Saturday, May 1, 2021

Nigerian Ibo (Igbo) Fertility Prayer

Fellow men, we shall all live,
Earth Goddess, hear.
Whoever plants, let him dig up and eat,
Earth Goddess, hear.
We shall give birth to sons,
Earth Goddess, hear.
We shall give birth to daughters,
Earth Goddess, hear.
We shall train them, Earth Goddess, hear.
When we are old they will feed us,
Earth Goddess, hear.
Whoever sees us with an evil eye,
When he plants may the floods sweep his mounds away.
Whoever wishes us evil,
May he break his fist on the ground.
We are broody hens, we have chicks.
We do not fly up,
We look after our brood.
We do not eye others with an evil eye.
This big-headed thing (child) that came home yesterday,
He is yet a seed.
If you wish that he germinates
And grows to be a tree,
We shall be ever thankful.
Earth Goddess, hear;
He will grow to be like his stock.

Aylward Shorter, W.F.

This prayer is part of a hand-washing ceremony that Ibo women perform at the birth of a child. The women pray for fertility for crops and children. The women beat their hands together while reciting, "Earth Goddess, hear."

Dawn Pisturino, RN
May 1, 2021
Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

What is Medi-Honey?


Everybody loves the thick, syrupy sweetness of honey. But did you know that it's also good for you?

Honey has a long history. The Ancient Greeks were the first beekeepers. They revered the golden liquid as "mortal man's nectar," considered it the food of the gods, and used it extensively in religious rituals, cooking, beauty products, and medicine. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, highly recommended honey for its nutritional and medicinal properties. The Ancient Greek naturalist Theophrastus claimed that honey had "a calming effect on elephants, eunuchs, parrots, and temperamental cooks."

Apitherapy refers to the therapeutic use of honey. Over the course of history, honey has been used as a remedy for indigestion, insomnia, anxiety and stress, headaches, coughs and colds, generalized weakness and fatigue, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and skin wounds.

Here are a few recommended uses for honey:

Need to relax? Just mix a small amount of honey and lavender oil together and add it to your bath water.

To relieve a sore throat, mix honey, lemon, and black pepper together. For a cough or other minor respiratory complaint, add a small amount of freshly-chopped thyme.

Looking for a natural hair conditioner? Mix honey and olive oil together, massage it into your hair, and leave it in for a minute or two. Then thoroughly wash your hair.

Apply a small amount of honey to a minor cut or abrasion and cover with a sterile dressing. Honey contains inhibine, a substance known to kill germs and prevent infection. Before the invention of antibiotics, honey poultices were used on wounded soldiers on the battlefield during both World Wars.

Due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant microbes, honey is making a comeback as an effective treatment for wounds.

Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany have been using medi-honey as an alternative to antibiotics to treat serious wounds. They have discovered that dead tissue sloughs off sooner, and healthy tissue regenerates more quickly. Dressings don't stick to the wounds, and the honey helps to reduce foul odors. Medi-honey does not produce resistance to microbes and effectively kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA.

An enzyme called glucose-oxidase allows small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to be produced from the sugars in honey. This kills infection-causing germs without damaging healthy tissue. Chronic wounds, such as diabetic ulcers, have been found to heal in a few weeks using medi-honey.

Two dozen hospitals in Germany are now using medi-honey in their wound care programs.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
June 13, 2007

Copyright 2007-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Classic Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day


                                                                  Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce

1 corned beef brisket (about 4 pounds) with spice packet

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 bay leaves

3-1/2 pounds small potatoes, halved crosswise

8 medium carrots, halved crosswise

1 medium head of cabbage, cut into wedges

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. cider vinegar

Place brisket, contents of seasoning packet, brown sugar and bay leaves in a large Dutch oven or stockpot; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

Add potatoes and carrots; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, just until beef and vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes. 

Add cabbage to pot; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove vegetables and corned beef; keep warm.

For horseradish sauce, strain and reserve 1-1/2 cups cooking juices; skim fat from reserved juices. Discard remaining juices. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in 1 cup reserved juices. Stir in sugar, vinegar and horseradish; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened. If desired, thin with additional juices and season to taste with additional sugar, vinegar, or horseradish.

Cut corned beef across the grain into slices. Serve with vegetables and sauce.

Classic Irish Soda Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. cold butter, cubed

2 large eggs, room temperature, divided use

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, whisk together 1 egg and buttermilk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in raisins.

Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead gently 6-8 times. Shape into a 6-1/2 inch round loaf; place on a greased baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cross in top of loaf. Whisk remaining egg; brush over top.

Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm with butter.

All recipes from

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, December 25, 2020

The Gingerbread Boy

Gingerbread is such an integral part of Christmas that it may surprise some people to learn that the first gingerbread recipe came from the Greeks in 2400 B.C. The Chinese followed next in the 10th century. But it was the Europeans -- particularly, the Germans -- who turned gingerbread into a high form of art. Cookies decorated with gold leaf were a symbol of English nobility and royalty under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Gingerbread cookies were so popular by the late Middle Ages that Gingerbread Fairs became a popular form of entertainment. Germans began creating gingerbread houses in the 16th century. The story of Hansel and Gretel may have been inspired by gingerbread or gingerbread may have been inspired by Hansel and Gretel! Nobody knows for sure.

A well-known children's folk tale is The Gingerbread Man or Gingerbread Boy, depending on the teller.


