Friday, July 27, 2018

Q&A with Kellea

Q and A with Kellea! Find out how she learned to forage, her favorite gemstones, and why she'd be called Cleo “Serendipity” Wanderhoff
by Chelsea Morning
Whether it's your first time in Chicory Hill Herbs, or you're a tried and true regular, chances are you've had the pleasure of meeting Kellea! Always welcoming, with an innate skill of helping others, Kellea is the host at the party of life! She is an experience to enjoy and one of the reasons Chicory Hill Herbs has been synonymous with knowledge, truth, balance and a sense of calm. Kellea has facts acquired deep from the heart of the forest, cosmic secrets whispered from the stars, and homegrown, grassroots know-how passed down from rouged generation after generation. This may sound like a flowery exaggeration, until you've had a conversation with her, or she's given you some of her spot-on advice. This is a gal who will never steer you wrong, which is why we are filled with gratitude that she has been such a steadfast fixture within Chicory Hill Herbs.

I’m not entirely convinced that you’re human—I feel like you might be some sort of sprite or brownie, or an otherworldly orb disguising herself in human form, I would even believe; mystical, mythical healer or priestess who has been alive for hundreds upon hundreds of years traveling the earth!! Who are you [really] and how did you come to be here [at Chicory Hill Herbs]?!
I grew up not far from Erie. My adventures led me elsewhere but I found myself panging for my “Northern” roots. Freshly inspired and unknowingly on the cusp of my next chapter, I made my way home. Chicory Hill came into my life with all the tools I needed to nurture my newness. The rest is history in the making.

You were an assistant at a gem and mineral shop in Virginia for years before returning to Pennsylvania, is that where you developed your love and expertise of stones?
I had the pleasure and the privilege of spending my work-life completely engrossed in crystals and gem stones. Through my employers and clients my affinity for the mineral realm became more than instinctual attraction. The truest application of that knowledge came from helping others find their connection.

In your spare time your also do foraging. Where did you learn how to forage and what joys does it bring?
Foraging has always been a part of my life. My parents did well to teach me how to identify useful plants. As an “adult” the urge to find ways to be self reliant while maintaining my curiosity (and my treasure hunting skills) went hand and hand. Enjoying the bounty is always a bonus to a day of fresh air and sunshine.

People often come in specifically to talk with you and get your advice on everything from herbs to astral projection, from gemstones to sage smudging to CBD and everything else in between. How are you able to read people so well, and help them so profoundly on a daily basis?
My connection to people started as a necessity to be understood. We all FEEL “human” sometimes. Sometimes more than others. Where there is a need I can relate to I do my best to be as human as necessary. Often times people help me to see where I am needed, to be observant and “see” them. You can be tuned in to the needs of others if you meet them in that space.

What do you think it is about Chicory Hill Herbs that makes it such an awesome
Chicory Hill has a “something” about it that allows you to step aside for a minute and reconfigure. It's an anchor for those that feel a-drift and a beacon for those that reflect light. The tools are accessible and the company is warm and REAL. No labels, no judgment, no one to say “that's not the way”. The tangible affirmations I receive are something I am truly grateful for.

10 little questions (because it's the little things that mean so much)
What is your favorite sound? I love sound! The sound of a large book closing. Rain on a tin roof. Cat chatter.
What smell do you love? Fresh soil, locust blossoms, matches.
Do you have a spirit animal? Badger. Always a favorite. Badger carries the energy of roots and the unseen medicines buried below the surface. Fierce yet solitary. Driven to remove the barriers that stand in the way and seek new levels to be grounded and centered.
Which Muppet best represents you? Most days I'm somewhere between Beaker and Sweetums
If you had a time machine, would you go to the past or the future? Past.
What would your 1960s hippy name be? Cleo “Serendipity” Wanderhoff
What's your favorite herb? Adaptogens as a group/whole are my most relied on.
What's your favorite essential oil? I have at least four. Cedar, Geranium, Bergamot, Spruce
What's your favorite gemstone? Quartz- Especially any included Quartz varieties. (Lodalite, Rutilated, Tourmanlinated.) The potential and variations are endless!
What is the universe trying to tell us?
All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream. I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand-- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep....” Edgar Allan Poe
...Freedom lies, not in trying to become something different, nor in doing whatever you happen to feel like doing, nor in following the authority of tradition, of your parents, of your guru, but in understanding what you are from moment to moment.” Jiddu Krishnamurti
Draw a crazy picture,Write a nutty poem,Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb. Do a loony-goony dance Cross the kitchen floor, Put something silly in the world,That ain’t been there before.” Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

