Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center

Monday, 27 December 2010

Property for sale in Ribamondego Quinta Pimpao, close to Gouveia.

1.1 hectares with very good access and electricity near by.

Recently dug 125 meter bore hole providing year round fresh water and great views of the Estrellas and down into the Mondego valley.

Quinta Pimpao, Ribamondego, close to Gouveia.

Various trees including mature pines and cork oaks with good flat areas for cultivating. The quinta would make an ideal on or off grid property with heaps of solar and wind potential.

There is a small 40 sqM ruin with a unique and huge rock making up one of the walls, the granite stonework is sound but the roof needs new timbers.

The land has planning permission to develop a home with a footprint of up to 200 sqM in addition to the ruin.

The property is 1km from the village of Ribamondego, a smal friendly and helpful community and only 5 mins from the train station in Gouveia which links to Coimbra and the rest of Portugal.

The property is also for sale with Belaserra, a local trustworthy estate agent in Seia, go to for more pictures. However if you would like to contact the owners directly you can email them at
This is a great opportunity to deal direct with the owners, no hassle or complications. The owners, an English couple, live nearby and will make sure the sale is smooth and hassle free.
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Monday, 27 September 2010

Crystal at 7 weeks, Itsy at 4 months

Crystal is about 7 weeks old now, how time flies.

She is a beautiful puppy and going to make a fantastic farm dog.

She and Itsy the kitten have bonded and play for hours daily.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Carbon “Fixing” Plants

Mulch from carbon “Fixing” Plants

Most gardeners are aware of “nitrogen fixing” plants; those plants, typically legumes, that have formed symbiotic relationships with soil bacteria to take airborne nitrogen and fix it into water-soluble form. As far back as the Romans, humans have fostered this natural occurrence to increase yields and increase fertility. What we hear about much less is carbon “fixing” plants – in Permaculture speak – biomass or mulching plants. In the past year, as I have learned more and more about soil ecosystems, I have become far more convinced that these “carbon fixers” are even more important in early successions as we heal our suburban ecosystems.

I have developed a mantra over the summer as I have worked to sloganize what it is that we are doing. The result has been my oft-repeated imperative to: Heal the Soil, Store the Water, & Plant Useful Plants. In a nutshell it is a roadmap to maximize the potential of any garden space – if the soil is alive it has more nutrients cycling in it, if the soil has sufficient water stored under mulches and in humus then the potential increases again. And once these two are in place, one can maximize the solar potential by filling in the canopy. Of these, I feel the first is the most important as it makes the others possible. And to heal the soil, you need carbon (organic matter).

Plants are truly the conduits of energy into the earth – by capturing solar energy and turning it into simple sugar they supply the foundation for 99.99% of all life on the planet, whether it is through root exudates in the rhizosphere or nectar through their flowers, plants make life possible. But life also needs carbon, and most life on the planet gets its carbon from plants in the form of organic matter – the main food source of the bacteria and fungus in the soil. But some plants do this better than others.

There are the grasses with their dense root systems that build soil visibly every year, and there are trees that cover the ground in a thick blanket of leaves every year. Finally there are other plants that form stalks and stems that form significant amounts of soil as well – the tall grass prairies, corn/sunflower stalks, and windblown branches from softwoods such as willows, sycamores, and poplar. What these have in common is tough, long carbon chains in their cell structure that resists decomposition. This resistance to decomposition -in lignin, cellulose, etc- is what forms humus. And it is humus that forms rich soils. This is something to be very mindful of as we mulch our gardens.

If you were to build a compost pile of nothing but greens, with only the barest amounts of “browns”, the pile would heat up very quickly, but would decompose down to almost nothing – 75-90% of the bulk would be gone. That is because greens lack cellulose and lignin and are mostly water and nutrients – vital to soil life, but almost completely consumed in the decomposition process. Compare this to a similar sized pile of shredded leaves. It will take 4x as long to decompose, but the result will be 400% more humus with only a 25% reduction in size.

