HERBALIST, AROMATHERAPIST AND HOLISTIC CERTIFICATION CLASSES

Our phone number is: 480-331-9355
Please call us with any questions or email us at botanicaleducation@gmail.com



Monday, November 4, 2019

HEALING SPRAINS, BACK PAIN, KNEE PAIN, and INJURIES WITH COMFREY


COMFREY (Symphytum officinale)Image result for comfrey herb"

Comfrey leaves come out in early spring followed by little purple flowers sometime in April or May. This lovely plant is originally native to Europe but is commonly found naturalized throughout parts of North America, as early colonists brought the plant with them when they settled in the new land.  

DESCRIPTION:
Comfrey grows 2 to 5 feet tall, producing clusters of purple, blue, and white flowers.  It is famous for its long, slender leaves and black-skinned roots.  Comfrey has large, rough, hairy, and lance-shaped leaves with whitish, pink, or purple flower spikes which have a slight heliotrope like curl typical of this family.

BOTANY:
A member of the Borage or Boraginaceae family, comfrey's relatives include both borage and heliotrope. The Symphytum genus contains about 35 species, all of which can be used interchangeably.

PROPERTIES AND CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS:
Comfrey is known for being mucilaginous (has a gelatinous consistency), is somewhat astringent and contains allantoin that is a proliferant of healthy cells (not malignant ones). It also contains rosmarinic acid which helps relieve pain and inflammation.  The effect of comfrey in relieving pain and reducing swelling is comparable to the effects of Diclofenac gel.

An oil extract from the roots and leaves can be turned into ointments, creams, or salves. These solutions typically have a comfrey content of 5 to 20 percent.

HARVESTING: 
Comfrey root is best harvested in the early spring or fall when there is a high amount of allantoin in the leaves.  Comfrey is best picked before the flowers have come on and best to pick the small, newer leaves for the highest content of allantoin and rosmarinic acid.

USES AND CAUTIONS:  
Much debate surrounds the safety of consuming comfrey internally, even though for centuries it was used in Greek medicine and by European physicians for respiratory and digestive issues. The controversy is due to toxic chemical constituents, pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA’s) that can be harmful to the liver in high doses. These alkaloids are damaging to people with compromised livers, so it is advised to use comfrey topically and not internally to be on the safe side.

Applied to the skin for bone healing (fractures), ulcers, wounds, muscle soreness, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis, varicose veins and gout.  Comfrey Root combines well with Marshmallow Root, Mullein Leaf, Wormwood, Lobelia for cell rebuilding.

It is such an excellent and speedy wound-healing remedy that it should NEVER be used on deep wounds or lacerations as it could potentially heal the top layer of skin before the bottom layer, resulting in an abscess. Avoid comfrey for major skin wounds, and use it only for bruises, sprains and minor cuts and scratches.  

Bone Healing:  Comfrey was once commonly called Knitbone because of its amazing ability to heal broken bones and “knit” them back together again. The botanical name, Symphytum, means “to unite.”  Due to the allantoin, regeneration of healthy cell growth is sped up.

Back pain. Applying a comfrey extract ointment to the affected area 3 times daily for 5 days decreases lower or upper back pain. Also applying a salve/cream extract to the affected area for 5 days seems to decrease back pain when resting or moving.

Osteoarthritis. Applying a comfrey extract ointment to the affected area 3 times daily for 3 weeks or applying a cream containing comfrey extract, tannic acid, Aloe vera gel, eucalyptus oil, and frankincense oil to the affected are for 6-12 weeks helps decrease pain in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Sprains:  Applying comfrey extract ointment to the affected area for up to 2 weeks improves mobility, decreases pain, and reduces tenderness and swelling.

Bruises: Comfrey is a favorite herb for bruises, often working its magic overnight.

Wound Healing:  Many types of sores and wounds are helped with comfrey:  scrapes, burns, diaper rash, eczema, cold sores, psoriasis, varicose veins, etc.

Lung Congestion:  Use a compress 2 times daily to help clear the lungs.

