23 December 2008

double your gift to help animals with farm sanctuary

Now until the end of the year, when you give to animal advocacy group Farm Sanctuary your money will be matched (up to $30K). They've worked really hard and have had some amazing victories this year, including the passing of Proposition 2 in California.

Check out a slide show of this year's success stories:

The momentum we’ve built together in 2008 can’t be stopped now:

  • We pushed for and won the largest ballot measure ever with the passing of Proposition 2 in California! Co-sponsored by Farm Sanctuary, this measure banned the cruelest forms
  • of confinement, affecting 20 million farm animals
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision against the New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture’s assertion that routine husbandry practices, like castration without anesthesia, are “humane” simply because they are common
  • Farm Sanctuary took in more than 476 animals, many through emergency rescues, cruelty cases and natural disaster relief efforts - including 69 pigs saved from the rising floodwaters of the Mississippi River and safely transported to our New York Shelter. We provided care for more than 1,200 rescued animals at our shelters
  • We monitored and worked on legislation in 26 states this year, culminating in new laws passed that will give farm animals greater protection - including downed animal protection in California and anti-confinement law in Colorado!
  • We increased the number of eateries and markets that have pledged to say NO! to foie gras and the inhumane force-feeding of ducks and geese to over 1,000
And, 2009 promises to be an even bigger year. Farm Sanctuary has an ambitious agenda: to push more states to outlaw inhumane treatment of farm animals, to pursue legal action to stop cruelty in its tracks, and to have our farm animal rescue team ready when disaster strikes.

Donate to Farm Sanctuary

kicking a cold in time for the holidays

This past weekend I was waylaid by some kind of illness. Sore throat, achy body, post-nasal drip. Gross. It hit me Friday night. I was reluctant to do it, but I popped a couple of NyQuil and tucked myself in for some restless slumber. In the morning my bf made a run for some Tylenol, herbal teas, and the makings of a grilled cheese sandwich.

He brought back two magical teas that I hadn't tried before. I requested Traditional Medicinal's Throat Coat, but he picked up Yogi Tea's Throat Comfort and it worked like a charm. The slightly cherry flavored herbal concoction gets its power from wild cherry bark, slippery elm bark, and mullein, plus lots of delicious herbs and spices. The other soothing tea was Yogi's Breathe Deep. It smells more like a Christmas tree and tastes like I'd imagine one to taste, in a good way. I think it's the eucalyptus. This tea also had mullein in it. I had to know more about this medicinal herb, so I did a little search.

Turns out that mullein is a very useful plant. According to Wildman Steve Brill:

Mullein tea provides vitamins B-2, B-5, B-12, and D, choline, hesperidin, PABA, sulfur, magnesium, mucilage, saponins, and other active substances.

People use the tea as a beverage, but it’s best known as one of the safest, most effective herbal cough remedies. Mullein is an expectorant, and a tonic for the lungs, mucus membranes, and glands. An infusion is good for colds, emphysema, asthma, hay fever, and whooping cough. Strain the infusion through a cloth, or the hairs may get stuck in your throat and make you cough even more. Laboratory tests have shown that it’s anti-inflammatory, with antibiotic activity, and that it inhibits the tuberculosis bacillus. The Indians smoked dried mullein and coltsfoot cigarettes for asthma and bronchitis, and indications are that it’s effective: I’ve observed it working for bronchitis.

The tea is also an astringent and demulcent. It’s good for diarrhea, and it’s been used in compresses for hemorrhoids since it was recommended by Dioscorides centuries ago. It’s also supposed to help other herbs get absorbed through the skin. Pliny of ancient Rome, Gerard in sixteenth century England, the Delaware Indians, and country folk in the South used the heated leaves in poultices for arthritis.

A tincture of the flowers is used for migraine headaches. An oil extract of the flowers, which contains a bactericide, is used for ear infections, although you should consult with a competent practitioner first, to avoid the possibility of permanent hearing loss if the herb doesn’t work.

[Image: Magnus Manske via Wikipedia]

Mullein came over to this continent with settling Europeans. It's considered an invasive alien by the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (National Parks Service). They suggest eradicating it through various means, but I wonder why they can't harvest it and sell it to herbalists?

Here are a few other tools in my cold-fighting arsenal:

Naturade Herbal Expectorant (with Guaifenesin)

Emergen-C (Super Orange flavor)

Himalayan Institute Original Neti Pot (Ceramic)

Ricola (Honey Lemon with Echinacea)