Archive for ‘Herbs’

January 15, 2014

Winter Season in the Five Elements and Essential Oils

The Winter season is associated with the water element due to the abundance of water that falls in winter time that turns to snow and ice.  
The organ systems grouped in this season are the kidneys and bladder, which make up the urinary system wetlands.

The gland in this category are the adrenals, which sit on top of the kidneys on each side of the body. The adrenal glands secrete the hormone adrenaline, which is a necessary energy boost for the flight or fight body response when a threat is encountered.
The hypothalamus in the brain receives a danger warning or an event triggers stress and the effects on the body are instantaneous.

This reaction sends a chemical messenger which causes the hormone adrenaline, secreted by the adrenal medulla to release.
The eye pupils dilate, colour drains from the face as dry mouth and sweating begin.
The blood supply is cut off to organs like the stomach, which shuts down digestion functioning, and surface blood vessels constrict limiting blood supply. Muscle activity increases with heart and pulse rates so that it prepares the body to physically deal with danger or run away.

Sometimes the reaction is not to stay and fight or flee, but the body response becomes trapped in a frozen state of fear, which induces a paralysis that is incapacitating. Adrenaline is also produced in times of psychological stress, and if the production continues over long periods it has adverse effects on the body. If the body remains in a stressed state of being overexcited and remaining under pressure it causes stress related conditions like high blood pressure.

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The destructive emotion in the winter cycle is fear, which is a hard wired survival mechanism, but draining if it is engaged constantly. There are short term threats that engage our flight-fight-or freeze mechanisms, but long term stress, chronic fears and phobias puts strain on the body. The real and imagined dangers must be divided and applied to what constitutes a true threat. Fear is important to establish boundaries in order to learn what is good and bad, but rationality must meet clear perception and awareness.  

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The human time frame of winter is gestation and giving birth to babies, ideas and projects.  In the destructive winter water element stuck adults who act like babies are less cute than their tiny counterparts. They present a paranoid, fearful attitude and don’t know how to relax. They are unable to see how they affect others, because it is all about them and their needs. People in this rhythm need to feel nurtured and taken care of, even though they may be afraid of commitment and the future. Demanding special attention leads to a narcissistic expectancy, arrogance and a feeling of entitlement. They may play the victim to get their way and will do almost anything to attract the special attention they crave, even if it’s negative attention.

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It takes the constructive emotion of courage to overcome fear and paranoia. If wise discerning caution turns to excessive irrational fear, love and courage will counter it. Love is always the answer. Love will help to muster the courage to defeat fears that keep you stuck and stagnating. Use wise discerning caution instead of fear to establish boundaries and stay away from people that drain your resources. Gather your own resources and do your own groundwork. Rejuvenate and embrace down-time, and learn how to relax in the moment. This season is about beginnings so spread the seeds of your ideas and nurture dreams. Overcoming fears means recognizing and analyzing the reasons for your fears. Embrace whatever it is that scares you instead of denying, running away or avoiding, which will only amplify the fear. Fears need the light of day shone brightly at it in order to be examined, faced and dissolved.
Behaviour modification will help phobias to fears such as heights, spiders and snakes, showing anyone can overcome anything if they are willing to put in the work and have the courage to make a change to be free from fear.

ESSENTIAL OILS THAT HELP TREAT FEAR:
Juniper, Carrot Seed, Grapefruit, Goldenrod, Yarrow, Spruce, Pine

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“Fear can stop you loving, love can stop your fear,
fear can stop you loving, but it’s not always that clear.” ~
Morcheeba – “Fear and Love” Lyrics:

We always have a choice
Or at least I think we do
We can always use our voice
I thought this to be true
We can live in fear
Extend ourselves to love
Or we can fall below
Or lift ourselves above

Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear

I always try so hard
To share myself around
But now I’m closing up again
Drilling through the ground

Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving
But it’s not always that clear I’d love to give myself away

But I find it hard to trust
I’ve got no map to find my way
Amongst these clouds of dust
Fear can stop you loving Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving Love can stop your fear

“Fear And Love” was written
by Paul Godfrey, Ross Godfrey, Skye Edwards. Morcheeba – Fear And
Love Lyrics

December 2, 2013

Herbs for Hair Loss

Typically more men lose their hair, but it does affect some women although usually it is less severe. Although male pattern baldness is considered a genetic condition there are some herbs that are beneficial. These types of herbs work by preventing the conversion of the male sex hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a hormone that kills off hair follicles. The DHT hormone is a substance that also plays a roll in prostate enlargement in men. There seems to be a correlation with the kidney bladder prostate system and male hair loss so it would be beneficial to take herbs as a preventative method.
Synthetic testosterone is different than herbal versions and I would never recommend that kind of juicing to anyone.

Nutrition also plays a role and mineral deficiency is a prominent factor.
Nutrition is always important and it would be beneficial to add kelp, bladder wrack sea weeds in the diet or add beneficial supplementation like liquid trace minerals, liquid iodine.

Herbs for Hair Loss Prevention

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
This herb prevents the conversion of the hormone testosterone to DHT. It is a number one choice to take for treatment and prevention of benign prostate enlargement.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice also prevents the conversion of testoterone to DHT. Use either internal in a formula or external in a shampoo in a tea or tincture form.

Horsetail ( Equisetum spp.)
Horsetail contains silica which is important for hair and nail health and has other nutrients like silicon and selenium.

It is also beneficial to rub the scalp in small circular motions to increase blood flow circulation and stimulate the hair follicles with or without essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils may also be added to shampoo.

Essential oils for Hair Loss:
Cedar wood
Clary sage
Sage
Cypress
Rosemary
Marjarom
Spike lavender
Niaouli nerolidol

Carrier Oils
Coconut
Jojoba
Black currant oil
Borage oil

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October 17, 2013

Sunroot or Sunchoke is a Nutritious Medicinal Root Vegetable

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Sunchokes Helianthus tuberosus L.are also called Jerusalem artichokes, but it has no relationship to Jerusalem and it is not an artichoke. The better known common names for this yellow flower are sunroot, sunchoke and earth apple.
Sunchoke is the modern common name used to avoid confusion with artichokes for cooking purposes, but it does have a mild artichoke flavour.

Sunchoke is a very tall prolific perennial plant that is native to North America, and has a long history of being used by Native Americans as a root vegetable. The sunchoke flowers belong to the same family as sunflowers, and the flowers follow the sun like sunflowers do. They like to grow wild and they need lots of space, because it likes to multiply. The stalks and leaves are rough and hairy. The roots are starchy tubers that look a little like ginger rhizomes, and are edible like a potato.

It was a popular plant to use to hide the outhouse or to put in front of other unsightly eyesores, as it creates a thick, tall hedge that requires no maintenance, unless overpopulation is an issue. Perhaps there is a warning in there somewhere among the yellow flowers.

Sunchoke is becoming popular food for thought again, but when consuming lots of sun chokes it may cause digestion disturbance in the form of …um… gaseous upset. It has earned the nickname “fartichokes.” Eat a little and see how well your digestion system tolerates it.

The edible tuber roots have a high inulin content, which is a type of soluble fibre. Inulin is a carbohydrate with sweet polysaccharides that is safe for diabetics, and it is pre-biotic. Containing the Pre-biotic (FOS) Fructo-Oligio-Saccharide means that it promotes healthy bacteria, which is beneficial for feeding healthy flora in the digestion system. It balances yeast and has a positive impact on overall health. It breaks down into fructose in the gut, but might be hard to digest for some people, and may cause cramping, bloating and excessive wind, especially when consumed in a large quantities. It relieves constipation.

It is best to wait until the first or second frost to harvest, and they are dug up until springtime, weather permitting of course, or buy them where you get fresh produce. Some people prefer the springtime to dig them up. They are available year round, but peak season is October-March.
It is also best to dead head the flowers if the roots are going to get dug up and eaten, they will grow bigger.
Store up to one to three weeks raw, but once cooked eat right away. Some people say they are better stored in the fridge for a week before eating.
They are a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, FOS and of course fibre, Inulin. It improves calcium absorption, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Sunchokes are good medicinal food, but eat sparingly at first.

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WAYS TO PREPARE SUNCHOKES

Sunchokes will oxidize like a potato so dip them in water with lemon juice or keep them in water until ready to use, because they will turn brown. Do not cook in aluminum or iron pans.
The skins are edible like ginger skin is, and when cooking it is best to leave the skins on and remove peels later if desired. Wash, scrub and remove rootlets or strings if any are present before cooking. Goes well with mint, onion, garlic, chives, thyme, cumin, black cumin, pepper, turmeric, rosemary, lemon citrus, lemon verbena, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

RAW
Eat Sunchokes raw topped on a salad or mixed in salsa, grated or thinly sliced and tastes like jicama. Try small amounts at first to see if your digestion can handle it this way. They can also be added to juicing recipes.
I wonder what it would be like thinly sliced and pickled like ginger.

STEAMED
Sun chokes are better steamed and not boiled, which will make them mushy. It does make good puréed soup mixed with nut or coconut milk.

SAUTÉ or STIR-FRY
They make a great water chestnut stir-fry substitute, they have a similar texture and taste.

BAKED
Oven bake them brushed with oil and herbal seasonings and bake for 20-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Bake with sweet potatoes and other root vegetables to make root chips.
I wonder what they would taste like flavoured and then put in the dehydrator and dehydrated overnight.

Food and Cooking (2004 edition), page 307, Harold McGee indicates that the flatulent effects of Sunchoke roots are due to complex fructose-based carbohydrates that are not digestible by humans.

Long, slow cooking allows enzymes present in the fresh tuber to convert these to fructose over time.

McGee recommends 12-24 hours at 200 F / 93 C.
The result will be soft and sweet, akin to a vegetable aspic.

Note that the ogliosacharrides in beans are a different class than the inulin in Sunchokes, and the digestive supplement Beano is not effective with sunchoke.

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http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34060/what-cooking-methods-prevent-the-gaseous-side-effect-of-sunchokes

September 16, 2013

The Amazing History of the Tobacco Plant

When I wild-crafted plants with shamans, they would give an offering of tobacco leaves and spread some in a circle around the plant that was being harvested. The grandmother of the plant, which was the tallest or oldest plant of the bunch, is always left alone to continue, and a smaller outer piece or plant cutting would be taken. The tobacco that was spread around the plant would act as a natural pesticide to help protect the plant from invaders, while being in a depleted state after harvesting. Nicotine is a powerful neurotoxin to insects, and tobacco is a member of the potent nightshade family. Burning tobacco was used to keep bugs away. I’ve used tobacco as a very effective insecticide for the garden, and I occasionally mixed it with water, although I would use the pure plant and not the cigarette tobacco you buy in the store.

Tobacco in the plant world is used as a very effective pesticide. There really are no medicinal properties in tobacco as we now know it, but it was touted as a cure all for everything throughout the ages. It was probably more medicinal in its undried green form, because the fresh juice was used as a wound healer, and it was also used as a snuff for anesthetic purposes. It would often be mixed together with other herbs. It is known as a sacred herb in Native cultures, and is used in ceremonies and rituals.

In small doses Tobacco stimulates the brain and nervous system, but in larger doses it acts as a depressant. Nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure, so it is considered a stimulant and not a relaxant. It is the oral fixation and the habitual fulfillment that makes it seem relaxing, it is the worlds most popular placebo. It is the nicotine that makes tobacco addictive passing through every organ in the body and in the bloodstream, and has even been found in breast milk. The level of nicotine in cigarettes is on the rise.

Now most smokers do not even know what the tobacco plant looks like. There are over 60 species of tobacco and other than Australia most are found in the Americas.
Most Canadian cigarettes are made with Virginia tobacco, but there are many varieties of tobacco.

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Virginia Gold Tobacco
alphabeautync.com/8/virginia-gold-tobacco

Store bought cigarettes now contain many additives that are toxic, like added accelerants to make the cigarette burn faster. Years ago cigarettes would extinguish by themselves if you stopped smoking it for a period of time, which was good because a lot of people seem to fall asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette and end up burning down the house. Imagine how many fires would be prevented if cigarette companies just took the accelerants out and they leave them in just to earn more profits. The accelerants also make the cigarette burn hotter so that it penetrates your lungs more. Notice that cigars don’t keep burning, but will go out if you stop smoking it for a while, depending on what artificial additives it has.

There are so many additives it is not considered so natural anymore. These are a few of the 4,000 other ingredients in it other than tobacco. When they are burned they create 200 more lung damaging compounds. If you were to inject the same ingredients in one cigarette into the bloodstream it would possibly be fatal.

