Boulder’s 2013 Flood: Recovery

boulder_flood_bike

Simple ideas to help the body keep up with the clean up.

Stagnant water brings the opportunity for molds, mildews, bacteria and bugs. Not to mention – wet climate is the very opposite of what a Boulderite’s respiratory system is accustomed to! Repairing the damage with fresh carpet, new paint, and chemical cleaners present yet another environmental hazard.

For those who suffered the most in property damage and displacement from the flood, many blessings for a smooth come back! May these ideas help alleviate some of the damage.

Use an essential oil room diffuser, either a plug in or one that uses a candle, to infuse the flooded areas in your home with anti-bacterial oils. A blend of Oregano, Rosemary, Lavender and Eucalyptus oils can help the cleanse the air. Use a few drops of each oil in the diffuser, continually as the clean-up proceeds. Don’t worry about having all of the oils – one or two of these will do, especially Oregano.

Deeply breathing in these anti-microbial oils directly from the bottle often through the days of clean-up and afterwards can assist the respiratory system to clear out any undesired invaders, as well. Sleep with these oils dabbed on a cotton ball nearby.

Drinking herbal teas that support the Respiratory system can be beneficial, as well. The wonderful organic tea company Traditional Medicinals carries two tea blends in particular: Breathe Easy and Everyday Detox. Having these two teas everyday may assist the body in keeping up good health. You can find these teas on the shelf at most grocery stores.

For the chemical hazards of the clean-up such as carpet off-gassing or fresh paint, try drinking Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Root tea, along with their Everyday Detox tea. This assists the Liver in staying decongested, to effectively flush out the toxicity of these chemicals out of the body as quickly as possible. Ventilate the home often and best as possible.

Such a shake-up brings in stress, too. Don’t forget about your mental well-being! If things feel overwhelming, try out Bach’s Rescue Remedy – a blend of flower essences designed to calm the mind. Remember to breathe consciously – breathe in gratitude for the worst that didn’t come, breathe out the worries and fears that did come… breathe in open space for peace to take nest, breathe out negativity overwhelming the spirit. Take adequate time to rest and relax.

After a successful clean-up, use a spray bottle filled with water and the anti-microbial essential oils mentioned above to spray down your home to thwart any bugs. For every ounce of water, 5 drops of the 4 oils. The antibacterial spray can be used for the car, as well. Be sure to use home testing kits for molds and gasses, to double-check the quality of the air you live in.

Take good care! Feel free to contact me with questions @ Pick An Herb’s facebook page

Angelica

Angelica sinensis

Dang Gui

(commonly spelled Dong Quai on the market)

 angelica

Angelos, meaning “messenger” in Greek creates our genus name, Angelica. The Chinese name Dang Gui translates to “state of return” because of Angelica’s ability to bring the blood back to where it belongs, relieving blood, and Qi, stagnation. Angelica root is indeed considered an edible, best in grain dishes or soups. In some places in Asia, it is traditional to serve a new mother a hearty vegetable, animal protein and Dang Gui soup, daily, during the month after childbirth.

The spectrum of ailments Dang Gui serves when it comes to menstrual troubles is a broad one, and Dang Gui is incredibly effective with all pieces of the spectrum. It is a versatile remedy, enhancing the hormones that need to be enhanced, regulating hormones that need to be regulated, stimulating what needs to be stimulated, relaxing what needs to be relaxed, diluting and softening what needs to be – relieving Blood stagnation, Qi stagnation and Qi constraints as needed. Indeed, a very intuitive and angelic plant by nature.

Dang Gui is part of the Apiaceae (Parsley) family. The root has a sweet, pungent and slightly bitter taste, suggesting the directions Dang Gui works in are through harmonizing waves dispersing downward. If you encounter an extremely bitter root, this is a poor quality root.

Dang Gui is warming, and moistening. It works under the Yin polarity and Water element. Planetarily, Dang Gui aligns with Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the Moon. You can imagine the spirit of Dang Gui quietly harmonizing by an easy-flowing creek in the moonlight – how wonderful of a Woman’s herb.