In most of my permaculture guilds I have stressed the green mulches of comfrey, sorrels, chives, etc to pull and cycle nutrients, and for several years I have imported my cellulose and lignin in the form of dozens of yards of wood chips. Now that my gardens are maturing, I am starting to pay more attention to including plants specifically to “fix” carbon to maintain soil humus levels. In the 6 years I have lived here I have lost about 1-2″ of total height in our 3 oldest perennial beds compared to the sod. That is because the humus in the perennial beds is degrading over time, while the roots of the fescues in the lawn are forming .25″ of humus a year. I had not been mulching these beds much as they have almost completely closed “canopies” of thyme ground cover that I didn’t want to smother. I will try mulching more aggressively this year.

Nitrogen fixers such as Russian Comfrey

While all my guilds include nitrogen fixers such as leadplant, false indigos, New Jersey Tea, Serviceberry, etc and green “mulch” plants such as Russian Comfrey, I am beginning to either add in “carbon fixers” and am planting guilds specifically to grow brown mulches. Some of this I am accomplishing by letting box elder seedling mature in my guilds as they sprout in the wood chip mulch. In one spot, I have planted a 20 tree “short rotation coppice guild” of willows, poplar, and box elders. In my annual gardens I am taking much inspiration from John Jeavons and planting “stalky” plants such as corn, sorghum, and sunflowers specifically to produce compost carbon in addition to edibles. Once you change your mindset it isn’t overly hard. Of course, having a chipper to use can become important as well – though many plants such as sunchokes, and weeping willows produce stalks and “leaf” mulches that are laid down without chipping and fast growing trees such as Empress and Sycamore have HUGE leaves that really add up.

Nitrogen fixers such as Serviceberry

As my gardens have matured, and I seek to support the soils I have built using primarily the inputs of my site, I find myself planting more and more of these carbon trees to grow my soil. In doing so I help to maximize the potential of my site by using these fast growing plants to sequester carbon to build the soils beneath my edibles, while also pulling carbon from the air to heal our climate.

Prime Short Rotation Coppice Trees: Black Locust

Willow, Hybrid Poplar, Black Locust, Box Elder, Empress, Sycamore, Ash, Hazelnut, most Standard fruit trees (annually pruned)

Sunflower prime “Carbon Fixing” Annuals/perennials

Prime “Carbon Fixing” Annuals/perennials:

Sunflower, Corn, Sorghum, Cupplant, Sunchoke, Small Grains, Amaranth, Quinoa, etc.

Many of these trees are useful in many other regards – Black Locust is a nitrogen fixer, provides rot resistant wood, and its flowers are a great early nectar source. Black Maul willow is one of the most striking plants I have ever seen and the new growth makes incredible baskets. Hazelnuts and Sunflowers are some of the best ways to grow healthy fats in the northern hemisphere. Carbon gardening is by no means boring or a wasted effort!

Productive soils need to have all their nutrients cycled, not only the water soluble ones, but also carbon to replenish that which is lost due during the respiration of the soil organisms. If we are to truly garden in the spirit of nature, we need to make sure that the carbon is replaced with the same diligence that we give nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and the 96 other macro and micro nutrients.

Posted on September 3, 2010 by onestraw- Rob
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Saturday, 21 August 2010

Crystal, new life for Joe and Carmela and fat as butter

Crystal new life arrives as old life is consumed, a good start for Senda Verde

As fat as butter and she is packing on the oz, carmela is a great mum

Crystal, yes after three weeks of my amateurish inspections and two outside opinions, shes a she and she is called Crystal.

In honour to the crystal pool where im drawing my life saving water and to the fact that she cried and cried yesterday till I lifted her out her basket and she let a big crystal stream go on the floor, what a dog, house trained, all be it her house is the dog basket, but house trained at 3 weeks.

Welcome Crystal.

My friend told me she was sheep dog stock with 4 white paws which fires the ball right back into Joes court, she was also early as I caculated 6th to 12th of August as delivery date but Carmela delivered 29th July, again firing the ball back into Joes court, Carmela escaped once, the penultimate day of her heat, Joe followed and came back wrecked, battered bruised and scarred so obviouslly defended Carmela till the end, but with a 29th delivery date that would put conception right into Joe and Carmelas honeymoon period, no other dogs around, just the two of them glued at the hip.

