Plant Healer Magazine

The Beauty of the Enchanted Wood

The Beauty of the Enchanted Wood
Dinner Time

Beautiful Spring Visitors

Beautiful Spring Visitors

A special Summer Solstice visitor

A special Summer Solstice visitor

A Gift From the Goddess

A Gift From the Goddess
The most tiny of baby deer was waiting for me as I went to check things by my cabin this morning. So precious. The Mom left her where she knew she would be safe!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ten Helpful Herbs for Fibromyalgia

Click on the link below to read my article from the Llewellyn 2011 Herbal Almanac. Please note that my name on this blog is my pen name. Enjoy. Please remember that this article is copyright protected. Do not copy this article for your website without my express permission. Thank you!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aromatherapy & Essential Oil Quality

Shakespeare once said, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Unfortunately, in the world of aromatherapy and essential oils, it is all too easy to be fooled. We may think we have purchased a pure oil, when in fact, we have purchased a cheap imitation that is anything but pure.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to benefit human beings physically, mentally, and emotionally. The essential oils enter the body through inhalation via the nose or olfactory system. They may also be ingested through a suitable carrier such as oil, where they penetrate the skin and eventually enter the circulatory system. Pure essential oils are the “life force” of the plant, and they cannot be duplicated in a lab with additives. These oils are obtained from plants’ roots, leaves, bark, stems, rhizomes, flowers, fruit rind or seed. These essential oils are the exclusive product from extraction of volatile aromatic principles or distilled oils. For this reason, it is important that a pure essential oil not be used directly on the skin. A single essential oil can contain well over 100 or more chemical constituents.
Adulteration of essential oils can occur at any stage in the supply chain. The distillation process is an important factor in the gathering of these oils. The use of pure water with no additives used in the distillation process, low temperature, low pressure and a long distillation time are needed to preserve the pure essence of the plant and to capture the quality of the essential oils.
A technique called GLC, or Gas Liquid Chromatography, is used to give a highly detailed analysis of the oil. This type of testing is the most common and will show any added adulterant. Other tests on essential oils are infrared, optical, rotation, specific gravity and mass spectrometry.
Adulteration of an essential oil can be as simple as adding a component to stretch or standardize the essential oil. It can be a simple or complex process. Examples of adulterations are added alcohol, the addition of lemon or orange terpenes, and synthetic additives such as DPG or PEA to “bulk” up or augment an oil. A common process of adulteration involves taking a cheap oil such as lavindin and selling it as lavender.
 When looking for a pure essential oil, it is important to do your homework. Many oils are sold as fragranced or perfumed oils and are considered adulterated. They have been cut with other oils or synthetic chemical components. This is why it is important not to purchase an oil based on scent alone. Perfumed oils are often mixed with chemical pesticides or other additives that dilute the oil so it can be produced at a cheaper price. The water used in distilling these “perfumed” oils may contain chlorine and other harmful chemicals.
Good quality essential oils will not feel greasy to the touch. These oils will be bottled in amber brown bottles so they will be shielded from light. Make sure the oils you purchase are certified organic. Pure essential oils will have a product specification sheet which describes how the oil was obtained and distilled and that tells you the country or region from which it came. It will have a batch number, production date and chemical data that lists the seven major components of essential oil. Traceable protocols will state that it contains no added water, alcohol, carriers or diluents.
Use common sense when dealing with essential oils. Although many essential oils are GRAS, or, generally regarded as safe by the FDA for internal use, check with a qualified aromatherapist or herbalist first. Since pure essential oils are volatile, do not use them near heat or flames. Some oils will cause sun sensitivity, especially those in the citrus family. Always dilute an essential oil before applying it to skin to avoid irritation. Store your oils out of direct light and heat and be sure to replace the cap tightly to avoid evaporation. Citrus oils can be refrigerated. If you mix your oils with a carrier oil, the shelf life of the oil will depend on the type of carrier oil used. For safety reasons, follow any precautions listed on the oil, as many are not considered safe during pregnancy. Above all, remember that aromatherapy is only as good as the quality of essential oils used.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prayer to the Goddess of the Moon

               Wondrous Lady of the Moon
               You who greets the dusk with silvered kisses;
               Mistress of the night and of all magicks,
               who rides the clouds in blackened skies
               and spills light upon the cold Earth;
               O Lunar Goddess,
               Crescented-One,
               Shadow maker and shadow breaker;
               Revealer of mysteries past and present;
               Puller of seas and ruler of women;
               All-wise Lunar Mother,
               I greet your celestial jewel
               at the waxing of its powers
               With a rite in Your honor.
               I pray by the Moon,
               I pray by the Moon,
               I pray by the Moon.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Many Uses of Lavender

 Lavender, the fragrant woody perennial herb, has over twenty-eight species and an even greater multitude of varieties. It dates back as far as the first century and to ancient Rome and Greece. It was even used among the ancient Egyptians in the mummification process. It has enjoyed its popularity over time for a variety of uses that still continue today. Lavender essential oil is the most popular in the United States, outselling all the other essential oils. If you have never had the intense pleasure of inhaling pure lavender essential oil, you are in for quite a treat!

Traditional uses for lavender included expelling worms from children, and use against lice and insect bites. Lavender was also a popular strewing herb for disinfection. More common uses are for stress relief, insomnia, depression and indigestion. It is used in several pharmaceutical products including antiseptics, cosmetics and anti-inflammatory products. Lavender was used extensively during the 19th century in the making of perfume. It is interesting to note that during World War I and II, that lavender was used when medical supplies were scarce to prevent infection and to relieve pain.

Over the centuries, lavender has been associated with powers in love, chastity, longevity, protection, purification and happiness. Inhaling the scent of lavender is known to increase the alpha brain waves in the back of the head, aiding in relaxation and tranquility. Thus, our immune system is boosted by the benefit of lavender.

Growing lavender requires full sun, space between plants and good drainage. Lavender does not like "wet feet", so excellent drainage is essential. It is best harvested just before flowering, when the oil concentration is highest. With all the varieties available, it will not be hard to find one suited to your growing area. Flower colors range from white, to pink, blue and purple. Professionally, lavender is distilled for use in essential oils by steam.

When purchasing lavender, become familiar with each variety's botanical name. The most widely grown is the hardy Lavandula Angustifolia, also known as L. vera, L. officinalis, or English Lavender. They can range in height from a mere 8" to over three feet tall. Other popular varieties known for their sweet fragrance are 'Munstead' and 'Hidcote' lavender.

Other uses of lavender include dabbing it on your temples when you have a headache and using it on pillows to combat insomnia. It is a common ingredient in sachets and potpourri and is used to scent linens and prevent moth and bug activity. It is also used in flower arranging and crafts, i.e., lavender wands.

Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be applied "neat" to the body without the addition of a carrier oil. It is useful on burns, insect bites and minor skin irritations. Mixing fifteen drops of pure lavender essential oil with common bath salts such as sea or Epsom salts will provide a bath that is pure heaven!

Lavender also has culinary uses. It is used to flavor jellies, honeys, cookies and breads. A wonderfully relaxing tea or tisane can be made using boiling water, honey and lavender flowers.

 Katherine Turcotte 's article appeared originally online in Body,Mind,Spirit Magazine Online.






Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Days Blessing

Every day there is magic around me. Today my deer, Brown Town Brownie came to visit. I love that she is not afraid of me and does not flinch when I stand just feet from her. She is one of Gloria’s from last year I believe and she was always one to stay close to home.
She looks at me with such trust in her eyes, and I know that as I talk to her, she is really listening to me. She is one of the deer that will come when called, usually bounding through the forest to get to where I am. In the fall when all the leaves are down and carpeting the forest the sound of the deer coming to eat still sounds to me like people moving towards me.

Gloria, the piebald and Missy came to eat later this afternoon. Gloria had the two little fawns with her; how magical they are with their miniature little bodies and tiny spots. They follow their mother to the corn and then decide it is much more fun to run and play some reindeer games. I laugh as I watch them scamper about the woods playing hide-and-seek; mother deer always on alert for them.
Brownie was slightly limping tonight perhaps she stepped on something or misjudged a step. Most days though, she stays close to home content to lie in the cool dirt of the valley. As summer moves on, the babies will grow quickly. I am always pleased when there is a late season birth so that I will have a little one or two to entertain me through till winter. I can’t imagine my life without the companionship of the deer….

Blessed be,
Priestess Absinthe Aradia

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Litha Blessings

Some days I tend to take life for granted. We all get caught up in the same grind of routine, day after day. But some days, the Goddess just comes up and smacks us right in the head when we least expect it. Today was one of those days.
Going through the motions of morning chores, dogs out, dogs in, cats fed, it was time to walk up the hill and see if the deer were there to eat and also to shut the porch light off on the cabin. Usually I will find my one brown deer, Brownie, hunkered down in the cool dirt of the valley but this morning she was not there.
On the way back down the path, off to my right something light colored near the long ago fallen logs caught my eye….it was a tiny baby fawn, cream colored with a brown patch on the top of her head (a patch that also had a white mark inside of it). She did not startle when I stopped, completely in awe that this magnificent little being was so close to me and yet seemed so comfortable. I stopped and just gazed at her, cooing softly that it was okay, I was not going to hurt her.
Earlier in the season, I had asked my ‘girls’ as I call Gloria, Missy and the gang, to bring me a baby this year, one I could get very close to. I promised them that I would not hurt it, and that I would be honored to know that they trusted me enough to bring a young one so close. Today, that wish was granted.

