Herbal Remedies in Your Kitchen and Backyard.

I’ve been watching Outlander religiously and so I have herbal remedies on my brain. I keep wondering– If I were sent back in time, and I had to practice primitive medicine as a healer (I am a registered nurse) — Would I succeed?

Claire in the herb garden at Leoch.

Claire in the herb garden at Leoch.

I’m not a physician, but with my experience I can stitch up cuts, clean and bandage wounds, even set fractures. I can probably diagnose the usual things like asthma, pneumonia, hepatitis, an enlarged prostate, a bladder infection, an ear infection, strep throat, tonsilitis, influenza, even appendicitis. But would I dare remove an inflamed appendix  in an attempt to save a life only to lose said life to the resulting peritonitis?

I can help to deliver a baby. I know a little about a breach delivery as well, and I could probably do a C-Section in an emergency, but keeping the mother alive would be next to impossible.

What do I bring to the table? The knowledge of germs, isolation, disinfection, and sterilization. I’d be busy boiling water.

Most important of all? The washing of hands.

I have some limited knowledge of herbs and tonics and their uses. Of course herbs are not like antibiotics. The dosage is not standardized. Many are also toxins – nightshade and foxglove. Did you know foxglove is digitalis, used to treat heart failure? Deadly nightshade is atropine, which can increase a slow heart rate. But the dosages would elude me. I could just as easily kill a man as cure him.

But I would take the following (limited) knowledge with me into the past:

Honey and garlic are germicidal. Both can be used to treat an infected wound and both are helpful for a cough and congestion. Honey can help sooth a sore throat in addition to its germ-killing properties.

Garlic can also be used as a de-worming agent. (Good to know, right?)

Leeks and onions are decongestants.

Raw vinegar is an excellent disinfectant. It can also help with digestive issues, yeast infections, various skin conditions.

Beer increases lactation. Seriously.

Alcohol, is, well, alcohol – I guess I’d use alcohol as an anticoagulant (blood-thinner), an anesthetic, to distill herbs and plants, and to sterilize equipment and wounds.

Yarrow can help stop bleeding and it can reduce a fever.



Willow bark can reduce a fever and help with joint inflammation.

The bark of an oak tree makes a good astringent and can help relieve kidney stones if taken as a tonic.

Witch hazel is an astringent – can help heal abrasions and mouth ulcers.

Witch Hazel.

Witch Hazel.

Lavender helps to heal burns and abrasions and soothes insect bites and stings.



Mint and bee balm help with digestive disorders, as does wild ginger.

Bee Balm.

Bee Balm.

Bilberry is good for the eyes.



Salt water makes a good rinse for wounds and mouth sores.

Sugar can be packed into a would to accelerate healing – sugar is germicidal. (I have personally packed decubitus ulcers with sugar with excellent results.)

Elderberry and cherry help with cough and congestion.



Black pepper is terrific for chest congestion. (But I’d have to remember it’s also a deadly poison.)

Black peppercorns.

Black peppercorns.

Tea is an astringent. It’s very helpful for minor burns.

Mustard can definitely help a cough but it can also cause a chemical burn if left too long on the skin.

Mustard flower.

Mustard flower.

Echinacea, or cone flower, helps to improve the immune system.



Valerian root acts as a sedative. Not strong enough to remove a bullet from a man’s chest, but…



I know about more herbs, but probably not many of them would be found in Scotland.

So tell me, what herbs are you familiar with?



Spotlight Review– My Problem With Doors, by Scott D. Southard.

Jacob's life changed in a single moment when, as a toddler, he walked through his bedroom door only to find himself in the office of a British officer in Capetown, 1870. This would begin a thirty-year journey which would take him from ancient to future civilizations, and innumerable places and times in between. Through all of his travels, Jacob seeks for the purpose of his predicament, the significance of his life with all of its joys and suffering, loneliness and impermanence.

Jacob’s life changed in a single moment when, as a toddler, he walked through his bedroom door only to find himself in the office of a British officer in Capetown, 1870. This would begin a thirty-year journey which would take him from ancient to future civilizations, and innumerable places and times in between. Through all of his travels, Jacob seeks for the purpose of his predicament, the significance of his life with all of its joys and suffering, loneliness and impermanence.

Another author, T.W. Dittmer, pointed me in the direction of Scott D. Southerd, an author who also happens to write a killer blog.  I enjoyed his blog-style so much I picked up his book, My Problem With Doors.

This book is tough to categorize.  Yes, it could be considered YA in somewhat the same way The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is YA, yet just like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the story is bigger than YA because of its existential themes, the adult questions posed by the story, and the answers sought by the main character, Jacob.

My Problem With Doors is a fantasy.  It involves time travel and pirates– I’m a sucker for time travel.  Pirates… eh.  Some of you are more into pirates than I am, but that’s neither here nor there.  (The book contains far more than pirates.  Jacob’s experience during The Children’s Crusade is quite remarkable.)

What makes this a good book–  (As a point of reference I can’t help but compare it to other time-travel novels I’ve read relatively recently.)

Remember Replay, by Ken Grimwood?  Remember that book?  Brilliant book.  I loved it.  But in Replay no matter how hard he tried, Jeff, the protagonist, could not alter the past.  This construct was prefect for Replay.

In My Problem With Doors Jacob does alter the past.  Not in a larger sense, not in any way that would alert the future time police, but in a way that, oh gosh… for lack of a better descriptive word, humanizes the past.  With the knowledge he gains via his time travel, Jacob tries to do the right thing regardless of the confusing circumstances in which he finds himself.

