Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bath Tea: Infuse Yourself




“Bath tea” may be a confusing pair of words for many folks, as herbal baths are not especially popular in American culture. While bath salts line the shelves of health food and drug stores, bath teas are far less common. When I sold herbal products, people did not line up at my booth to purchase bath teas.

I think this has something to do with our culture of convenience. It is hard enough to sell loose-leaf drinking tea to most people, who don’t want to mess with straining herbs. It’s no surprise that this is the case, because herbal medicine in general is overlooked by today’s pill-popping society. As such, the idea of taking the time to bathe with herbs is a foreign concept for many.

By Zachary via Wikimedia Commons

Nature’s Bounty

And yet, bath tea is such a simple way to use nature’s bounty to promote health of the body, mind, and soul. Baths in general are wonderful for our health. And yes, this includes men’s health! It takes a real man to step into a bathtub and enjoy its sensual nature. That’s right—this is a bit of a playful challenge for all you guys out there who feel a little too manly for a bath. First of all, I commend you for reading this far into the article. Second, let me explain that I’m not asking you to take a bubble bath while listening to Enya and chanting (aaah, but wouldn’t that be lovely?). I’m just saying that we are all humans with bodies that require care, and taking a bath is a kind of therapy. Call it hydrotherapy if you must; just don’t deprive yourself of this curative creature comfort.

By Giovanni Dall'Orto via Wikimedia Commons
The hot water of a bath promotes circulation throughout the body, which helps treat inflammation of the muscles and joints. The increased blood flow also heals the skin from the inside out. Our pores open up, allowing impurities to release into the water. Baths also promote deep relaxation and meditative states. I myself have had many a spiritual insight in the tub. In fact, the idea to pursue herbalism first came to me while taking a bath! Believe it or not, I have found that certain meditative visions and experiences happen only in the tub.


Adding herbs to the equation makes taking a bath all the more healing. The idea is very similar to herbal tea: you infuse hot bathwater with herbs, so they extract their medicinal compounds into the water. While soaking in the herbal infusion with your pores open and your blood flowing, you absorb this medicine through the body’s largest organ—your skin. 



How to Create Bath Tea

 

The beauty of bath tea as a healing modality is its inexpensive and easy nature. You don’t need to buy oils or alcohol to extract the medicine from the plants; the water does that for you. All you need are herbs and a bag—simple as that.

For earthier types, it might be tempting to just throw a handful of flowers or leaves into the bath and jump in. But believe me, it only takes one instance of painstakingly picking flowers from one’s hair to de-romanticize the whole Scott McKenzie “San Francisco” hippie flower-child business. This is where the bag comes in handy.

It doesn’t have to be very big—just about 2x4 or 3x5 inches works nicely. Ideally, it is made of natural cotton or muslin, and it should have a drawstring on the top. I made mine myself, as it’s a simple sewing job, but even simpler is buying one pre-made. If you’re lucky, you might spot one in a store; otherwise, they can be found online inexpensively.  Sometimes, companies require a large purchase quantity with these bags. I recommend one of two sites for those looking for a small quantity. At Sunburst Bottles you can buy just one bag. At Etsy, I found a company that sells as few as ten, and they are organic (which is always better). I see no problem in stocking up on these, as they are also useful for sachets and other things.

Just pack your little bag with either fresh or dried herbs of your choice and close the drawstring. (Below I’ve included my top five choices for bath tea herbs.) As you run the bath, hang your bag from the faucet by the drawstring and allow the water to run over the bag. When your bath is full, take the bag down and drop it into the tub. It can stay there as you bathe. You can squeeze the bag to encourage the release of more herbal goodness. You can even rub it across your skin for added potency. When you’re done, just compost the spent herbs, rinse your bag and hang it up to dry.


Top Five Herbs for the Bath

 

#1- Ginger 

This herb boosts circulation in the body, making it a great choice for treating achy muscles and joints as well as cold and flu. Ginger baths are stimulating and invigorating. The effects can be felt immediately—you may even start sweating, which helps your body release toxins. Hot Ginger baths are a great alternative to a sauna. I like to take Ginger baths during a detox, and also throughout the winter to keep me warm and healthy. Preferably your Ginger root will be fresh and diced just before use, but you can also use dried Ginger. (If your Ginger is powdered, you can ditch the muslin bag just this once.)

