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Simplicity

Posted by novice_2009 zone 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 26, 09 at 15:38

I'm not an intellectual like many of you posting on this forum. I just wanted to comment on the simple joys of herbalism and gardening ( maybe to break up a little tension and redirect some attitudes). I don't own a computer myself. I'm fine with that. Nothing delights me more than to find old and new books about herbs, Native American herbalism, the history and folklore of herbs, and gardening with them. Well, to be honest I read too much.
However, the weather here is great now, and I got out into my gardens yesterday, got my hands and feet into the dirt, smelled the scent of rosemary and peppermint, felt the sun shining on my face, occasional breezes. Watched the birds at the feeder, watched a momma robin sitting on her nest, on a old light fixture on my porch! I feel gardening, herbs, and herbalism is so refreshing. A break from our fast-paced society, and way to reconnect with the earth and all things natural. Simple and loving it. Anyone else?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Simplicity

I haven't noticed too many 'intellectuals' in this forum. Just quite a few opinionated pedantics!

Like you, I grow herbs just for the sheer pleasure of it. There is nothing in my little garden which isn't a herb. Because of ill health and disability, I can no longer work in my garden, but I have a friend who comes from interstate regularly to tend it. He also loves it - for the beautiful aromas, the flowers, the differences in leaf texture and colour - just the general beauty and wonder of it all.

Also like you, I've done an immense amount of reading about herbs, and all their multiplicity of uses. Their fascination still hasn't faded after nearly 5 decades of research and learning! If anything, my interest has grown. It doesn't matter how many books you read - in each one there is invariably at least ONE little detail you didn't know before!


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RE: Simplicity

"I haven't noticed too many 'intellectuals' in this forum. Just quite a few opinionated pedantics! "

What do you think "Intellectual" means?


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RE: Simplicity

I enjoyed getting out in the sun and warm springtime weather for some gardening this weekend as well.

Lots of good fragrances in the air, including that of the lemon balm that I remove annually to keep it from overspreading my annual/temperennial garden. Even ornamental oreganos have a good fragrance.
Looks like there will be enough Kentucky Colonel mint for a julep on Derby Day (the drink of champions, if not pedantics ;)


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RE: Simplicity

Hi Novice,
I was at a friend's house this weekend and he had chamomile growing around his planters. It is such a cute little plant... I was amazed. Makes me want to get some. Does anyone know how to make chamomile tea from the fresh plant?


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RE: Simplicity

You clip the buds and dry them (a mesh rack will do) and then crush/tear them a bit for water penetration and use them like any loose leaf tea.

Chamomile used for tea has white petals on it, there is a closely related plant (that I think can be used for tea) that has a tendency to out compete lawns, and you do not want to plant that near your property.

The reason this forum is so charged is that medicine is literally a life or death issue. Modern medicine is the difference between living an average of 25 years and living an average of 75. Something like chamomile to sleep or osha to fight congestion is great. Something like Homeopathy to treat an ear infection is unlikely to matter but might (ear infections usually resolve themselves), and more importantly its a stones throw away from "get off that chemotherapy its poison, use essiac tea instead" Which, if viewed on the day of diagnosis is going to kill 60% of the people who follow the advice, and significantly shorten the lives of the other 40%. Cancer is a nasty way to die, and people do die from forgoing treatments that work for things like Essiac.

Life or death and leisure don't mix all that well.


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RE: Simplicity

Thanks Brendan. This stuff didn't have the white leaves. It was just the little bud things. It did look pretty "spready".


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RE: Simplicity

"When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come out right"


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RE: Simplicity

>> Modern medicine is the difference between living an average of 25 years and living an average of 75.

Yes and no. If by modern medicine, you mean clean water, antibiotics, vaccines for the worst diseases, and especially a reduction in infant mortality, yes. If you take modern medicine to mean cancer chemotherapy, heart by-pass operations and organ transplants, no. That type of modern medicine is good for a small number of people, but it adds relatively little to the average life span.

An interesting quote from the wikipedia article on lifespan: "A pre 20th Century individual who lived past the teenage years could expect to live to an age close to the life expectancy of today."


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RE: Simplicity

Well, shucks. Just toss out public health measures, antibiotics and vaccinations, forget the vast improvement in what formerly used to be staggering infant and child mortality, and what has mainstream medicine really done for us lately?

We could talk about the category of trauma surgery, and the lives saved in formerly hopeless circumstances. There's surgical interventions of all types, from repairs of birth defects to abdominal mishaps that in the pre-modern medicine era would have resulted in peritonitis and an agonizing death. There's all manner of chronic debilitating illness which people now survive far longer and with much less debility than in the past - autoimmune diseases and chronic heart and lung problems for starters. The death rate for heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (i.e. stroke), influenza, pneumonia, malignant tumors and other disorders has dropped significantly in recent decades thanks to continuing medical advances.

Hate to challenge an "authoritative" source like Wikipedia, but merely surviving one's childhood in pre-20th century times did not mean that one could expect to live to age 77 or so (the current U.S. life expectancy). Take the data comparing 65-year-olds in 1950 as compared to 65-year-olds in 2005 - the latter group could expect to live approximately five years longer. I'd expect the improvement to be even more striking if comparisons were made between current adult survival and that of 19th century adult Americans.

There are justified complaints about current medical practice, including affordability, access and quality in some circumstances - but what's undeniable is we are, overall, living much longer and healthier lives than our forebears.

Simplicity is an appealing concept for some when it comes to health matters, but if the need arises and I've got a serious illness, give me access to the medical complex and an intellectual with a big ol' stethoscope every time. :)


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RE: Simplicity

>> Well, shucks. Just toss out public health measures, antibiotics and vaccinations, forget the vast improvement in what formerly used to be staggering infant and child mortality, and what has mainstream medicine really done for us lately?