Besides the reproductive and endocrine systems, Dang Gui is also especially helpful for the cardiovascular system, the digestive system and the nervous system. It enters many meridian channels – the Liver, Spleen, Heart, Chong, Yin Wei, Ren, and Yin Qiao.

With the reproductive system, Angelia is a uterine stimulant/relaxant, an emmenagogue – relieving deficient or spasmodic menstruation featuring delays or scanty menses, relieving the total absence of menses (amenorrhea), relieving painful menses (spasmodic dysmenorrhea), and relieving infertility.

The estrogenic and progesteronic qualities of Angelica relieve hormone deficiencies or imbalances, resulting in reduction of PMS symptoms. This, paired with Angelica’s Liver restorative actions promoting the Liver to effectively and properly process the floods of hormone that come in to play, results in a lessened “hormonal overload” many experience with menses.

Indeed, Dang Gui looks out for the Mind during menses, as well, by acting as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and nervous sedative – bringing a calmer state of Mind and clearing the muddy thought-waters that physical pain can bring about. Dang Gui is even a fetal relaxant, working with fetal unrest or threatened miscarriage. Speak with a team of herbalists and midwives before using herbs to help stop a miscarriage or work with an upset fetus through herbs. Indeed we have thousands of years of practice, collectively, using herbs during pregnancy – but it is still best to speak to someone well versed and experienced before trying anything on your own.

Outside the uterus, Angelica is secondarily a cornonary restorative – effective in cases of coronary disease and angina pectoris. It is antilipemic, as well, working to ease hyperlipemia and atherosclerosis. It is an anticoagulant – effective with uterine blood clots – helpful with thrombosis, traumatic contusion, or old injuries.

Dang Gui acts as an immunostimulant and phagocyte/lymphocyte stimulant for general infections. Ferulic acid content is thought to be instrumental in immune regulation. Angelica is also anti-allergic, helping ease the immune stress that comes with immediate allergies. Angelica is found to be antifungal… no more yeast infections, ladies? We see anti-tumor qualities working with women’s reproductive myoma and fibroids, as well. Peptic polysaccharides are considered to be modulating these anti-tumor and interferon-inducing actions.

Last but not least… Dang Gui is radiation protective. If you just can’t seem to get that cell phone out of your pocket and away from your uterus, Dang Gui can assist in relieving the cell phone damage. It’s as if the All the created Angelica knew, someday, Women would be constantly poisoned with radiation.

What an incredible herb!

We have two standard preparations of Angelica, in decoction and tincture forms. A decoction dose is 4-12g, a tincture dose is 2-4ml. This tincture dose follows a standard 1:3 in about 50% alcohol.

Balancing Blend for Women

from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

“This blend should be used throughout the month to help create a balanced hormonal system.”

2 parts chaste tree berry powder

2 parts dandelion root powder

1 part Dang Gui powder

1 part milk thistle seed powder

1 part yellow dock powder

“Combine the herbs and encapsulate in size 00 capsules. Take 2 capsules three times daily on a rotational cycle, that is, 5 days on, two days off, for up to 6 months. Discontinue during menses.”

A note on chaste tree berry: do not use Rhodiola rosea while using chaste tree berry. These two herbs make for a contraindicating combination.

As I’m sure many of us don’t have an encapsulator, or the time to put into individually encapsulating, we could use this formula in tincture form, simply doing the maths to combine these herbs into one formula bottle will work. You’d need to acquire the tinctures of all these, along with a graduated cylinder for measuring. 34ml of chaste tree berry, 34ml dandelion root, 18ml Dang Gui, 17ml milk thistle seed and 17ml yellow dock root will combine into a 120ml, 4oz, bottle. A dose of this in tincture form would come out to perhaps 3-6ml per dose, taken twice a day, 5 days on, two days off, up to 6 months, discontinuing during menses. Experiment and discover the right dose for you, increasing gradually and staying aware of the body’s response.