Now, you shall hear a story that somebody's great-great-grandmother told a little girl ever so many years ago:

There was once a little old man and a little old woman who lived in a little old house on the edge of a wood. They would have been a very happy old couple but for one thing -- they had no little child, and they wished for one very much. One day, when the old little woman was baking bread, she cut a cake in the shape of a little boy, and put it in the oven.

Presently, she went to the oven to see if it was baked. As soon as the oven door was opened, the little gingerbread boy jumped out and began to run away as fast as he could go.

The little old woman called her husband, and they both ran after him. But they could not catch him. And soon the gingerbread boy came to a barn full of threshers. He called out to them as he went by, saying:

"I've run away from a little old woman,

A little old man,

And I can run away from you, I can!"

Then the mowers began to run after him, but they couldn't catch him. And he ran on 'til he came to a cow. He called out to her:

"I've run away from a little old woman,

A little old man,

A barn full of threshers,

A field full of mowers,

And I can run away from you, I can!"

But, though the cow started at once, she couldn't catch him. Soon he came to a pig. He called out to the pig:

"I've run away from a little old woman,

A little old man,

A barn full of threshers,

A field full of mowers,

A cow,

-- And I can run away from you, I can!"

But the pig ran and couldn't catch him. And he ran 'til he came across a fox, and to him he called out:

"I've run away from a little old woman,

A little old man,

A barn full of threshers,

A field full of mowers,

A cow and a pig,

And I can run away from you, I can!"

Then the fox set out to run. Now foxes can run very fast, and so the fox soon caught the gingerbread boy and began to eat him up.

Presently, the gingerbread boy said: "O dear! I'm a quarter gone!" And then: "Oh, I'm half gone!"

And soon: "I'm three-quarters gone!" And, at last: "I'm all gone!" and never spoke again.

Traditional Folk Tale

St. Nicholas Magazine, 1875


Dawn Pisturino

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Butter Thief


Many years ago, a little boy named Krishna lived in a small village in India.

Every morning, the women of the village would milk the cows and churn the thick, sweet cream into a golden butter. Then they would place the butter into cool clay pots.

Krishna loved butter. One day, he sneaked into a neighbor's hut and stole the pot full of butter.

Sitting under a shady tree, Krishna shared the butter with some hungry monkeys. When they were all full, he threw the pot on the ground and broke it.

The next day, Krishna sneaked into another hut in the village. But the pot full of butter was sitting on a high shelf. Krishna could not reach it. He stacked some wooden boxes under the shelf. Then he climbed up the boxes and stole the pot full of butter.

Krishna shared the butter with his friend Balarama. They had fun smearing butter on each other's faces. When they were both full, Krishna threw the pot into some bushes.

The next day, Krishna sneaked into another hut in the village. But the pot full of butter was hanging from the ceiling. Krishna could not reach it. He could not find any wooden boxes to stand on. But in the corner of the hut, Krishna found a long wooden stick. He broke the pot with the stick and ate all the butter.

As Krishna was licking butter from his fingers, a young woman entered the hut.

"Krishna, why have you stolen all the butter?" she said.

"Why do you accuse me of stealing?" Krishna asked. "There is plenty of butter in the village."

The women of the village complained to Krishna's mother. She saw the butter on Krishna's face.

"Open your mouth and let me see," she said to Krishna.

Krishna opened his mouth. But instead of teeth, tongue, and tonsils, Krishna's mother saw the whole universe. She saw the sun, the moon, and all the planets. She saw all the stars in the Milky Way. She saw the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. She saw comets shooting across the sky.

Krishna's mother was amazed at what she saw, but she thought it was all a dream. She scolded him for stealing the butter then held him on her lap. 

The next morning, the women of the village found all their pots full of sweet golden butter. And they were never empty again.

Dawn Pisturino
Copyright 2008-2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Eat That Parsley!


The next time you go to a restaurant, don't neglect the parsley on the side of your plate. Eat it!

Herbalists have been aware of the medicinal properties of parsley for 2,000 years. The Ancient Greeks used the seeds and roots as a diuretic. During the Middle Ages, parsley wine was recommended as a remedy for poor circulation. Traditional folk medicine has used parsley to regulate menstruation, ease kidney stones, relieve stomach cramps and nausea, and to bring new life into dull, limp hair.

Parsley is a carminative which soothes the digestive tract, stimulates peristalsis, and reduces gas. It contains volatile oils which stimulate the appetite, aid digestion, and improve metabolism.

Parsley contains an essential oil, called apiole, which stimulates the kidneys and promotes the elimination of uric acid.

Due to its strong diuretic action, parsley is an excellent herb to use for detoxifying the liver, relieving bloating, and cleansing the urinary tract.

Parsley contains many important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A nd C, iron, folic acid, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorous.

Used regularly, parsley may lower heart rate and blood pressure and help to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Parsley is an  excellent breath freshener, especially when eaten after a meal. Histidine, an amino acid found in parsley, is believed by researchers to fight tumors.

Pregnant women should avoid eating large amounts of parsley because it contains elements which may stimulate uterine contractions. After childbirth, however, those same elements help to contract the uterus to its normal size and to increase lactation.

Parsley is most commonly used in cooking as a garnish. It may be added to sauces, pasta, and salads; or sprinkled over potatoes and fish. The best choice for cooking is fresh Italian parsley.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
May 31, 2007

Copyright 2007-2020 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.