Please enjoy these articles that I have written on various botanical subjects (and check back for new ones)
9 Energizing Herbs To Increase Your Endurance: http://thejoydepot.com/2012/10/9-energizing-herbs-to-increase-your-endurance/
Here is an offering and idea for you of an incredible meditation that soothes your heart, quiets your mind, adjusts your mood and honors the earth....
All you really need to have is gratitude, humility, and reverence. Once your purest intention is set, walk around outside and gather flowers, leaves, rocks, or any other gift from mother earth that calls to you. Then arrange them into a circular pattern to create a mandala.
A mandala's circular pattern represents whatever you wish.. some ideas... the circular mandala may represent the cosmos (within you and beyond you) metaphysically so that you can create peace from any lingering chaos.. The creation of a mandala may also be a way to focus one's aspirations and fine tune one's goals into a distinct focus and centralized point.. It may be your way to communicate with nature by honoring it's intricate beauty. Or maybe the creation of a mandala is a way for you to celebrate the joy of allowing your creativity to flow in free form..
I created the mandala pictured here earlier today in Topanga Canyon.. my intention was to let go of heaviness that I've been carrying in my heart. With just the mere idea of making a flower mandala, I could sense joy overflow from my heart! I spent inspired time walking around under huge Oak trees. I felt and heard the wild life, animals, and plants of the woods flutter and scurry around me. In search for flowers during such a dry and warm summer day, I smiled and moved slowly while picking delicate flowers.. As my heart filled with harmony and began to feel soothed from nurturing it, I sat under the shade of a tree and allowed the creativity from the depth with me to flow- to simple Be, exist in partnership with Mother Earth so that I could create a peaceful mandala. I lost track of time and all thought... felt love, purity and bliss. I walked off as the wind began to pick up and embrace the flowers I had arranged in the mandala, each petal infused with my blessings and prayers... my heart's peace took flight, in the form of flowers sent off on a journey by the wind..
When Mother Earth Gives You Lemons.....
When mother earth gives you lemons, lavender, tulsi, mint, lemon verbena, apples, roses and love... Make lemonade!
... Garden fresh ingredients
Delcious and easy to make lemonade! This lemonade can be prepared by cutting the herbs (mint, lavender flowers, rose petals, lemon verbena and tulsi) into smaller pieces and leaving some whole. Then cut an apple into thin slices and add both the herbs and the apple to a jar. Use a lemon reamer or you can squeeze the lemons for their precious juice. Pour the lemon nectar/juice over the herbs and apple so they can infuse and mingle together. Fill up less than half of your jar with this mixture and add water to fill the remainder of the jar. Next, mix in a good amount of agave nectar or other sweetener to taste. If you'd like, cut up the remainer lemon peel and place in a dehydrator to dry so you can add them to other teas in the future. Put lots of love & healing prayer into your lemonade, strain the herbs and serve! You can even heat it up if you'd like a warmer version. Don't forget to eat the delicious marinated apples! Sip and fall more and more into love love love...
We are so blessed by the bounties of the earth's harvest. This lemonade is refreshing and may be used to focus and center the mind, ease stress & purify blood. It is rich in vitamin C, balances digestive issues, calms the nervous system has a nice balance of sweet and sour. Of course it is visual medicine by its mere beauty and it is delicious, filled with divine taste. Available in a tea blend (fresh herbs for one time use while plants are harvestable or in dry herbal tea form all year long)... you can make yours warm or chilled with ice.
Blessings to all you sweet and tangy friends and beauties!!!
Healthy Heart Full of Love
Just because Valentine’s Day has come and gone this year, doesn’t mean we should put a halt on love. If anything, with the influence from all the cards, chocolates, balloons, poetry, smiles and everything else that circulated on Valentine’s Day, we should feel rebooted and refocused on the importance of love. Of course, I suggest we honor and appreciate our hallmark cards (we all love to know how loved we are), although making more room for self love, self respect, and self compassion is also so important. This is the space of love, unto oneself, that the heart chakra rules. Of course, a balanced heart chakra helps us to open up to the ability to see the Infinite and beauty in all things, but without a balanced outlook on the internal self or our center of self admiration, we may continue to find it hard to truly see the best in ourselves and others.
The forth chakra also known as the heart center, opens up our ability to be truly present within the world. This state of presence helps us to relax into the exact moment that we are living. This relaxed state helps us to tune into our breath, feeling gratitude for the expansive ability of our lungs, the guardians of our heart. Compassion, forgiveness, love and awakening, these are qualities that a balanced forth chakra helps us to recognize. These qualities can be present within ourselves and the second we drop into our heart center and become amazed by our self worth, is the moment that we begin to see the good, the positive and the love in all beings.
There are herbs that work on the physical heart such as Hawthorn Berry. Hawthorn helps the heart to flower, open and bloom. It is an all around outstanding herb for both preventing heart related illness as well as aiding in recuperation from heart surgery, heart attack and various other heart related ailments such as weakening of the heart muscle, arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. While balancing cholesterol and blood pressure, Hawthorn works to nourish, tone and strengthen the heart. Hawthorn can be used to remedy the “broken heart” or for general uplift for those who may suppress their feelings and emotions by helping to awaken a sense of open-heartedness. Sometimes enjoying a cup of Hawthorn tea, helps you to connect to the embrace of the heart… and as one definition of ‘heart’ in the good old dictionary suggests, the heart is “the center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion.”
I recently learned that the heart knows the importance of taking care of itself first. Before aiding in the circulatory of blood to any other part of the body, the heart pumps one squirt of blood for itself. In other words, the heart provides for itself first because it knows that without caring for itself, it will lack in the ability to provide for any other body system. We can learn from this in the sense that we too must care for ourselves before we have the capacity to give without seeking profit; to give whole heartedly without attaching to the gain of giving.
The more we do things from our center of love, or by acting from our heart first (instead of just relating from our mind), the more we will be granted a closer look into our true essence, our spiritual identity and the more ease we will have relating to all that is outside of us. Flower essences can help us manifest living more fully from our heart. Specifically, one of my favorite heart related flower essences comes from the flower called, Holly. Holly Flower Essence helps us to heal feelings of being cut off from love, jealousy and envy by working to enhance one’s feelings of universal compassion. Holly Flower Essence brings a sense of self-illumination, a clearer and brighter picture of our purpose through realizing our love essence, and in turn preparing us to have the ability to extend love to others.