Click here to be redirected to Mountain Rose Herb’s list of extracts. All of these herbal extracts can be found here, very high quality, for reasonable price. Dang Gui is spelled Dong Quai with this company.

ANGELICA CAUTIONS!

We discontinue use during menses as Dang Gui is a uterine stimulant – this is the same reason we avoid use of Dang Gui during pregnancy. Yin deficiencies with empty heat, presented most frequently as menopause, we avoid Dang Gui. Use caution and lessen the dosage during episodes of diarrhea, or abdominal distensions caused by the TCM pattern Intestinal Mucous Damp, as it is a gentle demulcent laxative and could heighten the severity of the diarrhea.

Jade Remedies Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Peter Holmes, First Edition, 1996

The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Brigitte Mars , A.H.G., 2007

Burdock

Articum lappa L.

 ArctiumLappa1

George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, was the creator of Velcro. He happened to become inspired for this invention by observing how the burrs of the Burdock so wonderfully stayed stuck to his dog’s fur after the dog’s romps in the woodlands!

Our commonly used name, Burdock, comes from the French beurre meaning “butter” and the English word dock refers to leaves. French women would cover and wrap their large cakes of butter up with the beautiful, wide spanned leaves of the Burdock plant to bring it to the market. The leaves are also considered an edible, best cooked young and in several changes of water to be eaten as a potherb. However, expecting a pleasant taste would lead to a bitter surprise. Stalks harvested before the flowering can be peeled and used raw or cooked, as well. The root of the Burdock plant – the part most medicinal – can be roasted up and easily used as a coffee substitute.

Burdock comes from the Asteraceae (Daisy) family and has many other folk names, such as Bardane, Beggar’s buttons, Clotburr, Gypsy rhubarb, Hardock, Hareburr and Happy major. It’s primary medicinal function is to promote detoxification and resolve dampness. It is dissolving, stimulating and restoring.

Energetically, Burdock is cooling, drying, aligns with Yin polarity, has planetary alignment with Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, exists with the Water element, and Burdock’s actions are downward moving with a bitter taste.

Burdock works especially well with the lymphatic system, the immune system, the genitourinary system and the skin. It primarily works to reduce lymph fluid congestion, relieve skin irritations, stimulates the immune system, dissolves bladder stones and malignant tumors. Burdock’s secondary actions include the harmonization of urination, the regulation of menstruation, promoting sweat to reduce a fever, promoting proper bile flow to ease digestion, and can work to reverse prolapse.

These actions are most beneficial to alleviate ailments like ovarian cysts, lymphadenitis, eczema, psoriasis, gout, poisoning, allergies, eruptive fever, dysmenorrhea and ulcers. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the patterns we would see Burdock helping with most medicinally are Skin Damp-Heat, Kidney Qi deficiencies, Uterus Qi stagnation, External Wind-Heat, Central Qi sinking, Toxic Heat and Metabolic Toxicosis Damp.

A typical decoction dose of Burdock root would fall in the range of 6-12g per dose, depending on severity. A tincture dose, granted the tincture is a 1:2 in 25% ethanol, falls in the range of 1-4ml per dose. An oil, ointment or cream using burdock root can absolutely be used topically to relieve skin ailments. With the decoction method, you can make a hair rinse to prevent dandruff and hair loss, or use decoction as a facial toner for those who suffer excessively oily skin.

Fresh roots are best for lowering blood sugar and best for antibacterial and antifungal purpose!

Liver Cleansing to Normalize Female Hormone Function

from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, 2008

2 parts chaste tree berry

2 parts dandelion root

2 parts sassafras bark

1 part burdock root

1 part ginger root

1 part licorice root

½ part cinnamon

¼ part orange peel zest

Combine all herbs and prepare as a decoction, drinking 3 to 4 cups daily as needed.

Click Here for basic instruction from Mountain Rose Herbs on making decoctions – it’s super easy!

BURDOCK CAUTIONS!

