Saturday, October 26, 2019

VALERIAN: Herb of the Month

If you are already feeling like going into hibernation mode, valerian can help you. Valerian is a flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. Its uses are well-documented throughout history; from Hippocrates to Culpepper. Known best as a sleep aid, valerian can also help with anxiety. It has a compound in it called valerenic acid that is believed to work on receptors that enhance GABA in a similar way as sedative medications. It is often referred to as “nature's Valium”and is a wonderful remedy for general stress.
Native Americans used it to heal ulcers and wounds, as well as treating coughs.

The smell and taste of valerian is pretty unique and there's really nothing that mimics it, in that regard. The only way to know what it tastes like is to try it! Some people think it smells like dirty socks, others describe it as deeply floral.

It is best not to take large doses of valerian over an extended period of time. There is a very small percentage of the population that actually has a reverse reaction to valerian and are highly stimulated, therefore it's best to start with a small dose and see how you react to it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LABRADORITE: Gemstone of the Month

As the weather increasingly gets colder and winter approaches, labradorite can be a great ally and spiritual medicine. A stone of inner reflection, magic and intuition, labradorite can help you use these darker days for deep internal work that can help you feel more whole and light. Utilizing the medicine of winter, for the inner reflection that it creates, one can emerge into the spring with greater appreciation and awareness. The more winter is utilized, the greater the gifts. The stone can look like the wings of a stunning, iridescent butterfly wing. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation, and this goes right along with the stone's properties.
A legend of the Inuit people is that the frozen fire of the Northern lights fell and got trapped in the stones. An Inuit warrior tried to free some of the light trapped in the stones with his spear, but could not get all of it to release, so some of it remained, creating the iridescent beauty that is the stone called labradorite. According to the legend, this explains why much of it comes from the coast of Labrador (part of a Canadian province that experiences the Northern Lights). The stone does indeed capture some of the beauty of the Northern Lights.
To quote Robert Simmons from the Book of Stones:
“It is an inter-dimensional stone, emanating an energy which helps one to consciously pierce the veil between our waking world and the many domains and planes of inner awareness. It is a gemstone of adventure, for it offers one the chance to embark upon a multitude of voyages of self-discovery. It is said that a tyrant wants power over others and a true magician desires power only over himself or herself. In wearing or working with labradorite, one disconnects from any tendencies to control others, while one bonds deeply with the knowledge that self-mastery is the path of true fulfillment.”
He mentions later that the stone can “center one in constant awareness of the multiple layers of reality.”
Naisha Ahsian comments that the stone can “help one consciously move between the worlds.”

Saturday, October 19, 2019

AMBER: Essential Oil of the Month

Amber essential oil is a deeply warming, earthy oil that is comforting on colder days. Amber is a fossilized resin from tree sap, and is relatively rare. It has an innate deep resonance that can both calm and uplift, seemingly warming your moods from the inside, out. Besides its clear affects on anxiety and mood, it can also be added to a moisturizer because of its effects on the skin. Add a couple drops to a carrier oil or moisturizer for enhanced skin healing properties. To make a wonderful facial steam, add a couple drops of amber to a bowl of hot water and enjoy your pores being opened and your mind relaxing- a restorative way to end a long day. This treatment can also help any issues going on with the respiratory system. It can also boost the immune system. A couple drops can be a nice addition to bath water for a deeper healing experience.

by Theresa Musatto

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Head to Toe Herbal Skin Care

For those who love to indulge in herbal luxury, begin by cleaning your face and removing all makeup. Use this simple herbal wash.
Infuse 1/2 cup chamomile or lavender flowers and 1/2 cup crushed fennel seeds in two cups of boiled water. Steep twenty minutes, strain, cool and use to wash your face.
Now apply the following herbal mask and allow it to set for ten minutes.
1 Tbsp. comfrey leaves and 1 Tbsp chamomile in 1/2 cup boiled water. Cover and steep ten minutes before straining. Add this to 3 Tbsp. powdered oatmeal (grind in coffee grinder) or 3 Tbsp. yogurt. Apply liberally to face and neck. Lie down and cover your eyes with a cotton ball dipped in the leftover infusion. Rinse and apply an herbal toner. Here's a recipe for a simple toner.
For sensitive and mature skin, make an infusion of 2 Tbsp rose, lavender or calendula in 1/2 cup boiled water. Strain. Use 1/2 cup of this infusion along with 1 tsp. vegetable glycerine and 1/2 cup witch hazel. Apply with a cotton ball.
For oily skin, infuse sage, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, rosemary or any combination of these herbs in 1/2 cup boiled water. Strain. Use 1/2 cup of infusion with 1 tsp. glycerine and 1/2 cup witch hazel. (Refrigerate after using. Will keep for three days). After toner dries and sets, apply an all-natural moisturizing cream or lotion.
Remember to nurture your nails. Infuse 2 Tbsp. horsetail or crushed dill seed in 1 cup boiled water. Cover and steep twenty minutes. Strain and pour into two small bowls. Soak your nails for ten minutes or longer. Massage 1 Tbsp. of almond oil into the nails and cuticles. Use the infusion to soak the toenails also and massage any leftover oil into the toenails.
Then it's time to step into an herbal bath and finish the beauty treatment with a good twenty minutes soak. Use any combination of the following herbs in a cotton or muslin drawstring bag.
Chamomile- soothes skin and reduces puffiness around the eyes.
Comfrey- soothes inflamed skin and reduces blemishes
Fennel- cleans and tones the skin
Sage, Thyme- antiseptics
Lemon Balm, Lemongrass- increase circulation and gently astringe the skin
Rose petals- reduce fine lines and soften the skin
Rosemary- reduces oily skin

by Judy Burger

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Spotlight: Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore

Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference.

Our lives are filled with emotional tunnels: the loss of a loved one or end of a relationship, aging and illness, career disappointments or just an ongoing sense of dissatisfaction with life. Society tends to view these “dark nights” in clinical terms as obstacles to be overcome as quickly as possible. But Moore shows how honoring these periods of fragility as periods of incubation and positive opportunities to delve the soul’s deepest needs can provide healing and a new understanding of life’s meaning. Dark Nights of the Soul presents these metaphoric dark nights not as the enemy, but as times of transition, occasions to restore yourself, and transforming rites of passage, revealing an uplifting and inspiring new outlook on such topics as:

• The healing power of melancholy
• The sexual dark night and the mysteries of matrimony
• Finding solace during illness and in aging
• Anxiety, anger, and temporary Insanities
• Linking creativity, spirituality, and emotional struggles
• Finding meaning and beauty in the darkness