There is a meditation that has been so inspiring for me recently. It is simple and it is easy and everyone can do it. It doesn’t matter if you have practiced yoga or meditation forever, or if you are unable to sit still in a lotus posture, all that matters is your willingness to connect to your heart and your desire to crack open the barriers that keep us from living in love. If you want to be compassionate, to be sincere, to hear the subtle vibrations of your heart speaking your truest purpose, or if you just want to experience a blissful, lovely state of being, then give this a try….
Instant Heart Chakra Opener- With pursed lips inhale whistling the noise “Wheeew” and then exhale chanting a long “Laaaaa”. Continue the breathing pattern, feeling the lungs and belly expand with your inhale. As you exhale feel the weight lifted off from your chest or heart center. Focus the sound to come from your heart and your navel center, not just from your throat or nasal passage.
Inhale Whistling "Wheeew" Exhale Singing "Laaaaaa"
This can be done anywhere and at any time to tap into the space of contentment that is provided by the heart center. In fact, one of my favorite times to practice this meditation is when I am out in nature or working with plants. The combination of awakening the heart chakra through the meditation and being in the grace of Mother Earth, is such a perfect combination for deep healing and awareness of the Infinite support that comes with love. Most plants live in the vibration of love…that is why they support us with nutrients and work as our medicine. We gift flowers to our sweethearts because flowers are sincerely lovely and spread love by their inherent nature. Through this meditation you can have the opportunity to open your own heart as well as connect to the subtle guidance of Mother Earth if you choose to practice it in conjunction to being in nature….
Here’s an example…
Herbal Remedies that Support Heart Health and Awareness:
A blend of herbs to enliven and awaken self love, self appreciation and heart connection so that you can keep spreading the love to others.
4th Chakra Remedy ~ Heart
A blend of herbal infused oils, essential oils and flowers essence to balance the heart chakra
Contributes to a sense of compassion, service, forgiveness, love and heart centered awakening
Heart Tonic Herbal Tea Blend
A blend of herbs to therapeutically adjust heart conditions and provide nutrients and nourishment for the heart
(All remedies are available any time, feel free to email Angelic.firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase products, to ask questions, or for individualized herbal blends)
First and Foremost, an herbalist is someone who is constantly deepening and developing his or her relationship with plants. An herbalist believes that our health is positively linked to the natural world around us and to rhythms of the Earth. Their work is to help us deeply connect to the botanical world by being a conduit for plants to share their healing ability. An herbalist may practice with herbs for food, medicine (remedy and prevention), shelter, clothing, oxygen, grace, beauty, talisman, meditation and also spiritual insight. Healing with plants, also known as Herbal Medicine, Herbalism, Phytotherapy or Phytomedicine, suggests that we can use herbs (leaf, bark, seed, berry, root, fruit, stem or any other part of the plant) for the medicinal properties, the fragrant properties (origin of aromatherapy), or to flavor food. Throughout history, various cultures around the world have used plants as medicine and plants as food to sustain life both as protection and prevention from disease as well as for pure nourishment of the body. Herbalism is in fact the most ancient form of health care, thus each time you work with herbs for healing or use herbal medicine, you are connecting to the lineage of our ancestors who took the time to sense, communicate, and learn from plants about using them as allies for our health. There are many ways of preparing herbs for medicine, some include; whole herbs dried, powered or cut, therapeutic tea blends, capsules and tablets, extracts and tinctures, essential oils, salves, ointments, balms and well as infused oil or honey.
There are many different methodologies for practicing Herbalism. Main systems of herbology include; Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Herbalism. There are also roots of herbal medicine from the Native American, Japanese, South American and African Cultures; thus wherever plants thrive medicine grows. The Ayurvedic system of medicine derives from India and includes the use of herbs, focus on the body and mind constitutions, nutritional elements, such as taste, and lifestyle techniques to improve or sustain health. Traditional Chinese Medicine strives for harmony of body, mind, spirit and health by balancing ying and yang forces with herbal medicine as well understanding the five elements, seasons, and the body’s meridians. Western Herbalism deals with plants that grow primarily in the North American continent and strives to improve the state of health by not just chasing the symptoms of illness or dis-ease but by applying herbal formula to correct the underlying cause of discomfort- focusing on western physiology of body systems and structure. Herbs are also used in ceremony, to receive protection or spiritual insight and much of this way of working with plants and their folklore comes from the Native American Tribes.
Herbalism is not restricted to those who call themselves ‘herbalists’. In fact, any time you make tea, add spices to your food, or sit under a tree and feel it’s expansiveness- you are participating as an herbalist. Although for further exploration of botanical medicine, an herbalist practitioner may be able to assist in the understanding of your ailment, provide education on the proper use of plants as well as provide lifestyle suggestions to improve your condition or to keep you in a vibrant state of health.
It is no mystery that we are shifting seasons. By being healthy and feeling vibrant during Autumn we can help to ensure a strong transition- staying healthy through Winter. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and the system of 5 Element Wellness (which explores how to achieve a balanced state of being during the shift of seasons) Autumn is considered a time for consolidation, communication, new disciplines, productive work, clarity, care, and a great time for quiet walks and more rest. On the other hand, one might feel these qualities are unbalanced and some combination of indecision, confusion, overindulgence, and fatigue may be ruling the day. We may also be looking for more stimulants to keep us going. Feelings of an unbalanced mood, health or vibrancy does not mean we are being punished or have it all wrong, it’s just that our body and spirit’s response to the shift and change of the season is unsettled and needs some help adjusting. It is through the awareness of where we are at that we can shift towards feeling better during the time when the weather is cooling down and darkness is more abundant. Your body wants to be in alignment with the patterns of cycles of the Earth and we have so many tools to get us there.
