Pine tree needle tea

The cold of winter brings the yearn for warm beverages. One of the little known facts is that pine tree needles produce a tasty and healthy tea that you can enjoy year round. key health benefits include:

  • High in Vitamin C - Reportedly 3-5 times more than an orange
  • High in Vitamin A
  • Contributes to improved immune function and cardiovascular health
  • Includes flavonoids that are said to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory

In addition to these reports American Indians have used and believe in the healing remedies of pine needle tea. It's been said they introduced the tea to Europeans when they were suffering from Vitamin C deficiency. If you feel like you have cold like symptoms including coughing, sore throat and phlegm then pine needle tea should be in your arsenal too.

My pine of choice are the free white pines on my property. Be aware that there are some pines that are toxic to make sure to identify them before you decide to brew. Here is a branch from the pine I cut.

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Another clue is the number of needles. The white pine has 5 needles in a bunch, which is what I have.

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I gather enough pine needs to fit on a nickel when clustered together. 

Next, I bring the water to a boil then drop then needles in. You can leave whole or cut into pieces. I let it the water and needles boil for about 5 more minutes, cover and let it sit for 10 more minutes. Another method is to bring the water to a rolling boil and pour of the needles and cover for 20 minutes. 

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Pour and drink. I like my tea without sugar so the slight citrusy pine flavor works well for me. The color of the tea can range from cloudy to a light brown.

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Using plants to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Plants have been shown in studies by the NIH and in Psychology Today to have a variety of positive effects on mental health. During the colder months where the days are shorter and we are forced inside for longer periods of time, plants can help ease the transition that often comes with depression for a lot of people. 

Plants have been shown to: 

  • Lower levels of anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase attentiveness
  • Improve well being

These are just a few of the benefits of simply having plants in your environment. One of the main functions of plants is the production of oxygen. Oxygen is considered a "waste" product as it is what is left when plants convert light energy into chemical energy. 

Benefits of increased oxygen in your environment and your body include: 

  • Improves sleep
  • Clears toxins
  • Improves cell regeneration
  • Improves immunity
  • Aids in digestion

Most people can't afford "oxygen therapy," but we can afford a plant or two and may have a friend or family member willing to share.

There are several that are easy to care for and can increase the oxygen output in your home.

Here are my top 3 plants for easy home care:

Spider Plant

This plant enjoys bright areas and do not require direct sunlight. With minimal care they will can and will produce baby spider plants that you can share with friends or family or pot in other areas of your home. Spider plants like moderate watering which means keeping the soil moist, not wet and do not allow it to dry out.

Spider Plant

Spider Plant

Baby Spider Plants

Baby Spider Plants

Snake plant aka Mother-in-Law's Tongue

This plant is practically kill-proof. It prefers drier conditions and will work well in bright to partially dark areas. It is a slow growing plant, so good for folks who are in it for the long haul. This plant prefers dry soil so allow it to be mostly dry before watering. Take care to water direct to the soil and avoid wetting the leaves. 

Mother-In-Law Tongue

Mother-In-Law Tongue

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera comes in a multitude of varieties from small to large. The common aloe (aloe barbadensis miller) is one of 100s available and is one of the two types of aloe; green and blue. Either way, aloe does better in dry conditions and prefer soil similar to that of cactus. They do not like to be standing water of any sort. The top 1-2 inches of soil should be dry before watering again. Aloe also does not like direct sunlight. If you find the leaves turning orange or brown, move it to a bright are out of direct sunlight. 

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

All of the plants listed are my personal plants.

If you found this information helpful, please fill out the interest form for future information. I promise I will not spam you. You can also follow me on social media as Bytes and Buds.

 

 

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 7: Integrate with Microsoft

The ability to integrate products and work with your info seamlessly is invaluable. Last year Evernote for Outlook was added to the Microsoft app store. The add on allows you to attach Evernote notes to an email and send email from Outlook to Evernote. Later in the year they rolled out the capability to sync Evernote reminders to the Outlook calendar app. This means that your Evernote reminders will appear in your Outlook calendar giving you a single source to keep track of what you need to do.

You have Outlook or you've been using it. Now get Evernote here.

If you think you missed #EvernoteEveryDay - Day 7, you didn't. It was a throw back to How to "Brain Dump" with Evernote - 15 minutes or less.

Note: The links to sign up for Evernote above are affiliate links.

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 6: Doodling

Doodling is one of the most common and best habits you can have. Many reports and studies agree that doodling has many benefits including: 

  • Helps to generate ideas
  • Provides an outlet for creativity
  • Help you concentrate
  • Keep you present in the moment

If you want to keep your doodles close and handy Evernote is for you. If you have a stylus or smart pen you likely can have more control over your doodles. I like pens with a comfort grip like these stylus pens from Amazon. If you do not have a stylus you can still doodle with your finger. 

To doodle inside of your Evernote you can start with a Handwriting note from the add note button:

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Or you can select the paperclip icon from inside an existing note and select Handwriting from the pop up menu:

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Evernote will show a grid like background to let you know you are on a handwriting page. Once on this page you have a toolbar with 5 options:  

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  • Pen color and weight - black, blue, red and green and small, medium and thick
  • Eraser
  • Select tool - Allows you to select a portion of what you have drawn and move it to another part of the page
  • Undo
  • Redo 

To see how doodles appear in Evernote click here. DISCLAIMER: I am not a good doodler, LOL!

BONUS:

Evernote will try and help you if you are attempting to draw standard shapes like circles, squares, triangles, etc. If you draw an imperfect circle, it will pop up a gray icon with a circle. If you select the icon it will correct your drawing to a perfect circle. Same holds true for other shapes as well.

You can view examples in the Sample Doodles page.

If you are looking forward to trying out doodling make sure you sign up with Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay

NOTE: The links included in this post are affiliate links.

 

#EvernoteEveryDay - Day 5: Student Success

The largest population that has a need for keeping thorough and accessible notes is students. It does not matter if you are a traditional student, continuing education or mature student while working. The fact remains you need a central place to keep not only your notes, but also any documents associated with a course. 

I personally have used Evernote for my traditional Biology course as well as to study for the PMP exam for example. It allowed me to have everything with me all the time so that I could study whenever I had a free moment. You can keep copies of handouts and other course related documents in a note. If you are a person who prefers to take notes on paper initially you can still get the advantages of having notes in Evernote. You can take a picture/scan your paper notes and keep them in notebook. If the instructor draws images on the board, you can snap those and keep those pictures in Evernote as well. 

Take a look at examples of how I used Evernote to take notes: 

In addition to keeping the notes in Evernote you can use reminders to help you remember what to study. If you missed how to use reminders, check out the post #EvernoteEveryDay - Reminders

Now if you still haven't gotten Evernote, go ahead and sign up here: Evernote via Bytes and Buds and get started with using #EvernoteEveryDay. If you are a student, sign up with your school email for a chance for a discount.

Want to know how you can save on Evernote Premium after signing up for the Basic version? Click Here.

NOTE: The link to sign up for Evernote above is an affiliate link.