Archive for June, 2012

June 19, 2012

Mayan ruins Coba and Blue Agave

The Riviera Maya in Mexico is one of my favourite places to visit and I went this past January for a couple of weeks.

I love exploring Mexico and eating delicious Mexican food. Eating gluten free and even being vegetarian is easy because Mexican food staples are corn, beans, rice, peppers, chiles, avocados, limes, tomatoes, and the blue agave plant.

 The blue agave, also called agave azul, has the Latin name Agave tequilana L.  and it is where the popular alcohol drink Tequila comes from. Mezcal and other drinks are also made from sap found in the heart of the plant.

I explored the Mayan ruins of Coba and climbed Nohoch Mul pyramid, did some kayaking, swam in a sacred cenote swimming hole dripping with gorgeous stalagmites after being blessed by a shaman with copal smoke. We ate an amazing lunch of traditional Mayan food at a local Mayan village.

Drinking fresh coconut water on a sunny beautiful beach doesn’t hurt either! Coconut water hydrates and nourishes with nutrients of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus,   with no cholesterol, and it tastes so good. I definitely want to go back to Mexico and explore more soon!

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June 16, 2012

What’s blooming in the Garden?

What is blooming in the garden? It feels like everything! Plants are blooming so fast, I turn around and it is almost summer. More delicious smells and tastes emerge :) I wish I could capture them all!

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June 11, 2012

Illuminating Blogger Award Nomination

I was kindly nominated by

http://thebeadden.wordpress.com/ (check out their creative beautiful blog)

for a food stories blog illuminating blogger award.

http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/

To be nominated for an illuminating blogger award is such a thrill! It is amazing to get so much positive feedback about my blog lately.

I want to help create a healthier planet with healthier people in it using the healing powers of nature. I love to experiment and post many recipes covering nutritious, delicious, healthy, gluten-free food, gardening, natural health medicine, beauty, cleaning products, crafts,  all using nature and natural ingredients. There is so much more to come my head is bursting!

If you have any suggestions or topics that you would like to see covered, leave a comment or message me.

Thank you for your continued support, it is so appreciated!

June 7, 2012

Making a Daisy Chain

imageNothing says nature wild crafting like a daisy chain! I haven’t made one since I was a kid. I had to pull a bunch of daisies because they were crowding out a rose-bush that was about to bloom.

DIY Daisy Chain:

Pick some daisies and strip the leaves.

Hold the flower head and run your fingertips down the stem to easily and quickly remove them leaving only the flower on the stem.

To start making the chain make a little slit with your thumbnail, about half an inch long in the middle of the stem.

Thread another daisy stem through the hole where you want the flowers, crowded or spaced out. I started braiding the stems for stability in between threading the stems.

To end the daisy chain, pull the petals from one daisy (like the game he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not ;) and use the yellow centre like a button. Use the yellow center to finish it, weave, and cut the loose ends.

I floated mine in a bowl of water to keep it fresh because a cloud burst of rain came before I could take a picture.  It also got rid of bugs, and I let it drip dry before I took a picture.

This is my daisy chain crown:) Make the chain long or short, into bracelets, necklaces or whatever your heart desires. 

This wildflower is also good medicinal food. Eat the leaves as a raw salad green, it tastes good. I prefer the young leaves before they flower. Fresh Daisy herb also makes a good tea, tincture, and essence. 

Common Name Daisy
Latin Name  Leucanthemum vulgare
Family Asteraceae (Aster family)
Parts Used Perennial herb
Target Organs Immune, Nervous, Kidney, Skin
Common Uses Skin: wounds, cuts, bruises, strains, inflammation Nervous system: relaxes nerves, tonic,

Immune: stimulant, tonic

Kidney: diuretic

Properties Anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulating emmenagogue, immune stimulant, lymphatic, nervine, relaxant, tranquilizer, vasodilator, vulnerary, mild demulcent,
Constituents Essential oil, phenols, alkaloids, methylsterols
Cautions Caution emetic in large doses. Excessive amounts may cause nausea, vomiting. Do not use during pregnancy: stimulating emmenagogue

 

June 5, 2012

Making Natural Perfume from Flower Petals

The flowers that are blooming smell so divine I made perfume out of them today.

I started with wild rose petals, and I choose a native rose that grows around Lake Ontario and in parks. It has a euphoric, subtle sweet smell that is going to get me through a long cold winter.

The wild rose petals look like white hearts when you pluck them out.

The peonies are so delicate they look like tissue paper, and the most exotic smell exudes from their floral pink clouds. With my fingers I tore the petals from around the center and left the remaining flowers to continue to bloom they are so gorgeous.

Peony

The small lilac bush smelled so hypnotic I could smell it through the open bedroom window at night haunting my dreams. I just have to capture that smell again! This is the lilac bush the hummingbird moth visited.

Lilac

Dianthus is a favourite perennial that smells like white chocolate to me.

Dianthus

I know it will make amazing perfume. Dianthus petals

All the flowers are basking in sunbeams of the sun and venus transit in a water alcohol mixture.