As the seasons change, the environment can put a strain or stress on the response of our immune system. So how can we play a role in enhancing the vibrancy of our own well being? The first step is the awareness of the importance of redirecting our feelings and the state that our body is in so that we can be living from our heart and living with vibrant healthiness. Luckily, there are many tips and tools and it all begins by becoming in tune with the Mother Earth and understanding how the shifts and changes are affecting us as individuals of her grace. By tuning into the rhythm of Creation by Mother Earth, we can follow the tips that nature is actually presenting. May we learn to set ourselves with motivation and motion to excel forward to a happy and healthy transition of the seasons. A nice way to relax into the Autumn season and to calm the spirit into a state of peacefulness and trust, is to listen to Yogi Bhajan’s (great master of Kundalini Yoga) lecture meditation called “Patience Pays.” As we shift inward more during the colder seasons, some of us might find ourselves questioning a lot. I find myself looking towards tools to get me out of my mind and into my heart. Some of the hearts most beautiful qualities are trust and patience. I put together a blend of herbs in a tea blend called “Patience Pays” modeled after sitting in meditation in my garden listening to Yogi Bhajan’s words- the tea is meant to help consolidate our thoughts so that we may feel supported, calm and understand that within time all the things that you may need will come to you. To learn more about the tea visit the products section on this page and to listen to the meditation check out the link: http://youtu.be/cjNBzaNxCwE
During the season of Fall, there is a tendency for our nervous system to feel a bit unbalanced, especially if our constitution is vata (and we all have a little vata especially during Fall). According to Ayurveda, Vata constitution holds qualities that are similar to how nature is represented during the Fall. The movement of the wind, dryness and cold increases in the environment thus also increasing within our own bodies. Physically, during the season and shift, we may need to apply moisture to our bodies to combat the dryness. This is always best in the form of oil to penetrate into the skin. Applying oil to the skin nourishes, moisturizes, replenishes and helps to sooth the vata body and mind which is airy and sometimes all over the place.
To balance some of the cold, we may need to apply more heat. This can be done by consuming warmer foods and more spice. When stagnation occurs from lack of movement or fatigue, we can boost the body system and activate vitality by increasing metabolism, circulation, and elimination. Sometimes fatigue lends its hand to sickness, especially if we haven’t gotten moving enough. A tasty and lively way of waking up the body to not only recover from cold or flu but to also boost immune defense can be by drinking Fire Cider. You can mix Horseradish, Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne, Honey, Lemon Juice, Peppers (Habanera, Serrano) and Apple Cider Vinegar together and let the mixture sit for a while so the ingredients can infuse together, strain and then enjoy either straight or diluted (contact for more specific directions if wanted). The therapeutic taste of the pungent mixture not only helps to stimulate appetite but also maintains metabolism and balance by first increasing circulation, dispersing stuck mucus, enliven awareness and motivation. It is also important to keep warm with the use of our clothing. If we can keep our lower torso and lower back warm this can help to benefit us- as we keep the kidneys covered and warm they can stay focused on their job at hand to shift through toxins to keep us vibrant.
The last little bit of discussion in relation to Autumn and even the coming of Winter is how we can remedy colds. Sometimes we have a little challenge of figuring out whether we have allergies or a cold. Make sure to keep the filters of our heaters clean(especially as we might turn them on more now that it’s getting colder). Also try to clear dust away that may be building up as we may keep windows and doors shut more often to keep in the warmth. Drinking Nettle tea can also clear up some more simple allergy reactions. In steps to heal from a cold, we can make sure to keep a balance between quiet rest /restorative relaxation and enough movement and circulation in order to stir away from stagnation.
Sometimes we can play all the cards right, but we still are handed a challenge of getting a cold or flu. I enjoy sharing with others a therapeutic herbal tea blend that I put together of healing herbs for colds. It’s called “Cold Remedy & Immune Strength Tea” and it has many herbs… some of which are; Hibiscus, Meadowsweet, Elder Berries & Flowers, Yarrow, Peppermint, Ginger, Echinacea, Licorice, Elecampane, Boneset, Tulsi and Rose Hips. You may like the sound of one of a few of the herbs and find them useful next time you have a cold, so here's some herbal infused info on the medicinal value of the plants. Not only is the tea blend filled with rich antioxidants and vitamin C from the Hibiscus and Rose Hips, it also has healing properties to boast the immune systems response to any virus or germs that it is battling. The Meadowsweet works as an “herbal aspirin” reducing pain, inflammation, headache and colds and flu and may also help sweat out fevers (Yarrow, used for a protective boundary to keep you strong, healthy, and resistant to germs is also helpful for fevers) or chills while also soothing any stomach trouble. The Elder Berries are added to the formula to help treat upper respiratory infection, including common cold and flu. They also help to shield you from other germs that can be lingering around (so this is nice to use when there are people around you who are sick). The Peppermint and Ginger are helpful for both cooling and stimulating effects to work on the circulatory system and stagnation so that the other herbs have the chance to move more smoothly and swiftly through the body for healing. Echinacea is immune stimulating which helps to increase resistance to disease. It helps to speed the resolution of colds, flu and all kinds of respiratory infection especially useful when used in the beginning of bacterial or viral infection. The Licorice and Elecampane work to gently ease throat pain or cough and Elecampane also helps with shortness of breath or overall trouble breathing due to cold or throat pain. Boneset is added to help sooth the body, muscle and bone from any cramping or strain as a result of being sick. Tulsi “Holy Basil” is an herb to help clear the mind and bring relaxation to thoughts as it works as an adaptagen helping us to adapt to stress (which many times can be the reason for the cold in the first place).
Essential oil tip: Ravintsara is a good Essential Oil to use to help keep the healing goodness around you but to strongly combat the lingering germs, mucus and congestion. You may add ONE drop of the essential oil to 8 or more oz of water to keep immunity at its optimum strength while around people who are sick.
For further info on any of the above information or to purchase therapeutic herbal formulas for healing please feel free to contact me. Angelic.email@example.com
Essential oil tip: Ravintsara is a good Essential Oil to use to help keep the healing goodness around you but to strongly combat the lingering germs, mucus and congestion. You may add ONE drop of the essential oil to 8 or more oz of water to keep immunity at its optimum strength while around people who are sick.
The Alchemy Of Your Greatness, The Beauty Of Botanics
I am filled with utter appreciation for the alchemy in all things ever so present in life. The alchemy of herbal medicine. The plants are grown, harvested, dried in preparation for medicine making. And with the perfect alchemy (creating one thing from something else) we are blessed with a healing tool. In todays case, these herbs....
Were turned into this cream...