My boy Joe and my new sweetheart Carmela are the proud parents of Crystal a fat as butter, as my friend is fond of saying, Pyreness Sheepdog, Griffon, Portuguese Setter, Estrella cross.

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Monday, 16 August 2010

The Biggie 2...just when you thought it was safe to go back on the farm

Sunday 13th August, day two of the biggie.

The far bank of the Mondego had practically burnt to a cinder, there was not much left to go and I was feeling like I might have escaped. Rob had been over to inspect the damage, we had been for a cofeee and smoked a cigar and congratulated ourselves on getting away with it. At around 2pm the wind did a complete reversal from blowing from the South West to howling like a banshee from the North East. It skipped over the Mondego river without pause and started in my direction in earnest.

I was sitting on the computer, drink in hand thinking that Senda Verde was a blessed place when I started to see horrid acrid smoke fly past the window. I ran outside and onto the house roof and realized that it wasnt over the nightmare was only just starting.

I managed to wave down a helicopter, Id see this guy many times pulling water from my river over the last two weeks and always gave him the thumbs up and a cheery fist salute. This time I had a sheet and was waving it madly and pointing to the ridge line, jumping around like a mad man. He did his best, he pulled 8 bucket loads from the river in front and dropped it on the lower ridge line, the area that would potentially stop the fire from crossing the small river where I draw my drinking and irrigation water from. He circled me after 8 loads, seemingly saying, "sorry mate I can do no more" and headed off to save a village or something.

I turned the landrover for a fast getaway, started her up, put the wee man and carmela in the back, shut the caravan, loaded the tractor and all I could find into the barn, gave the cat a bucket of water and chucked two buckets onto her mezzanine floor area. I ran with lilly down to her animal house and did the same trying to clear as much loose hay and burnable crap out of the stall. I left her with a kiss, some water and a prayer.

I took my last photo as the fire engulfed an old ruin that sits at the same hight as my water fall pool. I decided that when it reached there I had to go, I wasnt so sure about the geography on this one and the road out of Senda Verde runs very close to the ever rising fire line. I realized I was pushing my luck, so with one more snap I got Joe in the car and we raced upwards to the village and the community center for another 24 hours of nail biting waiting.

I was allowed back down at 4am Sunday morning, I managed to kick the door in on Lillys house, it was burning up when I got there and I got her out, the poor thing was in shock but shes gone to Rob and Fis with fresh green grass and lots of love. Im going to visit with Maggie on Wednesday and I hope theres no lasting damage and Maggie can give her a good check up, physically she was fine on the outside.

The cat seemed like nothing had happened which is a blessing, the barn and the house got hit very little, a tribute to swales and decent irrigation.

I have some videos which I will post when I have some time, some powerful pieces of nature red in tooth and claw.

Life goes on, ive still got 5 or 6 raised beds with plants growing and tomorrow I hope to fix some sort of irrigation system so they dont die a slow death, Im down to my last 500 lts in the tanks so its a water tonight and tomorrow and then I better get some water from somewhere.
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Saturday, 14 August 2010

Sepp Holzer: A Permaculture Worldchanger

He is the author of several books, works nationally as a permaculture-activist in the established agricultural industry, and works internationally as an adviser for ecological agriculture.

Permaculture as a systematic method was first practiced by Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer in the 1960s, about 10 years before it was scientifically developed by Australians Bill Mollison or David Holmgren and their associates.

Sepp Holzer, work with nature instead of confronting it and working against it.

Without trying to describe his method in particular, I simply want to point out a few things why this man is so important and why he is even more important TODAY:

45 hectares of forest gardens, including 70 ponds and tens of thousands of fruit trees, shrubs, vines and highly productive vegetables and herbs at an altitude of 1500 meters

- His expanded farm now spans over 45 hectares of forest gardens, including 70 ponds and tens of thousands of fruit trees, shrubs, vines and highly productive vegetables and herbs at an altitude of 1500 meters (~5000 feet). He has created a self-sustaining landscape in which he produces many varieties of the best quality fish, fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, pork, poultry and even citrus and kiwi without irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides or weeding. His farm is said to be the most consistent example of permaculture worldwide.

