Herb Spotlight: Hops for Insomnia

Herb Spotlight

The most common use of hops is in beer but it also has healing properties due to it’s relationship to cannabis and the terpenes it gives off. Hops are valuable and that is probably how beer became so coveted in modern society. Like cannabis we use the flower for healing.

Scientific Name: Humulus lupulus [aka: beer bud]

Magickal Stats: Elementally air, ruled by the moon

Parts Used: flowerhops--32-l.jpg

Improves Function Of:

  • Appetite & Digestion

Aides In Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Nervous agitation, restlessness, anxiety & hysteria
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nervous stomach & irritable bladder
  • Wet Dreams, premature ejaculation
  • Decreases abnormally high male libido, priapism

Assists Spiritually With:

  • prophetic dreaming
  • ease the ill into tranquil sleep

How Does It Work?

One of the four oils found in hops is myrcene, a terpene that can help calm nervous anxiety and also relieve sleepless nights. It also has antibacterial properties that can be very effective when used topically.

What Do I Do With It?

The first thing that we can do is drink a beer. If you’re allergic to alcohol like I am you might prefer cannabis or a tincture. Find or make a topical balm or lotion for antibacterial healing. Put in an the sickroom  under a pillow to deliver ease in sleep for the ill. Also put in a satchet under the pillow to induce prophetic dreaming.

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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.

 

What’s In My Cup? Success & Vitality Tea

Lifestyle, What's In My Cup?

I’m sorry guys, it’s been so long since I shared a cup of tea with you. You see, I’ve been working with the same herbs and haven’t changed anything up in awhile. Most of my herb time is spent researching for Herb Spotlights here on the blog or brewing tea to put in my kombucha. But after spending some time brainstorming what kind of tea blends I’d like to see I decided to put a cup of success together.

There are certain herbs that have an affinity to bring success to those who utilize them correctly and I’ve taken all of the ones that would blend together in a delicious cup of tea and crafted just that. Aside form brewing up success in your life this tea blend will promote relaxation in your system while also bringing relief to a harsh respiratory system. It is also a powerful detoxification tea due to the dried dandelion and angelica roots.

Simply Mix Together:

1 tsp dried lavender

1 tsp dried licorice root

1/2 tsp dandelion

1/2 tsp angelica root

Mix these herbs in a tea ball or muslin bag and steep 10 minutes in boiling water. While steeping ponder on the area of life in which you’re looking for more success. Take in the aromas wafting towards you and be with yourself in a safe, confident place. Resonate with that confidence as you sip your cup and bring yourself back into waking life with the feeling of success, vitality and a confident self. While drinking your cup be with this mantra: I can when I believe. 

Herb Spotlight: Turmeric as a Cure-All

Herb Spotlight

This is one of those magical roots that can literally do anything. I like to drink it before bed in a cup of golden milk tea to induce a heavy slumber. It also does great things for almost every other aspect of the body. It is often used in asian foods and is one of the main elements in giving curry it’s vibrant color. Fun facts, it’s super orange color will dye your cutting board and tupperware which is why it is actually used as a dye in India and Thailand. Buddhist monks traditionally dye their robes with a ground up powder from the bright, beautiful root plant.

Breakdown of Turmeric

Scientific Name: Curcuma longa

Magickal Stats: Elementally Water, Ruled by the Moon

Improves Function Of:

  • Menstrual Cycle Regularity
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Cancer and Tumor Inhibitors
  • Cholesterol Reduction in liver and blood
  • Digestive System
  • Immune System
  • Liver Protectant & Kidney Cleansing

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Slows the progression of neuro-degenerative diseases
  • Angina Pectoris
  • Muscle Pain, Headaches and Strain

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Increase fertility in humans and animals
  • Protection & Good Health

How Does It Work? The chemical that gives turmeric it’s color and healing properties is called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to relieve inflammation in all areas of the body, which is why is helps to relieve pain and any other disease effected by inflammation. This antioxidant is joined by other powerful antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in the system for the other powerfully healthy effects that it may be capable of. When ingesting turmeric, black pepper should be included in the recipe to help your body absorb the Curcumin.

What Do I Do With It? The root plant is commonly ground into a fine powder that is then used to make decoctions for drinking, applying to the skin, enemas or mouthwashes. Check out the Golden Milk tea recipe and drink before bed for aiding insomnia, pain, inflammation and even ringworm. Mix turmeric with honey and sugar for a toxin purging exfoliating scrub. Add to toothpaste for a whitening effect and even put on the scalp with olive oil to fight dandruff the natural way.

Use turmeric to make an enema or mouthwash but be sure not to make this a long term plan for health. Try only once before consulting a doctor or dentist about the issue if symptoms persist.

