Welcome PJ Sharon

Welcome to Mary's Garden. I'm excited to introduce PJ Sharon. She will be a regular guest each month. So please give her a big HELLO and Welcome.

First though, you know what we need. A Garden tip. Today I borrowed one from Millcreek Gardening. 

Give Some Love to Your Soil

Experts recommend having a soil test done each year in the late fall to detect problems and predict appropriate fertilizer requirements. Based on the outcome, you can apply and incorporate fertilizer now. For accurate soil testing, you will need between five and 10 core samples, which will be combined for an aggregate test. Take cores from a 6-inch depth for turf areas and a 12-inch depth for planting zones. Your local county extension agent or university extension likely offers soil testing and may even loan you the proper core-sampling tool. Utah State University’s analytical lab offers sample kits with instructions and a mailer for sending your samples in. Once the sample is processed, you will be provided with nutrient recommendations and other resources for correcting any diagnosed problems. Cost for a comprehensive soil test is approximately $40.

And now welcome PJ Sharon.

Herbal Remedies for Winter Colds
In my day job as a massage therapist, I’m frequently challenged to minimize my exposure to colds and flus this time of year. Add to that, I spend every Friday with my four-year-old granddaughter who, like most children her age who attend pre-school, is a laboratory for viruses and bacteria. Other than teaching her good hygiene and the benefits of hand-washing, there’s little I can do to eliminate the unseen threat of contagion both at home and at work.

Being a dirt-loving nature girl, much like my character, Brinn, in my Savage Cinderella series, I’ve found the answers in the healing
power of plants. After a lifetime of studying natural medicinal cures, it was inevitable that my knowledge and experience would find its way into my writing. As a child, my character Brinn survives being kidnapped and left for dead in the North Georgia High Country, where she survives for years on her own, living on plants, berries, fish, and whatever she can forage—quickly learning what is edible and what can make her terribly ill.

Many people are wary of herbal medicine because of the inherent dangers of “getting it wrong”. There is so much conflicting information and much we still don’t know about the effects of some plants, but there are some well-researched and well-documented substances that can mitigate—if not completely deter—viruses. And many more that can be used to shorten or reduce the duration of colds and flus.

Here are three of my—and Brinn’s—go-to natural cold remedies.

Elderberry Syrup: A must have in your cold prevention medicine arsenal, Elderberry Syrup (you may also find it in an extract, cough drop, or tincture), is a sweet-tasting and soothing herbal remedy I’ve been using the past few years with excellent result. Taken at the first sign of cold symptoms, it can knock a bug on its butt! I’ve had it eliminate cold symptoms in a day. If I don’t treat symptoms immediately and the cold takes hold, it’s still not too late. Taking the syrup every few hours can boost your immune system and reduce the length and severity of symptoms.
Ginger-lemon tea with honey: Aside from being warming to the blood, soothing to the throat, and packed with antioxidant and phytonutrient density, this tea can calm cold symptoms, thin mucus, and is good for digestive health. Another favorite tea is raspberry tea with honey, which again is loaded with Vitamin-C and has a multitude of healing properties to support the immune system.

A note about Vitamin-C: This age-old vitamin is a no-brainer and has been recommended by health care professionals and savvy moms for generations. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right?
Although apples have incredible health benefits, they only provide 50-100 mg of Vitamin-C (depending on the size, type and ripeness of the fruit). Likewise, oranges—long believed to be the “best” source of Vitamin-C—only have about 80 mg per navel orange. There are many better plant sources for this necessary and potent antioxidant (namely leafy greens), but the old USDA daily recommendations of 60 mg/day are outdated and only account for the prevention of diseases such as scurvy (a bone disease suffered by seafarers on long journeys where citrus and greens were unavailable). But the human body can absorb and safely use as much as 2000 mg per day, so when it comes to preventing colds and flus, a single apple or an orange aren’t going to cut it, and let’s face it, we don’t get enough leafy greens in our daily diets to make up the difference. In addition, soil depletion and over-farming have left most of our fruits and veggies lacking in the nutrition department.

This is where supplements can be invaluable. I add a 1000 mg Vitamin-C supplement to my winter regimen and double the dose if I feel a cold coming on! (Talk to your doctor or naturopath before adding any new supplements to your diet.)

So, there you have just a few of my favorite home remedies for staving off flu season. As a newly adopted regular contributor to this blog, I’ll be back every three weeks to share more herbal remedy ideas, gardening tips, and news about my books and this crazy writer’s life. Thanks so much for joining me today. I love to answer questions and hear from readers, so feel free to share in the conversation!

What is your favorite herbal or home remedy for colds and flus?

Read more about Brinn’s adventures in the Savage Cinderella Novella Series. Download the original SAVAGE CINDERELLA for FREE! Visit my website for details and buy links.

FINDING HOPE, LOST BOYS, SACRED GROUND, and my latest release, BROKEN ANGEL follow Brinn on her journey of recovery, self-discovery, and finding her place as she negotiates the dangers and pitfalls of living in the “civilized” world.

A licensed massage therapist by day, PJ Sharon is also an award-winning author of young adult novels, including PIECES of LOVE, HEAVEN is for HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and Holt Medallion-winner SAVAGE CINDERELLA. You can follow Brinn’s story in the Savage Cinderella Novella series which includes FINDING HOPE, LOST BOYS, SACRED GROUND, and BROKEN ANGEL.

In addition to her contemporary YA lit, Ms. Sharon’s YA dystopian trilogy, The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, which RT Book Reviews calls “An action-packed read with a strong female lead,” is a sci-fi/fantasy adventure inspired by her fascination with “prepping” and her passion for environmental causes, as much as by her love of romance and the unending “what-if’s” that haunt her imagination.

PJ has two grown sons and lives with her brilliant engineer of a husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA where she writes, kayaks, and plays in the dirt as often as possible.
Contact info and social media:
E-mail address:  pjsharon64@gmail.com
Follow PJ on Twitter: @pjsharon      http://www.twitter.com/pjsharon
“Like” PJ on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks
Find PJ on Amazon’s Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/PJ-Sharon/e/B005ONR4IY/


PJ Sharon said…
Thanks so much, Mary. I'm honored to be included as one of your new monthly contributors. I look forward to sharing gardening tips and my love of natural remedies with you and your readers on the third Monday of each month! I'm always happy to hear from readers and gardeners alike:-)
Stephanie said…
Great remedy advice from a great writer and wonderful person! Thank you PJ Sharon!
PJ Sharon said…
I'm blushing:-) Thanks for the kind words. So nice of you to drop by to say hi, Stephanie.

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