Tuesday, July 8, 2014

i am

rumi says just being in a body and sentient is a state of rapture
you know? just being here is a cause for celebration
it's a cause for grief too
but grief is also a form of joy
the rose celebrates by falling apart
foil by foil falling to the ground
and the cloud celebrates by weeping

-I Am

So what we're now discovering
is a science that underpins and explains
all of those intuitive ideas that
native cultures and eastern religions
have understood for pretty much all time
now science is finally cathing up with religion and spirituality
and saying yes, that was right, that was right all along

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wormwood

This summer's main distilling operations will be utilizing weeds considered "noxious" by the state but which have myriad medicinal and ceremonial uses. 

Pictured is a sagebrush forest in which wormwood grows in abundance. 

Wild western sagebrush ecosystems are considered endangered in some circles so any sage we harvest is done sustainably and on private lands. 

#coloradonative #essentialoils #handharvested #smallbatch #apothecaryrasayana

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mullein: Common Weed, Powerful Healer

MULLEIN (Verbascum)


Mullein Plant Botanical Illustration
Verbascum (Common Mullein) image: Wikipedia

Last week I was led to some some young mullein (also known as Verbascum, in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae). The plants were in a private, secluded un-sprayed spot. I am waiting for them to mature a bit more before I selectively harvest leaves for medicinal use. As always I harvest only what's necessary, keeping the plant intact. I also ask permission of the plant and give thanks afterward for its generosity.


Harvesting Mullein Plants for Medicinal Use
image: Sandra Crowell
So in a few days, on Sunday morning after the dew has lifted, I'll be collecting some of the young mullein leaves for teas and tinctures.

Teas and tinctures of mullein are used to help heal issues with the respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. Mullein contains soothing demulcents that impart anti-inflammatory effects when used internally, and have anti-bacterial effects on the skin.

When the brilliant yellow but often-ignored yellow flowers begin blooming later this summer, I will be concocting:
  • a flower-infused oil, famous for earache
  • beeswax-based draw-out poultices for splinters and boils
  • analgesic salves especially for joint pain of the hands and feet (fresh mullein wrapping leaf included)
  • distilled essential oil concentrate of mullein flowers
Mullein flowers can be used for earache oil, analgesic salves, and to draw out skin impurities

All this from a "weed" considered to be noxious and invasive in Colorado.

I am still in the process of setting up my online store in which I'll be selling potions handcrafted from sustainably wildharvested, organically farmed healing plants such as mullein.

#planthealing #workingwithnature #apothecaryrasayana #wildcrafting #herbalism

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Master Tonic


What I call Master Tonic is also sometimes known as Four Thieves Vinegar – there are a ton of different recipes and you can make this to take internally or use as a salve. But basically, Master Tonic is a concoction of roots and herbs steeped in vinegar. The resulting tincture is a powerful healer and immune system booster, especially during cold winter months. I dilute mine with water and administer it orally.

Master Tonic has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and may help stave off colds, flu, fever. Almost any winter illness you can think of, Master Tonic can help. When taken daily as a preventative, it spreads sensations of warmth and well-being through your body. It's kind of like that good feeling that comes from drinking coconut water on a hot summer day.

The name “Four Thieves” comes from medieval times, when a band of thieves allegedly avoided contracting the highly contagious plague as they robbed houses of the ill. The reason is said to be because they used this tonic.

Sometimes the vinegar/herb mixture is applied topically, but those recipes call for ingredients like wormwood and camphor that are not necessarily suitable for internal use and can be difficult to find. There are essential oil blends you can buy commercially called just “Thieves” - they are usually based on cinnamon and clove extracts. It smells great but I find the edible tonic to be more effective at fighting illness.

Plague doctors would rub Thieves oil on pressure points and inside their plague masks in order to ward off germs. As a side note, how awesomely creepy are plague masks? The one below on the left is a beautiful replica of an original (pictured right), which you can buy from this talented artist.

Imagecredit: Tom Banwell Designs

My edible Master Tonic recipe uses easy-to-source, common vegetable roots that you probably already have in your kitchen (well, you might not have horseradish root laying around, but it's available in most supermarkets). Always use fresh, organic ingredients if possible.

