Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
September 30th, 2011


Sure.  Why not?

We know that many of our time-honored medications are derived from plants.   If there is a plant in Australia that has been used for years to get rid of cancerous skin lesions, it really should be looked  into.   After all, “Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world, at nearly four times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK.”  They might be onto something.

Ten years ago I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my forehead.  The very fact that I am fair, blue-eyed, have freckles and burn easily makes me prone to actinic keratoses, skin changes thought to often lead to skin cancer.  My daughter has the same predisposition though she hasn’t had 88 years like I’ve had to develop much of anything in the way of skin lesions.    Nevertheless, she likes to be on the cutting edge of nutritional and medical findings and has taken an interest in petty spurge (Euphorbia peplus) and its potential for dissolving skin cancers.

Needless to say, dermatologists are also interested.

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

There were several interesting posters from Australia presented at the meeting that detailed a new topical medication: PEP005. This topical medicine is derived from the sap of the petty spurge (Euphorbia peplus). While not detailed in the poster, it was known to me that the milky sap of this plant was used in England during the 17th through 19th centuries as a treatment for warts.[8] The Australian researchers used this particular isolate to treat superficial basal cell skin cancer (sBCC) and actinic keratosis (AK), using daily dosing for 2 days, with approximate 70% and 80% clearance rates, respectively.[9,10] Adverse effects (eg, erythema, dryness, flaking, scabbing, crusting) were low, and no systemic absorption was detected. Based on these preliminary data, the investigators stated that additional testing is indicated, which may eventually add to the growing armamentarium of topical agents for sBCC and AK.

Pharmaceutical companies are conducting clinical trials:


Peplin is a development stage specialty pharmaceutical company focused on advancing and commercialising innovative medical dermatology products. Peplin is currently developing ingenol mebutate, or PEP005, which is a novel compound derived from the sap of Euphorbia peplus, or E. peplus, a rapidly growing, readily available plant commonly referred to as petty spurge or radium weed. E. peplus has a long history of traditional use for a variety of conditions, including the topical self-treatment of various skin disorders, including skin cancer and pre-cancerous skin lesions. Peplin’s lead product candidate is a patient-applied topical gel containing ingenol mebutate, a compound the use of which Peplin has patented for the treatment of actinic (solar) keratosis, or AK. This product candidate referred to as PEP005 (ingenol mebutate) Gel is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, having just completed their first Phase 3, known as REGION-Ia.

Roaming the internet, I found some before and after photos of one person’s experiments with using the milky sap of petty spurge.

Doesn’t all this just beg for further investigation?  My daughter, Terry, was intrigued and she had already ordered and planted petty spurge seeds by the time she first told me about the wonders of Euphorbia Peplus.  In just a few weeks she had full-grown plants – the mature plant is only about 8 to 10 inches tall, probably why it is called “petty.”  And, sure enough, if you remove a leaf the raw surface will ooze a white milky droplet.

We tried it on various body bumps that we knew were not malignant.  On arms or legs the spot would redden a little, sting a bit or itch, and crust over.  On the face it was much more biologically active, with widespread reddening and some swelling which probably explains why clinical trials (as far as I can tell) have so far not included the face.

The time came when I noted a lesion on my right cheek which seemed to have no intention of healing.  It was quite small, no bigger than a grain of rice, and I asked Terry to put a drop of spurge sap on it.  That was on Monday, September 13.  Here is what happened:

9/13:  Slight redness, started to sting in the middle of the night.

9/14:  Swelling and redness of entire right cheek.

9/15:  Lesion started to ooze, applied bandaid.

9/16:  Crater in the center of the area about the width of a pencil eraser.

9/17:  Settling down.

9/18:  Starting to itch.

9/19:  Scab on surface, washed.

9/20: Scab starts to flake around the edges, no more bandaid.

9/21:  Scab diminishing to diameter of pencil eraser.

9/22:  Scab off, surface smooth.

It is now September 25.  It seems to be gone.





September 29th, 2011


Inspiration. Is there such a thing? From whence? Etymologically, “inspiration” means a “breathing in.”

You have to wonder, when you learn that Australians for years have been using the milky sap from the weed Petty Surge for the treatment of skin lesions, why on earth it ever occured to them to do such a thing.

Folklore is filled with plant remedies for one thing or another. Some of them work. We know aspirin was derived from willowbark, digitalis from foxglove, morphine from poppies. Ginger is good for nausea. Cannabis (marijuana) has well-known medical and psychological effects.

Hippocrates is said to have left historical records of pain relief treatments, including the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help heal headaches, pains and fevers.

Researchers have also suggested that white willow bark is more effective than aspirin because of other active compounds that are found in the bark but not the drug. Animal research at Cairo University compared a willow bark extract to ASA and found that a willow bark extract was as effective as aspirin in reducing inflammation, even though the salicin content was lower than an equivalent dose of ASA.


It is not surprising that when a particular plant is shown to have desirable effects that the news would spread by word of mouth.   What surprises me – what causes my wonderment – is how these benefits were discovered in the first place.  Willow bark, for example, is apparently subjected to  decoction, i.e., the extraction of the effective element by hot water treatment.   Why would it occur to  anyone do such a thing?   Why not oak bark, maple bark, cedar bark, poplar bark?  Why not the leaves?  Whatever prompted someone to boil up willow bark?