See how these natural perfumes press out next month!

June 4, 2012

Rose essential oil

The Rose, considered Queen of flowers is a symbol of love and rules the heart. This thorny plant with exotic, hypnotic flowers has a long history of medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary use.

Rose that bloomed today

The hydrosol, also called rosewater is the water-soluble part separated from the essential oil part.

The essential oil is also called Attar of roses. The steam distilled extraction is my choice.

 The concrete absolute extractions are solvent extractions of petals and should only be used externally. Rose essential oil is widely used in the perfume industry and it is the most expensive essential oil to buy, but it is worth it.

First Rose to bloom this year

COMMON NAME  ROSE
Latin Name Rosa centifolia,  damascena spp.
Family Rosaceae(Rose family)
Country of Origin France, Turkey, Morocco, Bulgaria
Volatility Base note
Extraction steam distilled from flowers, referred to as otto, attar of roses. Concrete absolute extractions are the solvent extractions of petals
Colour Otto: greenishAbsolute: orange to red brown
Aroma exotic, sweet, flowery
Caution Contraindications Do not use during pregnancy. Do not take absolute or concrete oils internally.
Primary Uses Digestion: tonicReproductive: impotence, frigidity, PMS, balances female reproductive

Skin: mature, dry sensitive, wrinkles, eczema, allergies

Circulation: heart and circulatory tonic, varicose and thread veins

Properties antidepressant, antiseptic, euphoric, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, antibacterial, cholagogue, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, hepatic, laxative, splenetic, stomachic, sedative, tonic,
Constituents Esters: geranyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, neryl acetate, 

Sesquiterpene alcohol: farnesol,

 

Aldehydes: benzaldehyde

Monoterpene alcohols: Citronellol 15-20%, geraniol 10%, linalool, nerol 15%, cedrol, linlool

 

Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, citronellal, p-cymene

 

Damask rose: a-damascenone, B-damascenone, B-damscone, B-ionone, rose oxide

 

 

June 4, 2012

Roses for you

I have finished pressing the herbal tinctures that I’d made on the supermoon. I am pressing them a month later on the lunar eclipse in the middle of the transit of Venus. These celestial blessed herbal tinctures are so healing, nutritious, and delicious I could not have planned it better!

These mini-roses bloomed today in the front yard and it reminded me of Venus and the sun together as one. The masculine Sun and Venus the feminine, a balancing act of cosmic love artistry.

In honour of the return of the divine feminine Venus, named after the goddess of love and beauty, I am making a rose petal tincture and essence.

What better symbol for love is there on earth than Rose~ Queen of the flowers! The roses in these pictures are from my garden, and some are from Florida Botanical Gardens when I went there in 2008.

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Common Name  Rose hips/ flowers
Latin Name  Rosa spp.
Family Rosaceae
Parts Used Perennial- Collect flower petals during growing season. Roses lay dormant in colder climates. Collect rosehips in the Fall. Essential oil made from flowers. 
Target Organs Digestion, Central Nervous System, Nerves, Skin
Common Uses Aphrodisiac, perfume, debility, exhaustion, nutritive, inflammation, skincare,

Rosehips, rosewater, are used in cooking and beverages

Properties Aphrodisiac, antidepressant, antiseptic, euphoric, antispasmodic, nutritive, astringent, mild laxative, vulnerary, diuretic, anti-inflammatory,
Constituents Essential oil : Esters: geranyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, neryl acetate, 

Sesquiterpene alcohol: farnesol, 

Aldehydes: benzaldehyde

Monoterpene alcohols: Citronellol 15-20%, geraniol 10%, linalool, nerol 15%, cedrol, linlool

 

Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, citronellal, p-cymene

 

Damask rose: a-damascenone, B-damascenone, B-damscone, B-ionone, rose oxide

 

Other: vitamin C, tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids

Cautions Do not use during pregnancy. Thorny plant, caution while harvesting.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea: 1-2 tsp

 

June 3, 2012

DIY Natural Cleaning products

DIY and Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products

Harsh chemical cleaners can sometimes be more harmful than the germs. Make your own  natural cleaners that are effective at killing germs, economical, and healthier for you and the environment.

Kill 100% of the germs by using an acid and a base. Germs cannot live in extreme ph values using an acid and a base.

Common acids are vinegar and lemon juice and common bases are baking soda and borax. Alternate the use of acids and bases so that germs cannot survive.

Add essential oils to boost antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, deodorizing power and give yourself an aromatherapy treatment while you clean.

Use traditional cleaning aromas like citrus oils such as Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Orange or tree oils like Pine and Spruce. I also use Clove, Tea tree, Lavender, Lemongrass, Ginger, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Thyme, but choose your favourites to create your own blends. I like lemongrass, ginger and mandarin. The lemongrass smell lasts longer than the quick to evaporate top citrus notes like lime and lemon.

Acid:

Vinegar surface spray: 1:1 ratio 50% vinegar to 50% distilled water.

Use 1/3 to half and half ratio of vinegar

Add essential oils to cover-up the vinegar smell and add antiseptic deodorizing action. Alternatively you can steep herbs in vinegar, but strain it well before use.