So much alchemy within the transition from solid plant material to cream. the herbal infused oil merges and blends with the liquid of aloe juice and water and in an instance of magic... cream is born.
With the idea of alchemy ever so present, I wish for you to learn to blend all your passions, all your inherent gifts, all your ideas and longings, anything at all that you truely know will serve your highest growth and wellbeing... and poof like magic blend them together. Infuse your life with possibility and miracle by knowing that you are being guided... this is the strength behind the alchemy. Transform all your worry and fear into gold. This is my wish for us all. Be Great!
The beautiful herbs pictured include: Tulsi, Calendula, Chinese Green Tea, Echinacea, Frankincense Resin, Gotu Kola, Fennel Licorish, Marshmallow, Rosehip, Lemon Verbena, Nettle, Sage, Elder flowers. In the Botanical Infused Moisturizing Cream, they are infused in oils of Avocado, Almond, Pomegrante, Pumpkin Seed, Meadowfoam, Vitamin E and Evening Primrose. Also included in the alchemy of this moisturizing cream is Aloe Vera Juice, Coconut Glycerine, Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, and water with Essential oils of Peppermint and Lime.
Rainbow Chard Herbal Chips
This week was a hot one! As a way to stay cool while still working with the healing plants, I ended up working on a bunch of fun botanical-infused recipes. Our garden is flourishing with lots of greens, herbs, and peppers so I figured I'd take the yummy blessings and create this delicious snack for my family to enjoy and now you can enjoy it too!
These are all vegan chips (that taste nacho cheesy) with the main ingredient being Rainbow Chard. We have all seen and maybe even tasted those awesome Kale chips, but why not enjoy the delicious and nutrient rich benefits of Chard as well? Rainbow Chard is a common variety of the dark leafy green Swiss Chard. The stalks of the leaves can come in a variety of colors (red, hot pink, yellow, white, orange). They are related to the same family that beets and spinach are part of. They can thrive all year round in healthy organic gardens! Chard is super mineral and vitamin rich and includes; Vitamin A & K, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Calcium! Some of the other ingredients are straight from the garden too, including.. Red Bell Peppers (also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, heart health) and Lemon from our garden. Here's how I put the snack together...
So gather up your ingredients (all ingredients with a * next to it indicate herbs):
So gather up your ingredients (all ingredients with a * next to it indicate herbs):
Rainbow Chard and/or Swiss Chard
*Astragalus powder 1tsp (liver protecting, immune boaster, energy, stamina and blood building)
*Eleuthero powder 1tsp (helps adapt to stress, overall energy and blood balancing)
*Angelica powder ½ tsp (helps with digestion, constipation, gas and immunity boaster)
*Milk thistle powder 1 tsp (helps protect liver from toxins, all around liver boaster)
*Nettle powder 1 ½ tsp (rich in minerals and helps resist allergies)
*Cayeene pinch (improves blood circulation)
*Garlic 1 clove (one of the trinity roots all around healthfull)
*Onion powder 1 tsp (another of the trinity roots)
Nutritional yeast ¼ cup
Red pepper - deseeded
Himalyan sea salt ¼ tsp
Lemon juice 2tsp
Blend all your ingredients except the Rainbow chard in your Cuisinart. After washing the Chard and making sure it is super dry (if wet the chips may get soggy), cut the Chard into pieces. You want to the pieces to be a bit larger than bite size as they will shrink.
These Rainbow Chard Herbal Chips are yummy whether prepared raw prepared in your dehydrator or in your over baked at 200 degrees. Bake them until they are crunchy- could take about an hour! Enjoy :)_________________________________________________________________
Ingredients: Nori and Dulse seaweed, Milk Thistle seed, Nettle, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero, Fennel, Shatavari, Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper, Sesame Seeds, Raw Cocoa Nibs, Coconut, Sunflower Seeds, Cranberries, Goji Berries, Coconut Oil (powder all the herbs in coffee grinder)
Lively up yourself! Wishing you tons of blessings & Vibrancy from our Divine Earth!
To learn more about each plant and its medicinal properties as well as how to actually prepare the treat, please enjoy this informative video that walks you through the steps!
Medicine Making: Crafting a Ginkgo biloba Tincture!
Welcome to the next adventure we take together as we explore the makings of a Ginkgo extract. Ginkgo is an excellent plant to aid in the enhancement of your brain functioning. It can help to circulate blood throughout the body by increasing the blood flow from and to the brain. Ginkgo has antioxidant properties that send nutrients to the brain thus helping with brain performance leading to the overall enhancement of energy. Ginkgo can aid in mental confusion, memory loss, tiredness, ringing in the ears, and can help with decreased physical and mental performance (which is part of the beautiful and normal path of life as we get older). Ginkgo can help to relieve anxiety and depression that is typically linked with brain based fogginess and frustration. Lastly, Ginkgo may be used to help in cases of vertigo (balance issue) and headaches as blood flow is increased to brain.
So what is a Tincture?
~ The herb (can be dried or fresh)
~ Beaker/measuring devise for liquid
~ Muslin cloth for straining and bowl to strain into
~ Dropper bottle (amber colored ones help to shield the tincture from light sensitivities that could lessen it’s potential preservation time).
~ Label with contents, date, and ratio written on it
Steps to help you follow along with the video…
1) Not mentioned right in the beginning but should be your first step any time you are going to engage in healing work or preparing medicine… Calm Yourself. Inhale into your mind’s eye and exhale from your heart, clearing all events prior to the medicine making and focusing on the honor of the plant by whose Grace you shall craft medicine. Become centered, calm, grounded, focused, meditative, relaxed (or any other term that describes your “be here now” state), and then begin to envision a healing medicine made with positive intentions. You always want to be in a good mood when making medicine as the sensitivity of your energy can by infused with the process.
2) A tincture can be made from either fresh or dried plants. In this case, dried organic Ginkgo leaves are being used. The leaves were ground up into a nearly course powder to reduce the surface area of the plant material and break down the plant cell wall. If you are using a fresh plant from your garden, do not use a coffee grinder; simply chop the herb with a knife into smaller pieces.