 

4 Tips for a Yoga Beginner

how to, Yoga

People are kind of sick of me sometimes because I am always preaching things to them that have changed my life. I just get so passionate when I find something new that makes me feel good inside and out, when these rituals and practices find me I want to shout out about them on the rooftops. Yoga is most definitely one of those things. But after my 9 years of trying to get people to try out a class I’ve learned that not everyone thrives within the same experience. It kills me that sometimes people are completely turned off by yoga because they didn’t find themselves in the right capacity for their first yoga class ever. I compiled these tips in hopes that a beginner yogi will find their way into their practice with joy and ease.

  • Never, Ever Push Yourself Too Hard

After being a competitive athlete it was really difficult for me to understand that you can’t just push yourself into a final pose in yoga. My sheer willpower isn’t enough to make me Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 7.50.23 PMan advanced yogi, the only way to achieve that is with consistent practice. Being athletic can help but a lot of times in yoga being an athlete can work against you. Mostly because in American athletics we are focused on pushing ourselves all the way to the limits of our comfort levels. Yoga is quite the opposite, you can really hurt yourself if you use this mentality when approaching your practice. Your mind can be pretty loudly telling you to force yourself into a posture as you look around to these strong, bendy yogis around your class, ignore it. Keep working, slow and steady like a turtle. Eventually it will come, but it will take way longer if you pop your MCL or pull your abdominals. Take your time, listen to your body. Confront your instructor with any new sensations during the class to confirm if it is something to be worried about.

  • Go to Many Different Studios

I’ve had countless experiences at different yoga studios, often times 2 studios right down the street from each other are completely different. Don’t go to a studio and buy a month or tons of sessions; try out just one class before committing yourself to a huge payment. It is possible that you might not like the first studio that you try. Before even going in for a class its smart to check out the schedule with a couple of things in mind. First off assess your own level; for the purpose of this article I’m pretty sure that you’re a beginner. So only choose classes that are Level 1 or marked for beginners; this will ensure that you’re not terrified by a class way past your beginner skill level. Next decide the type of class that you’re looking for. Here are a couple of classes that are common in the yoga world, there will also be classes that are simply labelled Beginner Yoga; that is always a good option.

Hatha: This style of yoga focuses on holding poses for around 5 breathes, it combines some movement with focus on deepening into poses.

Ashtanga: Enjoy a fast connection of movements that really ramp up your cardiovascular system, this is a great class for upper body strength.  My arms have never been as in shape as they were when I practiced Ashtanga 4 times per week. Beginners who are quite strong or athletes that needs more movement to stay focused should try this mode of yoga first. Beginner yogis that aren’t naturally athletic might want to steer clear of Ashtanga first thing.

Yin: Oh man, I tell everyone that will listen about Yin yoga classes. My first yin class I was Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.00.43 PM.pnga little bit out of my element but it started a journey that led to soaking up as much yin as possible. Yin is the opposite side (Yang) of the yoga styles that are fast paced and build muscles. Yin helps to repair connective tissue through laying in supported poses (using pillows and blocks) for 3-5 minutes. The muscle can repair itself and the mind can actually take time to purely STOP. This is one of my favorite modes of yoga because those who say they’re too hurt to develop a practice can’t be, they just need to use props and eventually they will find the ability to heal themselves. 

Iyengar: I won’t go too much into the story of Iyengar after my spirited Yin rant but basically BKS Iyengar’s story is amazing and every yogi should know it. This yoga class will feature a vinyasa (faster) movement style using props to assist your body in feeling the pose with out the full expression being unlocked in your body. Use a combination of straps and blocks to truly feel with your body may not allow you to do alone just yet.

  • Develop a Home Practice

I don’t think I went to a real yoga class until after I’d been practicing for more than 6 months. My first yoga experiences were with my living room and Namaste Yoga for FitTV by Kate Potter. Having an understanding of rudimentary poses before going to a class that I paid for made me kind of feel like I was getting the most for my money. Over the years my home practice has developed, I generally don’t use videos anymore. Now with my knowledge from regular classes I just get on my mat and create an entire flow from the feelings and movements that pour from my body. Developing a home practice helps a new yogi to understand the meditation and relaxation within the movements of yoga because there aren’t any distractions around. Check out The Bad Yogi for really great videos to help structure a positive home practice. I’m also a big fan of Kino’s youtube channel for Ashtanga heavy theory and practice.