Put in spray bottle and label. Spray on surfaces such as counters, cabinets, fridges, shelves, walls and just about anything except certain tiles. Use with baking soda or borax when cleaning sinks, toilets to create an acid and base. Let the mixture sit for at least half an hour.

Base:

Baking soda: Mix 30 drops to one cup of baking soda in a wide mouth jar and label. I use a chopstick to stir it and mix it together. You can use giant salt and pepper shakers to spread on carpets or store in a jar. Let it marinate at least 24 hours. Use with vinegar to create an acid and base. Caution: the mixture bubbles up and foams when put together.

Hydrogen peroxide spray: (H202) the chemistry symbol for hydrogen peroxide which is water  (H20) with another oxygen bond on the end

Find food grade ultra pure hydrogen peroxide 35% aqueous solution at a health store or a seed sprouting supply store. Do not use hydrogen peroxide from the drugstore it has binders and it is not food grade. Be careful not to splash on skin or eyes at full strength when diluting. At full strength H202 can burn off warts and can discolour the skin white for a short period so caution is advised.

Use 3% solution which equals 1 part 35% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to 11 parts distilled water. Mix carefully in spray bottle and label.

You can use food grade H2O2 to clean fruit and vegetables as well as any surfaces including your toothbrush and ear buds. There are books written on all the uses for hydrogen peroxide. Anytime you see a product with the word ‘oxy’ chances are this is the magical ingredient. It gets rid of stains on clothes and I have used it to get rid of coffee stains on white shirts. It brightens and whitens. Happy natural health cleaning!

June 2, 2012

West Coast B.C. Devil’s club

For five years I lived on the west coast of Canada in both Victoria, and in Vancouver. I love going back to visit, it is so beautiful! I thought I would share some pictures of Brandywine falls, Shannon falls and the beautiful scenery of the west coast.

Biking around the seawall in Vancouver B.C. Canada was amazing and a huge improvement from when I was living there. Big changes since hosting the Olympics. I did some mountain biking, hiking, paddleboarding, and saw Crankworx! biketrix in Whistler. On some hikes I noticed Devil’s club growing everywhere. It is so big and thorny it is best to avoid it, it’s called Devils’s club for a good reason! The red berries are poisonous! It is an adaptogenic root like ginseng, but it is more specific to treating pancreatic disorders. It is strong medicine so consult a qualified practitioner before taking it. Caution is advised!

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Common Name  Devil’s club root
Latin Name  Oplopanax   horridus
Family Araliaceae
Parts Used perennial thorny   shrub root/ rhizome
Target Organs pancreas, immune
Common Uses diabetes,  pancreatic, pain, arthritis, stops milk flow,   colds, TB, infections
Properties Adaptogen,   analgesic, alterative, emmenagogue, hypoglycaemic, pancreatic, nutritive,   antimicrobial,  tonic, laxative purgative,
Constituents saponins,   glycosides, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, tannin,
Cautions Medium Strength: Purgative emetic in large   doses. Potentizing herb: Use 15% and combine with demulcents in a formula.   Red Berries are poisonous
Dosage Tincture:   2-4mlTea: 2 tsp
June 1, 2012

Oregano herb

Oregano is a perennial herb but in colder climates it may become an annual, but it might come back every year. Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region and warm temperate western and south-western Eurasia parts so it likes it hot and sunny.

Oregano grows from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. The tiny purple or white flowers 3–4 mm long grow in erect spikes and in clusters around the stem.

Oregano about to flower surrounded by Viola flowers

Fresh or dried Oregano is used in Italian cooking and it is stronger than Marjoram.

Consider Marjoram Origanum majorana Oregano’s sister.

Common Name Oregano herb
Latin Name Origanum vulgare
Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial- herb picked in spring/summer growing season
Target Organs Digestion, stomach, respiratory, nervous system, musculo-skeletal, female reproductive
Common Uses Digestion:digestive stomach upset, gas, bloating, indigestion,  inflammation, liver congestion, infections

Respiratory:sinus congestion, infections, coughs, colds, flu, sore throat, bronchitis

Nervous system: Stress, fatigue, mental, physical

Musculo-skeletal: Arthritis, aches, stiffness, pain,

Female Reproductive: balancing, spasms

Culinary medicinal

Properties Antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory (general, local) antioxidant, antiprotozoal, antirheumatic, antispasmodic(digestive, respiratory, uterine) antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, astringent, warming carminative, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, stimulating emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, rubefacient, stomachic, uterine relaxing/stimulating, vasodilator,
Constituents Essential Oil Yield: .2%  Esters: linalyl/geranyl acetatePhenols:63% carvacrol, thymol,Monterpene alcohols:50% borneol

Monoterpenes:10-40%, paracymene, terpinenes, cymene, caryophyllene, pinene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole,

Other: coffeic/ursolic/rosmarinic acids, gum, tannins, bitter, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron

Cautions Mild remedy in tincture form
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea: 1-2 tsp essential oil always dilute
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