Monday, April 30, 2012

Pretty in Pink - the Many Uses of Rhubarb

All throughout my childhood when we lived in East Germany, my parents harvested Rhubarb from our garden.  When my sister-in-law in Minnesota offered me a couple of Rhubarb plants on a summer trip, I accepted it gladly.  I thought of the few times, when I purchased a few stalks of Rhubarb at the store and paid a pretty penny. 

This spring my two Rhubarb plants are plentiful and I took already several times the pink stalks from each plant.  I learned that Rhubarb is an actual vegetable which has its original home in the Himalayas.  When Marco Polo explored China, he took some plants back to Europe.  From there they made their way to us.  The advantage of this easy to care for plant is that it can grow in all kinds of climates and produces for many years without much special care.

Rhubarb’s nutritional benefits:
Rhubarb provides a good source of vitamins and fiber.  Rhubarb tastes best cooked with a little sugar, since it is very tart like cranberries.  It contains a good amount of Vitamin A, C and E, as well as K. It is also rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and several trace minerals.

Rhubarb’s medicinal benefits:
For this purpose mainly the roots of older plants are used.  Their benefits are mostly regarding the digestive system and to prevent constipation.

Rhubarb in desserts and baked goods:
There are so many recipes using Rhubarb, it actually got the name Pie plant.  But pies are not the only way to use them.

I like to share here some of my favorite recipes:
Rhubarb Crumble
Combine to make into large crumbles, place in the freezer while heating the oven:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup oats
3/4 cup sugar
6 TBSP melted butter or coconut oil
½ cup chopped nuts

2 pounds of Rhubarb, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. orange zest
¼ tsp Salt

Place in an 8x8 inch ceramic baking dish.  Scatter crumble on top and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven until golden and bubbly, about 45 minutes.  Let cool for 15 min.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Rhubarb Tea
1 quart of water
1 cup Rhubarb, cut into pieces
2 pieces of Ginger (about 1 inch square each)
Bring to a boil in a saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add enough sugar or other sweetener to make a delicious drink.  Strain off the liquid and drink warm or let cool down.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 TBSP coconut oil or butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together and pour into buttered baking dish 8x8 inches.

4 cups Rhubarb, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream

layer over cake mix
bake at 400 degrees F for 25 min. or until pudding mixture is set in the middle.  Let cool completely before serving.
Rhubarb Sauce
2 cups Rhubarb, cut into pieces
½ cup sugar
2 pieces of lemon rind, discard after cooking
3 cups water
Bring mixture to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until Rhubarb falls apart.
Mix 3 TBSP. cornstarch with ¼ cup water and stir into the Rhubarb mixture.
Let cool (discard lemon rind).  Serve over vanilla or cheese cake pudding.

WARNING:  When harvesting the stalks, discard the leaves.  Do not eat the leaves, either cooked or raw.  Because they contain a compound called oxalate, they can be toxic.  Although they have to be ingested in large quantities, it is better to just discard the green leaves altogether.

Please enjoy Rhubarb this spring or all through out the summer.  Enjoy that tart taste and all its health benefits.

Monday, April 23, 2012

How I Discovered the Benefits of Quinine

After my recent trip to Germany I developed a hacking cough which gave me headaches and made me dizzy at times.  I very seldom get colds because I exercise regularly, take my vitamins and eat a healthy diet.  Therefore, I wasn’t too concerned when the cough persisted for more than a week.  When somebody asked me if I had done something for this bronchial cough, I listened up.  I checked out natural treatments for bronchitis.  One solution suggested making Quinine water which is a powerful expectorant for phlegm. 

Wow, there was so much to learn.  First of all I came to understand that phlegm is produced by the lungs due to inflammation while the body produces mucus all the time.  Second, I learned about bronchitis which is an inflammation of the mucus membranes of the bronchi, the airways that carry airflow from the trachea into the lungs.  Since most of this inflammation is caused by viruses I started looking for a natural treatment (antibiotics don’t treat viruses).  That’s how I discovered the benefits of Quinine.

