Saturday, March 30, 2019

FENNEL: Essential Oil of the Month

Many of us know fennel as a garden vegetable- the licorice-flavored bulb is particularly delicious when enjoyed in a salad. Folk medicine has long suggested chewing fennel seeds after a rich meal for improved digestion and relief of flatulence. The essential oil touts these properties and more in an easy to use form. While we do not want to consume essential oils, as they can be dangerous for the liver and even fatal, diffusing the oil in the dining room or even diluting it in a carrier oil and applying to the belly is another way to utilize fennel's digestive benefits. Fennel essential oil can aid in suppressing hunger, increasing lactation in mothers and improving circulation. Try the recipe below, from Amazing Essential Oils: Make & Takes by Donna Raskin, for relief of vertigo symptoms.

Fennel & Mint Vertigo Relief
5 drops fennel
5 drops mint
2 tsp. sweet almond oil
Mix in a rollerball bottle and apply to inside of wrists as needed.

by Kristy Baird

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Chocoholics Rejoice!

Your favorite vice may be just what the doctor ordered. Cocoa and its derivative, chocolate, may aid digestion, boost blood flow to the heart and help anyone with chest congestion breathe easier. Unwrap a chocolate kiss and read on.
Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez first was introduced to a drink called chocolate when he saw Montezuma the Aztec ruler of Mexico sipping it from a golden goblet. Cortez introduced the Aztec treat to the Spanish court, where it became an instant sensation. For more than 100 years the Spanish kept chocolate a secret until the 1660's, then its use spread throughout Europe. It was especially popular in England and Holland where it was enriched and sweetened with milk and sugar. But it always remained a liquid until about 150 years ago when it was fashioned into the blocks and candies we know and love today.
Cocoa has been used for centuries in Central America to treat fever, coughs and complaints of pregnancy and childbirth. They rubbed cocoa butter on burns, chapped lips and balding heads. American's eclectics used it as a wound dressing and salve. They also prescribed it internally as hot cocoa for asthma, and as a nutritive for invalids and persons convalescing from illness.
The product of this herb has long been villianized as a cause of obesity, acne, heart disease, kidney stones, tooth decay, headaches and heartburn. But this reputation is underserved. Chocolate used in confections are rarely as much of a problem as their high fat, high-cholesterol butter and cream. Cocoa and chocolate contain no cholesterol (except milk chocolate, which contains a small amount due to its dairy ingredients). Cocoa's saturated fat is in the form of stearic acid which does not raise cholesterol.
Chocolate's contribution to tooth decay comes not from its cocoa content, but rather from the other sugary, gooey ingredients.
Cocoa contains two chemicals, caffeine and theobromine, which account for its use in herbal remedies.
Kiss the guilt goodbye. Now there are some genuine reasons to brew a heavenly cup of cocoa. Try it as a pick-me-up or digestive aid. Cocoa has only 10-20 percent of coffee's caffeine content (13mg compared to coffee's 65-150mg). It may relieve drowsiness without causing jitteriness, insomnia or irritability.
The theobromine in cocoa relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract. Try some to soothe your stomach after meals.
Both caffeine and theobromine are close chemical relatives of a standard treatment for asthma, theophylline, which opens the bronchial passages. Anyone with asthma should be under a doctor's care, but there's no harm in a cup of cocoa for some possible relief. Even if you don't have asthma, try cocoa or chocolate for the chest congestion of colds or flu.

