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|Posted on June 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM||comments (59)|
Did you know…. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is associatedwith numerous legends of prolonged life? One legend is of a Chinese child emperor who was told he would not live past his teen years. He searched for a remedy to prolong his life and chose a brew from Motherwort. He drank this daily and lived to be 70 years of age.
Motherwort is most commonly used for nervous heart problems such as palpitations and to prevent miscarriage or stress following childbirth. Thus… the common name Motherwort. The plant contains compounds that make it antispasmodic, emmenagogue and sedative. These properties aid in relaxing smooth muscles and in regulating menstrual flow. It can be used in delayed menstruation, PMS and menopausal symptoms associated with anxiety and irritability. Chinese women often combined it with Dong Quai for a menstrual regulator as well. The Greeks, long ago, proclaimed the plants sedative powers. Even then it was valued as a heart remedy and pain reliever for both menstrual cycles and labor.
The Latin name “Leonurus” refer to one of its common name, Lion’s tail, which describes the plants appearance.
The 16th century herbalist John Gerard believed the Latin name “cardiaca” was a direct reflection of its beneficial actions on the heart. According to Nicolas Culpeper, the 17th century astrologer/physician, “There is no better herb to take melancholy vapours from the heart and strengthen it”.
EnglishColonists brought Motherwort to America because it was believed to be one ofthe most important medicines for neuralgia, heart palpitations and childbirth. The Russians used it in the treatment of Rabies due to its neurological sedative effects.
One of the first tinctures I ever made was a combination of Motherwort and Hawthorn. I made it for my (soon to be) husband, who had bouts of heart palpitations bad enough to watch his shirt flutter while lying down. He used the tincture twice daily, and had no more episodes. He was not sure, however, if that was due to the herbs, or the fact that his palpitations came on sporadically. About 6 months later, he was asked to chaperone the FFA to Canada for a camping expedition. By the fourth day, I received a call from him telling me all about the beautiful scenery, going fishing, and many other exciting things. Then he said the previous night, he had to retire early because he was having heart palpitations. I said, “I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m not surprised. You’re tincture is still beside the bed… where you left it.”
|Posted on February 22, 2013 at 4:44 PM||comments (94)|
Did you know… Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is another herb brought here by the English for a garden salad? It is high in vitamin C and was used to prevent scurvy. The fresh herb was also used for urinary and renal dis-eases.
Sheep Sorrel is a member of the ‘dock’ family of plants such as Burdock and Yellowdock and is characterized by its sour taste and arrow shaped leaves.
The herb is reported to improve liver, intestinal and bowel function, prevent destruction of red blood cells and possibly break down tumors.
Its high chlorophyll content carries oxygen through the bloodstream which strengthens the cell walls, helps remove deposits in blood vessels and allows the body to store and use more oxygen.
Sheep Sorrel is one of the four basic herbs included in the famous “Essiac” formula. This formula originated from an Ojibwa Medicine Man. It is combined with other herbs such as Burdock, Slippery Elm and Turkish Rhubarb. The formula was passed on to a Canadian Nurse… Rene Caisse. As recently as 1940-50’s, she was using it (with some modifications for individual needs) for cancer patients with some pretty remarkable results.
Many companies claim to have the ‘original’ formula and may charge a hefty price. You can, however, purchase the herbs in bulk, combine them yourself, and brew your own tea for a lot less.
While there has been much debate and discussion of the effectiveness of herbal medicine, remember that up until the middle of the 20 century, it had been the main source of medicine.
Even in the Bible we are told… “The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible man does not despise them”.
This article is for informational purposes only.
|Posted on November 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM||comments (85)|
Did you know….there are many plants which grow wild, or have been cultivated for our flower beds, that we could actually learn to SURVIVE on? I have already written about some of these in previous articles, while others may be described more in depth in the future.
We hear a lot today about people stock piling food and other supplies in order to survive for an extended period of time. While I believe in preparedness… what happens when those things are used up? These stockpiles should be used only as a “back-up” plan. We should be looking more at how to survive on what is around us for as long as we are able. We need to learn and utilize the many wondrous gifts of both food and medicine which are readily available. Of course how far we must search for them is dependent upon how foolish we and our neighbors have been about trying to rid ourselves of them.
One of the best investments we can make in our future survival is knowledge, and it is as close as your local bookstore. I highly recommend at least one or two books on plant identification. Both the National Audubon Society and Peterson Field Guides are excellent resources to have. They have numerous volumes on edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, along with mushrooms, animals, insects and more. There are also many books which will give various uses for them. I have a hundred or so books in my own library for just these purposes, but there are only a few that I will use for identification… and identification is KEY!!! There are many plants which are similar to each other. While one is highly useful, the other may be toxic. Don’t let that deter you from learning. Other than the cost of a couple of inexpensive books, taking your own nature hike or herb walk is revitalizing, relaxing and FREE.
Here is a short list of plants worth noting:
Spruce: young needles (high Vit C) chew or brew tea
Birch: inner bark-raw or add to soup
Young leaves, twigs, cambium, rt. bark- brew tea
Wild Rose: rosehips /seed (high Vit C) raw, dried, tea
Wild Grape: fruit and seed (vit C & antioxidant)raw
Vine- good source of water
Burdock: tender, young stalks (peeled) - raw, cooked
Root- cooked (2 changes of water)
Cattail: roots- roasted, boiled, dried (f/ground meal)
Young shoots- cooked, raw (before flower)
Chicory: root- coffee substitute
Red Clover: blossoms, stems, seeds- raw
*Dandelion: All Parts- raw, tea, dried, roasted, cooked…. *Highly Nutritious*
Yellow Mustard: leaves- cooked
Flowers- salad, flavoring
Plantain: leaves, young shoots- raw, cooked
Purslane: leaves, stems- raw, cooked (raw=water source)
Thistle: young plant stalks- peel and boil
Violet: leaves, buds, flowers- raw
Yucca: flowers- raw
Fruit- stewed or baked
Wild Ginger: roots- dried or fresh
Groundnut: tubers (root) are sweet- raw, boiled, roasted
There are a few basic rules for harvesting. You must be conscious of the life cycle of the plant. If you wish to use the leaves, early in the season is best before the flower stalk (if applicable) appears. The plant focuses its energy into the leaves first. After that, the energy is shifted to the blossom. Harvest the blossom soon after it opens. If it is the root you want, waiting until the flower and leaves begin to die back and the seed has been set (if any), assures that the energy of the plant has gone back down to the roots and any repropagation should be able to continue. Remember, when you harvest the whole root, you are essentially killing that plant.
One of the most important things to remember is our manners. I learned at a very young age that the two most important phrases are “Please” and “Thank You”. We must ask the Divine to please bless the plant and allow us to harvest her bounty from the earth. Afterwards, we must give thanks for graciously fulfilling our needs.
Survival comes through reverence.
This article is for informational purposes only.
|Posted on August 30, 2012 at 4:38 PM||comments (69)|
Did you know…. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), also known as Milfoil, gets its name from Achilles, the Greek hero in the Trojan War? It was used to heal the wounds of the soldiers. The Ute Indians used it in a similar fashion, as their name for milfoil means “wound medicine”. It was still used for the same purpose during the Civil War.
In Ancient China the plant was sacred, thus it was used for the ancient system of divination called “I Ching” or “Oracle of Change”. Among early Christians, Yarrow was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and on the eve of his saint’s day (June 23) sprigs of yarrow were placed in homes and churches to ward off evil. The Irish believed Yarrow to be the first herb picked by Jesus, and thought it as lucky as the Shamrock.
Milfoil (Yarrow) has a long history of numerous uses from lack of appetite, gas, liver & gallbladder problems, bleeding, induce sweating, increase the flow of bile, to stabilizing blood pressure… just to name a few. It is one of the 6 herbs combined as a recipe for blood pressure in John Lust’s book “The Herb Book”. It is also used in cosmetic recipes for herbal vinegar hair rinse and salves
While wild Yarrow can become and “invasive weed”, the tiny, pretty white flowers attract predatory wasps, which are beneficial insects because they eat the bugs that may invade your garden. So it is a good practice to keep some nearby, at least on the outskirts of the garden.
As a Flower Essence it helps those who are extremely vulnerable to outside influences. As the Soul becomes more spiritually open, it also becomes more refined, sensitive and absorbent. Yarrow is very important in harmonizing the spiritual path and the physical world. It strengthens the aura and rebalances the upper chakras or energy centers, by directing the abundant light into the lower energy fields so they may have more vitality and solidity.
Spiritually, Yarrow has the capacity to open the mind and the 7 Chakra to inspiration and revelations from the Divine. It is cleansing to both body and aura to allow us to hear our own internal music.
In the past, yarrow was referred to as Seven Year’s Love. A bunch of Yarrow was hung over the honeymoon bed to symbolically ensure a couple’s vows for seven years, after which time the vows were renewed.
Maybe the renewal of our vows is the cure for the “Seven Year Itch”!
This article is for informational purposes only.
|Posted on August 2, 2012 at 9:13 PM||comments (92)|
|Posted on June 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM||comments (27)|
What is Shamanic Healing?
Shamanism describes indigenous practices that have been in place for millennia. The term shaman is from Tungus, a north Asian language, but the word has come to represent a broad range of cultural practitioners. Anthropologists believe that these practices may date back to some of the earliest humans on the planet. The fact that these techniques have survived all of the cultural, economic, political and religious changes that humanity has undergone, speak to their usefulness.
Shamanism is NOT a religion. It is simply a method of accessing a reality beyond the physical, measurable world; a larger spiritual reality. The Shamanic Practitioner acknowledges and moves in both the seen and unseen realities to promote healing and harmony.
There are two basic tenants that form a basis for shamanic practice. The first is the accepted belief that there is a non-ordinary reality that surrounds and permeates our everyday reality. This is sometimes called the reality of the spirit or the spirit world. The second tenant is the belief that everything is alive in the sense that everything participates in the grand communion with the Divine. The Shamanic Practitioner is one who at will and for a purpose enters an altered state of consciousness using “sonic driving” or drumming to visit the non-ordinary reality to obtain help and information.
The Shamanic Practitioner may use any number of methods to help a client. There is a belief in shamanism that illness of any type has at its core a lack of power. Therefore, the practitioner will seek information in non-ordinary reality as to where the client is lacking power. The practitioner will further seek out how that might be remedied and then bring a source of power back to the client in ordinary reality. Power animals, guides, soul retrieval, extraction techniques, psycho pomp, divination, spiritual counseling, blessings and dream interpretation are all methods of bringing power into the client or removing those things that keep the client from being “power filled”. The practitioner may use any of these alone or in combination. Every situation is unique and is treated as such. The client may also be taught to ‘Journey’ into non-ordinary reality to help find answers for themselves.
There is no given number of sessions for Shamanic Healing. Often a single session can successfully address a client’s issue, but there are cases where several sessions are needed.
The goal of Shamanic Practice is Healing not curing. Healing is finding a balance for the body, mind and spirit of the client. That sometimes means learning lessons from dis-ease and growing through it rather than simply removing the symptoms without addressing the root cause. A session with a shamanic practitioner will help move the client toward addressing the root of a problem on a spiritual level. This is NOT meant to replace medical treatment. Shamans around the world use all modalities at their disposal to promote healing. Medicine is an important part of the healing process. SEVERAL MODERN MEDICINES WERE DISCOVERED IN USE BY INDIGIONOUS SHAMANS AND WERE ADAPTED FOR USE IN WESTERN MEDICINE.
Core Shamanism is a practice developed by the anthropologist Michael Harner and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies (shamanism.org). It looks at those elements of shamanism that are shared around the globe and strips away things that are unique to individual cultures. This allows a contemporary western practitioner a way to practice this ancient healing art without usurping another cultures identity. Using Core Shamanism a practitioner may use cultural aspects to aid his practice, but overall the techniques are universal in their application.
Shamanic Healing is now available at our facility by appointment.
Michael Northrop, MFA, SSP is a member of the Society of Shamanic Practitioners and has studied both Core Shamanism and Celtic Shamanism. He has taken a number of advanced classes with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and hosts the foundation’s classes in the Southwest Michigan area.