By Cory Quirino
Inquirer News Service
THREE THOUSAND years ago, the scriptures described how certain foods performed miracle cures. Hundreds of ancient natural remedies for hundreds of ailments are available.
This plant, which sheltered the Virgin Mary in her flight to Egypt, contains six chemicals that protect your vision.
Romero, the Pilgrims Flower, is now known as rosemary. A member of the mint family, it, together with lemon balm, is associated with long life. Drinking rosemary tea can help fight cataract. Add ½ ounce of rosemary to one pint of boiled water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink. The drink is also great for headaches and migraine.
Rosemary wine calms the heart and eases edema of the limbs. It can be added to white wine and left for four days. A small glass between meals should give relief.
For failing memory, rosemary tea is also supposed to be good. It also helps relax stiff joints and energize the body.
Boil in 1-3/4 pint of water a handful of rosemary petals. Mix with your bath water. This is a mixture soak. Rosemary can awaken the senses.
One of the better known bitter herbs of the Last Supper has an oil that can give relief to tension headache in 15 minutes simply by wiping it on your forehead.
Peppermint oil is a fast-acting aspirin with no side effects. It is good for headaches and tennitis (ringing in the ear). As an anesthetic and antiseptic, emergency relief can be had with just a few drops to the tooth or gum.
Menthol dissolves gallstones. It is known to reduce bile cholesterol and increase bile acids.
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By Ray Waddle
I was on deadline once when a reader called, weeping, with an urgent question.
"Do you think my Rudy is in heaven?"
Rudy had died during routine surgery. His death was a shock. Rudy was only 8 years old. Rudy was a cocker spaniel.
We talked awhile. The church he attended was ominously silent about whether pets go to heaven. I didn’t know how to reassure him, but he sounded a little relieved when I noted a verse from Psalms 36: "Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens … you save humans and animals alike, O Lord."
Do pets have souls? This week I wonder again. My ancient cat died Monday — just short of 21 years old. I’m dazed and saddened, but awed at her longevity. Molly lived to 100, in human terms. She was queen of her little patch in the neighborhood for two decades. She outlasted the administrations of Reagan, Bush, Clinton and (almost) another Bush. She weathered the ’98 tornado (she was outdoors that afternoon) and condescended to accept a blended family of three other cats and a Corgi.
Next week is St. Francis’ feast day, and a handful of local churches will honor him by scheduling Blessing of the Animals services in October. The services address an overlooked corner of spirituality, the role of animals in the heavenly scheme of things. We took Molly to one in 1994; I like to think the spiritual vibrations added years to her life. It was, at least, a soulful experience to say official prayers surrounded by furry critters, not just us warring humans.
Do animals go to heaven? I’ve never heard a sermon on the subject. Some Christians will say it’s a frivolous question, smacking of paganism or animals rights militancy or "radical environmentalism." They say it devalues the uniqueness of the human soul to assign similar value to animals.
The extraordinary life of St. Francis (1181-1226) contradicts these suspicions. He not only started an influential monastic order, the Franciscans, and spread a message of gospel simplicity across Europe. He not only popularized Christmas Nativity scenes and later bore the mysterious stigmata, the wounds of the crucified Christ.
He was also famous as a Christian ambassador to animal planet.
According to his biographers, he made friends with any number of rabbits, frogs, insects, even wolves. In the Italian village of Pian d’Arce, he once preached to an assembly of crows and pigeons, reminding them to praise their Creator just as people do. This was no sentimental stunt. Francis had an overwhelming feeling for God as the source of all things. Love of creation meant keeping a mystical bond with it all.
It’s as if Francis had just walked off the ark with Noah after the Flood and was deeply impressed to see the rainbow, God’s sign of a benign new relationship with Earth, "the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations." (Genesis 9) All were put into the same boat of God’s care.
Some people insist that only humans have souls because only humans have free will and need salvation. But animals care for their young, they suffer and die. They’re part of the creation story. In America, 62% of households have pets (says the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association), up from 56% in 1988. Pets provide spiritual solace in a harsh world — affection, innocence, a link to Mother Nature. Animals show us grace and beauty; their wildness demands respect. I think of them as refugees from the original Garden. The fall of humanity wasn’t their fault, but they keep paying a price as victims of human violence.
