Thursday, December 24, 2009

20 Herbs You Must Have...Part II

According to Karyn Sanders...Part II
20 herbs you must have. Based on The Herbal Highway, a show by Karyn Sanders on KPFA. You can tune in and listen online at The show is on Thursday afternoons at 1 pm PST.

Karyn says she has chosen these particular herbs because they are accessible, not rare and have many uses. They are cheap and grow on the west coast. I think it is very important that we learn which plants we can use that grow locally or that we can grow ourselves so that we can take care of our own health whenever possible.

The law requires that I must say that you should seek the advice of a physician before using any of these plants.

Lion's Mane Mushroom

Found on dead wood that has come down. Looks like a white lion's mane coming down.

A tonic herb for that can be used by everyone. It is an immune system tonic and can be taken all the time. It tones liver, lungs, heart, spleen and kidneys, and regenerates neurons. It can thus regenerate cognitive ability, and can be used with dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, MS, senility, and seizure disorders. When paired with St. John's Wort, it is useful for MS and epilepsy. It can be helpful with stomach cancer and nerves. Feeds and tones the nerves. It is nutritive for the GI tract and is useful when there are ulcers. It and can be eaten fresh - after being cooked. It tastes like oysters or clams. Make chowder and soups with it. You can make a tea of it or made into a powder to be added to food.

Spiritual use: It soothes and brings vitality to the spirit. Use for people who need more vitality.

If wild-crafting, never take whole plant don't harvest unless huge like a pumpkin. It is an old growth plant, so have respect.


Big medicine for Karuk people of northern California and southern Oregon. It is Bear medicine. Use the leaf when it is fresh in spring 3 to 4 inches tall. It can be used like celery leaf for flavoring. When the root is used for medicine, it is best well dried - like for one year. Fresh root is too strong. Can cause hives when it is too strong for the liver. It is used for junctures and fractures - it opens you so light flows through. Much like yerba santa. It makes you sweat. A hot cup of tea made with it will break a fever. It pulls up bronchial secretions and stuck mucus. Effective on Hep C works on liver. Improves lung circulation. Most Bear medicine works on the lungs. Use when you need to get the circulation going for more air. It brings energy and makes the lungs sweat like osha. It is anti microbial and thus is used bronchial tubes when there is infection and inflammation in the respiratory tract.

It also opens the blood vessels and improves circulation in the periphery - in fingers and toes. Can be used for pneumonia, especially walking pneumonia. As an antiviral, it reduces viral loads and thus shorten the time of an illness. Use with different types of flu. It is immune stimulating and mild doses can be used long term. It is effective with Lyme disease, HIV, hepatitis C, Epstein Barr and chronic fatigue.

It can be used with as a sore throat gargle. Some people do not react and others might get hives. It has a cooling energy.

It looks like a fern with umbelliferous yellow flower heads. You will see it in dry environments mixed with oak, pine with ca poppy. and low level gentian. It likes the lower drier elevations.

Spiritual use: for those who can't let go of the past and the old stories no matter how healed they are. Hanging on to the past. Used for grieving, As Bear medicine, it is used for protection. Has a cooling energy.

If someone gets hives from it, use high doses of fresh dandelion root decoction or tincture. This will flood the liver and get rid of hives.

To identify scratch the root and a yellow sap comes out. It has a menthol smell. It does not like to be transplanted. Plant in fall or early spring. It is good luck if it shows up on the land. Deer like young plant only because it is so tasty.

Milk Thistle

It is known for channeling light and opening things up. Collect leaves in summer and seeds in late summer. An amazing plant that helps the liver regenerate and regrow. It regenerates and regrows the liver. It stimulates liver. It literally will keep someone alive while waiting for a transplant. Must use pharmaceutical grade milk thistle then. It is also a tonic. It is a stimulant to liver and gall bladder. Don't use if liver is hot, use dandelion instead. It promotes bile flow, so make sure there are no bile blockages. It is the premiere liver tonic. Helps with recovery from IV drugs use.

It is a heavy metal solvent and and helps with metal toxicity aiding in cleaning the liver. It protects the liver and can be used as a preventive measure. If you have a toxic job use, use it as a preventive measure. Construction jobs or auto mechanics should use it.

Slows down degeneration of liver from fats, and genetic issues. It slows down a fatty liver which stops liver from functioning. Used with all types of hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Specific for amanitas mushroom poisoning. High dosage needed to help with the damage from amanitas. Must use high doses like 40 to 50 drops every 4 hours, the 25 drops every 3 hours for several days.

Can take as a powdered condiment over food daily like pepper or tincture with high alcohol or simmered a long time as a tea.

Spiritual use: Allows forgiveness and self-forgiveness. when things have happened and you can't forgive, the person is stuck in you. It heals broken trust between people. It is emotionally cleansing and eases the loneliness and shame that comes with low self esteem. It brings a greater sense of oneness. Animals respond well to it. Deer leave babies under it while they forage. Astrologically - best made when Venus and Saturn are square or in opposition.

Mugwort (artemisia)

There are many different kinds. Karyn Sanders thinks the one from Siskiyou county is the best. It grows everywhere. All types are cooling. Historically it was used to make beer in Europe. It is believed to have magical properties. It is an antidote to an overdose of opium.

It re channels light and opens the way to let light follow. It brings things back together. People use it against internal parasites. It is an antispasmodic, so it stops cramping. It is a bitter for stimulating stomach acids and digestion.
Taken as hot tea, it makes you sweat and thus breaks a fever. It helps you sweat it out. The heat of fever kills virus then the sweat expels toxicity.

It helps circulate blood through the uterus when there is congestion. If there are irregular menses or the menstrual cycle stops due to stress. It should not be used during pregnancy or nursing since it will make the milk bitter.
As a nervine, it relaxes people and helps with migraine caused by too much intake of sugar. If there is nausea mix with licorice.

It helps with depression if there is nervous tension. Use tiny doses for epilepsy with other plants. Use when there is bloat from water retention accompanying PMS or fibroids. It can be effective with allergies. It stimulates the liver which is associated with allergies and thus aid the immune system. Use during colds, fevers, or bronchial infections. Use it as a wash for rash or acne to dry it out. Use for when there is anxiety and insomnia. It has been used for dreaming and put in dream pillows, some say it calms, while others say it stimulates. It is also a douche for yeast infection. Can be used as a moth repellent when put in with clothing. It calms some people and stimulates others, so not useful in dream pillows for all people.

Spiritual use: The flower essence is used for enhancing receptive quality of the psyche and integrating it with daily life.

Make a salve using lavender and lemon balm to relieve cramps. It can be used in a smudge. Use quartz or moonstone in tincture, but can discolor the gems. It is a deeply female plant which promotes prophetic and vivid dreams. Use a combination of mugwort and rosemary protects while traveling. Associated with the 6th chakra. In Europe it was used in divination and scrying. Connect with fertility. It clears negativity and depression. If it shows up outside the door of a healing room it connects to you to all other healers.

It helps a person experience the fullness of grief. Don't use too long term.Some people have an allergy to it. It can be used with animals. It grows in full sun, with little water and dry bad soil.


It takes two years for it to grow. You just get leaves the first year, flowers, seeds and roots in the second year. It rides the surface well and breaks things up. It is a lung and respiratory system tonic. It opens bronchial passages and heals damaged cilia, thus it is good for smokers or fire fighters. Use with chronic lung issues. You can make toning steams for the sinus. Use for a dry cough.

It is also good for irritation of the intestine (a tea) or ulcerations used in tea. It has been used for poulticing broken bones, rashes and cuts. It makes a nice a liniment, using the root for hemorrhoids, tumors and cysts.

Use during the early part of colds if lungs involved. It is very light weight. The infused oil of fresh flowers is used for ear infections. You can eat the flowers in salad. Use the flowers for bladder and kidney infections, tea or tincture; the roots for deeper issues like emphysema, pleurisy, pneumonia and certain types of asthma.

The leaf and root can be used for pri-mature babies born with undeveloped lungs. It is the last part to grow in a baby and often the lungs are not fully developed in primis.

It can also be used in bone repair. Use the stalks in a liniment for sore muscles, cramping, and muscle spasm - for those who work out a lot a mullein stalk liniment. You can also use the dry stalks dry to make torch like candles. Dry well and dip in wax. (A friend of mine, named Shay, used to make the most beautiful mullein stalk candles, decorating them with beads, ribbon and feathers.)
Mix with marshmallow and goldenseal powder, for infections, abscesses and other external wounds.