- He is the author of several books, works nationally as a permaculture-activist in the established agricultural industry, and works internationally as an adviser for ecological agriculture. He is often asked by desperate governments to rescue big areas of land (he currently has projects in: Austria, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Poland, Ecuador, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Russia, Montana, Columbia, Brazil, Thailand, and Ecuador). Governments turn to him and big corporations turn to him; it is about time to grant people like him more attention.

He actively fights for farmers’ most basic rights

- He is getting older and has gathered much precious, relevant experience and knowledge. In his latest talk I experienced his strong urge to share this knowledge. To that end, he gets involved in bigger and bigger projects, to show and prove that his "alternative method" is the only method that is actually working for permaculture.

- He actively fights for farmers’ most basic rights, such as the right to plant the crops the kinds of plants they want how and where they want.

- He uses rare and ancient seeds and crops to promote more variety in the ecologic system and is therefore one of our most important activists against institutions such as Monsanto and genetically manipulated food (which is now also legal in Europe).

- One of his biggest and most relevant truths is to work with nature instead of confronting it and working against it.

- Last, and I find most importantly, he puts trust back into people's hands. He claims anyone can do it!

To check his latest projects visit his website or YouTube. He is working on a radical book that will come out next year.

Image Credit(s): Photos of Sepp Holzer and his farm in Austria via Der Krameterhof.

Uleshka Asher is a writer always on the lookout for inspiring people who have something to say. She is also a regular Worldchanging Correspondent.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Senda Verde survives massive forest fire, still an oasis of green

Portugal is in flames, on the 11th of August according to the mainstream national news more than 128 forest fires were burning. The Bombieros are stretched to maximum many of them having gone 3 days straight fighting forest fires. The sound of spotter planes and buzzing helicopters which seemed so novel just a few weeks ago had merged into the background white noise, then it was my turn for a close call.

Towards the South near Nelas a forest fire had been raging for a couple of days, plumes of acrid smoke chocked and made breathing a strain, then the wind turned and started blowing North East and the fires started getting closer to my Quinta.

My local fisherman friend came down and suggested I load up the landrover with the dogs and head up to the village, but the wind was pushing the fire towards me but on the opposite side of the Mondego river, I made a calculated decision and told him I was staying put for the time being. He headed up to the village on his motorbike and I made sure he understood to tell the bombieros that I was still down here, just in case it all went bad.

I sat and watched as the fire slowly engulfed the far side of my mountain valley, the wind pushing it along the ridge line and with the natural river barrier I thought maybe I could escape. Over the brow of a hill came another seperate fire front, pushing directly towards me, it still had to cross the river but it was low in the valley and I realised I was in trouble.

I jumped in the landrover and went up the track to view the danger zone only to meet the bombieros on their way down. The insisted I get out now, so I did a quick U turn and headed to pick up the dogs and essentials, said a small prayer to Senda Verde, Lilly the goat and Itsy the kitten and headed up to the community center in the village.

Im writting this at 4am, the house, the caravan, Lilly the goat and Itsy the cat are all ok, Ive not seen the damage done yet, but thank you to the Bombieros of Mangualde proffesionals and volunteers alike, your all hereos, thank you to the villagers of Cervaes for your kindness and support and thank you for letting me pick up the pieces, whatever they may be, and start again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Regenerative Permaculture with Darren Doherty

In this 100th episode of the Agroinnovations Podcast we are joined by Darren Doherty, a permaculture designer and consultant who is an expert in keyline design, broadacre permaculture, and agroforestry. Topics of discussion include Australia as a source of innovation in agriculture, regenerative vs. sustainable agriculture, the life and work of P.A. Yeomans, the keyline orders or permanence, open source agricultural implements, and the Spanish Dehesa as a model for broadacre permaculture. This episode is a tour-de-force of many of the critical issues facing the permaculture movement.