MOTHERWORT: Herb of the Month

Motherwort is so named because it is very beneficial to women's health. It is a uterine tonic, helps to relieve menstrual cramping, and can also ease the symptoms of menopause. However, men can also  benefit from this wonderful plant, as it calms the heart and relieves anxiety. Motherwort is a mild hypertensive herb and can be used to decrease hypertension. It strengthens the kidneys and acts as a mild diuretic. Motherwort can also be used as a digestive bitter, as its bitter taste helps to stimulate digestion. Although this herb can be useful during labor, pregnant women should consult their doctor before working with motherwort. 
A tea made of half lemon balm and half motherwort is an effective (and tasty!) remedy for anxiety.

by Kristy Baird

Broken Crystals: Still Treasures

Broken Crystals: Still Treasures 
By: Amy C. Keiper, also known as the writer, LC Harrison 

Healers throughout history and metaphysicians acknowledge the energy that flows through crystals and how that energy is ever-changing, growing, and adapting. It may be that energy that draws someone to choose a crystal, or perhaps it sparkles a certain way when they look at it, but what happens when that energy changes by a break or a chip in the stone? Is that stone still useful? That crystal’s owner may temporarily feel saddened by the change in their favorite stone. They may think something has happened to ruin the energy that drew them and the stone together, but perhaps, this may be a natural process and development in that stone’s ever-changing energy.

Consider that in adapting, that chip or break allowed negative energy or energy no longer beneficial to you or the stone to be released. The stone could be allowing light to direct through in a new way, perhaps the changed crystal’s keeper has evolved or gained a new perspective that has brought them new enlightenment. A break might be the crystal’s response to growing with its holder. Someone in tune with crystal energy may feel that the crystal needs a rest, or perhaps the crystal or a piece of it is ready to be gifted to someone who needs this new energy. Perhaps, serendipity has caused a fallible accident, that has not ruined the crystal, but created a catalyst for that stone to grow in a new way.

In considering what to do with an altered crystal, first take a moment to let your saddened state pass, smudge the stone, and meditate to clear yourself including your thoughts, heart, and chakras. If you feel the stone needs a rest, place it in, on, or near the pot of a favorite plant, or place the stone in a dish of any type of salt or sand or dirt, you could even bury it, if you feel the stone needs good grounding. Other ways to allow stones to rest and clear include placing with amethyst or upon selenite, or even laying the stone out on velvet or silk cloth. What should the keeper of such a crystal do next? The crystal might be adapted to jewelry for the owner to wear, kept in a dish of favorite crystals to bring light and happiness to the environment, or sometimes a stone may take to being glued. It is all right if the stone can not be repaired, its energy is still there for the keeper, and is ever in tune with them, still in a positive, although new way.

I have experienced the changing of stones, and I still adore them all. I had a favorite amethyst pendulum that had its point break, and it is still an accurate and helpful tool. Likewise, I had a favorite piece of honey calcite split in two during a moment of serendipity, that stone now resides in a dish of stones bringing as much light and joy as ever. Also, I had a favorite pendant of carnelian and agate that I never took off, and after a car collision I was involved in, that stone broke, was lost, and returned to me all very serendipitous, and I keep it in a treasure box safe beside my bed. Most recently, I acquired a cavansite ring, that in the first day of wearing split into two pieces, the crystal had inspired me so much, and I didn’t want to discontinue wearing it, so I got some craft filler glaze glue by Mod Podge and coated my stone to keep it in its setting. I am still just as inspired by my cavansite, and it still sparkles.

When crystals adapt and change by breaks and chips, never despair or fret, the stones are still sharing their light for all who wish to involve crystals in their lives

The India Shop

Our newspaper bags are made by an NGO whose main objective is to provide education and shelter to street children in India. This eco-friendly product is made from recycled Indian newspaper. The organisation was started in 2004 by street children who wanted to give something back in return for the opportunities which had allowed them to escape desperate circumstances. These elder children, now married with children of their own, generate an income by making newspaper bags and jute items. This allows them to take care of thirteen street children that they have saved from the streets surrounding Delhi train station. Support for this wonderful project means that these children can enjoy going to school and playing, rather than pulling rickshaws, shoe polishing, rag picking and worse. The newspapers are either in Indian language or English. They are made from recycled newspapers, this is why sometimes your bag will have a completed crossword!

LITSEA CUBEBA: Essential Oil of the Month

Litsea Cubeba is an evergreen tree native to Asia. In Chinese medicine, it has been used to clear chest congestion. The essential oil is cooling, calming and stress-relieving. It is also mood uplifting, euphoric and can enhance mental clarity. It is has strong antibacterial properties, and has been shown to eradicate E Coli cells. It is also antifungal and works well in treating external infections, as well as athlete's foot. Litsea Cubeba is an excellent addition to any facial serum, as it clears free-radicals that we may come into contact with throughout the day from the skin and removes excess sebum. It is also an effective insect repellent. 
Try diffusing Litsea Cubeba in a diffuser during a patio party to keep the bugs away and promote a relaxing atmosphere.