Spiritual use: Calms people. It helps people let out grief. Most illnesses having to do with lungs are related to grief. It also helps let in the light. One cannot be calm if there is no light running through you.

When you pick the leaves, let them wilt a little to remove some of the water if you want to make an oil. When the plants dry at the end of the season, leave the stalks so that they drop seed. Birds love them. She has seen woodpeckers get on the stalk and peck out seeds.

Poke Root

You have to be very careful with this plant because it is a high dose poison. It is still useful, however, because it is specific for many things in low doses. It has semi heart shaped green leaves with pink stems and later develops a cluster of indigo blue berries. It is a large plant and you use the berries and roots. It opens things up, breaks things up and brings light through. Use at junctures. Anti-viral.No more than 1 to 3 drops once a day for short term use. Don't use if not sure about what you are doing. Make sure you mark it as poison. Keep out of reach of children.

It is a potent anti-viral that cleans the upper lymph system, a strong lymph mover - use when there is something going on from the shoulders and breasts up. It moves things out of the lymph that is really stuck. It clears boils and cirrus and fibrous tissue. It can be used with the upper digestive and respiratory tracts. It helps with laryngitis, chronic swollen glands and tonsillitis. Use a little (1 drop) with echinacea for mastitis and apply a cabbage leaf poultice. It helps with scabies on adults - externally, 1 pt tincture of poke root to 10 pts. water then put on scabies, then internally a few drops once a day. For adults only, use with varicose veins. Use if there is soreness and congestion of sexual parts.

It can help with addictions, not to drugs but other types of addictions. It gets rid of cravings and obsessional thinking. 1 drop once, maybe twice a day. It can also help a person let go of the obsession with obsession. It opens everything up . It tones down negative emotions like jealousy, envy. It helps clear up old resentments and emotional patterns. It helps those stuck in dangerous situations on the job or in relationships. When there is abuse and you need to break free. Don't use with kidney disease or pregnancy or lymphoma, Very toxic and do for short term use only - one week or two at most. Vervain can be used as an antidote. It grows up to 10 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide in creeks, wet conditions. It likes water.

Redroot (ceanothus)

Also known as 'snowplant' or 'California lilac.' There are over 30 species in Ca. Male and female plants. There is one that has light blue flowers and a musky intense scent, which for some is a sexual smell.

It is cooling and we use the roots and root bark. When you dig them up there should be no metal touching the roots. It likes to grow in dense rocky soil, so it can take hours to get one.

It is useful when there is enlarged or damaged liver or spleen. It can be used for the tonsils or lymph nodes when the problem is lower and deep. Use cleavers for the skin and lymph nodes closer to the surface.

It improves assimilation of fatty acids. It helps increase platelet count and aids in chronic slow blood coagulation.

Use after chemotherapy and radiation to bring up platelet counts. When there is a sore throat or tonsillitis, use as a gargle and take internally. It reduces water and increases blood flow - helps interstitial circulation. People with poor fat digestion tend to have allergies. When you don't digest fats well, the stools will appear greasy and you can also have headaches when you eat fatty food. Or when you eat fats, you don't feel good because you are not digesting the fat. Helps with the headaches some people get from eating fatty foods. Use with spleen infections mono, Epstein Barr. Okay with mild hemorrhaging, better to use yarrow, but if not available, use redroot.

It is helpful when there is portal vein congestion and can be used with non fibrous cysts. Mix with blue cohosh for ovarian cysts. Do not use when there is a super acute disease or very low blood pressure because it can bring down blood pressure. Don't use when there are blood clotting issues.

Spiritual use: It eases grief. It brings it up but gently in a wave-like way so that the feelings come and go. This culture has a problem with allowing grief. We have to grieve to be in balance again. Lack of sufficient grieving makes us stuck in old issues and old resentment.

Reishi Mushroom

There are many kinds. It is the fruiting body. It channels light brings things in and breaks thing up, depending on what is needed. It is called the 'fruit of life' in Chinese. It works on allergies, brings down histamines and is a mild anti-inflammatory. We need some inflammation, because it is part of the healing process, but not too much. Reishi regulates inflammation. It is an anti-viral, a bitter and tonic. As an immune modulator, it has the ability to assess what to do.

It won't just stimulate the liver. It serves as a protectant by raising the T cell counts. Good tonic for the elderly because it is an anti-oxidant. It brings up mucus and helps promote oxygen in the blood. It can used with altitude sickness and whenever there a need to increase the oxygen in the blood. It lowers blood pressure lowers hypertension in the heart. It is a heart tonic. It also helps lower HDL cholesterol and helps with adrenal stress. She uses it with chronic fatigue.

It has been used to help with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. It feeds the nerves. Black reishi is a stronger kidney tonic than the others. It can loosen the stools. Red reishi has strong anti-inflammatory effects. There are many ways to take reishi. You can make a tincture or if making a tea, you have to cook for a long time. Put in a crock pot or simmer for 12 hours. A good way to use is in powder form. Not tasty, so you are not going to be eating it.

Spiritual use: boosts life force - chi, the light within you. It builds stamina, promotes long life and calms the spirit and promotes sleep. Some people have insomnia because their spirit is agitated. Helps people who are really sick and need to 'go the distance.' Reishi is high in protein. In the past only available from China, but now some people are growing here but mostly on the East Coast.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Problem with Common Names - Sweet Leaf

So for those of you who asked about "sweet leaf". I got in touch with Karyn Sanders and she said it is monarda fistula also known as bee balm.

Even the term 'bee balm' is problematic as there are probably hundreds of plants known by the same name depending on where you are.

It is vital that we use scientific terms so that we all know that we are speaking about the same plant.

Thank you for the questions about this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Basic Herbs for Home Use - Part I

I haven't written for awhile because I was busy preparing for a pre-Christmas show where I usually do very well. I made some new products (Return of Venus soap, spray and bath salts); made some products that were great sellers in the past (Cocoa Rose Cordial); and made more of some great sellers (Mayan Chocolate Body Butter). I don't have photos of them yet, so they are not in my Etsy store.

Today while listening to Karyn Sanders on The Herbal Highway show on KPFA today, I was inspired to pass on what she talked about. This is even more relevant today where people are losing their health care plans (like me) and as we approach winter. Now, more than ever, we need to be able to take care of our own health. Karyn planned to talk about 20 most important herbs to have on hand. She only got to six and promised to do the rest in the next couple shows. This is actually archived on the website, so you can go there to hear the show.

First of all, before you treat yourself or anyone else with herbs, make sure that there has been a diagnosis from a physician and that physician has approved complementary use of herbs. DO NOT USE HERBS IN LIEU OF MEDICAL TREATMENT. I have to say this because that is the LAW in this country. They make it so that you cannot afford to go to a physician, then they make it a crime to take care of yourself or help anyone else. But, I don't want any liability. These are just suggestions, not prescriptions. Do more research yourself before you use any of these herbs. You are allowed to grow them all yourself and make teas or tinctures.

The following is from Karyn Sanders on KPFA December 3, 2009 show. Listen to it yourself at:


A cooling herb that moves and channels energy. It breaks things up and brings down heat. It is considered wolf medicine. It dries up excess fluid. It helps stop bleeding and can be used with bloody colitis. It can be used with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or situations where there are loose stool with or without blood. It can be used with gall bladder issues such as headaches that arise from eating too much fat, known as a gall bladder headache. It can be used with peptic ulcers and bleeding ulcers. When there is damage to the liver due to alcohol or drugs, agrimony may be helpful. Used in combination with sweet leaf, it can help with appendicitis. When there ids dark orange urine due to cystitis or nephritis, or other problems with the urinary tract, agrimony can be useful. It is a diuretic. With external issues like burns, you can make a poultice with honey, then follow with agrimony. For the conditions of the lungs where there are wet coughs, asthma, or sore throat, mix with honey in a tea. When the chest is tight on the inhale or when there is thick yellow mucus, use agrimony. You can use agrimony for kidney pain due to kidney stones. It can also be used to tighten and tone the urinary tract when there is dribbling - like when you laugh and pee a little. It tones. tightens and pulls out moisture and cools. It can be used when there is edema after chemotherapy or with post partem edema. With oily skin and acne due to poor digestion, make a wash. It can be used for the lower back pain due to menstruation It is best to use fresh plant, but dry is okay.

