Herb Spotlight: Frankincense for Detox and Amplified Thought Patterns

Herb Spotlight

I think that everyone has heard of frankincense, it’s in the bible after all. But does anyone know just how valuable it is? Frankincense can strengthen hair and gums while also detoxing and purifying the liver and kidneys. It contains valuable terpenes and oils and is one of the more healing herbs in the lineup. Most frequently it’s used for aromatherapy but is also valuable when ingested using the right techniques.

Scientific Name: Boswellia carter [aka: olibanum]

Magickal Stats: Elementally fire, ruled by the Sun

Parts Used: root, essential oil

Improves Function Of:

  • Strength of Gums, skin & Hair RootsFrankincense ILlustration
  • Arthritis
  • Immune System
  • Estrogen production & uterus
  • Respiratory tract and lungs

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Bleeding wounds
  • Acne, cuts, insect bites & boils
  • Bronchitis

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Connect with the Divine
  • Opening to higher levels of being
  • Protection & Sanctification
  • Promote Success

How Does it Work? 

There are tons of terpenes found in frankincense that give it it’s aroma as well as it’s healing properties. Pinene, linalool, alpha pinene, phelladrene, camphene and insensole are just some of these terps. Monoterpenes found in the oils of frankincense help to prevent toxins and detox the liver and kidney among other amazing astringent and antibacterial effects. Sesquiterpenes can stimulate many parts of the brain including the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands.

What Do I Do With It?

One of the more common uses of frankincense oil is to diffuse it for the aromatherapy. It can also be applied directly to skin or combined with a carrier oil and applied to skin. Anyone 7 and older can diffuse the oil in coconut oil or other oils and hold under tongue until dissolved. Also think of adding it to bathwater or place on cloth and inhale.

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What’s In My Cup? Invigorating Detox Blend

What's In My Cup?

There are a lot of underutilized herbs out there in the world. After doing some research on cardamom I realized that it should really be put into an amazing golden milk recipe. If this flavor is too much for you then add a tinge of locally sourced honey to sweeten. Cinnamon lifts spirits along with cardamom which also helps the digestive system. Turmeric cleanses the liver and detoxifies the entire system helping clear skin and organs equally. Black pepper is thrown in to help make the transport for the other herbs more seamless.

Simply Mix Together:

6 ounces almond or coconut milk (whichever milk you prefer)

1/4 tsp cinnamon (less if you’re not into cinnamon)

1 cardamom pod

1/2 tsp turmeric

dash of black pepper

Heat everything together in a sauce pan whisking pretty regularly as not to burn the milk substitute. If you’re adding honey add it right now so that it dissipates into the milk mixture. Warm the mixture until steaming and all of the turmeric and cinnamon are thoroughly dissolved. Sit and take in the aromas that lift from the cup, stay with whatever thoughts wash over you. Don’t cast them away if they’re bothersome stay with them and let them soak back into the universe. Drink up and do some twist heavy yoga or meditate.

Herb Spotlight: Cardamom for a Happy Belly

ayurveda, Herb Spotlight

Cardomom seeds add such a vibrant, deeply wooded flavor to stews and other dishes. It’s always a surprise when I’m struck with a big seed in my spoonful of kitchari but the flavor is kind of refreshing. Which is why I’m not surprised that in some Asian cultures chewing a cardamom seed is a remedy for bad breath. It also helps the gassy people get it all out, which is beneficial for everyone!

Scientific Name: Elettaria cardamomum Cardamom Illustration[aka: brown cardamom, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Kravan, white cardamom, Siamese cardamom, and red cardamom]

Magickal Stats: Elementally air, ruled by Mars, Mercury & Uranus

Parts Used: Seeds, essential oil

Improves Function of:

  • Liver & Gallbladder
  • Digestive System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Flatulence & Colic
  • Nausea & Stomach Issues
  • Bad breath, tooth & mouth issues

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Promoting the combination of love, attraction and a union of equals
  • Enhance inspiration in a project

How Does It Work? 

Cardamom has a lot of antioxidants which makes it great for healing skin and bulking up the immune system. It also contains a volatile oil that aides in digestion and treats intestinal spasms and other stomach issues. This oil also helps to move blocked food through the intestines and digestive tract. I commonly use these seeds in kitchari, an Ayurvedic and Indian stew that helps regulate the digestive system.

