Category Archives: Medicine

How to Stay Healthier and Live Longer

Life is not merely being alive, but being well.

If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also add ten or more years to your life.  But, what is a healthy lifestyle?  Turns out that not smoking, (nor abusing prescription or street drugs), drinking booze only in pretty strict moderation, and keeping to a healthy weight are the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking and drinking may look cool, for a short while, but after a short while those pastimes will turn an attractive women into a cackling, wrinkled, old hag.

The reason fat men are good-natured is that they can neither fight nor run.  ~  Theodore Roosevelt.

Personally, I would add another three things we should all do if we want to be fit and healthy well into our senior years; get plenty of good quality sleep, get plenty of appropriate exercise, and eat a good, healthy diet.  Therefore, if you don’t want to suffer a horrible and early death, from this moment on you should;

  1. Stop smoking.  Stop smoking weed too.  Smoking is dirty, disgusting, anti-social, and it will kill you in a selection of particularly nasty ways.
  2. Drink only in moderation.  If you regularly take more than a couple of drinks in an evening, if you empty a bottle of wine in a couple of days, if you have a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of spirits ~ then you have a drink problem, and eventually it will make you very ill.
  3. Don’t be fat, don’t be obese.  It is very easy to stuff yourself with burgers, take-outs, canned food, and other unhealthy crap calories.  Type 2 diabetes will make you very ill, and then it will kill you.  There are three foods / ingredients you should never, ever, knowingly have in your diet;  sugar-free / diet soda, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, wheat flour, wheat products.
  4. Get plenty of good quality sleep.  Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and grumpy.  Lack of enough proper sleep causes accidents, makes you stupid, kills your sex drive, and puts you at greater risk of; heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Take enough appropriate exercise.  Just a daily walk can add 7 years to your life.  You don’t need to join an gym and lift heavy weights.  Both yoga and tai chi have a myriad of health benefits, improving your balance, control, fitness, flexibility, reducing the risks of falls, sprains, and other injuries, easing pain, and reducing the symptoms of depression.
  6. Have a good quality and healthy diet.  And, there are lots of cool diets to choose from; Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pritikin…  The key is don’t eat junk, have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat slowly and chew your food properly, and don’t stuff yourself at every opportunity.

Americans and the British are much less likely to live long and healthy lives than do the inhabitants of most industrialised western countries, and it has nothing at all to do with the standards of medical care in the USA and the UK.  In fact, the Japanese have the highest average healthy life expectancy in the world ~ and it doesn’t have anything to do with either sushi or rice.

Japanese people give attention to health in all aspects of their daily life.  Professor Kenji Shibuya.

Some things you can do today to work towards that fitter, healthier, happier life in your senior years are;

  • Change your attitude ~ tell yourself, convince yourself, that you will be fitter, healthier, stronger, more capable, filled with self-confidence, and more self-aware.
  • Get your blood pressure checked.
  • Eat a better diet ~ stop eating junk.
  • Stop knocking back the booze in the evenings.  Especially DO NOT drink just before you go to bed.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Start exercising.  There are both mental and physical benefits to regular exercise ~ at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week.  Walk, (at least) 10,000 steps every day.
  • Walk don’t drive.  Learn to drive in a slower, calmer, more relaxed manner.
  • Don’t get stressed.  Practice meditation and mindfulness ~ just relax.
  • Don’t hang out with people who eat junk, smoke, drink, and slob about just watching sports TV all day.  Stay out of pubs, bars, and down-market restaurants. If you can’t do those things you need to get to an AA meeting.
  • And for goodness sake, stay out of hospital.  Hospitals are incredibly unhealthy places to be for very long.

These are all simple lifestyle changes, and each one is pretty easy on it’s own.  Taken together these lifestyle changes will make a massive difference to your health, fitness, and happiness.  As a side effect you will stop throwing huge hunks of change down the drain.

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.  ~  Paul Dudley White.

Being angry, hateful, jealous, negative, stressed…, will all damage your physical, mental, and emotional health.   In fact, just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of an early death by three-quarters.

Mens sana in corpore sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

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Coffee Is Good For You

Three cups of coffee a day could extend your life.