What is Quinine?

Quinine is a natural white crystalline alkaloid.  Quinine or Tonic water it is a good bitter and helps with digestion.  It also helps to control bacteria, pain, fungus, inflammation, and stress. It also has a muscle relaxing agent and works well to treat leg cramps.

Where do we find Quinine?

Quinine is naturally found in the cinchona tree in the forests of South America and has been used successfully to treat malaria  malaria. It is also found in the rinds of citrus fruits like grapefruits and bitter lemons.

What are the benefits of Quinine Tea?

According to a website called Earthtym and as mentioned above there are many:

Quinine has many uses and applications.  It is analgesic, anesthetic, antiarrhythmic, antibacterial, antimalarial, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, astringent, bactericide, cytotoxic, febrifuge, fungicide, insecticide, nervine, stomachic, tonic.

I want to focus here on the making of quinine water from grapefruit rind.

Take the rind of 2-3 grapefruits.  Take the peel only and cover it with water about 3 inches above the peels.  Let it simmer for about 2 hours.  Sweeten the tea with honey or sugar since it will be bitter.  Take 1 tablespoon every couple of hours to bring up the phlegm from your lungs.  Discontinue as soon as you get better. 

Note: Excess quinine is toxic to the kidneys.  Pregnant women should not drink quinine. 

There are other benefits of grapefruits.

Here is a video by JenOalltrades, the biochemist, demonstrating her concoction.

Here is a link to more natural alternatives to get rid of colds and coughs:

If you encounter some of the nasty respiratory problems this spring, I hope you can find some solutions here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Circle of Life and the Importance of Lineage

I recently became a grandmother.  Our first grandchild was born January 31, 2012 but I didn’t get to meet her until March 24, 2012; the reason being that my daughter and her husband live in Germany.  We had seen the baby many times in photos and even skyped with my daughter.

On the morning of my arrival in Frankfurt, I was greeted by my daughter and Tiffanie at the airport.  She had packed the baby in the stroller and proudly presented the sleeping bundle of joy to me.  It was a moving reunion.  Later on, at the apartment I was able to hold the baby and get to know her over the next couple of weeks.

Often my thoughts went back to the time when I first held my daughter in my arms.  How I had been worried if I was to recognize the baby if they suddenly brought me a different infant.  Looking at Tiffanie I could certainly see similarities between her and her mother and detected the little dimple and round cheeks from her daddy.  Again, I couldn’t help myself thinking do all babies look alike? - Maybe when they first come out of the womb slimly and bloody; looking like Idaho potatoes.  Certainly they all have the same needs from the minute they are born: air, food, change of diaper, sleep, warmth etc.  Most of all a babies need love and attention.  What about those babies who don’t get their needs met and cry for hours or even those who are abused in one way or the other? 

In many cultures it is important to have a son first, einen Stammhalter (son and heir of the tribe).  How many girls have been rejected, abused or in recent years aborted because they were not the expected son.  Or in China where traditionally only one child was allowed and the girls were put into orphanages?

I became so grateful for this little girl being born into my lineage, well cared for and loved.  It’s amazing what goes through one’s mind rocking a baby to sleep.

I am also so thankful to the teachings of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon Before studying his teaching, the Divine Principle, I had no hope to give birth to children.  I had no hope for my own life and in the future.  Over the years I came to understand the importance of children and how we can extent our life into a lineage.  More than that, we can experience the four realms of love which are parental love, siblings love, spousal love and children's love; they can only be learned within the family.

4 generations
In his seventh Peace Message, page 3, Rev. Moon talks about the importance of lineage.

 “Do you know what has pained God’s heart most, causing Him the greatest grief during the long history since the Fall of Adam and Eve? God lost His lineage, and with that, God lost the basis of human brotherhood and even His ownership over the creation. God’s lineage is more precious than life itself. Without it, the fruits of true life and true love never matured. They became instead the fruits of Satan, lacking any relationship with Heaven. From them descended the 6.5 billion people now populating the earth.”

