Can onions help your cold or flu?

I shared this post four years ago and it is still prevalent today!  I highly recommend trying this if you haven’t already. 


For those who are suffering from colds and flus you might want to pay attention!  Several months ago our family was suffering the typical cold/allergy bug that was being passed around, all except one family member.  When I asked the child in question what she was doing differently that she wasn’t suffering at all like we were she told me that she had read somewhere to put an onion in your room and it will keep the virus away.  Well!!!!, since I had been suffering for a week and had massive fluid in my ears that was keeping me from hearing and talking I thought I would give it a try.  A few days later I too was feeling better! 🙂

I have since kept an onion in my room and have placed them in other areas when the virus starts picking up at work and so far we have avoided any further problems.  I had also read that putting onions on your feet at night will help pull toxins from the body.  I have not tried that option but may do so in the future.  I have passed the word along to several of my skeptical coworkers which some have later told me that it did help!

One of the first questions I get is will my house smell like onions, well for me being able to breathe as opposed to my house smelling like onions is a simple answer!  However, each person is different.  For the record though, I don’t believe it does since the onion is absorbing the bacteria in the air.  Once the onion changes colors, get rid of it and replace it with a new one if the bug season is still in effect. All you do is take a white onion cut it in half and put it in the rooms that you spend the most time but most definitely in your bedroom.  That is all!


Now; will tell you that this does not work.  However, I will tell you that it did help myself and some of my family members as well as some of my coworkers.  I have even talked to a few people who have confirmed that this does work. I will include some resources so you can decide for yourself.

Sites that claim it does work or can at least help: (this site also discusses onions in potato salad being the problem and not mayonnaise

Sites claiming it doesn’t work:

If you have had experience with using the onion cure, please comment below!

Are you ready? Are you sure?

Yes, despite all the changing weather patterns of warm, cold, cool, then bitter cold and just plain all around “weather go round” it will be about that time to start deciding on garden plots, container gardening, window gardening or even just taking a break and watching the neighbor work the ground.  Have you put together your geographical plans and decided on seeds?  Until the weather starts getting warm and staying that way it is hard for me to get motivated on my plans.  Even though I am busy as the majority of the population is, I am hoping to do something this year even if is small.

I have been reading some really great articles on Farmer’s Almanac and this is one of them that stuck out to me.  The theme keeps coming up in my life that we need to keep things diverse and not repeat the same patterns over and over again.  This is especially true when it comes to your garden, it is important to rotate and switch things out every year even if you are using a container box and not in-ground planting.

Crop rotation is key to a successful vegetable garden after the first year.  It’s important to grow vegetables in different areas of your garden each year to keep them healthy and combat pests

However, it can be difficult to plan the order of crop rotation and organize well, particularly if you are growing different amounts of a variety of crops.

This video explains a simple colour-coded method of crop rotation that makes the whole process much simpler and shows how the Garden Planner software can help.

The Garden Planner is available here:


A better way to rotate annual vegetables is to group them by their plant family. This means you can group plants with similar maintenance requirements together. For instance, all plants in the cabbage family are best grown together to make it easier to net them against cabbage white butterfly and birds—and there’s no risk of accidentally passing on crop-specific soil-dwelling pests and diseases to the next crop.

A handy way to set crop order is to give each plant family a shade relating to the colors of the rainbow, as shown below.



Working from the inside of the rainbow out, you can see which plants belong together and which should come next in each bed. The rotation starts with lilacs and blues—onion family plants and peas/beans—which are commonly grown together as they both like soil enriched with compost and take up little space. Once you’ve harvested your onions and leeks from your first bed, the next crop in that spot would be cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli and so on, for the first seven categories.

Using this order of rotation is optional but it helps to make sure that the soil is in the correct condition for the following crop.

Plants in the Miscellaneous (grey) category are useful for plugging gaps in your beds as they don’t tend to suffer badly from particular soil-borne pests and diseases, and can be fitted in anywhere you have room, although it’s still a good idea to move them around from year to year as much as possible, particularly sweet corn which can suffer from rootworm.

If you haven’t signed up for the Farmer’s Alamanc I would highly recommend it.  There are many great gardening suggestions and tips for the beginner and advanced “green thumb”

Happy Gardening!! 🙂

Planning your next garden or landscape?

One concept to consider when you are planning and purchasing items for your garden or landscape project is; how well will your plants not only grow together but will they do better in solitude or with companion plants?  While learning about herbs and vegetables, we have found that it is important for survival for some species to grow together than with another one.   Companion planting will ensure the survival of your garden by keeping bugs or other problems for the plant at bay instead of attracting what can kill your garden if not planted appropriately.