Coffee is one of the worlds most commonly consumed drinks, with something like 2.25 billion cups drunk around the world every day.  Coffee contains lots of complex chemical compounds including; caffeine, diterpenes,and antioxidants.

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as sin.  ~ Talleyrand

It seems coffee is healthy and good for you.  New research, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals,  shows that the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee are highly beneficial in reducing liver disease and liver cancers, help prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of circulatory problems, ward off Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis, and helps to fight diseases of the digestive tract.  As all of those diseases can kill you, drinking moderate amounts of coffee may even prevent you from suffering an early death.

There are lots of good reasons to drink coffee.  Including the fact that coffee may also be good for your sex drive, (particularly a woman’s sex drive).  Drinking coffee increases the plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin that controls testosterone and oestrogen.  That may well be why coffee reduces depression and suicide risk.  Who knew that coffee was a female aphrodisiac?

It isn’t the caffeine that does you good, because people who drink decaffeinated coffee accrue most / some of the same benefits.  However, it seems obvious that proper strong fresh-made ground coffee with all the caffeine in it will give you the most benefits.  A typical cup of coffee has more antioxidants than a glass of grape, blackberry, blueberry, and / or orange juices.  A typical American gets more antioxidants from coffee than from anything else.  What you get from a cup of coffee is; improved liver function, reduced inflammation in the body, better glucose control, and coffee also boosts the immune system.

If you are a regular drinker of the falling down water, if you really like your booze, if you sometimes drink a little too much, if you are a practicing alcoholic ~ then you should really drink fresh coffee on a regular basis.  Just one cup of real coffee a day can reduce your chances of suffering cirrhosis of the liver by 20%.  Coffee will also help prevent you from getting fatty liver disease, whether you’re a boozer or not.

Cigarettes and coffee:  an alcoholic’s best friends!  ~  Gerard Way.

Don’t think you can get the same benefits from other caffeinated drinks that you can get from coffee, because you can’t.  For example, coffee generally makes people feel happier, whereas Coca Cola will give you a caffeine high, but Coke will also make you feel depressed.  Especially any diet caffeinated drink will make you feel really depressed.  In general soda is bad for you, and diet sodas are bad for you in spades.  So your very strong Cuba Libre is doing you no good at all.

The way you prepare your coffee has a big impact on how much benefit you get from all the good complex chemicals present in coffee beans.  For example, if you use a regular coffee maker, and you also use filter papers, then you’re missing out on a lot of the good diterpenes because they are absorbed by the paper.  In general the less there is between the ground coffee and your cup the better.  Possibly a cafetiere / French press using a good dark roast will make you the most beneficial cup of coffee, whereas a cheap instant decaffeinated is probably next to useless in terms of health benefits and taste.

Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.  ~  David Lynch

These findings are based European study led by Imperial College, London, and the UN International Agency for Research on Cancer ~ which looked at half-a-million people over the age of 35.  They found that people who drink three cups of coffee a day live longer than non-coffee drinkers.  There is also an US study led by the University of Southern California ~ which looked at 186,000 people.

We cannot say that drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association.  ~ Veronica W. Setiawan, USC

In conclusion, real coffee is good for you, pod coffee is pretty bad, cheap instant coffee is nasty and probably causes cancer, and Coca Cola is very nasty.  Drinking coffee is cool, often sociable, and a nice woman is more likely to have an afternoon cup of coffee with a guy than she is to agree to meet him in a pub.

Coffee and smoking are the last great addictions.  ~  Lara Flynn Boyle

Statistically, women who drink a lot of coffee are also likely to be drinkers of booze and cigarette smokers ~ strange but true.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

buy a French press

demons I can’t face down

Our very souls may be consumed by shadows.

We each have a complex relationship with ourselves.  If we have ever really suffered through something like; alcoholism, drug addiction, addiction to gambling, sex addiction, too many of the wrong prescription drugs, parental abuse, an abusive relationship, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, serious problems with our diet, mental health problems, failed relationships, job loss, loss of our home…  (or more likely a mixture of all of these problems and more), then we also have a complex relationship with the whole world and everyone in it.