click here to listen to the interview or download to your player

Congratulations Frank on your 100th episode looking forward to many more.
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Sunday, 1 August 2010

Carmela and Joe create the first new life on Senda Verde

After a nights sleep and a good feed for both Mum and pup

Carmela and puppy, Joes not allowed near yet

Saturday afternoon Carmela my 1 year old bitch came into the kitchen and laid herself out on the sofa. She had been showing signs for the last few days, nest building and general agitation and she hadnt touched her food the night before.

Carmela never comes inside the house so when I saw her on the sofa and panting heavily I sprung into action and got all the old sheets and towels I had laid aside for this moment and made her a comfy nest.

Just a few minutes old and yet to home in on the nipple

It was only around 10 minutes after when the head appeared, I cleared the placenta from the pups head and Carmela did the rest, what a moment, my old faithful dog Joe was banished outside and Carmela and our new addition have taken up residence in the kitchen.

Mum and pup sleeping happily

Last night was comfortable for all concerned I slept just a meter away from them and Carmela drank plenty and eat a few dried biscuits, this morning she had a bowl full of dried food and puppy has been suckling and sleeping. With no competition as a 1 pup litter the wee fellow will be packing on the weight.

Its a great start for the future as animals are a major part of my off grid self suffciency plans and also the first time ive assisted at a birth. I hope they all go as smoothly as this one did.

Senda Verde welcomed the first volunteers during July.

Bugui rotivating the new terrace

Christina and Onza moving goat poo to the newly cleared and rotivated terrace.

Christina from Italy spent just over three weeks here and Bugui and Onza came down from Galicia where they are very active in the network of Permaculture in Galicia. I spent most of last winter with my caravan parked up at Buguis finca while I got to know the permaculture crew up there and looked for some land to start Senda Verde.

Make hay when the sun shines and it has certainly been shining with temps over 40 degrees these last weeks.

I didnt find the land in Galicia but ended up finding this amazing place but good friends were made in Galicia and Bugui and Onza made the first visit down and really put their heart and soul into helping me out, clearing terraces, making hay and generally lifting the energy of the place.

Bottom terrace cut for hay and ready for a winter crop of rye and cabbage.

Onza and Christina crossed the Mondego and climbed up to the ancient standing stones, this Dolmen seems to balance the energy from the Mondego river which runs north to south and the water fall river that falls from the west, these standing stones give a double energy vortex with its center right in the middle of the Mondego river, where I spend most afternoons cooling off and meditating.

Thank you so much for all that you did and as we say in Spain, me casa es tu casa.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Lilly the goat joins the Senda Verde project

Lilly a five month old Cabrita joined the project on Friday and is settling in well.

Carmela has taken the role of Goat dog and its great to see her naturally abilities as a working dog shine through. She is also pregnant and due from August 6 to 12th so I hope the Senda Verde family will be expanding again in a few short weeks.

Lilly follows without a rope very easily and its a lot of fun to take a ramble with her.

I will be looking for another Cabrita of a similar age so Lilly has company and in November bring in the services of a Billy goat. Its a 150 day gestation so around April they should kid and 3 or 4 months later once the new kids are weaned, Lilly and her companion should continue to give milk for up to two years, and it should make Senda Verde self sufficient in diary and a cash crop of goats cheese.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

'Striato d'Napoli' the first courgette of the season

'Striato d'Napoli' Courgette from the real seed company

A good early courgette from Italy. Big bushy plants giving lots of long, pretty fruit with alternating light and dark green stripes. Perfectly smooth and round in cross-section, and the flesh doesn't go as 'soft' when cooked as other courgettes do.

Thanks to the real seed company for this years excellent range of heritage hierloom seeds.

The first courgette of the season wont be turned into soup, but with many more to follow a freezer full of soup seems like a good idea.

Courgette Soup Serves 4 or fill the freezer.