3) For a dried herb tincture the general consensus on the ratio of weight (the herb weight in grams) to Volume (the liquid made of alcohol and/or water- termed the menstruum) in milliliters – is 1:5 (weight : volume or grams : milliliters). So in the case of the dried Ginkgo, 75 grams were weighed out. We need to multiply the 75 grams by 5 to find out the amount of menstruum in milliliters (alcohol and water to use). 75 X 5 = 375. So we can proceed forward knowing that the total liquid in milliliters that we are going to add the dried herb is 375ml. Do not measure any liquid out yet!
When the plant is fresh from your garden is the ratio is generally 1:2.
4) Each and every plant that you might tincture requires a unique amount of alcohol and in some cases water is added as well. I mentioned following a book such as “Making Plant Medicine” by Richo Cech and there are many other great books that will help you to know the percentage of alcohol and/or water that is used to add as the menstruum. Some herbs require 100% of the menstruum to be alcohol while others can be extracted nicely with just 20%. In Ginkgo case we need to use 55% Alcohol. The remainder 45% will be water. If we have 375 ml in total that we need (step 3) and we need 55% of that to be alcohol we simply do the math (It’s easy math I promise once you get the hang of it). So to find a percentage we add a ( . ) to the beginning of the number representing the amount of alcohol % (55% turns into .55) and multiply that by the total number of menstruum (375).
.55 X 375 = 206
206 is the amount of alcohol in milliliters that we need to measure out. So we measure out 206ml of alcohol.
The remainder will be the water. So you can subtract the alcohol amount (206) from the overall menstruum amount the original 375 that we got from step 3).
375 – 206 = 169
169 is the amount of water in milliliters that we measure out to add to the 206ml to equal are 375ml total.
206ml of alcohol + 169ml of water = 375 overall milliliters you add to the dried herb.
5) In a large enough jar, mix together the menstruum formulation of alcohol and water to the dried herb.
6) Close the jar with a tight lid and SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE. You want to really make sure the herb is saturated with the liquid. Continue to shake with positive affirmations of healing medicine intentions. Label the jar.
7) Keep the jar in a dark place shake it every day for at least a minute for two weeks.
8) At the end of two weeks. Open the jar and with a few pieces of cheese cloth or muslin cloth strain the herb from the liquid. Make sure you have a nice sized bowl to collect the liquid as you strain the herb. Throw the remainder herb out (in your compost if available) and voila you have a tincture! The liquid can then be put into amber dropper bottle and stored/used for medicine. The dosage amount recommended is case by case scenario for most herbs, although starting with 1ml which is 30 drops a day is a nice way to integrate Ginkgo into daily practices for healthfulness.
~ Enjoy the video below which walks through the steps for making a Ginkgo Tincture :
~ Enjoy the video below which walks through the steps for making a Ginkgo Tincture :
This information is just a suggestion for basic education on healthy tools for vibrancy. The information is not to be used to diagnose any disease/illness. Please be aware with your choices and seek medical attention if you are pregnant or have severe / prolonged symptoms.
Rose Petal Mala ~ crafting prayer beads from your garden
Prayer beads, also known as a Mala, have been used in nearly every spiritual practice. The sacred tool of prayer beads and the vibration power of Roses merge together Gracefully- help to open one up not only to the meditative state of prayer and mantra but also to the healing and uplifting spirit of the Rose plant.
A mala has 108 beads or any fraction of 108. Each one of your fingers corresponds to another part of your brain and by rolling the bead between the tip of your finger and your top knuckle- you can enhance and activate the corresponding portion of your brain. Your mala can have any fraction of 108 for the amount of beads.
The mala can be used in either hand and you start with the bead next to the biggest one. Repeat a mantra (can be spiritual text or a positive affirmation). Move from bead to bead towards yourself. As you descend from the biggest bead, you will eventually reach back to it. When you reach it, say your mantra one last time and send out a prayer. Continue for 108 recitations of your mantra for high vibration. So if you made a mala with 12 beads, continue your recitation passing the biggest bead nine times (1 bead is one full mantra even if more than one word is being said). You can say the mantra out load or silently to yourself. Can be done whenever or wherever you choice to deepen your connection to yourself, to powerful healing words, or to the vibration of Rose. Roses embrace the representation of love, compassion, passion, and uplift us with the scent and visible beauty)
These beads liven up with glorious smell as you work with them. The heat from your hands sets off the scent, making the experience delicious and inspiring.
“A mala is a simple, effective meditation tool which can help to reduce stress, and enhance wisdom, patience and health.” – Yogi Bhajan
How to make a Rose Petal Mala: crafting prayer beads from your garden:
2) Tear off the white tips at the base of the petals. These can tend to make the beads extra lumpy.
3) Grind the petals- add them to a food processor to break down the surface area / chop the petals into small pieces. Add a little bit of water to help grind the petals.
4) Add the ground up petals and to a cast iron skillet. (You can use another type of skillet, although the cast iron helps to richen the color to an earthy brown/black.) Cover the petals with water. You may use rose water if you’d like to enhance the scent, although tap water works just as good and saves you the money. Your choice.
5) Turn the heat on LOW. Let the petal and water mixture cook on a low temperature. Make sure nothing is burning and a nice way to do so is by using a wooden spoon to mix the petals and keep them away from the sides of the skillet.
6) Cook for an hour to three hours. Then take the rose petals mixture off the heat and store the mixture in a glass jar. The very next day repeat the cooking by adding the mixture to the skillet and adding more water to cover the petals. Cook for an hour. Repeat this process the next day and so forth or until they represent a molding type clay. It may take straining all the water from the petals to see the clay like quality.
7) Strain all the water out. Once all the water has been strained from the petal mixture (by using a muslin or cheese cloth) you will be left with your rose petal clay. Use the clay you make your beads by rolling the petal clay into balls. As the beads dry they get excessively smaller (and harden up) so make nice sized beads to begin with while anticipating the reduction of size. Make one bead larger or in a different shape.
8) Let the beads sit for a little while (so they just slightly dry) and then find a few pieces of wire (paper clips can work) to puncture holes (make sure they are wide enough so you can put the beads on string later). Keep the beads on the wire. Lay the beads (that have been strung onto wire) on a tray and out them somewhere where it is slightly warm or at least free from any moisture. In a closet or in your oven with NO heat on. Let them sit there for a few days. Once a day move the beads up and down on the wire to make sure the hole does not close up.
