Category Archives: Herbs

Feeling overwhelmed? Eight ways to protect and nourish yourself

by guest author Bevin Clare, MS, RH, CNS, Clinical Herbalist and Nutritionist, Associate Professor Maryland University of Integrated Health

Right now the world seems to be bearing down on all sides with fires, hurricanes, deportation, human rights issues, political tragedies. There is so much to care about, so many ways to give and directions to be pulled in. Many of us feel a dire need to stay afloat ourselves or to fight for those of us who are less privileged. It’s essential to create all of energy and protection we can muster right now.

Here are 8 ways we can tend ourselves to reduce overwhelm and protect ourselves during these stormy times:

1. Touch the Soil (or at least the leaves)

Nature provides us with consistent solace. Take a moment to touch it, smell it, taste it. If you can reach a big immersive forest take the time to do that. If you can reach the overgrown lot in your city block go and pick some wild flowers. Be sure to experience nature with more than one sense. The consistency, tenacity, and peace of plants is a good reminder of strength.

2. Cook up some medicine

Your food can be your medicine, and taking the time to make a healing meal for you and perhaps people you care about can be a wonderful way to self-care. Consider the food which makes you smile and feel whole, one from your lineage or from your favorite menu. Think about what flavors, herbs, vegetables are nourishing to you. A simple bowl of rice and beans can be healing as can a more elaborate meal shared with friends.

3. Connect in a real way

Connect with someone in your community or with someone online, with someone who makes you feel purposeful and valid. New friend or old friend, see if you can get beneath the superficial interactions and develop a connection which can feel nourishing. Your connection can be through service, friendship, professional connections, the grocery store line, or any place you find an opening.

 

4. Take a break

Stop and take a break to breathe, nap, meditate, find a place of stillness. See if you can carve 15 minutes out of your day to find this time but even 2 minutes is better than running constantly ragged. Create a space and try to clear it as much as you can to immerse yourself in a place which allows you to regenerate a bit.

 

5. Play (maybe even get silly)

Do something playful and distracting. If you know some small children they can often be good at encouraging you to be present and playful for a while. Splash, paint, color, pretend, sing, cartwheel, do something which captures your attention and creates space for you to be present in a new way (or one you might have forgotten about).

 

6. Nourish with herbs and teas

Many herbal teas can help modulate your stress response, aide in restful sleep, and provide overall support for the inflammation which can occur in a chronically stressed individual. Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is an adaptogen supreme and helps us to feel more energetic and less stressed while minimizing some of the negative effects stress has on our bodies. A simple cup of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita) can soothe us into deeper sleep or tame anxiety throughout the day, especially helpful if your response to stress involves changes in your digestion. Ashwaganda (Withnia somniferum) changes the way we respond to stress and can also be helpful with sustained anxiety and the effects of poor quality sleep patterns. It’s best taken as a capsule or used in its traditional form boiled in milk.

7. Laugh out loud

Find something funny, anything you know is sure to make you laugh until you run out of breath. Share it if you can find someone with a sense of humor. Those auto-correct lists always seem to tickle my funny bone, but for some of you it’s stand-up comedy or your favorite movie or novel. Laughter changes our bodies in all sorts of good ways and can be a simple way to tend yourself.

8. Make a plan

Some of our overwhelm can be from wanting to help and not knowing where to start. Take the time to make a plan. Figure out what you have to offer (Time? Money? Skills?) and where you can offer them (Local organizations? National non-profits? Friends of friends?) and make a solid plan which is feasible and will not only serve your community but will help with your sense of purpose.

Whatever you do, it’s worth taking the time to take care of yourself so you can be as effective as possible in these times when we need to pull our weight more than ever.

This article appears on her fabulous and informative website www.bevinclare.com and is reprinted with permission.

Bevin Clare, M.S., R.H., CNS, is a clinical herbalist and nutritionist and an Associate Professor and Program Manager of the Post-Master’s Certificate in Clinical Herbalism at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She holds a MSc in Infectious Disease from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, serves on as an adjunct Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the New York Chiropractic College. Bevin has studied herbal medicine around the world and blends her knowledge of traditional uses of plants with modern science and contemporary healthcare strategies as a consultant and educator. Bevin is the president of the American Herbalists Guild, the largest body of professional clinical herbalists in the US.  She is founder of the Herbal Clinic for All program, providing cost-free herbal medicine healthcare since 2007 and is a board member of the United Plant Savers, a group working to protect at-risk medicinal plants in North America. You can find Bevin’s musing on a variety of Clinical Herbalism topics, including infectious disease, at www.bevinclare.com. She resides on a beautiful piece of earth in Maryland with her family.
 