The discussion below brings to mind that some plants will thrive if they are planted with others instead of alone..  It is definitely something worth considering:

Can turmeric help with depression?

I read an interesting article recently suggesting that turmeric can help with symptoms of depression.  A year ago a friend told me about turmeric for pain and inflammation but was not aware it could help with moods….  I have decided to give it a try and see what happens. One way to ensure that the supplement you are using does not have added ingredients, is to purchase empty vegetable capsules and put the turmeric powder in yourself.

Turmeric for Depression?
Is it true that turmeric is useful for treating depression?

Answer (Published 8/26/2011)
It may turn out to be helpful. Turmeric, the yellow spice that colors curry and American yellow mustard, is a potent natural anti-inflammatory agent. Its active constituent, curcumin, has shown promise as an antidepressant in animal models, and curcumin also has been found to enhance nerve growth in the frontal cortex and hippocampal areas of the brain. Researchers in India have suggested performing clinical trials on humans to explore turmeric’s efficacy as a novel antidepressant.

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Because turmeric and curcumin offer myriad health benefits, including reduced risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, I often recommend them as dietary supplements. They are poorly absorbed from the G.I. tract, but recent research has shown that absorption is greatly enhanced by the presence of piperine, a compound in black pepper. Many people in India eat foods containing turmeric at almost every meal, and customarily add black pepper to most dishes. This frequent combination likely contributes to the anti-inflammatory and other benefits they apparently receive.

If you want to try turmeric or curcumin supplements to see if they help improve mood, look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids that also contain piperine or black pepper extract. Follow the dosage instructions on labels. You can take turmeric or curcumin indefinitely and combine them with antidepressant drugs or with natural remedies including St. John’s wort, SAMe, and other herbs that may help support a positive outlook.

However, you shouldn’t use turmeric if you have gallstones or bile duct dysfunction, and pregnant women shouldn’t use it without their doctors’ approval. In rare cases, extended use can cause stomach upset or heartburn. Note that piperine can slow the elimination of some prescription drugs including phenytoin [Dilantin], propranolol [Inderal], and theophylline. Some evidence also suggests that curcumin can interfere with a chemotherapy agent used to treat breast cancer, so if you’re being treated for this disease, be sure to discuss the advisability of taking curcumin with your physician.

Bear in mind that the most effective treatment I know for mild to moderate depression is regular exercise, including walking. Try it for at least 30 minutes a day. You should also consider taking at least two grams a day of  high quality supplemental fish oil. For a full discussion of natural remedies for depression and an integrative plan for optimum emotional well-being, watch for my new book, Spontaneous Happiness, to be published by Little, Brown & Co. in November 2011.

Andrew Weil, M.D.


Turmeric can do amazing things…..

Is manual weeding making a comeback?

Herbicide-resistant weeds changing farm practices

Arkansas has been ground zero for herbicide-resistant weeds. For instance, the state is second only to Australia in the amount of herbicide-resistant ryegrass in wheat.

“We’re actually running out of herbicides, making it difficult for us to even grow wheat in Arkansas, because of the levels of resistance that we have,” said Dr. Bob Scott. The state has had a large helping of resistance problems in other crops as well.

Scott shared Arkansas’ herbicide- resistance history with farmers gathered in North Battleford for Cavalier Agrow’s farm forum. Scott, a weed scientist, works in extension through the University of Arkansas.

By the 1990s, Arkansas farmers were already battling weeds that were immune to DNA herbicides. Farmers were also facing other problem weeds such as ALS-resistant cockleburs.


“In 1999, Roundup came along and rescued us,” said Scott. Farmers rapidly adopted glyphosate, and everything seemed great, he said.

“But what we didn’t know at the time was that we were putting an astronomical amount of selection pressure on Roundup as a herbicide,” he said.

Horseweed was the first to develop glyphosate resistance. Scott said the difference between resistant and susceptible horseweed was like the difference between a Roundup Ready crop and a regular crop.

Horseweed seeds are wind-borne, so resistant plants spread rapidly across the state. Scott said the weed also started emerging later in the spring.

“So we were selecting for a biotype of this weed that was not only resistant to Roundup, but was emerging after the dicamba went out, after the burn-down went out, and coming up in the Roundup Ready crop.”

Other glyphosate-resistant weeds — common and giant ragweed, Johnsongrass — followed. Scott said the state was averaging a new glyphosate-resistant weed every year and a half to two years.

“We were throwing something in the tank. We were adding a burn-down. But we really hadn’t made a lot of wholesale changes in the way we farm,” said Scott.

