Traditional herbal medicine is the use of plants as teas, tinctures, salves, poultices, powders, pills, boluses, balms, glycerites, honeys, cough syrups, steams, and many more
Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people and is for all to use and practice. Plant medicine is gentle and strong. The source of all medicine is the earth we live on, so it is gifted to us by the mother of all beings. It can be found all around us—in our backyards, in the cracks of sidewalks, in our gardens, and in the woods. Many indigenous elders say that each plant has a specific job and remedy for every ailment, physical and emotional, inflicted upon the people.
Identifying the medicinal qualities of plants can be very easy. There are many different methods besides looking up the herb or a remedy in a book: • Doctrine of Signatures—You can see this when a plant looks like the organ or body part for which it has a cure, such as the branching of most coniferous trees mimicking the bronchioles of the lungs. Pine, spruce, and cedar all work on healing colds that infect the lungs. • Color—When we eat a rainbow of foods, we are nourishing our bodies in many ways. When we are feeling an imbalance, we can increase the intake of the colored food or herb that relates to the organ system for which we need a remedy; for example, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), green foods and herbs nourish and protect the liver and gallbladder, yellow for the stomach and spleen, red foods and herbs for the heart and blood, white for the lungs, black for the kidneys. Colors vary depending upon the tradition you choose to follow. • Intuition—Note your subtle response to the smell of an herb or flower. If we need a plant, it typically smells very good, though it may not taste very good. Familiarity with your plants is essential for safety reasons. • Journeying with the Spirit of a Plant —In a safe and quiet space, we can access a part of ourselves that will give us our truth through pictures. There, the spirit of the plants can communicate their healing properties. • Scientific Case Studies and Research—In the past 20 years, there have been more and more case studies collected and research on herbs and their medicinal values. Many of these case studies can be found on the internet using reliable resources, such as the Harvard website and Pubmed.
The best way to find out if a plant works for you is to do your own investigation and self study. Start out simple for example, if you get a cold, try to make yourself some healing teas to nourish your body's natural defense system. Be adventurous!!
If you have any questions feel free to leave some below.
Rosemary is a shrub with leaves about 1 inch long on a woody stem. The leaves are linear, revolute, dark green above, and paler green and glandular beneath. It has an aromatic, pungent scent with a camphor-like quality to it. The flowers are small and pale blue. This plant has an abundance of essential oils running through it, mostly in the sepals of the flower. Rosemary in its culinary use is famous in Europe. It adds a unique flavor to vegetables and poultry dishes. Rosemary typically is the dominant flavor when used in a recipe (but not always). Rosemary for remembrance—This plant is famous for its ability to enhance the memory. Many of our most famous writers, herbalists, and healers have much to say about this wonderful plant.
Lindley and Moore, in The Treasury of Botany, says: There is a vulgar belief in Gloucestershire and other counties, that Rosemary will not grow well unless where the mistress is “master”; and so touchy are some of the lords of creation upon this point, that we have more than once had reason to suspect them of privately injuring a growing rosemary in order to destroy this evidence of their want of authority.
Sir Thomas More writes: As for Rosmarine, I let it runne all over my garden walls, not onlie because my bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and, therefore, to friendship; whence a sprig of it hath a dumb language that maketh it the chosen emblem of our funeral wakes and in our burial grounds.
Medicinal Properties: — astringent, tonic, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, carminative, anti-spasmaodic, emmenagogue, nervine, aromatic, cephalic (relating to the head) — nerve tonic — helps with a headache caused by anxiety or nervousness, and especially with poor circulation; as a remedy, it should be taken as a warm tea — helps aid in digestion — induces sweating — used externally as a rubefacient — tonic to help grow your hair
In her book Fire Heart (2012), Maya Medicine Woman, Miss Beatrice Torres Waight, says: Rosemary must be included in any talk about plant allies. She is cleansing, sacred, and protecting and an important ingredient in many of our Maya herbal baths and teas. Rosemary is a good one to put in the postpartum womb steam bath and to wash the lactating breasts to help bring the milk down. We use rosemary to bathe with, or to burn as incense after visiting a cemetery. Rosemary is burned right before the birth of a child and in the baby's room where he is sleeping with his mother, as a way of blessing and protecting the child.
