Must-Have Herbs & Remedies :: Prep Your Body + Spirit for Winter

Must-Have Herbs & Remedies :: Prep Your Body + Spirit for Winter #naturalhealing #herbalism

Yes!

Even during the darkest season of the year…

Winter

…our days can be full of life and good health.

For those of us who carry the burning fire of natural health, we have herbal medicine.

Which makes us — during a time when ailments, fever, and illness abound — prepared to fend off and/or treat these maladies.

Here’s a list of the best, must-have herbs and remedies to stock now!

Must-Have Herbs & Remedies for Winter

*List provided in no particular order. Various affiliate links contained within.

Master Tonic (a.k.a. Fire Cider)

Fire Cider is a traditional remedy with deep roots in folk medicine. The tasty combination of vinegar infused with powerful anti-microbial, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers makes this recipe especially pleasant and easy to incorporate into your daily diet to help boost natural immune system processes, stimulate digestion, and get you nice and warmed up on cold days. -Mountain Rose Herbs Blog

Neti Pot

For the treatment of infections and allergies alike…neti pots are fast becoming a super popular, mainstream remedy for stuffy sinuses across the board. Neti pots work by rinsing your nasal cavity with a saline solution, it’s a natural way to cleanse your nasal passages from bacterial/viral pathogens, pollen, pollution, dust, a variety of allergens, and loosens mucus.

Using a Neti pot is simple…here a some great tips for the proper use of a neti pot.

Note: I’ve used several types (of nasal passage rinse contraptions) and brands of neti pots over the course of the past few years…this one’s the BEST. I also keep this Neti Pot Wash on hand (it’s made with himalayan salts and essential oils) and these Neti Pot Salts.

Read more :: How to Treat Respiratory Illness with Herbs

Herbs

This is by no means an exhaustive list of wonderful roots, berries, leaves and flowers beneficial during the months of winter. However, these are my must-haves:

  • Echinacea. Echinacea is one of the best general remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. In conjunction with other “guiding” herbs (such as uva ursi, myrrh, garlic, thyme, colloidal silver, mullein, Oregon grape root, and goldenseal) it may be used for any infection or inflammation anywhere in the body. It is often effective against both bacterial and viral attacks. Note: For a quick and easy dose of echinacea…I keep this Cold & Flu-Organic Echinacea Plus Tea by Traditonal Medicinals and a mason jar full of these homemade cold care capsules stocked all winter.
  • Garlic. Garlic’s power and value as a healing agent is unsurpassed and cannot be overstated…it has been used throughout history as an effective antibiotic. Garlic’s broad antimicrobial spectrum incorporates antifungal, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, and antiviral attributes in one food source. Garlic is most potent chewed or crushed raw. Nothing science has ever created comes close to doing what garlic can do.
  • Elderberry. Elderberries are held in high esteem in areas all over the world. Known for their outstanding ability to ward off and cure the common cold and/or flu virus, elderberries make some of the most frugally sustainable remedies and should be a part of everyone’s medicine chest! Note: Learn how to make your own elderberry syrup, tincture, and tea here. Need it now?!? I love this brand
  • Mullein. Mullein’s gentle nature makes it one of the very best herbs for use with children. It basically helps break up bacteria and heal ailments affecting the upper respiratory tract, ears, and sinuses. Numerous studies report its ability to reduce upper respiratory infection symptoms, such as fatigue, ear ache, sore throat, cough and headache. Note: Keep this ear oil!
  • Myrrh. Myrrh has been used by natural healers for hundreds of years. It is touted for its antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral properties. It can be taken internally and used externally as a gargle or wash for wounds. It is most commonly recommended for bacterial oral infections (including mouth sores), bronchitis, and sore throats. Myrrh should only be used during the acute phase of the illness and is not suitable for long-term internal use. Note: I always keep a bottle of Mountain Rose Herbs Myrrh Extract on hand!  
  • Sage. Among the Ancients and throughout the Middle Ages, sage was held in high esteem. Hippocrates held the position, “Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto?” (“Why should a man die while Sage grows in his garden?”) The list of the benefits of sage is long and impressive. It’s ability to heal ailments of the mouth, teeth, blood, joints, liver, urine, head, sinuses, throat, lungs, and stomach is truly amazing! Note: Make a simple sage tea and drink it this time of year as needed.
  • Thyme. According to Philip Fritchey’s book in his book Practical Herbalism: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers “Modern herbalists value thyme for its expectorant and antibacterial properties and it is frequently used in preparations to support and protect the respiratory system. The essential oil is an effective disinfectant and natural preservative that is used in many skin preparations, not only for its therapeutic effect, but to protect the product itself from microbial contamination and spoilage.”

