February 7, 2015

DIY Rose Tincture and Perfume for Nutritive Medicine and Skincare ūüĆĻ

Roses are such divine food, medicine and perfume, but watch out for those pointy, sharp thorns on the stem. It’s easy to see why it is such a universal symbol of love. ūüĆĻ

I collected some wild rose petals from my garden, for a rose petal tincture and essence. Wear gloves and protective clothing to harvest. Wild roses are better than the commercial varieties for medicinal use.

You can make your own perfume out of Rose petal flowers, as well as medicine.image

See my blog on how to make your own natural perfume from flowers. http://earthelixir.ca/2012/06/05/making-natural-perfume-from-flower-petals/

Rose petal tincture is used medicinally as a nutritive for debility. Rose has a euphoric, aphrodisiac action that soothes and relaxes the nervous system. It tones digestion, reduces inflammation, and is great to use in skincare products. It is good for all skin types, especially mature skin. It’s easy to add rose water and essential oil to make your own skincare products.

See my blog on using Rose essential oil. http://earthelixir.ca/2012/06/04/rose-essential-oil/

Rose water is what is separated from the essential oil part, and is used in cooking, baking, and for beverages.

Rose hips, collected after the flowers bloom, are delicious, nutritious medicinal food. Rose hip tea beverages and culinary soups have a pink red colour, and pack some good Vitamin C content and phytonutrients.

Here are some beautiful roses for you friends. The roses in these pictures are from my garden, so take some time to smell the roses.ūüĆĻ

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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 rose hips, flowers

 

February 5, 2015

Pungent Roots

Originally posted on Illustrated Bites:

Guide to Onions

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February 3, 2015

Wild Bergamot and Bee Balm Wildflowers Make Delicious Medicine

Bee-balm or Monarda which is the Latin name, is a beautiful wildflower native to North east North America. It is known for the popular beverage Natives call Oswego tea, and is also cooked in stews, and used to flavour salads. Being aromatic the essential oil makes great perfume and keeps insects and flies away.

Monarda fistulosa has beautiful tubular lavender-purple pinkish flowers.  The common name is known as Wild Bergamot, not to be confused with the citrus bergamot orange РCitrus bergamia L. used in EARL GREY tea, but it smells similar and is now sometimes combined. English Settlers that came to North America named it that, because they thought it smelled just like earl grey tea, and introduced it to England in 1744. Having a high geraniol content, it smells like geranium flowers mixed with citrus and mint.

Monarda didyma has showy red flowers that smell like citrus and mint. The leaves make a wonderful tea dried or fresh. The common name is Bee-balm because it attracts bees, along with hummingbirds and butterflies. It is also called Scarlet bee-balm because of the colour of the flowers. The M. didyma species has a higher thymol content that makes it smell more like citrus thyme.

The stems are square like some mints, with paired grey green leaves that is rough on both sides. It prefers moist, light soil. Being a mint family member it likes some shade from the hot afternoon sun.  Use all Monarda species the same way. The essential oil has a very pleasant fragrance and is used for coughs and colds. Enjoy in a tea, tincture or in a culinary masterpiece!

Common Name  Bee balm/  Wild Bergamot
Latin Name  Monarda didyma (Bee balm) Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial- pick herb from spring until it flowers in July-August
Target Organs circulatory, digestion, respiratory, nerves, lymphatic, skin, urinary, reproductive
Common Uses Respiratory: infections, colds, flu, nasal congestion, coughs, fever, swollen lymph

Digestion: digestive catarrh, indigestion,  constipation, gas, bloating,

Urinary: UTI,  incontinence, infection

Female reproductive: spasms, cramps, PMS, balancing

Nervous system: relaxant, stress, depression

External: wounds, inflammation,

Properties antimicrobial, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic (digestive, general, respiratory, uterine,) antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, astringent, warming carminative, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, digestive stimulant, stimulating emmenagogue, relaxing, secretolytic, stimulating expectorant, febrifuge,  nervine, rubefacient, relaxant, stomachic, tranquilizer, uterine relaxant, (neural, peripheral vasodilator), vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil Yield: 0.4%-0.6%

Monoterpenes

Monoterpene  alcohols: geraniol 90% 

Phenol: thymol(found in M. didyma)50%

Cautions Mild remedy. Do not use during pregnancy or consult with a professional.
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml                Tea: 2 tsp. infuse

 

January 24, 2015

Traditional Medicinal Uses of Pine Tree Needles

White pine aka Weymouth Pine and Northern White Pine, is a tree native to Canada, and is favoured for woodwork carvings and furniture construction.
This soft pine is the provincial tree of Ontario, Canada and is one of the most commercially valuable trees for eastern North America.