Uterine Bodywork facilitates the healing of numerous emotional, menstrual, spiritual, and physical conditions. The solar plexus is known in the Wise Woman, Chinese and other indigenous traditions to be our "power center", the center of our personal power source. Incidents such as rape, incest, abuse, abortion, infertility, and traumatic childbirth can restrict the flow of necessary energy movement in the area and as a result we lose our sense of power. One very common side effect is poor digestion, this is an indication that our power source is lacking energy. Mayan uterine massage is a simple and effective therapy that shifts stagnation into positive flow once again.
Physically speaking, when the uterus is displaced oxygenated blood (arterial flow) coming to the uterus is sluggish and venous blood flow moving out of the uterus is restricted, This sluggish condition hinders outward flow and results in the buildup of carbonic acid and other toxins in the tissues. Without being able to excrete or dispose of these acids can lead to unpleasant symptoms and over a period of years, serious illness. Another symptom of a displaced uterus is clotting and brown blood during our moontime or monthly bloods. If this is something you are experiencing then circulation is stunted.
Stress is a HUGE factor in all of stagnation. Any one of the instances above precipitates an interruption of relaxation where metabolism and absorption function improperly. In a chaotic stressful environment, your energy also becomes chaotic, Your cells absorb the energy of your environment and this can lead to a digestive disaster. This stress-filled environment hinders one's ability to connect with a basic source of self love. Eating healthy food and absorbing the nutrition therein is an elemental task that so many people cannot manifest. Massaging the digestive organs brings blood and warmth with vital nutrients into these places whereas before they were cold and stagnant. Penetrating those dormant areas moves energy, blood, and body fluid, and alsoreleases that chaotic (stressful) energy. This motion can release and breakdown negative thoughts stored in the tissue, a liberation related to this intense powerful healing.
When you come to see me for uterine bodywork and a vaginal steam, an individual's ceremony emerges. I hold the container so you can open your heart and release what does not serve your highest good any longer. I want you to engage in your healing journey feeling supported and nourished. I uphold the safe place, so that 'she who is healing' can shine.
Oregano is related to the herb marjoram sometimes referred to as wild marjoram. It is a perennial herb,with creeping roots, sending up woody stems about a foot high, branched above, often purplish. The name Origanum is derived from two Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy). The leaves are opposite, petiolate, about an inch long, nearly entirely hairy beneath. This is the wild variety. When cultivated, the leaves are more elliptical in shape than the wild marjoram, and the flower-spikes are thinner and more compact. The whole plant has a strong, fragrant, balsamic odor and a warm, bitterish, spicy, aromatic taste, both of which properties are preserved when the herb is dry. Two percent (2%) of this plant is made up of its essential oil, so it is rightly used for its very particular and unique flavor.
Medicinal Properties: Oregano properties are very similar to those of all mint family plants: helps increase digestion,relieve gas pain, and is a nervine (soothing to the nervous system). — The cultivated herb is used as the culinary spice but can be used for medicinal remedies as well. — has a vast history of medicinal uses, more so than for its culinary purposes — anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic — diaphoretic, stimulant used to bring on stalled menses — used as a tea for colds and flus — used topically and internally to fight infections, especially toothaches, ear infections — oregano oil is used topically on the skin for sore throat, ear infections, on the temples for headaches — can be used in a steam to breathe in to help with a cough, ear infection, sore throat, blocked sinus, and also used in a vaginal steam for vaginitis and bladder infections. I like to use Oreganol Super Strength P73 oil for topical applications. This is very strong and should be used with caution and diluted. — the oil also helps ease the pain of said infections of the throat and ears
Oregano Tea 1 tbsp dried oregano 8 oz boiling water Cover and let sit about 15 minutes before drinking.
Oregano Tea for the Bath 1 large handful of dried herb about a half cup 1 large soup pot of boiling water
Throw dried herb loose into the boiling water and cover immediately. Turn the temperature down to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it sit another 5 minutes and strain the tea into your bath water. Please mix the water before getting into the tub to prevent burning yourself. Drink oregano tea while in the tub. Make sure to sit in the tub for 20 minutes in order to re-moisturize the skin so the tea can be absorbed into the body. Drinking the tea while taking a bath in an infusion of the plant is extremely relaxing to sore muscles. You can do this to ease the ache of the flu.
