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Renaissance Medicine

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As I mentioned a few posts back, I spent the early part of last week sick.  Really sick.  In fact, I don’t remember the last time I felt so poorly!  In fact, I didn’t get out of bed for almost two days!  Two days!  That, my friends, is a first for me.  Ever.

I noticed, a few days before I succumbed, that my legs were sore.  Weird.  I didn’t give it much thought and just got on with life.  By Saturday afternoon, was feeling pretty run down, but not ill, so I retired early, hoping wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.  It was not to be.  Instead of sleeping well, I tossed and turned, alternating between fever and chills, but worse than that, my muscles were on fire and my joints ached.  By two in the morning, nausea had forced me out of bed and to my knees on the bathroom floor. 

The rest of the night was a blur of fever and pain, nausea and chills.  By the time the sun shone through our bedroom window, I was too ill to get out of bed.  My fever rose throughout the day, barely kept in check by Ibuprofen.  All I could think of was “Ponderosa Plague” - the name I had come up with for an illness that had been sweeping through a small town to the south of us.  It had dreaded connotations.  The Ponderosa Plague had a fierce reputation, keeping people home from work for upwards of three weeks at a time!  It had even infected a young man at the butcher shop where Master Hand Grenade worked – keeping him home for more than two weeks.  And when he returned he was pale and weak and not fully recovered.  My symptoms matched those infected with the Ponderosa Plague perfectly.  I had to do something drastic!

The first day (Sunday) I was unable to even get out of bed, much less keep down any home remedies.  By Monday, I was still feverish and achy, but I did get out of bed long enough to have a half a glass of our homemade Elderberry wine (which was a feat – I hate wine!).  Back to bed I went, to spend another night tossing and turning with pain and fever.  Tuesday morning I slept in, enjoying my first pain-free hours in two days.  After I got up, I decided to go on as long as I could without Ibuprofen (for the fever) and it was my intention to at least do some basic school with the children.  Not only did I go all day with no fever, I finished school with the kids, did three loads of laundry, helped make dinner and baked a batch of cookies! 

That evening, I settled in with another glass of Elderberry wine (yuck!), spent a blissful night of sleep and resumed my normal schedule the next day.  Two days of sickness, one day of recuperation and the Ponderosa Plague had been defeated!  Amazing!

A number of years ago the kids and I spent time learning to identify local plant life.  We researched local edibles along with plants that had medicinal value.  One of the medicinal superstars that we found living in our back yard was the humble Elderberry bush.  Elderberry bushes are plentiful in our area and produce both flowers and berries that are edible.  The bark and the seeds, however, contain cyanide and therefore are NOT beneficial for human (or animal) consumption.  Many of my friends harvested Elderberries every fall and made and canned juice from the berries, which they kept specifically for treating colds and flu’s.  Following their lead, Sir Knight and I decided to experiment with Elderberry wine.  Our reasoning was, that if used for medicinal purposes, the alcohol in the wine would encourage much needed sleep and therefore speed up the recovery process.

There is plenty of antidotal evidence to support the use of  Elderberry concoctions in the treatment of colds and flu’s, but until recently, nothing clinical.   As of January 2006, Retroscreen Virology, a leading British medical research institute, associated to Queen Mary College, University of London, announced that Sambucol (made with Elderberry) was at least 99% effective against the Avian Flu Virus, H5N1, and in cell cultures significantly neutralized the infectivity of the virus.  Studies conducted in Israel have shown Elderberry to be THE key ingredient in flu-fighting Sambucol.  In fact, their unique formula was tested on patients during the Israeli flu epidemic of 1992-3.  The results were amazing.  Within 24 hours, 20% of the patients taking Sambucol had dramatic improvements in symptoms like fever, muscle aches and pains and coughing.  By the second day, 73% were improved and by day three, 90%.  In the untreated group, only 16% felt better after two days.  The majority of that group took almost a week to begin to feel better.

Just to be clear, I don’t believe there is any one cure all.  But, I do think that God gave us so many things right in our own back yards to heal and strengthen our bodies.  He gave us every good thing! 

Elderberry wine has been a great gift to our family.  Sir Knight and I have made Elderberry wine every fall for the last number of years.  We have supplied our family and friends with a large supply so they will be well guarded against a potential epidemic.  We also keep a healthy stock on hand – just in case.

Prayer, followed by Renaissance Medicine, and the Ponderosa Plague is but a memory!

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