I walked back to the house, grabbed the camera and headed back up to snap some pictures. A little off to the right of the deer, I saw movement in the leaves and a box turtle was making its way across the leaves less than a foot from the baby deer. The tiny deer let me snap her picture about six times, stardom did not seem to bother her. I put the camera down and edged a little closer to her with a handful of deer corn; she stood up and looked at me, still showing no fear. Okay, I said to myself, I have been given this really wonderful gift today and I watched as she stretched and leaped a few feet away from me to the other side of the forest.
As I loaded the pictures in my computer I realized how very lucky I am to be able to have such creatures of beauty so close to me every day. How many people can say when they walk in the woods they can call out a few names and have deer suddenly come from all areas of the forest to eat just feet from me? Or that one winter they actually got to pet the long lithe neck of a blind white doe in the middle of a blizzard, a doe that seemed to magically dance around my legs…a doe that had supposedly been shot and killed days earlier by police for fear of her carrying a disease. I can assure you, that deer is not dead, or if she was then I was visited by a White Spirit Deer in the true sense of the word.
Suddenly my mundane day did not seem so mundane any more, it had turned magical. The Goddess is all around me, every day She has gifts for me, some tiny like a butterfly flitting around me in the garden, some not so tiny like two majestic white bucks. But this I can tell you, magic is real and it is around me every single day, and this little doe is living proof!

 
Blessed be,
Priestess Absinthe Aradia

        

Claire Holley - "Under the Moon"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Roots of the Woods Wytch

You may be asking yourself, what exactly is ‘wood wytchery’?  First of all, it is not a typo that I have spelled wytchery with a ‘y’ Vs. an ‘i”, I have done this purposely .It is my trademark, what I am all about ~ an eclectic combination of green witchery/herbalism, a mix of druid and shaman and a follower of the Goddess in her various guises. The woods wytch is a strong believer in elementals and faeries and works closely with them.

More than just the garden variety wytch ~she is deeply rooted in nature and while she may have a typical garden, her world extends far beyond the scope of the backyard. The woods are as familiar to her as the smile lines around her very eyes. In all seasons the woods wytch is in tune with Mother Nature. I have a deep respect for the earth and all life upon her. These very beliefs have shaped me in to the wytch that I am today.

I have always known that I was different, from a very young age. Yes, I was one of those kids in school that got teased about their looks. I was gawky and had a big nose. And while most kids would have lived for the day when they would outgrow their looks, I learned to accept my differences. Early on I learned that I did not want to be a carbon copy of everyone around me. And I can honestly say, I am a far cry from being like any one else!

My love for nature began at a very early age. While most kids were out playing riding their bikes or playing dolls, I was playing florist, potting up flowers or gathering prickly chestnut burrs, picking fallen berries to eat from the huge tree in the side yard or marveling over the wooly feel of a pussy willow catkin.  On the way home from school in the spring, I would quickly dart across a front lawn to pick some daffodils or crocus for my mom, or find the hidden litter of wild kittens under the house (and get bit more than once). Like most kids growing up in the 1960’s I could not wait for the trip to Woolworths for a green turtle (before they were banned) or a few pet mice.

When we would make trips to the country to visit with my Aunt "Minnie", I could hardly wait to leave the city to spend the weekend in the country where I could sleep with the windows open inhaling deeply the scent of the forest pines. My ears were keen for the different sounds. The din of the city far behind me, I could now hear the whippoorwills and the tree frogs. Long walks with my beloved Aunt to the man-made cedar lake were a treat to the senses; the gray sugar sand was cool beneath my feet and felt like silk when I sifted it through my fingers, the scented brown cedar water a far cry from the only water I had known in the city, flooded city streets after a heavy rainfall. And while I tried to take part of the country home with me (peanut butter jars became the temporary homes for tiny baby toads) it never seemed to work for long. Although the lizard, Dino, lasted a bit longer than the frogs he left too. I remember my brother and I burying him in a Luden’s cough drop box (he may have been hibernating, but we never figured that out). The seeds of wytchery had already sprouted but I would have to wait until I was a teenager to finally leave the city behind and move to my beloved woods.

Blessed be,
Priestess Absinthe Aradia