Saturday, April 27, 2019

Essential Oil of the Month: BASIL

Basil is one of the most well-known and loved herbs. Reminiscent of the peak of summer, pairing well with the tomatoes that also thrive at that time, we often focus on the delicious taste of this powerful herb and forget about its many health benefits. Basil is fast-acting for headaches- whether using the essential oil or just bruising the fresh leaves and applying to the forehead. It is helpful in cases of sinus congestion, indigestion, sore muscles and even menstrual cramps. In India, basil is considered the most sacred of plants to Hindus (especially Tulsi, or Holy Basil). Pots of it can be found reverently placed on graves, in temples and in homes and it is taken as a tonic for good health.
The essential oil is cooling, purifying and uplifting to the mood. It reduces stress and increases confidence, decisiveness and positive thoughts. If used as a bedtime anointing oil, basil encourages dreaming. It's also very helpful for meditation and studying, as it enhances concentration. If you're headed outdoors for the day, basil oil can be a wonderful companion- it repels mosquitoes for seventy minutes and also neutralizes toxins from insect bites. If you need to clear the air after an argument, basil essential oil can be very helpful.
Do use caution with large doses of basil essential oil, as it can be overstimulating and even stupefying.

Try this study blend for the diffuser!
7 drops sweet basil essential oil
4 drops rosemary essential oil
1 drop lemon essential oil

by Kristy Baird

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Finding Serenity Through Meditation

By: Amy Chris Keiper also known as the writer, LC Harrison

Meditation is a way to transmute the mind, that it promotes concentration, emotional balance and clarity. Meditation is thought to support feelings of happiness, tranquility, and serenity. There are many types of meditation, including Progressive Relaxation, Mindfulness, Breath Awareness, Zen, and Transcendental. Often, any type of meditation is approached by a method that applies a stimuli for the participant to focus on and respond to, which includes music, imagery, or even journaling as ways to assist in meditation. The stimuli method of meditation is referred to as guided meditation.

The Purpose of utilizing meditation can be as broad as the needs of any participant, but meditation is a useful tool in stress reduction, pain control, self awareness, concentration development, coping strategies, and it is a tool with many additional health benefits. Many have found meditation to support the nervous system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving cortisol levels, and breath support. Meditation brings these benefits by helping the participant to focus and redirect their thoughts, allowing them to be more self-aware and aware of their surroundings simultaneously, which usually helps reduce anxiety and promotes a more heart-centered approach to adapting.

Meditation seems impossibly difficult for most, distractions like restlessness and nagging thoughts get in the way of focus and sitting still for a moment. This is where the guided meditation approach is most helpful in getting started meditating to discover all the healing benefits. To practice meditation, the first thing you do is to choose one intention, and then choose some relaxing music or a favorite song, or any image that you find draws you in, or grab a journal to doodle in or write anything that comes to mind. The next step is to relax while you listen, or gaze, or write or draw, pay attention to your focus and to your muscles, be sure to let the tense feelings go and stay fluid and at ease. The third step to take is to pay attention to your senses. Consider what are you feeling inside, if you are holding something how does that feel? How do your surroundings feel to you, or do you hear anything, or do you see anything? Be sure to concentrate on your breathing, and try to take deep full breaths. Then consider how all this feels to you, and focus on the feelings that you have. Release anything that feels negative or bad to you, and try to focus on good and positive feelings. Be sure to stay aware of your body and breath the whole time you are meditating, return to feeling your deep breaths and keeping your muscles untensed. Meditating can be that simple.

The idea that everything is within, and you can mold your thoughts to support you in many healing ways is what meditation is all about. Meditation is a great tool that enables adaptability in many different ways, all beneficial. Through discovering the center of the self and in becoming more self aware you may be able to transform yourself into feeling healthier, happier and more fulfilled.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Beltane Crystal Grid for Love, Fertility, Growth, Renewal

"The fire of love is the best purifier."
Ammonite: Draws off negativity into its spiral. Attracts prosperity, health & success.
Black Obsidian: Provides support during change. Promotes compassion & strength.
Shiva Lingham: Promotes fertility & renewed vitality
Carnelian: Aids sexual healing. Bolsters confidence; enhances passion.
Sunstone: Restores life's sweetness. Removes co-dependency. Stone of the sun.
Emerald: Associated with love, seduction, romance & prosperity.

by Kellea Devies

Herb of the Month: PLANTAIN

If you think you've never seen plantain, you only have to look down to see how wrong you are. Growing literally all over North America, you'll find both the lance-leaf and broad-leaf varieties in sidewalk cracks, lawns and roadsides. Its latin name plantago means "sole of the foot", which may be a reference to its broad leaves or the fact that it was referred to as Englishman's Foot because it was thought to have been brought to America on the shoes of the English.
Topically, plantain is supreme as a drawing agent and for healing tissues. Bug bites, rashes, scrapes, stings, poison ivy and other skin irritations are quickly relieved by bruising the leaves and applying plantain fresh, as a poultice. It can also be made into a gargle for sore throats or an eyewash for blepharitis or conjunctivitis.
Internally, plantain acts as an alterative, purifying the blood. It also reduces inflammation and deters infection. The young leaves are edible raw or cooked. You can also eat the older leaves, but probably want to remove the fibrous ribs first.

