Roses: Companion Planting

“Companion planting.

“Plants have best friends just like people do. Marigolds help tomatoes and roses grow better. Nasturtiums keep bugs away from squash and broccoli. Petunias protect beans from beetles and oregano chases them away from cucumbers. Geraniums keep Japanese beetles away from roses and corn. Chives make carrots sweeter, and basil makes tomatoes even tastier.” ”

For more information on companion planting visit: http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html

Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/natural-living-forum/65950834522

Picture Source: http://www.tripleoaks.com/article_display.php?id=148

Food: Avocado Benefits

Facts about Avocado:

1. Protein

Avocadoes provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absor…bed by the body because avocadoes also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocadoes are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.

2. Beneficial Fats

Avocadoes provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocadoes boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs.

3. Carotenoids

Avocadoes are an excellent source of carotenoids. Although many people associate carotenoids only with red and orange produce, avocadoes are also an excellent source of this phytonutrient. Avocadoes, also known as alligator pears, offer a diverse range of carotenoids including not only the better known ones such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, but also lesser known varieties of this type of phytonutrient such as neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, chrysanthemaxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin and violaxanthin. Every time you consume foods rich in carotenoids, you deliver high quality vitamin A to your body, thereby protecting eye health. Carotenoids also enhance the functioning of the immune system and promote healthy functioning of the reproductive system. Since carotenoids are fat soluble, eating avocadoes optimizes the absorption of these nutrients.

4.Anti-Inflammatory

The combined effect of the deluxe package of nutrients contained in avocadoes offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Avocadoes’ unique combination of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids helps guard against inflammation. This means avocadoes can help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Heart Health

The fat content, which causes some uninformed health “experts” to deem avocadoes as unhealthy, actually provides protection against heart diseases. Studies have shown that oleic acid improves cardiovascular health. Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid in avocadoes. Many people now take supplements in order to consume more omega-3 fatty acids to lower their risk of heart disease. Avocadoes are rich in omega-3, delivering 160 milligrams per cup of alpha-linolenic acid.

6. Choosing and Eating

To get the most nutritional value from avocadoes, avoid those which have become over-ripe. You can identify these at the store because they will have dents and feel overly soft when you hold them. A ripe avocado should have no dents in its skin and will feel slightly soft when squeezed. You can also buy unripe avocadoes, which feel very hard when gripped, and permit them to ripen at home. The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most dense in nutrients, so be sure to scrape the skin clean before discarding it.

My favorite quote on the subject:

Avocados are like nature’s butter, but unlike real butter they’re so good for you. Not only great raw, but great cooked, avocados are a great way to add healthy, tasty, and natural fat to a dish.”  – Ming Tsai, the power house behind the Boston restaurant Blue Ginger and the host/chef of the best cooking show “Simply Ming”, also the author of several cook books

Information source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/natural-living-forum/65950834522

Ming Tsai Quote Source: http://www.createtv.com/CreateProgram.nsf/vRecipes/Kaffir%20Lime%20Avocado%20Puree#

For Ming Tsai’s website and access to some of his recipes that include avocado: http://www.ming.com/

Picture Source: http://evolutionvtg.blogspot.com/2012/06/avocado-app.html

Food: Garlic Benefits

GARLIC:

This herb was first used in Ancient times by the Egyptians to treat wounds, infections, tumours and intestinal parasites. No wonder they called it the great protector.
This wonder drug aids digestion, relieves earache, acts as an expectorant and as an antiseptic. Garlic also increases the flow of urine thereby killing thread worms and roundworms in your body. Besides, its ability to expel mucous by liquefying it, can help you control your cold, cough and other respiratory tract infections. This amazing herb has also demonstrated the ability to protect against a variety of environmental toxins. Garlic’s sulphur compounds are potent antioxidants which protect cell membranes and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) from damage.