 

#2- Oats

Wait, isn’t this a food? Indeed, Oats are both food and medicine. You can use plain oatmeal for the bath, or the herb known as Oatstraw, which is the green, grass-like portion of the same plant, Avena Sativa. This Latin name inspired the brand Aveeno, which produces lotion and other products with Oats as the active ingredient. While both are beneficial, I prefer using Oats because they exude a gel-like substance that softens the skin. You can even squeeze the gel out of the bag to use as a natural shaving lotion. Oatstraw and oatmeal baths are commonly recommended for all kinds of skin ailments. Oats help with itchy, flaky, or dry skin, caused by eczema, insect bites, or even chicken pox. Avena is also calming to the nervous system, and relieves stress and nervous exhaustion. In her book Healing Wise, Susun Weed recommends Oatstraw baths for a number of serious ailments, including cystitis, rheumatism, urinary tract or kidney issues, and neuralgia.

 

#3- Calendula

A well-known herb popularly used in natural body care products, Calendula flowers heal wounds, soothe inflammation, and clear infection. Sunburns, cat scratches, herpes sores, and rashes are all good reasons to bathe with Calendula. Possessing a strong solar energy, these orange and yellow blooms promote cheerful feelings and clear away mild melancholy. Matthew Wood calls Calendula “herbal sunshine,” and uses the plant to get the lymph moving throughout the body. It is an especially useful herb in wintertime, when the lack of warmth and sunshine causes malaise and seasonal affective disorder. What better time for a hot Calendula bath?

 

#4- Peppermint

The power of mint has been known since ancient times. According to legend, Cleopatra used mint oil in her secret beauty preparations. The Ancient Greeks called mint “Aphrodite’s Crown” as a testament to its stimulating properties. While peppermint might stir up your primal passions, it is even more useful for intellectual intercourse, as its aroma stimulates the central hippocampus of the brain. Peppermint promotes mental clarity, memory, and improved concentration for those feeling fatigued. This aromatic herb also contains menthol, and is a good choice for opening the nasal passages during a cold or flu. As if all of this weren’t enough, the potent Peppermint plant also fights nausea and boosts the digestion, making it a wonderful ally during illness.

 

#5- Nettle

By Robert Reisman via Wikimedia Commons
Also known as Stinging Nettle, this herb contains hairs that sting the skin on contact. Thankfully, this effect diminishes with drying, so dried Nettle is recommended for herbal baths. (However, fresh Nettle does have a history of use as a remedy for arthritis. Patients flogged with the stalks experienced surface irritation of the skin, but a deeper healing of the joints.) Nettle is highly nourishing for the skin and hair. According to Susun Weed, “Hair gleams, grows, thickens, and darkens when nourished and rinsed with nettle infusions.”  Various scalp and skin maladies, including dandruff and acne, can be treated with Nettle baths. Weed also explains that Nettle clears the aura and promotes the release of old energy patterns.

 

Final Tips

 

By DENzer via Wikimedia Commons

 

Waste Not, Want Not:   
Certain table scraps can be saved and used as bath tea. Instead of throwing away citrus peels or the skin of Ginger root, collect these goodies in your muslin bag and use them for a nice bath before composting.




Give Your Bath a Boost:  
For added potency, you can also make a strong tea of the herbs in your kitchen, and then pour the infusion into your bathwater. I like to do this for Ginger and other roots because they are sturdy materials. Bring the roots to a boil, simmer for several minutes, and then strain the decoction into the tub. You can then fill your muslin bag with these roots and bathe as usual. When creating an infusion or decoction of herbs beforehand, just remember to keep your kettle or pot covered so that the crucial essential oils of the herbs are not evaporated.


By KaiMartin via Wikimedia Commons
As Within, So Without:   
To amplify the healing effects of your herbal bath, brew a cup of tea using the same herb and drink it as you bathe. Each plant I’ve mentioned above can also be drunk as tea, with the exception of oatmeal. You can either eat a bowl of oatmeal before hopping into the tub, or brew a cup of Oatstraw tea to bring with you. While your body does absorb a plant’s healing compounds through the pores during a hot bath, taking an infusion internally ensures that you get a strong dose of the medicine. The hot liquid warms you from the inside out, promoting better circulation and detoxification.