Plantain Salve
1 cup fresh plantain leaves (gather far away from roadways or anywhere that has been sprayed)
1 1/2 cups olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp grated beeswax
a few drops tea tree essential oil (optional)

Chop your plantain and leave it laid out in a single layer to wilt. Once wilted (you want little to no water in your salve), add to your oil in the top of a double boiler, with a few inches of water in the bottom. Allow to infuse over low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring with a chopstick and being careful not to fry your herbs. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the oil through cheesecloth and let sit for a day or two so any oil or sediment will settle to the bottom. Pour the oil (avoiding the sediment) back into the top of a double boiler and add the beeswax. Melt over low heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Add essential oil, if using. Pour into a sterilized jar and allow to cool at room temperature. Your salve will keep for years if stored in a cool, dark area and tightly lidded.

by Kristy Baird

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Herbal Bath: Skin Care

Soon the weather will be warm enough to wear shorts, sleeveless tops and bathing suits, exposing all that winter-worn skin. Also, the thoughts of summer are driving us stir-crazy with cabin fever. Luckily, if you've got a bath tub, you've got an oasis right in your own home. A bath can be wonderfully restorative and adding an herbal infusion can provide some real physical and emotional benefits.
Your skin, the largest organ of your body, is highly permeable- especially when it's wet and warm. The warm and subtle pressure of the water stimulates and soothes your body inside and out. Beyond the water are herbs which nourish your skin and deliver their own health benefits. For example, rose can penetrate the skin to help it resist infection and heal and renew itself. It also helps restore the skin's moisture balance, smooths wrinkles and reduces redness. In addition, the essence of rose also stimulates receptors in the brain that can relieve depression, grief and sadness, calm the nerves, regulate the menstrual cycle and even aid digestion. Herbal baths can be custom-blended to suit a host of health and beauty needs.
To prepare your skin for an herbal bath, try brushing it beforehand with a dry, nature-bristle brush or loofah. A moderate pressure in small, circular strokes will remove dead surface skin, allowing the herbal essence to penetrate your skin better. Keep the bath water between 90-95 degrees (roughly body temperature). A hot bath tends to be draining, making you feel sluggish and tired. It can also rob your skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and tight. Always follow your bath with a dose of moisturizing lotion or oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil, applied while your skin is still damp, to seal in the moisture your skin absorbed while soaking.

by Judy Burger

Gemstone of the Month: DESERT ROSE SELENITE

"Desert Rose helps to dissolve self-imposed programs that have been running for too long. It releases the program and assists in finding an appropriate replacement. It can be used to strengthen affirmations of purpose.
Desert Rose dims your light while traveling and facilitates clandestine meetings. Psychologically, if you are caught in a self-imposed negative program or belief system, Desert Rose releases it. Meditating with this stone transmutes ancient conflict into love. Teaching the art of receiving as well as giving love, Desert Rose controls emotional outbursts. An effective healer for the earth and disturbed earth-energy locations, Desert Rose connects to the protection of Mother Earth. Physically it helps the connective tissue and bones." -The Crystal Bible

Book Spotlight: The Wizard of Us by Jean Houston

Take the journey of a lifetime with Human Potential visionary Jean Houston as she guides you through mythic Oz to become an essential human for the new world.

Learn how to expand your mind, open your heart, and find the courage to connect with your own life journey with The Wizard of Us, an accessible guide to help you envision the world as you choose to create it.