At times we can find ourselves in a very bad place where every voice is critical, malevolent, and negative ~ even our own inner voice.  Our inner voice creates inner demons;  anger, depression, fear of rejection, rejection of others, jealousy, judgementalism, self-doubt, self-hatred, worthlessness…

All the dark, malevolent Passions of the Soul are roused and exerted; its mild and amiable affections are suppressed; and with them virtuous Principles are laid prostrate.  ~  Charles Inglis

Unless you have been there you can have no idea how bad the pain and anguish these inner demons can create.  One will do almost anything to escape the crippling pain; including going back to our addictions, making big geographical moves, shutting down and numbing ourselves, isolating ourselves, psychotherapy, strong prescription drugs, attending 12 step groups, spirituality, retreating further into mental illness, suicide…

It is not just our inner demons.  If we are in that bad place then we are also surrounded by demons.  Everyone we know, everyone we meet, adds to these outer demons with their misplaced concerned advice, criticisms, and rejection.  Many people do not want us to get well, they measure themselves against our struggle and feel superior, they add their negative demons to our own.  When I was at my last rock-bottom I became aware that almost everyone I knew, everyone I met, was feeding off my pain.  Few understand, few want to understand, and fewer still truly want to help.

Some especially gifted, intelligent, and sensitive people believe that there is a third layer of demons, in addition to our inner demons, and the tormenting demons gifted to us by almost everyone we know.   Most spiritual and religious people also believe that there are more demons than the physiological and psychological.  These special people believe in genuine demons, in the spiritual realm, and that some of us may be victims of these demons.  In my mind’s eye I am very aware that in the shadows surrounding my soul lurk the powers of darkness seeking to torment and torture me.

Demons manifest themselves in people in different ways.  For instance, out of nowhere, somebody can become very angry for no reason.  That’s not just an emotion.  That’s a demon.  ~  Stephen Baldwin.

None of the details really matter.  What I do know is that if you have truly suffered, and if you are suffering now, then you are the victim of demons who will feed off your pain, and want nothing more than to destroy you and everything and everyone you care for.

It is our demons that make us believe that our partner is sleeping with other men, that giving into our addiction will solve our problems, and that suicide is painless.

Many of us have tried over the years to face down our inner demons.  Some succeed, many fail.  Many fail because they don’t realise that the main causes of their misery are inner demons which seem to have an intelligence and will of their own.  Many more fail because they never realise that they are also surrounded by malevolent evil demons emanating  from the subconscious psyche of everyone they know.  And, some fail because they are the victims of true demonic possession.

Demons are not your superiors, demons are not even your equals.  All demons have is the ability to make you cause yourself pain and suffering.  Demons can only torment and torture you if you let them, but most of us allow demons to torture us because we are not even aware that they are there.

Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy.  ~  David D. Burns.

Recovery begins with admitting that you have a problem.

I cannot yet face down my demons, but I know they are there, trying to make me torture myself so that they can feed off my pain. (Even your inner demons feed off the pain you cause yourself.)

Now, when I feel myself going down a negative path to my own personal hell, I can tell myself that it’s just my personal demons trying to destroy me, and that I should ignore their oppressive persecution.  That helps me.  A psychological bully can only bully you if you let them.  Your demons have no physical power over you.  Ignore them and your demons will go away.  Eventually I shall be able to face down my demons and tell them to fuck off ~ and that will be a good day.

Demons are to be pitied.  They have nothing but your pain and suffering.  If you do not allow your demons to make you cause yourself pain and suffering, then those demons will eventually die and vanish into nothing.

You can and will get well if you do not allow your demons to torment and torture you.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

click on the book

Being Overweight

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.

These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight.  So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me.  Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.

I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to.  ~  Camryn Manheim.

You know what?  There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.

There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.

To begin with, are you overweight?  How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight?  What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.  In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure.  Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut).  Your waist should not be more than half your height.  If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you).  More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.

There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement.  In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches.  So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems.  Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.

Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9,  overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure).  There are plenty of online BMI calculators.

There are a myriad of downsides to being overweight, and even more downsides to being obese.  Some of these are;

We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health.  ~  M. Scott Peck.

The above are the worst of the medical problems.  But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you?  Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath?  Can you run for a bus?  Can you walk five miles without collapsing?  Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size?  Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities?  What’s your performance in bed like?  The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be.  Maybe you should take an online test?

