I have been waiting for this day for a long time – months to be exact. I am not an avid political fan and lengthy election campaigns cause me to lose interest and quickly turn me off. However, I have a morbid fascination with the 2016 U.S. election race that has made history around the world for the ridiculous way it has played out and insane comments repeatedly made by presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Toss in the other candidate’s saga of deleted emails and the FBI’s 360-degree decision to reinvestigate and the entire election is like something from a comic book with a shallow and very bad plot.
The name calling is beyond belief and makes me wonder how court cases for defamation of character do not arise from such a nasty campaign. I guess the consideration of launching legal action is lost in the mayhem when the gloves come off and the brass knuckles come out as two heavy weights verbally battle for the president’s seat. We tell our children not to lie and to play fair when they around other children, but that idea is totally lost when it comes to politics and forming a government.
Lies and fake news stories about candidates have been posted on social media sites and electronically propagated to masses of people at amazing speed. Being connected to the most recent action, post or tweet has now surpassed the desire for accurate information. I believe that step onto the slippery slope of misinformation is taking us into some dark and troublesome times and it will only get worse in future years. As Adolf Hitler discovered, it is easy for perception to replace truth when people want to believe in a leader or a cause. We will all have opportunity on Remembrance Day to reflect on such times and the consequences of trading truth for tyranny. It is happening before our very eyes right now and will culminate Nov. 8 when our super-power neighbour to the south (the nation with the greatest debt in the world) elects a new leader. May God help us all get through this mess and the crap that will be flung from media manure spreaders in the years ahead.
After attending a convention at Saskatoon last week, I arrived home and found a box that one of my sisters had mailed before leaving for an extended stay in Mexico. It contained a book and some CDs she had borrowed and two zip lock bags. One bag had a green powder and the other contained small, brown spheres that were as hard as rocks. The powder was crushed hawthorn leaves and the other bag contained hawthorn berries. A note stated the berries could be brewed as a tea that is apparently good for a person’s heart and circulatory system.
I first heard of the benefits of hawthorn berries about 25 years ago from an elderly widow. As she was filling capsules with cayenne pepper, she spoke about the health benefits of various herbs she consumed as food and in pill form including the little red berries that grow on hawthorn trees.
I have always been fascinated by herbs and their medicinal properties and it began at a young age. When I was a child one of my little toes became severely infected. To extract the poison, my mother put a fried-onion poultice on my toe when I slept and over the course of a few days the blood poisoning completely disappeared. When I was 13, I went on a two-week outdoor trip in northern Saskatchewan and met a woodsman who had written a book about wilderness survival. The book by Berndt Berglund described many wild plants people could consume if lost and those that had medicinal qualities.
As a teen, I learned a little more from my grandmother who would harvest various plants, including stinging nettle. Any stranger who saw the big bag of green leaves in her cupboard must have assumed she had a significant stash, but it was not for smoking and was largely used for kidney and bladder problems if my memory serves me correctly. She also gave me my first taste of rosehip syrup which is rich in vitamins A, B, E and K and is one of the best sources of vitamin C in our local environment.
A shirttail relative – a short Italian man who spoke fast and with a heavy accent – introduced me to garden weeds that were edible and tasty. He would make a large feast of Chinese food whenever he visited my grandmother and it was during those times that I learned about the nutritional value of weeds such as dandelion, common plantain and pigweed. However, I did very little with that information other than file it away.
As I get older, I am starting to more deeply appreciate the health benefits of many common weeds and plants. Thanks to the Internet and a couple of devoted U.S. medical doctors, last year I learned of the restorative results that a plant-based diet can have. I am typically skeptical of information on the Internet until it can be confirmed by a reputable source or duplicated in my own life. To my surprise, I was talking to a local friend two weeks ago and learned firsthand how she began eating mostly vegetables and saw serious health issues disappear over a period of time.
Is maintaining good health as simple as eating a more healthy diet? It appears that way, especially for my friend whose overall health – even her eyesight – improved after she changed her diet. If readers have health tips regarding foods or herbs that improved their health, please feel free to share it with myself or other readers through a letter to the editor. Today is the day to make a positive change in your life or the life of others.