The first signs of resistance
In 2006, a farmer reported a Palmer pigweed patch that he’d sprayed several times with glyphosate.

“So we came out and sampled some seeds, took them to the greenhouse, and had one of those ‘Oh, crap,’ moments,” said Scott. They’d found their first resistant pigweed population.

Palmer pigweed is a particularly vexing plant to deal with. If the weather cools after the pigweed emerges, it will only grow four or five inches before putting on a seed head, Scott said. But under ideal conditions, it will grow taller than a man. During one study, one pigweed plant produced over 1.8 million seeds, Scott said.

If the weed emerges in a favourable spot, Palmer pigweed will produce plenty of seed and little pollen. The seeds will fall in that spot, Scott explained.

But if the weed is under stress when it comes up, due to the location, it will embrace its masculine side, producing more pollen “so that its genes can be carried off to another spot. Pretty unique evolutionary adaptation for a weed,” said Scott.

Palmer pigweed also readily hybridizes, crossing with other pigweeds and waterhemp, Scott said. “These pigweeds have no morals whatsoever.”

Between 2006 and 2011, glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed had spread to most soybean-growing counties in Arkansas. Scott said it spread through pollen, to some extent, but he thinks the main culprit was farm equipment.

Manual weeding
The rise of glyphosate-resistant weeds brought a host of problems to Arkansas farms.

Resistant horseweed pushed farmers to apply more dicamba. The herbicide was applied in every cotton field and many soybean fields, adding considerable production costs, Scott said. Dicamba also has long plant-back intervals, Scott added.

Glyphosate-resistant weeds proved to be a huge problem for cotton growers. The crop has to be grown in wide rows, making weed control very difficult, Scott explained.

“We saw the reintroduction of hoe-crews in fields where we had not seen them ever before,” he said, adding the cost was “unsustainable.”

Scott related the case of one farmer who had a severe pigweed problem. Scott visited the farm when glyphosate-resistant pigweed started popping up in combine passes. He suggested switching to Liberty Link.

But other advisers talked the farmer out of it, Scott said. Instead, they suggested tank mixes for the next crop.

“The herbicides they chose to use to try to stay in Roundup, this pigweed happened to already be resistant to,” said Scott. They applied the mix a couple of times, to no avail. The pigweed overtook the crop. There were field areas where the farmer couldn’t run the combine, and Scott said he lost $230 per acre in those spots.

The next year, Scott ran a demonstration plot in that field, with a residual program. They were able to control the pigweed, said Scott.

Scott said cotton and soybean growers had to change the way they farmed. “Pigweed did not care how that guy wanted to farm. It didn’t care if he wanted to get one more year out of Roundup or not. It forced our hand, big time.”

Farmers are back to using residual herbicides, he said. They also rely on Group 14 chemistry, he added, although Group 14 resistance has been documented in other states.

Lessons learned
Scott read through a list of glyphosate-resistant weeds in Western Canada, noting farmers here have some problems, too. He suggested growers look at herbicide use and production history on their own farms now, even if they don’t have big problems yet.

“Maybe making a simple change now will prevent all of this kind of stuff from happening to you guys up here like it did to us in Arkansas.”

Farmers should pay attention to weeds that survive herbicide applications, Scott said. “Act on them while you can because prevention is a lot better than the cure in some cases.”

Running the combine through a resistant weed patch seeds the entire field for the next year, he added.

Adding a second chemical to glyphosate will only give farmers one mode of action if they already have glyphosate-resistant weeds, Scott said. Farmers should also remember that there’s “no reverse selection pressure” for weed resistance, he said. Weeds will remain resistant in the years to come. Scott has a research plot with pigweed that is resistant to three modes of action. Two were selected for in the ’80s and ’90s, he said.

Scott rarely recommends a single mode of action these days. Even with the Liberty Link system, he suggests residuals to get multiple modes of action. Farmers can get up to four modes of action out of that system, none of which have widespread resistance, he said.

While the Liberty Link system has helped Arkansas farmers, Scott said it’s being abused, too. For example, some people are spraying too late. A 12-day difference in application can mean the difference between 75 per cent and 100 per cent control, he said.

Three or four years of residuals and concerted efforts to cut the seed bank make a big difference when it comes to knocking down pigweed on a farm, he said. Controlling glyphosate-resistant pigweed has forced farmers to manage other resistant weeds, too, and they haven’t been finding new resistant weeds lately, he said.

Scott sees crops that can tolerate several modes of action in the future. He’s had an early look at Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend system, which includes glyphosate and dicamba. Scott said it’s very good technology. It even cleaned up his resistant pigweed patch.