Common or Sweet Basil is in the mint family. There are several varieties of basil, differing in the size, shape, odor and color of the leaves. The Common Basil has very dark green leaves; the curled-leaved has short spikes of white flowers. Rubbing the plant with your fingers releases a pleasant spicy scent. Basil is a favorite herb to cook with in the culinary world. Italians are the most famous for using basil in many of their recipes. It can be used in stir-fries, raw in salads, and to season poultry and pork. It can be infused in oil or vinegar. Basil is a sweet, sometimes spicy, flavor that accents a meal. It enhances flavor to anyone’s palate.
Fresh Basil and Tomato Salad Lucia Ceppaluni's recipe (my mom)
3 plum tomatoes, vine-ripened 2-3 cloves of garlic 1 very small onion 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp olive oil 5 large fresh leaves of basil Pinch of fresh oregano Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice the tomatoes into small wedges and place into a bowl. Crush the cloves of garlic and slice the onion. Take the basil leaves and place them one on top of each other. Roll them together and then slice across the roll; they come out nicely julienned. Add the basil, vinegar, oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix together well and serve straight away. If you let it sit, water will seep out of the tomatoes, diluting the taste a little. If you want to serve it cold, add a few ice cubes to the salad, mix well, and remove the ice cubes right before serving.
Medicinal Properties: — stimulant, nervine, aromatic — taken as a tea, basil is divine to the senses; it is relaxing and soothing to the nervous system — creates movement in the body, especially in the digestive and menstrual systems — drinking the tea hot is good in suppressed menses — helps ease nausea and vomiting — aids in digestion, increasing digestive juices before eating to increase the appetite and after eating to reduce gas and bloating Indigenous people of many different cultures have been using basil for a very long time for many different reasons and ailments: — In Belize, it is used for its drawing and antibacterial properties along with its spiritual properties. — The eclectic physicians used it topically to soothe a bee or wasp sting, drawing out the poisons. Basil has Chicoric acid. It has been studied for its potential to inhibit HIV integrase (Healy et al. 2009; Charvat et al. 2006), to enhance insulin secretion and glucose uptake (Tousch et al. 2008), and to exert antioxidant activity (Dalby-Brown et al. 2005). This acid is also found in Echinacea purpurea but is found in higher amounts in Basil (Leea and Scagel 2010). The herb contains high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to research conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Gertsch et al. 2008). Rich in antioxidants -- results of a study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research showed that ethanol extract Ocimum basilicum had more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidants (Patil et al. 2011).
Breasts are the extension of our hearts. When we hug one another we touch everyone with our breasts. We are physically loving with them to our babies, husbands, and friends all the time. Our breast health typically mirrors that nature of loving ourselves and others in giving and receiving. We find it hard to keep a balance when it comes to loving others and ourselves. We tend towards giving more than we receive. In our culture we are in a constant flow of giving and sometime we are guilt-ed into this state of imbalance. Susan Weed describes this well in her book Breast Cancer? Breast Health! Keeping Our Breasts Healthy We can keep our breasts healthy by remembering to love ourselves enough and take time to care for our bodies, minds, and spirits. This week carve out a few minutes to give your breast a massage. Massaging your breasts brings much needed circulation to a fat dense area. Our breast are mostly made of lymphatic tissue, fat and milk producing glands. But what else is in there? I remember after nursing I lost all of the fat in my breasts and felt so much less of a women. I called my breasts two skin tabs just floating there with nothing to fill them. This process happened so quickly that I did not have time to adjust to and keep loving myself in the face of my new emaciated body. I was embarrassed and did not want anyone to touch them for a while, not my babies, or husband. I wanted my body to be my own. I needed to start loving myself again, taking responsibility for my definition of self care. Doing what truly nourished me so I could have the ability to love my new momma body. The first thing I did was put on some much needed weight. I started to practice yoga in the morning and bought myself a new to me bicycle. I also started breast massage and lymphatic skin brushing daily. Making just these few changes gave me new strength for my family too. I became happier and healthier. Breast massage is simple and only takes a few minutes every day for a self care techinque that can actually be life saving. Dense breasts can get congested. Massage keeps the energy flow moving. Breast congestion includes cyst formation or fibrocystic breast syndrome and premenstrual breast tenderness Herbs for lymphatic flow and balance Red Root Ceanothus spp
lymphatic, decongestant to pelvis, liver,and spleen tissue
protective to blood vessels especially in capillary fragility
easy bruising, heaving bleeding
Violet Viola odorata
leaf is specific for tincture in breast and ovarian cancer,helps dissolve breast and ovarian cysts, wonderful wild food
Nourishing and Tonifying Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale
specific for cysts, lumps, growths, and abnormal cells in the breasts. This addresses the liver
Calendula internally and externally Burdock Arctium lappa
anti-cancer reverses pre -cancers, resolves chronic skin problems
fresh root binds to heavy metals and toxins
can be used for years
Breast Self Examination
While standing and looking in the mirror, raise your hand over your head and press them together. Notice the shape of your breasts. Place your hands on your hips, apply pressure, and look for dimpling of the skin, nipples that seem to be out of position, one breast that looks different from the other or red scaling or thickening of the skin and nipples.