Infuse Yourself

The primary thing to remember when creating herbal baths is to relax and enjoy the experience. This is your time, set aside from the demands of the outside world, to care for yourself. Water gets us in touch with our emotions and intuition. It also serves to cleanse away impurities and leave us feeling fresh and new. Enhance your bathing experience by lighting candles and playing relaxing music. Clear your mind and meditate on how good it feels to be in the warm, healing water. If you are working to heal a particular condition, visualize yourself as healthy and whole. Go ahead; infuse yourself!







Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kava: The Intoxicating Pepper (A Beginner’s Guide)



Typically, I stock my apothecary with plants I can either wildcraft or grow myself. But Kava, native to the South Pacific, is an exception to this rule. Its Latin name, Piper methysticum, means “intoxicating pepper.” Sure enough, this plant can evoke wonderful feelings of relaxation and well-being. But Kava’s healing qualities go far beyond recreation. As a powerful pain reliever, anti-spasmodic, antiseptic and anti-anxiety medicine, Kava is a must-have in my book. Read on to discover why, when and how to use this most beneficial plant medicine.

By hdwallpapers.in, via Wikimedia Commons
What does it feel like?

The Kava feeling seems to vary from person to person. I have known a couple of people who “zone out” with Kava, and for this reason avoid it. To me, the feeling is comparable to a prescription-level pain pill, minus the mental fogginess and drugged feeling. There is a distinct numbness that creeps over you as soon as you imbibe good-quality Kava. It begins with the lips, and moves down through your digestive tract and throughout the body. Interestingly, one of its uses is for a lack of appetite. I can affirm this—Kava munchies, if you will.

For me, the main center of the Kava feeling is the chest. It’s a palpable feeling of painlessness, and it comes with the sensation of a very pleasant weight, as if a warm, loving hand is placed over your heart. This goes along with a general feeling of relaxed well-being.

By Lauren Raine (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I find that a moderate amount of Kava does not impair my senses. Granted, my constitution is mostly of the Vata dosha, meaning that I have an active mind and tend towards an excess of nervous energy. Herbs affect everyone differently because of the way they interact with our personal constitution, chemistry and energy system. Those who are more naturally relaxed may find Kava to be more deeply sedative than I do. But for this admittedly high-strung hummingbird, taking Kava during the day does not cause me to feel tired or fall asleep prematurely—it merely promotes relaxation and clarity. It is also a wonderful meditation aid, especially for deep work as in shamanic journeys.

Conventional Downers and the Energy System


Most sedatives such as alcohol and prescription pain pills dull our senses; in serious episodes of drunken debauchery, people can black out altogether. When this happens, I theorize that the upper chakras shut down—especially the crown chakra that connects us to the divine and our higher selves, the third eye that serves as intuition, and the heart chakra that connects us to feelings of true love. The throat chakra, which governs communication, can still function to an extent, but people in the black-out state would be better off not talking!
By Tom Varco, via Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, the lower-vibration chakras that govern our ego, sex drives, and basic survival take over, so we can still eat, drink, have sex, and get into fights while completely unconscious. Our reptilian brains take over, and in the worst cases, most vestiges of humanity are lost. The same thing happens to a lesser extent when we drink any amount of alcohol, or take a synthetic muscle-relaxer or pain reliever. Our senses are dulled, and we are less likely to make healthy choices.

 
Kava and the Chakras

Unlike synthetic pain relievers or alcohol, Kava actually improves memory and mental clarity. Rather than shutting down the upper chakras unlike conventional downers, Kava simply eases them. While it can calm an over-active mind or soothe an aching heart, it does not obliterate the functions of the mind or heart in the process. In fact, Kava helps still the mind for meditation, so that the typical monkey-brain thoughts invoking worry, fear or stress are easier to manage. You do not forget or ignore your troubles, but truly transcend them into a place of peace. Therein lies the unique glory of the so-called Intoxicating Pepper. I have found that with Kava on hand, I drink less alcohol and as a result feel healthier and more energetic.

Multi-faceted Medicine

There are myriad modes of application for Kava root. For one, it is great to calm the nerves. Those under stress or people prone to anxiety attacks benefit greatly from its use. Once prepared, its effects are fast-acting and last for many hours.

Kava is even used in cases of depression, as it can promote feelings of well-being and acceptance. Improving our mood even for a little while creates space to bring about happier thoughts. Because we tend to draw what we think about into our lives via the Law of Attraction, this in turn brings about a happier and healthier reality. Kava can also be used to treat anorexia, due to its positive effects on the mood and appetite.