The tall straight trunks made excellent naval ship masts, and some of the largest trees were reserved for the Navy. This made Eastern Canada the world centre for wood harvesting in the 19th century, that is until the Giant Pines became extinct from over harvesting.

The Native Iroquois considered this tree a symbol of their strength and endurance. The tree tips were boiled to make a nutritious tea. 

Scots pine aka Scotch Pine is used in the same way as White Pine and grows world wide, but doesn’t grow very well in North America. It is not used in the lumber industry, but it makes a good Christmas tree. Different Pine species are used medicinally in the same way.

Both Pine needle Essential oil and Pine needle Tincture treat coughs and colds. Pine opens up breathing passages and resolves congestion created by phlegm, mucus and catarrh. It opens the chest, relieves wheezing and is good to use for respiratory infections, inflammation and pain.
Pine is a cardiovascular and adrenal tonic, which makes it good to use to restore strength and alleviate fatigue.

Use the essential oil externally in steam inhalations for sinusitis or upper respiratory conditions like catarrh. Mix with base oils like hemp, coconut oil for chest or body rubs, or mix in the bath with carrier or in an Epsom salt, baking soda scrub.
Use the Pine needle tincture or cough syrup internally at acute dosages for coughs, colds and infections.

Caution is advised when using the essential oil in massage, it can irritate skin in large doses, because it is very drying. Do not use during pregnancy.

Pine should not be confused with Turpentine essential oil, which is made from the resinous pitch of fir and pine, and sometimes other trees like spruce, it is a medium strength remedy.

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Common Name Pine needles herb
Latin Name Pinus strobus (White Pine) 
Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine) spp.
Family Pinaceae (Pine Family)
Parts Used Perennial tree pick young twig tips of evergreen tree needles
Target Organs Digestion, lungs, liver, urogenital, respiratory, adrenals, cardiovascular,
Common Uses Respiratory: relieves phlegm, opens sinuses,
coughs, colds, flu, congested sinus with headache, infection, dry and damp lung phlegm, bronchitis, tight chest, upper respiratory catarrh
Adrenal: Tonic to adrenals and uterus
Cardiovascular: Tonic to vascular system
Digestion: gas, spasms infection, catarrh, 
Immune: infections, arthritis, gout, inflammation, pain, 
Nutritive
Deodorant, foot perspiration, hygiene,
Properties Adrenal tonic, antibacterial, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, inflammatory- general local, antioxidant, antispasmodic(digestive, respiratory, general), antiviral, astringent, bronchodilator, carminative, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, drying, relaxing/stimulating expectorant, haemostatic, nervine, relaxant, vascular tonic, vasodilator, uterine tonic
Constituents Essential Oil:
Monoterpenes up to 80% content, a+b pinene, limonene, borneol, bornyl acetate, cardimene, phellandrenes, pumilone, Pinicrin,
Esters: bornyl acetate
Monoterpene alcohol: borneol 2%
Other: Vitamin C, glucose, galactose, resin, tannin
Cautions mild remedy do not take during pregnancy.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml 
Tea: 1-2 tsp. infuse

Trees of Ontario – Linda Kershaw. Lone Pine publishing, 2001
The Energetics of Western Herbs- Peter Holmes.

January 20, 2015

How to Make the Garden an Extension of your Home

When choosing a house, one of the non-negotiable priorities for many buyers is that it must have a garden. There’s something about having that patch of lawn bordered by flower beds, or that useful patio, littered with pretty flowerpots, that we just can’t do without. And even when it’s the size of a postage stamp, we cherish it. So how can you appreciate your garden even more?

Portal

Having a solid wall between you and your slice of outdoors will never do. And whereas most people opt for a set of French or patio doors, this won’t invite the garden in like a bi or tri-fold sliding door. The beauty of this type of door is that it’s possible to have wall-to-wall glass, which then slides open and neatly folds out of the way.

With this type of door, you’re truly extending your kitchen or living area into the garden. Even when shut, you can see your garden unimpeded, plus the extra light brought in is a real bonus.

Creating Flow

An interesting way of extending into the garden, is to have the same flooring going from room to patio. This ‚Äėinfinity‚Äô look can be quite effective. Solid oak flooring is suitable for both inside and out, and together with the sliding, folding doors, will create a large, combined living space. If you‚Äôre not into the wood look, then limestone tiles would work equally well or some frost-proof porcelain tiles. If there is a step down, then you may want to consider raising the patio so that it‚Äôs on the same level.

Mirror Plants

By choosing varieties that are equally happy indoors as out, you can have mirrored plants. Get matching containers and pot them up with the same plants. Then place one just outside the door and its twin on the inside. This further confuses where the garden starts and the house ends. If you think flowering plants might require too much maintenance, why not choose some robust succulents, which include cacti and sedum.

Furniture

To blur those lines even further, particularly if the room in question is a conservatory or living area, you may wish to consider all-weather furniture, both inside and out. There are some very attractive and comfortable sofas and chairs available, such as a mock rattan design.
With a little ingenuity, and by making relatively small changes, it’s very possible to give the illusion of bringing the garden into your home, for maximum enjoyment.

http://www.barrier-components.co.uk/

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January 12, 2015

Edible Beauties

Originally posted on Illustrated Bites:

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December 30, 2014

5 Mushrooms That Can Heal Wounds

Originally posted on Wild Foodism:

Sparassiscrispawildfoodism Credit: James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster

Let’s imagine you’re walking through the forest.  I like birch and hemlock forests, so let’s go there.

You’ve got a field guide in your backpack, a foraging basket, and several freshly-harvested oyster mushrooms to occupy the basket.  As you’re strolling down the path, you fail to notice a low-lying birch root along the ground.  Another step forward and your minimalist shoe catches the root, propelling not only your body into the air, but your prized oysters as well.  Never mind the oysters for now… let’s inspect that nice-looking wound on your knee (thanks, rock).

It’s a small wound … nothing serious.  You wash it, bandage it, and continue your trek through the forest.  At home, calendula ointment and honey take care of the rest.

That seems like a wise strategy … something I would surely do.  In fact, there are several remedies that…

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November 28, 2014

Chaste tree berries are a Woman’s Best Friend

Chaste tree berries Vitex L. look like light grey brown wrinkled peppercorn fruit or allspice. These berries also have the same spicy, warm and pungent qualities like peppercorns, but taste more bitter in flavour, not hot. They are not sweet like blueberry fruit, they were used more like cracked pepper spice.

This very popular berry is native to the Mediterranean and has a long history of being used to regulate sex organ functions. Chastetree berry has both relaxant and stimulating actions that normalize and restore.
It is a pituitary and ovary tonic that balances all conditions of the Female reproductive system including PMS, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause and infertility.

Chaste tree berry regulates hormonal balance and ovary function through the action of the female hormones: estrogen and progesterone; although primarily progesterone.
The pituitary gland gets stimulated to increase or decrease progesterone or estriol levels.

It therefore treats progesterone deficient conditions, such as: osteoporosis, fibroids or fibrocystic Breasts, along with other female complaints.

The reproductive restoration is also due to a dopamine action that reduces prolactin release.

It reduces male hormones and has been called monks pepper or cloister berry, because it was popular among monks, or men of the cloth to help temper sexual desires. It was used as an anaphrodisiac to treat sexual overstimulation and to curb nymphomania.
When given to nuns however, it turned out to be a female fertility tonic and aphrodisiac.

It is also a good herb for the digestive system, treating poor digestion or liver function, which may be contributing to female reproductive conditions.

It is best taken in a tincture, the long infusion tea needs to be mixed with some better tasting herbs. Also mix in other female friendly herbs in the tincture like mother wort to create a formulation.

There are also two Asian Vitex species used in Chinese medicine: Mu Jing-five leaf chaste tree berry and Man Zing Zi- Seashore chaste tree berry that are used in the same way. They all share the same bitter pungent taste, having the same essential oil constituents and flavonoids, and are used also for rheumatic and arthritic conditions.
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Common Name Chastetree¬†berries¬†aka monk’s pepper, Chaste Lamb
Latin Name Vitex agnus-castus
Family Verbenaceae (Vervain)
Parts Used Perennial shrub mature fruit/berries picked in the Fall
Target Organs Female reproductive, urogenital, intestines, liver, pituitary, sinews,
Common Uses Pituitary Ovary Tonic
Female reproductive: PMS, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause, infertility in women, hormonal imbalance, imbalance of ovary function, fibroids, swollen Breasts, withdrawn,
premature ejaculation, sexual overstimulation, sexual disinterest, progesterone deficiency,
Stimulates circulation, chills, painful joints, muscle tension, osteoporosis, fatigue,
Stimulates digestion, liver congestion, indigestion, fluid congestion,
Properties Bitter pungent, drying, regulating, anti-inflammatory (local, systemic) general antispasmodic (digestive, uterine) anxiolytic, astringent, analgesic, anti-androgenic (reduces male hormones) warming carminative, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, bitter digestive tonic stimulant, emmenagogue tonic, nervine, relaxant, female reproductive tonic, tranquilizer, uterine relaxant, ovarian tonic, pituitary tonic, progesterone, aphrodisiac/anaphrodisiac, 
Constituents Essential oil,
Flavonoids: casticin, isovitexin, orientin; 
Iridoid glycosides: aucbin, agnoside
Cautions mild remedy- Do not use during pregnancy or lactation
Dosage Tincture: 1-3ml Tea: long infusion 4-10g
October 20, 2014

Wormwood the Infamous Ingredient In Absinthe

Wormwood is an ingredient used in the infamous alcoholic drink absinthe, also known as the green fairy. It is an extremely bitter herb and absinthe was traditionally poured over sugar cubes to sweeten the taste.
When used on its own, it is a powerful medicinal herb. It’s main taste is bitter, which is good for stimulating the digestive axis of the stomach, liver/gallbladder and intestines. As its name suggests it expels internal worms, while it also provides immune support.

It is best combined with aromatic carminatives like peppermint, anise, fennel, ginger, chamomile, bergamot, thyme for taste and balance, just like the ancient recipe absinthe.

I prefer wormwood macerated in red wine to temper the bitterness. Steep it for at least a couple of weeks, and then strain. I take a single teaspoon once a day, for a week. Take small doses before or after meals as an aperitif. A tincture formulation is good, but the tea infusion might be too bitter to swallow. It is Not advisable to add sweeteners, the taste cannot be masked. It is better to taste the bitters to stimulate secretions for maximum medicinal power. This is a medium strength remedy so caution is always advised. Be careful dancing with the green fairy.

Use Artemisia species medicinally in the same way, including mugwort, annual wormwood, southernwood, but wormwood is the most bitter.

Wormwood is native to Europe and Western Asia and established in the temperate regions of North America.

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Wormwood herb starting to show its tiny yellow flowers from my garden.

Common Name

Wormwood herb
Latin Name

Artemisia absinthium
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used Perennial herb pick aerial parts, flowering tops bloom in July/August summer
Target Organs Digestion, stomach, nervous, urinary, reproductive
Common Uses Digestion: cooling bitter stimulant, digestive conditions, infections, poor digestion, promotes bile, indigestion, dyspepsia, flatulence, IBS, inflammation, parasites worms-pinworm, roundworm, threadworms, constipation, colic, poor appetite, anorexia, food poisoning, toxicity, headache, nausea

Stomach: all conditions,

Liver/gallbladder: congestion, infections

Moxybustion

 

Properties Cold bitter digestive, astringent, pungent, antibacterial, hepatic, liver decongestant, carminative, stimulating digestion immune, cholagogue, laxative, stomachic, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, nervine, antimicrobial, anti-emetic but emetic in large doses, vulnerary,
Constituents Sesquiterpene lactones, volatile essential oil, thujone, thujan, cineole, linalol, chamazulene, camphene, cadimene, monoterpene, pinene, phellandrene, azulene, bisabolene, flavonoid glycosides, rutin, quercetin, organic acids, amino acids, phenolic acids, polyacetylenes, lignans, ascorbic acid, tannins,

Cautions Medium strength: contains thujone a neurotoxin with narcotic properties. Large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, restlessness, tremors, convulsions. Long term use may lead to liver and kidney damage. Not recommended during pregnancy, lactation, infants, or if kidney or liver damage is present.
Dosage Use in formulations (herbal combinations) up to 25% of formula. continuous use should not exceed two months.
Macerate in red wine or vermouth: 1 small teaspoon a day for a week
Or used as an aperitif small sips before or after meals to aid digestion

Tincture: 1-2ml dilute with water 1 oz before consuming.
Mix a formula with aromatics, do not add sugar or sweeteners

Tea: 3-5g (Very bitter) infuse

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September 17, 2014

DIY Aromatherapy Deodorant

Just combine 2 simple ingredients with your choice of essential oils and you have got an easy to make, inexpensive, effective, long lasting natural deodorant.

DIY Aromatherapy Deodorant Recipe

Mix together:

1 cup baking soda
1 Tablespoon of activated powdered charcoal or less

Add Essential oils of your choice:

Good combinations are

Vetiver, Tea tree,
Lavender, Patchouli,

Place in spice, salt or pepper jars or small squeeze top bottle.

After a shower powder underneath armpits.

Powder can also be used to combat foot odour in shoes, or placed anywhere else that needs freshening up.

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