Thursday, February 27, 2020

THYME: Herb of the Month

Thyme is a low-growing aromatic perennial herb that is common to Mediterranean countries and parts of Europe. Thyme was brought to North America, and has become a beloved garden herb. It is one of the most commonly used plants both medicinally and for culinary uses and has a rich history throughout the world. In ancient Egypt, thyme was used in embalming fluid. Thyme was one of the favorite plants in ancient Rome, and was beloved by the emperor. It was considered protective and healing, and was believed to protect against poisoning. It was also burned by the Romans and Greeks to purify homes and temples. The Romans used it to flavor alcoholic beverages and cheese. It is said that the Romans also gave this herb to people to cure them of melancholy and shyness. The Romans then introduced this herb to England, where it took on the same popularity it had in the Mediterranean. During the plague, which took hold of Europe in the mid 1300's, people would wear and carry thyme as protection. Rich in both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and loaded with vitamin C, thyme is medicinal for many different ailments. One of its most common uses is for respiratory issues. Because of its antibacterial and expectorant properties, thyme can help with soothing a cough. The antispasmodic property works as a cough suppressant, helping one to sleep through the night. Thyme can also be a wonderful digestive aid and can help bloating and malabsorption. It has also been shown to be beneficial to bone health because of its calcium content, and to be an aid in proper cardiac function because it relaxes the valves and veins, thus improving the heart's overall function.
If all these benefits aren't enough, thyme is also documented to increase feelings of positivity and to work to uplift the mood and ease stress. It contains many powerful compounds including caracrol, which has been shown to have a positive effect on mood as it increases level of serotonin and dopamine. Drinking thyme tea, consuming it, or diffusing the essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser, can elevate feelings of well-being and enhance feelings of relaxation.

by Theresa Musatto

MYRRH: Essential Oil of the Month

Myrrh is a resin that comes from trees of the Commiphora species.
Myrrh essential oil has a long, rich history with a variety of uses. The resin has been used medicinally and burned as an incense. Often used in combination with frankincense, it has been used in places of worship to purify and stop the spread of diseases. In Chinese medicine, myrrh is considered a potent medicine and is used in cases of hay fever and a variety of other ailments. Myrrh oil has been proven to kill bacteria. It can be useful in cases of oral infection. Diluted myrrh oil can be used to treat topical wound infections and because of its strong astringency, it helps prevent blood loss and promotes wound healing. When added to a lotion or oil, it can be a wonderful remedy for the skin, reducing lines and wrinkles.
For aromatherapy purposes, myrrh is said to help with coughs, colds, and congestion. It is also known to help lift depression and give one a feeling of calm alertness and spiritual awareness. Used on the scalp, its astringency can strengthen the hair, preventing hair loss and dandruff.
When diluted and used in massage oil, myrrh oil helps to relax the muscles, and can help aid the gentle detoxifying effects of a massage. With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, it can help with digestion issues when applied topically.
Remember, it is never safe to ingest essential oils. Myrrh oil is not safe for pregnant or nursing women.
Always dilute essential oils before using for topical or aromatherapy purposes.

by Theresa Musatto

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

AVENTURINE: Gemstone of the Month

As winter begins to slowly fade and some bits of green begin to appear on the ground, one can be reminded of the vibrant color of the gemstone aventurine.. Derived from the Italian word “venture” meaning “by chance”, aventurine is considered a stone of opportunities and a bringer of good luck. The stone can increase feelings of positivity and hope. Considered a heart stone by many, aventurine can help to soothe any old wounds and give one a feeling of calm and joy. It helps one to embrace change and can give a feeling of newness and restored faith. The stone can be seen as a sort of “spring cleaning” for our emotional self.

“Green aventurine's essence is that of spring bursting forth after a long, dark winter. It's frequency stimulates renewal on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels, assisting one in releasing old patterns, disease, and lessons, so new growth and movement can take place... It soothes emotional wounds and facilitates the release of outmoded relationships, emotional patterns, and heartache. Its frequency stimulates a sense of renewed hope and joy and is very useful for those who have issues of depression... It acts as an emotional anchor, keeping one rooted in the heart when emotional storms arise.”

-Naisha Ahsian , The Book of Stones

by Theresa Musatto

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Spring Tonics

Spring and love are in the air! Unfortunately, so are sluggish bodies moving about after being worn down from the long winter months. Now, you may consider this to be a terrible series of woes to contend with, but you can rid yourself of that tired body, take in the fresh scent of the spring air, and allow love to bloom.
Spring is the time of year to "cleanse the blood." The body becomes deficient in nutrients during the winter months, and in early spring eating greens for rejuvenation are in order. Among the popular springtime greens are dandelions, watercress, burdock, and parsley. Fresh minced leaves can be liberally sprinkled on salads, soups, and stews.
Those pesky dandelions everyone tries to rid their yards of in the spring are quite useful. Dandelion leaves are eaten in the spring, before flowering. The leaves can be eaten either raw or cooked. Dandelion is also a diuretic and will aid in cleansing the body of toxins.
Watercress is just what is needed after being cooped up for the winter. It is said that watercress is an aphrodisiac. Try it in salads, sandwich spreads, soups, or stir fries for a radiant glow to your skin.
Herbs which can build the energy of the organ system are used as tonics and are commonly recommended for low vitality. Many tonics act primarily to provide nutrients: vitamins, minerals, and sugars. These include comfrey and dandelion leaf. Others act to balance and stimulate energy, improving the ability to utilize nutrients. The most valuable of these being the Chinese root tonic herbs: burdock, dandelion, parsley, Oregon grape, and goldenseal root.
The young leaves of burdock can be cooked in several changes of water and eaten as a potherb. The stalks, before it flowers, can be peeled and eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable. Dig up the root and add it to soup or use it to make a stir fry.
Everyone recognizes parsley as a garnish, but it is an herbal multivitamin containing beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. (Women who are pregnant or suspect they may be should avoid eating large amounts as it can stimulate menstruation).
This spring, put a spring in your step with a spring tonic!

by Judy Burger

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Book Spotlight: Sanctuary of Your Own by Caroline Dow

Bring a sense of harmony and balance to your environment so that no matter where you are, you can connect with spirit. This book shares insightful techniques for transforming any space into a haven designed to help you achieve serenity and joy.
By engaging your five senses and working with the power of intention, you can create a sacred space anywhere, no matter what your spiritual background is. Sanctuary of Your Own shows how to carve out your own personal refuge at work, in your car, or even in a hotel room. Author Caroline Dow also shares tips for designing your own altar, getting rid of clutter, and establishing spaces to share with family and friends.
Whether you want to facilitate a meditation practice or express your personal interests and cultural background, this accessible guide shows how to take small steps that get big results. With examples from cultures around the world and practical ideas for incorporating colors, fragrances, botanicals, gemstones, textiles, and even special numbers, Sanctuary of Your Own helps you fashion a perfect space where you can feel safe, relax, and rejuvenate. -from

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Love Potions & Charms

Love and the pursuit of love have always preoccupied the human race. And the beautiful, modest flowers have been used the world over as love charms. Plants were thought of as powerful forces that could influence lives. For the charm to be properly effective, the usual practice was to pray and talk to the plants, conveying one's purpose to the plant along with showing proper respect. When a dried herb was made into a charm, it was usually made into a powder and then placed into a leather bag and worn as a necklace or around the waist. Love potions were another popular use of plants (herbs and essential oils) to ensure attraction to another, cure lovesickness, or help in cases of thwarted love.
Is the magic completely gone? Is there anyone who still searches for mountain valerian? Or fills their pockets with wild parsley seeds and a secret hope in their heart? I certainly hope the magic is still alive. In the spirit of the past, and a hope for the future, I give you this potion to try for yourself.

Love Potion No. 9
Mix two cups good quality brandy, one ounce dried Damiana leaves, 1/4 cup flavored honey, one two-inch piece of orange peel, five whole allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds in a bottle, then close tightly. Store in a dark place, shaking daily, for one month. Strain, re-bottle, and take by tablespoon as desired.

by Judy Burger

SWEET ORANGE: Essential Oil of the Month

During the long dark winters full of dreaming, sweet orange oil contains the perfect essence that captures the height of summer. Uplifting for midwinter, it can help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Considered to have strong antidepressant characteristics and considerable calming affects, simply smelling the scent of orange oil can be a useful tool for any stress one may be going through. According to one study, people exposed to the aroma of orange essential oil had a more positive mood, less anxiety, and an increased alertness than those who were not exposed to the aroma. Because of its antiseptic properties it can make a wonderful skin cleanser when diluted, helping skin conditions such as acne and decreasing signs of aging. When diluted in oil and massaged into the abdomen it can help relieve a variety of digestion issues. Because orange oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it can be useful in cases of arthritis by simply adding it to an oil and massaging into the affected areas.

Use orange oil to disinfect surfaces and to permeate your kitchen with its uplifting scent- simply dilute the orange oil in water and spray.
Pregnant and nursing women should avoid orange essential oil.

by Theresa Musatto