What Do I Do With It? The seeds can be cooked or made into a tea just as long as the oil is extracted from them before taking orally. Essential oils can also be put into a bath for stress and depression relieving aromatherapy. Also simply chewing the seeds can remove bad odors from the mouth.

Herb Spotlight: Saffron for Depression

Herb Spotlight

I haven’t ever had the flush grocery budget to get saffron, and it’s expensive for a reason. It takes 75,000 flowers to make 1 lb. of saffron. It has been around for ages as it’s been referenced in the Bible, was used as a royal dye and salve in Grecian society and often adorned those in Roman baths. With it’s red color and vibrant flavor I don’t think it’s surprising that this is a fire herb ruled by the Sun. That also explains why I’m so interested in it and all of the medicinal things it can do. I already know that it goes into some Indian and other Asian dishes to give them that very specific flavor set.

Scientific Name: Crocus sativus

Magickal Stats:  Elementally Fire, Ruled by the Sun

Saffron Illustration
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Parts Used: the whole plant

Improves Function Of: 

  • Urinary system
  • Nervous System as related to pain

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Women’s Menstrual Issues
  • Depression
  • Gassiness & Flatulence
  • Nerve Pain
  • Asthma, Cough & Whooping Cough
  • Premature Ejaculation and infertility in men

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Cleansing, healing, purification & consecration
  • Clairvoyance & Divination
  • Psychic Development
  • Spell Breaking
  • Raising Wind

How Does It Work? The is insufficient evidence to support exactly how saffron is working. To get the benefits and stay safe always check with a doctor before adding saffron as a treatment in any way.

What Do I Do With It? The best way to use saffron is to cook with it. Saffron can also be added to teas and warm milks for help as a diuretic, carminative and for setting the stage for spell craft.

Herb Spotlight: Devil’s Claw

Herb Spotlight, Lifestyle

WARNING: If you have any issues with gastric or duodenal ulcers please consult a physician before using. Large doses of Devil’s Claw can produce obstruction of the bile ducts or intestines along with producing colic in cases of gallstones.

When I was suffering with severe acne I heard that Devil’s Claw would be a nice way to cleanse my toxins and clear my skin. Later in life when I was researching the best ways to fight arthritic pain naturally I learned that it is valuable for those suffering with chronic arthritis. Turns out these effects are all due to the inflammation relief provided by Devil’s Claw. Also, shout out to another one of those super metal herb names, makes me feel like a real witch using names like Devil’s Claw and Mugwort. The herbs gets it’s name from the hook shaped tubers that attach to the fur of animals and eventually spread the seeds. Cool, huh? Nature really trips me out sometimes.

Scientific Name: Harpagophytum procumbens [aka: arthritis tea, grapple plant, hook plant]

Magickal Stats: Elementally water, ruled by Saturn

Parts Used: roots, tubers

Improves Function Of:devils claw

  • Metabolism
  • Digestive System
  • Lymphatic & Blood detoxification

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Arthritis, tendonitis, lower back pain
  • Acne, psoriasis and skin maladies
  • Slow metabolism & Poor appetite
  • Insufficient production of bile & digestive issue

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Relieve pain and support health
  • Confuse and Confound an enemy
  • Remove negativity

How Does It Work? Studies have been inconclusive on the exact properties that make Devil’s Claw a healing herb, but it has been used for generations in Europe. It provides anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects but it also has some adverse effects. If you are hypoglycemic I would avoid this remedy because it can lower blood sugar levels and work against you. Similarly it can produce excess bile and upset ulcers and should be avoided for this reason as well.

What Do I Do With It? Devil’s Claw is both applied topically and taken internally. Take internally to fight inflammation and create more bile to help digestive issues. Apply topically to fight acne and other skin ailments.

What’s In My Cup? Kombucha Home Brew!

Lifestyle, What's In My Cup?

I’m on about my fifth home-brewed batch of kombucha and I’m really starting to get it down now. We’re in a real fermenting phase around these parts, I think the next stop is kimchi. But until then let’s spend some time focusing on kombucha. It costs around $5 for a generic bottle of store bought kombucha, and that’s a great price for a one time specialty beverage. But unfortunately the benefits of kombucha don’t really begin to take hold until after about 3 or 4 days in a row of drinking a glass or so. That’s not very cost effective, but don’t fret because a SCOBY mushroom costs about $10 and will constantly grow and make more live culture SCOBYs out of itself. The company that I bought mine from also sent a .pdf that told me exactly how to handle my weird little blog once it arrived in the mail. I write all this so that you won’t be intimidated, it’s so worthwhile to start brewing some ‘booch now.