Energetic use: Tension and anger under surface but under control but when anger out it is extreme. It helps remove critical thoughts. Use areal parts.


Use good quality organic roots. Astragalus is long term deep. profound and slow. It is safe for all ages. It moves blocks out of the way of healing. It is an anti-viral anti-microbial. deep immune tonic. It is also a kidney and spleen tonic. It can be used for people who have long term burned out bodies, for those who are weak but don't know why. It restore chi. It is a mild diuretic and helps get rid of pus. It can help regulate sugar. It supports and strengthen tissue and can be used with different types of prolapses. It can be used in situations where there is a need for tissue regeneration, to increase vitality and with wasting syndrome where people can't hold on to fat, especially due to AIDS or chemo therapy. It requires long term cooking, put in a crock pot for a slow cooking process. Can be added to soups and stews.

Energetic use: To open the heart and soul. Good for people who are too much in their heads. For people who have difficulty with intimacy.

Use caution with leukemia or situations where there is white blood cell proliferation.

Blue Cohosh

Often called a shy plant, it needs to be approached quietly and carefully. It is known as deer medicine. It gets rid of things that are not moving. If there is mucus membrane bogginess, reproductive congestion, it gets things moving. It is not astringent, but rather is warming and lightens things up. It can cause bleeding so it should not be used during pregnancy. It stimulates oxytocin. It can bring on after birth. It can be used with spastic colon and small intestine and other types of painful cramping. It can be used with such gut issues as intestinal flatulence. Use with dull frontal headaches. It is helpful with gout, arthritis, lupus, and rheumatism. It cleans out bladder because it moves fluids. Helpful with leg cramping. During menopause when there are hot flashes with rage, blue cohosh calms you down.

Energetic use: A quiet and strong herb that works on density. It opens the heart. Helps with fear that turns to anger and rage. For people who are shut down and their hearts have gotten mean. For people who are full of jealousy because they do not trust that their partner loves them. Those who don't feel love, and don't see love. Plant in a safe quiet place, not along the path. Blue Cohosh wants to hide.

German Chamomile

Can use pineapple weed too. Use when there is snappy and fractured energy and when it is not being well channeled. Can be used with hay fever and asthma. It gets the gut to work better. It is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Use at the start of an infection. It is anti fungal and can used with candida. Most German chamomile we get grows in Hungary and Turkey and there has been a lot or research done on its anti fungal properties. If you make a strong tea, it is very bitter and thus can be used like other bitter herbs in the digestive process. It soothes inflamed skin. You can use it in steams for the sinuses. An effective eye wash but it must be strained because it has fine hairs. It can help with intestinal tract flu, and for the pain, ache and cramping that go with it. It can also be used to fight against intestinal flu. It rids the intestines of pus and inflammation. It is an effective ingredient in salves for burns or as a wash for burns. A mild tea of blue chamomile can be given to babies when they are teething. Or use the diluted oil on the outside of the cheek for teething. Dilute a little oil in olive oil and put on the outside on the cheek. As an anti-spasmodic, it is helpful against indigestion and gas. It also helps with anxiety, since it is a nervous system tonic. It can help with the fear and anger that may accompany Alzheimer's and dementia. It helps with anxiety that may interfere with sex. To get rid of impacted mucus in sinus, use a neti pot or steam. It can help with vertigo and frailty in elders or babies. In cases of conjunctivitis make a warm infusion strain in coffee filter, and apply with a cotton ball. Make sure you use separate cotton balls so that you do not pass the infection. You can make a creme for burns or salves for dry skin. For those who lose sense of humor because they are too sensitive. Assists with anxiety attack. It also heals the garden itself because it heals the other plants. It helps bring clarity. It helps you focus on present time and gives one a sense of direction if muddled and uncertain. Good quality has a vibrant alive smell like apples. Don't use old plant material. It goes bad fast.


You can use all parts of dandelion, but they are good for different things. Karyn says dandelion is good for junctures. When there is nervous energy with underlying depletion on all levels. It is a bitter root. You can cook the leaves and they are great in stir fry. It is good for stomach and liver. It can have a diuretic. It moves fluid through the urinary tract but rather than depleting potassium and sodium like other diuretics tend to do, it actually adds potassium and sodium. Use the leaves for high blood pressure. In the old days, dandelion root was remedy for the liver. Leaves and flowers keep the urine acidic, which helps prevent infection. Helps with gout and all issues related to the liver including hepatitis, jaundice and liver cancer. It is a good bitter that stimulates digestion. Since it stimulates peristaltic action, it is good for constipation. It reduces inflammation and supports the spleen. Skin conditions that are related to bad diet and stagnant diet are improved.

Energetic use: Moves repressed anger that manifests as depression. People pleasers who cannot express negativity and repress or deny emotions, may have a lot of built up anger. Dandelion releases that.

Not to be used when there is renal failure.

Golden Seal

This is an endangered species, so it should never be wild-crafted. You can purchase high quality organic golden seal leaf now. Don't use any other kind. It is anti-bacterial. In the sinus can dry excess mucus. Not a tonic and you should only use short term. It is anti fungal and can be used with ring worm and candida. When there is inflammation of the stomach and can stimulate stomach acids. It is a bitter that can be used with peptic ulcers, and IBS colitis with bleeding. It stimulates bile in a sluggish liver. Brings blood to spleen. Inhibits tumor growths When conjunctivitis does not respond to chamomile, use golden seal. Can be used with abscesses after cleaning. It tightens boggy uterus, it reduce nonmalignant tumors in breast. It can be used on anal fissures and hemorrhoids. First use yarrow then golden seal. Use as a wound wash. Deep immune response strong stimulant. Mix with marshmallow for tissue damage.

Energetic use: Helps people see past, present, and future to see what to do next. Helps you to open up and access your own power. Helps you sit with your shadow and get into your own power. Not to be use when pregnant. Not for long term use, only short term chronic internal problems or with wounds.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Keep Yourself Healthy with Soup

Let's not assume that we have to get the flu or a cold this season. Instead, let's put some effort into not getting sick. It is not inevitable.

Yes, just like you learned from you mother or grandmother, soup is good for you. Especially homemade. You don't have time to make soup? Do you have a crockpot? You can put all the ingredients in at night before you go to bed. Put it on low and voila in the morning....soup. Or, prepare all the ingredients the night before, then in the morning before you go to work, put them in the crockpot and voila2 ready when you get home from work.

Make sure the crockpot is in a safe place where it can stay on while you sleep or are away at work.

A good blend of ingredients that help with boosting your immune system are:

Burdock root, dry or fresh
Codonopsis root
Ginger root, dry or fresh
Astragalus Root (I like the powder for soups because it works as a thickener)
Medicinal mushrooms

Put them in water and cook for hours. I like to eat them, but you can take them out if you wish. I like to make a stock with these items, then add the vegies, including dry seaweed.

Rather than using salt, I use miso which deepens the flavor and is better for you than salt. If you eat meat, you would put the meat in before the vegetables. Chicken soup has been shown to be helpful when recovering from a cold. Yes, they have done research on it! Use the skin in the stock then remove if you wish (it gets kinda weird after a few hours and personally, I can't eat it). The oil that comes from poultry (chicken or turkey) is good for you, but it can be very hot...hotter than the rest of the soup, so be careful!

Culinary herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme have healing properties and also add flavor. Best to use fresh herbs or recently dried from your garden. You can also use 1 drop of essential oil from these herbs in your soup. Remember, essential oils are HIGHLY concentrated. DON'T use more than 1 drop or you won't be able to eat it. TOO STRONG! Make sure the essential oils are of high quality and natural, not synthetic.

I like to add barley, beans, rice or 'pastini' (little pasta like orzo) to the soup to give it some bulk.

There are hundreds of recipes for soup. Experiment. Come up with your own recipe. Right now, I've got lentil with fresh chillies, onion, garlic, miso and astragalus powder in the crock pot almost ready to eat.

Soup is comfort food and these days, we need all the comfort we can get.

