Monday, November 17, 2014

how about some shamanism?

Our need to form identity and create a sense of self is what causes separation in our minds (in spiritual terms we call it "ego") but in more advanced planes of existence these barriers do not exist. There is no word for magic when magic is reality. Buddhists cling to concepts of identity as the root of suffering, but why try to escape what we have manifested as conscious beings? We need to look at that. Acceptance and expansion is what shamanism is about. It is powerful stuff, and it shouldn't be some arcane thing. We should all be shamans. It is an evolved way to be.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It is clear that the world of medicine is changing. The ancient ways of healing and preventing disease are coming back to life and the emphasis on “eating right” has become a trend. What you put in your body actually means something in terms of your overall physical and mental well-being. Western Medical doctors are being out-smarted by herbalists, nutritionist and integrative medicine practitioners in terms of preventive and recovery health care. It is clear that when we eat well, according to our body type we feel the best. So why is it that so often when we are trying to nourish ourselves with the right foods we still don’t feel “right”? With so much emphasis on diet and nutrition we often times forget the action, the actual process of eating and digestion. It is not enough that we just change our diet, we must also change the way we eat.

Some questions to ask yourself:

    Am I sitting in a quiet still place while eating?
    Do I take the time before and after a meal to sit for a few minutes?
    Am I chewing my food?
    Am I enjoying my food? Does it feel good in my body?
    When I eat, am I surrounded by good company and no stress?

These 5 things go hand in hand with our diet. We call it “the yoga of eating” or “food Sadhana”. Yoga means to Yoke, to bring together the practices on the mat right into our lives. Digestion is best served when you are aware of its process and therefore, food is best digested when we consciously eat.

Try these 5 things for 1 week and discover the magic that unfolds. You will be delighted in the results. Even if they are subtle, for some it may take a few months and for others a few days. Give yourself this gift, we are not here to live this life in pain; we are here to be happy and serve. A healthy, balanced digestion leads to a happy clear mind and an attitude of gratitude.

From my heart to yours,

Many blessings

Hari Simran Khalsa, CAS PKS

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


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.

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:


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!