But, he added, it “scares the living fire out of me.” The system only has one mode of action for glyphosate-resistant pigweed. He does, however, see a fit for Xtend in a resistance management program that has other modes of action.

Asked whether he’s concerned about volunteers that are resistant to multiple modes of action, Scott said so far they’ve been able to control volunteers with different herbicides.

“When we do start stacking these traits, that won’t be the case. And that is a really big concern,” he said.

But BASF has decided not to with ALS tolerance, he said, so that farmers can control volunteers. “So I actually hope that between Dow and Monsanto, they’ll leave one trait out so that the other can be controlled.”


Mosquito repellant plants

Mosquito Repellent Plants To Grow At Home

mosquito repelling plants
Six mosquito repelling plants to grow in your garden – these plants also repel other biting insects such as: gnats, ticks & fleas; and some of the plants protect other plants from aphids & mites etc.

Planting some mosquito repellent plants provide a great opportunity to get out in the garden and plant some plants which are a perfect mix of beauty and functionality. Some people are sceptical about using plants to repel insects, whilst others are 100% convinced of the insect repelling properties of many garden plants. Afterall the number one best selling barbecue/garden insect products are citronella candles that are made from citronella grass.

The thing is – if you take natural plant based insect repellents out of the equation; the only really option is DEET based products. There are serious health concerns about the toxic effects of DEET as it is absorbed into the body through your skin. Children are thought to be most at risk from side effects, as children’s skin absorbs more DEET than an adult’s. Sure, DEET has its place and it is even vital in certain situations and locations, but I think it is always worthwhile to also consider natural cures and solutions rather than just reaching for the pharmaceutical option each and every time.

At the end of the day, if you plant some of the plants listed below, at the very least you’ll be getting some pretty plants that smell beautiful. If however you are still not convinced by using plants to repel insects, why not check out: All Terrain Herbal Armor DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellent, it is biodegradable, cruelty – free, and contains no petrochemicals or animal by products.

Citronella grass

Citronella grass is an old favourite; everyone knows it is commonly used as an insect repellent in outdoor candles, which are used around outdoor eating and seating areas. Citronella grass is a great mosquito repellent and it can be planted and used in a similar way as citronella candles, to keep flying insects away.

For best results, plant citronella grass in the garden and use in conjunction with feverfew and lavender.

Additionally, citronella grass has also been found to have a calming effect on barking dogs, which is worth considering if you have a dog which barks excessively day and night. Your neighbours might thank you for at least giving it a try!


Feverfew is great for repelling mosquitoes and other flying biting insects. It is ideal for planting around outdoor seating areas, pathways and close to doorways and windows; for maximum benefit, plant in conjunction with citronella grass and lavender (see below).

In addition to its insect repellent qualities, feverfew also has many medicinal uses. It is historically used to help treat nervous disorders, headaches and it also works as a laxative and helps ease bloating.

Pyrethrum also known as Chrysanthemum

Pyrethrum helps to repel a whole host of insects and bugs, including: aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, harlequin bugs and ticks.

Pyrethrum is best used as a ‘companion plant’ to protect other plants with its insect repellent properties. It is planted close to plants which are affected by the insects above.

Additionally a natural pesticide can be made with pyrethrum flowers. The flowers need to be dried and crushed and mixed with water. It is beyond the scope of this article to give specific instructions on potency etc., so please carry out further research before trying this, as even though the pesticide is completely natural, it can still be harmful to humans in certain situations.


Pennyroyal helps to repel mosquitoes, gnats and also ticks and fleas!

Pennyroyal is often used in commercial natural insect repellent creams and sprays. Pennyroyal is great to plant in the garden, but it is best utilized as a topical insect repellent applied to the skin.

If you crush pennyroyal leaves and rub them onto your skin, this acts as an effective insect repellent.  Additionally, you can also crush the stems and put them in pockets, bags and hats.

Crushed pennyroyal leaves and stems can also be rubbed on dogs to help repel ticks and fleas. Actually you will often see dogs rubbing in pennyroyal patches when outdoors.


Lavender is most useful for repelling mosquitoes and gnats when planted in the garden; it can also be planted in pots and placed by doorways and windows.  As with feverfew and citronella grass; lavender is best planted in the garden around seated and eating areas and also around windows and doors.

Cut and or dried lavender can also be placed on windowsills to stop mosquitoes entering the house. Additionally, dried lavender flowers can also be used in wardrobes to repel moths and keep clothes smelling fresh.

Lavender also smells amazing and has many medicinal properties, it aids relaxation and helps promote restful sleep.


As with pyrethrum, marigolds are best used as a ‘companion plant’ to help protect other plants; however, marigolds do also have some mosquito repellent properties, so it’s a bit of an all-rounder.