Read more :: Herbal Decongestant Salve: A Recipe for a Homemade Vapor Rub

Colloidal Silver

The article Research on Antibiotics Reveals Silver Acts as a Booster states:

The use of silver in the battle against pathogenic bacteria goes way back into antiquity. Hippocrates was one of the first to describe its antimicrobial properties in 400 B.C. Over the past few years, several studies have demonstrated the fact that silver is indeed one of the most effective agents in the battle against antibiotic-resistant super pathogens. Yet conventional medicine has largely dismissed such claims, relegating colloidal silver to the “woo-woo” section of medical myth. They may be inclined to change their tune however, in light of the latest research which shows that low doses of silver can make antibiotics up to 1,000 times more effective, and may even allow an antibiotic to successfully combat otherwise antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Note: This is the colloidal silver I keep stocked in our wellness pantry at home…Colloidal Silver Immune Support

Sage Smudge Sticks

Our own North American native traditions speak to the many benefits of smudging by burning white sage bundles or sticks. Burning sage has been used for centuries in practices and rituals to clear a space (i.e. home, office, room, body, and spirit) of stale and/or negative energy. This could include: negative emotions of fear, anger, tension, anxiety, and stress (can anyone say winter holiday family gatherings?!?!).

Holding on to these emotions, and allowing them to influence our homes (the most sacred of spaces), can have a strong impact on our health.

Not to mention, it is good to open the windows and doors — especially during winter when our tendency is to close everything up — and allow the smudging smoke to clear the stale air. Lest we forget the anti-bacterial properties of sage.

Note: These are the sage smudge sticks I use in my home.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is so much more than just a natural sweetener. Manuka honey, which has not been pasteurized or filtered, can be especially useful for medicinal, antibiotic purposes. Manuka honey can be used: as a preservative, to sooth a sore throat and ease a cough (source). Note: This is the only Manuka Honey I use. It is approved by the Unique Manuka Factor® Honey Association (UMFHA) and holds a separate license to use the UMF® trademark. Only organizations with a license are allowed to use the UMF® trademark. Note: I use this honey to sweeten medicinal teas and to make this most excellent remedy.  

Read more :: Make Your Own Herbal Lotion Bars for Dry, Cracked Winter Skin

Essential Oils

Essential oils are a great way to strengthen the body during winter. They work to lift our spirits while preventing and healing illness. I use essential oils internally, via diffusion, and topically.

Although my wellness pantry is rediculously full of oils, if I had to keep only a few…these would make the cut:

  • Oregano. *The following information has been quoted from dōTERRA™ Blog “High in antioxidant activity, Oregano essential oil contains antimicrobial properties that can help fight colds and coughs, improve digestive issues, and can support your immune and respiratory systems. In fact, one study shows that Oregano essential oil was found (along with a couple other essential oils such as thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, sage, and clove) to have the strongest antimicrobial properties. Click here to read the studyTips For Use: ***Have a cough? Put 1 drop of Oregano is a teaspoon of honey or a small glass of water and swallow.  If you don’t like the taste use an empty capsule. ***Put one drop in 2 ounces of water and gargle for treatment of a sore throat. ***If you feel like you are coming down with the flu…Flu Bomb! Mix 3 drops Oregano + 5 drops On Guard + 5 drops Melaleuca + 5 drops Lemon! Adults apply undiluted to feet (use carrier oil for children — I only use the BEST coconut oil on the planet) or add to an empty capsule to take internally. Use every two-three hours.
  • Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Patchouli, Thyme, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Sage, Sweet Orange, Cinnamon…okay geez…maybe I wouldn’t be able to live without my oils!!!