When using Burdock, one must stay aware of the body’s reactions to the detoxification process. It is wise to increase doses gradually. It may be best to combine with stronger diuretics, such as Dandelion leaf, to ensure a more effective detoxification through the urine. If pregnant, only use during the last trimester if you must, as a gentle urinary stimulant.

The Energetics of Western Herbs Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Peter Holmes, Fourth Edition, 2006

The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Brigitte Mars , A.H.G., 2007

Calendula

Calendula officinalis

Calendula_officinalis_and_sky

Calendula’s name is derived from Latin Calendae, meaning, “the first day of the month” – this flower can be found blooming somewhere in the world during every calender month. This Daisy family flower offers several beneficial uses – including the use of a highlight enhancing hair rinse for those with sunny, blonde hair!

Our Calendula flower is a very calming flower – and is also found to be softening, dissolving, and decongesting. The taste of the flower is somewhat bitter, with sweet and salty pungency. It’s a potentially cooling flower, and considered dry.

The primary functions of the Calendula flower is it’s ability to clear out toxic heat patterns through detoxification and decongestion – reducing infections, inflammations and swellings.

Calendula works with both acute and chronic bacterial, fungal and viral infections – herpes, staphylococcus, hepatitis, lymphangitis, laryngitis, conjunctivitis, otitis, mastitis, and influenza. When taken internally, little caution needs to be practiced (unless during pregnancy, Calendula is a uterine stimulant) so it can be safely used long-term, paired with a more moistening assistant formula herb, to help treat these chronic and life-changing ailments.

Because of Calendula’s powerful anti-inflammatory quality, the flower can make a wonderful, simple salve for topical treatment of many skin eruptions – both dry and wet – and skin ailments named eczema, acne, canker sores, rash and boils. It is important to note that due to Calendula’s quick tissue repairing qualities, one must thoroughly clean out any dirty or septic wounds before using Calendula to treat the wounds.

Calendula can work to heal infective and inflammatory ailments of the mouth such as candidiasis, thrush, periodontitis, gingivitis, stomatitis. Oil pulling with Calendula flower infused oil every day, first thing in the morning, may help alleviate these ailments along with an internal formula.

Calendula also works to stimulate the immune system functioning, reduce lymphatic fluid congestion, and reduce bloodstream lipids – found in hyperlipidemia. Calendula promotes this by vitalizing the Blood, balancing hormonal actions, promoting bile flow, harmonized digestion and liver decongestion. Calendula can also play a healing role in irregular menstruation – and can be used to promote labor and enhance the birthing process.

We also find Calendula has the ability to dissolve tumors and cysts, particularly tumors and cysts found in the intestines, and those found in female reproductive organs and breast tissues.

Some of the chemical constituents of Calendula include triterpenoid saponins, flavonoids (including kaempferol, quercitin, isorhamnetin), carotenoids, bitters, phytosterols, resin, mucilage, polysaccharides, essential oil, trace minerals, palmitic/malic/salicylic acids, potassium chloride and sulphate, calcium sulphate.

For a simple infusion of Calendula flowers, a medicinal dose is within the 8-14g range. For every one tablespoon of herb, use one cup of (filtered!) water to let flowers infuse in. Combine just-boiled water with chosen amount of herbs in a heat-resistant Mason jar, put the lid on the jar, and let infuse for twenty minutes. One can infuse for much longer, if desired.

For tincture use, we have two distinctions for two different uses. A lower alcohol extraction enhances the flavonoid power and is best for Blood nourishment, menstruation regulation, digestive harmony, liver decongesting and fever reduction. One would find a tincture at 1:3 strength in 25% EtOH.

A higher alcohol extraction, however, is needed to fight powerful microbial infections. One needs to find a 1:3 strength in 90% EtOH for proper strength. This high extraction enhances the antimicrobial resins of the flower. Both tinctures require a 2-4ml (2-4 droppers-full) dose for medicinal value.