Jacob skips through time, much like Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife, but while Henry couldn’t remember anything that hadn’t yet happened, Jacob grows and matures in a more linear fashion.  He remembers.  He learns.  Each jump, while it may propel him backwards in time, propels him forward as a human being.  From my perspective it makes him a more compelling character than Henry could ever be.  Where Henry was helpless, a victim of his genetic disability, Jacob is far from helpless.  He’s a survivor.

Therein lies the appeal of My Problem With Doors– Hope remains, even if contained in something as tiny and fragile as a tomato seed.  When I finished The Time Traveler’s Wife I was so pissed off I threw the book against the wall.  When I finished My Problem With Doors I sobbed.

Here’s the Amazon link:  My Problem With Doors, by Scott D. Southard

You can read a sample and find a buy link for the ebook here- My Problem With Doors.



It’s been weird, to say the least.

You’ve all been so nice.  Thanks.  I mean it… thanks.

Dad’s not out of the woods yet.  As my husband reminds me, baby steps.  He’s had a few setbacks, but overall he’s making progress.

I headed home early this morning, after picking up coffee at the Human Bean, a drive thru coffee place that has been my lifeline all week, or maybe my mainline – yes, I have been mainlining caffeine.  I was so happy when I read on their sign that they would be open on Thanksgiving from 4:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  I hit the drive up window at 6:55 a.m.

The trip was interesting – some pea soup fog, some ice, some black ice, some freezing fog, some wind on steep mountain roads and me driving like a bat out of hell because that’s what I do.  Only saw one cop.

When I drive this route I count raptors.  On the way up I counted 38.  On the way down I counted 29.  Big fat birdies.  Of course on the way home I had to pay a little more attention to road conditions.

Hubby was here for about 30 minutes after I got home and then he left for Thanksgiving dinner with my cousins in San Francisco.  Don’t say, awwww, poor you!  There is no poor me.  I wanted to de-stress by cleaning my house, doing laundry, walking my dog.  I simply couldn’t cope with making conversation.  That would have been a bridge too far.

It’s Thanksgiving and my dad’s alive so the lack of a turkey doesn’t bother me one bit.

While I was away, Jaye and I did some work too, and my Science Fiction Romance or Fantasy Romance or Futuristic Romance or Time Travel Romance, Daughters of Persephone, Book One, Exile, is available on Amazon.  Click the title for the link.

Princess-in-exile, Aja Bokinan, is the Thousand Year Empress. While her family has remained in forced isolation for nearly thirty years, women throughout the empire have been banned from public life. Females have no legal standing and they have become little better than property. The restoration of the monarchy is their only hope. Revolution threatens the male dominated Coalition. Resistance forces expect the Princess to be the salvation of the empire. The ruling generals fear she will be its destruction. 
Kyr Aram, is a smuggler and secret Resistance sympathizer. He must find a way to protect the Princess from both the general who plans her assassination and a traitor on his own ship who wishes to see her dead. Kyr believes she is no more than valuable cargo. With the Thousand Year Empress, he gets more than he bargained for.

What’s a woman supposed to watch after the WORLD SERIES?

I’ve lost all interest in The Walking Dead, Season Three.  Sorry, Barbara.  It IS SO NOT working for me this time around.  What a heart-breaker.

To jump the shark in television terms:  The moment when a show is no longer worth watching due to a very contrived episode. The term comes from the Happy Days Hawaii miniseries.

It was tragic when True Blood lost its magic -which happened for me during the All Maryann All the Time slog through Season Two.

The All Maryann Channel

Ah well.

Firefly never got the opportunity to jump the shark.  A mixed blessing.

Jayne – my favorite anti-hero

Battlestar Galactica occasionally sagged a little, but I could get past a somewhat lackluster episode because even if the action sputtered, there were still moments of subtle interaction, character growth, birth, rebirth, and death – moments that made the show worth watching.

So far this second season of Person of Interest has been stunning~ If anything, the second season is more engrossing than the first.  Good writing.  Accept no substitutes.

Here is what I’m about to embark on, in terms of a cutting age television adventure (have to watch via Hulu)~

FAITHLee Min Ho stars in a thrilling fantasy epic, as an elite warrior in 1300′s Korea who travels to the 21st century to find a doctor capable of healing the Queen. In a comic twist, his search for a doctor with godlike abilities leads him to a popular plastic surgeon, played by Kim Hee Sun. When she refuses to believe his outlandish story, he kidnaps her, dragging her back into the past to save the Queen. Will this stoic warrior give up his code of honor and choose love over war, and will this career woman ever consider a life less modern? Only time will tell, quite literally.

I’m excited, subtitles and all!

In the Queue.

Oh my gosh.  Some of you may be wondering how I work.  Well, not always well because I am a.  busy and b.  easily distracted.

I can’t whip the books out like some authors.  Wish I could.  Maybe if my books were 5-7K…  I can’t do it with a longer work.

However I do have a schedule of sorts.  It’s more of a queue.  The stories have to get in line and wait their turn.

I’m two-thirds of the way through Stay, the book that will tie up the story I began in Incorporeal and continued in In the Flesh.

Then, my dears, it’s on to the final re-writes of the Daughters of Persephone series, which I don’t think will take me long since it’s only Books One and Two that I will be focusing on.

After that sci/fi-fantasy romance series is complete and published, I’m picking up where I left off on my work of romantic suspense, Kerosene.

And then it’s on to another work of fantasy, already begun – Salvation.

I’ve got a time travel series planned.  And I’m considering a work of humorous, tongue-in-cheek extreme erotica… hmmm.  Am I up to the task?

We’ll see, won’t we?

 P.S.  If you haven’t read my work of women’s fiction?  Romance?  Romance suspense?  (hard to categorize) And you have a Kindle, you can pick up a copy of Come Back to Me for a mere 99 cents right now!