Lucky Clover

There is nothing like feeling soft grass between my toes. I’m not exactly sure why, but it gives me such pleasure. I think maybe it’s a need to feel connected to the Earth, because I feel much the same thing gardening as I plunge my hands into the rich soil.

I grew up in a neighborhood where the kids ran barefoot all summer. Rarely was anyone injured, because the soles of our young feet were tough as shoe leather. The one exception came from the bees harvesting fields of clover. They didn’t care much for being disturbed from the busy work of collecting pollen to feed the hive, and although our soles were protected from their stingers, the rest of the foot was not.  In my mind, the patches of clover were the bee’s domain.

It wasn’t until I became interested in herbal remedies that I learned of the health benefits of red clover. Herbalist use the flowers to treat a wide variety of conditions, fight infections, promote hormonal balance, and restore the glow to ashen skin. This plant is a source of beta-carotene, zinc, calcium, potassium, selenium, iron, and vitamin E, C, B1, B2, and B3.

Sometimes when I hike I like to munch on a flower and stick a few more in my pocket to add later to a cup of green tea.

Here’s to your good health, my friends.

Peace out,
Robert

About the author Robert W. Grant

Robert has published four novels, Great Mother, Naked Tao, Nostrum Conspiracy, and UnderBelly.

They are available at all major book sellers.

Visit his Amazon author page at: amazon.com/author/robertwgrant

You can also follow his blog at: http://www.ntpublishingcompany.com/

 

I’m Not a Weed

Milk Thistle

“I am not a weed,” the flower replied, sweetly.
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint−Exupery

A weed is a useless and undesirable plant growing where it is not wanted. Very often, our attempts to remove them backfire on us as in the case of the recent death of a friend’s family member. Her death was swift and unexpected. The doctors told the grieving family her liver failed, but couldn’t say why someone who had been the picture of good health would suddenly take such a deadly turn.

My friend believed she had an adverse reaction to a herbicide she was using just before she got sick. She was trying to wipe out a patch of Milk Thistle so her cattle wouldn’t get into it. Of course, proving his suspicions is a daunting task and the family had no intention of pursuing legal action against the chemical giant who manufactured the poison.

The heartbreaking twist to this story is Milk Thistle is not a weed. It is a very old medicine that has been used for centuries by herbalist to flush toxins from the liver. Maybe her legacy to us is a reminder to add Milk Thistle to our salads instead of reaching for the poison used to kill this beautiful plant.

To your good health, my friends.

Peace out,
Robert

Robert Grant

Author of Great Mother, UnderBelly, Nostrum Conspiracy and Naked Tao
They are available at all major book sellers.
Visit his Amazon author page and purchase them today: amazon.com/author/robertwgrant
You can also follow his blog at: http://www.ntpublishingcompany.com/

NT Publishing Company
Robert@NTPublishingCompany.com
www.NTPublishingCompany.com

Wild Food & Medicine

I’m not exactly sure when I first became interested in wild food and medicine, but these days I like to think of it as a bridge to the past. Long before we had big pharma, patented seeds and giant corporate farms our ancestors not only survived but thrived.

They say life was harsh and short-lived, but my great-grandmother, who was born during the Lincoln administration, lived on an organic farm to the ripe old age of 106, while my dad died at 66 from cancer after spending his working life in a factory surrounded by dangerous chemicals.

It seems to me that we have been bombarded by a vast amount of propaganda that allows men who care little about the consequences of the poisons they bring into the world to line their pockets. Instead, I choose to take ownership of my health by using wild foods and medicines rather than the unnatural things they manufacture in their labs.

One such herb is Plantain, not to be confused with the banana-like fruit with the same name. This herb is another one of those nutritious plants labeled a noxious weed that appears seemingly out of nowhere in disturbed soil. I admire its will to survive. Despite our best efforts to eradicate it from the garden, it won’t be denied its right to live and thrive in this beautiful world.

But it doesn’t just survive, Plantain gives back to those willing to give it try.  Among other things, herbalist use it to boost liver function, cleanse kidneys, or heal a gut.  Harvest the young leaves for herbal tea loaded with Vitamins A, C, and a good dose of minerals, including Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Phosphorous, and Calcium. It can also added to stews and salads

To your good health.

Peace out,

Robert

Pine Needle Tea

Cancer is a darkness that touches all of us to one degree or another. Many years ago, it claimed my dad and the grief damn near got me too. He was far too young to die. If it wasn’t for my children, who knows how it would have turned out. Somehow, I pulled myself together, shook off the heart-crushing grief, and made a silent promise to my daughters that I would take care myself so that I would be there when needed.

The healthcare industry has failed us. Cancer treatment is an abysmal failure. So, I began to listen to the alternatives. One alternative came from Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who believed we are looking at cancer in the wrong way. Instead of seeing it as a foreign invader to be killed, he saw Cancer as a malfunctioning cell to be nurtured. His research focused on what it takes for a cell to be healthy and he became convinced that Vitamin C is critical.  He advocated high doses of it to both prevent and cure Cancer. Sadly, despite his two Nobel Prizes, Linus Pauling’s research findings were ridiculed by the healthcare industry.

So, what does this have to do with pine needles? When settlers came to America, the natives had a rich tradition of herbal medicine dating back thousands of years. In fact, they treated malnourished sailors suffering from scurvy with Pine Needle tea. As it turns out, this tea is loaded with Vitamin C.

Enjoy a cup today.

Peace out,
Robert

Mimosa

There was a Mimosa tree in my front yard when I was growing up. On hot summer days, the neighborhood kids gathered under its broad branches in the hopes of finding relief from the sun’s brutal onslaught. We wiled away our summer talking about life, girls, and football.

Someone once told me that farmers cut Mimosa trees down because they are poisonous. I’m not sure why they believe that, but in traditional Chinese medicine, the pink flowers and bark are used to relieve depression and lift a person’s spirits. They call it “happiness bark.”

We are an over-medicated society that gives antidepressants to our children even though they have a long list of negative side effects, including suicide. A society that puts its children at risk to control behavior has lost its way. On the other hand, Mimosa bark presents an inexpensive alternative treatment for grief without the dangerous side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Peace out,

Robert

Strong to the Finish

Maybe I watched too many Popeye cartoons as a kid, but I love spinach.  I’m sure you remember his signature song, “I’m strong to the finish because I eats me spinach, I’m Popeye the sailor man, toot, toot!”

I eat it in salads and wilted with onion and garlic as a side dish, but did you know there is a common weed that has seven times more vitamin E than spinach? It’s commonly called Purslane and you can find it throughout the summer growing wild. Like nature’s magic, it pops up in disturbed soil.

Of course, chemical companies classify it as a noxious weed even though it is also loaded with six times the beta-carotene as a carrot, as well as significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin.

It is tasty and nutritious adding a slight lemony tang to your salads, so does it make any sense to kill it, instead of eating it?

Peace out,

Robert

Dandelion Fields

The home improvement store had a bewildering number of herbicides, all promising to rid my lawn of noxious weeds. I wanted something safe, but effective, to get rid the dandelion invasion taking over my front lawn.

“What are we killing today?” asked the sales clerk.

I was shocked by his question. I’m not a killer. While he was making his sales pitch, I was struggling with an existential crisis. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was on a killing mission that felt wrong to me. Did I really need or want a lawn devoid of all life except for Kentucky Bluegrass? The answer was no and I walked out of the store empty-handed.

Today, I use dandelion leaves in my salads and make tea from its roots. Herbalists say it provides liver support and many other health benefits. Some call it a great spring tonic. I’ve made peace with dandelion and no longer believe it is a noxious weed.

Peace out,

Robert

UnderBelly Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1

 

They say your senses heighten when one is lost.  It went pitch black right after Victor threatened to shoot everybody, so maybe fear had something to do with it as well.  Whatever the explanation might be, I heard a symphony of heartbeat and breath, accompanied by the tap and shuffle of dancing feet playing in the darkness.

“Turn on the damn lights,” shouted Victor.

“It is time to leave,” whispered Ch’ing.

Victor blocked the only entrance to the chamber.  Since he was armed with an automatic weapon, it didn’t seem possible we could get past him.  Sifu is like a father to me and I trust him with my life.  If he says it’s time to leave, then he has a way out.  I was ready but wasn’t going anywhere without Ginny.

Victor was once Ginny’s most trusted employee.  The traitor now works for the pharmaceutical giant, Pathogen.  He tracked us across continents and into the belly of the Earth.  Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, not even a secret chamber hidden far below a lost pyramid is enough to keep him at bay.

He plans to kill us and I’m not sure why he didn’t do it when he had the chance.  Instead, he opted to profane this sacred place with gunfire.  He’s a jerk all right, but Victor’s need for a dramatic entrance has cost him the kill…so far.

We dove for cover when he blasted off a round, but other than the cover of darkness, there isn’t much to hide behind.  Council chambers is an eight sided room carved out of stone.  On each face sits a marble throne.  In the center is a pool of clear water that has no bottom the eye can see.

The dancing feet belong to an ancient council.  They are a hodgepodge of the strangest characters you have ever laid eyes upon and they have an even stranger agenda.  Just before Victor made his dramatic appearance, they delivered a powerful new medicine to Ginny and me on the condition we freely spread it across the world.

There’s just one problem.  Victor’s new boss, Wilbur Goth, C.E.O. of Pathogen, wants the medicine for himself and he will do anything to stop us.  It was Goth who ordered Victor to kill us.

My name is Grant Li.  Up until a few days ago, I had a promising legal career ahead of me, but now I’m an unemployed attorney.  In my first big case, I defended Goth against charges that he intentionally deceived the public about the risks of Gutchriem, an acid-reflux medicine that is believed to be killing people.  I won the case, but now there is new evidence that Gutchriem is laced with a deadly virus.

Ginny Bardough is a childhood friend and my one true love.  Up until a few days ago, it had been years since we had last seen each.  Our reunion has not been easy.  So far, we’ve had to overcome huge obstacles, including our present situation with Victor.  If we get out of this alive, I plan to marry her as soon as my divorce is final.

She was lying next to me at the edge of the pool.  Not exactly touching, but close enough I could feel strands of her raven hair tickling my shoulder.  The polished stone floor was just shy of slippery and surprisingly warm.  The scent of gunpowder quickly gave way to a stream of air that smelled as fresh as the blue sky after a summer squall.

Ch’ing is usually relaxed, but I sensed an urgency in his whisper, “Take my hand.”

“I have enough lead to cover every square inch of this God forsaken hole in the Earth,” shouted Victor.  “If you don’t turn the lights back on like I said, then I’m going to start shooting and I won’t stop until every last living thing in here is dead.”

I led a lunatic into this sacred place and I knew I should do something about the danger I put everyone in, but Sifu is right.  It’s time to flee.  We need to get home with the medicine.  Mom is trapped inside a coma and the nursing home is about to evict her.  We also need to stop Pathogen from using a dangerous virus against innocent people.

“Aaawk, bring the babe with you,” squawked Bird in a voice loud enough to wake the dead.

Bird is a Macaw I inherited from Dad.  It turns out he is more than he seems.  He claims his real name is Juan Ponce de León, and I’m starting to believe him since he is one of the mucky-mucks on the council of elders.

Ginny inched a little closer.

“Give me your hand,” I whispered.

She didn’t hesitate.  Once her hand was firmly in mine, we rose together as quietly as we could.  Despite our best efforts, we made enough noise that a stealthy escape was out of the question.

I turned to Ch’ing and whispered, “We’re ready.  Let’s go.”

Whether he heard me is hard to say since the room erupted into a second round of gunfire that sent us back peddling.  When my heel caught on something hard, I instinctively looked down to see what it could be and caught a glimpse of Ginny’s face in the gun flash.

I thought the shadows were playing tricks on me until I smelled blood mixed with the gun smoke.  I’m not sure if the searing pain I felt was from a bullet or the heartache of seeing blood splattered across Ginny’s face.  Either way, it hurt like hell.

As I fell backward I could not help but wonder what might have been had I not spent a lifetime avoiding Ginny.  I tried to let her go, but she had me in a death grip and pulled with all her might.

Her effort was heroic, but it was not enough.  The momentum from the fall, coupled with the dead weight of my body carried us both into the water.  I fought it at first.  I fought like the dickens for the life we could have together, but the powerful current sucked us down into a spiraling whirlpool of liquid death.

When I had nothing left and the fight was lost, fear began to creep into the corners of my mind.  I didn’t like it one bit.  I might not win the fight against the current, but fear is a product of my mind and therefore, it is something I can control.  Instead of fear, I chose to fill my mind with peace.

Once I stopped fighting the whirlpool, I began to notice how it good it felt…like I was wrapped in a liquid cocoon.  It was not warm, nor was it cold.  It was the perfect temperature, like the womb.  It was a weird time to think of the womb.  At first, I thought it was the beginning of a life review, or could just as easily have been my imagination, but somehow I am certain I could remember the time in my mother’s womb.

Every cell felt new and fresh as all that I am began to fall into its proper place.  It was pure bliss until I saw Ginny’s desperate face close to mine.

I reached for her just as everything began to fade out.  The last thing I remember was her lips mashing mine while her tongue forced my mouth open.  It was if she was trying to breathe life into me, or then again, maybe it was just a goodbye kiss.

After that, there was nothing until I awoke alone on a tropical beach that sparkled in the sunlight like a field of tiny diamonds.  Sand usually makes me feel dirty and has an annoying way of creeping into unwanted places, so when I visit the beach I try to minimize contact with it.

I usually carry a beach chair with me rather than sit on a towel, but for some strange reason, I felt an overwhelming urge to roll among these sparkling lights, so that’s exactly what I did, rolling haphazardly like a Texas tumbleweed along water’s edge.

When I finally rolled to a stop and allowed myself to relax into the sand, it felt like a thousand tiny hands massaged away the old and left me tingling fresh, as if I had just shed an old skin and replaced it with a shiny new me.  The diamond beach shredded the false and left a virgin field where a more authentic me could flourish.

There was something special about this place.  It was rich and full of infinite possibilities and I was determined to choose among them with the greatest care.  Inhaling deeply, I filled my lungs with fresh air and allowed it to nourish the seedlings of change.

It was good to be alive.  Allowing the joy to spread into my arms and legs, I stretched them wide and began sweeping sand angels.  A nearby sea turtle paused in her nest making, gave me a long frank assessment and then dismissed me as an amateur.

Sea turtles get big, but this girl looked like she had swallowed enough steroids to compete in a bodybuilding contest.  She was eighteen feet long and more than twice the size of any sea turtle I had ever seen.

The Ancients revered the tortoise and legend has it that Taoist longevity practices evolved from observations of its slow movements.  Energy cultivation begins with conservation.  Chi is not something you should waste.  Given everything I had survived lately, I was starting to feel immortal.

I had survived a knife fight with an ex-special forces war hero, got shot in the back, grappled an anaconda with monstrous teeth and went berserker on a machete carrying psycho intent on doing Ginny harm.  I don’t know how many guns had been pointed in my face before I was flushed down the drain of a lost South American pyramid and landed on this beach.

By all reckoning, I should be dead, and the presence of the sea turtle added to the sense this was part of some personal vision of an afterlife.  In the ultimate battle, the tortoise is the Dark Warrior of the North who emerges from the water and escapes the clutches of the Grim Reaper.

Yet, here I was making sand angels next to the mother of all sea turtles.  Her presence was no accident.  If I had learned nothing else from Ch’ing, the one thing he taught me was to pay attention and never assume events are accidental.  The Universe gladly delivers the message we most need to hear.  All we have to do is pay attention and the way will become clear.

I took a slow deep breath and focused on a pinpoint of light at the still point of my being.  It is from this vantage point that each of us co-creates life with all sentient beings.  The stillness expanded until it filled me with emptiness.  When I couldn’t contain it any longer, peace spilled into the world around me, as it should, since we are all in this together.

When I finally opened my eyes, the sun was overhead and I stared directly into it.  For some odd reason, the light didn’t hurt my eyes.  The teaching that the sun’s light will blind us is supported by a lifetime of pain whenever we get too big of a dose.  For this reason, I was torn between letting the light in or snapping the lids shut.

This light was softer than usual and it cast a coral tint to the skyline.  That would normally mean the day was nearly over, but the sun was straight above so I figured it was high noon.

On the distant horizon, a large bird hitched an updraft to gain elevation.  As it spiraled upward, I caught a glimpse of a long tail.  Maybe it was a trick of the light, but it was not a bird’s tail exactly.  Instead, it looked as if belonged to a monkey, but with a fin at the end molded into the shape of a four-faced spearhead.

The bird’s cry was haunting as if the beast was searching for a lost love.  Then again, perhaps I was projecting my own feelings onto it.  Ginny was still alive.  I could feel it and it was time to find her.

 

Release Your Toxins For Optimal Health

Release Your Toxins For Optimal Health

What you hold in your mind shapes your life. So, it is best to focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Despite our best intentions, harmful influences bombard us every day. There are times when the accumulated toxins need to be addressed and simple solutions can have big benefits. Here is a simple practice to help release them:

“Close your eyes, inhale deeply and as you exhale let go. Relax and let go of the tension. Let go of the confusion. Let go of the doubt. Let go of the toxins. That’s right, just release the toxins. Just let them go. See them desperately clinging to the breath as they are expelled from your body and dissolved into the atmosphere. Whatever purpose they once served in your life is now complete. You don’t need them any longer.”

Repeat this simple practice over and over again with the absolute faith that it is working and peace fills your mind and good health is restored.

Once you’ve purged the toxins, try this affirmation to help block them from returning:

“I am surrounded by a protective forcefield that deflects all forms of abuse and returns it to the source.”

Peace out,
Robert

Lightning Strike

I was hit by lightning once. I know it’s not very smart, but I stood on a mountaintop in the middle of a thunderstorm because I wanted to experience it up close and personal. Thor’s energy coursed through my body at the speed of light and was gone in the blink of an eye. All that was left was the metallic taste of cold steel and a completely different view of life and death. I no longer fear death, but more importantly, I no longer fear life.

Peace out,

Robert