I’m going to breakdown the basics of making a batch of kombucha to demystify the process for everyone. Because I’m a believer that everyone needs to start making their own ‘booch. For your first batch you will need:

  • 1 gallon glass jar with bottom spigot
  • 1 SCOBY mushroom culture
  • 1 gallon freshly brewed tea
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • coffee filters or loose dishtowel
  • rubber band

KombuchaBrew.jpg

 

First of all be sure not to get a cheap spigot on the glass jar, these will brew multiple ‘booch batches so go for quality of cost effective with this item. As far as the SCOBY I linked you to my preferred company above. The tea can be anything, starting off with black or green tea will help to get the fermentation started. I started mine with hibiscus and it was a little too tangy but I’ve switched over to green tea brews and I have some real bubbles happening now. When the tea is hot mix in the sugar and then bring the whole mixture down to room temperature. A SCOBY will die at high heat. Pour the cooled tea over the kombucha mushroom in the glass jar and cover with the coffee filter or towel, the item just can’t be loose enough to let bugs through. Fasten the rubber band around your ‘booch and let the little guy fly. After about 7 days the brew should be ready to consume. Once the tea gets down to about 20% brew more tea and repeat the process.

Secrets for Delicousness

After a couple of kind of gross brews I finally dialed it in. The goal is to do a second ferment. Stay with me now. After 5 days in the main batch, pour juice into the bottom of containers filling about 20%. Then pour the kombucha in and bottle, leave at room temperature to let it get fizzy for about 2 days. This will re-ferment the tea kombucha with the fruit juice. I make the fruit juice out of soaked fruit or peels and water so it’s not adding sugar to the brew. If this doesn’t sound ideal I do recommend bottling the brew and letting it sit at room temp, the fizziness really does make it more delicious.

I hope that I have helped you feel more empowered to ‘booch it up. I will truly never look back and now I’m sad it took me so long to start fermenting my tea!

SCOBY

What’s In My Cup? Ultimate Sleepy Time Tea

Lifestyle, What's In My Cup?

While I use cannabis medicinally I don’t want to ever have a dependence on it, which is why tolerance breaks are important. When I’m beginning a tolerance break I have A LOT of trouble sleeping and it makes the whole experience a bit more unbearable. When this is the case I supplement the cannabis for some lightly medicated stem tea to give my mind and body that little kick it needs to get to sleep.  I tend to have just enough cannabis flavor and mellowing effects with out milk but those with a higher tolerance or more intense insomnia will want to add just a bit of fat to their cup to ensure that the body can soak up the THC.

SleepyStemTea

Simply Mix Together

10 cannabis stems [fresh or preserved in an airtight jar]

1 tsp dried chamomile flowers

1/2 tsp dried valerian

1/2 tsp dried skullcap

1 tsp dried kava root

Mix these herbs in a tea ball and place the ball into your most large, comforting mug. Pour 6-8 ounces of boiling water over the ball and let the herbs steep as long as you’d like, at the least 15 minutes. If you add milk to your tea add it after about 15 minutes so that it doesn’t curdle. As the tea steeps evoking aromas will wash over you. If troublesome thoughts arise spend a moment with them and then let them go. Snuggle up in bed with your mug and a novel, don’t choose a bedtime book that is an adventure or thriller to ensure relaxation in the mind.While sitting with your cup meditate on the mantra: Be Here Now. Shout out to Ram Dass ❤

As you lay down to sleep lay on your back with arms spread lightly to your sides. With each breath imagine a pocket of energy, first in your right shoulder, to your throat, to your left shoulder, to your upper left leg, to your upper right leg. Continue focusing on this little energy ball in a circle through these 5 points, this will bring wandering energy to your heart and relax the body in the process.

 

Herb Spotlight: Wood Betony for the Brain

Herb Spotlight

WoodBetony1.jpgThis herb has such a spritely name and is said to have immense healing properties. There are many old phrases from Spain to Italy citing the encompassing powers of wood betony but today it isn’t as highly regarded. In America this isn’t a highly known herb, but I saw it in a tincture and became very interested in it’s healing powers. Specifically this is a great option for headaches and migraines and is also used to fight the common cold. The name is derived from Celtic Bew meaning head and ton meaning good, it’s good for the head.

Breakdown of Wood Betony

Scientific Name: Stachys officinalis [aka: betony, bishops-wert]

Magickal Stats: Elementally Earth, ruled by Jupiter & Mercury

Improves Function Of: 

  • Nervous System
  • Respiratory System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Cough, Bronchitis & Asthma
  • Nervousness & Anxiety
  • Headache, Toothache & Neuralgia
  • Colic & Gastrointestinal Spasm
  • Recovery from Addiction
  • Stress, Anxiety & Dizziness

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Protect & Purify Any Space
  • Connect & Channel Elementals
  • Encourage fairness & justice
  • Cleanse auric energies

How Does it Work?

The chemicals in Betony are said to decrease blood pressure which is probably why it aides in ailments of the head. It is commonly used to aide in anxiety aWoodBetonynd neuralgia, both brain based ailments. Aside from the listed symptom relief, Betony can also relieve diarrhea, kidney stones and epilepsy among other ailments.

What Do I Do With it?

For centuries, the leaves of wood betony have been used to create a drinkable tonic. Find the herb growing in temperate woods and thickets. It has a lingering warm taste that is both a sign of its place in the mint family and it’s warming, healing properties. Make an oil or a tonic to be taken alone or added to tinctures for countless healing benefits. Anoint yourself with the oil to cleanse the auric field. It is an obscure herb that is very hard to find, inquire with the apothecary you go to before making any long trips to find betony.

What’s In My Cup? Tea for Healthy Guts

Lifestyle, What's In My Cup?

We went on a trip to California last weekend and it was so much fun, my cousin was married and I saw the ocean again. When we travel we love to eat and drink the local fare,  but as two dairy free people who eat very little processed food we tend to get very sick for a week or so after we get home. This generally happens because dairy truly exists in almost everything so it’s hard to escape. Instead of lamenting about eating delicious foods I decided to hit the problem head on, so I formed another tea that will help create healthy guts and push anything through that your body may be having trouble digesting. Anyone who has recently indulged a bit too much or isn’t feeling 100% lately will enjoy the uplifting and revitalizing effects of this tea.

DigestiveTea3 copy

Simply Mix Together:

1/2 tsp dried dandelion root

1/2 tsp dried lemon grass

1/4 tsp dried calamus root

1 tsp dried spearmint

Put all of these herbs into your tea ball and put into your favorite mug. Pour 6-8 ounces of boiling water over the tea ball and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the ball after the tea has steeped, the calamus can become overwhelming when steeped too long. While you sit with this tea, swishing around your tea ball, meditate on movement. Not just the movement around you but the movement within you. Think about the kundalini energy of the chakras and inhale the pleasant aromas wafting from your cup. Your mantra for this tea blend is: I eliminate bad, I emanate good. 

What’s In My Cup? Heart Opener Tea

What's In My Cup?

Lately I’ve been working with the creator of this awesome clothing brand that is based on crystal healing through imagery. It made me super inspired to spread some information regarding opening the heart which is definitely something needed in our society. Especially as social media continues to warp us to thinking we need to constantly scrutinize and judge instead of loving and opening our arms unconditionally.

This cup of tea is a must brew for anyone who is having trouble loving others purely. Also think about enjoying this cup of tea if you need to work on loving yourself and finding your inner truth.

Simply Mix Together:

1/2 tsp dried Lavender buds

1/2 tsp dried Rose buds

just a dash dried Hibiscus flower

1 drop jasmine essential oil

Put all of these ingredients in a tea ball or muslin bag and drop them into your most beloved mug. If there is any ingredient that you absolutely love in tea then be sure to add that too, this mug is about you! Pour 6-8 ounces of boiling water over the tea ball and take note of all of the feelings that may arise. Be with those feelings, no matter how uncomfortable, and try to understand them. Opening the heart isn’t just about opening, it’s about digging around in there and unlocking the secrets to why it closed in the first place. This isn’t always a happy experience, but I guarantee that the light at the other side is worth it.