For pure, safe essential oils you can trust, choose ::

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic remedies are just another staple in my wellness pantry. Working with our bodies’ ability to heal itself, homeopathic remedies are super effective and quick and easy to get on board as soon as symptoms hit.

Here are the few must-haves:

WHY HERBS?

+Because they work gently and effectively.
+Because you can grow many yourselves, right outside your front door or even in your kitchen.
+Because it’s our birthright to use the gifts of nature with respect and wisdom.
+Because up until relatively recently, at least in the western world, herbs were an integral part of taking care of ourselves.

Health doesn’t come from plastic bottles. Vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. Deep down, people already know this.

If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the Herbal Academy of New England for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime!

Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own apothecary.

Start classes anytime! Click this link to learn more and register.

What are your must-have herbs and remedies for winter? Share them with us in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Halloween :: Samhain :: Dia de los Muertos Essential Oil Diffuser Blend

Halloween Essential Oil Blend

Scent :: Smell :: Aroma

It has the ability to induce memories, emotions (both good and bad), and attraction.

At times, we can smell something that transports us back in time. Memories we haven’t relived for years come flooding back — coupled with emotions that we experience as vivid as they were then.

The scents of Autumn!

Halloween :: Samhain :: Dia de los Muertos

A time to…

…prepare the final harvest
…remember those who have pasted on before us
…transition into the shortest, darkest days of the year

Diffuse this essential oil blend in your home during this time in order to aid in the celebration of the season.

Halloween :: Samhain :: Dia de los Muertos Essential Oil Blend

-3 drops sweet orange essential oil
-2 drops sage essential oil
-2 drops patchouli essential oil 

To use: Add each of the essential oils in a small glass bottle (I like to make a decent-sized batch to last several days) and invert the bottle to blend. Diffuse as directed by your essential oil diffuser. *I add my oil blend — 15-20 drops — directly into my glass diffuser.

Share with us! What are your favorite Halloween blends?

How to Make Goat Milk Soap

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It’s our first kidding season here at the ranch!

I can’t even describe to you the amount of cuteness happening around here! It’s just too much!

And with lots of super sweet baby goats…comes lots of super yummy goat’s milk!

Besides drinking it, making it into cheese, yogurt, and butter…I’m making soap!

For months, I searched high and low for a goat milk soap-making method that spoke to me.

I made lots of mistakes.

But finally…

…a goat milk soap recipe that’s just AMAZING!

Benefits of Goat Milk on Skin

Farm fresh goat milk is such a wonderful substance.

Goat’s milk is packed full of skin-loving nutrients such as:

  • alpha-hydroxy acids
  • vitamins B1, B6, B12, C, D, and E
  • restorative natural emollients and triglycerides

When used topically — in handcrafted soaps — goat’s milk:

  • acts as natural moisturizer
  • effectively treats acne
  • is less allergenic than chemical-laden, commercially-prepared soaps
  • has the ability to reduce inflammation of the skin
  • soothes dry and damaged skin
  • slow premature aging of the skin
  • heals eczema and psoriasis

Um…yes please!

Goat Milk Soap-Making Basics

The main concern with making goat’s milk soap — or any milk-based soap — is overheating of the milk.

When the milk over heats, you get scorched milk. Not good for soap-making. Scorched milk will leave your soap darkened…not to mention, it pretty much destroys all the nourishing benefits of the milk.

For these reasons, goat milk soap-making requires the use of the cold process soap method. Our aim is to maintain the integrity of the milk for maximum healing benefit.

Follow my instructions to the “T” and you’ll be fine!