by Kristy Baird

Saturday, July 21, 2018

PINK CALCITE: Gemstone of the Month

"Pink Calcite is a stone of deep compassion, and it generates this energy in those who work with it. This compassion occurs first for oneself and one's past mistakes and fear-based decisions, and then for others. 
Pink Calcite also facilitates the state of non-judgmental acceptance and unconditional love. This stone connects to the energy of Kwan Yin, bodhisattva of compassion, and those who are drawn to her energy may find a harmonic resonance with these beautiful crystals. In fact, one may use Pink Calcite in meditation and ritual, in order to consciously connect with Kwan Yin. Sometimes, in such meditations, one will feel the unexpected joyful opening of the heart, filling the physical and energetic bodies with love. When this happens, one will know She is there.
Looking into the interior of one of these gemlike Pink Calcites can bring one into a state of rapturous appreciation of the beauty of existence. This in turn can kindle the flame of joy in one's own heart. For those drawn to such an experience, meditation with one of these stones, imagining the crystal moving into the chest and merging with one's own heart, is highly recommended. 
Pink Calcite resonates especially well with Pink Tourmaline and also harmonizes with other heart stones, such as Rose Quartz, Morganite and Kunzite. Combining it with stones such as Lilac Lepidolite and/or Amethyst can enhance the feeling of connection with the higher realms of Spirit. To further strengthen this connection, Phenacite and Danburite are particularly recommended." -The Book of Stones

Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Take Herbs

How To Take Herbs
by Kristy Baird

Are you looking to incorporate herbs into your life but aren't sure where to begin? There are multiple ways to do this, whether you already enjoy a daily cup of tea or want to delve deeper into sipping oxymels or making your own herbal pills.

We say "tea" but unless we are steeping the plant camillia sinensis (you know it as black tea, green tea, white tea or oolong), the correct term for an herbal tea is actually a "tisane".  To make a tisane, you are either infusing or decocting. Infusion is done by pouring boiling water over fresh or dried herbs and allowing them to steep and release their oils. Delicate leaves and flower petals are often infused. Decoctions are made by boiling water with the herb in the pot and simmering for an extended period of time. This is often done with roots, barks and seeds, as they need a more vigorous method than infusion to break down. You can make a tisane from a single herb or you can mix a few together to enjoy the benefits of each.

A tincture is an herbal extraction, often made by chopping the plant matter very small and then allowing to soak in a high proof alcohol (this process is called maceration) for a period of 2-6 weeks, depending on the herb. For those avoiding alcohol, these are often made with diluted vegetable glycerine instead. A tincture is very concentrated, so only a few drops to a dropperful are needed at a time (dosage depends on the herb and the person). They can be taken under the tongue (sublingual) or mixed into a drink. This is often a more convenient way for busy people to take their herbs.

Vinegars and Oxymels
You may prefer to take your herbs by making an infused vinegar. This is done similarly to tincturing, but vinegar is used as the menstruum rather than alcohol. The herb is allowed to sit in the vinegar for 2-4 weeks before being strained out. You can then use the vinegar as a salad dressing, over vegetables or other cooked dishes, or just by swallowing a spoonful at a time. A more pleasant way, if you're going the latter route and taking it "straight up" is to make an oxymel, which is a mixture of infused vinegar and honey that is reduced to a syrup consistency.

Infused Honeys
I can't think of a more delightful way to preserve delicious edible flowers and herbs than to let their essence seep into a local raw honey. Simply chop your fresh plant matter and pour honey over. Let sit in a tightly covered jar for about 2 weeks and then carefully strain. Honey is a natural preservative, so these will last a very long time (especially if you allow your plant matter to wilt a bit first).

Herbal Oils
Another easy way to take your herbs is to make an infused oil. Your skin is your largest organ, so ditch your chemical-laden lotions and opt for an herbal oil you can cater to your own health needs! Dried herbs are usually a better choice for making oils, as the water content in fresh herbs can make the oil go rancid faster. Fill your jar about halfway, pour the natural oil of your choice over, then seal tightly and either let sit in a warm place for about 2 weeks or use a yogurt maker (or other device that can maintain a 100 degree setting) for a day or two. Strain out your herbs and your oil is ready! It's easy to make hair and beard oils this way, too, if you choose your herbs carefully.

Herbal Pills and Electuaries
Dried, powdered herbs can easily be stuffed into empty capsules and taken, but a more interesting method is to mix your powdered herbs with just enough honey to make a dough-like consistency and make your own herbal pills. Electuaries are the made the same way, but with more honey, to make more of a scoopable consistency. You can then spread them on toast, take them by the spoonful, or mix into a cup of hot water for instant tea!

Always check with your physician before using any herbal remedies. A lot of herbs can interact with medications, so be careful. Always do your research about any particular herb you are wanting to take. Herbal medicine is the people's medicine but that doesn't mean every herb is safe for you.