Raise one arm above your head. With the other hand, firmly explore your breast. Beginning at the outer edge, using a circular motion, gradually work toward the nipple. Take your time wherein examining the area between the nipple and the armpit, and feel the armpit as well. You have lymph nodes in the armpit: they move freely and feel soft, and are not painful to the touch. Look for lumps that are hard and not mobile. Cancers are often attached to underlying muscle or the skin.
Lie down on your back and repeat step 2. Lumps may be more easily detected in this position also squeeze each nipple to check for blood or a watery yellow or pink discharge.
Recipe Breast Oil Dandelion Flowers Fresh 1 part Fenugreek 1/2 part Bladderwrack 1/2 part Calendula 1 part 1 part can equal 1 TBL or 1 cup depending on how much you want to make This oil if for congestion and stagnation. Put all the herbs together and cover by one inch with sesame or olive oil. You can also use a blend of oils. Place together and blend in blender. Pour into a mason jar and put in a water bath double boil keeping it between 110-120 degrees. Cook for about 6 hours or more strain with muslin or cheese cloth and store in glass in a cool dark place.
The spirit of rose will bring the heart back together again making it whole.
She will bring wholeheartedness into one's life. She helps the heart stay together keeping the good juices in and bad juices out. The blood is pure and full of red love juices. If one were to drink her fluids she goes through the system cleaning the organs and astringe the toxic juices out of the system leaving only what is nutrition of the system. If someone only has bad juices she will take that and leave your insides dry. If one were to gargle with her tea she can help you to sing, with love loud and clear. After gargling at night one can just sip the last remaining liquid to slightly astringe the body for nighttime rest and dreaming. If her buds are worn around the head at night one will dream with love in mind. You can also dream of love, pure love. If she is hung around in the room love will enter your life. These events and changes take time but not too much time to where one becomes impatient. Love is always ready to enter the heart if the heart is open with purity and trust. Trust the world and trust in love. Rose she can help.
The above paragraphs are directly taken from my journey I had with the spirit of the Rose.
Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa Ponderosa pine is one of the most sacred coniferous evergreen trees of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It grows on South facing slopes in rocky, well drained sandy soil. It easily reaches 100ft in height and 3ft diameter, and if left alone long enough trees can triple that size. The needles occur in clusters of 3 and are 6”-8” long. The bark is reddish brown, thick, deeply furrowed, and fire resistant. In fact, Ponderosa forests are healthiest when intermittently exposed to low temperature wildfires. The bark also has a sweet, caramel scent. Ponderosa is a rubefacient, diuretic, and the needles and resin can act as an irritant on the skin. The medicine of Ponderosa pine is famous for high elevation lung ailments. The boughs are boiled for tea to help with any lung infection. The needles are high in vitamin C and especially delicious as a backcountry tea. The young shoots can also be eaten. To combat colds and flus pour a strong tea into a hot bath and soak for a minimum of 20 minutes while burning the pitch. Essential oils are released in both the smoke and the steam and when inhaled have anti-bacterial/microbial activities. The pine resin can be burned and the smoke used to purify any room. The pitch is light golden yellow to off-white in color. It is the blood of the tree and a sign that spring has sprung when it bursts to the surface out of the bark. It can also be seen when the tree is wounded. I like to harvest Ponderosa pitch in the spring when it is sticky and infuse it into olive oil, which we use as an antibacterial and anti-rheumatic agent in salves and balms. Sitting with this tree is very grounding to the spirit and helpful for cultivating connection with this land. There are a few grandmother trees left in the Boulder area, Colorado’s stories are available to those who would listen. Sit and listen to her stories.