I buy my herbs locally when I can from The Sonoma County Herb Exchange Otherwise I buy in bulk for Mountain Rose Herbs (see ads and yes, if you click through the Mountain Rose ads and buy something, I do get a small commission. Believe me, these days I can use all the help I can get).
I also buy from Pacific Botanicals (where I do not get a commission) but I still recommend highly, Ha! Ha! Mark Wheeler, who founded the company is a great guy and was on the trip I took to Morocco in '07 with Rosemary Gladstar and a group of herbalists.

For the more ambitious types who want to grow their own, I recommend plants and seeds from Horizon Herbs. Some things can be planted now for next year. They have an incredible selection.

This post is about soup and some immune boosting plants and herbs to put in the crockpot. There are other immune boosting herbs that I will write about next time.
Stay well!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rejuvenating and Cleansing Facial Mask from Chocolate!

So time to get back to my blogging. I finished teaching my Mayan Hieroglyph class, my broken ankle is healed, and I feel re-inspired.

Yesterday I gave a friend a footbath and facial. I have to admit, I was trying out a new recipe and it was a success!

Here's the recipe I got from The Herb Companion, January, 2009 issue and modified a bit.

Mocha Facial Mask
the recipe in the magazine:

4 Tbs. finely ground coffee or expresso
4 Tbs. cocoa powder
8 Tbs. whole milk

I changed it in the following ways:

I substituted powdered milk which meant it can be packaged and transported, and I added granulated bladderwrack (seaweed).

When you are ready to use it, you mix enough water to make a thick paste. Let it sit awhile so that the seaweed moistens. You might have to add more water. You want a thick gluey paste to put on as a mask.

The seaweed adds a nourishing and moisturizing element to the mask.

Spread it over a clean face and neck avoiding eyes and mouth area.

Keep on for around 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

My friend loved the way his skin felt afterwards and felt that it had a minor 'face-lifting' effect. (Yes, men care about the effects of aging too.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Exhibit of Edible Plants in San Francisco

A Cacao Pod

Many food items that we take for granted today, have a very interesting history. I love studying the origins of such things as chocolate, vanilla, sugar, spices etc. I collect books on the cultural history of plant foods and ingredients.

So this new exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers called Edible Expeditions, running from May 7 to November 1, 2009, is 'right up my alley'. I can't wait to get on my feet again, so I can go see it.

It features all kinds of foods which were originally from Asia or the 'New World' (North and South America) that were brought back to Europe centuries ago. Some became the products of plantation agriculture and thus played a huge role in the decimation of native populations, which led to the importation of slaves. Foods that we commonly eat today were once only available to royalty and the rich.

To see them growing in the 'tropical' climate of a lovely Victorian greenhouse, originally built in 1879, is in many ways a miracle. For most of us, this is the only way we will ever see them growing.

Since I lived in the Congo while in the Peace Corps, I got used to seeing papayas and mangos in the trees outside my window. People would just reach up and pick them, like we would grab an apple off a tree. It was great.

When I lived in Louisiana, I had bananas growing outside, hanging over my swimming pool. As a native Californian, I was thrilled to eat my own homegrown bananas.

At this exhibit, you will see vanilla, chocolate and coffee as well as taro, jackfruit and longan. You will see other edible plants from Africa, China, India and Brazil as well.

The Conservatory of Flowers is in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Click here for more information about this exhibit.

I have developed a new line of products using chocolate, which is very good for your skin when used externally. It is high in anti-oxidants and cocoa butter is lubricating and softening. I have a chocolate walnut sugar scrub, a chocolate lip balm, chocolate mermaid soap (see my Etsy shop) and a chocolate body butter in a tube.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Healing With Flowers Conference Coming in September

Another wonderful event coming up for those of you who love flowers, energy healing, aromatherapy, and flower essences. The event includes workshops and ceremony.

Healing With Flowers Conference

Rowe Conference Center
Rowe, MA
September 25 - 27, 2009

Steve Johnson, founder of the Alaskan Flower Essence Project, will be our special guest and keynote speaker.

Other presenters include:

Jane Bell, Jane Bell Essences.

David Dalton, Delta Gardens.

Carole Guyett, Derrynagittah Herb Centre.

Kathrin Woodlyn Bateman, Flower Essences of Fox Mountain.

Tony Lemos, Blazing Star Herbal School.

Fearn Lickfield, geomancer and flower essence practitioner.

Jasmine Hurtak, plant spirit healer and flower essence practitioner.

Pam Montgomery, Partner Earth Education Center and Sweetwater Sanctuary Essences.

Mark Carlin, Partner Earth Education Center will lead a sweat lodge ceremony.

For details and registration information visit:

Healing With Flowers Conference

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vanilla Orchid Blooming at the SF Conservatory of Flowers

In a couple of weeks it will officially be summer. Hopefully I will be out of my cast and able to get outside. (I broke my ankle 6 weeks ago and have not been outside since then).

My garden has been neglected, only getting watered once a week by a friend. I miss my plants so much.

I receive email from the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. For those of you who can get there and love flowers and exotic plants, it's a must see. Since it is a large greenhouse, they can control the environment and so grow rare and exotic plants from all over the world. It's fantastic.

Right now the vanilla orchid is blooming and what I wouldn't give to see it. To read more about the edible fruit of the vanilla orchids and their culinary uses, click I use vanilla in my B.A.D. cordial. It has a way of softening and relaxing. Vanilla absolute, is quite expensive, but you don't have to use much. A Vanilla 'substitute' that I also use in perfumes and salves is Tonka Bean. It has a similar scent although milder and is affordable. I use this in my new Sacred Substance flower essence spray, part of my new 2012 line of products. I have made a flower essence blend called 2012 and the scented spray Sacred Substance. For more on 2012, go to my 2012 blog.

I feel that one issue that we all must deal with is learning to relax and soften. I know there are so many events going on that are causing us fear and stress, but as Caroline Casey says we need to slow down in order to speed up. For more on astrology, go to my astrology blog.

For culinary recipes using vanilla click

And for recipes from Sunset magazine with a Hawaiian theme, click

Speaking of Hawaii and relaxing, Jane Bell is giving a workshop this Saturday, June 13 featuring her new Hawaiian Flower Essences. Click here to go to her website.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Victory Garden

This year I decided that I would put more effort into growing food. I have had more or less success with that over the years for a number of reasons. I live in a redwood forest with only a small area that is cleared. The soil is clay and since I live in a canyon, I don't get much sun.

That being said, I decided to start my plants and seeds early in my small greenhouse. Everything was ready to go into the ground. I went away for a weekend training in Plant Spirit Healing with Pam Montgomery and broke my ankle.

Since then, five weeks ago, I have only been outside once to go to the doctor. I am stuck in the house because I can't get down the stairs of my porch, nor walk with crutches on soil.

My plants are marooned in the greenhouse. I won't be able to plant them for another 3 weeks or so.

Meanwhile, my roses are blooming like never before in the front yard. I feel they are sending me healing energy, calming me down and telling me not to worry. Usually by this time of the year, it is so hot that the gardens need watering twice a day. Right now, at 2:30 pm it is still overcast. It rained yesterday and is generally cold outside. The great thing about this is that my garden is not burning up while I am in here not able to do anything about it. It's as if the weather is cooperating to keep my plants hydrated.

Since I embarked on this journey of Plant Spirit Healing, everything has shifted. I have had to cancel many of the events where I planned to sell my herbal products. I am not sure where this will lead and I am not 'thinking' about it. I am instead listening. Listening for instructions. Eliminating the static whenever possible.

On the Herbal Highway today seaweed was featured, then on the Visionary Activist show, the talk on renewal resources - biofuels etc, featured seaweed. So the message for today is clearly about seaweed. I need to eat more seaweed.

Of the products I make and sell here through Etsy, my Sea Witch Salve includes an infused oil of Fucus I made from seaweed I gathered on the Sonoma Coast near where I live. The Hammam bars (soap) have seaweed in them too. Seaweed has so many uses both externally and internally. It is a wonderful natural fertilizer too. You can pick up all that dried up old 'dead' stuff on the beach and bury it in your yard for fertilizer. Traditional cultures all over the world have done this for centuries.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Going Through Changes

Dear friends and readers. You will notice a big change in this blog. I have been asked to remove all material from Desert Alchemy and it will take me some time to do it, but I will.