And those petty spurge treatments for skin lesions in Australia.   When someone first discovered that the stems would ooze a milky sap, how did it occur to him/her to apply it to a skin cancer?  Is there such a thing as inspiration?

Inspiration?   I’ve written about the gift of prophecy before.   I’ve known people to come out with things they never expected to say.  I’ve had words just drop into my mind myself.  And what I’m wondering is whether people are actually “inspired” to use particular plants or unusual concoctions for various illnesses.   Is that how it all got started?

I am reminded of a story told about George Washington Carver:

The story is told that George Washington Carver had a sincere desire to help southern farmers rebound from the ravages of the Civil War and years of the soil being depleted by the planting of cotton. He couldn’t get away from the idea that the answer could be found in peanuts and sweet potatoes. Being a godly man, he prayed that God would reveal to him the secrets of the universe. He told his friends that God replied, “Little man, you’re too small to grasp the secrets of the universe. But I will show you the secret of the peanut.”

What a fascinating biography!

Carver set about enlarging the commercial possibilities of the peanut and sweet potato through a long and ingenious program of laboratory research. He ultimately developed 300 derivative products from peanuts—among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils, and cosmetics—and 118 from sweet potatoes, including flour, vinegar, molasses, rubber, ink, a synthetic rubber, and postage stamp glue.

Artists of one sort or another will say that a particular song, invention,  idea, whatever – “just came to me.”  The idea has to be welcomed, and oftentimes has to be worked on, enhanced, shaped, but the original thought “just came.”

I am quite fond of a quote from Pascal which says,” There is enough light for those who want to see and enough darkness for those who are otherwise inclined.”   Or, to put it another way, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

Are we the happy recipients of input from an “inspirer”?   Or are our happy insights the results of the purposeless random rearrangement of molecules in our brains?

Just wondering.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowlege him and he will direct your path. — Proverbs 3:5-6

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. — James 1:5

I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed at the moment I am inspired to create something new… Without God to draw aside the curtain I would be helpless. — George Washington Carver



For those who would like to read about phytotherapy, The WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants, Volumes 1 and 2 make fascinating browsing.  Herbalism has quite a history.

September 26th, 2011


Do you know who Adolf Hitler was? Many people today haven’t a clue.
Was there really a holocaust? Was it wrong? Why?
Is there really an abortion holocaust? When is abortion right? Why?
Do you think there is a God? Is there a hell? Where will you go when you die?

This is a powerful video, with real people, talking about important things.
Dare to watch. Dare to think.

September 25th, 2011


GLORY TO GOD! More 9-11 first responders! I hadn’t seen this before and I’ll bet you haven’t either. There is real goodness in many people. On 9/11/01 over 500,000 people were rescued from Manhattan by boat in 9 hours!

September 17th, 2011


Just for a hopefully uplifting change of pace we have here a verse from an old poem and a scene from an old movie — the kind of thing we oldsters were raised with!

Here is the first verse of the poem Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Bob Hope was 52 (1903-2003) and Jimmy Cagney (1899-1996) was 56 when this scene from The Seven Little Foys was filmed. These “youngsters” can show modern tappers a thing or two. And yet, they were not known primarily for their dancing!  Go ahead!  Laugh!   Enjoy!


Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.   —  Anthony Burgess British composer

September 11th, 2011


How did it feel to be a prisoner in Auschwitz, always cold, always hungry, always less than human?

How did it feel to be in a rehabilitation center, an alcoholic, a drug addict, a criminal?

If it is possible, through the simple art of telling, to allow another person to understand the awful reality of these sufferings, I believe these two books come as close as possible to accomplishing that feat.

Survival in Auschwitz,
previously called If This is a Man, was translated from the Italian (Se Questo e un Homo) in 1958 by Giulio Einaudi, and written by Primo Levi who was in Auschwitz in 1944. Levi lived in Turin, Italy, from 1919 to 1987. He was an Italian citizen of the Jewish race and spent ten months in a concentration camp until he was liberated by the Red army.   Six hundred  Italian Jews entered at that time. Twenty left.

In October, 1944, he writes:

We know what it means because we were here last winter, and the others will soon learn. It means that in the course of these months, from October till April, seven out of ten of us will die.   Whoever does not die will suffer minute by minute, all day, every day:  from the morning before dawn until the distribution of the evening soup, we will have to keep our muscles continually tensed, dance from foot to foot, beat our arms under our shoulders against the cold..

This is a sickening, raw, day by day account of man’s inhumanity to man.  He adds:  “To me it seems unnecessary to add that none of the facts are invented.”  With good reason this book is said to be required reading for many courses and curriculums throughout the world.

A Million Little Pieces

I watched the Oprah program in which she told author James Frey how upset she was to find out that this “autobiographical” book was embellished and sometimes fabricated to make a better story.  “I wanted the stories in the book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require,”  Frey says.  Somehow the interview made me want to read A Million Little Pieces and my daughter was kind enough to give it to me for my birthday.

