Growing Our Healthcare


Oooh! scary title! — But this is actually not a post about politics, but about growing your own healthcare products. Time to start thinking about your summer gardens!…

Edward meets all kinds of interesting people through work – he’s the CEO of his own company Safeware, a safety product distributor.  A few weeks back over a business lunch he met Susan, who sells protective garments during the day, but in her other life is an avid gardener and a member of the Weston Price Foundation! She told him about how she makes fermented vegetables and grows much of her own food. He was impressed that under that mild mannered business exterior there lay such a warrior for sustainability! Susan also told about growing herbs for healing, and about the success she’s had with the Calendula Salve she makes for herself. When he relayed their interesting conversation to me, I asked the obvious question. “Hey! could we buy some of that salve from her?”

Next thing I know, a package arrived with this little pot and Susan’s leter about her personal experiences growing and using herbs to heal – which I share below with her permission. Let this be a lesson to us all:  we ordinary people who grow our own food (and medicine) are EVERYWHERE!!

Now, in grey February, is a good time to get re-inspired: We can grow our own organically raised food, yes in our suburban back (and front) yards. We can make a difference to our health and our pocketbook, in this same action. And there is always more to learn about how to try again, to do it better.

“Hi Wystan,

I am Susan …and I had lunch with Ed and Daric on Thursday. (…) 

Ed asked if I made cookies over the holidays, and I told him I probably do not eat like many people. Then I told him I’m a WAPF [Weston A. Price Foundation] member, and he said that you guys are in this not quite mainstream world as well. I make sourdough bread, kombucha, eat grass fed beef, pastured eggs, raw dairy, use real lard and coconut oil extensively, make cream cheese and whey from excess raw milk (and love to eat it). I grow a decent sized garden (60 x 30ft) plus about 6 more raised beds (…). I also have a few plots that I use for herbs and medicinal plants. 

I shared the story below about calendula. He told me you were interested, so I’ve searched your email from your blog and am sending this info.

All of this is a continuous education for me, so I cannot say I do any of it perfectly. But I enjoy the learning. Over the last couple of years, I’ve grown and dried comfrey, yarrow, holy basil, (tulsi), plantain, and others I don’t remember. I tincture some of these, and with others I also infuse oils. I usually turn oils into salves.

Twice over the summer I cut a finger that took a while to stop bleeding. I went to the comfrey “patch,” broke off part of a leaf, chewed it, held it to the cut for about 5 minutes, and put a bandaid on it. By the next day, I could not feel the cuts. Usually a paper cut hurts for days. The comfrey immediately sealed these injuries. I have used comfrey salve, but most salve recipes make a firm salve, as firm as lip balm. I think the creamier, less dense salves are better for injuries. To get creamier salves, I am not using half the beeswax called for in such recipes. 

I grew calendula for the first time over the summer. It was late in the season when I realized I should infuse oil from the flowers. I gathered them and followed the process below. I left the flowers in the olive oil for about 10-12 weeks. Just before Christmas, i made salve, and used half as much beeswax as the recipe called for. (I added a pinch of tumeric powder to make a darker color – easier to identify, and one website suggested it).

Two days later I burned a finger on a stove (second degree – blistered fast). I put it under cool water and then remembered that calendula is for skin tissues. I put some salve and a bandaid loosely over burn. I changed the bandaid and used salve before bed. The next morning I could see the injury on my finger, but there was no pain at all. My burns just do not heal that quickly. 

Anyway, I am a believer in this stuff now. I took some to my mother at Christmas. She had a toe that was rubbing the toe next to it and there was a small open sore. I tried the calendula salve. Within two days the sore was healed. (…) I don’t know what else it might do, but so far I am impressed. I’ve ordered calendula seeds to plant more this year.

Ed mentioned your buying the slave from me. I really only make things for my personal use… but I have no problem at all sending a sample. 

[This] link .. is also good:

As I said I am no expert, but if I can help in any way, please let me know.


 Thanks Susan! you are an inspiration!  Out into the garden I go – we have a greenhouse to finish!

“What’s she waiting for?”  “I thought that thing would be built by now.” “Bagawk! Typical! Always another project.”   


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