Recently I have had the 'opportunity' to 'practice what I preach.' While attending a Plant Spirit Healing Apprenticeship workshop led by Pam Montgomery in Calistoga, California, I fell and broke my right ankle. I am now on crutches and restricted to my house, since I can't get outside with crutches. I cannot drive for two months. My friends are bringing me food, drinking water, cat food, and other necessities. Others do my laundry and take out the garbage. It's been a real challenge, both to be so helpless and to rely on others to help me.

One of the most difficult aspects of this is that I will be missing several events where I was to have a booth selling my herbal products. Thus, my income is greatly affected. Staying positive and motivated is also challenging. On top of that all my Alaskan Essences and Flower Essence Society essences are downstairs in my consulting room and I can't get to them.

I have been using my essential oils a lot to help maintain my sanity, keep me from spinning out mentally about 'my situation'. Essential oils can change my state almost immediately. I love the oil blends made by Young Living, especially Gentle Baby which contains geranium oil, one of my favorites.

I have been working with oils for over 20 years and I have found Young Living to have the best therapeutic grade oils. They are expensive, compared to the stuff you can buy elsewhere, but that is because they are pure and mostly organic. I use Frankincense on my toes which extend out from my cast. I can feel the healing energy and warmth move through my foot to my broken bone.

Check out their website. If you decide to purchase, please sign up under me. My member number is 124125.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Issue Became an Issue

Dear Friends and Followers...
The Issue of the Week is being discontinued for a number of reasons.

If you have an issue you would like some advice on please ask via the comment section and I will address it as a post without your name.

In the next few months, I will be extremely busy doing shows and preparing to teach my class on Mayan Hieroglyphs through Santa Rosa Junior College, Community Education. I will also be involved with the Plant Spirit Healing Apprenticeship taught by Pam Montgomery over the next year.

I will continue to post on a regular basis, but the content will be varied.

I hope the Issue of the Week was helpful to you. I sure learned a lot by doing it. One thing I learned was that some people are grateful for free advertising and promotion while others feel attacked. One company wanted to give me free essences to try so that I would put them on the blog, another was very displeased.

With transiting Pluto opposing my natal Mercury, I sometimes feel my mind is being wiped clean and re-programmed. I don't need any more stress in my life right now. There are only so many essences you can take. Sometimes you have to DO something different. LOL!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Issue of the Week - April 13 - April 19

Remembering Who You Are and Your Life Purpose

I was selecting essences for a client the other day and was called to this set of essences from Desert Alchemy.

I have not used the Angelic Awareness essences much in the past, but now I see that they are very much what is needed during these times. Whether or not you 'believe' in angels is not required.

From the Angelic Awareness Kit I suggest:

Fulfilling Your Divine Mission Formula

Remembering Starry Origins Formula

Reuniting Star Fragments Formula


from Desert Alchemy

Monday, April 6, 2009

Issue of the Week April 6 - April 12


Spring is the time in the northern hemisphere for renewal. Plants that have lain dormant during winter months begin to push their way up towards the Sun. Bulbs bloom, fruit trees go into flower awaiting pollination so that they can produce fruit.

I live in the woods, with half of my property cleared where I have a garden. Over the years, I have discovered which plants survive and flourish in my environment and which ones return in the spring. Each year I watch with anticipation to see which of the perennial herbs will actually return.

All through my youth, I wanted a home with a lilac bush. Twenty years ago, during a very difficult time, I believed I would never have a home of my own. I decided to buy my lilac anyway. I bought one in a huge pot and kept it on my back porch. In bloom when I bought it, it never bloomed again. About five years ago, when I realized that here I was in my own home whilst my lilac was still in the pot, I decided it was time to put her in the ground. Still she never bloomed. Each spring I'd examine her new growth, glad to see she was still alive, but disappointed at no flowers. This year, when the buds began to sprout, I observed her as usual. But I was in for a wonderful surprise. This year, after 20 years, she has bloomed again. A small cluster of purple loveliness at the very top of the bush! Twenty years!

And just as my dear lilac is blooming, so I too, have come full circle in one area of my life. I have returned to my study of the Maya, which I was forced to abandon 20 years ago. While I had taught several courses since then, I really had no enthusiasm to do new research. All this shifted when I got involved with the '2012 movement' see my 2012 blog .

I have got re-inspired and 'renewed'. I will be teaching a course this Summer through Santa Rosa Junior College, Community Education on Mayan hieroglyphs, the calendar and 2012.

Renewal means 'made new again'. It is not necessarily a case my making the same things new again. In my case, renewal is an upward spiral which revisits former activities, but in a new way, with a revised approach.

Currently we are all experiencing Venus, Saturn and Pluto retrograde (see my astrology blog). We are being asked to re-evaluate our priorities, needs, wants and desires. Some are being forced into this and see it as a confrontation. I feel, that if we do not do our inner work willingly, we will be forced to do so by the evolutionary imperative.

This winter has been difficult for many of us. I, too, have experienced financial loss and a 'restructuring' of my personal budget. But, I can still appreciate this time of the year and the promise that it holds. The great mysteries of life are always unfolding for us in Nature. There is a cycle of Nature that includes contraction and expansion. Death and Rebirth. We are in the season of rebirth and renewal. Enjoy it and learn the lesson of it.

This week our essence is from Desert Alchemy.

ReSourcerer of ReCreation Formula

Monday, March 30, 2009

Issue of the Week - March 30 - April 5

For those of you who have been following the 'Issue of the Week' for awhile, you know that I like to frame things in a positive way, although we usually seek 'help' when we don't feel positive. Most of the flower essence repertories list the negative state and so finding the positive is in itself a challenge, which I find interesting.

For this week, the issue is Contentment. I found two essences in the Desert Alchemy repertory (Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus and Crisis-Desert Emergency Formula), then a third that really spoke to me personally. I decided to include it.

This past weekend, I had a booth a small local Wellness Fair. Rather than my usual herbal products, I totally followed my guidance which instructed me to do something related to 2012. Preparations went smoother than usual. I got the table the last minute for less money than others paid. Everything came together fast and well. But I guess people are still not there yet. Those few who knew about 2012 wanted me to give them an answer. Those many who didn't put me through my paces. I was all talked out by the end of the day. But I do feel that many seeds were planted.

These essences really speak to me today.

Purple Aster

Spineless Prickly Pear Cactus

Crisis-Desert Emergency Formula

Monday, March 23, 2009

Issue of the Week - March 23 - March 29

Venus Retrograde in Aries (a fire sign)

I am pressed for time this week, since I am preparing for an event coming Saturday, March 28 in Sebastopol, CA. The Wellness Fair will be at the Masonic Lodge downtown Sebastopol. I got into the event at the last minute and there are several new products that I am trying to have ready by Saturday. So, rather than be late or post nothing at all, I am posting a short one.

This, actually relates the Venus being retrograde in Aries, because I am busily working on creating some new beautiful and sensuous herbal products made with chocolate. A lip-balm and a massage bar. I also made a flower essence blend for 2012 and tomorrow will make an aromatherapy spray for 2012.

I am featuring two blends from Desert Alchemy one for Venus, one for the element of Fire. Since we are all experiencing this transit somewhere in our charts, it affects us all. Focus on where Aries is in your chart and what (if anything) is aspected by this transit.

Venus Cycles Formula

Fire Element Formula

Monday, March 16, 2009

Issue of the Week - March 16 - March 22


Although we had this 'issue' before, I want to approach it again, because it is very important. Now that we have a new president, elected because we all wanted a change, many people are feeling that things should get better instantly. One problem with this is that the conditions that led to the problems did not materialize overnight and cannot be fixed overnight. Our fast-food and instant messaging culture has created the need to see instantanious results. Some things just need to fall apart completely so that new things can be born. There has to be room for the new. Unfortunately, what we often focus on is the loss and the destruction, not remembering that Spring comes every year.

Just look outside your window. Of course, I don't know where you live, but here in Northern California the yellow mustard has been blooming in the vineyards for at least a month already. Fruit trees are flowering, my daffodils are out in full blast. And it is still a miracle.

I realized this year when the first flower popped up that something had occurred this winter that made me feel that there would never be another flower. Somehow I had gotten so deeply into doom and gloom that nothing would or could improve. I had lost my sense of trust in the future.