That said, it is apparent that there is a lot of “been there, done that” in Frey’s story and he knows whereof he writes.  This national bestseller is also the most vulgar book I’ve ever read with what sometimes seems  to be an “in your face” vulgarity.    It seems that every other word is fuck.  What kept me reading it to the end?

First, James wants to get clean but wants to do it on his own, with his own will power.  James’ counselor tells him that no one gets clean and stays clean who doesn’t take seriously the Twelve Steps Program. James feels that relying on a Higher Power (of any name or kind) is just another kind of addiction.  He does find comfort with a little book about Tao which has an acceptance philosophy that appeals to him.  “What is, is.  Let it be.”   Will he finally turn to some higher power?   Will he stay clean to the end?

Second, James fall in love with another patient, the beautiful but damaged Lily.  It is against the rules of the Treatment Center to hob-nob with the women.   Will they, can they, finally find happiness together?

I just finished the book and it is a gripping read.  For lack of a better term it might be called a fictionalized autobiography.  I’d be willing to bet my bottom dollar that the incident with the priest is fiction.  But if you want to learn about the day-by-day,  hour-by-hour and sometimes minute-by-minute life of an addict in Rehab, this book delivers.




But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people).  Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful  talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness.  — Ephesians 5:3-4

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. — Colossians 3:8

September 6th, 2011


All I wanted to do was send a blessing to my Facebook friends in the form of a video clip of John McCormack singing the song that begins:

Dear Lord, Kind Lord, Gracious Lord I pray
Thou wilt look on all I love tenderly today….

But I couldn’t find it anyplace. So I substituted a few McCormack selections for those who haven’t met him. Please don’t think he sings nothing but cute Irish ditties. McCormack was an operatic tenor who did a magnificant job with Il mio tesoro, Una furtive lagrima, Ave Maria, Panic Angelicus, etc. My husband loved him and it rubbed off on me.
Little Boy Blue

The Garden Where the Praties Grow

The Barefoot Trail

The Angel’s Serenade


September 5th, 2011


It was about thirty years ago that the reality of media bias first hit home. I was becoming a pro-life activist and had finally made the six hour trek to Washington DC to protest legalized abortion and stand for the right to life of every human being. The crowd was awesome! People came on buses from the mid-west and the south, whole familes, whole schools, every ethnicity, every color, Jews, Christians, and just plain pro-lifers. When I stood before the Supreme Court and looked down the avenue there were people marching as far as the eye could see, curb to curb, singing, praying, witnessing. It was estimated that several hundred thousand were present and I looked forward to reading all about it in my local paper where I hoped to learn the official estimate of the crowd size.

Duh. Now I know. Don’t expect anything like decent coverage just because several hundred thousand are amassed. Inside my home newspaper (nothing on the front page, of course) were two black and white photos, one of a few pro-lifers holding their signs, another of a couple who were pro-choice. I imagine they called that coverage fair and balanced. I didn’t remember seeing any pro-choicers at all. The reporter surely had to hunt for them!

Since then I’ve read time and time again that mainstream media (MSM) leans heavily to the left. Of course those on the left think that is nonsense and of course they think we conservatives don’t know what we’re talking about.

Tim Groseclose, Ph. D.,  author of the recently published Left Turn:    How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, thinks that within political science there is a small area of real science in which truths can be demonstrated with graphs and mathematics.  It is possible to accurately quantify the number of times an event is reported and the minutes spent reporting it. He has come up with what he calls a PQ (political quotient) which is a valuable indication of bias in media or in politicians.

According to Groseclose media bias is more a sin of omission rather than deliberate inaccuracy. They cover what suits their ideology. You hear nothing about evidence to the contrary.

Another such book is Bias:  A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News, by Bernard Goldberg (2003).  He followed this by A Slobbering Love Affair:  The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media (2009). An award-winning journalist several times over, Goldberg is now with Fox News.

On August 28, 2010, Glenn Beck held the Restoring Honor rally in Washington DC. I was impressed enough to blog about it, calling it a “watershed event.”   I know better now than to be disappointed that it got little press or TV coverage.

Those who rely on television and newspapers are going to get a severely skewed picture of what is actually going on in the world. Were it not for blogs, social media and radio would there, could there, be a Tea Party?

Last month over a million young folk from around the world gathered for a week in Madrid, Spain, to pray and to listen. It seems to me that would be a matter of great import. But did you hear about it?

World Youth Day, Madrid, 2011

Keep tuned, but not just to MSM.  At the above World Youth Day Pope Benedict told the young folks that they “will be swimming against the tide in a society with a relativistic culture which wishes neither to seek nor hold on to the truth.”  Right on,  Benny!

September 2nd, 2011

ANOTHER Planned Parenthood CLOSES

Ramona Trevino, former manager of a Planned Parenthood facility in Sherman TX witnesses to the power of prayer. National Director of 40 Days for Life, David Bereit is on hand to help celebrate the closing of yet another Planned Parenthood as its manager testifies to the power of prayer in her life, leading her to abandon her job.