* 1 kg courgettes - any size and colour
* 250g potatoes (suitable for mashing), peeled or scrubbed
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
* 1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
* 30ml olive oil
* 150g soft cheese (see note below for alternatives
* Handful fresh chives, chopped
* Handful fresh summer herbs of your choice, chopped
* 1 ½ pints water (or mild-flavoured stock

The method
1. Wash the courgettes and chop them into chunks. Cut the potatoes into cubes (smaller than 1 inch).
2. Heat the oil gently in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic.
3. Gently cook for about 5 minutes, to soften.
4. Add the potatoes. Stirr. Cook gently, covered, for about 15 minutes, until about half-cooked.
5. Add the courgettes and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
6. Add 1 1/2 pints of water - just enough to cover the contents of the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
7. Remove from the heat and liquidise the soup.
8. Add the Cheese & herbs.
9. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

About 40 minutes. (Most of this is waiting, so actual preparation time is about 15 minutes

Thanks to veg Box recipes

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Milk Thistle guild

Milk Thistle... a candidate for "food from the gods" going to try and make friends

With a date fixed for the arrival of Liliput, the first Cabrita at Senda Verde I have been reading a couple of books on goat keeping and mentally sizing up the job of repairing her sleeping and living quarters and securing an area on the main terrace where she can graze freely but not get at the veggies.

I intend to get into the habbit of a morning walk with Lilliput, the goat, Joe and Carmela the two dogs, Itsy the kitten but its wishful thinking that she will ever make the break from the mezzanine floor of the barn.
Perhaps, rod over shoulder and a can of worms from the worm farm I can make the most of early morning fishing opportunities whilst Liliput grazes on river bank lushness.

I met my friend Maggie last weekend at the monthly farmers market in Baril de Alva. Maggie is a veteran small holder of five years, self sufficient, off grid and an expert on goats. Maggie kept a small herd and made cash from the sale of goats cheese and various other homesteading craft spin offs, from carpets to purses. In the permaculture tradition Maggie expertly manages an input, her goats, and maximises their uses right through her sustainable system, from manure for the permaculture garden, to milk, cheese, skins and meat, Maggie also tells me they make great companions.

Animals are an integral part of self sufficiency and are essential to a sustainable permaculture design. After three months on the land I realise Im still making big decisions way to quickly but the luxury of waiting is not mine at present. Phase two of the project, Animals, is being forced by the impending over production from phase one, the raised bed veggie gardens. The plan is working even if it feels a little racy at present. You can imagine it was with great pleasure that I set up my stall next to Maggie and we got down to some serious goat talk.

Liliput is due mid July but Maggie advised that I start collecting Cardamon thistle or Milk thistle, as the crushed seed heads are used to turn the curds and whey, a natural process rather than using rennet. Im currently on the solar dryer project at the moment so was hunting the finca for wild fennel to dry with one eye out for milk thisle and I think I discovered some.

I also discovered a mountain of very interesting information on the health benifits of milk thisle,

Milk thistle seed extract protects the liver from a variety of common toxins, including alcohol, pesticides, heavy metal poisoning, pollution, and medications of all kinds. It has been used for more than two thousand years for medicinal purposes, and its use as a detoxifying agent and treatment for liver disease is well validated by research.

In the permaculture tradition im going to collect seeds and grow this as a cash crop. I can sell the plants, prepare a tincture and use it as a natural rennet replacment for making goat cheese. Maggie told me she got a premium for her cheese that was prepared using crushed milk thistle pods. An excelent guild, milk thistle, goat cheese and a tincture of silymarin, all from a wild growing plant.

Ive also been looking for something to detoxify heavy metals, recent water analysis research on the effects that chemtrails have on the water table show high, off the scale concentrations of barium and aluminium, both heavy metals.

Here is a good article on the many health benifits of the Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle: Benefits and Side Effects

A short, wide, prickly plant known as milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is the source of a popular herbal remedy that is widely used to detoxify the body and to treat liver disease. Milk thistle seed extract has been shown to have antioxidant properties that help the liver function and stay healthy.