Mind you, my life is good, but with my Moon in Pisces (see my astrology blog), I tend to feel the pain of the world on my shoulders and in my heart. I feel other people's suffering and sometimes I forget that it is not mine. I know there are things one can do to shield themselves and set up stronger boundaries, but this is one of the things I signed up to do in this life.

This tendency to feel other peoples' pain is one reason I decided to do this Issue series in the first place. I believed that since I felt other people's pain, perhaps I could, just as vicariously, help by taking flower essences on their behalf. I have been doing this with my family, friends and cats for years, so why not with other beings?

The issue that I knew was needed for all of us - again - is trust. There's nothing wrong with that. We need to be reminded that's all.

Just before I started writing this today, but had already selected the topic, I got a phone call that I have been waiting for 'in trust' for a month. I will be teaching my Mayan calendar, 2012 class at the Santa Rosa Junior College this summer! I am preparing a CD for the course that will soon be available for sale on my Maya 2012 blog.

Now on to trust. I felt called to look into the Desert Alchemy repertory for this one and found they have many essences for trust. I selected the following:

Transitions Formula


Crownbeard (yellow)


Monday, March 9, 2009

Issue of the Week - March 9 - March 15


Last Friday Venus went retrograde (see my astrology blog for a post on that). One of the tasks for the next 45 days is to review what is of value to us. That includes both tangibles and intangibles - people, things, concepts, whatever. All of it. Do we really care about having... doing... going... being with... etc. Is friendship important to us? Honesty? Our spiritual path? Then if we decide that changes are to be made, it is suggested we wait until after Venus goes direct (April 17th or so) before we actually make any changes.

In the course of our re-evaluation, which means giving value again, or seeing if we want to give value again, we will probably discover that, indeed, there are parts of our lives, people in our lives that we really do care about. That we would rather have them in our lives than not.

Modern life 'teaches' us to be dissatisfied. To want more, to want to be more. We are encouraged to keep looking for something better. This can create a miserable life. No matter what we have, we feel something is missing. On top of that, some of us are taught to feel guilt because we have so much when others have nothing. We often end up wondering how we could feel so bad when we have so much and bad because we want more. Just bad all the time.

Instead, I feel we need to cultivate appreciation for what is. This does not mean we don't continue to strive, to try to accomplish. But it does mean that we love what we have (mind you, I am not including an abusive relationship or addictive, destructive behavior). Don't learn to love that. In cases like that, learn to LOVE YOURSELF more!

This actually leads to having more. I feel that the way it works is that if we cannot appreciate what we have, why should we be given more (that we won't appreciate)? Cultivating appreciation is not a magical method to get more, but it does ensure a level of satisfaction right now with what is rather than constant dissatisfaction. See?

Buttercup Ranunculus occidentalis (yellow)

Positive Qualities: Radiant inner light, unattached to outer recognition or fame.

Patterns of Imbalance: Feelings of low self-worth, inability to acknowledge or experience one's inner light and uniqueness.

In the natural evolution of the soul there are phases of life, if not entire lifetimes, which require that one's essential light be contained in a quiet, simple way. Although such humble expressions may not appear remarkable by outer standards, they are enormously important times

in which the soul gathers inward strength and consolidates its essence. It is important that such souls not judge themselves by conventional standards of achievement and success, becoming afflicted with feelings of self-doubt and diminished self-worth. Rather they need to recognize and honor the inner value and worth of what they truly are. In this way, they are able to shine forth with a radiant inner light that blesses and sanctifies even the most simple tasks and
obligations. Buttercup flower essence helps the soul to realize and sustain its beautiful inner light, which becomes a source of great healing and peace for all whom it contacts.

California Wild Rose Rosa californica (pink)

Positive Qualities: Love for the Earth and for human life; enthusiasm for doing and serving.

Patterns of Imbalance: Apathy or resignation inability to catalyze will forces through the heart.

California Wild Rose is among the most beautiful and fundamental of flower remedies,for it helps the soul to incarnate and really take hold of its responsibilities and tasks on Earth. It is often said that hate is not the opposite of love, only a distortion of it. Rather, it is apathy which is the true polarity of love. The ability to really care and to give oneself to life, to others, and to the Earth characterizes a truly loving soul. Many souls hold back or hesitate, not wanting to experience the pain or challenge of life on Earth. They find it hard to take emotional risks in relationships with others, preferring instead to anesthetize themselves from pain or suffering. Such souls can also suffer from deep-seated social alienation, being unable to rouse the inner fire of the heart toward compassionate caring and activity in the world.

California Wild Rose remedy is useful at all stages of life, but is
particularly helpful for adolescent and young adult souls that are longing to find positive ideals and seeking to serve the world through a calling or vocation. California Wild Rose stimulates the love forces in the heart, so that the soul finds enthusiasm for earthly life, worldly tasks and human relationships.

Sage Salvia officinalis (violet)

Positive Qualities: Drawing wisdom from life experiences, reviewing and surveying one's life process from a higher perspective.

Patterns of Imbalance: Seeing life as ill-fated or undeserved, inability to perceive higher purpose and meaning in life events.

Sage flower essence enables the Self to learn and reflect about life experience., particularly enhancing the capacity to experience deep inner peace and wisdom. This remedy addresses a natural distillation process which occurs as the healthy person ages. Throughout the course of life, trials and tribulations are placed in the soul's path so that it an distill impurities and volatile emotions, reaching an ever more clarified and refined state. Through the aging process, the soul should be able to attain increasing inner stability and peaceful acceptance of
its condition. If one is unable to experience this graceful maturation process, life events seem ill-fated and undeserved, without higher purpose or meaning .The Sage remedy can be helpful during various life phases and transitions, when one needs to step back and consider the unfolding events of life. Through Sage, the soul comes more in touch with its own spiritual meaning and purpose, and thus acquires profound wisdom to heal and counsel others.

Photos of flowers are from The Flower Essence Society website.

The commentary on the essences is from the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Issue of the Week

March 2 - March 8

Animal Care pt. 3

Aggression, Jealousy and Competitiveness

Just as we humans have to learn to get along, so do our pets. Remember that dogs evolved from wolves and our sweet little kitties evolved from large predatory cats like saber-toothed tigers.

Not only are they highly territorial hunters, they were natural enemies in the past, both after the same food sources. Today, dogs and cats may compete for their master's attention, a place on the couch or even for food. Competition my occur between animals of the same species. Remember, animals are naturally territorial.

I look at pictures of groups of cats lying in a heap on other peoples' blogs and I wonder how that happens. I have had cats all my life and I have never had cats sleep together unless they were mother and kittens or sometimes litter mates.

So here are some essences for the jealous, competitive and aggressive pets.

Cosmos - To encourage inter species communication; helpful where different animals are gathered; useful when training animals or establishing psychic bonds in one-on-one relationships; indicated for both animal and caretaker.

Holly - Jealous pets, especially when jealousy involves another pet vying for the attention of the caretaker.

Quaking Grass - Helping animals living together in a group or herd to adjust; especially important when a new animal has been introduced.

Snapdragon - For animals who bite; especially indicated for aggressive tendencies in horses such as biting and sucking.

Tiger Lily
- For hostile or aggressive cats or dogs.

Vine - For animals which dominate younger or weaker animals.

Yes, you can use essences on horses. They respond well to them. Besides putting them in the mouth or in drinking water, you can put them in a spray bottle or in bath water. There are numerous ways to administer them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friends on the Radio

Listening to the radio show The Herbal Highway with Karyn Sanders on KPFA today, two of my teachers/friends/colleagues were on the radio! Peggy Schafer and Leslie Gardener.

I have studied under them at California School of Herbal Studies, worked with them when I was a board member for the Sonoma County Herb Association and an intern at the Sonoma County Herb Exchange, and partied with them at herb events.

Leslie spoke about her new book:
Life in the Medicine: A guide to growing and harvesting herbs for medicine making.

You can view it and purchase it at

Peg spoke about her Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm
and her Chinese herbal extracts: Fu Tian Herbs

I am fortunate to live in an area where there is a lot happening herbally. Schools, classes, organic farms, medicine makers, herb festivals.....

I have learned a lot from my teachers and friends and it has enriched my life. Thank you Peg and Leslie. Good to hear your voices again!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Issue of the Week - Feb 23 - March 1, 2009

Animal Care Pt.2


Our pets become part of our family. For those who are single, with no children, they may be the only family. Animals form attachments to places and people. How did homing pigeons acquire their name if that were not true? Migrating animals have a circuit they make, always returning to the same place at the same time of year.

