ant hot-spots, such as around doors and windows, or if crawling across your picnic poses a problem, just dab the Cinnamon oil directly onto the blanket, towel or table.

If already bitten, Basil works wonders to stop its annoying effects, you can dab on the essential oil or crush and rub a Basil leaf directly on the bite.

Lavender oil is great for treating bug bites because it can be applied directly to the skin, and has soothing pain relieving properties. And a few drops of the eo added to distilled water, in a spray bottle, and you have a lovely linen spray, that is not only relaxing, but will keep the mosquitos away.

Chamomile tea for an itchy bug bite. Chamomile has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cleansing properties, so it is effective when used as a Chamomile ice cube, because the ice helps reduce the swelling, while the Chamomile provides the rest.

Apple Cider Vinegar is a favorite for taking the sting out of both sunburns and bug bites, a dab onto a bite, or in a spray bottle to take out the heat and cool the burn from the Sun.

ADDITIONAL TIDBITS of Summertime herbs:

The herb Lemon Balm is great for relieving headaches and insomnia, that are common during Summer heat waves and Basil can help reduce Summer achiness.

Basil can reduce joint pain, swelling and other symptoms of osteoarthritis by an amazing 73%, according to Indian research and the beneficial effect begins in as little as a day! A must in Tuscan soups and pesto sauces, the herb is rich in Eugenol, which inhibits an inflammatory enzyme named COX the same way that ibuprofen does, but without the side effects.

BONUS: Basil, the so-called "Green Goddess of Summer" is a great source of relaxing Calcium and Magnesium, two anti-anxiety minerals that reduce stress and tension.

And while herbs can be used in their extracted or dried forms, the most significant health benefits are found in the raw fresh plant... this is especially true when it comes to the more aromatic plants such as Basil and Lavender because the more volatile constituents are lost during the drying process. Lemon Balm and Basil are among the favorite Summer culinary and beverage herbs that can be easily grown in kitchen pots, which makes easy pickings for wraps, salads, sandwiches, teas and bathing herbs. Lemon Balm can also be used to make infused water or a salad dressing vinegar by combining 2-3 cups fresh Lemon Balm (which has been thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped). Placed in a 32 oz mason jar, completely covering the Lemon Balm with Apple Cider Vinegar and allowing it to sit in a cool dark place for 2-4 weeks, before straining and using on your Summer salads.

Or here as an TUSCAN HERB BLEND:

4 Tablespoons Basil

4 Tablespoons Marjoram

2 Tablespoons Thyme

2 Tablespoons Rosemary

2 Tablespoons Garlic

Combine herbs in a bowl; mix well and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Use to season poultry, meat, fish and eggs, add to sauces and marinades or to flavor Olive oil for dipping bread.

And speaking of Garlic: Minced Garlic sauteed in Olive oil is the go-to Tuscan home cure for colds and other infections. No wonder, Garlic boasts an amazing antibiotic combo of Sulfur and Allicin, that stops bacteria from reproducing, just like Penicillin. And containing dozens more compounds that shut down germs, which is the reason why eating it daily slashes your risk of illness by 60%. And consuming Garlic is as effective at reducing high blood pressure as some prescription medications, a 6 month study just found.

TIP: Minced Garlic releases more beneficial compounds than sliced. You can easily mince it without a knife by pressing the clove under your hand or with the tines of a fork.

And IF an ear infection results from too much fun in the water, "swimmers ear" can be remedied with the very same Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic that we have been talking about, just mix equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar with warm water. Apply 5 to 10 drops in the affected ear, using a clean dropper or baby syringe. Plug the ear with a cotton ball and lean on the opposite side, so that the drops enter into the effected ear canal (the acidity of the Vinegar keeps bacteria from growing), just as the Garlics antibiotic combo stops bacteria from reproducing... so keep it in your system, so that Summer ailments don't take you away from the fun that you are having...

So here's to a fanciful daydreamy Summer... arms and heart thrown open wide...

to the season of childhood, at any age!

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