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

SIBERIAN GINSENG: Herb of the Month

As winter deepens, the energy of the plants goes into the roots, storing energy for the spring. Likewise, many animals hibernate in the winter- humans, too, can go into a bit of “hibernation mode.” The root of Siberian ginseng can help you build deeper strength and energy this winter so you are ready to blossom in spring. 
Siberian ginseng is a small, woody shrub, native to Northern China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. It is now cultivated in many temperate climates throughout the world. The name Siberian "ginseng” is a bit of a misnomer, for it is not a true ginseng- it is in a completely different family than the other ginsengs and does not have ginsenosides, which are natural saponins found in ginseng. However, Siberian ginseng's properties somewhat mimic the other ginsengs and it is considered a superior herbal medicine. It also goes by the name eleuthero, from its latin name, eleutherococcus senticos. 

An herb used extensively throughout the world, eleuthero is a mainstay for many who know about its uses. Used in China for over 2,000 years, the medicinal properties of eleuthero are well-documented. “I would rather have a handful of eleuthero than a cart of gold and jewels,” said the well known Chinese herbalist Li Shi-Chen, in 1596 in his treatise for herbal medicine. It has been used for thousands of years to promote vitality, help build and support immunity, help heart ailments, and decrease mental strain.
Eleuthero is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress and balance anything that might be out of balance. Because of it's well-documented ability to increase endurance and strength, many Olympic and professional athletes are reported to take it to increase their performance, training, and stamina. The plant can also be useful to counteract effects of radiation; many Siberian citizens were given eleuthero to help counteract the affects of Chernobyl. Eleuthero can also strengthen the immune system to prevent the onset of colds and flus.
Eleuthero is a difficult herb to beat in terms of plants that increase your life energy and strengthen the overall system. It can help combat the issues of chronic fatigue disorder and any stress-related conditions. Those who are overworked, overtaxed, and chronically tired, will find a good friend in eleuthero.

by Theresa Musatto

Side effects: Generally considered safe by many herbalists. Consult your doctor before taking eleuthero if you are taking any medications or have considerable health problems. Use cautiously if you have high blood pressure. Do not take if you are pregnant or nursing.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

GOLDSTONE: Gemstone of the Month

Blue goldstone can remind one of the sky in January when it's clear; dark blue with many stars. A man-made stone, typically in the colors of red and blue, goldstone is made from a type of silica glass that contains metallic crystals inside.
A stone of “soul- truth,” it helps us to remember and accept who we are, and to stop denying the truth. Known as a protective stone, blue goldstone can also be a great support for focusing on one's life vision, self-expression, self-discovery, and enhanced creativity. Associated with the throat and third eye chakras, goldstone can help you express your truth in a meaningful way and have deeper insight into yourself. With its shimmery sparkles in the dark, goldstone reminds us that there is always light in darkness. The stone can be used to help guide us to remember our own inner light and its radiance that cannot be extinguished.

By Theresa Musatto