by Judy Burger

Saturday, March 23, 2019

CHICKWEED: Herb of the Month

Chickweed's genus name is stellaria, meaning "star", which is easy to remember when you look at the plant's tiny white star-like flowers. It is a low-growing annual that appears just about everywhere- even in sidewalk cracks. It is so tenacious that you can find it pretty much any time of year, but it is best harvested May through July.
Chickweed is very nutritious, containing essential minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc. The leaves are very tasty raw in a salad and are most tender in the spring. They can also be boiled and taste sweet and earthy, much like spinach.
Chickweed is anti-inflammatory and great for skin conditions that are hot or itchy, such as eczema, psoriasis or hives. It is cooling and moistening when applied as a fresh poultice on the affected area.
Because of its moistening properties, a tea of chickweed is effective in treating coughs and hoarseness of the throat. 
In Mrs. Grieve's classic "A Modern Herbal", we are told that "chickweed water is an old wives' remedy for obesity." Modern research studies have found this to be true for mice, but we are not yet certain if that translates to  humans. Chickweed may, however, counteract the effects of excess progesterone, which is often a reason people accumulate more fat.
Chickens and many other birds are very fond of chickweed, which may have contributed to its common name.
In magical traditions, chickweed is often used to attract love and maintain a relationship.
If you spot some chickweed, make sure it is unsprayed and far from a road. Grab few handfuls and try this recipe for Chickweed Salad from!

Chickweed Salad
3 cups chopped chickweed
1/4 cup purple daikon radish cut into small chopsticks
1/4 cup carrots cut into small chopsticks
1.5 Tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon kombucha vinegar or use other salad vinegar
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or blood orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh or dried citrus zest Meyer lemon or blood orange
Hawaiian red sea salt or pink sea salt to taste

Chop veggies. Chickweed is a very delicate green so you want to balance that with the crunch of carrots and radishes without overwhelming the salad, hence why you want to cut the roots into fine chopsticks.
Combine liquid ingredients in bowl and whisk together. Pour on veggies and toss. Sprinkle on sea salt and toss - taste to make sure it's the perfect amount of salt for your tastes.
Sprinkle on zest once salad is plated.

by Kristy Baird

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

DANBURITE: Gemstone of the Month

"Danburite carries the high, sweet frequency of angelic communion and celebration of the Divine Source. Its energy stimulates the third-eye, crown and etheric chakras above the head. It lends a sense of joy and communion with the Divine, facilitates meditation and carries an energy that is the closest I have found to the reiki frequency in a stone.
Danburite is a perfect tool to use when one is opening to channel. It brings one into resonance with high-frequency Light energy and allows one to gracefully open to these frequencies so they can be brought into the Earth plane and used for service to the world. It facilitates communications with one's highest guides and enables one to recall what occurs during these communications. In healing work, Danburite assists one in overcoming fear of intimacy with the Divine. It allows one to experience immersion in the realm of Spirit and the full opening of the heart to the Divine Source, so one may become a conduit for this frequency on the planet. This attribute is particularly useful in these times, as we are asked to expand our hearts and carry a more aligned vibration." 
-The Book of Stones

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Book Spotlight: Plant Intelligence & the Imaginal Realm

"A manual for opening the doors of perception and directly engaging the intelligence of the Natural World 

• Provides exercises to directly perceive and interact with the complex, living, self-organizing being that is Gaia 

• Reveals that every life form on Earth is highly intelligent and communicative 

• Examines the ecological function of invasive plants, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, psychotropic plants and fungi, and the human species 

In Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm, Stephen Harrod Buhner reveals that all life forms on Earth possess intelligence, language, a sense of I and not I, and the capacity to dream. He shows that by consciously opening the doors of perception, we can reconnect with the living intelligences in Nature as kindred beings, become again wild scientists, nondomesticated explorers of a Gaian world just as Goethe, Barbara McClintock, James Lovelock, and others have done. For as Einstein commented, “We cannot solve the problems facing us by using the same kind of thinking that created them.” 

Buhner explains how to use analogical thinking and imaginal perception to directly experience the inherent meanings that flow through the world, that are expressed from each living form that surrounds us, and to directly initiate communication in return. He delves deeply into the ecological function of invasive plants, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, psychotropic plants and fungi, and, most importantly, the human species itself. He shows that human beings are not a plague on the planet, they have a specific ecological function as important to Gaia as that of plants and bacteria. 

Buhner shows that the capacity for depth connection and meaning-filled communication with the living world is inherent in every human being. It is as natural as breathing, as the beating of our own hearts, as our own desire for intimacy and love. We can change how we think and in so doing begin to address the difficulties of our times."