Garlic cloves have amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides (in % of Recommended daily allowance)
95% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
52% of vitamin C,
33% of copper,
21% of iron,
18% of calcium,
26% Selenium, and
73% of manganese

Picture and information Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/natural-living-forum/65950834522

Roses: Lavender

Lavender, Lavandula species, (also known as Elf Leaf, Nard, Nardus, and Spike) is a well known herb and I just felt like refreshing some people’s memories and learn a bit myself.

Magickal Properties (alphabetical order): Cleansing, Exorcism, Happiness, Harmony, Healing, Love, Peace, and Purification. (According to Celtic Magic by D.J. Conway)

Magickal Uses: I will not write about the love spell uses because I believe them to test the boundaries (strongly and even break them in some cases) of manipulating another’s free will.

Lavender can be used in many ways, including in protection amulets against your spouse, in purification through smudging and baths and in purification rituals, in healing rituals and amulets and sachets, to promote peace and love and joy in, to induce sleep whether in  tea or incense or sachets, as an aphrodisiac for men, alleviate stress, bless ones home, and as a mood lifter (even said to lift depression though I have no testimonial myself).

Medicinal and other Benefits: “LAVENDER TEA ON ICEThe beneficial constituents of lavender include flavonoids, tannins, courmarines, and essential oil containing camphor, geraniol and linalool.

You can get fresh lavender from your local health food store like Whole Foods and even better can order tea from: http://www.harney.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=3962&category=38&secondary

Let the tea steep for about 7 to 10 minutes. Then strain, try adding a sweeter, lemon then pour over ice and just enjoy!

Tips!
Lavender tea may help ease insomnia.

Lavender tea may help calm nervousness and anxiety. It may also be used to alleviate stress and uplift flagging spirits.

Lavender tea may help treat an upset stomach, as well as flatulence and colic. It may also be used to treat stomach and bowel infections.

Lavender tea may help alleviate depressive and migraine headaches.

Lavender tea, when applied topically, may help alleviate colds, cough, asthma, bronchitis and similar problems in the respiratory system.

Lavender tea may help induce sweating and consequently reduce the body temperature during fever.” *

Gardening Notes: “It’s low maintenance and drought-tolerant, once established. It attracts bees and butterflies but is deer- and rabbit-resistant. It can be used in cosmetics, medicine, and cuisine. … Enjoy the fragrance of lavender year-round by drying this beloved herb. To preserve, hang small bunches upside down in a dark, dry room until the moisture has evaporated. … It thrives in hot, sunny locations with well-drained, alkaline soil.” To extend the season, combine several varieties. Hardy Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, blooms early and is adaptable to cooler, more humid areas. Hybrid varieties, such as ‘England’ and ‘Silver Frost’, enjoy a longer blooming season, as do Intermedia French hybrids, including L. x intermedia’Grosso’ and ‘Provence’, which also flower late and are especially treasured for their perfume. … Lavender needs well-drained soil to flourish. If your soil is heavy, amend it by adding one part sand and gravel to one part native soil, and plant in berms to further help with drainage. … When cutting lavender, clip where the foliage begins. In mid-spring, prune winter damage and cut back about a third of it to keep it from getting leggy. … Lavender does well in pots. Choose a well-draining potting soil recommended for containers. Fertilize organically every other week.

“The ideal time to harvest lavender is when one-third to one-half of the spike is in bloom.” —David Salman (http://www.highcountrygardens.com/)

COMPANION PLANTS

When planning what to grow with lavender, David recommends choosing plants with similar growing requirements. Some of his favorites include: Gaura: Pink and white cultivars of Gaura lindheimeri have wispy flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Penstemon: There are close to 300 species of penstemons. Choose some of the many colors available. ” **

Picture #1 Source and Source for Gardening Notes (**) : http://www.countryliving.com/outdoor/gardening/lavender-0908#slide-1

Picture #2 and Source for Medicinal and Other Benefits (*): http://www.facebook.com/pages/natural-living-forum/65950834522

For more Gardening Information: http://gardening.about.com/od/perennials/a/Lavender.htm

For more information in general on Lavender: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula