Bad Germs Can't Beat Good Habits

It is contrary to the American work ethic to take naps.  If you call someone in the middle of the day and they sound groggy or hoarse you suspect they’ve been napping.  When someone wakes me, I sometimes feel that they are embarrassed as if they caught me at something unmentionable.  It is not too bad for a midwife, though, because people figure you get your “proper” sleep interrupted so often that you deserve a nap.  Ahh.  But what is “proper” sleep? Before we determine when and how much sleep is proper we must ask the question, “what is the purpose for sleep?”


Some people think of sleep as a necessary evil and others as a luxury.  But sleep is needed for good health.  Sleep nourishes the nervous system by allowing a time of rest, limiting nerve energy expenditures.  God has designed the nervous system to keep us alive, in spite of ourselves.  Think of all our motor reflexes and innate drives.  Pain causes us to retract before we even know what caused the pain.  And our hunger keeps us from starving to death.  Our conscious mind allows us to receive and process information, to communicate with others, and most of all to fellowship with our heavenly Father.


The nervous system is always running.  If it failed to orchestrate all the automatic functions in the body, we would die.  Think of nerve energy as money in your bank account.  Each time you sleep you make deposits; and the physical and mental stresses each day make withdrawals of varying sizes.  If you become overdrawn you are penalized with lack of well-being.  The more overdrawn you become the more the problems are compounded.  If you only make your usual deposits without decreasing your withdrawals you will reach a crisis.  This crisis is an illness brought on by the body to force a rest on you.  When you are sick you eat less, relieving the body of digestive stress; mucous production traps waste products, cleaning house and reducing stress; and fever increases blood circulation, making repairs and reducing stress.  And you sleep more, increasing nerve energy deposits.  The only way to restore nerve energy is in sleep.  Therefore we must get adequate sleep.


Adequate sleep varies from person to person.  The basic rule is if you are tired; sleep.  I can hear what you are thinking:  But that is so lazy!  I did not say lay around, I said sleep.  You must earn your sleep.  Even when you are ill, daily exercise is beneficial.  (You should work up a sweat every day.)  We must begin to work hard, play hard, and sleep hard.  If you can, go to bed when it gets dark.  And rise with the sun.  This will easily give you 8 hours of sleep in the summer and 12 hours in the winter.  There is a lot more stress on the body during the winter months.  If not, take a fifteen or twenty minute nap in the late morning or afternoon.  Set an alarm clock and get up when it goes up.  These quick naps will help your energy level, as coffee will not.  If you are already debilitated by poor habits or poisoning from the chemicals in your food, it may take several naps a day for weeks to see results.

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Mother Hubbard's Herb Cupboard

Slippery Elm

The inner bark of the Slippery Elm tree has been used for many ailments; such as bronchitis, colitis, constipation, gas, diarrhea, coughs, flu, diverticulitis, dysentery, ulcers, eczema, hemorrhoids, tonsillitis, and lung congestion.  It can be administered as a decoction, syrup, or gruel, as well as by enema or douche.  And any herb that you might want to use in a plaster can be mixed into a paste of Slippery Elm and spread over the skin.  It is very nutritive and can be beneficial in many wasting diseases.

Parts used: inner bark

Systems affected:  all

Properties:  Demulcent, Emollient, Nutritive, astringent.  Make a paste by adding a small amount of cold water to 1 tsp. of the powder.  Add up to a pint of boiling water until desired consistency is reached.  This mixture will thicken.

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