It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7.  However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so.  But do you know what?  I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.

 

Your Ultimate Truth

There is a warrior’s path to the end of suffering.

In my life I have been lost, often alone, and sometimes in pain.  I have been down and disappointed, I have been beaten by misfortune, I’ve been so tired and despairing I could not eat or sleep, I’ve been crushed by unrequited love, I wanted things that were always out of reach, and I was so lonely I cried bitter tears.  Then I found a guiding star to wish to, and that bright star led me to a good place of freedom from pain and suffering.  Now I can cross broad oceans, climb tall mountains, see the far horizons.

Now I can experience true friendship and real love.

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards, and leads us from this world to another.  ~  Plato

You too can find your star to wish upon and to follow, if only you are prepared to search both the heavens and deep within yourself.

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a supercomputer reveals that the ultimate answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42.

The answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe, and Everything… Is… Forty-Two.  ~  Deep Thought

This was meant as a joke, 42 was just a random number picked out of thin air by Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  Allegedly.  However it turns out that the number forty-two has symbolism and special meanings in a whole raft of philosophies, religions, and magical convictions.  Forty-two is a highly symbolic number slipped into a work of fiction, seemingly by accident, or coincidence.

However, despite what some may say, there is an answer, a simple answer to Life.

If we are to believe numerology then 42 is an Angel Number, and the energies of this number bring us an inner-wisdom to help us pursue our Life Purpose.  To pursue your Life Purpose, then first you must realise that the true purpose of your life is to live and to grow ~ to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, in health and happiness.  That may be a long, long way from where you find yourself right now.

In order to get to where you want to go, you first have to know two things;

  • Exactly where you are right now.
  • Exactly where it is you want to get to.

You don’t need to know the road in-between, that will become only too apparent on your journey to your ultimate truth.

If you are anything like I used to be, then where you are right now could be unhealthy, unsatisfying, and depressing.  There may be no real joy and happiness in your life.  You may see no way out, even though you have sought relief and escape through religion, inspirational books, motivational speakers, support groups, counsellors, psychologists, doctors, medication, booze, street drugs, gambling, casual sex…

None of those escape routes will work for long, and the consequences of some methods of escape from hard reality just make things much worse.  I know, before I found my own ultimate truth, my own warrior’s path, I tried just about every quick fix there is.

There are more false prophets than there are those inspired by an ultimate truth.

Taking the wrong road through self-destructive behaviour leads to one rock-bottom after another, and each new rock-bottom is worse than the one before.

There are no quick fixes in Life, and nobody can fix you but you.

The Ultimate Truth is this;  Life is Difficult and Painful.

Once you are prepared to recognise that truth, once you are prepared to accept, appreciate, and understand that Life is Difficult and Painful, then you can transcend all pain and suffering.  You can take your first step on the warrior’s path to freedom from desolation and misery.

The first step in any journey is always the hardest.  It will mean uncertainty, leaving your comfort zone, doing things that seem unnatural, and at first it may seem just as painful as the misery you’re trying to leave behind.  But, you have to know this ~ follow the warrior’s path and things will get better.  Your life will become even better than you could ever have imagined it could be.

The first step is to recognise and accept that you are the cause of your own unhappiness.  Whatever the proximate cause of your misery and unhappiness, be it alcoholism, gambling, an abusive relationship, or whatever is your personal purgatory, the ultimate cause of your pain is your own need for instant gratification.  We must to accept that the causes of all our problems and unhappiness are our own cravings, desires, wants, lusts, needs, and our blaming of others when things don’t go the way we want them to.

The path to freedom from suffering and pain is through self-discipline in body, mind and spirit.  This is the ultimate answer to Life, our Psychological Cosmos, and Everything.

Self-discipline is hard, it means not taking that next drink, not having that next cigarette, not overeating, not placing our happiness in the hands of another.  Self-discipline means turning up for work on time, getting enough good quality sleep, getting enough fresh air and exercise.  Self-discipline means not blaming others for our misfortunes, not spending money we don’t have, not allowing ourselves to become infatuated with someone who will never truly return our affections.  Self-discipline is what will free you from pain, misery, and the teachings of false prophets.