As the name suggests, this herbal remedy is derived from the seeds of the milk thistle plant. Many people take milk thistle seed extract as protection from environmental toxins, such as second hand smoke. People with liver disease, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice and inflamed liver, use the herb to protect and regenerate that vital organ.

Milk thistle seed extract contains active compound known as flavonolignans, which can protect the cells of the liver from toxins as well as encourage cleansing and detoxification. When damage has already been done to liver cells, milk thistle can stimulate protein synthesis, thereby helping the liver to repair injury and generate new cells.

Milk thistle seed extract protects the liver from a variety of common toxins, including alcohol, pesticides, heavy metal poisoning, pollution, and medications of all kinds. It has been used for more than two thousand years for medicinal purposes, and its use as a detoxifying agent and treatment for liver disease is well validated by research.

Milk thistle seed extract is an excellent tonic for anyone under stress. It is also useful for people who use alcohol, recreational drugs, performance drugs such as anabolic steroids, as well as prescription medications. In addition, anyone living in a heavily polluted environment can benefit from supplements of milk thistle seed extract. The herb has a gentle detoxifying effect, and its ability to increase bile secretion and flow in the intestines makes it effective as a mild laxative. Milk thistle seed extract can regulate bowel function as well, making it useful for people who alternate between diarrhea and constipation.
Special hybrid seeds are usually used to prepare herbal supplements of milk thistle seed extract. Supplements should be standardized to contain 70-80% of a class of flavonolignans known as silymarin. Silymarin is a powerful antioxidant that is ten times as potent as vitamin E. Three compounds in the silymarin class, silybinin, silydianin and silychristin are the specific substances that produce therapeutic effects in preparations of milk thistle seed extract.

The active ingredients can be extracted with alcohol to produce a tincture, or pills can be prepared using the seeds. Milk thistle teas made from bulk seed are also available, but very little of the active ingredient is present in steeped teas. The recommended daily dosage of milk thistle seed extract is 140 to 420 mg in tablet form. This should be divided into two or three smaller doses. Tinctures of milk thistle seed extract should be mixed with water or juice according to instructions on the package. Tinctures can also be taken directly under the tongue.

Few side effects have been reported from the use of milk thistle seed extract, though the tablets sometimes cause stomach irritation. A mild laxative effect has been reported as well, but this is often a desired effect of treatment with milk thistle seed extract. The herb is considered safe for, and has long been used by, pregnant women, though it may still be advisable for them to consult a physician before using it. There are no known drug interactions with milk thistle seed extract.

Thanks to andwelove for the Milk Thisle health info

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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Peach and Raison Jam Jam

I have two small peach tress that have been bursting with fruit.

I did the main harvest yesterday and got 6 kg of sweet tasty peaches which Ive been enjoying on my muslie in the mornings. I bought a pressure cooker last week with just such a moment as this in mind. It was time to try my hand at jam making and preserving my summer bounties for winter leanties.

I got this receipt from the internet and added the raisons and lemon juice myself. I cooked the fruit and lemon juice slowly before adding the sugar and then brought to the boil and let it boil for 15 mins.
I should have left it longer as the jam didnt set, got to reread that bit on setting points and dropping spoons and saucers again, so ive frozen this lot and it will be used for crumbles or fruit flans.

Im happy with my first attempt and looking at the fruit trees it will be the plums turn next.
Anyone got an easy plum jam receipt?

How its meant to time


2 kg peaches
2 kg sugar
Juice 2 lemons
2 cups of raisons


Bring water to a boil. Put peaches in the boiling water for just 1 minute or under. Take them out with a slotted spoon and place them in cold water. Peel and slice peaches. Discard peach pits. Put peaches into a large (wide-open) heavy bottom pot and add the sugar. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil mixture and stir frequently. Mixture will thicken in approximately 45 minutes to an hour. As mixture thicken, you must stir more frequently to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. To test whether the jam is ready, place a cold metal spoon in the mixture and tilt. The jam should form a single stream.

Note: The faster you cook the jam the brighter the color will be.

The Truth WareHouse