Ammonia: Household cleaner
Arsenic: Used in rat poisons
Benzene: Used in making dyes, synthetic rubber
Butane: Gas; used in lighter fluid
Carbon monoxide: Poisonous gas
Cadmium: Used in batteries
Cyanide: Deadly poison
DDT: A banned insecticide
Ethyl Furoate: Causes liver damage in animals
Lead: Poisonous in high doses
Formaldehyde: Used to preserve dead specimens
Methoprene: Insecticide
Megastigmatrienone: Chemical naturally found in grapefruit juice
Maltitol: Sweetener for diabetics
Napthalene: Ingredient in mothballs
Methyl isocyanate: Its accidental release killed 2000 people in Bhopal, India in 1984
Polonium: Cancer-causing radioactive element
Urea: component of urine used to flavour cigarettes
These are harmful and even fatal in the following ways:
Fungicides and pesticides — Cause many types of cancers and birth defects.
Cadmium — Linked to lung and prostate cancer.
Benzene — Linked to leukemia.
Formaldehyde — Linked to lung cancer.
Nickel — Causes increased susceptibility to lung infections.

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The filters give people a false sense that the smoke is being filtered and it is less harmful. The marketing of ‘lite’ cigarettes also gave people a false sense that they were making a healthier choice. ‘Lite’ is puffed up with CO2, but this makes people draw harder on it so they receive the same amount as a regular cigarette. There are also air holes in the filters, but they get covered with lips and fingers anyway. Now ads are being forced to show the truth of what really happens to your body when you smoke cigarettes, and even this does not deter people.

Getting a real ingredient list was very difficult for a long time, because smoking was so glamorized by the media and movie stars even Ronald Reagan, the former American president endorsed them when he was an actor.

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The amount of money he earned by making tobacco “cool” is unknown.

Tobacco, Nicotiana has killed more people than any other herb yet remains not only legal, but socially acceptable, while other medicinal smoking herbs are illegal and not socially acceptable.
Tobacco use related deaths are the most avoidable preventable death in the world.
Older smokers lose more grey matter and cognitive function than people who don’t smoke. Smokers are also more prone to illness, and may have to get their throat scraped out besides having other smoking related health problems.

Don’t let cigarette companies profit from your suffering or your loved ones deaths. If you are looking to quit smoking there are many natural ways and herbs that can help and break free from the habit.

Lobelia has very similar receptors to nicotine that quench that nicotine craving, and makes smoking taste bad if you are taking it. Lobelia works on the dopamine and nicotine receptors in the brain and helps with withdrawal symptoms.

Here is further reading on natural ways to stop smoking and heal your lung tissue.

http://omtimes.com/2013/01/natural-ways-to-stop-smoking-heal-lung-tissue/

The effects of smoking on the skin, smokers face became a coined medical term in 1985, because the negative effects on the skin were that noticeable.
Can you pick the smoker in these twins?

http://www.vantagewire.com/2013/10/twins-can-you-pick-the-smoker/

http://www.ehow.com/about_5374951_effects-smoking-skin.html

http://www.quitsmokingsupport.com/whatsinit.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1079499/

http://listverse.com/2009/01/11/30-fascinating-cigarette-smoking-facts/

Addictions bring suffering and death- Buddha

August 22, 2013

Birch and Wintergreen Essential Oil Have Almost Identical Chemistry

P. Wintergreen, may4 '03

Birch and Wintergreen essential oil have 98% the same chemistry and smell almost identical, but wintergreen has a stronger aroma being more fruity, fresher, greener, and sweeter smelling. What makes them chemically the same is that they share a key ingredient called methyl salicylate, and they are the heaviest essential oils known to date. Each plant is 98% esters, which turn into methyl salicylate after acetylation from the fermented fresh leaves in warm water induces an enzymatic reaction to free the glycoside bound methyl salicylate.

Wintergreen was traditionally used for its key ingredient methyl salicylate, which was used as food flavouring for confections, non-alcoholic drinks, chewing gum, and toothpaste. It has also been used by the perfume and pharmaceutical industry but is now replaced by a cheaper synthetic alternative. It has a long history of use by Native Americans as a pain reliever and it is used in the form of teas, baths, and ointments. Methyl salicylates are aspirin like compounds.

Wintergreen grows in open woods, moist soil and underneath evergreens. The creeping stems send up erect branches 2-6 inches high. Alternate oval leathery leaves with serrate margins hold nodding white waxy flowers near the top of the stem. It blooms anywhere from May to September. Gaultheria fragrantissima from the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and East Asia is a different species but it is used in the same way and has the same chemistry too.

COMMON NAME WINTERGREEN aka Checkerberry, Spiceberry, Teaberry

 

Latin Name Gaultheria procumbens
Family Ericaceae (Heath family)
Country of Origin Native North America, China, India
Volatility Top
Extraction Steam distilled from fermented fresh leaves. Warm water enzymatic reaction frees glycoside bound methyl salicylate

 

Colour Clear yellow
Aroma Sweet, fat, green, fruity, wet

 

Caution Contraindications Medium Strength: Do not use neat, undiluted.Dermocaustic, irritating to skin.

Anticoagulant. Caution in conjunction with blood thinning drugs

Do not use with nephritis, it is an irritant to kidneys.

Do not use with compromised liver function.

Do not use in pregnancy, lactation, with children or those who are allergic to aspirin.

Primary Uses Pain: in general-Headache, aches and pains, arthritis, rheumatism, backache, sciatica, neuralgia, gout, fever, fibromyalgia, sprains, cramps, gas, bloating, bunions, corns, cysts, warts, calluses

Caution: blood thinner

Respiratory: coughs, spasms

Properties Analgesic, aromatic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, astringent, stimulant, antibacterial, anti-rheumatic, carminative, haemostatic, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, counter irritant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-coagulant

 

 

Constituents Essential Oil Yield: .5%

Esters 98%:

after acetylating forms-

methyl salicylate

Betula spp. L. Birch bark has the same chemistry

August 21, 2013

Goldenrod is Falsely Blamed for Allergies

Many people blame goldenrod for their allergies and dread seeing the tall golden plumage bloom in late summer, but goldenrod is not wind pollinated. It is hard to be allergic to goldenrod unless it is an allergy from touching the plant. Most people that blame goldenrod for their allergies are really allergic to ragweed. It blooms at the same time, but is smaller and has unnoticeable greenish flowers that are wind pollinated and often grows underneath or near goldenrod.

Goldenrod is one of the best urinary tonics and is useful in those conditions that require a diuretic, like water retention, edema, congestion, inflammation and infection of the urinary tract and gout rheumatic conditions. There are over 30 species in Ontario and other hybrids sub-species but all of them are used in the same way. Goldenrod is native to Canada and the Solidago canadensis is the standard herb of use. Flowers were also used to make a yellow dye as well as herbal medicinal use as a tea or tincture in which case the fresh is superior to the dried versions. There is goldenrod essential oil as well used for the same purposes and helps reduce water retention and swelling externally.

Common Name  Goldenrod herb
Latin Name  Solidago canadensis spp.
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial- pick top 30% herb/ flower-late summer August
Target Organs urinary, skin, lymph, immune, digestion
Common Uses kidney bladder prostate tonic, infections, gout, oedema, external wounds, vascular tonic, UTI, kidney stones, inflammation infection of urinary tract, upper respiratory catarrh, gargle, laryngitis
Properties urinary kidney prostate tonic, diuretic, astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant, vulnerary, Antifungal, styptic, lymphatic, anticatarrhal, diaphoretic
Constituents Essential Oil, flavonoids, tannins, bitter, saponins
Cautions mild remedy do not take during pregnancy. Use in formulations of up to 20% continuous use of no more than 2-3 months
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml Tea: 2-3 tsp 10-15 min fresh is preferred

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August 20, 2013

Elecampane Beautiful Garden Flower with Medicinal Roots

imageElecampane is a tall perennial that grows over four feet tall and has cheery golden yellow sunflower like flowers, but elecampane has thinner floret petals with fringe tips.

The Latin name is Inula helenium with the species name Helen stemming from Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. Elecampane flowers are really that stunning and it did launch a thousand ships when it was brought to North America from Europe. It likes to grow in full sun in open moist meadows. The plant is best propagated by root division spacing four or feet apart because they have huge course leaves.

The genus name Inula refers to the inulin content found in almost half of the plant, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels as a fibre and regulates the immune system which is good for autoimmune disorders. Inulin is a fibre but should only be used in whole form, attached to the whole plant root it is soluble starch fibre. The whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. Whenever plant parts are removed the outcome and quality are always compromised.

The root is used in herbal medicine for coughs, colds and parasites mainly but it is a good restorative and tonic for chronic fatigue and infections. It benefits the hypothalamus, and is a thymus, spleen, endocrine tonic that has digestive, respiratory and immune stimulating properties that make it good to combat infections, especially of the respiratory, digestive tract or in cases of parasitic, worm infections or food poisoning. The root was popular candied and to make ale or beer drinks out of, but even then the candied root tastes bitter and pungent. The bitter quality helps to stimulate the body through reflex reactions of the digestive and respiratory tracts.

Common Name Elecampane root
Latin Name Inula helenium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial- harvest second year or older root in the Fall
Target Organs immune, endocrine, digestion, respiratory, stomach, pancreas, spleen, uterus, nerves, liver, kidney/ bladder
Common Uses endocrine restorative, spleen thymus tonic, immune stimulant, infections, coughs, colds, catarrh, bronchitis, UTI, digestive, parasites, worms, stomach upset, food poisoning, fatigue, allergies,diabetes,
Properties digestive immune respiratory stimulant, antimicrobial, demulcent, expectorant, anti-tussive, stomachic, astringent, demulcent, bitter tonic, warming, drying, anti-allergenic
Constituents 40% inulin,E.O: camphor, sesquiterpenes lactones; mucilage, triterpenes, bitter resin, alkaloid, helinin, sterols, calcium, magnesium
Cautions mild remedy: combine with demulcents for dry coughs. Do not use during pregnancy it is a uterine stimulant.
Dosage Tincture: 2-4mlTea: 2-3 tsp steep 10-15 min

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August 19, 2013

Eucalyptus Herb and Essential Oil DIY Decongestant

 

Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree native to Australia but is now highly cultivated around the world.

The largest varieties grow in Tasmania and Victoria and reach up to heights of 375 ft., making it one of the largest trees in the world. It is the floral emblem of Tasmania.

The young leaves are covered with a blue grey wax which is the origin of the name blue gum, and are in opposite pairs on a square stem. The older leaves are blue-green, alternate and sword shaped. The bark peels off in large chunks after time.

Eucalyptus oil is known as being one of the most powerful remedies to combat colds and clear the respiratory system. Use in a tincture or essential oil.
Eucalyptus oil is used in products like Vick’s Vaporub TM. Make your own eucalyptus rub without the petroleum by-products and use carrier oil mixed with eucalyptus essential oil to rub on the body as a healthier cheaper alternative when you need to decongest. Popular carrier oils to use are coconut oil, jojoba, hempseed or even use olive oil.
Buy a sprig of eucalyptus at the florist to hang in the shower, or put a couple of drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a facecloth or in a small bowl or Chinese tea cup and place on the bottom of the tub or shower floor. When the water or heat hits the essential oils it will release the aroma and turn your shower into an aromatherapy steam room.
Use Eucalyptus radiata with children.

COMMON NAME EUCALYPTUS aka Blue Gum
Latin Name Eucalyptus globulus
Family Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family)
Country of Origin Australia, Tasmania

main distributor China

Volatility Top note
Extraction steam distilled from leaves of the tree
Colour clear to slight yellow
Aroma sharp, strong, camphor
Caution Contraindications Do not use during pregnancy, with high blood pressure, epilepsy, severe asthma, or with chemotherapy treatments. Do not store with homeopathic remedies.
Primary Uses Respiratory: bronchitis, coughs, colds, flu, sinusitis

 

Muscular: pain, arthritis, aches

 

Skin: wound healing, burns, aids in circulation and oxidation of cells,

 

Insect repellent

Properties analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, anticatarrhal anti-inflammatory, antiprotozoal, antispasmodic, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, diuretic, anti-infective, astringent, carminative, decongestant, diaphoretic, drying, stimulating expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, immune stimulant, rubefacients,

(Primary properties are underlined)

Constituents Essential Oil Yield:

1 -2.4%

 

Sesquiterpene alcohols: <10% globulol, ledol, viridifloral,

 

Aldehydes:

valeric aldehydes

 

Oxides: 50-85% Eucalyptol aka 1, 8 cineole,

 

Monoterpene alcohol: terpineole,

 

Monoterpenes: 10-15% a+b pinene, phellandrene, cymene, camphene,

 

Sesquiterpenes: aromadendrene,

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July 15, 2013

Keep Cool in the Summer Heat with Herbs and Essential Oils

imageThere are many essential oils and herbs that help to cool the body down when feeling too hot and sweaty, but the best known one is peppermint.

See my blog about the many medicinal uses and cautions of peppermint -

http://earthelixir.ca/2013/06/06/healing-properties-of-peppermint-herb/

The mint family lowers body temperature which is good to help cool off in the summer heat, but there are other essential oils and herbs besides peppermint that lower body temperature including spearmint, lemon balm, lavender, eucalyptus, chamomile, geranium, rose, frankincense, comfrey and borage to name a few.

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Ways to Keep Cool with Herbs

1. Drink iced herbal infusions. Use peppermint, chamomile iced tea or use flavours of your choice to create your own recipes that help cool the body.
I love mints like peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, bee balm mixed with rose petals.

See my blog about herbal infusions and floral waters -

http://earthelixir.ca/2012/07/19/diy-floral-waters/

Put a drop of organic peppermint essential oil in drinks

2. Eat mints and cooling herbs as food.
Experiment with many culinary herbal delights incorporating these cooling herbs as delicious food.

3. Make an essential oil spray or spritzer to cool down your body, and spray linens and rooms as well. See my blog on how to make DIY body spray and there is a cooling peppermint spray recipe here->

http://earthelixir.ca/2013/07/15/diy-aromatherapy-body-spray/

4. Soak your feet and ankles or hands and wrists in cool herbal infused water or add your choice of cooling Essential oils
See my blog about Bath Recipes -

http://earthelixir.ca/2013/04/10/diy-aromatherapy-bath-recipes/

Soak a cloth or bandana in a cool herbal infusion and wear around your neck, this will cool main arteries and veins.

5. Make a massage oil blend using a carrier oil and some cooling essential oils. Use coconut oil it lowers body temperature and cools the body as well and is great to quench dryness.

Peppermint is so cooling it may cause hypothermia in the bath so caution is advised using that method to cool off. See more of the uses and cautions of peppermint essential oil here -

http://earthelixir.ca/2013/06/06/do-not-use-peppermint-essential-oil-in-the-bath/

Enjoy the summer here in the North!

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July 2, 2013

Milkweed is not a Weed it is Important Monarch Butterfly Food

20130702-171904.jpgMilkweed is not a weed, it is important butterfly food. The Monarch butterfly decline is directly related to environmental degradation, destruction of their habitat and the use of pesticides from Monsanto. The use of glyphosate developed by Monsanto in the U.S. for products like Round-up, which is the number one selling herbicide in America, are a threat to important pollinators and plants.

Read the full story here-

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/03/20/f-monarch-butterfly.html

Monarch butterflies cannot complete their life cycle without the milkweed family. These plants are important because it is the only food source of the monarch butterfly larvae.
The female lays her eggs on the plant and the young caterpillar eats it as food until it turns into a butterfly to then feast on the milkweeds nectar. Eating the milkweed as its only food source, it absorbs the acidic bitter constituents from the plant and that is what deters predators from eating it.

Common milkweed has the Latin name Asclepias syriaca and is the most common milkweed although it is not invasive it grows in colonies like goldenrod. Milkweeds are becoming less common in some areas in North America threatening the declining monarch population.

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Maybe it is considered a weed because of the name, but it is very pleasant smelling and the flowers are very beautiful. It blooms June to August in umbrella like clusters with up curved horn purple petals below a crown of hoods. It releases silky parachute seeds from pods after it flowers.

It is native to North America even though the Latin species syriaca name of the common variety suggests it is from Syria. It is common there and in Southern Europe, but it was actually brought there from North America. It is native from Quebec to Saskatchewan south into The United States.

The common name Milkweed is named so because it has a thick milky white sap that has bitter chemicals that protect it from predators. The sap and root are potentially toxic having cardioactive compounds that influence the heart, so avoid internal use of fresh sap.

There are other Asclepias species of milkweed- butterfly weed milkweed, swamp milkweed, poke milkweed and all are important nectaring and nesting sites for the monarch butterfly. It is important to build butterfly friendly areas for the monarch butterflies and other important pollinators on their flight path and stop the use of pesticides and insecticides from Monsanto to ensure a rebound in population numbers.

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