Just as we become attached to our lifestyle and where we live, so do our pets. Dogs and cats are especially affected by changes of domicile, because they establish their own habits related to their environment. Moving is hard on pets. Sometimes pets leave the new home trying to return to the old home and we wonder if they love us, or the neighborhood.

On the other hand, over-attachment to human owners can be a problem too. Sometimes, we just have to leave them for a few hours or days. Dogs can cry and whine all day while the master is off at work. This can drive the neighbors crazy. Our pets need to feel happy and safe when we are not there.

So the essences for this week are related to emotional attachment in our pets.

Bleeding Heart - Breaking undue emotional attachment to the caretaker, such as whining cats or moping dogs waiting for the owner to return.

Chicory - Especially indicated for younger animals such as whining puppies or kittens, also indicated when illness may be psychosomatic or to get attention.

Dill - Overwhelm or confusion such as during travel or upset of schedule.

Mariposa Lily - Assisting mother-infant bonding, especially if the animal is being introduced to a surrogate mother; also good for young animals in a new home.

Walnut - Before and after a major move; to help break links to old places of residence; also good for animals giving birth.

This information all comes from the Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz. All the essences are available through the Flower Essence Society.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Issue of the Week - Feb 16 - Feb 22

Animal Care

Many of us have animals in our lives. Beloved pets who are often part of the family. There are many essences listed in The Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz. Many issues are addressed. I will make this part of a series. This week I will focus on calming animals that have either undergone trauma or are innately high-strung.

Arnica Shock, trauma, illness, injury, surgery

Aspen Unknown fear or terror in an animal; especially indicated when treating wild or nervous animals

Cherry Plum Extreme tension or stress, such as a terrified animal that is trapped

Five Flower Formula For any form of stress or emergency, or when uncertain of which remedy to use (functions like Crisis Formula or Rescue Remedy)

Mimulus Nervous conditions in animals; good for jittery horses or shy animals who hide from people

Penstemon Illness or trauma; gives inner strength during adverse circumstances

Red Clover Calming to hysterical animals, particularly cats; can be used effectively when taking an animal to a veterinarian for treatment

Vervain For hyperactive, overly tense animals

In general, cats do not like alcohol. One way to administer the essences is to put them first in boiling water, so the alcohol evaporates, then cool the water and add to drinking water. I sometimes put the drops on the front paw. The cat will then lick them off instinctively.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Herb of the Month - Oats

According to Judith Berger in Herbal Rituals, the Herb of the Month for February is Oat Avena sativa. Originating in the near east and Mediterranean, they quickly adapted to the cold and wet sea climates of Northern Europe. They were brought to America by the Puritans.

According to Berger, Oats provide most of the required vitamins and minerals. Although they have seven times the fat as rice, they contain chemical substances that protect the heart, balance cholesterol, and assist circulation. Oats have a direct effect on the nervous and endocrine systems and have a transformative effect on the immune system. Oats build strong bones and teeth, stabilize sugar levels in the blood and improve blood flow by elasticizing veins and arteries. They also act as a powerful nerve tonic. They give us inner fortitude and thus can provide support for those trying to withdraw from caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. Oats are good for the skin and hair and can help with chronic itching.

When I was a teenager, I used to make a paste of oatmeal and use it as a facial mask. I never had acne. I don't know if it was due to my masks or other factors in my genetics or diet. But, it is certainly worth trying. There are many commercial soaps and lotions available based on oats for people with sensitive skin, so... trying an oatmeal mask will not hurt.

I just mixed old-fashioned oats and water. You can get fancy. The following recipe is an elaborate facial mask recipe.

Demeter's Beautifying Oat Grain Scrub

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 ounce to 1 ounce lavender buds or rose petals
2 tsp. of ground almonds
2 tsp. of white or red clay (optional)
a dash of seaweed (optional)
blender or mortal and pestle

The almonds supply natural oils, the oats gently rub away dead skin. If your skin is oily use more clay and fewer almonds. The lavender is astringent and pungent and balances the oil-giving almonds.

Place all ingredients in blender or mortar and blend until ground up. When ready to use, place some in the palm of your hand and add water. Make a paste and put on face. Allow it to dry before gently washing it off.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Issue of the Week - Feb 9 - Feb 15


Right now in the woods where I live, Bay is blooming. I was called to select Bay flower for this week, with no idea of what the "issue" would be, but when I checked through all my repertories, I did not find an essence of Bay flower. Perhaps the message is for me to make one and do a proving to see what it's for.

I then received the inspiration to write about Forgiveness

This week we celebrate Valentine's Day. Hearts and flowers. Yes, that is part of love, at least romantic love. Another part of love, the harder part, is forgiveness. Forgiveness of others and of ourselves for not being perfect.

It is true that sometimes the behavior of another is "unforgivable". Abuse, criminal neglect, violence of any kind - can cause extreme and long term harm. Usually those who can forgive this kind of behavior are "saints". It may not be possible for most of us to forgive like this - at least not to the perpetrator. We can, however, and I suggest we try, to forgive them in our own hearts and minds. To not hold on to the hurt, the rage, the pain. For our own good. I believe that holding on to trauma can cause us more damage than the original hurt caused. The abuse may have lasted a few minutes, hours or even days. The memory of it may last years. In fact, we may allow it to become our identity. Caroline Myss speaks of those who introduce themselves as incest survivors and how by doing so they perpetuate their victimization. They let the violence of another become who they are.

The process of forgiveness may not be easy, but it is crucial that we try to go through it.

Beech Fagus sylvatica (red)

Positive qualities: Tolerance, acceptance of others' differences and imperfections, seeing the good within each person and situation.

Patterns of imbalance: Criticalness, judgemental attitudes, intolerance, perfectionist expectations of others, oversensitivity to ones' social and physical environment.

The Beech remedy helps transform the tendency to be critical due to an inner sense of inferiority and hypersensitivity which is projected onto others. Very often such persons grew up in an environment of criticism and harsh expectations, and so they inwardly feel very vulnerable and insecure. They learn to cope by condemning others instead of healing themselves. Beech softens the soul pain such persons feel as they re-establish connection with their Higher Self, they sense the love and unconditional acceptance that radiates from the spiritual world. Through this warmth of soul, they are able to let go of their harsh and blaming ways, to accept others in the same way that they are accepted by the spiritual world.

Pine Pinus sylvestris (red f./yellow m.)

Positive Qualities: Self-acceptance, self-forgiveness; freedom from inappropriate guilt and blame.

Pattern of Imbalance: Guilt, self-blame, self-criticism, inability to accept oneself.

Objective knowledge of one's faults is an important soul virtue; when taken to an extreme, however, one can be wracked with undue guilt and misery Those who need Pine get stuck in self-blame. At times a real circumstance from the past may result in deep feelings or regret and remorse; however, the Pine type often feels guilt which is entirely disproportionate to the actual events . These feelings may arise from childhood, when the person learned to internalize blame for dysfunction in the family system, or they may stem from a religious background which emphasizes sin and error more than salvation and grace. Pine helps the Self to learn true forgiveness by quite literally being for giving: learning to give oneself nourishment rather than withholding love from oneself; learning to release rather than retain energy The individual is encouraged to move forward rather than stay entangled in self-deprecation and emotional paralysis. At it highest level, Pine teaches self-acceptance and inner esteem as a pathway to the soul's realization of its own sacredness and divinity.

Willowv Salix vitellina (green)

Positive qualities: Acceptance, forgiveness, taking responsibility for ones' life situation, flowing with life.

Patterns of imbalance: Feeling resentful, inflexible or bitter, feeling that life is unfair or that one is a victim.