SALVE:  Using FRESH COMFREY LEAVES - Make an herbal infusion (ointment) from fresh comfrey leaves.  Place the leaves on a baking sheet or screen in a single layer (in a warm area) out of direct sunlight and let them wilt for several hours until they look limp.  Chop the leaves and place them loosely into a wide-mouth quart jar.  Cover the leaves with olive oil then put a lid on the jar.  Turn the oven on the lowest setting and place the jar in the oven for an hour.  Remove from the oven and store in a dark place to steep for 2 weeks.  Strain the oil, using a sanitized cloth and squeeze out the leaves.  This salve recipe uses 2 cups of infused Comfrey leaves:
Combine the following ingredients in a stainless-steel pot on the stovetop:
  • ·       2 cups comfrey oil (which you made above)
  • ·       ½ cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
  • ·       1 tablespoon vitamin E oil (you can open vit E capsules)
  • ·       20 drops of lavender essential oil

Once the beeswax has melted, use a spoon that has been in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Dip it quickly into the hot mixture and watch how the consistency turns out.  If it’s thick enough for salve, you can pour the oil mixture into jars. If not, add a bit more beeswax.  Keep testing the salve until you like the consistency.  Pour into clean jars for use as needed.  Label and have prepared for when needed.

WHEN USING DRIED HERBS:  Using a similar process, add PLANTAIN (heals diaper rash) and ROSEMARY (kills pathogens) to the recipe:
In a small crockpot “cook on low” dried herbs for about 3 hours and make the salve that same day, or … cover the herbs with olive oil and let it sit in a covered jar for 2-3 weeks. 
  • ·       ½ cup dry comfrey leaves
  • ·       ½ cup dry plantain leaves
  • ·       ½ cup dry rosemary
  • ·       2 cups olive oil
  • ·       ½ cup grated beeswax or 5-8 tsp. beeswax pastilles

COMPRESS:  A compress is a cloth soaked in an herbal tea (or sometimes a tincture or oil) and then placed on the body. The skin absorbs the healing properties of the liquid and penetrates to the affected area. Compresses can be applied warm or cold. Warm compresses will be more relaxing, help with muscle tightness and bring more blood to the area. Cold compresses are constricting, slow down circulation and can help reduce bleeding and pain.

HOW TO MAKE A COMPRESS:
·       Make a strong comfrey tea, using 2 Tablespoons of dried herb per cup of hot water. Strain out the herb after 10-15 minutes.
·       Let the tea cool if making a cold compress or use it right away (at a comfortable temperature) for a warm compress. The tea can be heated back up if necessary.
·       Soak a clean piece of fabric or a washcloth in the tea and squeeze out the excess liquid.
·       Place the soaked cloth on the affected area and, if possible, wrap it around the body. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Re-soak the cloth as needed.

CONCLUSION from extensive testing – posted by US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491633/
“In the 17th century, Nicholas Culpeper (1616–1654) mentioned comfrey in his enlarged version of The English Physitian.  He stated: ‘It is said to be so powerful to consolidate and knit together … and a Syrup made thereof is very effectual for all those … outward Wounds and Sores in the Fleshy or Sinewy part of the Body whatsoever’. He recommended comfrey among many other complaints for ‘Inward Wounds & Bruises, Wounds, Ruptures, broken Bones, Inflamation, Gout, and Pained Joynts.’
Today, this historical statement is widely supported by modern clinical data. Several recent randomized clinical trials substantiate the efficacy of topical comfrey preparations in the treatment of pain, inflammation and swelling of muscles and joints in the case of degenerative arthritis, acute myalgia in the back, sprains, contusions and strains after sports injuries and accidents, also in children aged 3 and over.”

Thursday, October 24, 2019

VITAMIN B12 PRODUCTION AND PROBIOTICS


VITAMIN B-12 PRODUCTION and FRIENDLY BACTERIA 

We are essentially composed of 10 trillion protein cells - -  holding mostly water that is saturated with 100 trillion friendly bacteria that live and work synergistically with us. 

This friendly flora (bacteria) lines our gastrointestinal tract, mucous membranes, and skin in such colonial great numbers as to impede the adherence and entrance of dangerous enemy bacteria (pathogens). We feed it with our mucosa and by consuming essential root vegetables and it excretes essential vitamins for our use, especially Vitamin B-12.  There exist over 400 varieties of micro-flora in our bodies each performing different functions for our well-being. One example would be the flora oxalobacter formigenes which breaks down oxalates in foods like spinach.  Without the presence of these bacterium, a person would be subject to kidney stone formation. 

Having compromised intestinal flora contributes to inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  Healthy intestinal flora can prevent bowel cancer. Another study showed that increased milk-fat in the diet contributed to breast cancer, however, with the substitution of yogurt, with its friendly flora there was a decreased risk of breast cancer. 


High levels of intestinal flora can counter the ammonia that is released in the intestines from the breakdown of proteins, especially from red meats.  High levels of micro-flora are essential in the transportation or assimilation of nutrients through the intestines and the blocking of toxins. Although cholesterol is a nutrient manufactured in the liver (essential for hormone production), the intestinal flora can block and break down oxidized cholesterol which occurs in the processing of animal products. Does good bacterium also protect the vessels and heart?

Scientists tracking Indian migration to England noted a Vitamin B-12 deficiency in migrants who ate the same as residents in India, with normal B-12 levels. They noted that the bacteria genera Klebsiella and Pseudomonas produced some B-12 in the residents and further noted a lack of intestinal flora in migrants and all western inhabitants. The same results were noted in Iranian villagers, who ate dairy once a week and ate meat once a month yet had adequate B-12 levels. This research is invaluable in answering the question “If Vitamin B-12 is so important to our health and mental well-being, why isn’t it widely available in our food supply?” The answer is because it is manufactured by our intestinal flora. 

These scientists’ conclusions didn’t address how antibiotics can destroy our intestinal flora, thus sabotaging our manufacturing of B-12.  Instead, they attributed the difference in B-12 levels, between the migrants from India and the residents still in India, to the consumption of fecal matter in the food.

We can conclude from science that if we destroy our friendly flora, we become deficient in nutrients and more subject to disease. The same goes for animals that are given antibiotics, they also cannot create Vitamin B-12.  There is an epidemic of B-12 deficiency in vegans and carnivores alike. If we rely on our 100 trillion bacterial friends, use garlic and herbal antibiotics for infections, and reserve pharmaceutical antibiotics for life-threatening situations our bodies should be able to have the energy vitamins that we need from our food.    


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

ANXIETY


ANXIETY – A Holistic Approach and Understanding

Almost every client that I have worked with this past year is struggling with anxiety.  Anxiety is a multidimensional emotional state; a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, or dread.  These feelings may be accompanied by symptoms such as breathlessness, a choking sensation, palpitations, restlessness, muscular tension, tightness in the chest, giddiness, trembling, and flushing, which are produced by the action of the autonomic nervous system, especially the sympathetic part of it.

Anxiety may be rational, such as the anxiety about doing well in a new job, about one's own or someone else's illness, about passing an examination, or about moving to a new community.  People also feel realistic anxiety about world dangers, such as the possibility of war, and about social and economic changes that may affect their livelihood or way of living.  Most persons find healthy ways to deal with their normal quota of anxiety.

Humans have significant control over thoughts, and, therefore, may learn ways of preventing anxiety by changing irrational ideas and beliefs.  I TELL MYSELF THAT ANXIETY "IS A LIE"!  Fear takes away opportunities and should only occur when there are real reasons to fear (such as safety)!  Humans have power over anxiety arising from social and environmental conditions.  There are, however, some forms of anxiety, that are built into the human organism genetically and these come from generational experiences that were not healed.  They are more challenging - - but possible to improve.  There is hope!


NUTRIENTS, HERBS AND ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY REDUCTION

Geranium essential oil for easing anxiety and depression (a message of “all is well”).  Balances, uplifts and calms the adrenals.  Apply drops to the temples, the adrenals (lower back at waistline) and then under nose - - inhaling deeply.  Tell yourself “Even though I fear this _________, all is well and I am safe.”  

Bergamot essential oil – works like Geranium but doesn’t help hormones, but some people prefer Bergamot’s gentle action.

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnate)  – an herb (a beautiful, tropical-looking vine) that will grow in Arizona.  It has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety-related discomforts and to promote a positive outlook.  It is also used for relieving discomfort caused by opiate and sedative withdrawals.  Passion Flower is an herb that is used in sleep formulas to help keep people asleep who struggle in reaching the deeper sleep levels.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) Root – a standardized Valerian extract is a safe and effective natural sedative (herb) that calms both the mind and the body.  Clinical research demonstrates that Valerian effectively relieves anxiety-related insomnia and shows that Valerian extract mahy be comparable to some prescription anti-anxiety drugs for treating anxiety disorders.  Unlike many drugs, however, Valerian is not addictive or habit-forming when taken in recommended doses.  There is a rare and small population of people who Valerian will stimulate, thus it should be tested when a person does not have an important event the following morning.

Niacinamide – one of the B Vitamins, and a form of niacin that has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.  Unlike regular niacin, niacinamide does not cause flushing nor does it stress the liver. Using B-Complex vitamins helps the neurological system to calm.

Magnesium – a macro minerals that calms the mind, helps relax muscles, helps reduce heart palpitations.  Overuse can cause the bowels to speed up.

L-Theanine – an amino acid (derivative of protein) which is also found in green tea, produces a pronounced feeling of tranquility in as little as fifteen (15) minutes.   L-theanine increases the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.  L-theanine also stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for confidence and a sense of well-being.

L-Taurinate – an amino acid which helps to create calming neurotransmitters

The Basics on Generalized Anxiety
Anxiety Symptoms – according to Body Systems
Although the specific manifestations of anxiety vary for each person, this chronic state of tension can affect six major systems of the body.
In the cardiovascular system, anxiety increases blood pressure, which causes tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), constriction of the blood vessels in the arms and legs, and dilation of the vessels surrounding the skeletal muscles.  These changes produce symptoms of palpitations (an uncomfortable awareness of the heart rate), headaches, and cold fingers.
In the gastrointestinal system, anxiety leads to reduced salivary secretions, spasms within the esophagus (the hollow muscular tube leading from the nose and mouth to the stomach), and alterations in the stomach, intestines, and anal sphincter.  These systemic changes result in symptoms of dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, "butterflies" in the stomach, the gurgling sounds of gas in the intestines, and mucous colitis (an inflammation of the colon), causing spasms, diarrhea and/or constipation, and cramp-like pains in the upper stomach.
In the respiratory system, anxiety leads to hyperventilation, or overbreathing, which reduces the carbon dioxide in the blood, with symptoms of "air hunger," deep sighs, and pins-and-needles sensations.
In the genitourinary systems, the anxious person can experience the need for frequent urination. Men may have difficulty maintaining an erection during intercourse; women may have difficulty becoming sexually aroused or achieving orgasm.
In the musculoskeletal system, the muscles become tense.  Involuntary trembling of the body, tension headaches, and other aches and pains may develop.
Through changes in the central nervous system, the anxious person is generally more apprehensive, aroused, and vigilant, feeling "on edge," impatient, or irritable. He may complain of poor concentration, insomnia, and fatigue.

Generalized Anxiety (GAD) or Panic Attacks?
If a person has excessive worries he is likely struggling from generalized anxiety disorder.  There is often a fine line between the diagnosis of panic disorder and that of generalized anxiety disorder.  Three features distinguish them.  
  1. In generalized anxiety disorder people worry about the kinds of interactions they will have with others: "Will I fail in this work setting?"  "Are they going to accept me?"  "I'm afraid he's going to leave me." "What if they discover how little I know?"  "I'll never perform up to their expectations."  The anxious person focuses on his inability to cope with the expectations and responses of those around him.
  2. If an individual is chronically anxious (as he would be with generalized anxiety disorder) and also experiences episodes of panic, then panic disorder will be the more likely diagnosis. With panic disorder, the imagined response of others is secondary to the fear of personal catastrophe or loss of control, and the person's internal statements and questions will reflect this apprehension:  "What if I faint (become hysterical, have a heart attack, cause a scene..) and people see me?"  The panic-prone person focuses more on his inability to be in 100 percent control of all his physical and mental capacities. The person with panic disorder is quick to use avoidance to diminish discomfort.  He will begin to identify the situations that are associated with the symptoms and determine how he can steer clear of them.  
Treatments of Generalized Anxiety
Mental health professionals have developed a variety of treatment approaches that have proved successful against this disorder.  These often include cognitive behavioral therapies that seek to alter the way that generalized anxiety sufferers think about and respond to troubling situations.
Many individuals report that they have regained control of their lives without medication or extensive psychological counseling by learning anxiety management techniques.  Systematic tensing and relaxing of muscle groups, a technique known as progressive muscle relaxation, has helped a large percent of these sufferers. Some patients report that physical exercise programs, perhaps requiring no more than 30 minutes a day and no more strenuous than brisk walking, provide relief from generalized anxiety.  Meditation, yoga, massage and EVOX and biofeedback are other relaxation tools that may be beneficial for some people.  Controlled breathing and refusing the thoughts on the present may also reduce anxiety.
These techniques do not provide instant relief.  As a rule, they take effect gradually, and they must be practiced regularly for lasting benefit.  Patterning and reprogramming response – even genetic response are not instantaneous, but are possible.
Understanding their own thought processes and how they evaluate disturbing situations helps some people control their anxieties.  Cognitive therapy is designed to reduce anxiety by giving individuals the skills to assess situations more realistically.  Anxiety sufferers  may be trained to identify anxious and unrealistic thoughts and develop techniques to change their responses.  Cognitive therapy may be supported by instruction in altering behavior or by lifestyle changes designed to cut down on stress.
Medications (such as Lexapro, Paxil,  ) have also proven effective in relieving anxiety symptoms, particularly in providing faster relief from acute anxiety, and allowing other therapy to go forward.  It would be best to get any medication for anxiety through a psychiatrist than through a family doctor, as the training and understanding of the condition is more specific. 

Handling worries as "signals"
When you start worrying, the first thing to do is to distinguish whether these worries are "signals" or "noise."  Are they "signals" that you have a legitimate problem to address or that true danger, or psychological or social threat, lie ahead? Are they alerting you to take some action? If they are these kind of "signals" then you want to pay attention to them.  What is TRUTH?

Are these worries simply "noise": distractions; repetitious and unnecessary, negative thoughts that make you uncomfortable. If they are noise, then you will need some special skills to stop them from intruding. You want to get that noise out of your head, to clear your mind so that you can have more enjoyable and productive days.

Any concern that you dwell on can be a signal or noise.  You have a presentation due in three days; your son is late getting home from his date; you've been experiencing a headache for six hours; you're not sure whether you turned the iron off after leaving for work.  If you have been having anxiety traveling lately and are considering driving to a new location in a few days, then your mind will probably begin to dwell on the upcoming trip.  If these become repetitious, unproductive thoughts, they are worries. But are they a signal or noise?
Remember, worries as "signals" means there is some action we need to take; we can ignore worries that are "noise".

If they are legitimate concerns (signals), we will handle them by studying the problem and taking action. If they are a noisy racket in our head, we will handle them by various techniques that reduce their annoyance. (That's the next section.) The most direct way is to find out if a worry is a signal or noise is by attempting to make these unproductive thoughts into productive ones. In other words, treat all worries as signals until you decide that they are noise. Begin to think in a structured manner regarding your concerns.

When you hear yourself worrying, turn your attention to the details of the worries. Assume they are asking you to take some kind of action. Assume that if they are important enough to be intruding into your mental time, they are important enough to address in a structured manner. Put your worries through these four steps that lead to action.
1.     Define specifically what the problem is. Sit down with paper and pencil to define the concern and its components -- everything that worries you.
For example, your definition of the problem might be, "I am not prepared for the drive on Friday." List the details under it:
  • I'm not sure of all the places to pull off.
  • I don't know where phones are along the route.
  • I don't know how far it is between those two exits on I-40, and I'm not sure I can handle more than a 2-mile span without an exit ramp.
  • What if I have a panic attack while driving?
2.    Write down all possible solutions. Take the items on your list, one by one, and generate different ways to handle the concerns. These may include gathering more information, turning to experts or other knowledgeable people for advice, recalling your learnings from past successes, practicing skills. It can also include courageously taking actions even though you are uncertain of the outcome.
          In this case, the items might include taking a ride through the route as a passenger,                  identifying the pull-off locations, the phones, and the distance between those exits. Most            importantly, it includes recalling any successes you have had in the past when                responding to panic, identifying the specifics of how you would handle a panic attack in this situation, and practicing those skills ahead of time. Another obvious solution is to avoid the drive altogether.
3.    Decide whether to go forward or retreat. Most worries have this option: you either pursue or you pull back. Worrying offers you a way to sit on the fence and not commit to a decision. If you want to handle most worries, you need to force yourself to choose a direction.
  • You have a presentation due in three days: you cancel it or prepare for it.
  • Your son is late getting home from his date: you wait for another half hour, or you start calling his most likely locations.
  • You've been experiencing a headache for six hours: you take another analgesic and wait to evaluate the problem again in the morning, or you call the doctor.
  • You're not sure whether you turned the iron off after leaving for work: you decide it is safe to wait until you get home from work, or you return home now to check.
  • You are considering driving to a new location in a few days: you go or you cancel.
You do not have to commit to the entire action from start to finish, only to walking along the path.  If driving is your concern, you can decide to ride as a passenger through the route, identifying the pull-off locations, the phones, and the distance between those exits.  You can then review your choices after you have experienced that step and decide whether to take another step toward your goal.  You can outline the steps you want to take if you might panic while driving.  You can plan to practice those skills and even list them on a cue card for the drive.  You can then decide whether to take the next step of actually getting in your car and driving.

You have a right to decide to withdraw from the action. You may have to handle certain consequences of the decision -- if you cancel a luncheon date, your intended guest might be upset -- but you have the right to control your behaviors instead of being controlled by others or by some strict standard of action.  You get to decide what is in your best interest!
4.    Take action based on your possible solutions. Action gets you off the fence, where worries tend to sit. Move forward from identifying the problem, move forward from thinking about all the possible solutions. Begin to act on one or more of those plans. Again, remember that with certain projects you can commit to each stage of action without committing to the final task. Review your direction toward your goal anytime you think you have new knowledge or experience that will influence your decision.

Practice Breathing Skills
During an emergency, our breathing rate and pattern change. Instead of breathing slowly from our lower lungs, we begin to breathe rapidly and shallowly from our upper lungs. If during this time we are not physically exerting ourselves, then it can produce a phenomenon called hyperventilation. This in turn can explain many of the uncomfortable symptoms during panic: dizziness, shortness of breath, a lump in the throat, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, nausea, or confusion.
The good news is that by changing your breathing you can reverse these symptoms.
By shifting your breathing rate and pattern, you can stimulate the body's parasympathetic response.  This is the body's equally powerful and opposite system to the Emergency Response and is often called the relaxation response.  It is called the Calming Response.

Natural Breathing
The first way is called natural breathing.  This is the way that we should learn to breathe all day long, unless being involved in physical activity.  In other words, practice breathing this way all day long, since it provides for sufficient oxygen intake and controls the exhalation of carbon dioxide.
It's very simple and it goes like this:
Gently and slowly inhale a normal amount of air through your nose, filling your lower lungs.  Then exhale easily. You might first try it with one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. As you inhale gently, your lower hand should rise while your upper hand stays still.  Continue this gentle breathing pattern with a relaxed attitude, concentrating on filling only the lower lungs.

Calming Breathing – Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing
Deep diaphragmatic breathing can be used during times when you are feeling anxious or panicky. It is a powerful way to control hyperventilation, slow a rapid heartbeat and promote physical comfort. It is called the Calming Breath.
    1. Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, filling your lower lungs, then filling your upper lungs.
    2. Hold your breath to the count of “3”.
    3. Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.
Practice this Calming Breath at least ten times a day for several weeks. Use it during times of transition, between projects or whenever you want to let go of tension and begin to experience a sense of calmness. This will help you become familiar and comfortable with the process.
Use it any time you begin to feel anxiety or panic building. When you need a tool to help you calm down during panic, you will be more familiar and comfortable with the process.

Deep Muscle Relaxation - using Visualization
Each day find a comfortable and quiet place to practice. Take the phone off the hook or arrange for someone else to take calls.  This a special time, just for you!
Begin by sitting comfortably in a chair; take off your shoes and loosen any tight clothing.  Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, exhaling slowly.  On each exhale, say the word "relax" silently.  Or you may select a word that produces more comfort for you, such as "loosen," "quiet," "peace," or "calm."
First, tense and relax each muscle group once (Stage 1). During each relaxation phase, you will repeat the word "relax" (or your selected word) with every exhale.
Next you will follow in your mind a visual image of the sun warming and loosening all the muscles of your body (Stage 2). You needn't feel frustrated if you don't actually "see" the sun in your mind's eye, or "feel" the sensations of loosening or warming. It is essential that you maintain your attention on each muscle group as it is mentioned and imagine the possibility of warmth and loosening of the muscles. You may be surprised at your growing ability over time if you don't try too hard.  Just open your mind to the possibility of change.

During the last few minutes of the exercise you will "go to your safe place" in your mind's eye
(Stage 3). Take a moment to picture a scene that symbolizes comfort, relaxation, safety, warmth, and the absence of outside pressures.  You might imagine yourself in some location where you were relaxed in the past: a vacation spot, fishing, sitting on a mountain top, floating on a raft, soaking peacefully in the bath, or lying on a chaise lounge in the back yard.  Or you could choose to create an image of your ideal vacation dream (like your own private South Seas island) or fantasy (such as floating on a cloud).

Regardless of the image you choose, spend a few minutes developing all your senses within that scene. Look around you in your mind's eye to see the colors and patterns of the scene.  Hear any sounds appropriate to the environment: perhaps birds singing, wind blowing, ocean waves crashing on the shore.  You may even develop an aroma, such as honeysuckle or flowers, perhaps the salt air or the fresh odor after a rain shower.  Enjoy all your senses in an easy, effortless manner. This is the kind of image you can use for your "safe place."
At the end of the exercise, open your eyes, stretch your body, and slowly rise from the chair. 




Several guidelines will help you as you begin:
1. The more you practice a skill, the greater your ability. So, be dedicated to this project and practice, practice, practice.
2. During the ten seconds of tensing, tense only the muscle groups described. Let the rest of your body be relaxed and loose.
3. Always continue breathing while you are tensing a muscle group. Never hold your breath while tensing.
4. During each fifteen-second relaxation phase, focus on your breathing and mentally say your cue word -- "relax" or "loosen" -- with each exhalation.
5. Don't evaluate or judge how well or how poorly you do during each practice. This is not a test. Simply practicing each day, no matter what you experience, will ensure progress. You are creating new, unconscious circuits in your brain. How you feel consciously is not a measure of your progress.
6. Some days you will find it quite hard to concentrate. Your mind will tend to wander to a variety of thoughts:  "I've got to get back to my housecleaning."  "What should I make for supper?"  "This isn't working.  I'm still tense."  "I've got to remember to pay those bills."  These kinds of distracting thoughts are normal; everyone experiences them.  It does not mean that the process is failing.
As soon as you notice that you have drifted off course, let go of those distracting thoughts and return to your task.  Do not feel angry or disappointed with yourself.  Do not let that be a reason to quit the exercise.  Your body and mind are still benefiting, still learning about control, still creating those new circuits.  Stay with it.
7. You may do the exercise any time during the day or evening.  It is best to avoid starting immediately after a meal, since your body is busy with digestion then and you are less alert mentally.
8. Do not expect immediate and magical relief from the practice.  This process, repeated over time, trains your muscle groups to respond to a cue.
Some people will notice changes from the practice.  You may find that you are more alert and rested, have an improved appetite and sleep better, are in a more positive mood and feel less overall tension.  If any of these take place, consider them "icing on the cake." Your primary task is to practice every day for five weeks.

Client’s Experience  - Anxiety Help Using Essential Oils
“Over this past winter I have been challenged with waking up with anxiety attacks and my colon responds immediately with cramping and wanting relief.  As soon as I rub the essential oils of Peppermint and Ginger (digestive calming blend of essential oils) on my abdomen "clock wise".....within minutes the "challenge" withdraws.  I use Geranium and Lavender on my temples, under my nose, on my 6th Chakra (forehead) and the nape of my neck - - telling myself “All is Well”.  It brings me back to a relaxed state "throughout my body". 
Bless You. 
L.B.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HEADACHES and MIGRAINES, herbs and essential oils

Headaches and Migraines can be very debilitating, so taking steps to find the source is worth the effort.  A common cause of headaches is dehydration.  Drinking sufficient Water is the first place to start when trying to reduce the frequency of headaches.  

Eliminating caffeinated and energy drinks (requiring detox) helps many people to overcome headaches, due to the build-up of toxins that they create.  Others find that they need caffeine to dilate the vessels that have been constricted.  Not all people who suffer from migraines will respond to one treatment because the cause can come from many sources.

Hormone Inbalance:  Women suffer from this condition nearly 3 times more than men. Approximately one third of women who get migraines have them just prior to or during menstruation. Hormonal fluctuations of estrogen and progestin are thought to trigger these migraines.  Vitex (Chaste Berry) herb helps to balance hormones levels so that there is not such a great surge as the body goes through menstruation.  Vitex, taken in capsule form, needs to be taken over a long period of time (months) to build the desired balancing effect.

Headaches are a warning signal to indicate that there is a disturbance in some part of the body, such as:
  • ·        insufficient minerals in the body to support strong neck bones (calcium and magnesium with Vitamin D for absorption) causing compression of vertebrae
  • ·        digestive disorders in the stomach, liver or bowel (faulty elimination, and the toxic wastes reaches the stomach nerves).
  •       sinus blockages (use Eucalyptus essential oil across the bridge of the nose, in front of ears and around ears.)
  • ·        concussion
  • ·        eye strain (have vision checked)
  • ·        nervousness, excitement, panic, fear, or worrying about the unknown  and, as discussed above, hormone fluctuations and dehydration

HERBAL TREATMENTS FOR MIGRAINES

Feverfew (Tenacetum parthenium) is a well-studied herb for the treatment of migraines and has been used successfully.  Capsules are the easiest way to take Feverfew, as it is very bitter.  If you have the pretty plant growing in your garden, 1-4 fresh leaves can be eaten daily for prevention by putting the leaves on a slice of buttered bread, folded in half (like a sandwich).  Feverfew seems to work best when taken consistently over time.

Cayenne increases circulation to all parts of the body and helps open the vascular system for those whose headaches come from tightening of vessels (restricted blood flow).  Taking cayenne capsules or ½ teaspoon followed by water or juice has proven helpful for migraines.  Also Capsaicin from the juice of fresh peppers was applied in the nostril of a group suffering from cluster headaches. This treatment significantly reduced the number of headaches and some were completely cured. 

Ginger:   Some studies have compared the efficacy of ginger for the treatment of migraine headaches to Imitrex (a top selling drug). One-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger works as well and as fast as the drug when given at the onset of the migraine. Using ginger daily also helped prevent migraines or decrease their frequency and intensity.

Valerian, Skullcap and Lobelia (Nervine herbs):  Stress induced migraines are prevented by using a strong nervine tea or capsules on a regular basis helps to prevent stress-related headaches.  Also, essential oils of Geranium, Bergamot, Chamomile (a drop on the back of the neck and on the temples – then rub the finger under the nose, inhaling) are helpful to reduce stress headaches.

MindTrac herbal blend by Dr. Christopher:  Some migraines are due to low serotonin levels. Using MindTrac along with exercise, fresh air and sunshine helps to naturally increase serotonin levels.

Chiropractic Adjustments:  Make sure that there is not a misalignment in the neck that would pinch nerves that create headaches.  It may take multiple adjustments to achieve the desired stability. 

To help with head pain, ESSENTIAL OILS (pure, medicinal quality) of Peppermint and Marjoram can be applied to the temples and back of neck to stop pain and to relax constricted muscles.  A drop of Chaste Berry can be applied daily to the inside and outside ankle bones to help balance hormones levels.  To have the desired effect use oils from a reputable source that you know you can trust.  For nervousness and anxiety use Geranium on the temples and back of the neck (as well as the mid-back at waistline for adrenal stress.  Vitamin B complex also helps with emotional balancing.

Digestive Enzymes (herbs) such as Papaya (in capsules) with each meal (especially those containing meat proteins).

Thursday, February 1, 2018

ASTRAGALUS - Potent Adaptogen for the IMMUNE System


Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus syn A. membranaceus)
Astragalus has been recognized as a superb and potent immune system tonic, and one of the world’s most important herbs by today’s health researchers. Astragalus has been used for over 2000 years in China -  to strengthen the body Astragalus is a pea family plant that originally comes from China. There are thousands of different Astragalus genus plants in the world and most of them are toxic.  Either buy, grow or harvest Astragalus propinquus.

Astragalus is an immunomodulating herb (adaptogen) that is commonly used to normalize immune system function.  As an adaptogen, it can also be used by people in auto-immune conditions.  It is very specific for people who are regularly coming down with upper respiratory viruses or who need to maintain wellness.  Limited human clinical trials and in-vitro studies show that astragalus increases the white blood cell count, decreases viral replication, and stimulates the production of T killer cells.
Studies conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center at the University of Houston demonstrated clearly that Astragalus improves the immune response in humans undergoing radiation and chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer. Patients taking Astragalus during such treatment tend to have far fewer side effects and recover at a higher and faster rate.
Astragalus has a mild diuretic action and helps to relieve excessive sweating.  It is helpful in treating loose stools, chronic diarrhea and chronic or recurring colds.  Use if a cold lasts too long - to prevent general fatigue syndrome that can itself become chronic.  Astragalus is very useful for people who just can’t seem to shake a cold.
Astragalus enhances the function of the skin to eliminate toxins.  It is commonly used to help sores in the skin to come to a head and suppurate, and thus to heal more quickly and effectively.  It is also a male fertility agent and has proved to stimulate sperm motility. 
Herbal Extract:  To strengthen your immune system, use astragalus in higher dosages, daily, for a long period of time.  In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) astragalus is used in very high dosages, sometimes up to 100 grams per day.

Cooking:  Traditionally astragalus is cooked into foods like soups or rice. It is commonly sold as long thinly sliced roots that can be easily removed from the dish before eating (it’s never edible as the root remains too fibrous). If you are using astragalus to maintain wellness, then putting some roots in a soup or rice dish is a good way to use it.  The roots can be used more than once in cooking.
This astragalus and miso soup recipe uses 30 grams of astragalus root per serving.  Use roots that are either cut up finely or the long thin roots. You could use the herb powder, but it may make your beverage gritty as it is difficult to strain out.

ASTRAGALUS MISO SOUP
2 cups broth (bone broth, meat broth, veggie broth)

30 grams astragalus

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1-3 tablespoons miso 

Place the broth, astragalus, and black pepper into a medium sized sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue to simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Strain off the broth. You could use the astragalus root again if desired, otherwise compost. Let the broth cool slightly, then add your desired amount of miso.  Yield: About 1 1/2 cups and is a single serving.
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