  • Don’t Give Up, Yoga is a Daily Practice

I’ve been practicing for almost 10 years on and off, there were full years where I wouldn’t get on my mat. I’m sure that it goes with out saying that those yoga-less years were often the ones where I was going through painful, existential crises where I just wasn’t myself. I joined Instagram’s thriving yoga community and started to notice that yogis that had practiced only 2 years were able to accomplish poses that were just so beyond me. I started to get down on myself, to feel less than while I lurked around different photos comparing myself. It’s often these times where I quit things, where I give up because it’s easier than putting in the actual work to step up my game and rise above self pity. This time I decided that I wasn’t going to sabotage myself like that, that instead I would be inspired by these Insta-Yogis to dedicate my knowledge to the mat. Now I practice every day for AT LEAST 20 minutes and I’m unlocking arm balances and binds that were just impossible to me before. I share this portion of my egotistical comparing competitive mind because yoga isn’t something that people are just good at.

Yoga is a journey where you slowly release the light in your spirit through mastery of poses, calmness of the mind and growth in the soul. Everyone starts somewhere, don’t get discouraged just be inspired to continue.

RESOURCES These are a few of my favorite studios in the couple of places that I’ve visited.

Flagstaff, Arizona: Northern Arizona Yoga Center

Dana Point, CA: I Heart Yoga in the Park

San Francisco, CA: Yoga to the People

What’s In My Cup? Cough, Cold & Fever Relief

What's In My Cup?

Generally the waves of the universe call me to write a cup of tea that pairs with the herb that I’ve chosen to spotlight that week. This week I decided that it’d be nice to have a nice cup of cold relief tea. This blend was designed to soothe a sore throat, eliminate congestion, sweat out a fever and reduce the symptoms of a cough all while boosting the immune system to help your body heal faster.

Mix the following ingredients into a tea ball:

1 tsp dried spearmint

1/2 tsp dried elder leaf/flower

1/2 tsp dried licorice

1/2 tsp dried angelica root

Pour 6-8 ounces of boiling water over the tea ball in your favorite, easy to hold mug. Let the wafting scents wash over and through you, let whatever thought nags you to take center stage. Look at that thought, understand it, and release it from yourself. Take the tea ball out after anywhere from 10-15 minutes, licorice can taste very strong so adjust the amount as necessary. While sitting with your cup get as comfortable as possible and focus on the mantra: I am vibrant.

Herb Spotlight: Lavender for… Everything

Herb Spotlight

I’m putting in my lavender seeds today so I figured, why not hit on one of the best herbs to have around. The floral, fragrant aroma is phenomenal in promoting a relaxed, stress free feeling. It can almost do anything around the home while also looking and smelling fantastic in your garden or in pots on the porch.

Breakdown of Lavender

Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia [aka: elf leaf, naid]

Parts Used: dried flower (no stems)

Magickal Stats: Elementally water, ruled by Mercury

Improves Function of: 

  • Digestive System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms Of:

  • Anxiety, nervousness, worry & depression
  • Sleeplessness specifically related to nightmares
  • Nervous Stomach, nausea & motion sickness
  • Indigestion
  • Headache
  • Acne

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Protecting & Purifying the home
  • Promoting growing love
  • Bringing peace

How Does It Work? 

Lavender is the derivative herb of the terpene Linalool that creates feelings of relaxation when made into a tea, used in aromatherapy or keeping in a satchel. It has shown to be anti fungal, anti inflammatory, anti depressant, anti-septic, antibacterial or antimicrobial properties. Lavender extract or water is also a valuable sedative, analgesic, hypotensive and detoxifying.

What Do I Do With It?

Use the flowers only, not the stems. They can be made into a water that can be used for skincare or made into a tea. Dried flowers can be placed into a potpourri or magical satchet. Add to an olive or coconut oil and create a moisturizer that can help relieve muscle tension or acne. Essential oil can be used in countless ways. Add to home made laundry detergent or home cleaner. It can also be dropped into a foot soak, inhaled or vaporized for it’s wonderful medicinal effects.

Herb Spotlight: Kava Kava

Herb Spotlight

I am so sorry it has been so long since an herb spotlight on the blog. I have been very caught up in waking life, so much so that I feel my whimsy slowly seeping out of me. I pray that I will find my light again and rise out of these depths, my mood suffers so much that it is beginning to bring down those around me.

So let’s pick it up by learning how to bring it down! Kava is a natural relaxation herb that can have intoxicating effects at high intake levels. The flavor profile is earthy with aftertastes of sweetness, the consistency brewed with tea is thick and syrupy in a pleasant way.

Breakdown of Kava

Scientific Name: Piper methysticum [aka: ava, awa]

Parts Used: Dried Root

Magickal Stats: Water Element, Ruled by Neptune and Saturn

Improves Function of: 

  • Central Nervous System
  • Urinary system

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • PMS
  • UTI
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Muscle tension
  • Neuralgia

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Communing with the Gods and Goddesses
  • Protection and Restoration for the ill
  • Facilitating psychic visions

How Does It Work?