If the physical body does not keep flexible, it becomes stiff and contracted. The good health of the soul also depends on its ability to be yielding, flowing and "forgiving." The Willow flower heals bitterness and resentment, it is for those who tend to "hold on" and become attached to negative emotions. Such persons often feel victimized by the circumstances of life -- they feel that others are to blame for their misfortune; that life has been unfair to them; or they resent those who appear to have more status, prosperity, or felicity than themselves. The aging process is especially difficult for Willow types; At an energetic level, such persons are unable to flow with the streaming of their lives, Negative feelings are dammed up and then become magnified and internalized, congesting the inner being. the physical body also suffers from this stress, tending to manifest such problems as stiff joints, rheumatism, arthritis, and other aches and pains. (Willow bark is the herbal precursor for aspirin, often used for such physical conditions.) Willow restores a more "spring-like" disposition, helping the soul to respond with greater resilience and inward mobility to challenges and problems. In this way the Self takes more responsibility for its condition, and learns to flow more gently and gracious with, rather than against, the flow of life.

Photos from Flower Essence Services

Text from Flower Essence Repertory, by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz

Monday, February 2, 2009

Issue of the Week Feb 2 - Feb 8, 2009

Healing Past Trauma

In order to live fully in the present and have all of our abilities functioning, we need to be free of fear. All our circuits need to be up and running, so that we can tap into the energy that is available to us.

According to Jeff Wolf Green, the creator of Evolutionary Astrology, most of us are born with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to traumas from past lives.

I am currently reading a book by Barbara Hand Clow in which she claims we all have memory of past earth cataclysms that keep us fearful of the future and projecting destruction in to the future.

My observations of myself and others leads me to believe that it is true that somehow we come into this life with some embedded memory of trauma. In addition, many of us experience at least one incidence of trauma in our current life. Sensitive people can feel the trauma of others, so that when they see it on T.V. or even hear about it, they feel it themselves. Some feel trauma on behalf of the earth, plants or animals. I cannot bear to the witness pain in animals. I can hear the cries of trees when they are being cut.

Now that we have a new president, many of us feel that we have witnessed a miracle. We now know miracles are possible (if we didn't already know it). We want to move forward in joy and hope.

After many years of feeling depressed and hopeless, it may be difficult to come out into the light and yet that is what we are being called to do. Just when we had all but given up, we are rescued.

I often wonder how the people that were rescued from Auschwitz and the other camps felt when they were rescued. I've seen those films dozens of times, wondering what they were thinking. (Don't misunderstand, I am not comparing the last 8 years under Shrub to what people went through in concentration camps or POW camps. There is no comparison). What I am saying is that I am amazed that human beings can endure extreme suffering and still go forward into life.

While what we are going through is minor by comparison, I still sense a desperation - people are driving like madmen, shopping like there is no tomorrow.

While Obama's election is indeed marvelous and I am giddy with joy about it, we still have many serious situations to deal with. We cannot expect him to do it all. We have to do our part. Now positive change is possible. We have a national leader who is intelligent, sensitive and competent.

It wasn't until the other one was gone, that I fully realized that being fearful had become second nature to me. I feared my phone was tapped, that any day they could make a law that would send me to jail for something I didn't even know I had done.

Now we can feel the audacity of hope. What will we do with the rest of our lives?

In the Alaskan Repertory there are several essences to deal with healing past trauma.

Flower Essences

Fireweed - Epilobium angustifolium

Indications: shock or trauma; energy stagnation on any level; feeling burned out; weak connection to the earth.

Healing Qualities: strengthens the grounding connection to the earth; helps break up and move out old energy patterns that are being held in the etheric body so that new cycles of revitalization and renewal can be initiated.

White Fireweed - Epilobium angustifolium

Indications: deep emotional shock and trauma; profound alienation from the body after an experience of sexual or emotional abuse.

Healing Qualities: calms the emotional body after a traumatic or shocking experience; helps us release the imprint of painful emotional experiences from the cellular memory so that rejuvenation can begin.

Gem Elixirs


Brings strength, clarity and definition to the auric field; acts as a protective filter that encourages us to relax energetically, thereby enhancing our natural ability to receive love and support from the environment.

Fluorite Combo

Synchronizes movement between the etheric and physical bodies; fine tunes our focus so that we can move through an issue or healing process with precision and balance.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I'm back, sort of. My computer is still not fixed, but I have so much work to do I just will live with it for another few weeks. See the story on my other blog

Friday night Matthew Wood was at Rosemary's Garden in Sebastopol. He spoke mainly about adrenal and thyroid support. He said one of the over all best herbs to use is Melissa, which I have growing wild all over my place. When I first moved in I thought it was a weed and started trying to eradicate it. Well, I have to say it does take over, so if you are planning to plant it, be careful. Then I found out it was good for depression, stomach ache, stress, and many other things. In fact Matthew recommended it for thyroid issues in cats. I plan to make a strong tea and try to get it into Grace. Cats will not take alcohol tinctures.

Meanwhile I have started another blog! This one is on 2012. I am currently devouring every book I can find on the topic.

And I will be back tomorrow with the Issue of the Week.

When I first started blogging, I was putting all my stuff on one blog. When I joined Entrecard, I looked at loads of blogs. I realized it is better to focus on one topic, so I started this one. Then I needed one for astrology and now I need one for Mayan stuff. I did start one on my cats, but they don't do anything but sleep, eat and .... and taking pictures of that is boring, so it does not get many posts. I guess I could show them sleeping on the bed, the chair, in the box... Wow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Limited Internet for Next Two Weeks - Yikes!

To all my readers, my computer is in the shop for two weeks and I don't know if I will be able to post during that time since I have to use the Internet in the county library and so I have a short time limit each day. See you all soon! I might actually be forced to clean house....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Issue of the Week - Jan 05 - Jan 11, 2009

This week I approach this from a different perspective. Since the Herb of the Month (J. Berger, Herbal Rituals) is Sage, I thought I would go from the essence to the 'issue'.

This is what The Complete Floral Healer, by Anne McIntyre, has to say about Sage Flower Essence.

'Sage enhances the capacity for drawing wisdom from experience and is particularly recommended for people who find it hard to find purpose and meaning in life. They may feel resentful about events in their lives, seeing them as ill-fated or undeserved.

Sage is a remedy especially suitable for our later years, for helping to accept what life throws up for us in a calm and detached way. It helps to enhance the wisdom that comes naturally from years of experience. Such wisdom is natural to that end of life, enabling us to be in touch with our spiritual selves, to perceive a higher purpose in life and to experience inner peace. It is a remedy to use during changes and transitions, as it enhance the sage in all of us.'

This essence is available through FES.

I had not read this before I typed it out of the book, but, as usual the wisdom of the plant kingdom chose exactly the essence that I myself need at this time. If you read my post "2009 - New Year - Fresh Start" on one of my other blogs, you will see how this essence is relevant.

For those of you not familiar to the concept of Plant Wisdom, let me say this. Plants made the planet inhabitable for animals. They came first. The Earth's atmosphere was poisonous to animals until plants converted it. At each stage of evolution, plants made the transitions before animals. So... I suggest we look carefully at the plant kingdom for clues about what's coming next.

Plant gods are at the heart of many of the religions that humans have followed for centuries. Osiris was a god of vegetation for the Egyptians, and in ancient Mayan culture, a Maize God was central. Ancient peoples knew that without the gifts of food brought by plants, we would perish. All of the animals that we eat, rely on plants for food. We do not eat predators, unless we are starving. And usually in that case, the predators get us first!

Currently I am not a vegetarian. I was in the past, but circumstances (living in the Congo) made me see that sometimes you are lucky to get anything to eat and thus it is best to be flexible and grateful for whatever you can get. For awhile, I tried not to eat beings that had faces, but then, when I began to see flowers as faces, that precluded most plants as well. So... what could I eat? Now I tune into my body and see what it needs and wants and I go with that. The only thing I never eat is pork, but, if it were a question of survival, I would probably eat it as well.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hamida Got an Award!

Thanks so much to Jackie at The Vegan Diet for the Lemonade Award given to those who show great Attitude and/or Gratitude.

Jackie has been one of my readers since the beginning and it means a lot to me to get this award from her. Yeah Jackie!

Here are the rules to this award.
• Put the logo on your blog or post.
• Nominate 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
• Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
• Let them know that they have received this award.
• Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

What can I say, I can only choose 10, so here they are.

A Consummate Life
A Grateful Heart
A Second Cup
Daily Blissings
Forced Green
Holy Cuteness
The Good Life
Unbalance Libra
Welcome to Mind Body and Soul

Love and Blessings to you all.

And by the way, I have always thought that this is a very powerful concept: If Life gives you lemons, learn to make lemonade. Resourcefulness and Creativity - the foundations of Wisdom.