You don’t need the hurt anymore, and you don’t need the pain in your life.  I promise you that if you accept and understand that you can’t ever change what happens to you, but you can change what you do, then your shadows will turn into warm sunlight.  Don’t ever allow yourself to give in to your craving for instant gratification, have the patience to appreciate, accept,and understand yourself, trust in yourself and not in others, and your life will get better.  Your whole life will improve very fast, and it will be better than you have ever dreamed possible.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

The Medicinal Rose

Not All Roses Are The Same.

Red_RoseSome say that one should never use garden hybrid roses for medicinal purposes.  And, that there are more than 300 active compounds present in roses, of which only about 100 have been identified.  All I know is that medicinal preparations from any rose can have strong and immediate effects on some people, especially women.

The good witch or experienced herbalist will try to find a true wild rose for medicinal use.  There are many species of wild rose, but they are all easy to identify.  Every wild rose has exactly five petals, and almost all of them are pink shading to white.  They also tend to be leggy and straggling in form, extremely hardy, and likely to thrive on total neglect.  There are also some ‘nearly wild’ roses which are just as good as the true wild rose for the herbalist, but are much more suitable for the average garden.

Here in England the good witch or experienced herbalist will preferentially use the true wild rose, the dog rose, rosa canina, for medicinal purposes.  The thing is, unless you have a huge estate, you’re not going to plant this vigourous thing.  Luckily it does grow wild all over in England, especially in mature hedgerows.

However, if one has a largish garden one can plant the Japanese wild rose, rosa rugosa instead.  This is still a very strong growing shrub, but it’s more manageable than the dog rose, and you still get great hips.

Another great medicinal rose is the aptly named apothecary’s rose, rosa gallica.  This is another wild rose, basically from France.

In North America there are dozens of species of wild rose, all of which have been used by Native American tribes in medicine and magic.  In addition, many other species roses have naturalised into the American landscape, so sometimes it’s difficult to know which is a true American wild rose, and which is an introduction.  It doesn’t really matter.  If a rose has five petals and is pink or shading to white, then it’s a good medicinal plant.

nearly-wildHowever, if you are growing an apothecary’s garden, a herb garden, or a medicine garden, then perhaps the rose nearly wild in whatever variety you can find it would be your best choice.  It’s compact, has a long flowering season, and is close enough to the species wild rose to be ideal as a medicinal plant.  This rose is also readily available from specialist rose nurseries all over the world.

Almost every part of the rose has therapeutic uses.  The petals can be used to make rose petal tea or an unusual scented jam, or rose water hydrosol, or what about a rose, cardamom, and ginger body soak?  The rose hips can be added to organic cider vinegar to make a great salad dressing / tonic, and the leaves make a kind of substitute coffee.  If you dry the leaves you can smoke them ~ and I have no idea what that’s like.

dscf0012The main active effects of rose preparations are; laxative, opthalmic, diuretic, and linthontriptic, (removes kidney stones).   There are many benefits of using the rose as a medicinal plant, and some potential downsides.  Some people feel ill after ingesting rose medicines / tea, and some people feel mild hallucinogenic effects.  As I have already said, there are at least 300 active compounds in the rose and we only know what about 100 of them are, let alone what they actually do ~ weird.

If in doubt of any herbal preparation, then try just a little, in a very diluted form ~ especially if you are a woman.  And if you are either pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, then take specialist advice from your doctor or an expert herbalist before using any herbal / medicinal plant product.

~

dog-roseAphrodite’s Herbalist, jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

aphrodite

Rose Petal Tea

The Healing Powers Of The Rose.

Herbalists and witches know that the rose is a very useful and powerful medicinal plant, and that one of the interesting things you can use it for at this time of year is as a remedy for coughs and colds.  A very easy way to take advantage of the natural healing power of the rose is to make rose petal tea.  Well, the petals do contain vitamin C, which helps combat the common cold, but the petals also hold some powerful polyphenols and antioxidants.  Ideally one should use the petals of the wild dog rose, rosa canina, but I also use the petals from garden hybrid roses.

dscf0012Try making rose petal tea with just a handful of fresh rose petals, and a very little sugar or honey, (don’t use a lot of sugar or honey as it will overpower the taste).  Personally I just scald the petals, but some suggest simmering, (stewing), for 5 minutes.  Some also suggest removing the white portion of fresh petals, although personally I wouldn’t do that.  The white area does impart the tea with a slightly bitter, tannin taste, but I firmly believe that’s also where most of the good stuff is concentrated.