The circle of life can only be closed when we experience the different stages of life: childhood, youth, brother-sister hood, adulthood, marriage, parenthood, grandparenthood, etc. which contain all the various relationships possible on the vertical and horizontal plane.  Once we can also include appreciation of our ancestors and all those who came before us and provided the advances and accomplishments of modern society we truly become part of the "circle of life" and can be proud of it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jesus' New Revelation to the World


Early Easter morning after I had spent the entire night in prayer, Jesus appeared before me.... He said: "God is in great sorrow, because of the pain of humankind. You must take on a special mission on earth having to do with Heaven's work." That day I saw clearly the sorrowful face of Jesus. I heard his voice clearly. The experience of witnessing the manifestation of Jesus caused my body to shake violently, like a quaking aspen's leaves, trembling in a strong breeze. I was simultaneously overcome with fear so great I felt I might die, and gratitude so profound I felt I might explode.  Jesus spoke clearly about the work I would have to do.  His words were extraordinary, having to do with saving humanity from its suffering and bringing joy to God.

My initial response was, “I can’t do this.  How can I do this?  Why would you even five me a mission of such paramount importance?”  I was truly afraid.  I wanted somehow to avoid this mission, and I clung to the hem of his clothing and wept inconsolably. 

I was thrown into extreme confusion.  I couldn’t open my heart to my parents and share my huge secret with them.  But neither could I just keep it to myself.  I was at a loss over what to do.  What was clear was that I had received a special mission from Heaven.  It was such a huge and tremendous responsibility.  I shuddered in fear to think that I might not be able to handle it on my own.  I clung to prayer even more than before, in an attempt to quiet my confused heart.  But even this had no effect.  No matter how much I tried, I could not free myself for even a moment from the memory of having met Jesus.

My encounter with Jesus changed my life completely.  His sorrowful expression was etched into my heart as if it had been branded there, and I could not think of anything else.  From that day on, I immersed myself completely into the World of God.  At times, I was surrounded by endless darkness and filled with such pain that it was difficult to breathe.  At other times, my heart was filled with joy, as though I were watching the morning sun rise above the horizon.  I experienced a series of days like these that led me into deeper and deeper world of prayer.  I embraced new words of truth that Jesus was giving me directly and let myself be completely captivated by God.  I began to live an entirely different life.  I had many things to think about, and I gradually became a boy of few words. 

Anyone who follows the path of God must pursue his goal with his whole heart and total dedication.  It requires a steadfastness of purpose.  I am stubborn by birth, so I have always had plenty of tenacity.  I used this God-given tenacity to overcome difficulties and follow the way that was given me.  Anytime I began to waver, I steadied myself by remembering: “I received God’s word directly.”  It was not easy to choose this course, because it would require me to sacrifice the rest of my youth.  At times, I felt I would rather avoid this path.

Rev. Moon’s first encounter with Jesus happened in 1936; he was only 16.  He continued his dedication to the promise he gave Jesus and pursued the discovery of the secrets of the bible and events of history throughout his entire life.
There are three main points Rev. Moon discovered with the help of Jesus and God:
1.    God is our heavenly parent who lost his children ever since the Fall of Man happened.  This separation has caused Him great suffering and pain.
2.    Jesus’ salvation came through his resurrection; he didn’t come to die on the cross.  He came as the second Adam to restore the family.
3.    The providence of restoration is ongoing until the family of man is restored and God can reign as our Heavenly Parent over all his children; we call this the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth or world peace.

The complete autobiography of Rev. Moon is available at His teaching is contained in the Divine Principle which can be listened to locally at any Unification Church or by studying the book available online.


If you are a serious seeker of the truth I like to encourage you to discover the life of a man who has only one desire: to have a deep relationship with Jesus and to bring salvation and peace to all mankind.  Find out for yourself why Rev. Moon’s encounter with Jesus is different from any preacher, prophet or philosopher; and why his teaching can lead you into true heart of God.

