Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Useful Facts about Herbs

Herbs have many and varied uses for people around the world. Herbs add charm to our gardens, flavor to our cooking, healthful balm for our bodies and even embellish our crafts. The following text is a compilation of interesting facts about many types of herbs.

Aloe can be a decorative table top plant, but its soothing gel is also the number one home remedy for minor burns and poison ivy.

Oil derived from the root of angelica can be placed in the bath for a soothing soak. Angelic can also be useful for treating bronchial problems.

Anise is astoundingly alluring to mice. If you have a mice problem, bait your traps with anise instead of cheese.

Ointments containing arnica are useful to assuage pain from sprains and bruises.

A concoction of crushed barberries and water should be gargled to help sooth a sore throat.

When consider herbs for hair care, it might be useful to know that basil adds natural luster to any hair color.

Want to add some natural protection to your store of flour? Placing a bay leaf with flour is traditionally used to repel insects.

Cinnamon contains a substance that may kill bacteria and fungi. Sprinkling it around door thresholds may also help to deter ants.

A member of the mint family, beebalm used in tea can help sooth menstrual cramps.

Native Americans living in the Great Lakes region were the first to discover bloodroot’s anti-cancer properties for treating cancers of the skin.

Old wives tales say that borage invokes courageous feelings. Drinking some tea steeped with borage leaves might help prepare for giving a speech or proposing marriage!

Calendula has been used to treat flu symptoms, cramps, toothache—even syphilis. A rinse composed of it may also draw out blonde highlights to hair.

Crushed caraway seeds can add great flavor to fresh popcorn.

The ancient Egyptians used chamomile to cure the chills associated with malaria. However, this apple-scented tea is frequently taken today in teas for its soothing effects.

During the Middle Ages, chervil was eaten to cure a bad case of hiccups. Today, it is frequently used by French chefs to flavor their dishes alongside thyme and tarragon.

Chives have been used by cooks for almost five thousand years. But in the garden, they may help protect and drive away pests like Japanese beetles. Plant them near roses, tomatoes or grapes.

There are over five hundred species of eucalyptus. It’s believed that Australian aborigines were the first peoples to understand its healing properties.

The secret to successfully growing goldenseal is a humus-rich soil.

Ginger can reportedly help alleviate morning sickness nausea.

Marjoram has been a staple of folk medicine used to treat rheumatism, toothache—even conjunctivitis.

A drop of oregano oil on a toothache is a soothing folk remedy still in practice today.

Sage can be used as a fragrant additive to homemade soaps and perfumes.

Sassafras is sometimes used to ease the itching of poison ivy and poison oak.

Queer IQ: The Gay Couple's Advantage

Gay relationships are less mired in deception and perhaps even less prone to friction, according to multiple studies.

By: Kaja Perina

"There will always be a battle between the sexes because men and women want different things," quipped comedian George Burns. "Men want women and women want men." But when men want men and women want women, each couple can circumvent treacherous romantic terrain because partners more closely share sexual appetites and mind-reading abilities than do heterosexual pairs.

Most lesbians don't fear rapacious women and gay men need not always soft-peddle their sexual predilections. On balance, gays and lesbians understand their partners' bodies and biases with a certainty that many a clueless "breeder" yearns for. "Homosexuality could be viewed in some respects as the triumph of the individual's mating intelligence over the gonads' evolutionary interests," argues Geoffrey Miller.

The result is that gay relationships are less mired in deception and perhaps even less prone to friction, according to multiple studies.

"If two guys in a relationship are on the same wavelength, it's going to be very hard for them to deceive one another about their motives, their lusts, their philandering. Whereas between the sexes, each sex presents a socially acceptable form of masculinity or femininity that is reassuring to the other person but not particularly accurate," says Miller.

Romantic lies are, after all, a sort of Rosetta stone on which gender differences are coyly inscribed. Straight men lie about their commitment to the relationship and about their resources, finds psychologist Maureen O'Sullivan. They are also more likely to lie to keep their partner from getting angry at them, a small but telling testament to the wrath of women. Women, in contrast, lie to flatter a man's sense of self and to downplay their interest in other men.

Gay and lesbian couples are not only more honest with one another, they are also more likely to exhibit affection and humor in negotiating relationship stressors, according to John Gottman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington. Gottman compared conflict discussions in gay and straight couples and found that "gays and lesbians talked explicitly about sex and monogamy. Those topics don't come up in 31 years of studying heterosexual couples, who are uptight in discussing sex. In their conversations, you really don't know what they're talking about."

Whether a same-sex edge to mating intelligence makes for longer unions is unclear. Among the couples Gottman studied, the projected break-up rate for homosexuals, over a four-decade span, is a grim 64 percent (gay men are far more likely to split than are lesbians). The 40-year divorce rate for straight couples in first marriages is 67 percent. To amend George Burns: If you wait long enough, every couple wants different things.

Special Thanks to Psychology Today