Scientifically, the principal qualities of rose petal tea are that it has; Laxative, Opthalmic, Diuretic, and Linthontriptic virtues.  I firmly believe it’s a lot more complicated than that.  For example, you should find that rose petal tea will slightly numb your mouth and ease any sore throat and cough you may be suffering from.

Among herbalists it is widely accepted that rose petal tea boosts the immune system and has beneficial effects on the following problems;

  • anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • arthritis.
  • constipation and other digestive problems.
  • coughs, colds, and sore throats.
  • menstrual cramps and pain.
  • skin and hair problems ~ the tea is said to relieve the symptoms severe acne.
  • urinary tract infections.

dscf0016If that wasn’t enough, drinking rose petal tea is supposed to help ward off cancers due to its beneficial effects on the immune system.  Some say that drinking rose petal tea also promotes weight loss ~ I couldn’t promise that, other than you may use much less sugar and cream than if you were drinking coffee instead of this herbal tea.

You can make rose petal tea either with fresh petals, (make certain they are pesticide free), and you can also make a green tea with dried rose petals.  You can buy dried rose petals mail order from all kinds of places, including Amazon.  As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s better to collect fresh rose petals, and keep a few handfuls in the refrigerator.

There are a couple of things to be careful of.  Firstly, drinking more than three or four cups of this stuff a day is likely to give you diarrhea.  Secondly, most really effective herbal remedies for menstrual pain are also female aphrodisiacs as they affect the production of oestrogen~ don’t say you weren’t warned.

~

p1050056Aphrodite’s Herbalist, jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

aphrodite

Money Advice ~ Insurance

shylockBefore we go any further to talk about the most common types on insurance ~ and do you need them or not? ~ there is something you should know about insurance agreements.  Any contract of insurance is a contract uberrimae fidei ~ a contract of utmost good faith.  This means that you must tell your insurance company everything and anything which may have a bearing on the risk they are taking on.  If you keep any significant information back, the chances are you are not insured at all.

For example, if you have put bigger wheels and tyres than standard on your car,  you should tell your car insurance company.  If you’re an alcoholic / drug addict / smoker / overweight / pyromaniac, you should tell your Life Assurance company.  If you have ever been refused insurance, you should tell your insurance company.  And when you advise your insurance company of something pertinent, do it in writing.

All insurance companies love to collect premiums.  All insurance companies hate to pay out for any claims, and will do anything and everything to avoid paying a claim.  For example, you not telling your car insurance company that you have recently been found guilty of driving while intoxicated will most likely void your insurance entirely, and they will not pay out under any circumstances.  So if in doubt, tell all, in writing ~ else you’re probably not insured at all.  And, always pay your insurance premiums by automated bank transfer / direct debit / ACH transfer.

Your best friends when it comes to making a claim are photographs.  Always take plenty of pictures of everything, including your home / car / self as it is right now, before anything bad happens.  Store these pictures in a cloud, on your blog, in social media…  so you can always get at them if the worst happens.

The five most common and necessary types of insurance are;