Monday, April 2, 2012

We are all Connected – the Power of Unity

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

~ Matthew 18:20

I always believed that the power of unity is manifested among people.  It just makes so much sense to have more than one person available, and explore the multitude of ideas when brainstorming new possibilities.  One can only asked, why is it so hard for people to unite and find a common base?

It may have its origin in the fact that unity starts within oneself. 

Individual Level

We have heard of mind over matter or mind-body unity.  If you ask any athlete they may be able to explain to you what they feel and how they experience “the flow;” when everything comes easily without thinking or any conscious effort.  It seems that after they have trained for days, weeks and maybe even years, there is a sudden breakthrough and every move, every skill becomes automatic.  That is the result of strict discipline and endless practice.  Some people also explain it as centering or alignment. 

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (KJV)

~ Genesis 1:28

According to the Divine Principle, mind-body unity is the goal of the first blessing, to reach maturity.  By focusing on God, our mind and body become one and form a mature individual.  For some of us this is very difficult, depending on our ancestry, family history or personal bad habits.  Rev. Hyung Jin Moon suggests a daily practice of breathing centered exercise.  In his book Cheon-Hwa-Dang (The House of Heaven’s Harmony), he introduces a 20 minute session where we consciously focus on our breathing.  Rather than breathe automatically into the lungs, we breathe consciously into the abdomen.  Trying this practice, is very hard in the beginning, because our mind wants constantly stray away and follow all kinds of thoughts.  Therefore, it takes deliberate and consistent practice to keep the mind focused on the breathing.  Consciously focusing on the breath will help us to chase away those incoming ideas and keep us in the present moment.  That resembles the self-disciplines of the great saints who spent hours meditating and emptying their mind, listening to the silence and communicating with God within.

Family Level

The second part of the 3 great blessings is to multiply.  When each individual reaches mind-body unity and achieves maturity, they can multiply themselves by creating children.  That union creates the base for even greater power of unity. It is beautifully retold in a family story about sticks, where one can easily break one stick but has a hard time breaking a whole bundle of sticks.

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven."

~ Matthew 18:19

The power of unity on the family level can be experienced in all circumstances of life: in church, in school, in the workplace, wherever humans gather.  It’s all about relationships and how we can live life to the fullest.  If our focus is on ourselves, relationships don’t work.  It takes mature, self-disciplined individuals to create a harmonious family and society.

Environmental Level

The last part of the 3 great blessings is to have dominion over all creation. Unfortunately, taking authority over the creation looks very different than what we experience with our environment today.
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth."
- Baha'u'llah

I enjoyed watching this video which shows a whole community of people getting together and cleaning up their environment.

I also viewed a video by Neil deGrasse Tyson, HD, who is an American astrophysicist and science communicator who shares some amazing facts about the universe and how we are connected to it by the very substance of energy.

There are so many sources of blessings in this day and age.  But if we are abusive, resentful or angry at ourselves or others, we cannot take advantage of them.  It takes a foundation of unity starting on the individual level, to be attuned and receptive to the goodness surrounding us.  Just as there are physical laws like the law of gravity, law of thermo-dynamic, etc. there are also spiritual laws which govern our lives.  The Divine Principle teaches us about these spiritual rules.  You may belief in them or not, none-the-less, we are governed by them.

There is an interesting documentary called “I am” which Tom Shadyac put together.  His question is: “What’s wrong with the world?” Here is the link to the film:

To me there is no doubt that we are all connected to one God who created us.  We are born with free will and by the power of our choices we can live a God-centered live having control over ourselves and our environment or we also can choose the opposite.  Never before in human history have we understood how these choices (which have been influenced by ancestral, societal and personal habits and traditions) have directed our lives.  There are answers to our dilemma today, but they don’t come from politicians, scientists or even religious leaders.  Only God can give us the solutions and we have to ask and listen to HIS answers.