For a documented 3000 years the people of the South Pacific have been using kava as a natural anti-depressant and a means to relax the conscious mind. South Pacific cultures even use Kava to facilitate reconciliations within groups of people. The kavalactones found in the kava shrub interact with the Central Nervous System to give the sedative and relaxing effects. Beware that kavalactones inhibit quite a bit of hepatic enzymes and interact poorly with certain medications. Consult a physician before using kava medicinally.

What Do I Do With It?

Root Elixir:

The root is dried and can be found in powder, capsule or dried whole form. Create a decoction by combining 6 TB of dried powder root in 2 cups of boiling water, let sit with lid on for 5 minutes. Strain and let sit in fridge 24-36 hours and then enjoy. I like to also make tea and drink it immediately, the longer it sits the thicker and more syrupy the philtre will be. Drink to help calm the mind and nerves, this will help psychic thought flow through you. Also drink to connect to others, the gods and the universal energy. Also have a harmed or sick patient chew a bit of the root to use in a right of protection for them.

If using a tincture take 30-40 drops 2-5 times per day. Taking one dose is sometimes available at 150ml per dose.

Root Topical:

A topical balm can be created to be applied as an anti fungal cream. Has been found effective in athletes foot and even vaginitis.

WARNING: Kava can damage an already harmed liver and can be dangerous in large amounts. PLEASE consult a physician before using it at all.

Do not take kava if:

  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • You have been told by your healthcare professional that you are depressed.

  • You have a liver disease such as hepatitis.

  • You have Parkinson’s disease.

  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Kava might cause excessive sedation if combined with medications used during and after surgery.

What’s In My Cup? Relaxation Station Edition

What's In My Cup?

Wow. Since the last Full Moon I’ve felt my entire being shifted and catapulted in different directions just dragging my mind and emotions along with it. I haven’t felt stable in months and it’s wearing on me, my love, my job and my blogging. For some reason it is in these times that I forget all of the knowledge I have to help myself out of this rut.

Venus has moved retrograde and it is bouncing me around to past feelings in relationships that are complete void in my current love situation. I am almost regressing my emotional self within my relationship and it’s really confusing. I think it comes down to fixing this behavior. I need to honor it and move through to another phase of my adult self within the confines of joining that self with another. Any who, I digress. This is intense spiritual work, to look back at yourself without judgement and heal those wounds that only you can heal. It makes us better to further our foundation, but the work it takes to do so relies on a balanced and relaxed mind. Right, that might be something that I’m not blessed with at the moment.

SO my decoction of the day is so simple, so delicious and oh so relaxing. Just combining these two herbs compliment each other in flavor and create a perfect evening or afternoon beverage.

This Brew Aides In:

-Anxiety Relief

-Stress Relief

-Communing with the Gods

-Relaxing the mind

-Restful sleep

Simply Mix Together:

1 TB dried Kava Root

1.5 TB Lavender

Put the herbs into your tea ball and into your mug. Pour 6-8 ounces of boiling water over the tea ball into the mug and let sit for 5-15 minutes depending your taste for the herbs and desired steep. Kava has a tendency to feel more thick and syrupy when filtered. For me the taste is that of deep sweetness hinted with a floral musk. Kava Kava is said to promote divine thought due to the effects of relaxation in the conscious mind. It is also known to be a muscle relaxant. Lavender will help with relaxing the mind as well as erasing worry. Spiritually lavender has been known to help in protection spells, specifically in the home. It increases love and fidelity and can be used when fresh or dried.

Sit with your cup, let the aromas wash over you with their warmth. Remind yourself of this mantra: My time is mine

WARNING: Please be careful before brewing this mixture, if you have any history of liver damage or disease consult a physician before ever using Kava root in your daily regimen. 

What’s In My Cup?

What's In My Cup?

Today’s blend is inspired by my boyfriend as I blended it specifically for him. This one embodies earthy flavors and focuses on detoxing and fortifying the immune system. This can be an evening or daytime cup but is low on energy rising herbs. This blend will nourish the liver and help the body to process other vital nutrients, it will also aid in digestion.

Brew up a cup if it has been a snowy Spring season like it has here in Flagstaff to avoid getting a cold. Or just throw these herbs together to start your day by awakening your immune system.

This specific blend will aid in the following:

  • Immune System Boosting
  • Digestive Aid
  • Relaxation

Simply Mix Together:

1 TB Chamomile

1/2 TB Dandelion Root

1/4 TB Lemon Balm

1/2 TB Purple Echinacea

I have a tea ball but you can put this mixture into a one time use tea bag also. In hot water steep for about 8-15 minutes depending on personal preference.

Hold your cup and meditate on the following mantra: Be easy, Go slowly.