Churches honor a saint next week who worshipped a biblical God big enough to include all creatures great and small in the divine mercy — a Creator vast enough to carry everything from past to present to future. Francis called all things his brothers and sisters, part of the family. It was a weary task to bury my loyal little feline friend this week, but I thought of the big family reunion that faith dares to hope for one day.
By Jon Wilner
Knight Ridder Newspapers
TURIN, Italy — The name of this city’s most famous artifact works on multiple levels. It is a shroud — the supposed burial cloth of Jesus — and it’s shrouded in secrecy: housed in a locked casket in a sealed chamber in Turin’s cathedral, displayed every decade or two on order of the pope.
The Holy Shroud is said to have arrived in Turin in the 16th century, and a more fitting home it could not have. This elegant city is tucked in the northwest corner of Italy, far from the traveler’s corridor that extends from Rome to Florence to Venice.
But the veil comes off Turin in February, when the Winter Olympics — packing an estimated 1 million spectators, 10,000 media members and 2,500 athletes — descend on the land of Fiat, Tic Tacs, Nutella and Juventus, the legendary Italian soccer team.
Home to about 900,000 residents, Turin (Torino in Italian) is the largest city to host a Winter Games. And unlike Salt Lake City and Lillehammer, Norway, it possesses enough history and culture to stand as a tourist destination without the Olympics. It’s two hours by train to Milan (home of Leonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper"), 30 miles from France and adjacent to the Alpine skiing paradise known as the Milky Way.
I spent several days in Turin this summer, and two things were instantly apparent: a refreshing dearth of tourists and an endless series of construction projects. Turin is building housing and upgrading its transportation, which includes adding a subway system and moving train lines underground. The city views the Games as a means to join Venice, Florence and Rome on the world stage.
"There is a process of transformation for the city, of which the Olympics is a part," said Mary Villa of the Turin Olympic Committee. "We want to go from 100 percent industrial to industry, tourism and innovation."
The requisite ingredients — world-class museums, stunning baroque architecture and superb restaurants — are in place. It’s Italy with a Parisian twist: wide boulevards, arcade-lined streets and a flourishing cafe culture. (French is the second language.) Turin’s climate supports the lifestyle most of the year, but winters are cold and damp. It could be 28 and snowy one day, 45 and sunny the next.
Sites and tastes
Turin’s version of the Champs-Elysées is the Via Roma. It has a profusion of designer stores and connects the enormous Piazza Castello, the central square that will serve as site of the medals ceremonies, with Piazza San Carlo, the food-and-drink mecca.
Turin is loaded with quaint neighborhoods. One night we strolled through the ultra-trendy Quadrilatero Romano, in the northwest corner of the city center. It’s busy, although not Latin Quarter-busy, and the restaurants offer a screaming deal for those who aren’t famished: buy one drink, get the antipasto bar for free.
Most of Turin’s tourist sites are on or near the Piazza Castello. The gaudy Palazzo Reale dominates on the north end and contains dozens of displays, including a collection of Chinese vases; tours are available, but only in Italian. One wing of the Palazzo houses the Armeria Reale, which has one of Europe’s best collections of armaments.
A few blocks south of the Piazza, on Via Accademia delle Scienze, is the Museo Egizio and its 30,000-plus artifacts. Turin officials consider it the equal of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the British Museum in London, thanks in part to the statues of Ramses II and the sarcophagus of Nefertiti. Although the Museo doesn’t have a headliner to match the Rosetta Stone (London) or King Tut’s gold (Cairo), it’s certainly worth an hour or two.
The Holy Shroud (sindone in Italian) is sealed away in the Duomo di San Giovanni, a 15-minute walk west of the Piazza Castello. City officials doubt it will be on display during the Olympics, but a full-size copy hangs to the left as you enter the cathedral. There’s clearly an image on the cloth; it’s just that no one knows whose image. When I suggested a shaggy Johnny Damon, the guide, who must have been a Yankees fan, ignored me.
Is this really the shroud Joseph of Arimathea used to wrap the body of Jesus after the Crucifixion, or history’s greatest hoax? (Some believe it’s a primitive photograph taken by Leonardo.) Radio-carbon dating performed in the 1980s pegged the shroud’s age to the 14th century, but a subsequent fire has given true believers a morsel of hope: The heat could have altered the molecules and contaminated the radio-carbon results.
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