  1. rta1Motor / car / vehicle / driver’s cover.  In civilised countries it is a legal requirement for you to be insured for the exact car you are driving.  The penalties for driving while uninsured are severe.  In the small print of your insurance policy it probably says that you should not drive while you are incapable, and that includes driving after drinking.  Have an accident drink driving and the chances are you are uninsured.
  2. Home and contents insurance.  Because of the inflexible nature of the laws of probability, you should have your home and its contents fully insured, or face a life on the streets.   Maybe add a margin of 10% in excess of the estimated values, to account for unexpected expenses while you put your life back together after your home has burned down, blown up due to a gas leak, been destroyed in an earthquake, flooded…
  3. Travel insurance.  When travelling abroad you may, or probably may not, be entitled to medical services in the country you are visiting.  You may have an accident, lose your luggage, get hijacked, robbed… any number of disasters may happen.  Travel is by its very nature hazardous and stressful.  Things which would be a minor inconvenience at home may become a catastrophe if they happen in a foreign country, or even a different state.  If you are travelling abroad, or a very long way, you need comprehensive travel insurance.  Only idiots don’t buy travel insurance.
  4. dentist-toothMedical / health insurance.  I’m English and I don’t have any medical insurance, and that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, (for reasons that are too complicated to go into here I do have dental).  In the United Kingdom we have a National Health Service, (NHS), which provides free treatment at the point of care.  The NHS is paid for out of taxation.  Canada has a similar system. If you live anywhere else you really, really need comprehensive medical cover.  But remember, you must tell your insurer everything there is to know about your degenerate lifestyle.
  5. Life Assurance.  (not life insurance, you are going to die, you can’t insure against it).  A whole life policy pays out a sum of money when you die.  You don’t need this.  However, if you have a dependant family, then you may want to look after them when you’re dead, therefore most heads of households buy one or more life policies.  You don’t actually need to do this.  It’s actually much more cost-effective to just save the money you would have paid in premiums.  But nobody has that much self-discipline.  I have no dependants, therefore my life assurance policies are utterly pointless, except to pay for my funeral.

Getting life insurance is like making a bet you can’t win.  If you live,  you don’t get the money.  If you die, you don’t get to enjoy the money.  ~  Oliver Gaspirtz

There are many, many other common forms of insurance, and some really esoteric insurance policies.  Lloyds of London will insure against just about anything.  You could probably have got insured at Lloyds against Donald Trump being the 45th President of the United States.  After all, insurance is really just a bet.

Even Life Assurance is just a bet.  The bet isn’t about if you’re going to die or not ~ no matter how much you pray you are going to die.  With life assurance the bet is about when you are going to die, not if.  And, if you think about it, that’s just creepy.

~

It-s-A-Wonderful-Life-its-a-wonderful-lifethese opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Aging Disgracefully Well

Nobody gets out of this life alive.  Aging is inevitable.  Senior citizenship isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  But it doesn’t have to be quite like that.

Old age may have its limitations and its challenges, but our later years can be the most rewarding and fulfilling of our lives.  ~  Paul Silway

It isn’t all bad news.  Life is full of compromises, and as we get older we really have to change the way we do things.  After we have reached the milestone of 40 or 50 or 60, what we really need to do is follow that old adage; Don’t Work Harder, Work Smarter‘.  And remember this, you know a hell of a lot about life.

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.  ~  Robert Frost

There is some very solid advice for the more experienced among us.

dentist-toothTake Full Control of Your Life.  Don’t let others ever again tell you what to do.  Don’t blindly follow the advice of others.  This includes family, friends, lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, financial advisers, insurance agents, government officials, contractors, salespeople of any kind, store clerks…  Always question their knowledge, experience, motives…, because usually they aren’t doing things for your benefit, but theirs.  Don’t ever do things you don’t want to do.  In the end, do whatever you want to do, it’s your life.  If you want to take up skydiving at 70, why not?  Realistically, what have you got to lose?  (The statistics are interesting.  If a 25 years old guy kills himself skydiving he’s lost maybe 60 years.  If you kill yourself at 70, doing something stupidly dangerous, what have you lost, maybe 15 years?  No worries.)

Stay Fit.  Exercise needs for the older person are different from the twenty-something keen sportsman.  It seems that strength and mobility training is more important than athletic training.  Sex is one of the best exercises you can get.

Believe me, an old broom knows the dirty corners best.  ~  Hannah Kent

Eat Right.  Dietary needs change as we age.  Despite anything anyone tells you, really cut down on carbohydrates and give up wheat completely.  Don’t eat so much red meat.  Think about a Paleo Diet.  Try to really cut down on refined sugar and salt.  Find a healthy drink to replace coffee.  Don’t get fat, it will kill you.

Stay Active and Interested in Life.  Don’t just sit around in your chair with a blanket around your knees.  As soon as you do that you’ve put one foot in the grave.  Live every single day to the full ~ being well-educated you know what carpe diem means.  Do it.

There is no old age.  There is, as there always was, only you.  ~  Carol Grace.

