Archive for ‘History’

April 1, 2015

Herbal Pills vs Tinctures

Herbal pills have come under scrutiny for having no active ingredients and unhealthy additives. Pills are usually filled with dried up and ground herbs, which oxidize and weaken herbal effectiveness as essential oil content and other constituents degrade. 

  

Herbal Pills:

Are NOT as bioavailable as liquid, meaning that they don’t absorb as well or
as fast into the body as liquid forms such as tinctures

Cannot be tasted, which impairs results 

Pills are not easy to swallow. They are hard to digest and contain unhealthy binders 

Most herbal pill casings are not vegetarian, because they contain gelatin which is from an
animal source most of the time, because it is cheaper. 

Most casings and binders are not kosher 

Improper drying and over processed preparations may cause essential oils
and other constituents to degrade and herbs to dissipate, and may contain
contaminants. 

Tinctures absorb better, are more effective and cheaper. If you make them yourself then you have quality control. 

Learn how to make your own tinctures here > http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/diy-herbal-tinctures/

  

 

February 23, 2015

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to any kind of stressors. They are mainly used for Chronic conditions, which require long-term use for full benefits.

Ginsengs are a good example of herbal adaptogens. The actions aren’t obvious and immediate like herbal purgatives, they are more subtle and accumulative over time.

Take Ginsengs and other adaptogens for chronic stress, illness or if catching frequent colds. Ginsengs are immune tonics that nourish all systems.

Take Ginsengs or other herbal adaptogen tonics internally for 3 weeks,
and then take a break for a week.

Take Ginsengs and other herbal adaptogen immune tonics at a chronic dose:
CHRONIC DOSE
2-3 times a day for 2-3 weeks
then take a break for 1-2 weeks
and repeat if necessary.

Do not take Ginsengs with anticoagulant drugs,
MAOI’s, Opioids, corticosteroids, Hypoglycemic drugs.

asain ginseng

Adaptogens are Long-term Immune Tonic Herbs

Primary Adaptogens
Aralia nudicaulis– Wild sarsaparilla root
Aralia racemosa– Spikenard root
Astragalus membranaceus- Chinese milkvetch root
Eleutherococcus senticosus- Siberian ginseng/Shigoka root
Ganoderma lucidum- Lacquered varnish polypore fungi
Ganoderma applanatum- Artist’s conk polypore fungi
Ganoderma tsugae– Hemlock varnish shelf fungi
Panax ginseng– Asian Ginseng root
Panax quinquefolius– North American ginseng root

Secondary Adaptogens
Curcuma longa– Turmeric rhizome
Ginkgo biloba- Ginkgo Leaf
Glycyrrhiza glabra– Licorice rhizome
Hypericum perforatum- St. Johnswort herb
Inula helenium– Elecampane root
Rosmarinus officinalis– Rosemary herb
Vitex agnus-castus– Chaste tree berry
Zingiber officinale– Ginger rhizome

Secondary adaptogens go well together with primary herb adaptogens as a catalyst.

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Learn more about Ginsengs here
http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/american-ginseng/
http://earthelixir.ca/herbs/asian-ginseng/
http://earthelixir.ca/2012/12/18/diy-siberian-ginseng-shigoka-root-tincture/

February 18, 2015

Herbal Dosages

The dosages in the herbal monographs are meant to act as general guidelines and are strictly adult dosages only. It is very difficult to generalize, because everyone is different with unique needs, but dosage needs to be a part of the conversation in order to understand how to use herbs. Everything is a remedy or a poison depending on the dose.

There are many factors to consider when calculating dose. Dosages vary depending on the strength of the herb, the constitution of the person, age, weight, and height.
As a general rule dosage goes down as the strength and/or heat of the herb increases.
Taking lower than recommended doses apply to people who have significant levels of toxicity, are in a severely depleted state, taking pharmaceutical medication, or are elderly.

If symptoms get worse, decrease or cease dosage, or change herbs.
Always consult a qualified professional.

It is best to start taking herb tinctures with only one herb at a time, until you become more familiar with the herbs and what they do.

Dosages:

As a general rule use one drop per pound per person.

Dosages can range anywhere from one drop to one teaspoon,
or 1-5 ml, and depends on if you are treating acute symptoms or chronic long term issues. An example of an acute condition is a cold, and a chronic condition is arthritis.

1 teaspoon= 5ml
15ml = 1 tablespoon =3 teaspoons= .5 oz.
30mls = 2 tablespoons= 6 teaspoons= 1 oz.

Dropper bottles with Droppers can contain 28 drops = 1 ml per dropper full
One squeeze of a dropper equals 1 ml

ADULT DOSE: Puberty- 70 (or 100 pounds or more)
Chronic dose: 3-5 droppers
Acute dose: 5-8 droppers

SENIORS DOSE: 70 Years or older
Chronic dose: 2-4 droppers
Acute dose: 4-5 droppers

CHILDREN DOSE: 2 year- Puberty
Chronic dose: weight in pounds × 0.04+/- .25 droppers
Acute dose: weight in pounds × 0.07+/- 0.5 droppers

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February 9, 2015

Octagonal Summerhouses Through the Ages

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source: http://www.ilikesheds.com/

February 7, 2015

DIY Rose Tincture and Perfume for Nutritive Medicine and Skincare 🌹

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. 🌹

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.🌹

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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

 

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.

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
January 15, 2014

Winter Season the Five Elements and Essential Oils

The Winter season in the Chinese Five Elements 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 the adrenals and the kidney bladder urinary system and may be used to help overcome fears:
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:

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

November 12, 2013

The History of the Pinecone as a Symbol

The humble pinecone has always been a
powerful symbol of regeneration, nourishment 
and
enlightenment. Some of the earliest records are from
Ancient Sumerian palace carvings that date back to 713-716 BC which
depict winged gods holding pinecones and using them to pollinate
the tree of life. What other mysteries do they hold?

Sumerian god Marduk/ Dionysus

Sumerian god / Dionysus

Dionysus, the Greek god of winemaking
and ecstasy, later known as ‘Bacchus’ to the Romans was known to
carry a staff topped with a pinecone called a ‘Thyrsus.’ The
pinecone is also found on the Egyptian staff of Osiris,
which
depicts two intertwining serpents, like kundalini rising or like the caduceus symbol of medicine in the West.

Egyptian Staff-of-Osiris Egyptian museum Turino Italy 1224 BC

Egyptian Staff-of-Osiris Egyptian museum Turino Italy 1224 BC

In India in Hindu tradition
Kundalini energy shows two spiralling snakes
wrapping around the seven chakras rising up along the spine into
wings, which represents the path to enlightenment. Chakras are an
energy system, and the snakes that encase the chakras represent
another energy system, kundalini but also associated with the infinity symbol. The
infinity symbol is the prototype for DNA and means infinite life.
In Celtic tradition it’s represented in the ancient weave
carvings of the infinity symbol.

Learn more about the infinity symbol-

http://earthelixir.ca/2012/10/10/infinity-symbol/

A statue of the Mexican god
‘Chicomecoatl’ which means seven snakes, has a pinecone in one hand
and an evergreen tree in the other.Mexican god

There is also a pinecone on the
Pope’s staff, and the largest pinecone in the world is a
bronze sculpture located in Vatican Square in the
Courtyard of the Pinecone.

Pigna in Pinecone Courtyard, Vatican

Pigna in Pinecone Courtyard, Vatican

Legend has it that Romans built an
enormous bronze pinecone they called ‘Pigna’ which stood on
top of the Pantheon and acted as a lid for the round opening in the
centre of the buildings vault. It is confirmed the
pinecone was part of an overflowing fountain next to the
temple of Isis. Pinecone symbols adorn candle holders and
lamps in the Church as a symbol for the source of illumination.
Pinecones are found in Freemason art and sculptures. Pinecones
appear on the ceilings of Masonic temples and lodges, and in
architecture like the one on display in the Financial District in
New York on the side of the Whitehall building, which depicts two
spiralling serpents rising to meet a pinecone overlooking Battery
Place.

Masonic-Pine-Cone-Caduceus whitehall nyMasonic sculpture Caduceus
with pinecone, Whitehall NY

DIY Pinecone Ornaments http://earthelixir.ca/2011/12/09/diy-aromatherapy-pinecone-ornaments/

Pinecones resemble the structure of
the pineal gland aka epithalamus, which is located in the
centre of our brain and is an unpaired structure. It
is isolated from the blood brain barrier while it receives a large
percentage of blood flow. The pineal gland which is
pronounced (‘pine’ eel) has been referred to as the seat
of the soul and the ‘third eye.’ The pineal gland has rods and
cones just like our seeing eyes do which could be the reason it is
called the ‘third eye.’ It is responsible for melatonin
production and governs our circadian rhythms, which regulates light
perception to regulate our light awake and dark sleep periods.
The pineal gland has always been a mystery and little has been said
about it in anatomy physiology books until recently. The tree of
life could represent the
arbor vitae’ which literally translates
as
the tree of life, in the cerebellum. It consists of bands of white
matter that forms a tree like appearance when it is cut in section.
The cerebellum is responsible for muscle activity in response from
higher centers.

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