Calendula Flower Infused Oil

Courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

 

Calendula Flower Skin Salve

From Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide

1 cup of Calendula flower infused oil

¼ cup grated beeswax

4-6 drops Lavender essential oil

1 pinch of Turmeric root powder, for color

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler and melt together. Pour into a designated jar or tin and let set until hardened. Use more oil for a looser salve, use more beeswax for a harder salve. This recipe should create a consistency right in-between soft and hard.

CALENDULA CAUTIONS!

Avoid during pregnancy, for Calendula is a uterine stimulant. Can be used to help ease labor and delivery when the pregnancy’s coming to completion!

The Energetics of Western Herbs Vol. 2, Peter Holmes, Fourth Edition, 2006

The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Brigitte Mars, A.H.G., 2007

Uva Ursi

Arctostaphylos uva ursi L.

Arctostaphylos-uva-ursi

Uva Ursi’s genus name Arctostaphylos is derived from the Greek arcto (meaning “bear”) and staphyles (meaning “bunch of berries or grapes”) hence the one of the common names of Uva Ursi: bearberry. The species name, as well, indicates bearberry, for Latin uva means “grape” and Latin ursi means “of the bear.” Uva Ursi is used in Scandinavia to tan leather, it can also be prepared as a foot soak to help hikers in the mountains toughen up their feet. The leaves are not considered edible, generally. The berries (while bland) can be used as survival food, help quench thirst, and stimulate saliva flow.

Uva Ursi leaf is considered a restorative and stabilizing leaf, a leaf that works to clear damp heat and reduce infections in the body – particularly working to help the urogenital organs, and both the small and large intestines. It has both a bitter and pungent taste quality. It promotes a downward movement and dispersing of pathogens. This leaf also has cold and dry qualities – working to cool down the heat of infection and dry up the mucus that forms to house pathogens.

Considering it’s top function is to clear damp-heat and reduce infection, Uva Ursi first and foremost helps alleviate urinary tract infections – especially acute internal urethritis, cystitis, pyelitis, and glomerulonephritis UTI. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these ailments fall under the pattern Bladder and Kidney damp-heat.

Our leaf also helps with dysentery – considered a Large Intestine damp-heat pattern in TCM. The TCM pattern Genitourinary damp-heat can manifest under STD/STI pathogens, or manifests with thick, purulent genital discharges – gonorrhea, cervicitis, vaginitis, candida – and Uva Ursi can help alleviate these ailments, as well.

Uva Ursi astringes to stop discharge and bleeding, while promoting tissue repair. Examples of damage Uva Ursi helps heal are hemorrhages (acute or chronic), hemorrhoids, bladder ulcerations or postpartum tissue traumas. Internal hemorrhoids or postpartum tissue issues can be best medicated through suppository, sitzbaths, douches or sponges. To prepare the leaf for these methods, one will simply make an infusion (what many consider a tea) of the leaf to use.

Lastly, Uva Ursi helps to “Tonify Urogenital Qi” – this can be interpreted as creating harmony in the urinary system, balancing and strengthening the energies flowing through these organs. A TCM pattern called Kidney and Bladder Qi Deficiency with damp manifests as urinary incontinence and irritations, or bladder stones and associated infection. Uva Ursi helps disperse these bladder stones and helps get the downward direction of the Bladder Qi re-established.

Your Uva Ursi leaf should not be over nine months old – otherwise, your leaves may have lost their arbutin content, which is the highlight of it’s medical value! Some other constituents of Uva Ursi include flavonoids, quercetin and myricetin-like flavonoids, gallic and ellagic tannins, triterpenoids, allantoin, gallic/malic/ursolic/phenolic/ursodesoxycholic acids, myretene, and trace minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium.

Leaves wildcrafted in the autumn are most effective in general, and higher altitude Uva Ursi is considered much stronger than lower altitude Uva Ursi.

To prepare an infusion of Uva Ursi leaf, one can use 4 to 8 grams of Uva Ursi and filtered water. Typically, 1 tablespoon of herb is used for 1 cup of water. Simply place the herbs in a Mason jar and cover with just-boiling filtered water. Put the lid on the jar and let the herbs infuse for twenty minutes. This can be drank for internal healing, or used for the sitzbaths or douches needed for postpartum tissue repair or hemorrhoids. Drink one cup unsweetened on an empty stomach, half an hour before eating. Dose three times a day!