Here we go!

How to Make Goat Milk Soap

Ingredients
*Measurements are by weight and should be made using a kitchen scale.

Base Oils

  • 10 ounces shea butter
  • 8 ounces coconut oil
  • 8 ounces rice bran oil
  • 6 ounces sunflower oil
  • 4 ounces kokum butter

Lye Solution

  • 4.8 ounces lye (7% excess fat)
  • 6 ounces pure or distilled water

Add-Ins

  • 8 ounces raw, farm-fresh goat milk

Optional Add-Ins

I like to add herbs in the form of flower petals, leaves, and powdered roots. Essential oils add loads of healing powers. Ingredients such as ground almonds, oatmeal, and raw honey are fun too! Get creative!

Method
*Follow traditional cold process soap-making methods. For more information on the topic, I highly recommend these books by Susan Miller The Soapmaker’s Companion and The Natural Soap Book.

  1. Measure the base oils – by weight using a kitchen scale – and then place in a large pot to melt over low heat (this pot should be dedicated to soap-making).
  2. Once the oils are melted, leave pot on the counter until room temperature — this may take 8-10 hours or overnight.
  3. Measure both the lye and water – each in separate glass bowls — using a kitchen scale for the lye. Note: Always run your recipe through a lye calculator to be sure that you are using the proper amount of oils, lye, and liquid.
  4. Carefully combine the lye and water by pouring the lye into the water (never pour liquid into the lye) and stir liquid until lye is completely dissolved. The liquid is caustic and not to be touched in any way. The outside of the bowl will be extremely hot as well. Note: Be careful when working with lye and follow all of the recommended precautions. Keep out of reach of children. Don’t touch it. Use gloves, an apron, and protective eyewear. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I can not be held responsible for any craziness, mishaps, explosions, etc. that may happen when making this recipe.
  5. Allow the lye mixture to stay under a vent and cool down to room temperature or at least 85 degrees F. Note: You can put the glass bowl containing the lye solution into an ice bath to speed up the process. Create an ice bath using another, larger bowl full of ice and water. Stir lye solution often.
  6. Now we’re ready to add the lye solution to the oils in the large pot.
  7. Stir, stir, stir. Note: Any equipment the lye touches needs to be neutralized in a mixture of white vinegar, soap, and water.
  8. After a brief stir, grab your stick blender and get to work! Blend the oils and liquid in the pot for at least 2 minutes. We are working toward “trace.”
  9. After 2 minutes — or once the mixture has reached “light trace” (like a thin pudding consistency) — stir in chilled (cold) goat’s milk using a non-wooden spoon.
  10. Stir for 1 minute. Note: If you are adding any “optional add-ins,” now’s the time to do that.
  11. Grab your stick blender again, and blend for an additional 1-2 minutes until your mixture is the consistency like that of thick pudding.
  12. Pour soap into prepared mold(s). Note: This recipe is enough to fill this Regular Silicone Loaf Soap Mold perfectly.
  13. Allow soap to cool and harden in the mold for 24-48 hours.
  14. Remove the soap from the mold on to a clean cutting surface. Using an appropriate cutting tool — such as this one — cut soap loaf into bars.
  15. Place bars on a rack with good airflow so that they can finish the saponification process. Note: These are the drying racks I use for all of my soaps.  
  16. Allow soap to cure on drying racks for at least 4 weeks before using.

Where Can I Get This Stuff?

Looking for the raw materials mentioned in this post? The Soap Dish has some of the best prices on soap-making ingredients (this is where I purchase lye) you can find — not to mention it’s a small family owned business.

I also highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for high-quality, fair-trade, and organic herbs, oils, and essential oils!

Want to make the most amazing soap…use the most amazing ingredients! This is the BEST coconut oil on the planet.

Don’t know where to get farm fresh goat milk? Search LocalHarvest.org for a farmer near you.