Marigolds contain a chemical compound called thiopenes in the roots. This plant repels aphids, cabbage maggots, white flies and many other pests. Marigolds are particularly good at protecting tomato plants.

If you suffer from inflammation these foods might help

10 Foods That Fight Inflammation

The body’s inflammatory response isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Inflammation is one of our defense mechanisms and creates increased blood flow to a damaged area to fight infection and promote healing. This is acute inflammation. It’s the chronic kind — that sticks around for months and years — that we really need to worry about.

The diseases (in order) that kill the most people in the United States are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke. Accidents are right behind, followed by Alzheimer’s disease. Many people are surprised to learn there’s a lot they can do to help lower their risk of developing these illnesses, and diet plays a huge role.

All of the diseases listed above have an inflammatory component, and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and fibromyalgia, also involve inflammation. Minimizing the inflammation in your body can lower your risk of developing these illnesses. And the fact that you can do it through food means you can do a lot to protect yourself!

Before we get into which foods fight inflammation, it’s important to highlight the foods that cause it. Added sugars, refined carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats all cause inflammation in the body, so it’s smart to minimize them. Reducing sodium to the recommended 2,300 milligrams per day is also important to help lower your risk of developing high blood pressure.

Adding the following foods to your diet can help to cut down on inflammation. Try incorporating these ingredients into your diet a few times each week.

Olives/Olive Oil

Olive polyphenols have been shown to lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker for determining the likelihood of inflammation in the body.

Add it: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over hot pasta and whole grains, and add olives to salads, pizza and grain dishes.

Tart Cherries

Studies show that these delicious, tart-sweet cherries can reduce pain from arthritis and post-exercise soreness. One study showed the fruit has the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.

Add it: Look for tart dried cherries and tart cherry juice. Add tart cherry juice to breakfast smoothies, or sprinkle dried tart cherries over your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt.


This deep marigold root is a component of curry and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to be beneficial in treating the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and stomach ulcers.

Add it: You can add a teaspoon of ground turmeric to smoothies, and use it in curries and soups.

Red Onions

This vegetable contains the flavonoid quercetin, which has been found to have antioxidant andanti-inflammatory properties.

Add it: Caramelized red onions are a wonderful addition to pizza, salads and pasta dishes. Slices of raw red onion add a burst of flavor to burgers, pasta salad and sandwiches.

Red/Purple/Green Grapes

Grapes contain a mix of antioxidants, including flavonoids and resveratrol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is a potent antioxidant. Resveratrol shows promise in helping to combat a range of maladies, from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases to cancer to aging.

Add it: Freeze grapes and eat them as a snack, use them whole in smoothies or halve and add to salads.

Chia Seeds

Chia contains alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods. ALA has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Add it: Sprinkle over yogurt and cereal, or use to make chia pudding.


The compound sulforaphane in broccoli may help prevent the formation of cancer cells by killing off potential carcinogens. Sulforaphane may also block enzymes linked to joint destruction and inflammation.

Add it: Whatever you do with broccoli, don’t overcook it! It’s best lightly sautéed or steamed until al dente. Add it to salads and pasta dishes, or simply serve it as a side dish with sautéed garlic.


The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and other fatty fish such as tuna and sardines help reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Add it: Eat at least one to two servings per week of fatty fish.Try it grilled, baked, poached and pan-seared. It’s delicious!


Long know for its anti-nausea benefits, ginger also boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. In studies, ginger has been shown to relieve pain and stiffness in knee joints.

Add it: Fresh ginger is a great way to add some pep to a smoothie or a homemade dressing. It’s also wonderful grated over cooked salmon, or steeped in hot water to make a soothing tea.


These little blue fruits contain anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that fights inflammation and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Thanks to their polyphenol content (including anthocyanins), blueberries are quite promising for helping to reverse age-related declines in cognitive and motor function.

Add it: It’s easy to add these sweet berries to smoothies and to sprinkle them over cereal, oatmeal and salads.

In addition to the foods above, make sure to eat in color and load your plate with brightly colored produce. Here’s to less pain and hopefully, a longer, healthier life!

Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, is a best-selling author and nationally recognized health expert, and the former Food and Nutrition Director at Health magazine for nearly eight years. Prior to that, she was part of the editorial team at the Discovery Health Channel and was managing editor at Frances is the author of Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide and co-author of the best-selling The CarbLovers Diet and The CarbLovers Diet Cookbook. Her cookbook, Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family will be published in January 2014. Frances earned her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and completed her dietetic internship at Columbia University in New York.