My post was more about the difference between the relatively 'simple' versus the latest 'hi-tech' (and less about distinguishing between mainstream and alternative medicine)

>> Take the data comparing 65-year-olds in 1950 as compared to 65-year-olds in 2005 - the latter group could expect to live approximately five years longer.

Ok - lets take that data as a base. Lets call most of the expensive developments after 1950 'modern hi-tech' ... that has added about 5 years to the life span of someone who is 65. That five years is a bit more than the 50 that brandon claimed in his post, although, to be fair, he may not be defining 'simple' or 'modern' the way I do. But there is no doubt that the biggest gains have come from relatively simple things like clean water, antibiotics, etc. The more recent, complicated and expensive things need not be thrown out, but one should recognize that such improvements represent a much smaller gain and are and much more expensive than those from half a century ago.


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Somehow I doubt that people getting to age 65 would be quite that cavalier about the prospect of living five years longer than a comparable group in 1950 (not to mention what they could expect in terms of duration and quality of life compared to the routine of a century or more ago).

I question also whether people whose lives have been saved or prolonged by organ transplantation, "high-tech" surgery and chemo/radiation for cancer, or experienced pain-free lives thanks to heart bypass surgery would consider their experiences insignificant.
As for vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs that have saved lives and/or greatly improved quality of life for many conditions; they may seem "simple" to you, but are the product of much painstaking, high-tech research and technically complex production.

Among those who think they're serving the cause of alternative medicine by attempting to tear down mainstream, evidence-based medicine, are 1) those who take modern medical advances for granted, 2) those who are unaware of the extent of those improvements and how they came about, and 3) those who know perfectly well how much modern medicine has improved our lives, but can't stand it. ;)


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RE: Simplicity

Novice 2009~ Hello and thank you for starting a thread that, unfortunately has gone downhill a little bit. I also read a lot about herbs and all plants really, especially wild and useful ones in my part of Tennessee. Please do not be discouraged. Some garden for the enjoyment, some talk gardening for their own reasons, I suppose. I wish you happy gardening in '09!


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I grow veggies, flowers and herbs and i love being in my gardens also. yes this is the time of year to simply be out side and injoy all the sights, bright yellow and red, the blues and pinks of spring flowers and new growth. smells,the earthy smell of rotting leaves,the sweetness of a jonquil,violet. sounds of the wind blowing through the trees. a dog barking in the distance. A coyote howling at night.
Feeling the breezes on your face. The very welcome warm sun, a silky leaf or a furry one.
I'm handicapped and can only work a short time before i have to rest. I have found out the resting time makes me more aware of the sights,sounds, smells of my world. Times like these i feel such a sadness for those who cannot injoy these pleasures and pray that at sometime they will be able to.


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RE: Simplicity

Thanks for getting it rockguy! Where in TN are you? I'm in Maury Co. I studied about native herbs to our area, the uses of the Native Americans of them, and such. I ordered seeds for these medicinal herbs, native to the area. Can't wait to see how they do. I'm planning a hike through the woods and down to a creek on family's 100 acre farm, armed with my Peterson's field guide, to find identify and find some. So excited! Yes, I enjoy gardening for the sheer pleasure of it, the exercise, work. I'm also a lover of wildlife and have done much to lure the birds into my yard. Enjoy watching them. Seems like any post here becomes a heated debate, sigh. It's not always life and death, sometimes it's just about LIFE. Too bad so many are so caught up to enjoy it- simplicity and simpling. Much love to you all who get it!


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RE: Simplicity

What I am enjoying the most this Spring is the return of little plants I just barely remember planting years ago, that I thought had been gone forever....

:o)

Don't despair, Eric; most of us value modern medicine.

It is not an either-or.

Both are possible.

People do have the right to choose, though.

They are now saying that to save one woman from breast cancer, five must be treated, and many more than that ratio for prostate cancer.

Why do we all need to include ourselves in the five, if four of us do not truly need to be included?

Additionally, did you read the recent report in the NYT regarding routine ovary removal in women resulting in shorter lifespans?

You can see why some of us would rather just tend to our gardens.


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RE: Simplicity

I'm not despairing; I'm enjoying my spring garden.

Let others focus on any negative aspects of medicine they can find. I'm sending positive thoughts to my crepe myrtles, which had a hard winter.


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RE: Simplicity

Me, too.

I have two stands of Lily-of-the Valley doing nicely in spots where I thought they had died out, and just purchased a few blueberry bushes to plant here and there.

I read somewhere that blueberry leaves are good for something, although I forget just what. In any case, I hope I get blueberries!

I'm also hoping the local garden shop still has some Virginia bluebells when I get back there--I found a good spot for one (No medicinal value that I know of).

I'm looking forward to my tree peonies blooming soon. I know the Chinese have a medicinal peony, but I don't think the tree peony is it.

My semi-wild raspberries seem to be responding well to the way I pruned them...I think they're growing little side shoots that will have berries, although I didn't expect that.

I bought a few new herbs to replace those that died over the winter, and will be putting them out in my herb pots soon...mostly thyme, horehound, and apple mint. Apple mint seems to winter over here in some years, though, so I am considering trying it directly in the ground if I can find a free spot.

My Hellebores are also doing well since I took the canvas off of my gazebo. My Japanese honeysuckle will be the roof from now on.

:o)


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RE: Simplicity

Hi Eibren,
I was curious about the blueberry leaves as a remedy so I looked it up. Pretty neat stuff!

I'm hoping for blueberries this year too :)


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