I do have several handcrafted Goat Milk Soaps
available for purchase in my Etsy Shop!
Click here to visit the Marketplace…

Be sure not to miss a post, click this link to receive my free eBook and Frugally Sustainable tips by email.

DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my knowledge-sharing/writing/blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust.

Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #112

The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop

Welcome to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, this is a blog hop! If you are a blogger, please feel free to link-up and share as many posts as you would like pertaining to:

  • Urban or Rural Homesteading
  • Anything DIY
  • Frugal Recipes
  • Preparedness/Survival
  • Repurposed Projects
  • Upcycled Frugal Finds
  • Animal Care
  • Natural Gardening Tips
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Green Cleaners

The list could go on…

Basically, anything that you think will build and encourage our community.

Please Note: I share my personal favorites on my facebook page throughout the week!

It’s Time To Share Your Posts

Bloggers, use the linky tool on the bottom of this post to share your best post. Non-bloggers, feel free to add a comment here with any ideas or thoughts you have concerning frugal and/or sustainable living. Every week I will be featuring the most viewed posts so link-up your best ones:)

When linking your posts, there are only a couple simple guidelines I’d like for you to follow:

1. Remain sensitive to the mission of Frugally Sustainable. Frugally Sustainable exists to be a resource for all things frugal and sustainable. Therefore, in order to maintain the integrity of the mission, share your best posts – old or new – on anything pertaining to frugality and/or sustainability.

2. Please link your posts back to our blog hop. Linking back here helps build our little community by sending your readers to all of the other posts shared. Grab the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways button below by installing the html into your post. Or simply create a text link somewhere:)

What will you share this week? I am so looking forward to your submissions! Remember: My favorite posts will be shared on my facebook page!!!

Here we go!


Raising Homesteading Dairy Goats

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What a joy to announce the birth of twin baby doelings!

Yesterday afternoon, much to my excitement, our sweet Nigerian Dwarf Goat — Lizzy — gave birth to her first kids.

I knew the day was coming very soon…

…and as I was working in the kitchen, her continuous bleating caught my attention.

 photo homesteadinggoat1.jpg

As soon as I stepped outside, I also heard a new, high-pitched cry coming from the lean-to prepared for birthing.

Lizzy had delivered her first baby girl unbeknownst to me. I arrived just in time to witness the birth of #2.

The knowledge I had accumulated over weeks of reading “how-to-deliver-a-baby-goat” articles and books…went out the window as I sat in amazement at the miracle of farm life.

Lizzy did it all!

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I was there to make sure everyone was comfortable.

Thank you Lizzy for making this family’s first-time goat birthing experience magical!

Resources

Here are a few of the articles I read over and over. They are great for any homesteading dairy goat lover:

Follow my “Dairy Goat” Pinterest Board for more!

Naming

So…these two baby girls need names!

Our family is asking your help in naming them! Would you kindly leave your suggestions in the comments!

Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #111

The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop

Welcome to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, this is a blog hop! If you are a blogger, please feel free to link-up and share as many posts as you would like pertaining to:

  • Urban or Rural Homesteading
  • Anything DIY
  • Frugal Recipes
  • Preparedness/Survival
  • Repurposed Projects
  • Upcycled Frugal Finds
  • Animal Care
  • Natural Gardening Tips
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Green Cleaners

The list could go on…

Basically, anything that you think will build and encourage our community.

Please Note: I share my personal favorites on my facebook page throughout the week!

It’s Time To Share Your Posts

Bloggers, use the linky tool on the bottom of this post to share your best post. Non-bloggers, feel free to add a comment here with any ideas or thoughts you have concerning frugal and/or sustainable living. Every week I will be featuring the most viewed posts so link-up your best ones:)

When linking your posts, there are only a couple simple guidelines I’d like for you to follow:

1. Remain sensitive to the mission of Frugally Sustainable. Frugally Sustainable exists to be a resource for all things frugal and sustainable. Therefore, in order to maintain the integrity of the mission, share your best posts – old or new – on anything pertaining to frugality and/or sustainability.

2. Please link your posts back to our blog hop. Linking back here helps build our little community by sending your readers to all of the other posts shared. Grab the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways button below by installing the html into your post. Or simply create a text link somewhere:)

What will you share this week? I am so looking forward to your submissions! Remember: My favorite posts will be shared on my facebook page!!!

Here we go!


Herbs for Seasonal Allergies: Make Your Own Allergy Relief Herbal Tea

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For the seasonal allergy sufferer looking for relief outside of the realm of pharmaceuticals, be encouraged.

There are several botanical medicines such as:

  • nettle leaf — contains natural antihistamine. Nettles have been used traditionally in the treatment of respiratory problems and also bring relief from the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
  • eyebright — contains tannins. Tannins possess astringent properties that aid in strengthening and stabilizing swollen, red, and congested mucus membranes in the eyes and in nasal passages. Likewise, eyebright can reduce mucus secretion and bring relief from irritating allergens. Eyebright is a very popular solution for the treatment of a running nose and watery, itchy eyes so often associated with seasonal allergies.
  • marshmallow root — contains mucilage which aids the body in relieving irritation caused by allergens. Marshmallow root also possesses gentle decongestant properties.
  • licorice root — has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes inflamed mucus membranes, and calms irritated and sore throats.
  • elder flower & elder berries — both natural decongestants. They soothe the mucus membranes and work to dry up excess secretions.
  • rosehips — are rich in vitamin C and lend a very pleasant flavor to the tea.

Want to learn more plant-based healing for your family and friends? I highly recommend signing up for the Online Intermediate Herbal Course if you’d like to participate in formal herbalism formal training! Learn how to harness the healing power of plants!

Allergy Relief Herbal Tea

Ingredients
*Measurements in parts are by volume not weight.

  • 2 parts nettle leaf
  • 2 parts eyebright
  • 1 part licorice root
  • 1 part marshmallow root
  • 1 part elder flowers
  • 1 part elderberries
  • 1/2 part rosehips
  • 1/2 part cinnamon chips
  • 1/4 part ginger root

I buy all of my dried organic and/or wild-crafted herbs
in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Method

  1. Measure the parts of each of the herbs listed and mix in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Grab your tea accessories, tea infusers, and/or tea pots…and brew a cup! (Note: I get all of my loose leaf tea-making supplies online from Starwest Botanicals. Their selection of tea accessories can’t be beat!)
  3. This herbal tea blend will keep stored in a cool, dark place for approximately 6 months. (Note: I like to store all of my teas in glass jars with tight-fitting lids.)

Suggested use

Pour 1 cup of hot water over 1 teaspoon of tea. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain (composting plant material). For an added punch of allergy relief enjoy this tea sweeten with organic, raw honey (Local is best for ultimate allergy relief, but if it is unavailable to you, I HIGHLY recommend this honey from Tropical Traditions…it’s my personal favorite!). Drink 3 or more cups per day.

*Consider brewing up a big batch and keeping it in the fridge to sip throughout the day.*

Note: I like to prepare large batches of this tea for ease of use (especially during allergy season). In order to do so, I make a very concentrated infusion by adding 5-6 tablespoons of tea blend to one quart of water that has been brought just to a boil. Allow tea to steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain (composting plant material). Refrigerate the concentrate in a glass mason jar. When ready to serve, mix one part concentrate with three parts water. Reheat to serve hot or serve cold over ice.

Where Can I Get This Stuff?

-Mountain Rose Herbsthey have everything you’ll need by way of Bulk Herbs and Natural Products for Healthy, Natural Living! It’s your one-stop-shop!

-Starwest Botanicals and The Bulk Herb Store also carries many of these ingredients if you’d like to price check.

I do have this herbal tea blend available for purchase
in my Etsy Shop.
See the listing by clicking this link.

Be sure not to miss a post, click this link to receive my free eBook and Frugally Sustainable tips by email.

DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my knowledge-sharing/writing/blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust.