Tonify, tone, center, amplify, love.

Taoism and TCM have a highly developed understanding and application of specific herbs for longevity. With an expansively sophisticated materia medica, this system has over 4,000 years of practice and we are blessed to have access to this astounding information. As Ron Teeguarden would say, "Tonics are a protective form of herbalism costumed to support glowing health, support functionality, and promote radiant adaptability." Therapeutically, Western herbalism is a bit linear in diagnosis patterns and non-specific with organs and vital life force energy (or lack of) as causative factors for disease. Without the navigational tool of the 5 elements, 8 evils, Yin and Yang, and Superior herbs, Western herbalism uses many simples to address what they see, rather than comprehending larger patterns. A critical factor in TCM tonic herbalism is the acknowledgement of constitutional tendencies and temperatures. Western herbalists are not always trained to understating Excess/Deficient, Hot/Cold, Damp/Dry, Internal/External. With tonic herbalism as Western herbalism simply views it, certain building, heating, cooling, eliminating, drying, dampening herbs can be mis-prescribed and drive a pattern deeper, overheat a system, or deplete a person further. Basically, Chinese Tonics have indications and contraindications, so the season and the individual condition must be calculated wisely. Also, there are few tonics that are traditionally taken daily for long periods of time, and this should be taken into consideration. Schizandra, Reishi, Goji, Cordyceps, Astragalus and Jujube can be taken from childhood to Elder years with no proven depletion, whereas tonics like Ren Shen can burn out the body by liberating stored Qi. Another factor is to differentiate if a tonic is accessing stored Qi or acting as a truly nutritive tonic. This can differ from case to case and proper prescription is provided through therapeutic practice, sharing of wisdom and monitoring of the individuals condition. 

Chinese tonics are classified as Yin, Yang, Qi, or Blood and go beyond simples in western herbalism in that they carry, perform, and supply the micronutrients to harmonize a body into a state of balanced physiological energy, vitality, and regeneration. Taken from EastWest course work, this paragraph impresses any herbalist: "Modern Chinese research on the effect of Qi tonics has shown that they not only stimulate digestive secretions, but increase intracellular mitochondria through their involvement with protein synthesis and lipid metabolism. Blood tonics supply easily assimilated minerals (like iron) essential for healthy blood. Yin tonics supply vital nourishing components to aid formation of bodily secretions and substances. Yang tonics provide hormonal precursors the body uses  to reassemble into hormones, neural transmitters, and other substances for healthy endocrine and reproductive functions." BAM!!     - AmaZing! 

Through increasing bioavailability of nutrients and metabolic efficiency in a system, longevity, vitality, Jing, Qi, and Shen are all supported! Jing is our primal power source that comes from Earth, where our inner power and adaptability reside. Qi is our vitality, our breath, our day to day metabolism of the nectars and obstacles of life. Shen is the divine flame, our light supported by Jing and Qi. The three treasures are a foundational principle in Tonic herbalism as they help us understand the energetic location we are therapeutically nourishing, building, and balancing. An example of how complex and sophisticated this can get is: "with Yin deficiency, the Yin can't control Yang, so the heat of Yang becomes more apparent because Water is lacking to control Fire...leading to Empty Heat (when heat is not truly from an excess Yang condition) and heat becomes a sign without the strength of Yang." Anything that depletes the Kidneys, like excessive work, also depletes the root of Yin and Yang and can burn out the Yin. This stream of thought example is from looking at my notes for the indications for Liu Wei Di Huang - Rehmannia 6, which is a tonic formula for nourishing Blood and Yin and Water Yin deficiency. This kind of analysis and poetic navigation is not practiced is Western herbalism, and I find it fascinating to be trained in TCM and begin to understand the dance of it all. With the application of Chinese tonics, we are preventing leakages of Qi, preserving essence, and harmonizing the internal with the external. This is profound. 

Through the unity of opposites, and integrated approach to Chinese Tonics can assist with illuminating the positive aspects of life and longevity, and eradicate the noxious. Personally, the use of Reishi and Schizandra have helped me to be more present, spiritually stable, and have helped my immune system flourish rather than decay.

Iron Maiden : DIY Blood Building Syrup~

Iron Maiden Syrup:

Blood is the primary substance by which the body stores memories and communicates. The three major pathologies of the Blood are Blood deficiency, Blood heat, and Blood congealing due to temperature, trauma, or stagnation. Blood stagnation is a key player in painful menses and Shen disturbances, and can easily be treated with medicine from the Earth.  Emmenagogues totally rock for blood-stagnation! Although the Traditional Chinese Medicine view applies emmenagogues for much broader and deeper symptomatology than menstrual disorders, this classification of plants is rich in botanical miracles for exactly that. Through improving the circulation of the existing blood, the application of herbal therapeutic emmenagogues for menstrual pain, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, and post-childbirth care is effective and often life-changing for women with and PMS and PCOS. Pain does not belong in our sacred cycle! 

Chinese Red Sage Root (Dan Shen) is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, blood-moving emmenagogue herb that works to relieve swelling, congealed blood, delayed menses, and painful cramping before/during/after menstruation. In its nature, Salvia miltiorrhiza is mildly cold, bitter and directs to the Heart, Pericardium, and Liver. This beautiful herb relieves complex cases of insomnia where Heat has invaded and entered the Yin / nutritive level, thus causing irritability and tension. This is the women's herb for "cool, calm, and collected," as it doesn't heat up the system and also increases peripheral blood flow to nourish the body (3).  The dosage of this herb is a decoction of 6-15 grams dried root, or in a syrup. For older women with cholesterol concerns, this herb can be taken daily to remove the accumulation of cholesterol and blood lipids. This herb is viewed as a “complete” Blood tonic because this alterative aids to heal excessive and obstructive menstruation and abdominal distention (1, pg.235)  

Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis): The women's ginseng! This sweet, warm, tonic root is native to China and has over 4,000 years of empirical evidence of use for menstrual disorders and promoting the health and liberty of women's blood. Micheal Tierra states, "To maintain normal quantities of erythrocytes, the body must produce new mature cells at the astonishing rate of two million per second." For women who bleed or have recently birthed new life, herbs that nourish and rebuild blood, like Dang Gui, are an excellent longevity tonic. Dang Gui goes to the Liver, Heart and Spleen meridians and also acts as a laxative, demulcent, and anti-inflammatory. Dang Gui lubricates the intestines and is indicated for constipation and Bi Pain associated with Blood deficiency. “Two biochemical constituents have been found in Dang Gui. One is a water-soluable and nonvolatile constituent that stimulates the uterus while the other is alcohol soluble and consists of an essential oil that has an opposite relaxing effect on the uterus as well as increases DNA synthesis and the growth of uterine tissue. (4, pg.193). Dang Gui is used as an extract or decoction and is also formulated in the famous TCM Dang Gui Four teapills. 

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus): This bitter, sweet, cool and golden gift from Earth frees iron stored in the liver into a more bioavailable flow for nutrient metabolism. Due to this ability, Rumex is applied for iron deficiency in the blood (anemia), and also commonly used for skin disorders and inflammatory liver disorders. As a hepatic, Yellow dock tones, strengthens, and increases bile flow to liver…overall improving liver function and health of tissues. (5, pg 60) By decongesting the liver, Rumex optimizes the metabolism of hormones, aids the functions of the endocrine system, and can help clear acne-causing liver & blood pollution. Yellow dock is a hemostatic, astringent, alterative (blood purifier), and blood tonic. 

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus): An analgesic, anti-spasmodic, nervine, and mild sedative that relieves pain by reducing cramping in muscles, especially cramping associated with menstrual pain. Cramp bark is bitter and neutral, directs to the liver, lungs, heart, and small intestine and is also astringent. (1, pg.124)  In this formula, cramp bark is used for easing PMS discomfort and for healing pain associated with reproductive disorders. It has a tonic effect on the uterus and also aids in regulating the menstrual cycle. (1, pg.125) 

***Licorice or Gan Cao (Glycyrrhizae uralensis) : Its tempting to use licorice to harmonize this formula, and it is a great delivery idea for its ability to enter all 12 meridians. However, licorice can be contra-indicated with those who retain water (4, pg. 190) Since this is a formula for women who might be experiencing swelling and edema around menses, I am keeping the licorice out of the formula, but it is recommended to add licorice tincture or honey stir-fried licorice to a decoction of these herbs IF the person ingesting has no history of edema or dampness. 

Blackstrap Molasses is a warm and sweet concentrated extract of sugar cane juice. Rich in iron, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, chromium, copper, and calcium, this powerhouse of thick deliciousness brings nutrients and energy through the Liver, Spleen, and Kidney meridians. As a Blood tonic and digestive aid, this medicine makes a great base for other medicines or as a supplement for malnourished people, women with anemia after menses, degenerative diseases, and any form of iron deficiency.

Preparation:

Weigh herbs - they can be whole or powdered, but know that with powdered, you will have to filter with cheese cloth twice to get all the sediment out. I like working with powders as I feel the capacity for extraction is greater with more surface area of dried herbs. 

Yellow Dock: 3 oz

Dang Gui root: 3 oz

Dan Shen: 2.5 oz 

Distilled water: 4 L

Cold infuse in distilled water for 2 hours, then add heat. 

Making a strong decoction, I like to use 2-2.5 oz of dried herb per pint of distilled water. This ratio can change depending on desired strength, but 1-2 ounces of dried herb per pint of water is wonderful and effective. 

Simmer for 5 hours and strain.

Simmer wet herbs for 2 more hours and strain. Combine fluids and heat slowly until the entire liquid is reduced to half. 

Per 1/2 cup of liquid, one ounce of blackstrap molasses is needed to preserve and supplement. 

Example: If you yield 8 cups (2 Liters) liquid, add 16oz unsulphured blackstrap molasses. 

Tincture can be added at 1:4 ratio - one part tincture per four part syrup. (2) This extends shelf life significantly. 

 

For this preparation, I am making a larger batch:

Total liquid extraction: 8.5 cups

Molasses: 20 oz  +  Raw Desert Bloom Honey: 1 cup for taste 

*Stir in Molasses & Honey as liquid cools

*Add Cramp Bark tincture when liquid has cooled to room temperature :  1.5 cups of Cramp Bark tincture with 75% alcohol content. 

*Bottle and label!

Overall, this balanced formula promotes blood circulation, tonifies blood, and regulates menstruation. It contains herbs in intentional ratios to balance warm and cool energetics as well as dampening and astringent properties. 

 

Keep refrigerated. 

Suggested Dose: 2-3 TBSP twice daily the week leading up to menses, OR

 1 TBSP twice daily for 3-5 months to re-establish menses, prevent pain, rebuild after childbirth. 

 

Sources:

  1. The Way of Herbs - Michael Tierra L.Ac, O.M.D.
  2. The Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green 
  3. Webinar with Miles Coleman 
  4. Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Vol II by Dr. Michael Tierra L.Ac, OMD, AHG, and Lesley Tierra L.Ac., AHG
  5. The Complete Herbs SourceBook by David Hoffman

Expel Parasites Right Meow!

In cases of Qi, Kidney, Yin, Yang, or Essence deficiency (broadly diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), the body has increased susceptibility to manifesting parasites. Intestinal parasites, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, liver flukes, and roundworms can all be treated through a thorough and dedicated application of healing foods and herbs. Fatigue with a distended abdomen, peri-umbilical pain and a deranged appetite are three major pointers to the presence of parasites. Parasites also enter and affect the bodies of Excess (Excess Yang, Excess Qi, etc.) conditions, but in this case, they are easier to expel because the strength of the body supports the removal along with bitter, detoxifying, and eliminative herbs.  Overall, the infestation of parasites is contracted externally from contaminated water, foods, stagnant lakes, etc, but also are the result of a disharmonious or imbalanced internal body chemistry. After parasites are detected, immediately shift a diet to eliminate foods that directly feed parasites, like sugars, sweet fruits, white flour, white sugar, alcohol, greasy foods, and juices (parasite starvation diet). After these are cut out completely for a 2-4 days, a light fast begins and herbs step in to expel. These herbs are called anthelmintics, or more specifically: herbs that kill parasites are vermicides, and herbs that repel or expel worms are called vermifuges. 

If the body is not emaciated or deficient, an herbal protocol can begin to kill and expel formulas. After modifying diet strictly for 2-4 days, a simple folk remedy is to eat two to three uncooked tablespoons of rice upon awakening for a two weeks with water. Wait 3-4 hours after to eat anything else, and with anything you eat, add a teaspoon of papaya seeds then fast on a fresh, chopped garlic salad with pumpkin seeds, greens, pomegranate seeds, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice for 2 days. If tea is a desired substitute or addition, follow the uncooked rice protocol, then drink a 15-20 gram decoction of Betel nut (Areca catechu) around noon then a tea of wormwood, crushed wild carrot seeds (Daucus carota AKA Queen Anne’s Lace), and fresh ginger in the evening. Bufo toad secretion can also be added to this procedure (Chan Su in PinYIn or Bufo gargarizans) if extreme toxicity, mouth sores, abdominal pain, severe swelling, mouth abscesses and sore throat are present as a result of a parasitic infection. This is taken at a dose of .015 -0.3 grams of dried toad venom in a pill or powder, which is available at Chinese apothecaries. Throughout these protocols, it is super beneficial to perform herbal enemas of mugwort, garlic, yerba mansa, barberry, and/or wormseed. If one rejects strongly to herbal enemas, get over it, or consume herbal purgatives instead to assist in expulsion. Triphala, cascara bark, aloe, or rhubarb are excellent choices. Stay hydrated throughout the process, bathe in chaparral baths, observe stools, and remain strictly on the parasite-starvation diet until parasites are gone. This procedure is not safe during pregnancy. 

If the Qi is deficient, the body and immune system must be strengthened through the use of herbal Qi tonic broths, protein, complex carbohydrates, and fresh air. Kicharee with black grain rice, organic mung beans, greens, and garlic with cumin is a great way to strengthen the body, provide fiber, provide protein, and nourish the stomach before a parasite cleanse. in addition to kicharee, or other simple and nutritive dishes that are Qi building in nature, herbal tonic broths of american ginseng, astragalus, codonopsis, white atractylodes, reishi mushroom, jujube dates, Chinese wild yam, eleuthro, and chaga mushroom are fantastic! Crockpot or decoct any or all of these herbs and drink for two weeks before an intensive cleanse using anthelmintics herbs. This will increase internal strength and energy as well as support the immune system while cleansing, but also prevent re-occurances of infestations if done regularly. 

In general, anthelmintics cannot be used during pregnancy due to their downward action and flavors. The spicy or pungent flavor is composed of fire and air. Cayenne pepper, garlic, peppers, and asafoetida are all spicy and pungent, which have the potential to overheat a high-pitta constitution and burn out their nourishing kapha or water Yin. When Blood disorders, eruptive skin disorders, and semen disorders are present, avoid use of fire-based anthelmintics. However, these are very helpful for kapha constitution, or to treat indigestion, loss of appetite, colds, asthma, obesity, and coughs. The bitter flavor anthelmintics are composed of air and ether. These are drying, cooling, clearing, and dominate over all other flavors on the palate. Beneficial for skin disorders, blood toxicity, and anorexia, the bitter herbs of gentian, barberry, boldo, and oregon grape are cleansing and also clear fevers. Bitter anthelmintics are strongly contraindicated in cases of nervous exhaustion or nervous disorders because they would further derange Vata and unground Shen. 

Anthelmintics can be safely used for a parasite cleanse as long as the body-mind constitution is in awareness. Black walnut, neem, noni fruit, cinchona bark, rue, epazote, and elecampane are other anti-parasitical allies for a lovely spring-thyme cleanse. 

 

Resources: Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra C.A., N.D. 

Familia Rosaceae: Astringents

The family Rosaceae holds beaming and beautiful healing powers for the heart, skin, and guts. The lusciousness of fuzzy Agrinomy tops, blackberry leaves and roots, hawthorn hips, rosa woodsii, rose hips and raspberry leaves promote external beauty and internal cleansing. This family boasts many tonic herbs, astringents, emmenagogues, uterine tonics, stomachics, and a few refrigerants. Rosaceae plant medicines are applied as tea, tincture, delectable cordials, or glycerites, and also topically in the form of a poultice or herbal bath to express their soothing qualities. 

Due to the common presence of tannins in their vegetation, the actions of Rosaceae herbs tone tissue through binding and astringing. For example, Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) influences mucous membranes to secrete just enough, rather than copious amounts of mucous and fluids. This is a tonic quality produced by an astringent action. Agrimony (and other Rosaceae astringents) also resolve dampness of spleen and stomach, treat acute diarrhea, cool the liver, and tone the urinary and female reproductive tissues. When essence or fluids are leaking, Rosaceae medicines like Cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) and Agrimony can bind and fix the phenomenon of "oozing." Thus, Agrimony is fantastic for leaky gut with heat in the liver.  To direct Agrimony to the liver for hepatic healing action, pair with dandelion and to direct the astringent action to the urinary tract, pair with uva ursi leaf. In cases of hepatitis, the circulation to the gallbladder, liver, and gastrointestinal tract "are so off" that the hepatic cells don't receive the life-giving arterial blood when they receive the more toxic blood from the portal vein and intestines.*** Matthew Wood describes this phenomenon along with diarrhea and floating stoolswith oil and irregular or spontaneous expulsion of bile as "tension and relaxation combining to cause incorrect timing of functions." Since the tonic property of Agrimony promotes normal activity of fluids, it can be applied to conditions of internal misfiring, acid indigestion, cirrhosis of the liver, and kidney deficiency. The dynamic components of this particular Rosaceae herb combine well with nervines and also Solomon's seal as an astringent for toning tissue and resolving tension. 

In Greek and European folklore, Agrimony has been used for warding off goblins, healing wounds, curing snakebites, and was once a tool for alleviating back pain in a mixture of smashed toads, Mugwort, and human blood.* It is still applied topically for wounds, throat gargles, and skin conditions today. In terms of meridians and organ systems, Agrimony and black mume plum both direct to the lungs. Agrimony, raspberry, Chinese rose hips, and Chinese raspberry all direct to the Kidneys. 

Both Agrimony and Roses are held as "longevity tonics" due to their suggested cellular health promoting, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Rosa canina, or rosehip seeds are a valued anti-inflammatory (topically or internally) and also support the immune system and hormonal balance.** Mamas and teenagers, and pretty much anyone with stretch-marks, acne scars, or sun-exposed skin can benefit from the topical application of rosehip oil as it has shown to smoothe the skin, tighten wrinkles, astringe loose tissues, and repair scars. 

Roses and Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) have a profound common ground of heart healing, ceremonial, spiritual, and Shen nourishing benefits. Emotionally and physically, these plants support cardiovascular function and tonify the heart. Hawthorn's magical history dates back to famously housing fairies in the ancient times of Druids and is still revered to be a blessing in marriage ceremony, resembling love, much like roses. All parts of hawthorn are used, but the berries and leaves hold the mildly warm astringent action. Both roses and hawthorn can be made into jams and cordials. Personally, both of these herbs are transformational in their nature, as they have both helped me heal nervous tension and aid in my spiritual journey as constant bringers of light, truth, and compassion. 

 

Rosaceae for Women's Health: 

Raspberry leaf (Rubus ideaus) is a tonic, and widely valued by midwifes and mamas-to-be as a traditional uterus toning remedy that contains an alkaloid called fragine, which fortifies the uterus.** This can be taken as an infusion or glycerite during pregnancy to strengthen uterine health and prepare the body for birth. 

Agrimony is administered to relieve heavy menstrual bleeding due to its coagulant properties, whereas Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is more of a pain-relieving herb that can be applied internally as a tea for lower back pain. Both of these are women's allies in times of menstrual or hormonal stress along with abundant, intentional mistings of a rose hydrosol. Agrimony and Lady's Mantle can be applied topically for cuts and wounds and are also both emmenagogues. For excessive menstrual bleeding, Sheperd´s purse, potentilla, raspberry leaf, and dogwood berry can be applied as a tea or herbal bath. 

Physically, the Rosaceae herbs share common botanical characteristics. According to Elpel's Botany in a Day, shared qualities include serrated leaves, five separate petals with similar styles, open flowers, multiple stamens, and many produce delicious edible fruits. Many Rosaceae flowers come together with various styles of pistils to form a fuzzy center with many outward reaching stamens. 

 

Compiled with passion for Lesson 22 in my coursework with EastWest Planetary Herb School with Michael and Lesley Tierra.

Sources:

*www.botanical.com - Agrimony

A modern Herbal by Grieve

 

** Herbal Adventures with Susan Weed - The Rosaceae family

 

***Matthew Wood - Agrimony : The indispensable relaxant

www.matthewwoodherbs.com 

 

 

Kanna LovE <3

Kanna: its a precious little succulent from South Africa, beautiful to grow...I have had a few plants but they have a hard time surviving in the Arizona summer..their growth is a bit stunted..But I have had continued sustainable access due to botanical babe friends.. The vibrant, green flesh of the Sceletium tortuosum is fermented, dried, and powdered before use. Traditionally, Kanna is snuffed or smoked (with wild dagga!) at a dosage of around 100-150mg. This process can be uneasy or super mild at first, then increases in euphoria, like a priming effect, with continued use at the same dosage. It is also traditionally chewed (like a gum, or mixed with natural gum or chewy fruit tree like Xakuxaku) or held under the tongue sublingually until the alkaloids are absorbed by the body, at a dosage of 200-400mg and upwards to a gram. This is fantastic. As a capsule or tea, more product is needed for a less effective experience (in my opinion).

Effects of Kanna with the traditional method of snuff is euphoria, precise vision, enhanced senses, a goofy, giggly feeling of elation, a centered and calm sense of happiness and peace. This comes on quickly and lasts for an hour or two, then smoothly relaxes the mind into mild sedation.

When smoked, Kanna produces a more body and mind sense of elevation, weightlessness, floaty euphoria, grinning like a cheshire cat..slightly analgesic. This effect takes around 40 minutes to take effect and last upwards of 2 hours. A fantastic alternative to potent cannabis smoke! Or a wonderful, peaceful pair to blend with cannabis to reduce intake of THC and provide and smoother, more balanced and peaceful landing from the "high"of THC versus the crash that some card-holders feel after medication via combustion. During this time of heavily medicated people using Cannabis a tad too much, I see Kanna as a major blessing because it potentiates the desirable effects of Cannabis, meaning less is needed of the substance to get the same results. Or better yet, the Cannabis can be substituted completely with Wild Dagga flowers (Leonotus leonurus), also coming from Africa. Wild Dagga grows superbly in dryer regions of California and Arizona.

Sublingual use of Kanna produces an analgesic, euphoric, happy, sense of well-being and elevation. This can be used in smaller doses for entering trance states of dance & drumming, creating art and social ease of beautiful conversation, enhanced intuition and feelings of mellow ecstasy. In larger doses (above 500mg), Kanna can become a stronger analgesic, more of a sedative, a more melty, sensual experience.


Efficacy is wonderful, smooth and happy. The powder is valuable for people coping with depression. Noted effects that need to be considered is that it does suppress appetite...not indicated for emaciated, aneorexic patients.. Kanna does need to be taken on an empty stomach in order for it to take effect. This may be hard for some patients? Also, it can disrupt sleep cycles depending on the time of day taken...If low doses are taken in the evening, people can be wide-eyed for hours.


Rather than the powder, which can be hard for some people to weigh out...I suggest tincture as a form of application for patients dealing with PTSD, anxiety, & depression, who benefit from a regular & consistent application. Tincture in warm water on an empty stomach can also be easier to digest (for people with sensitive bellies) and more consistent to control effect and dose.


IMPORTANT: taken from http://kanna-info.com/how-to-use-kanna   - Sceletium tortuosum is a Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SRI). It should not be combined with other (S)SRI’s or Mono Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOi’s). (S)SRI’s are mainly found in antidepressant prescription medicines like Seroxat, Prozac, Cipramil, Fevarin and Zoloft. MAOi’s can be found in certain antidepressants and in plants like Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala), Banisteriopsis Caapi, Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and Yohimbe.

 

Quest with Calamus: Free-write Pt 1

Calamus root has this way of giving me eyes outside the dream..I was just vouguing with bundles of arugula in one hand and mustard greens in the other hand..but there was a dual omnipresence of me being the invisible watcher - an existence outside the dream to make aware that the dream was a dream. I continue to have these long, brilliantly colored and relevant dreams with calamus, usually about dance and elements of my previous OR upcoming day that make this seeing-of-dream reasonably rational and colorfully relevant. Chewing on a 2 finger pinch of soft chopped root before bed every night for a month....

There's a dialogue happening, a silent nodding between my dream self and sleeping self...in fact during one journey where I was dancing in an accordion and violin-lined street in Italy, I was brought into awakeness/awareness not by an alarm, but by my asleep consciousness tapping on the window of my dreaming selfs dreAm...another time I was nudging the shoulder of myself to encourage and remind awakeness..these times have brought me out of a sleep cycle that tends to make me late to class or work...perhaps calamus has something to do with the phenomenon of me waking up, softly & comfortably at 8:45am every morning without an alarm..this gentle and functional invisible relationship between my "asleep" mind and dream realm that unifies gracefully and sometimes seamlessly with my everyday functionality.. At the Same time, sometimes these dreams are so functional that often I am already present with myself for breakfast and morning ritual that when I wake up I feel the fullness of fresh fruit and the freshness of a scraped tongue, but I have just "awoken"...three times I have dreamed of cutting papaya and eating it with friends then joined friends so late for breakfast in "reality" when I swear, I was actually there..in a cloak of invisibility.

I am continuing to explore this relationship, one thing is personally certain..after 2 days without calamus, my dreams on a waning moon became darker, more fustrating, more quests with snags and trials and unsatisfactory or unclear results before waking. This is typical for me when the moon wanes from quarter to a sliver; facing challenges, insecurities, abstract phenomena of irritation or reflections of how I can navigate towards increased clarity. Then the new moon comes and it gets a bit more sparkly, playful, often in complete dreamy solitude..but surely more glimmer, magiK, wonder, intention and clarity...not always relevance (whatever that means?!), which is what is so deeply fascinating about the calamus. For example, 2 nights ago, moon at 11%, I was dreaming of brain-mapping out a gift for my family of a trip to somewhere special that I connect with deeply...and it wasn't well received or appreciated..full of forceful explanation and hurt feelings and convincing, traffic etc. I woke up like, wham! These are elements that could easily arise, and emotions that could potentially be expressed of worry, inclusion, discomfort, language barriers and so on. So I feel as if the cloak of calamus was in this experience and relevant aid to seeing (before living) the potential paths a situation could unfold. Three days later, on the new moon..still with calamus..I was wrapped in a warm tortilla blanket of abuelitas love and woven tapestries of ancient times smiling on a windy mountain top in Oaxaca - simple, present, mystical, sensory, divine.

A fascinating element of Calamus that parallels this way I am experiencing assistance with dream awareness, patterns, and relevance is its ability to help digest. It's a bitter! A lovely, woody bitter that helps us create digestive secretions and get the oven of Agni gently going while supporting the transformation and transportation of food. Ever wake up after a night of munching out on peanut butter and dried mango or pesto and rye bread...or something heavy that you ate too late..and feel this sluggishness in our guts or slightly foggy mind? This slowness, this misty congested feeling is so well addressed with a pinch of calamus in warm water with some fresh ginger and lemon. Even a pinch of calamus alone in the morning is so helpful with moving along this stagnant Qi and progressing towards simple morning clarity. Clarity is what we are aiming for yea? As opposed to fumbling around and guessing what are daily experiences mean. Although I love sister Cannabis as an ally and powerful healing tool with massive potential, I do see the fog it generates in the mind over time with chronic use, or even after a day of use considering that many strains on the market contain pesticides and super ridiculous levels of psycho-active components. This is another avenue of where Calamus is such a great friend and agent of clarity. It has the ability to assist in digesting / processing THC onward and outward from the mind!

Nervines and Antispasmodics

Nervines can fail to take action when the liver is congested and blood is stagnant. When prescribing nervines, it is recommended to first move blood because emotions, stories, and fears are held in the blood and thus in the heart. Also, in the case of heavy liver stagnation, nervines struggle to find an effective metabolic pathway to flow through. By clearing liver heat and potentially related phlegm, the actions and effectiveness of nervines are increased. It is also important to work with the individuals constitution. Why are you suggesting nervines? Where do they feel the anxiety? When do they feel wired? What are the stress levels and how do they feel when tension arises? These can help the practitioner better assess a formula or single appropriate for the individual. Also, consideration of constitution is necessary for nervine prescription with special regard to the heating or cooling quality of herbs. Balance occurs when opposite quality herbs to constitution are given to warm a cold situation or cool heat. This prevents exacerbating an existing imbalance. 

Overall, nervines are nourishing to the nervous system and have a variety of actions, including increased mental relaxation and potential sedation. Antispasmodics promote physical muscle relaxation, reduce cramping and ease muscle spasms without necessarily being sedating. These two categories can become interwoven because some antispasmodics are also nervines, some nervines are also antispasmodics, and both of these categories contain herbs that can be sedating to the mind, heart pacifying, liver cooling, muscle relaxing. The actions of some nervines are to soothe the mind, ease physical tension, aid in reducing circular thoughts and excessive worry, and restore healthy nerve function. Nervines can be seen as sattvic (coming from Boddisattvah), which can help us to feel at peace, feel centered, and be present with self and the universe. These are beneficial for wired, exhausted, constantly mobilized, and stressed humans. 

The actions of antispasmodics include the suppression of spasms and physically reduced muscular tension.  Antispasmodics are also used for psychological tension and can be directed to different muscle groups, like the stomach, lungs, and abdomen. Tarragon, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger are excellent culinary antispasmodics that are not sedating, whereas Jamaican Dogwood is a great example of an effective antispasmodic that is also a nervine and sedative. 

Nervines and antispasmodics are given well with medicated wines and in many formats such as decoction, tincture, powders into paste, or capsules. The herbs that gracefully fall into both categories are appropriate to provide when a client has nervous excitability (valerian and passionflower) or nervous insomnia (hops and pedicularis racemosa). 

A handful of healing herbs are both nervine and antispasmodic, like the beloved California Poppy. Eschscholzia californica is used for spasms (specifically of the gallbladder), menstrual cramps, pain management, headaches, and also as a narcotic. It's sedating quality is derived from its action of clearing heat from the liver. Due to the more sedating and potentially narcotic effect of certain nervines  like mulungu, California poppy, valerian, pedicularis densiflora, cannabis sativa and other powerful plants, they can create lethargy and interfere with daily activities that require full attention. 

When hysteria, tension, and cramping spasms are present, I do not hesitate to give acute nervine/antispasmodic combinations, especially in the evening time and as an alternative to recreational/prescription drugs and/or alcohol. However, if the nerves are strengthened and nourished by blood moving and  'non-drowsy' herbal tonic nervines everyday, this can overall reduce the experience of anxiety and hysteria. Blood tonics are also appropriate for creating a solution for anxiety relief, like Dong Quai. Most blood tonics are not considered nervines, but they can alleviate stagnant emotional feelings stored in the memories of our blood. Anxiety is a massive topic with this question of antispasmodics versus nervines because both can be beneficial for raising the resilience and effectiveness of the coping mechanisms we default to when experiencing sympathetic nervous system and/or limbic system stimuli and stress. Weakness of the nervous system can be a vicious cycle if the amygdala continues to search for fear and release adrenaline and other stress hormones. In this case, tonic nervines often nourish Qi and Shen, making them a wonderful choice to provide for clients with a strong expression of perpetual over-analysis and a sense of constant danger. When a client expresses daily anxiety, rigidity, or jittery nerves, I suggest the lovely ally nervines of scullcap, blue vervain, avena sativa seed or milky top, catnip, motherwort, or lavender. Other tonics that are beautifully combined with these nervines would be ashwagandha and Reishi mushroom. These are appropriate to use throughout the day and do not impair ones ability to drive or analyze text (for example). When more severe cases of restlessness, insomnia, and startled conditions are present, I reccomend nervines that ground the Shen while tonifying the nerves. These can be given in higher doses in the evening time if needed without having to consider mental / physical sharpness and agility. A classic combination would be scullcap and kava kava , or scullcap, valerian, and hops. In the case of an acute anxiety attack, a low dose (1-5 drops tincture) of anemone tuberosa or anemone canedensis can settle the mind back into the body as an acute nervine. 

*When a client is experiencing a anatomically-particular spasm, like a triggered cough in the lungs; this is when specifically antispasmodic herbs come into the picture, like Elencampane. 

Some rad facts:

*Passiflora is an anti-spasmodic and nervine that goes to heart and liver channels, which makes it valuable for clearing specifically mental heat, obsessive thinking, and disturbed Shen. Passionflower combines nicely with hops and valerian for a potentiated evening medicine. 

*St. John's Wort and Lobelia work wonderfully together as an anti-spasmodic topically. St John's Wort is also anti-viral internally due to an action of clearing the liver heat that has been trapped due to long-term pathologies. This heat clearing quality acts as a nervine as well because the Hun (Liver) is then calmed. 

*Scullcap is a cooling bitter nervine that clears heat, cools & calms the liver and aids in digestion. This acts  as a strongly Shen-calming anti-spasmodic because it can pacify internal Wind, or a range of nuerological disorders. Scullcap is effective for soothing 'stuck' thoughts, emotional dwelling, lack of expression, and irritability. 

*Dragon bone an Oyeter shell are shen grounding, mineral rich herbs useful for bringing a worried, frenzied state of being back down to Earth.

*Chamomile is a carminative nervine that soothes digestion and colic, is great for children, and wonderful to add into relaxing & nourishing formulas.

*Ashwagandha is not in the nervine or antispasmodic classification, rather in the anxiolytic and adaptogenic realm. I mention this here because it is such a gorgeous medicine that acts as a bi-directional tonic. Withania somnifera (somnifera being opposite of insomnia) can help provide more vital energy and also increase quality of sleep. Warm ashwagndha milk in the evening is a beautiful ritual and a warm blanket to hug the nerves and is great to combine with milky oats. 

 

Information derived from:

*Miles Coleman American Herbalist Guild Webinar: TCM for Mental Health

*In-person lectures with Candis Cantin

*Corey-Pine Shane American Herbalists Guild Weibnar: Treating Anxiety with Herbalism

*Personal experience and application

Diuretics and Formulas

Diuretics express the main functions of increasing the frequency of urination and volume of urination. Overall, this increased release of fluid is called diuresis.

Dandelion leaf is a classically valued diuretic used in TCM and Ayurveda that actually contains and provides more potassium than is lost with most diuretics. This makes Taraxacum (and other diuretics) a valuable alternative or adjunct to pharmaceutical diuretics and has not shown to irritate the bladder. Some widely used diuretics in the realm of Western Herbalism are Goldenrod, Nettle leaf, Yarrow, Cornsilk, and Cleavers.  Pipsisewa is also a very useful diuretic with a more anti-infective action that clears heat and cleanses the urinary track.

In most diuretic plant medicines, metabolite constituent groups of terpenes, phenolics, or alkaloids are found. These navigate diuresis pathways along with potential secondary metabolites to increase urinary secretions and thus increase metabolic wastes from the body.
The Urinary system is composed of the kidneys, urethra, ureters, and bladder all which serve a function in fluid and waste elimination. The kidneys refine the blood by removing water-soluable wastes and stabilizing electrolytes, balancing pH, and red blood-cell formation. The bladder receives that waste in the form of urine via the ureters and stores it until released into and out via the urethra.

In general, herbal medicine uptake is a water soluable process, or hydrophilic equation, making herbal diuretics valuable and effective. On a deeper level, the use of herbal diuretics can act as alteratives, promoting greater metabolic function and the removal of toxins from the body. When the right combination of herbal diuretics (and plenty of water intake) is utilized, this process benefits the kidneys, cleansing bacteria from the ureters,  resolving edema, excess water retention, swelling, overall detox, detox from addictive substances, ridding of infections, and assisting in effective lymphatic drainage.  Diuretics are also useful for cystitis because they move fluid and toxins through the body, which prevents stagnation and infection of trapped fluids.

According to Professional Herbalist Krist Shapla, "There are a few different ways that diuretics work. Some actually irritate the nephrons in the kidneys.  Some increase heart rate.  This induces diuresis because the kidneys are responsible for maintaining blood pressure.  When the heart rate increases, the kidneys respond by lowering the volume of water in the blood and thus lowering the overall pressure within the blood vessels."

 

Herbal Therapy: I have used diuretics personally and with clients to assist in water retention and ridding of Urinary Tract Infections and/or bladder infections and have created two formats of UTI herbal medicine that I would like to share.
This tincture, extracted with organic cane alcohol at 1:4 herb:menstruum ratios,  I call Urine Luck. The main function is to increase diuresis and remove harmful bacteria (like e.coli) from the urinary tract:
2 parts Sticky, summer harvested Grindelia buds -
* kills e.Coli, anti-infective
2 parts WC Horsetail -
* diuretic, nutritive, soothing
1 part Uva Ursi -
* tonic diuretic
1 part WC Usnea moss - antiseptic
1 part WC Chapparal - antiseptic
1/2 part Bilberry - anti-oxidant
1/2 part fresh ginger root - moving
*with 5 drops Grapefruit seed extract per dose

This tea blend is a more 'planetary' formula including a few wild-crafted plants as well.
Directions for use - Simmer 1 oz herbs in 1 L of water for 20 min and drink a full liter / day when infection is present. As maintenance and for cleansing, drink 2 cups daily.

Urinary Support Tea:
2 part WC Horsetail (Equisetum variegatum) *soothing, diuretic, mineral rich
2 part WC Plantain leaf (Plantago major) *soothing
2 part Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)  - *stimulant diuretic
2 part Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale) - potassium-rich diuretic
1 part Oatstraw - soothing / cooling
2 part Indian sarsaparilla root (Hemidesmus indicus) - diuretic
2 part Marshmallow leaf (Althea officinalis) - soothe tissues
2 part Nettle leaf - tonic diuretic
2 part Cornsilk (Zea mays) *soothing and cooling
1 part Creosote leaf WC (Larrea tridentata) - antiseptic
1 part Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) - *antiseptic, warm & stimulating
1 part Gardenia fruit - cooling
1 part Violet Leaf (Viola tricolor)
1 Part Yarrow - WC - nourish urinary tissues - tonic
1 part Ginger - circulating
1 part Chinese motherwort (Leonarus japonicus)
1/2 part Boneset leaf - antiseptic

 

Tongue diagnosis with dampness include:
*wet/slippery coat - accumulation of fluids
*swollen shape - accumulation of fluids, heaviness, edema, loose stools
*scalloped - dampness
*white - dampness
*with these, diuretics drain damp and aromatic stomachtics can also be used


In the case of detected spleen dampness, edema, nephritic edema, cardiac edema, urinary retention with a slippery, floating, and rapid pulse: Hoelen Five Herbs Formula (Wu Ling san) can be prescribed. This formula (in grams):
Fu ling (Poria cocos)  6-9
Ze xie(Alisma)           9-12
Zhu ling (Polyporus)   6-9
Bai zhu (Atractylodes) 6-9
Gui Zhi (Cinnamon twig) 6-9
*made into a decoction to drink twice daily or taken in teapills

*This information is composed from: lecture notes from East West Seminar, East West Guidebook: compiled by Micheal Tierra & personal studies / application.

 

TCM concepts : Phlegm and the Lungs

Mucus is generated in the body by the intake of diary, flour, sugar, and soy and can also be produced by allergies related to the liver. Raw diets (especially in cool, humid, cold climates) can also be a main factor in mucus formation. When digestion is weak and digestive Agni (fire) is dampened by poor food combining, mucus forms. The accumulation of improperly digested foods typically results in illness and toxic build-up which often further contributes to excess mucus, sluggish liver, and a variety of other debilities. With practice and application, it is becomes more physically visible when Excess Yin or other dietary/constitutional imbalances present a phlegmatic appearance. 

Phlegm is a diagnostic concept in TCM that is indicated by congealed fluids, fibroids, nodules, cysts, and a situation called, "phlegm misting the mind." Unreasonable, manic, anxious behavior paired with a fat, greasy tongue and slippery pulse are strong pointers towards phlegm in the system.

When the spleen generates mucus, it connected to and stored in the Lungs. When phlegm reaches the lungs, it negatively affects its neighbor, the heart, which can cause further blood stagnation and foggy thinking. With thin or watery mucus, a pattern of Invasion of the Lungs by Wind-Cold occurs. In cases of darker, yellow mucus an Invasion of the Lungs by Wind-Heat occurs which often results in a cough. The Lungs control vital energy, Wei Qi (immune system) and are responsible for the function of the skin. When they are filled with mucus, external invasions can occur more easily and result in pneumonia and/or a sub-health state of heavy fatigue. This potentially allows a suppressed immunity to create degenerative disease and depletion. Digestive bitters and tonics are great to give with coughs due to this spleen-lung connection. 

Physically, phlegm manifests as varying levels of laziness and heaviness, which can look like swollen/pudgy body, often a distended abdomen, and overall fatigue. Mentally, excess pathogenic mucus presents itself by blocking the function of the mind and preventing expression of the Shen. 

Different levels of tongue diagnosis can be used to assess pathogenic mucus: generally, the thicker the coat; the more present and advanced the phlegm.

**When a wet tongue is present: this can indicate dampness, deficient Qi and accumulation of fluids. This can represent excess Yin, whereas with deficient Yin, the toungue has little or no coat because the dry body heat has consumed all the Fluids. 

**When a greasy, white tongue coat becomes yellow: this indicates phlegm heat in stomach which can be treated by bitter tonics that clear damp heat : gentiana, barberry, Chapparal, greater celandine, or goldenseal. 

**A cheesy or furry coat indicates more extreme damp heat or phlegm heat, which can grow into candida. This can be treated with bitter tonics or digestives like hawthorn and radish seed. 

**When the tongue shape appears swollen or scalloped (when the swelling of the tongue causes pressure on teeth and creates dents on outer rim), this indicates Internal phlegm. This situation benefits from Spleen Qi tonics along with Phlegm clearing formulas.

Herbal Treatment:  Citrus & Pinelia (Er Chen Wan) is one of the Chinese mother formulas to transform phlegm and dry dampness. This can be modified for application to Hot or Cold conditions. In the case of a greasy tongue with with thick yellow or greenish phlegm representing Heat; coptis, honeysuckle, poke, forsynthia, and echinacea can all be added to Two Cured Decoction (Er chen wan). Coldness, Dampness, and Deficiency are indicated with watery, thin, clear mucus. For this, Ayurvedic Trikatu warms the interior and can be combined with garlic to fight infection. 

**Recipe for Trikatu: powder equal parts pippili long pepper, black pepper and ginger with a dash of anise and mix into a paste with honey - 1 teaspoon per dose to warm the body. Sito Paladi Churna, composed of inner bamboo bark, cardamom, cinnamon, and pippali, is an Ayurvedic formula also used for thin mucus and watery Kapha phlegm coughs. 

When mucus secretions become thick, yellow or white, possibly blood tinged, this Damp Heat situation calls for cholagogues that stimulate the liver to discharge bile. Gentiana Combination (Long Dan xie gan tang), singles containing berberine, yellow dock, dandelion root, and fringe tree bark can be applied here. 

Although it might seem that water and earth are the rulers or creators of mucus because together they make mud (like what is seen in Kapha excess), metal is the element of primary correspondence to the bodily secretion of mucus. Metal embodies the Powers of elimination, letting go, and the physical conduction of energy. When the metal element becomes imbalanced, vital energy and the sense of flowing with destiny and purpose can become blocked. Often metal blockages can manifest as a clinging onto of phenomena of the past, whether they be traumatic or joyful, which can give rise to an inability to release emotions and habits. With this comes coughs, sinus congestion, stiffness, fatigue and weakness, holding grief in the lungs, and a major tendency towards mucus. When pathogenic mucus 'mists the mind' a inability to detach and process can arise as the supremely spiritual element of metal becomes dimmed and stifled from transmuting the refined nectar of Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth into gold. When I think of metal, I think of alchemy and breath..and there is no room for phlegm in alchemy. Often, I look around a room of muggles eating dairy, sneezing, grasping onto the comparison of material nonsense, and acting with a complete inability to problem solve and think critically...and I see this societal cloak of phlegm draped around the mainstream culture in our nation of America. To add onto this, I see grief saturating them/us through the waves of media mind-control, which gets lodged in the suppressed immunities of the Lungs to be driven deeper into internal and collective illness. This is a lack of alchemy, and the lapse of true breath. Without breath and alchemy, it becomes opaque as to how we receive the cosmic energy that has the power to connect our spirits. I am learning through shedding phlegm and balancing metal, that focus is what strengthens our rhythm, and rhythm is what feeds our spirit.  When the house (Lungs) of our Corporeal Soul (Po) is clouded in attachment, it is nearly impossible to truly feel into the grief that resides and sit with our discomforts enough to find the clarity to shed it all and continue to authentically feel. 

With a rise in emphysema and asthma in our culture... we are losing our breath. Spiritual breathlessness inhibits our ability to cultivate superpowers, protect ourselves from viruses, and be in harmony. Through refinement of our breath and release of negative tendencies including withdrawal from the dangers of media and sugar, I believe our society or conscious sub-cultures within it, can slowly create harmony in the Metal element. 

When recognizing Metal imbalance in a client, it's important to keep the nature of this element in mind as well the (very common) increased vulnerability to External diseases due to compromised Wei Qi. In addition to herbal diagnostics and formulas, cultivating rhythm through breathwork & Qi Gong and strengthening the Lungs though rituals of release are highly beneficial in re-entering the realm of alchemy. 

This information is composed from personal studies, education & seminars at East West Planetary Herbs and Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine - Vol I. DIagnosis and Treatment by Dr. Michael and Lesley Tierra

IntervieW with a bright light from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts

Savannah Clark of SWIHA's Urban Farming program asked me for an interview...in case you would like to know more about me, here it is:

1.) When did you discover that this path you have taken was your passion?
A sequence of divine and challenging events have led me to the path of herbalism and holistic healing. I am a dancer, sister, daughter, friend, teacher…we all need healers in our lives and I just happen to be the one (alongside many others in our community) to step forth and bring us back down to Earth. From having a life-threatening illness due to environmental contamination, a near-death experience, having friends fall into opiate addiction, watching cancer rates rise, and studying ecology & factory farming, many doors have opened for me to find a solution rather than simmer in disdain for our dysfunctional society. A fusion of business savvy actions and never-ending passion have generated a path for me to be in the position of offering people natural medicine in a ‘mainstream’ location of downtown Tempe, AZ. I am blessed and I’ve worked harrrrrrd.

2.) Did you ever see yourself in the positionyou are today?
Yes! I didn’t quite know what it would look like…At some phases in my life, I thought I would be a professional dancer at this age (I’m 26), or an organic chef, or a high school teacher…but none of those quite fit anymore. It doesn’t surprise me that I am a successful business owner and on the path to becoming a certified professional herbalist. I am a natural born leader and have always loved the Earth, its creatures & helping people. I am saturated in gratitude for the alchemy of my choices and opportunities.

3.) Do you grow and package all your herbs/apothecary needs yourself?
I currently craft 100% of Rainbow Bliss Botanicals products, from infusion to salve to syrup…I make all of that. All the ingredients are either wild-crafted by me (usually on new moons), certified organic from various farms in the USA West Coast, Fair-trade certified from Central/South America (like cacao, maca, lucuma, cardamom etc.), or homegrown. I currently grow and use Vitex, Calendula, Tulsi Basil, Lemon Balm, Artichoke leaf, Aloe Vera, Peppermint, Borage, Ashitaba, Lemongrass, Spilanthes, 2 varieties of chamomile…..you get the idea…I grow what herbs I can in addition to seasonal food, of course!

4.) If so, could you tell me about some experiences you have had growing in the desert?
Planting in succesion for the bees is so important! Feeding the bees and generating food security for them by always providing blossoms also generates food security for us: pollination and nectar creation. The bees LOVE borage and Monarda, basils, calendula, clovers, and Vitex (i know your beautiful school has vitex trees all around:). They love drought-tolerant blossoms like cats claw, mesquite, and ocotillo as well. I could go on all day about the bees, but other tips would be starting a compost right away so you can start generating soil! Trial and error is great as well; go to seed exchanges or plan them with friends and see what works well for you with the soil, sun & space that you have. I also talk to my plants all the time and love to feed my brassicas spring water diluted urine everyday….that will put some nitrogen in the soil for sure...Native Seed Search in Tucson and the Urban Farm in Phoenix are great resources for more information about Sonoran desert gardening. The Desert Botanical Gardens bi-annual plant sale is rad as well. There’s a beautiful network of farmers here in the Phoenix area!!


5.) How long did it take you to master your blends? (herbal blends,aromatherapy blends etc)
I am a novice who listens to elders but also tunes deeply into intuition. Knowing the action of each plant and/or oil is key, but also using whats available, sustainable, in season, or INSPIRING can lead to greatness. For example, I wouldn’t make an immune boosting or anti-bacterial medicine with elderberries from Washington if I was able to harvest fresh yerba mansa here in AZ…Local is powerful, but I’m down with it all..I’m studying Advanced Traditional Chinese Medicine Formulations and also Ayurveda…so tough finding most of those herbs local, but I still want to learn with them and use them in Planetary formulas. In the realm of all the medicinal mushrooms I dual extract, I craft formulas that combine beneficial fungi and herbs…these are inspired by a focus of WHY would someone want to take this. There’s one called Protect-SHen that I am in love with, completely inspired by a lingering sore throat I experienced. Fungal Wonder is sexy! It’s a blend that lubricates the soul…that is the intention. Amethyst Blessing is a “take-the-edge-off” kinda thang, and it works..There’s so many people pacing around with “anxiety” these days, that I love to formulate medicines to calm the Shen, Open the Heart, build Qi, and nourish the nerves.

6.) If and when you have failed; what did you do?
Wellll…..I’ve been trying to ferment a few thangs here and there. That’s been exciting…sometimes things turn out incredible…and sometimes I get too excited and combine a grip of ingredients together and it turns out FunKayy….like FYI never ferment maitake mushrooms..ew.. I mean I like weird tastes, but don’t go there. Hmmm what else….welll I also overbook myself. I think I can do it all with only 1 breath in between. I’m learning to do less, bee more, and always deliver with balance. For example, at Gem and Jam Festival last year I was booked for 3 workshops plus vending..that was ridiculous. Crowds of people were at the workshops and by the 3rd one I was magically in the ethers and had a hard thyme staying present…learning to pace myself. You could say I’m a work-a-holic, but when you’re work is play its hard to draw the line. For example, I’m booked to vend an event in California every weekend (SpiritWeavers, Women’s Visionary Congress, San Fransisco PRIDE…etc) and also a weekly Wednesday event in June as well as working free clinics for veterans, homeless, and mental health patients on Thursdays in Santa Cruz with East West. I’m also in full time school…so biting off less wouldn’t hurt occasionally.


7.) What is driving and inspiring you each day?
1 in 2 humans need to be a healer. We are so much more powerful than we know and with LOVE we can be guided towards a regenerative society whom LISTENS to the needs of Mother Earth and gives back to her as she does to us. It will be reallllly difficult to reach this if we are not all clearing susto (trauma & conditioning) from one another and healing each other…bringing each other back to our roots. That is what I am a catalyst for.

8.) If any, who are your mentors/inspiration?
Kathleen Harrison of Botanical Dimensions, Phyllis Hogan of Winter Sun Trading Co in Flagstaff, Micheal & Leslie Tierra (my teachers!), all the teachers at East West Planetary Herb School,  my chief/uncle and great friend Delmar Bonnie who taught me how to pray with the plants, ask for blessings, and walk in harmony. My parents have worked their a%* off to keep a roof over my head and provide an adventurous & meaningful life for me and my sister, and I am forever inspired by their love for each other and us. I used to have to clean out their cabinets of foods with MSG and corn syrup and now my dad is composting & growing food! In another 5 years of me nagging (with forceful smiles) maybe my family will be healed of anxiety, insomnia…making sun tea and harvesting prickly pear, making jelly, and making alters for the moon?! ….it’s good to have goals & visions. ; )


9.) Do you accept others products in your own store?
Absolutely! The physical brick n mortar shop is a retail space to support ethical medicines, clothes, local jewelry etc. Yes yes yes bring it on creatresses and creators. My gorgeous staff make smoking blends and teas that we have formulated, I make all the syrups, tinctures, glycerites, salves….aroma therapeutics (misters, synergies, chakra oils) are made by my mom and I. Most of the bliss squad employees also consign their hand-crafted medicines and ritual tools in there. From flower essences to pendulums to lip balms, the staff in Happy Healthy High Horny Herbs are extra-ordinary beings with many talents.

10.) If so, what are you looking for from the supplier and when a product is chosen is it based off of commission,space rental or do you buy the product in bulk and re-sale?
I consign the medicines made by staff, and cosign some sexy high-quality clothes from local designers, and the rest is wholesale. ALWAYS organic, certified GMO-free, local-as-possible, and Fair-trade forever. I used to have a hodgepodge of local arts covering all the walls…it got a lil crazy and hard to focus & keep track of, so now I have rotating artists set up a seasonal gallery on the walls..so we have 1-2 featured artists at a time and double as a gallery.

11.) Do you have any record keeping tips or advice?
HHmmmmmmm……I’m pretty old school..moving to digital slowly, but don’t ask me about record-keeping…i finally just got my first own laptop…i’m loowwww-tech. But keep your receipts, and honestly I like old-school. I have all invoices filed, receipts stacked, everything is physical and transparent. Keep it clean.

12.) Who made your website?
My sister and I made my website! I am a photographer, so I did all the photos and she did the graphics. My rad sister is the main graphic designer for the Heard Museum and Western Spirit Museum..she’s a classy & talented lady.
www.rbbotanicals.com

13.) what is your favorite marketing technique?
Vending small festivals where I can really connect with the customer is the best~ Meaningful & generates repeat happy customers. Also positive word-of-mouth is powerful. I don’t know anything about online marketing or search engine optimization…maybe someone who reads this can teach me? Xoxo

14.)What advice would you give someone like me who is interested in the same field?
Don’t wait until you are “qualified” or “certified” to experiment with business ideas. Experience is everything, start now. Craft a vision and be flexible. Fu%* beliefs and know your greatness. Practice kindness. Stay humble & diligent. For the sake of all creatures; Plant love.

A note on Purgative Therapy

After years of digestive distress due to eating grains & gluten, hot/dry foods, living in the desert, and a lack of awareness for my own intestinal anatomy and diet triggers, I discovered colon hydro-therapy....and have fallen deeply in love with this powerful healing modality. This work provided to me by a dear friend, Mariana, has changed my life in terms of how I see my overall health and where trauma and disease reside within my temple.

Through studying enema therapy as a part of learning Ayurvedic Bastis, a vital element of Panchakarma, I have administered medicines in new ways and experienced such beautiful, soothing therapy! This topic may be strange to some who are new to the realm of alternative & traditional healing practices, regardless, I would like to share my new-found love for Bastis as well as TCM purgatives. As a background for what purgatives are (which are different than enemas), here is a note on purgative therapy I composed for an assignment with East West Planetary Herb School. Stay tuned for bowel tonic recipes and enema therapy suggestions. 

The three modes of purgative therapy include: Attacking, Lubricating, and Cathartic applications.

    The Lubricating demulcents are what I have the most experience with and overall, they attract water in the colon, thus re-hydrating the dry walls of the colon. Due to their demulcent properties, like flax, they create a slippery environment for waste to move down and out through. This therapy is ideal for de-hydrated bowels and dry constipation due to a hot, dry environment, but also due to diet and lack of water intake. Demulcent herbs are mucilaginous by nature and because they absorb water, the matter swells over ten times its size than when dry. This seems like it would create a gentle, yet forceful & effective action in the colon to work with the combination of gravity, volume and moisture to evacuate waste. Plenty of water must be consumed while using these herbs as purgatives or else an unhelpful paste will form in the stomach and colon and potentially cause more discomfort. These are effective towards relieving chronic constipation, but are not recommended for people with damp conditions. Lubricating, moist, oily laxatives include psyllium, flax seeds, marijuana seeds, slippery elm, triphala and castor oil. From a diagnostic perspective, when chronic constipation is present, look deeper to the root of potential underlying blood or yin deficiency. 

    Cathartic herbal purgatives are strong-acting diuretics and laxatives that treat stagnation of the bowels…more specifically, stagnation of the fluids in the abdomen. These herbs are more harsh than lubricating herbs and purge fecal matter as well as water from the body in a forceful and usually quick way. Generally, Western medicine views cathartic herbs like euphorbiae, mandrake, poke root and croton as toxic, although they can be successfully applied to people suffering from water and fecal immobility in the abdomen. Cathartic and attacking herbal therapy is contra-indicated with cold, weak conditions and are not suitable for long-term use. 

    Another downward draining purgative mode is “Attacking.” These quickly dispel toxins in the body downward and out. These are appropriate when the abdomen is uncomfortably full, for acute constipation, and for severe constipation that causes toxic build-up (Heat), and possibly fevers. Attacking purgatives have a bitter taste, which stimulates bile production and then peristaltic action soon after. In Leslie’s book, Healing with the Herbs of Life, she states thats the cold energy herbs of rhubarb, aloe, cascara sagrada, and walnut bark should be paired with a mildly warm carminative herbs that warm the Interior like fennel or ginger, to prevent griping pains. 

 

For more information, check out Chapter 12: Eight Methods of Herbal Treatment in Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Volume 1: Diagnosis and Treatment by Michael Tierra L.Ac, OMD, A.H.G and Lesley Tierra L.Ac, A.H.G.

San Pedro Medicine

Trichocereus pachanoi,  Huachuma, San Pedro, mi guía, mi espíritu, mi corazón. 

Truth, direct medicine. Like a drum beat, like a heart beat. Without confusion, only the unraveling of conditioning, vibrational untwisting of painful lies, re-arranging of heart for goodness sake, making space for beauty. This medicine is deep in my being, and deeper set in South American folklore, ceremony, ritual, and spirit. Native to Ecuador and Peru, this gorgeous columnular cactus boasts night-blooming blossoms that blow the heart open with adoration and wonder. 

My first experience with San Pedro cactus was at the meeting point of two rivers, nestled in between mountains in a sacred valley near Vilcabamba, Ecuador. With the perfect company, a clean body, local wisdom, cleansing of a union between two rivers, and an open heart; Huachuma medicine allowed me to untwist angst, unravel hatred towards American culture, soothe anxiety, and dissolve the walls that had formed around my heart. The Stars sang to me, explained the demise of females from Minny Mouse to Nicki Minaj, that anger will never empower others, and that everything will be ok. This medicine spoke to me in a sorcerous call to action; action for the sake of all creatures; action to inspire the importance of honoring ecology over money. A mystical Eve transformed me into a story-weaving spider and brought me back into my flesh with freshness, respect, gratitude, and impeccable work ethic. Motivation, sexual healing, positive direction, and spiritual stamina all unfolded as this medicine began to work on me in seen and unseen ways. Years later, I have continued to honor, cultivate, converse with, and dream with this conscious cactus. 

Today, I'm happy to announce I have crafted a cacti collection of crystalline clean and purely heart-centered biological imprints of the beloved Trichocereus pachanoi. These were crafted in regard to celestial energy and sang to via my voice as a vessel. 

 

Solar Huachuma flower essence

Message: Blessings on your voyage. Blessings on our voyage. May we remember what is of real importance and allow for rapid, organic synergy on our paths. Magic overflowing and aligning to generate medicinal beams and channels of communication and exchanging insight to our Creator. Allow for trance. Allow for flowing prayer and may these prayers unfold with direct clarity and divine encounters on your path. May a sense of grandness, detailed awareness, adoration of botanical surroundings and ecological marvel bless your way with open eyes. 

Contains: vibrational flower essence of 2 fresh Trichocereus pachanoi blossoms, distilled water, 35% aged añejo gold tequila, and 5% certified organic vegetable glycerine. 

 

Lunar Huachuma flower essence

Message: I crescendo into sharpness. I allow for closure of uncertainties and give myself permission to be bold. I am tough and adaptable to extreme conditions, yet fully aware of what truly nourishes my bones. Peaceful, swaying, and mystical; I tune into twilight. I greet creatures of the night as allies with more eyes. I am solid in my sexuality, and I know my pleasure well. I make love to the universe and caressed by the starlight. 

Ingredients:

1 sexy fresh Huachuma blossom vibrational essence, distilled water, 35% silver tequila, 5% Certified organic vegetable glycerine. 

 

Sacred Union

Message: I am a messenger between Mother Earth and Father sky; together we create. Understanding that we are all a result of orgasm, I fully envelope, honor, represent, and welcome sacred Union and divine sexuality. 

Ingredients:

Vibrational solar San Pedro flower essence, vibrational lunar Huachuma essence, aged gold añejo tequila, silver tequila, distilled water, and certified organic vegetable glycerine.

 

 

 

If you are interested in attaining this powerfully healing essence, I encourage you to contact me via plantlove@rbbotanicals.com. I have mother flower essence that I can provide straight or diluted. 

Planetary

Rising moon waxing, last action is relaxing

What occupies the mind is craft, aim for excellence in intuition, no rough draft

Rich empirical evidence, co-existing blessed elements

How sacred these botanical benefits, brilliant photosynthesis and solar relevance

Seeds buried in soil, nitrogen ascending

tap root shooting deeper and sprout light bending

All I can think about is cellular mitosis, which plants need what and how we can grow this

Exuding data like mycelium, these plants have copious lessons

Foster life, make medicine from root to flower essence

Amongst the chaos, the sun continues to shine

Biodiversity is fought for, prayed for, by masters who make shrines

Centuries of refining and local application too, young plants grow and old thicken through

Be it organ, meridian, or shen…or the stress of a system with pressure of 10,000 men

There’s a formula for that, be it zizyphus or eye of bat

And after kind craft takes effect with belief at the core, you’ll be everything but flat

This mystical science and co-evolving medicine

heals sadness and pain and deficiency of the endocrine

As they grow, saturate new leaves with song, by the next 2 moons a harvest comes along

How sophisticated these ways of earthen, true honesty

Don’t abuse it, endanger or underestimate, please promise we

When diagnostics are unclear and textbooks can’t speak,

Look deep into the soul of the patients whom plants seek.

Intuition, knowing, trusting are potent miraculous tools,

What an honor and blessing to be a part of this school.

 

To the beloved teachers and founders and fellow students at EastWest Planetary Herb School. 

Elixir of trance.

If an atheistic belief system leads to a saddening, mind-altering fear of nothingness after death; perhaps that absence of spirit, absence of something greater than flesh and bone, that lacking of divinity, has proven to be a failed system. When a choice to believe in and feed the nothingness with distraction and sedation has paved the way to suffering, anxiety of the within and unknown, or a severed sense of self-awareness and self-actualization; perhaps it is time to shift longing, regrets, and hollowness into joy and liberation beyond death. 

Yes, liberation beyond death. 

When one can feel the solace in the tenderness of true human affection, they know something greater exists, for we cannot control LOVE, only choose to accept and reciprocate. So why deny divine love, universal love, and the lavish pleasure of being in love with forms outside flesh and bone. To know we have spirit carried in the elements, to know we can predict time and nurture cycles by way of the moon, to know the Earth and beings of celestial realms can subtly guide us without ego; THAT is what soothes anxiety.

Medicine in the mystery. 

If the subtle change is made to honor your [our] mystery, your [our] beyond-blood ancestry, your [our] divine purpose, the interconnectedness of all living creatures, and the healing potential of the four sacred, live-giving elements; what is there to lose? 

Perhaps what there is to gain is a gift of understanding our individual and POTENTially collective ability to communicate with energy directly, without the limitations of a particular cognitive system. Or perhaps waking visions of interpreting essences and finding truths. 

All this might even lead to the elixir of trance...if you'd like to go there; to find meaning in flow and meaning in Ecstacy, hold passion as sacred, and become skilled in dreaming so that we may act with more wisdom. A wisdom that answers prayers, guides us, and helps us SEE that division, misery, and slavery are causes of malady. 

Elixir of trance. Craft it...

This idea, or goal, is mature, sane, benevolent and successful. A method of access to Great Spirit, God, the Creation. 

It is critically important to nurture yourself and the ability to receive and express universal love with every thought, word, and action. If we lose this love, or never discover it; that could destroy everything. When we discover the love within and surrounding us, we began to think more than nothing of how we have come to be here. I believe in the sublime, the divine. And I believe this is how we transcend the anxiety that plagues individuals and our collective culture. 

As you read this, try not to focus all understanding on words; for words are a way humans buffer themselves from their own existential experience. If we become obsessed with words, we can become confused and perhaps these words can turn us into liars. Just Feel. Reveal, feel, accept, express pure, genuine love. 

I'm beginning to learn how to speak what is in my heart. To not be appalled by the condition of life of Earth, and to not be afraid of death, because I feel I know what death looks like and choose to believe in a journey after death. 

Often, the comfort of science and reason provides us with a solid default platform; a means of how we can deny magiK and spirit. And those who crave logic over alchemy and lineage tend to cave inward into suffering and isolation. I've been there, I know that place well..a place of anxiety and fear of what I'm capable of through dreams and also vulnerable to when I speak from my lucid heart. 

I see 'God' in permaculture, I see 'God' in medicinal plants, I see 'God' in being a freak, I see 'God' in collective liberation, I see 'God' in twilight. I am spoken to in my sacred slumber and in moments of trance. By energy without a face, without a name. These visions have helped me walk a path away from vanity, greed, anger, and mostly the anxiety of nothingness. And I feel free.

we are the flower of life. we are a sacred communion of essence, duality, creation and force. 

I dance my dance, I sing my song; and together we unfold the Earth's prayer. Learning to share my very being and gently asking Creator to be with me, to be with us, where there is space. 

Ometeotl. Aloha. One Love. 

Sincerely,

Chloe Bee

Mogusa

Dreamy mastery mugwort, 

moxa heals the contort. 

Artemesia japonicaaa

for local and pain chronicaaa.

..mazing ancient art form, 

building yang and body warm. 

Chinese mountains fire melt snow, 

a method of longevity from long ago. 

Sparks and bustion, no anxiety within, 

Yang min rebirth growing thicker away from thin. 

Swollen joints, diminishing Qi, 

Mogusa and intention, burn it, set free. 

Rising reaction, Qi finding, go there, 

like ginseng evaporating Yin and fair. 

Five rounds and stagnation rushes and flows, 

what a divine art form your healer has chose. 

When throwing darts becomes too cool, 

and taking becomes the option for a fool. 

Between bamboo, the thread rolls thin, 

timeless balance of fierce yang and gentle yin. 

For the sake of all creatures.

Greetings...while listening to David Winston's field study today at the Botanical Medicines From the Earth gathering in a forest 18 miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina...I realized I had not had the time to sit on the Earth and write in a while...and this flows. 

Poetry, musicality, planting trees, discovering ease, healing disease, smiling in the breeze…So what else do I value? What else do I believe in? What is the bigger picture, my vision for us here on planet Earth?

Allow me to share:

For the sake of all creatures, We, Me; these are 3 sectors of thought and action of which I evaluate choices and opportunities. It starts with “me” at the center, once the “ego” and the” I go” is released; this pulses out to “we.” When we can see the future and understand we are a part of something greater, we vibrate out to consider and value “for the sake of all creatures.” This centered and outward evolving pulse forms an undulating ripple, potent, steady, taken care of by those who foster life and our expanding, deepening connection to Gaia, Great Spirit and Creator.

 When I’m 40…in 15 years…I pray and VISION for the sake of all creatures:

·         That plants and the 4 sacred elements of water, fire, air, and earth are seen as living beings with knowledge

·         That every conflict finds rest at no expense to the well-being of beings

·         That love > greed

·         That we hold ECOLOGY as RELIGION

·         That human beings understand the language of plants is a birthright.

When I’m 50…in 25 years…I pray and VISION for the WE:

·         That every home has basic knowledge of herbalism

·         That every community has an herbalist

·         That every human has a garden

·         That every elder has tells a story

·         That every child can love wholly

When I’m 60…in 35 years…I pray and vision for the ME:

·         30 years of clinical herbalism practice, 40 years of plant medicine study

·         Extensive knowledge and experience in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Eclectic Herbology, Navajo plant medicine, Planetary Ethnobotany, Mayan medicine, West African drum and Dance, Cranial Unwinding, Acupressure, and Dream Shamanism.

And I will be able to say, “Despite past conditions [conditioning], I am not programmed to accept EMF, fluorescent lighting, pesticides, feedback noise, surveillance, commercials, war, violence, and subliminal mind control as a part of daily life here on Planet Earth. From birth, I was raised in the most egoic, individualistic, isolated society that has ever existed throughout history. Now, we are and I am a tribal human being WITHIN an interdependent community with daily ritual and meaningful ceremony. Our sunlight is green and filtered through the thriving photosynthesizing plants surrounding us, our water is flowing, full of beneficial minerals, cool, and clean. Our soil is pure and rich in mycorrhizae; teaming with microbial activity and dense nutrients. Our children tell stories, plant seeds, practice kindness, and generate art seen and unseen.”

You see… without this, we become polarized; spiritually, socio-economically, and psychologically. Polarization generates extremes, and although diversity in culture is critical to humanness, we must come together to preserve the Earth and her precious resources while remaining to be open to contrasting ideology. We all need water, we all need soil, we all need oxygen, and we all need family. These create a common ground for us humans and four-legged to co-exist upon. For us humans, we were potentially all four-legged creatures before birth into this body, and our whole life is about becoming a HUMAN, being humane…rather than an old, crickity, pained two-legged animal.

The way I see it, ceremony is what unites us, helps us to evolve into a humane space of existence…past survival and into the thriving. When a culture values ceremony and ritual becomes the center point of function; we can see and communicate and resolve conflict. We can abandon linear thought processes and move into a sacred spiral of creation. Layers of ceremony include personal daily ritual, giving thanks, blessing water…doing what you need to connect to great Spirit; to connect with who you are, what you do, and what you eat. Expanding outward is family ceremony…pray together, form deep bonds with each other, find new family (because the one you’re born into isn’t always the most symbiotic family possible), and hunt/gather/grow together. Then there’s community ceremony; right-of-passage, harvesting, planting, celebration, dancing for rain…these are LIFE-giving rituals that feed the Earth!!! When we can peacefully communicate and overcome greed, there’s also nation’s ceremony…when a nation comes together to celebrate life and mark time with precious meaning.

These words I speak are my truths. What I pray for every day. What I honor and what I see as the only option to heal the planet and move forward. I’ve learned my truths through dream trauma, through deathly illness, through diseases of societal misalignment, through spiritual stagnation, and through HEALING it all via ceremony, ritual, nature, dance, plants, and community. Discovering HUMANE EMPATHY and a deep passion for ecology... My greatest growth stems from experiencing pain and love, which have directed me to this path of plant medicine. 

Vitex: Agnus-castus

Unbeknownst to me until 2012, there has been a Vitex Tree growing in my own backyard for over twenty-five years! I began to study urban farming at ASU’s School of Sustainability and found a tree in one of my textbooks that look strikingly like the tree in my backyard…so I looked into this Mediterranean climate-loving tree and discovered it was a Chaste tree. During this time, my mom was in the beginning stages of menopause, and I was (and still am) struggling with hormone-induced acne and also detoxing from chemical birth control.

Since beginning studies in Western Herbalism, I have been distracted by the abundance of desert plants to study, and left Vitex on the backburner. However, in September of 2014, my employee and I began a class series offered through my herbal apothecary called Wise Woman Womb Botanicals, which focuses on educating about natural contraceptives, lunar cycle tracking, herbs for menopause, and aphrodisiacs. After classes about Neem, lunaception, and Queen Anne’s Lace, we had our first class dedicated to Vitex. In this class we used Vitex from my backyard harvested on the Libra New Moon and made tinctures with Sedona Spring Water and Organic Cane Alcohol. We compiled information to hand out to the class from Susan Weed’s Books: Down There; Sexual and Reproductive Health, and New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Ways as well as Rosemary Gladstar’s, Herbal Healing for Women’s Health.

Here is the information I shared via the text of these Wise Women:

·      Most valuable function is its ability to normalize function of the female sex hormones: Balancing hormones, bodily functions and endocrine glands.

·      Excellent herb for restoring and regulating estrogen and progesterone balance.

·      Ability to assist the stimulation of the pituitary gland, which is responsible for regulating and normalizing hormonal production.

·      Although it does not contain progesterone, it has the effect of regulating and restoring progesterone production in the body.

·      If used correctly, the herb will encourage the body to set in motion a hormonal balance, whether it is a deficiency of estrogen or progesterone. This normalizing action is particularly beneficial in giving relief from irregular menstruation, infertility, endometriosis, menopausal discomfort and other hormonal imbalances.

·      Increases the production of luteinizing hormones (LH), enhancing the progesterone cycle. Inhibits FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). Normalizes estrogen. Does not actually contain direct hormones, but rather hormonal precursors.

·      Has proved to be a deliverer for many women from a life of pain and misery from PMS. Relieves uterus pain, spasms and inflammation, due to it’s content of agnoside.

·      Chaste may help with PMS symptoms such as swelling, sensitive breasts, fluid retention, bloating, lower back and abdominal pain, headaches, irritability, depression, aggression, difficulty concentrating, hot flushes, weight gain and loss of libido.

·      Calming agent in hysteria and has been historically used to treat “insanity”.

·      Has also been used in the treatment of dysmenorrhea, relief of hormonal acne (esp teenagers), painful and irregular menses, delayed menstruation, infertility, PMS, fibrocycstic breasts, breast pain, endometriosis, PCOS, vaginal dryness, uterine fibroids, menopausal symptoms and other hormonal imbalances.

·      For chronic conditions such as menstrual irregularities, endomentriosis, infertility, and delayed menstruation, take for up to 1 year or longer.

·      Emmenagogue, diuretic, liver health.

·      Helpful in normalizing the system after discontinuing birth control.

·      Known to inhibit implantation if taken in the first week of pregnancy, as it may interfere with ovulation. For best results, use berries.

·      Can trigger ovulation, even in older women. Some women are reported to release several eggs during a cycle with chaste, increasing the chances of multiple births. Has an effect of normalizing abnormal hormonal secretions for the corpus luteum, and re-establishing the luteal phase in women whose cycles are short.

·      Stimulates the production of prolactin, and is used by nursing mothers to stimulate milk flow.

·      Can bring relief to menopausal symptoms related to progesterone deficiency, and the later years of a woman’s life. Menopausal women have used it in the relief of hot flashes. Can take 2-3 months to see positive results.

·      It’s reputation as an anaphrodisiac may be a myth. Research in the last 20 years has shown it more as a body normalizer than anything. However, it should be noted in men that it can have the effect of halting sperm production, reducing testosterone production and causing atrophy.

·      Dosage:       

Tincture: 1-2ml, 3x/day

Tea: 1tsp berries infused in 1 cup boiling water for 10-15 min, taken 3x/day

Emmenagogue: 200-350mg berries, taken 2-3x/day for up to 6 days.

Food:  Use as a peppercorn substitute

·      Caution:

Use caution if you are weak or anaemic.

Minor gastrointestinal upset and itchiness has been reported in about 2% of users

Beware of dopamine receptor antagonist medications, or if you have parkinson’s disease.

Avoid if you are taking contraceptive medications, or if you are susceptible to estrogen related cancers of the breasts or uterus.

Ode to Creosote..mi amor

Creosote: Larrea tridentata

The strikingly unique and potent aroma in the post-monsoon Sonoran Desert is attributed to the sacred, medicinal plant of Creosote, also known as Chapparal (Larrea tridentata). This shrubby desert plant clones itself to reproduce, has been used for thousands of years by Native Americans, grows in valleys and basins as well as rocky desert plateaus, and can be found only in the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. 

The bond I have formed with Creosote is deep, meaningful, medicinal, emotional, and spiritual. All my childhood, I played in washes and basins covered in this resinous, ancient plant and have used it on many occasions for healing and guidance. An effective way to understand the essence of this shrub is to do an overnight cold infusion into fresh spring water. Simply chop a fresh branch of creosote (from private land as a lot of creosote in the southwest is protected), and place it in a French press with cool spring water at night, and enjoy the next day. This can be done in just an hour as well because the resins on the creosote branches and fresh leaves are strong enough to create a potent and quick cold-water infusion as well. This infusion mimics the energetics of creosote after a desert rain and also carries medicine and hydration into the body. In Kane’s writings of Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest he states, “The wonderful smell is purifying to the spirit and has the ability to cut through the deepest states of emotional self-absorption.”

On the note of absorption, another beautiful way to experience creosote is to bath with the branches or place fresh cute branches into a hot spring while soaking. This generates a magical aromatic cleansing, opens the spirit for purification, soothes the skin, and draws toxins out of the body. Personally, I have creosote on my dashboard, in my shower, and in my windowsill because it reminds me that the Earth provides, that I am a creature of the desert, that I can adapt to extreme heat and dance in the rain. 

Other ways to enjoy and utilize creosote as medicine is to make tinctures and salves!

Here are some recipes I use in my Rainbow Bliss Botanicals product line that accentuate Creosote as a healing panacea:

1.     Monsoon Medicine: Chop fresh creosote leaf and branches finely, pack into a jar with 95% organic cane alcohol and 5% Arizona desert mesquite honey. Shake everyday for 4-6 weeks, strain, bottle, enjoy. I personally find immense value in the fresh tincture of creosote, because I struggle with Epstein-barr and auto-immune deficiency. Creosote is known to inhibit viruses and reduce the heat of autoimmune responses…all around reducing inflammation in the body. Internally, it is also used as an antimicrobial agent, anti-oxidant, and for rheumatism in assisting the reduction of swelling and pain. 

2.     Desert Goddess Healing  Salve: Infuse fresh, wild-harvested, chopped creosote leaves and branches into organic olive oil and let it marry for 4-6 weeks. This oil can be strained and applied directly onto skin to quicken the healing of wounds, skin punctures, and skin eruptions, or it can be made into a salve! Here’s a recipe for my salve:

1 cup calendula petal infused organic olive oil

2/3 cup creosote infused organic olive oil

1.5 oz Arizona beeswax beads

2 oz African Shea butter

1 tsp vitamin E oil

20 drops Morrocan Rose essential oil

20 drops White Sage essential oil (Salvia apiana) 

·      Melt beeswax and shea butter into infused oils with a double boiler or pyrex bowl over a pot of boiling water, stir in Vitamin E once wax and butter are melted, add essential oils last and pour into jars. 

This salve has anti-fungal properties, aids in reducing redness and inflammation of acne eruptions and scars, and can be used for venomous and non-venomous insect bites. There is evidence that the external application of a creosote salve is useful in, “resolving a particular form of premalignant squamous cell carcinoma, called actinic keratosis,” which are scaly patches that arise on sun-damaged skin (Kane, 2006). Being born and raised in a 4th Generation Phoenix family, many cases of melanoma and skin cancer have occurred and I support the science that this plant has the medicine we desert beings need to heal the skin and fight free radicals!

There is much more to learn and experience with Creosote, but after being alongside this plant for over 20 years, I can claim I’m beginning to understand it. I’ve noticed the patterns that it grows in as well and have learned that creosote sends out bio-kryptic/toxic information to surrounding plants to eliminate resource/ water competition. For example, there’s a highway near my house where the surroundings are completely dominated by creosote, but on the median soil there’s Ocotillo and bursage growing. This is a prime example of how Creosote dominates an area and is one of the oldest surviving plants in the harshest of climates. When hiking around Arizona, I rub the leaves between my fingers and say a prayer of gratitude for this strong, healing, ancient, free-radical scavenger. 

 

Guardian Spirit

Guardian:

Sweet guardian spirit paths cosmically collide,

access to see myself more clear and affirmation not to hide.

Boundaries, veils, and demons steer away from by my side,

heart blasting open soul protection through and wide.

Banshees and vampires couldn’t touch this Celestine,

words of understanding and freedom to stray away from war machines.

Ground your wisdom treefrog keep nourishment in mind,

bee kind fresh ancient being for meaning you will find.

Look within your expansive spectrum for the catalyst at the core,

plants speaking with intention to cease the never-ending wanting more.

Guardian tell me why this heavy why?

and why do the stars shine?

and why does greed mine?

and where do they draw the line?

and why exploit the vine?

and why this pain in my spine?

and why do ghouls lie?

Because polarity exists in a living planet of beasts,

and lightness will prevail, prepare for the feasts.

We will all raise the vibration with respect to wisdom keepers,

seeing all as equal humans and elevation of the reaper.

Don’t be afraid young star seed, the answers are all around you,

in the seashells and the mountains and in what you know if true.

Learn to be graceful and steady like the movement of rivers,

learn to be keen and agile balancing the love of the givers.

Walk a good path, ground curiosity with creation,

take action in your worth and imagine no lines between nations.

Be seen in your dance and the way you speak to father sky,

recognize what feeds you, there is only doing, no try.

There will be aggressive doubters, but they’re vexations to the soul,

stay true to those that love you: unconditional, honest, and full.

Time continues to move, lava continues to flow,

water will erode and hearts will grow and glow.

Change is fleeting and constant but don’t fear this loss of control,

minerals, animals, and plants: this Earth will swallow you whole.

But walk it with integrity, see and learn infinity,

we are all a part of the tribe, each containing sweet divinity.

 

Lucido

Between waking and slumber, a lucid realm awaits. 

Of blue electric winds and fires out of place.

Astrology speaks the diviner is divine,

What you choose to remember is the key to blast past find.

Mayan serpents and yellow Eagles, the dragons have lessons too,

Don't leap before you fly, or the roof may come crashing through.

Astral waves and half moon haze are undulating without sound,

But practice wisdom deeply before departing the ground.

Running Jaguars, Gila monsters, and packs of wolfs have arrived,

Listen a la abejas, they have earthen honesty inside the hive.

Lapis. dolphins iguanas accentuate this azul wonderland,

Choose to channel mythology, reality, and jade turned into sand.

Everyday with open eyes verde vividness surrounds,

Bamboo turns to didgeridoos and tribal tambors pound.

Travel if you wish while curiosity fills the membranes,

Protect la huevo cosmico and record what you deem insane.

Espacio is no place for four or five elements,

These foster life and generate rainbows for teepees and tents.

Hace frio sin hermanas de la tierra,

Pozas turquesa and volcanic heat melt us como cera.

Falling in dreams assists in sensory expansion,

Disfruta templos y selvas And visions of monos in mansions..

Lucidity is a constant when we heal our conditioned view,

Equilibrio in consciousness, our dreams are potent too..