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The AIA Aims to Shed Light on Growing Concerns Regarding Essential Oils

A recent market report indicates favorable shifts in consumer demand and market expansion have helped the Essential Oil Manufacturing industry thrive in the current five-year period (IBIS World, 2016).

Market share concentration in this industry is low; no company accounts for more than 5.0% of industry revenue in 2016. Furthermore, IBIS World estimates that the top four players account for less than 10.0% of revenue in 2016. The level of concentration has been slowly rising over the past five years as network marketing companies continue to establish their brand names and thereby increase their market share. Although market share concentration has been slightly rising over the past five years, the level of concentration is expected to remain low over the long-term. A moderate level of barriers to entry will allow new companies to enter the market to take advantage of the rising revenue over the next five years.  The report’s analysts forecast the global essential oil market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.26% during the period 2016-2020.

With the increase an increase in the demand for essential oils, we are seeing more adulteration in essential oils-even in those that are relatively abundant and easily produced. What does this mean for authentic practitioners of Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine?

With the theme, Out of the Bottle and Into the Garden: Traditional Herbalism to Aromatic Medicine, the Alliance of International Aromatherapists International Conference aims to explore the use of various plant preparations while emphasizing the importance of the plants from which we obtain our precious oils. Lectures will feature experts from around the world discussing sustainability, ethics and professionalism while growing your business. The importance of how essential oil demand  is impacting the availability of our oils will be highlighted with attention to other types of plant medicine that can be used to provide complementary care in practice.

With the growing interest in Aromatic Medicine and questions regarding our ability to practice Aromatic Medicine and specific protocols that incorporate internal use of oils, we will feature two special lectures on Aromatic Medicine and protecting your business from government intrusion.

This August the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, in partnership with the Rutgers University Plant Biology Department (New Brunswick, NJ), will bring together 300-400 of the world’s top Aromatherapy leaders, practitioners, educators, research scientists, integrative health practitioners and entrepreneurs. Business development, thought-provoking content and endless networking opportunities are tied together by engaging and inspiring speakers, trade exhibits, and pre-conference workshops, and social events about the future of the Aromatic plant community, innovation, marketing, communication and imagination.

Registration is open and information about the schedule, speakers, pre-conference workshops, hotel and transportation are all online at www.aromatherapyconference.com.

 

CO2 Extracts for Aromatherapeutic Use

 

CO2extracts

Image: naturalwisdom.co.uk

What are CO2s?

Aromatics produced via carbon dioxide extraction (CO2 extracts) have been around and in use for the past 15-20 years. While some, like German Chamomile and Calendula have become commonplace within the aromatherapy world, there are still many CO2 Extracts with little to no information available.

CO2 extracts are oils similar to distilled essential oils that can be used in Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine. They can be more subtle in fragrance and perhaps a little stronger in flavor as compared to essential oils. CO2 extracts have a different chemistry than their essential oil counterparts making them more suitable in a variety of aromatherapeutic preparations. CO2 extracts have the taste and aroma closer to that of the fresh plant, are more shelf stable and cost effective.

CO2 extracts are produced by using carbon dioxide under high pressure (solvent) to extract the aromatic compounds. Subcritical carbon dioxide processing carefully extracts only the aromatic compounds (Select CO2) while Supercritical carbon dioxide processing extracts the aromatic compounds, as well as the heavier non-volatile molecules like colors, resins and waxes (Total CO2). The process is done at low temperatures (just above room temperature) so it does not alter the extracted compounds. The process is efficient and yields little waste.

CO2 extraction technology video – YouTube © Nisgara Biotech 2014

Supercritical CO2 is used as a solvent to extract lipophilic compounds from natural herbs. These extracts are concentrated as high as 250 times as compared to the raw herb. Thus a small quantity in any product is enough, leading to cost effectiveness as compared to other products from different extraction techniques. This technology is environment friendly with minimum carbon footprint and CO2 is recycled as much as 95% in the system.

Visit http://www.nisargabiotech.com for more information.

Want to learn more?

The International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (IJPHA) is hosting a 2-day seminar entitled CO2 Extracts: The How, What, When, Where and Why in Aromatic Therapies with Mark Webb, B.Sc. in Boulder, Colorado October 15-16, 2016. Participants will earn 12 CPDs (continuing professional development credits).

mark webb 2Mark Webb holds a B.Sc. Degree in Biochemistry and Plant Physiology and Biology from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He is an associate member of the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (IAAMA), and a member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (ASCC).  Mark has over a decade of experience formulating with CO2 extracts. Making him well placed to discuss their uses within the fields of cosmeceutical and aromatic therapies applications. His knowledge about how to incorporate these extracts in food and beverages for both therapeutic and non-therapeutic use enables him to provide a broad range of practical and day to day examples. If you have been curious about using CO2 extracts, this is the workshop to answer your questions

In this 2-day workshop, Mark will delve deeply into the world of CO2 Extracts, looking firstly at the production technology and how this effects the end product. He will compare and contrast a range of volatile and non-volatile, Select and Total CO2 extracts with their essential and fixed oil counterparts and oleoresins, discussing safe and effective usage within topical and internal formulations.

Learner outcomes include:

  • An overview of what CO2 extracts are & how they compare to essential and expressed oils, absolutes and oleoresins.
  • A detailed look at of how CO2 extracts are made and the differences between Select, Total, volatile and non-volatile extracts.
  • Comparing and contrasting the chemistry of CO2 extracts to other aromatics; such as essential oils.
  • Discussing the various applications of CO2 extracts across a variety of dose forms and application techniques.
  • Safe use and handling of CO2 extracts, recognizing which extracts to watch for and the importance of dilution within formulating.

Webb.4For more information about this class and to register, visit our website at http://www.ijpha.com.

 

Summer Sweetness of Linden

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Linden flowers (and bract – the leaf-like structure attached to the flowers) make a beautiful and delicate tea that eases tension and anxiety and has an overall calming effect to the body, making it an excellent evening tea to aid sleep .  It can also be used to ease muscle tension, headaches and menstrual pain.  It has an affinity for the heart and is an amazing heart tonic on all levels.  It lowers blood pressure and can help arteriosclerosis and works well in combination with Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) for heart conditions. Emotionally, the two combined can ease heartache and help heal a broken heart. Traditionally, Linden was used to treat epilepsy and convulsions.

Try these recipes…

Linden Cooler

Recipe by Erin Smith

1 part Linden Tea (you can use fresh or dried linden flowers)
1 part Lemonade
Sliced strawberries (to taste)

If possible, make the linden tea the night before, allowing it to infuse overnight. Strain and combine with the lemonade in a large pitcher. Add the strawberries; if wanting a stronger strawberry flavor fill a 1/4 of the pitcher with slices. Add ice and serve.

Linden infused honey

1 part linden flowers
1 part raw local honey

Place your fresh linden flowers in a glass jar. While the bract is also traditionally used for medicinal purposes, using only the fresh flowers will make a stronger flavored honey.  Cover with honey.  Make sure that the flowers are completely submerged in honey. The flowers will tend to sit at the top for the first few days.  If after a few days, they are still not submerged, add more honey until they are covered. Allow to sit for 2-6 weeks and use as desired.  The flowers will become candied and are delicious on their own.  If you wish to remove the flowers after infusing, then place the flowers in a make-shift tea bag made out of cheesecloth and place in jar (with the edges sticking out of the top so it will be easy to remove later). Cover with honey.  After it has infused, lightly warm the honey (do not over heat) until it has a more liquid consistency and remove the “tea bag”.  For a lighter flavored honey, cut the amount of flowers used in half.

For more delicious ways to use herbs in food, check out Erin Smith’s Herbal Kitchen program in Boulder on July 17th.

The Van Dyke

Recipe by Michael Heim

2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz linden infused honey syrup (3:1 honey:water)
1 Bar spoon of house grapefruit bitters.
Shaken, double strained up in a chilled coupe glass

For more information about Linden/Lime (Tilia spp.) check out The Center for Integrative Botanical Studies Newsletter at http://www.integrativebotanical.com/plant-of-the-month-july/

Image:  Linden blossoms and leaves Copyright All rights reserved by Jude’s Jewels /Flickr.com