Don’t just ‘retire’.   Retiring early can kill you.  You need to find something to keep you in the ‘working’ frame of mind.  Start a business, volunteer for charitable work, get politically active…  Whatever you do, don’t stay in bed until noon and then stay up half the night drinking beer and watching sports TV.

Be Optimistic and Happy.  Pessimism and Depression will make you physically ill and kill you fast.  Negative thoughts and feelings, being grumpy and miserable lead to increased blood sugar and higher blood pressure ~ and all those lead to strokes, heart attacks, dementia, and cancers.  Don’t worry, be happy.  As we get older it’s time to learn some spirituality and true happiness.

Realise Your Assets and Spend the Money.  What’s the point of being the richest corpse in the cemetery?  Having spare spending cash helps you to do all the good things in life, and it’s your life.  You want to go on a round the world cruise with your new romantic interest?  Why the hell not?  There may be those among us who worry about a ‘legacy’ for their kids / relatives / the cats’ home…  Stop worrying about that because worrying, scrimping and saving, and not having fun will kill you.  Downsize your home, or rent, and enjoy the money, spend the savings you’re not actually going to need to live on, don’t buy excessive life assurance cover….

Wall StreetNever Pay For Advice.  You know more about money, risks, and life than any young ‘professional’ you are ever going to meet.  What’s more you have the time and experience to do the proper research.  So, when you’re working out your pension plan, don’t let some financial adviser tell you what to do ~ all they are interested in is their own fees and commissions.  So very many older people discover that their nice little nest eggs have just vanished due to avaricious fund managers and insurance companies.  Keep your own cash and manage it yourself.  You can always borrow money if you really need it.

Never Let Anyone Treat You Like A Senior Citizen.  You’re wiser, better educated, and more experienced than some young doctor, nurse, government official, member of your family…  They will all expect you to be diffident and compliant, maybe take the ‘happy pills’ ~ just tell them to fuck off.  Don’t ever do things just because someone else thinks it’s best for an old person like you.  The only time to admit your age is if it leads to getting a discount somewhere.

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.  ~  Sophia Loren.

Sadly there are some things you should give up or cut down on.  You must stop smoking, you should at least severely restrict the booze, salt, and sugar.  And, don’t take too many drugs, prescription or stuff you buy on the street.  Follow some of this advice and you will want as much time as you can get.

The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.  ~  Dante Alighieri

Don’t spend your life looking over our shoulder, maybe regretting what you did or what could have been different.  Enjoy each new sunrise and make the most of your life.

~

sophia-lorenthese thoughts are very well researched,

but in the end, they are mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Medicinal Plants ~ Rosehips

p1050182

Autumn is upon us, and in England the hedgerows are full wild harvest.  One of these is the false fruit of the dog rose, (rosa canina), more commonly known in England as rose hips.

p1050177You can do a lot of stuff with rose hips, from making syrups and jams, to my preferred use which is to make a tincture of rose hips and rosemary in apple cider vinegar.  As well as sweetening and adding taste to the cider vinegar. the rose hips also add diuretic, lithontriptic, and mild laxative qualities to your brew.  As for rosemary, this stuff is almost a cure-all.  I just add an odd number of fresh sprigs to the bottle, (it must be an odd number.)

The finished product, (ready in about 6 weeks and will keep for a year or more), is a great basis for a salad dressing.  Diluted in water it is also a first class tonic and as part of a whole-body cleanse.  There is no truth whatsoever in the rumour that this is a female aphrodisiac.  However, it is supposed to be a cure for practically whatever that ails you.

You can also make a true tincture of rose hips using medicinal alcohol, (or vodka).  For those of us with a real taste for booze, just make a rose hip brandy or vodka.  I have even heard of rose hip gin, although I’ve never tasted it.

The dog rose is an important plant to the herbalist, because the leaves, petals, and hips all have their uses.  In a hedgerow, the plant may reach six feet or more in height, its flowers can be anything from white to a delicate pink, and if will guard its bounty with some particularly persistent thorns.  (You can also use the hips, leaves, and petals of the cultivated rose, but I would look for a rose variety that’s as close to the wild rose as possible.)

The mixture of rose hips, rosemary, and organic apple cider vinegar is as near to a sorcerer’s brew as anything I know.

~

canina1jackcollier7@talktalk.net

liebster-12

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