Relief from pain is a huge benefit of Kava. When prepared properly (see directions below), it is the best herbal pain-reliever I have tried. Because of its antispasmodic nature, it’s great for muscle cramps and spasms. Back pain can be treated with Kava. Urinary tract infections are another good reason to drink Kava. Not only will your pain be reduced, but the diuretic and antiseptic qualities of the plant will actually help heal the infection. Toothaches, earaches, neuralgia, and even Parkinson’s disease are benefited by Kava. It can also be used topically as an antifungal for ringworm or athlete’s foot. Truly, Kava is a multi-faceted medicine!


By Oliver Stein via Wikimedia Commons

Moon-time Maladies 
and the Phone Bill

One of my all-time favorite moments to drink Kava is during PMS and my menstrual cycle. It eliminates cramps like no other natural substance I’ve tried. Better still, Kava goes above and beyond the call of duty to boost the mood as well. As women know, there can be something of a raw edge to the emotions during moon-time. For some ladies, anger and aggression is the result. For me, extreme cases manifest as a melt-down of tears and fears behind closed doors. “Will my life ever be how I want it? Doesn’t anybody love me? I don’t like the way my body looks!” Oh, you laugh now—but when your time comes, just take a swig of Kava. It’s not a magic eraser, but it promotes a measure of distance between you and the perceived problem. A sense of peace during menstrual maladies is priceless, especially in today’s world where women are expected to continue functioning normally during this vulnerable and sacred time.  

Ed Smith, the co-founder of Herb Pharm in Williams, Oregon, is a big Kava fan. In his Therapeutic Herb Manual, he explains that traditionally, Kava is “taken with a group to enhance sociability and evoke feelings of empathy and camaraderie, and is often used to settle disputes and facilitate reconciliation.”


Herb Pharm Family Summer 2010-Ed Smith is top right.

As an Herb Pharm intern in 2010, I took a class with “Herbal Ed” in which he told a great story about his friend who lived with a few roommates. When it came time to discuss the phone bill, they would all drink Kava together. Rather than arguing about who made which call and who owed the most money, they would soften up and start claiming calls in a generous, open-hearted manner. Clearly, there are moments in each of our lives that call for Kava!

A Word of Warning

Photo of a sign outside Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia, where kava is encouraged as a safer alternative to alcohol. Photo by Ray Norris via Wikimedia Commons.
It is true that the FDA has some very serious-sounding warnings about this plant. To put this in perspective, this is the same FDA that does not require labeling of GMOs, and is reportedly run by former Monsanto employees. The FDA certainly does not match my personal standards for health regulation, and I believe each of us must decide for ourselves what is healthy. There is some evidence to suggest that poor-quality Kava has been adulterated with stems and leaves (or other plants altogether!), causing the rare health issues that crop up with its use.

Thus, choosing a good-quality source for your Kava is of the utmost importance. I recommend Kona Kava, which is a family-owned organic Kava farm in Hawaii that produces potent and high-quality root, not diluted with stem or leaf. Their website is chocked full of information and recipes, and you can tell they really love what they do. I buy the powdered root by the pound for the best deal.

That being said, Kava is not for everyone. It should not be used in cases of liver damage or disease, and it should not be mixed with alcohol. As a sedative, it does lower reaction time, so driving or anything else that requires full attention and coordination should be avoided. As with anything, too much can be harmful. Treating this plant with respect and moderation will ensure a healing and uplifting experience.

Kava Preparation: Theory

There are many ways to indulge in the Kava experience, and differing schools of thought on this subject abound. Some go for high-potency, some for authenticity in relation to traditional preparation, and some go for the best taste. Here is what my studies and experiences have taught me:

Generally, herbal extracts work better than ingesting dried herbs (as in capsules), because the body doesn’t have to work as hard to assimilate the substance. Though this fact is not well-known by the general public, it is true for the vast majority of herbs. This is the reason why many people claim that herbal medicine “doesn’t work.” They have simply bought a capsule of dried herb and felt no effects. Extracting herbs in water (as in tea), alcohol (as in tincture), or in fat (as in salve) works best for potency.

In addition to this general extraction principle, you must also take into account the specific components of a plant that you want to extract for the desired effect. This is an art unto itself. Kava contains various active compounds, known as kavalactones, including those soluable by alcohol, water, and fat.