I will vary my recipe depending on what's available and what my intuition is guiding me to concoct. Here is a Master Tonic I made back in November.

Horseradish
Ginger
Garlic
Shallot
Black Radish
White Onion
Turmeric Root
Hot peppers including jalapeno, habanero and Thai chiles

Four Thieves Vinegar Master Tonic - Left to right: Horseradish root, garlic, white onion, ginger root, shallot, black garlic, turmeric, Anaheim and serrano chiles, jalapeno pepper, habanero pepper, hot Thai chiles

Like I said you can vary the ingredients, but you should always include these five basics:

Horseradish
Ginger
Garlic
Onion
Peppers

You will want to wear gloves when handling horseradish root and hot peppers. Horseradish root is very strong smelling when grated (it will sting your nostrils and clear your sinuses)! Definitely wear gloves when working with hot peppers because otherwise the juices will soak into your skin and if you touch your eyes or any other mucous membrane even after washing your hands, it's gonna burn like crazy.

Peel and chop all the ingredients. A food processor is the easiest way to do the chopping, especially if you're making a big batch.

Four Thieves Vinegar Master Tonic - Roughly chopped vegetables rinsed and ready for food processor

Four Thieves Vinegar Master Tonic - processed  and mixed vegetables

Stir everything together well in a mixing bowl, then fill some canning jars about halfway full of the mixture. Then cover with vinegar and label the jars. That's pretty much it! I usually use apple cider vinegar because it's so much better for you than the other kinds. But this time I ran out of ACV, so I used mixtures of red wine and basic white vinegar for some of my jars. The taste will be slightly different but any vinegar will work. 

Four Thieves Vinegar Master Tonic - ready to store in cool dark place for 2-4 weeks

Store in a cool dark place for two weeks or up to a month. Strain out the liquid, re-bottle it, and use as needed. I usually fill a shot glass about 1/3 of the way full with tonic, then dilute with water. It also makes a good gargle for sore throats.

I like to use the leftover shredded vegetable matter in cooking. It makes a delicious salad dressing – just add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a bit of honey to balance out the tanginess. It also makes an excellent meat marinade, especially for grilled chicken – again just mix the grated vegetables with some cooking oil and viola.

This fiery tonic has so many uses and makes you feel so good - everyone should have a bottle on hand!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Consciousness

There is a part of you that is conscious of more than what you perceive via your senses. We'll call it your higher self. This "you" is not defined by your physical body, nor does it consist of your thoughts and beliefs. Although everything in the universe is connected and at some point in one's journey it can be beneficial to ponder the concepts of "one" and "universal consciousness," this higher awareness to which I refer comprises a discrete aspect of your individual personality.

Have you ever wondered, what's the benefit of karma if it manifests itself across many different lifetimes? What is the point of causal relationship if we cannot perceive the effects? For example, if a child suffering from abuse at the hands of his parents is actually Hitler reincarnated, what does the child gain from all this? Does the entity that used to be Hitler have any awareness that it's now a child, receiving just punishment for killing millions of Jews?

The answer lies in the way we're conditioned to define ourselves. "Who am I?" is a question asked by seekers probably since humans began to seek. Do you know who you are?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Essential Greens Juice Recipe

Put this in your juicing thingie and juice it.

Celery
Spinach
Parsley
Cucumber
Kale
Wheatgrass
Sunflower greens
Dandelion greens
Clover sprouts
Romaine lettuce

Remember when juicing: stems, leafy parts, and unsightly but-still-tasty bits of the vegetables that you might otherwise throw away can still be used! Plant parts that may be unsuitable for cooking are often totally fine for juicing! Obviously though, don't use anything past its prime.

I was gifted with a juicer about five years ago, and I absolutely love it. Here's a crap iPhone photo from a few years back.


One thing about juicing that nobody ever told me. If you have a sensitive stomach, you have to be careful. Drinking raw juice in the morning before I eat solid foods is hurlsville for me.

In other words, I absolutely believe in the health benefits of juicing when combined with a balanced, organic whole foods diet. Do I believe exclusive juice fasts should be done without professional supervision? No.

You are what you eat.

Namaste