9) After a few days, your rose petal beads will be ready to string onto your favorite color string and you can put together your mala. You’ll know when they are ready when they not only smell beautiful but also when they are hard and more then half their original size. The mala is put together by taking a piece of string and tying a knot (or two to three knots next to each other) at the end. Then add a bead and make the knots again. Repeat until you have added all your beads. Use the bead that was larger or shaped differently as the final bead you add to the string. This bead is used to help to mark the where you are in the recitations of the mantra. You can attach a tassel to the end of this bead to represent the many petals of a lotus. Finish it up by knotting it all together and closing the circle of prayer beads.
10) Enjoy your meditations! Or use as a sacred and beautiful necklace, which reminds you of the nature’s Grace and the elegant rose vibration and love.
I love this project as it merges two beautiful aspects of my love for life- The calmness of meditation and the bliss of engaging with the plant world. Below is a video introducing the project of crafting the beads. Enjoy~
A celebration of Spring plants
Wherever you are, Spring is the time when colorful flowers are opening and shining in the soft sunlight. Like the plants, it is also the time that we can begin to expand as well- our roots are strengthened and we can now spring forth from below the deep soil (or our heated homes and inner thoughts), which have cuddled us throughout the winter season. So as we take in deep breaths and stretch our arms over our head, the plants are doing the same, stretching up to greet new opportunities and the bright sky. The spring is the time when the passionately bright green, shimmers as we look upon the hillsides and our yards. So many of the great healing plants grow in our yards, in our neighborhood and along some of our most frequently used roads. Some of us may not even recognize or notice these healing plants.
I have decided to gear this article towards getting us familiar with some of the plants that we quickly pass each day and possibly don’t think twice about. This was inspired by long walks with two extremely free spirited Australian Sheppards named Roxi and Harley… who love to sniff and embrace all the magical and medicinal plants while we walk together! Here’s a look at some of the common healing plants, which we found, that are springing forth this time of year in our community which you can probably find in your neighborhood as well…
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“Yummy! The fresh air, the shimmering sun, and freedom to roam the streets of a sweet neighborhood,” Harley thinks. “Oh and other creatures, little lizards and oh wow, other dogs to bark at and run towards,” Roxi thinks. Together we embrace the journey of our herb walk. Nearly seconds after leaving the back yard, Harley lifts his leg to pee… I quickly try to get him to move over. He’s about to pee on a fantastic medicinal plant from the mint family- Lemon Balm or Melissa officinalis. I bend down to smell the delicious scent of her volatile oil, which immediately calms my nerves. This simple looking plant is rich in so many healing properties. Not only can the herb be used to sooth digestive complaints as a carminative (easing excess gas and inflammation of the gut wall) but it always works to lift one’s mood. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with our digestive system and lemon balm works to link a healthy gut with a healthy feeling of oneself. The herb also is helpful for the heart and circulatory system and can help relieve headache tension and heat within the body, such as a fever. Lemon Balm has been worked with to help conditions of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid works as a hormone regulator, and Lemon Balm can balance its functioning. Add Lemon Balm to your Lemonade or herbal concoctions to improve the taste and to add tons of healing flare!
We quickly came across one of the best tonics and helpful plants during spring… Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)! Springtime is a great time to clean our temple (our body) and prepare it for new adventures that the warmth of sun will bring. A great way of doing this is by providing lots of good nutrients to your liver. It is important to not strip the goodness that your liver naturally has made for you by cleansing too vigorously. Thus cleaning the liver (just as you might Spring clean your room) by adding nutrients and boosting its liveliness is what it is all about and Dandelion wants to help you with this! Now, it is no mystery why so many Dandelions fill our yards at this time of year- it is the time of year that we should work towards purifying and enhancing the vibrancy of our liver. Dandelion helps your body rid itself of toxins, which is one of the many functions of the liver. Dandelion can help to improve any condition of congestion in the liver as well as the Gallbladder. Both the greens and the root of the plant work to cleanse the blood and improve indigestion. Dandelion is packed with potassium and will also stimulate your kidneys resulting in a diuretic quality (helpful with water retention)- it helps gets things flowing and moving nicely throughout the body. Dandelion is also great for your skin, which makes sense since your liver quality can show up on the body as a skin condition.
You may start noticing these beautiful yellow/orange, golden flowers shimmering in the sunlight and closing up at night time. This is the magically calming beauty called California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica). This is another great herb for soothing your nervous system. California Poppy has been used very safely with children to help them calm their overexcitement and nervousness so that they can get some restful sleep. When a child (and many times for adults as well) is overly stimulated with nervous energy, colic (or diarrhea) can result. This herb is helpful in those cases. I have personal affinity towards California Poppy (not just because it is the California state flower) but also because I have used the plant in many sleep aid blends. You don’t need much to feel its calming effects! This mild herb can be used by elders and children to promote healing sleep, freedom from anxiety or restlessness and to aid in pain associated with the body.
Plantain (Plantago spp.) is another healing plant that you may look at as just another silly weed. As more flowers shine during the warm seasons, you may start seeing more bees lingering around them for pollen. This is the season when people start getting stung quite a bit. Plantain is so helpful for when this happens… Last spring I was driving on the zig zagging road of Big Sur, California. My bright yellow jeep was hauling up the hill and was (as always) attracting many bees. As I had the windows down to let in the sea breeze, I also let in a bee friend. I got stung while driving along the vigorous road. I pulled over to let the dyeing bee out of my car, and to get out to inspect the sting spot. It was already flaring up. I couldn’t see the actual stinger because it was shaded where I was standing and because I was distracted by the fast cars zipping by. I started to look towards the earth to heal me. Magically, I found some plantain and I chewed it up. Chewing it up helps break down the cell walls of the plant so that it can be more health promoting. I took the batch of plantain from my mouth and put in on the bee sting affected area of my leg. The reason I told you this story is because Plantain works wonders for expelling unwanted things from your body and is especially healing to stings. It can pull out stingers, heal toothaches and when applied to the skin for eczema, acne, cuts, and bruises- Plantain provides soothing help to the area. The plant is also useful in cases of a sore throat or inflamed conditions such as hemorrhoids or diarrhea. I use the dried leaves of Plantain in a blend for digestive health promotion as it helps to soothe gut walls. This plant is another great spring healing plant growing just about everywhere!
The dogs and I always stop about half way through our walk to relax and embrace a particular look out point. Many times we stop there and I sit to meditate on the expansiveness of what’s around us. I love this spot because as I sit there I’m surrounded by a great field of Wild Oats (Avena Sativa), which have an impressive calming quality. The primary body part in which they work to heal are the adrenal glands. They work to calm the overused adrenals (which appears as fatigue, mind confusion and nervousness when the adrenals are imbalanced). Sometimes we just can’t get ourselves moving… we are stuck in the blues of depressing thoughts or situations. When we feel depressed, we become so restless and fatigued that even getting some fresh air and pulling ourselves out of bed seems like a mystery. Wild Oats helps strengthen us. While we are human and simply have those tougher days, Wild Oats can urge your body to not be as affected by your mood. The milky seeds of the oats are also used to help a person stir clear from addictions to nicotine and caffeine, which exhaust the adrenals. It is not always depression or anxiety that make us feel fatigued- sometimes we just need to honor ourselves and rest our body temple- try Wild Oats to balance your adrenals.
~ ~ ~ ~ Some other beauties of Spring ~ ~ ~ ~
Lavender varieties- all purpose helper
Lupine- divine wildflower
Calendula- soothing for skin and gut
Eucalyptus- scent to help direct focus
Yarrow- protective, reduce fevers and bleeding
Jasmine- scent is calming to nerves yet uplifting
Rosehips- Vitamin C (rose buds are more common now)
Angels Trumpet (Datura)- spirit, connection with angelic souls
Ceonothus- lessens blood thickness, good for blood circulation
Cherry Tree Blossom
This article is only an overview… much more can be written about all these herbs and of course there are other great plants of the Spring. Please use this information as suggestion meant to acquaint you with the beauty and Grace growing from the earth around you. Please seek attention when using herbs alongside pharmaceuticals or if you are pregnant.
Shine your light and love on the Earth! Be loving to yourself as you are a springing beauty as well! Let's all work together to pray for Mother Earth and her flowing and growing beauty ~
Recently, I had the chance to collect a bountiful few pounds of Stinging Nettles from a local farmer… what a precious herbal gift! Nettles are an excellent tonic especially during the spring time… not only do they help a person adjust to spring allergies, but they also help to strengthen and support a person’s entire body. Also, Nettles make a good detoxifier as they help to clear waste and strengthen the digestive, urinary and respiratory systems. As I laid out the great fresh plant to create bundles for drying, I remarked about the amazing significance of always being where you are supposed to be in life. Fresh Nettles will actually sting~ you are zapped back into your body thus leading to an understanding of the freshness of living in the moment. Throughout this article you will read of the healing properties and beautifulness of Urtica dioica, Stinging Nettles. (‘Nettles’ and ‘Stinging Nettles’ will be used interchangeably to refer to Urtica dioica)
Let’s get acquainted with Nettles. The tall stature and its square stem, makes the Nettle look like a large mint plant. The dark green and pointy leaves are positioned interchangeably along the stem and there are stinging hairs throughout the plant. They grow pretty much like any weed, all over the place and in most conditions, including inorganic or industrial areas. If you decide to harvest Nettles, be aware of the location and its surroundings because Nettles have the ability to extract heavy metals from the soil. Don’t forget to wear gloves- Be cautious of the stinging properties… centering yourself- inhale and exhale deeply and thank the plant- sometimes this can lessen the ouch of her sting. The stinging hairs are diminished when they dry out or when the fresh leaves are cooked, or drenched in water.
Nettles contain a significant amount of supportive nutrients in the form of minerals, iron, potassium, calcium, chlorophyll and Vitamins A and D. It is an extremely nutritive herb especially in the springtime when it is ready to be harvested. Nettles help strengthen nearly every part of the body and can help heighten a person’s resistance to allergies, specifically sinus affected and related. Thus someone who is typically affected by seasonal changes, environmental pollutants including mold or pollen, may find Nettles to be helpful in adapting to these pressures.
One of my favorite times to drink multiple cups of Nettle tea is when I feel I need extra support to aid in the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion during my moon cycle (menstrual cycle). During my moon cycle I typically undergo subtle anemia. The plant works great to supplement lower levels of iron or protein. I can feel it working as I feel my spirit lift as the balance in my body is restored by the Nettles loving care. Nettles can be used as a diuretic (increases amount of urine and elimination a.k.a improving urine flow). This may sounds strange initially, but it is an important action of this herb as it aids in the hydration of a person especially when experiencing water retention (which is experienced a lot by women during PMS hence the bloating). Nettles are great for a number of urinary discomforts. In addition to the diuretic action of Nettles, the plant helps to stimulate the function and cleansing property of the kidneys aiding in elimination of toxins. Also, the herb adds electrolytes to the blood with its high mineral qualities. Thus it is a great blood builder and balancer.
Another gift from the plant is its ability to work as a great skin cleanser. It works from the inside out… by consuming the Nettles they help to clear up issues of eczema and other skin related issues. It is gentle enough to be taken by children for skin rashes. Also because it has astringent qualities, Nettles can be used to ease and relieve symptoms of hemorrhage or bleeding within the body. Since it works as a diuretic, with is related to the urinary body system, and since it is astringent it is pretty accurate to say that Nettles can also help to manage the flow of bleeding during the moon cycle. Hair growth and improvements on the overall tone and texture of one’s hair are also actions of using Nettles. Try using some cooled down Nettle tea in the shower after using shampoo- leave the tea on the hair for a few moments and it is an excellent way to receive hair shine and growth benefits.
There are many ways to receive the benefits of Nettles depending on how you like to take the medicine. A tincture of the leaves and or roots can be taken and measured daily. You can also just eat the fresh greens to receive all the good benefits (Nettles are yummy!). Just steam the leaves to remove the stinging property and you can eat the Nettles like you would eat Spinach. You may also juice the Nettles or drink them in a soothing infusion with hot water (a.k.a Nettle tea). It can also be noted that Nettles have been used in the treatment of the symptoms of arthritis by whipping the inflamed joint with the fresh plant. The stinging has been said to help ease arthritic discomforts although one must be pretty brave to bare the stings. Part of the folk lore related to Nettles includes that during the time of Julius Ceasar, soldiers would sow the Nettle seed, later using the grown plant to rub on their limbs to alleviate the symptoms of extreme cold and to provide aid to their stiff joints. Nettles are just wonderful for increasing circulation. Nettles have been and are still used as a fiber alternative.