However, according to the Kona Kava website, the most physiologically active kavalactones are fat soluable. The website sells soy lecithin to be added to preparations for better extraction, but I have had good results by using whole milk. I have taken Kava as a tincture before, which did work to an extent, but not as well as extraction with milk. Even Herbal Ed Smith, who owns a tincture company that sells Kava extracts, admits that a tincture is not the best form. To be fair, there is value in keeping the tincture on hand for quick consumption or in case of travel.

And yet, the idea behind preparing Kava is not only to extract, but also to create an emulsion, whereby the active compounds are temporarily suspended in the liquid. In traditional times, this was achieved by virgins chewing the root. I find easier to use a blender, myself.

Kava Preparation: Practice

Here is my personal recipe for Kava—I like to call it a “Kava milkshake.” It is a conglomeration of other recipes I’ve come across, modified to be simple, yet potent. I cover the fat-soluable base with the use of whole milk, and the emulsion principle by using a blender and drinking it the same day. (For vegans, I recommend using coconut milk.)





Tightly-woven cheesecloth
Supplies Needed:

*Powdered Kava Root (two heaping tablespoons)

*Milk (6-8 ounces)

*Blender

*Muslin bag or tightly-woven cheesecloth

*Tablespoon and Measuring Cup




Directions:

A heaping dose of love!
-Measure 6-8 ounces of milk in measuring cup and pour into blender. (I use raw, organic whole milk.)

-Scoop two heaping tablespoons of Kava root powder into blender. (I usually heap the tablespoons very high, depending on how potent I want the blend.)

-Briefly turn on blender to mix milk with Kava, making sure all root powder is moistened.

-Let sit for up to an hour. This will aid in the extraction process.

Wrap the cloth around the cup with a rubber band to let it strain.
-Blend for 4-5 minutes. Do this in 2-minute increments if your blender motor protests.

-Pour into measuring cup through muslin bag or cheesecloth. (You can use any cup or glass, or even a coconut shell for authenticity. As a pragmatist, I like to create the fewest dishes possible). I like to let it sit and strain by itself for 10-20 minutes, but if you’re anxious to try your Kava, you can start squeezing right away. Press bag so that you get as much liquid out as possible.

-Drink promptly, as the emulsion falls out of solution with time.

Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the cloth.
-As Kava drinkers know, the idea is to gulp down the milkshake as fast as you can. The taste is not something to savor, but to get through. It is fairly bitter and tastes earthy like soil. However, after a few nice Kava experiences, you will learn to associate the taste with the happy feelings, thus nullifying your aversion.

-Give thanks for your Kava experience.


A Healthy Alternative

There you have it—a beginner’s guide to the Intoxicating Pepper. There is a wealth of more information available at the Kona Kava website, among many other places. Of course, the best information is gleaned from personal experience, so trying Kava for yourself is a great way to find out more.

Kava is an indispensable medicine—one that treats body, mind, and soul. It is a healthy alternative to alcohol and other relaxants, uplifting the senses and spirit rather than dulling them. It is also a way around the pharmaceutical industry, and can even replace over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol. Kava is a mood-enhancer and pain reliever, and boosts one’s sense of sociability, kindheartedness, and peace. This sacred medicine has been used safely for over 3,000 years by traditional Polynesian cultures. As with all natural substances, our DNA has a long history of relationship with Kava (unlike our relative one-night stand with modern synthetic drugs). In today’s increasingly stressful world, Kava is a plant ally par excellence.




Monday, September 24, 2012

Herbs And Crystals: A Dynamic Duo



Herbs and Crystals: A Dynamic Duo



If you are an herbalist, using crystals can enhance your practice. Crystalline vibrations complement the healing energy of plants, boosting the overall effect of herbal remedies. For one, crystals aid the growing of medicinal plants, improving strength and yield of harvest. They also make great additions to brewing tinctures, adding layers of energetic healing to the already-potent potion. Crystals can also help us understand plants on a spiritual level. The partnership of crystals and herbs is a dynamic duo—a highly-charged interaction with wonderful results.

A Flourishing Garden

Moss Agate is known for its ability to foster growth in the plant kingdom. Suspended in a translucent, milky white background are green tendrils that resemble moss. Another form is Tree Agate, which is typically more opaque and contains more white than green. Both stones have similar grounding properties, promoting connection to nature.

These crystals benefit gardens in a couple different ways. First, they bring out our green thumb by attuning us to nature so that we resonate more freely with natural rhythms. This ability is great for gardeners, who have to pay attention to plant cycles. Meditating outdoors with Moss or Tree Agate is a great way to align yourself with the beauty and bounty of Mother Nature. Moss Agate can help you connect with nature spirits, while Tree Agate is especially useful for tuning in to the wisdom of trees.