It may be more convenient to purchase a tincture of Uva Ursi for medicine. Find a 1:3 in 45% alcohol, a dose will be 1 to 3 ml. One dropper-full is equivalent to 1ml. Or, if a different ratio and alcohol content is available at the apothecary or health food store, check the recommended dose on the bottle and follow the suggestion. Put your dose in a bit of water or 100% pure and organic cranberry juice to dilute. Dose three times a day!

(Sometimes bottles recommend a much lower dose than needed. This is for protection of those who made the medicine. If no progress is being made with the recommended dose, increase with awareness, caution, and with proper herbal combinations. In Uva Ursi’s case, combine with a demulcent herb to avoid irritating side effects.)

From Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, 2008

Cystitis Remedy

2 parts Cleavers herb (Gallium aparine)

2 parts fresh or dried cranberries

2 parts Uva Ursi

1 part Chickweed (Stellaria alsine)

1 part Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis)

Combine herbs and prepare as an hour-long infusion, remembering the ratio 1 tablespoon of herb to 1 cup of filtered water. Drink 4 cups daily, ¼ cup at one time.

UVA URSI CAUTIONS!

While Uva Ursi is considered a mild remedy, there is a risk of moderate chronic toxicity with overuse. Large or frequent dosing can irritate your stomach’s mucus linings. It’s considered safe to use up to one week, but sufficient breaks must be taken in-between continuing use. It is incredibly helpful to combine Uva Ursi with a demulcent herb – such as licorice root, linseed or Codonopsis/Dang Shen – to avoid constipation and irritations with use.

It is best to avoid Uva Ursi in cases of kidney disease and hypoglycemia, and avoid prolonged use in children because of possible liver impairment.

Avoid during pregnancy, for Uva Ursi may decrease circulation to uterus or cause labor contractions due to it’s oxytocic action. Of course, this means Uva Ursi could be used for labor induction if a woman is experiencing difficulty in labor or a failure to progress in labor.

The Energetics of Western Herbs Vol. 1 and 2, Fourth Edition, Peter Holmes, 2006

The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Brigitte Mars, A.H.G., 2007

Hello! My name’s Emma.

I grew up in the backwoods of Michigan on farmland, forest and grassy marshes. I was raised by a family of healers – now living in Colorado, I’ve recently begun my own journey to become a healer through Just For Health School of Reflexology and Healing Arts, gaining accreditation as a Master Herbalist through their intensive Botanical Medicine program.

The biggest blessing: I’m serving my elders and my generation and the next youth harmoniously. We can’t let the good intent of our elders fade out. Complete credit of inspiration goes to those who brought us in! We must listen to them and learn from them with our own, natural good intent to improve our wellbeing, and approach our need to survive in the healthiest way possible. We can teach our own children well, someday.

I’m proud of myself for embarking on the focus of educating others – about not only botanical medicine, but about nutrition and real food, vitamin and mineral therapy, energetics, aromatherapy, meridians, acupressue points, self-sustainment, gardening, homesteading…  basically, there’s a whole lot of really awesome things I am thrilled to have learned, am learning about, or will someday learn – just because I’d like to help you out if you need it. A favorite thought is of people truly knowing how to take the best care of themselves, to not consider themselves victims of situations, but instead as crafting their own wellbeing. I want to be a source of information to guide people on their own individual self-healing realizations!

Despite my interests in many segments of the spectrum of  – what they call “alternative” – medicine, I’d like to keep this little corner of the blogosphere to serve as a collection of herbal information and wisdoms, materia medica style, coinciding with my journey through my botanical medicine program and beyond.

Perhaps this blog is simply an outlet to plug in my focus-machine?

If you can’t seem to enjoy what you’re doing, consider the concept of doing what you want to do, instead. Take care!