All in all, I wish you vibrant health and blessings from the green world. May we be as strong as a tall patch of Nettles reminding ourselves to zing (or sting) back into our body, our great temple, and back into the bliss and aliveness of this moment!
Herbs for Menopause
You are a goddess and as every beautiful goddess before you, and like all the great goddesses after you, we must all go through menopause as part of the beauty of womanhood. The transition of becoming a wiser woman and going through menopause is part of the secrets of being a woman that only we as the divine feminine tribe must go through and really only we can understand. Many women going through menopause feel as though they are less than a goddess- it’s time for change!
Women have been experiencing menopause since the beginning of time. So many women have had their share of hot flashes, mental confusion and the physical and mental changes that seem inevitable during menopause. Our era thinks about menopause as a condition that needs to be medicalized; from hormone replacement to antidepressants to estrogen lubricants. As one of my wise herbal medicine teachers would never let us forget… “Menopause is not a disease!” It is just another state of being for a woman... with a whole lot of hormonal changes that don’t have to rule you! A woman has not gone through this much hormonal change since puberty. During menopause, she’s nearly going through puberty although this time around more consciously.
Honoring this phase of your life and feeling vibrant during menopause is possible… Start by looking at the foods that you consume or may not consume. Iron rich foods help to lessen feelings of exhaustion, fatigue and stress. They also help to heighten your energy and strengthen your blood oxygen. There are many foods with lots of iron; beets and their greens, alfalfa, apricots, bran, tofu, watercress, whole grains, blackstrap molasses, oats, eggs, raisins, parsley, seaweed, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin E can also be helpful during menopause. It can help with hot flashes, muscle cramps and vaginal dryness. Some foods with nice levels of Vitamin E include; whole grains, dark green leafy greens, bee pollen, and some nuts.
Our ancestor goddess didn’t have pills to chill out her hot flash or all the emotional craziness going on, she had the beautiful green earth to call upon for healing. She understood her strength could be gathered from the food she ate and from the healing plants whose medicine works on the many levels of a person- body, soul, mind, heart, and emotions...
There are so many useful herbs to help with menopause…
Vitex, also called Chaste Tree or Vitex agnus-castus, is one of the best herbal hormone regulators. When the berries of this plant are taken, the herb works to normalize pituitary gland functioning specifically relating to progesterone levels. The beauty of Vitex is that works to normalize any hormonal imbalance in relation to women’s reproductive health, a.k.a. her sex hormones. At menopause progesterone levels lessen and Vitex can be used to help a women’s body adapt to this change.
Dong Quai, also called Angelica sinensis, is another helpful herb during menopause. So many of the symptoms associated with menopause are similar to the symptoms of adrenal stress; such as feeling fatigued, irritable, anxious, depressed, and mood swingy. Once menopause has begun, the adrenal glands take over a lot of the work of the ovaries and produce small amounts of estrogen. Boosting the adrenal glands with good habits (such as eating healthfully and practicing stress relief techniques, YOGA!) before menopause and during menopause can help vitalize your adrenals. Dong Quai is great to help strengthen the glandular system ultimately lessening some of the undesirable symptoms of menopause. Dong Quai works to regulate the circulatory system and is high in iron and other minerals.
Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, is the herb of all herbs to help you out with hot flashes, headaches, rapid heart beating, ringing in the ears, irritability and sleep disturbances associated with menopause and perimenopause (before you have officially stopped having a period for a full year). This herb is also excellent for relieving muscle pain and cramping. This herb is a nice one to keep in tincture form by your bed, as it is useful upon waking up with menopausal sweats.
Ginseng and Sage are great herbs to take for hot flashes as well. Ginseng will balance your body from cold and hot and sage tea is also helpful in relieving heat, especially excessive sweat. Try drinking Sage (Salvia officinalis) tea daily. Ginseng also helps with stamina and can heighten your energy.
Damiana is the lovin’ herb. The herb will heighten your libido as it works on your nervous system to calm and relax you especially in your pelvic region. Unwind and feel the love.
Gotu Kola and Ginkgo are great herbs to help you with mental clarity and relief of excessive mental fogginess. Also citrus based scents can help to awake and focus energy and brain capacity. These can all be used of course in addition to yogic breathing, such as alternate nostril breathing, which is so helpful in heightening energy and focus.
Ashwagandha is a calming herb, sedative fore the nerves and helpful for adapting to stresses. Also, Ashwagandha is helpful for feelings of tiredness, lack of concentration and headaches. It is a very nutritive herb and also makes an excellent rejuvenation tonic. This herb from the Ayurvedic tradition has been used as an energy boaster and also as a sexual tonic (an aphrodisiac or to correct imbalances). Enjoy its mood lifting effects.
Your physical body wants movement, even if your mind can’t fathom moving at all during the moments that menopause symptoms seem to have the best of you. Any form of exercise is so important for your bone health. When we don’t move around enough our bones can become brittle or stiff…so enjoy your yoga practice, walking around the neighborhood, dancing or just plain jumping around to prevent or alleviate some of the symptoms of Osteoporosis. You might hear that synthetic estrogen helps to increase bone density, but nature has plenty to help strengthen your bones as well. Calcium rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seaweeds and seeds are so helpful! Nettle and Oatstraw are great calcium rich plants!
We are blessed in our uniqueness. Each person feels different at any given moment. Thus, what one woman feels she needs for menopause, might not be what another woman needs. As our bodies and emotions differ, herbs may affect us differently as well; it may take one woman more time or less time to feel the effects of botanical medicines than others. This information is to be used to educate you on the possibilities for your own health that are available to you, not to diagnose...only suggest.
Bless yourself by helping yourself and be in charge of your own health! Plants are so willing and so able to aid in your vibrancy! For , more clarity or handcrafted medicine FEEL FREE to contact me.
Wishing you vibrancy and love rooted in the Earth
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my blog for more articles and products: http://www.angelic-herbs.blogspot.com
*With gratitude to David Hoffmann, Rosemary Gladstar & Gail Julian; fascinating teachers & leaders in herbal medicine
*This article was featured on Heal Thyself website*
*This article was featured on Heal Thyself website*