With specific and easily understandable exercises and epiphanies, The Wizard of Us harkens to the classic tale and defines the hero’s journey through the skills and internal qualities that live within each of us. If you are seeking a creative exploration of self-understanding, realization, and improvement you will find a connection to the larger world story as you explore Oz like never before. “There’s no place like home” is the call to a profound journey of self-discovery and untapped potential. Dorothy’s journey through a magical land is the key to your own inner-life’s journey and toward becoming the essential human you were always meant to be.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Interview with Dragonfly Lake Scents by Chelsea Morning

Read about the benefits of Beer Soap, the local ingredients they use, and what soap would be called if it wasn’t called soap!
Tenise and Mioshee, the owners, operators, and imaginative genius behind Dragonfly Lake Scents are artists in every sense of the word. Using the perfect blend of science and art, history and contemporary, every soap is a piece of art. Blending wisps of complementary, eye-catching, mouthwatering colors, along with precise heating and cooling of temperatures, ancestral-rooted knowledge and the use of local ingredients, Dragonfly Lake Scents create tangible poetry, incorporating nearly all of the senses. Fun-loving, spirited, caring, and knowledgeable, these beautiful ladies, these composers of scents, sculptors of beauty, and painters of suds, put science, art, love and light into each piece. Every time I drive by the PACA building, with its history deep-seated into its architecture, I imagine Tenise and Mioshee up there with all the other artisans, musicians, actors, and poets, creating masterpieces to delight, inspire and beautify the world.

Tenise, you’ve said that you learned to make soap from your great-grandmother on her farm in Mississippi! Learning these passed down skills from our ancestors, I think, is becoming a rarity. How has learning soap-making from her influenced how you make your products?
My great-grandmother came from a completely self-reliant background. She ran a farm with my great-grandfather, helped build and was active in her church, worked as a truck stop cook, raised their children and also was a foster mom. She was also the local medicine woman/midwife. She was no-nonsense and direct, and her only alone time was when she worked in her herb garden. She allowed me to work with her there, which is where my herb knowledge comes from. Her soaps were basic and functional because she didn’t have time for anything else. I know that success requires hard work, but I also make soaps that are indulgent and luxurious. I want our customers to have that moment of peace and relaxation that she was never able to have.

Mioshee, you have a background in nursing, and are such a nurturing, caring individual! How does this come into play when making your soaps, or coming up with a new recipe or idea?
I’ve always been interested in dermatology and helping people, especially those with skin issues. I don’t think enough emphasis is put on keeping our largest organ (your skin!) healthy and beautiful!

Dragonfly Lake Scents is a beautiful name for a business! Is there a meaning or story behind why you chose that name for your business?
Well, I knew I wanted to offer tribute to our own beautiful lake and dragonflies hang out around lakes and swamps…..and New Orleans is FULL of swamps (just ask Tenise!!)

You’re both true believers in supporting the community and shopping local! Are a lot of the ingredients you put into your recipes sourced locally?
Our policy is to get all the products we use locally, if possible. Quite a bit of our raw materials come from our community; our beer soap is made with Voodoo Brewery beer! We get the goats milk for our goats milk soap from a small hobby farm in Waterford! Some of the teas and herbs in our soap are bought at the Whole Foods Co-op or at Chicory Hill!

All your soaps, like the Black Raspberry Vanilla soap for example, look good enough to eat. Where do you get the inspiration for the different soaps and products you make?
In the old days, soap was just to clean. It was very utilitarian! I wanted to create a product that not only keeps your skin and your family clean, but also looks like a mini work of art. One of our most important senses is our eyesight and if you are drawn to our soap by seeing how beautiful it is; then you are more likely to take a whiff and see the ingredients! I am often inspired by nature and the beauty that surrounds us everyday.

You make Beer Soap, which is a unique product all on its own, but it turns out beer soap is actually really good for your skin and hair! What are some of the benefits?
Well, the natural sugars in beer create fluffy, Hollywood-style bubbles. The yeast can help with acne and work as a mild exfoliant. Lastly, hops (the main ingredient in beer) is said to have skin soothing properties!

With so many lovely products; Sereni(tea) Bath Bombs, Bergamot and Lime Deodorant, Bamboo Hemp Soap, Pumpkin Spice Lip Balm, do both of you have your own favorites?
My favorite is the Lavender + Goats Milk!

10 little questions (because it’s the little things that mean so much)
(answered by Mioshee)

What’s your favorite sound?
The coffee pot brewing!

What smell do you love?
That fresh clean smell after a rainstorm!

Pineapple on pizza?


Do you have any nicknames?
Soap Lady #1 aka Sudsy

If soap wasn’t called soap, what would it be called?
People cleaner!!

Would you rather be a tree or live in a tree for the rest of your life?

Live in a tree!

What’s your favorite herb?

Basil! I love homemade pesto!

What’s your favorite essential oil?

Ylang ylang; it’s such a clean, earthy scent!

What gemstone do you love?

Rose quartz and blue topaz

What is the universe trying to tell us?

It tells us this everyday: Be good to yourself and be good to each other!

You can follow Dragonfly Lake Scents on Facebook at: Dragonfly Lake Scents, LLC
Or find them at youtube at Dragonfly Lake Scents, LLC