Infusion of Moss Agate in Water
These Agates also fosters plant growth, boosting the viability of seedlings, strengthening mature plants, and increasing harvests. You can place a stone in garden soil or a potted houseplant, or create a small outdoor alter near your garden for sacred objects such as beneficial crystals. Another nice way to boost plant growth is by infusing the stone in the water you use for your plants. Just set the stone in a container of water for a couple of hours, preferably in the sunlight, and intend that the water soak up the healing benefits of the crystal. Remove the agate and water your plants as usual.


A Crystal-Clear Brew

Placing a healing stone in a jar of brewing tincture magnifies the effects of the herbal remedy. Of course, care must be taken to avoid potentially toxic effects of certain stones. Use only hard and polished stones, not anything that will powder or flake off, and do a little research to ensure it is not toxic. The dust of Malachite, for example, is known to be toxic, so avoid using this crystal in your tinctures. If unsure about a crystal, you can impart its vibration to your brew indirectly by placing the stone on or near the jar. (Another word to the wise: while crystals make a nice addition to cold infusions, dropping one into hot tea can have disastrous effects for your beloved stone, so it’s good idea to avoid hot crystal infusions as well.)


Quartz Crystal on Milky Oats Tincture
How do you choose the appropriate stone for a certain tincture? Again, a bit of research is in order. Consider the physical as well as emotional properties of the plant you are macerating. For example, Hawthorn is a world-class heart remedy, healing both the physical and energetic heart. Adding a stone that works with the heart, such as Rose Quartz or Aventurine, will amplify Hawthorn’s healing power. You could even take it a step further and use a heart-shaped stone.

Another favorite combination is adding Lapis Lazuli into a Feverfew tincture made for migraines, or into a Lavender brew for headaches. Keep in mind that a single plant has myriad healing capabilities. Use your choice of crystal to augment the medicinal properties you’d like to bring out. For example, use a heart stone when creating a Motherwort tincture to aid the heart. But, if your Motherwort tincture is for PMS, choose a stone that will soothe and balance the sacral chakra, such as Moonstone. Or, a clear quartz crystal is always a good choice for magnifying all   healing aspects of an herb.

Connecting with Spirit

Stones are often used for meditation, divination, and connecting with our spirit guides. They also aid the art of plant spirit healing, connecting with the spiritual nature of plants for healing on multiple levels. We’ve already discussed meditating with Moss or Tree Agate to connect with plants. You can also leave crystals as offerings to nature spirits, which is an appropriate practice when harvesting plants. Azurite Blueberries, small blue stones that Native Americans have used to connect with spirits, are among my favorites for offerings. However, you may use any stone of personal significance.

A crystal pendulum is another way to connect with Spirit, and can be used to determine which remedy to use. This is especially effective for choosing flower essences, since these are strictly energetic medicines that heal psychological and archetypal patterns. Sometimes our minds tend to think we need help in one area of life when the root cause lies elsewhere. Letting Spirit guide your choice can be educational and transformational.

Moss Agate Pendulum
To use the pendulum, first determine how it indicates yes and no answers. (For more information on how to do this, click here.) Then, simply hold a bottle of flower essence in one hand, with the pendulum suspended above it in the other, and ask if you need this essence. You might choose to do this blindly, so that you cannot see the name of the essence and your conscious mind does not interfere with the process. The same technique can be done with other herbal remedies, especially when choosing between two plants with similar actions. Of course, herbal medicines can be very potent, so it’s good practice to research stronger remedies such as tinctures to ensure you make the right choice.

Healing Intentions

The beauty of healing is that the more care you take in creating your remedies, the better they work. Ritual and intention are just as much a part of healing as the herbs themselves. Divine energies take notice when you put your mind and heart to healing, so the more loving intention you put into each bottle of tincture, the more healing is reflected back to you and your clients.

Taking the time to honor the Earth and plant spirits with offerings or connect to them through meditation also boosts our own healing capabilities. Gaia loves to share Her abundance of minerals and flora with us, and She delights in our healing journeys. The plants themselves each possess a unique spirit that has a particular set of lessons to teach...if you pay attention. Crystals help align your consciousness with the plant kingdom, so their healing secrets can become known to you.