We all need to feel the bare earth beneath our feet but we are not always able to have that time in nature. We can connect with the earth and her energies anytime from anywhere. It only takes a few minutes to actualize ubiety. This is my grounding technique: Take off your shoes feel your feet on the ground if you are not outside it does not matter feel your body from the inside. Wiggle your feet press them into the ground feel your ankles, shins, calves, thighs, put your hands on your lower belly and feel your womb, your creative center. Breathe into your belly button, your chest, shoulder, arms, elbows, hands, neck and head. Now create a root from the base of your spine and send it into the earth. Going down through the floor, the foundation of the house and into the earth. Keep sending it down . You may pass an underground stream, tunnel, or animal. As your root descends the earth around it gets warmer, until it reaches the gold, molten lava center of the earth. Allow your roots to plunge into that molten core, and like straws with every inhale draw up the golden energy until it flows through and fills your whole body. First your feet, then your legs, belly, back, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck and head. Feel the warmth of the earth’s heart and as you exhale feel the light and warmth intensify, as though a bellows is blowing upon this golden flame and causing it to burn more brightly. The heat burns away the negativity, anger and desires that encumber your spirit, and you see those emotions being consumed and purified by the golden fire. Now imagine a blue light coming down from the sky connecting with that gold and washing over you. After 10 breaths, allow the visualization to settle, and calm. Feel the stillness, notice the quality of it inside of yourself. Now notice the silence that exists within that stillness. Listen to the silence, feel the stillness. It is the difference between having chocolate and tasting it. Engage in the stillness and the silence, and after 10 breaths of each, experience spaciousness, become sky. Not a sky, with clouds and airplanes and birds, but sky, spacious, never ending, infinite. Rest in the spaciousness of this feeling, taste it, be it. When you are ready, release these energies knowing that you can return when you need and slowly enter into your body, and your day.
This meditation will help with aligning yourself to the rhythms and energies of the earth, grounding yourself here and now, as well as with the universal energies of the sky, receiving them both inside of you to create a healthy balance. This will make it is easier to feel as if we are walking in a good way on this plane, and whenever we forget our spaciousness and stillness in the moment to moment demands of modern life, we can return to this state by just remembering and breathing for a few moments. The more we can balance and align ourselves with our environment the easier it will be to create sacred space for ourselves, giving ourselves what we need to feel good, in a healthy way, and exchanging this same energy with our relations. Seek your strength within and you will find there the earth, the mother of us all, and the ultimate life source, be that Great Spirit, God, or whatever name by which you call that force.
It seems that right now at the change of the season many people are feeling under the weather. What I am giving my own family pretty regularly is a mix of anti- bacterial, immune boosting herbs. I am mixing Usnea, Echinacea, Grindelia (my children tend to have coughs) and Elder Flower all tinctures mixed with Choke Cherry and Elderberry Syrups. Mixing the tinctures make the medicine more palatable for my little ones but still just as effective for that extra boost they need right now. When it comes to medicines this is my way, I would rather one take a medicine with good feelings and a happy spirit than dread the time to take another dose. I want everyone to cheer when its medicine time and elderberry and choke cherry syrups can help you do just that.
Choke cherries! Love these cherries for cough syrup and to mix with Elder berries. I have seen the magic of choke cherries work on many occasions. It is revitalizating to a weakened condition and boosts the immune system.
Elderberries contain large amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene, as well as calcium and phosphorous .Elder flowers and berries are indicated to use to help heal the common cold and flu. Take as a tea to help all upper respiratory track catarrhal inflammation such as hayfever and sinusitis. The berries are diaphoretic, diuretic, and laxative. The flowers are diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, anti-spasmodic.