Yellow Bedstraw: Galium verum

Abundant plant on sunny slopes, dry meadows or along the roads looks more like bushy weed than a useful medicinal herb. Perhaps only huge amount of little yellow flowers attracts careful attention of people and lovely attention of bees.

I chose this herb among the five for my Herbal Materia Medica course and before I am going to be overwhelmed by scientific information I would like to share my existing experience.

Yellow Bedstraw (Galium verum) is not as friendly or sticky as its more famous relative Galium aparine. It doesn’t play the major role in homeopathic or Chinese medicine but it stands nearby and waits for being understood and wisely used.

This herb is for those who cannot be discouraged by untidy appearance, a little bit prickly inaccessibility or unpleasant bitter astringent taste. That’s why it’s mostly used externally.

I love its effects in soaps for problematic skin treatment, no matter if it’s adolescent acne or adults’ hemorrhoids. In facial treatment can be used also as a bath or tonic. Affected areas are treated well by yellow bedstraw which I occasionally supplement by other potent herbs.

If I want to use yellow bedstraw internally, I usually go for capsules. My tired kidneys like to be refreshed from time to time, so I combine yellow bedstraw with heather and goldenrod, manually powder them and fill the capsules. There is very welcome side effect because yellow bedstraw also helps with night spasm in legs which I sometimes suffer.

Before other products appeared on the market, yellow bedstraw was widely used in cheese production. In accordance to its astringent taste yellow bedstraw is able to coagulate milk very effectively. You can try and have a useful fun.

Back to School!

I live with my herbs on daily and more or less intuitive basis. Of course, I have some knowledge. Herbs interested me since childhood, but I cannot call it an obsession. That changed in the last few years, when I use them also externally for ointments, salves and especially soaps.

With herbs, I usually follow my instincts and then I double check the nature of my intuitive recipes in books and online resources. I would like to continue in this manner, but recently I decided to structure the knowledge base a little bit.

I enrolled in the Herbal Materia Medica Course on The Herbal Academy website last week. They impressed me by the combination of scientific and intuitive approach and I’m happy for the practical exercises. And what’s more, they push us to study only one plant in one moment, which I consider very useful. So back to school!

It is necessary to quickly pass the botanical definitions, which I learned in elementary school already, although not in English. It means shapes of leaves, their arrangements on stem, types of inflorescences, etc. Plus to observe the herbs of my choice according to these definitions. And because the fresh herbs are not available under snow, I have to work with dried ones. Luckily I still have enough from the last year’s harvest.

However, there is one thing which I do not feel harmony with. I should find the names of my herbs according to Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. I spent a lot of time on the internet with very disappointing results. First, I am not familiar with these types of medicine. I fully respect both because they proved their longterm validity and efficiency. But somehow they are not compatible with my body and mind. All my inner setup has four elements rather than five. I am able to perceive how the herb works inside of the Kabalistic Tree of Life but my effort to see anything through the five elements leads me into the empty darkness again and again. So I gave up!

Instead, I returned to my own setup. I will continue in the course, looking forward to next interesting lessons. I will continue to believe that the most effective medicinal herb grows for anyone near his home because I continue to trust in wisdom of the Creator.

What is your opinion?

With love, Ivana

Roots: The Safety Zone

There is snowing outside the window and I think about the roots. It freezes and we are looking for the safety zones, where to survive bad weather. People have shelters in their houses and trees in the roots.

Humans also have the roots, and on many levels. As an individual, as a member of the family, tribe, nation, continent and the entire Universe. Every part of our Self has its own safety zone, the roots. They are represented by our past – history, ancestors, relationships, successes and failures. We cannot erase them, but we can learn and change our perspective. Every new beginning includes our entire history. As if you replant the tree – you can find a better environment for it, but do not damage the roots during transport otherwise you damage the entire tree.

Does it mean that we have to store all even traumatic experiences in the roots? No, it doesn’t. Every experience can be used as a fuel for our inner fire. All sun and shadows are endless source of woods for our warmth and hospitality. We have to accept our history as a fact, and then we may not be traumatized by it. The worst thing is to preserve the pain because that part of roots is cold and lifeless. It is a risk factor for our future, frozen can be easily broken.

If the roots are working properly, they are open to receive nutrients and excrete waste products. Unlike trees, we don’t always recognize good nutrients from waste products. Sometimes it takes a long time to understand. Don’t give up! It helps if you understand where your roots on some of your levels are. Where are your safety zones? First, it should be your body and your home. These are places where you should feel free in all manifestations of the spirit. The basic safety zones for the life and growth.

Some people examine factors too deep in the past and don’t care enough about the present. They forget that life is not just the roots. The roots are shelter and source of life, but we cannot live a life locked inside. Like trees, we can hide the power in the roots for winter, but in the spring we have to go out and move forward.

Award Nomination

I’ve been surprisingly nominated by Jewish Thoughts for this aword!

I’m writting my blog for a while, so I am really thankful for it. I’m also thankful to Okoto Enigma for creating this fantastic award.

If I’ve nominated you, the rules are as follows:

List the rules.
Put the award logo/image in your blog.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. Tell your readers three things about yourself. Nominate 10-20 people. Notify your nominees. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice with one weird or funny question (specify) Share a link to your best posts.

Next, I’ll answer to the questions of Jewish Thoughts:

  1. What’s one small thing you’re thankful for?
    Even though it is not the small thing, I’m thankful for current state of my health. Since my summer’s lyme disease I’m improving slowly, but I’m very thankful for any small progress.

2. Do you prefer books or music? Definitely books.

3. What’s your best tip for successful blogging? As I’m a blogger beginner I would like to know it as wel 🙂

4. What was the best day of your life? To be honest, it was more than one day, it was whole journey through national parks in the western part of U.S. few years ago.

5. Do you believe in a Creator? Yes I do. Even though it was a long process into depths of my heart.

And now, three things about myself:

1. I’m red-haired fan of trees, herbs and forest.

2. I like to create edible and inedible things from herbs and natural ingredients. Soups and soaps etc.

3. I love to share my space and creative products with group of my soulmates.

And now, my best favorite nominees at the moment:
1. Aquarian Soap

2. Misty Meadows

3. Reflections of Existence

4. Jessica Baker

5. The Zero-Waste Chef

And here are five questiones for the nominees:

  1. What’s your favorite plant (herb or tree) and why?
  2. Do you prefer city or nature?
  3. What’s your favorite activity?
  4. What you ask for if you catch the gold fish and your wish is valid only one day.
  5. What’s your favorite color and why?

The links to my ‘best’ posts:

Wild Rose: Beauty among thorns

Yarrow, the medicinal hero

Nettle: Excellent Blood Purificator

Enjoy!

Ivana

Between Life and Death: Poisonous Ivy

For me, Ivy has always symbolized something mysterious. And if I had to tell where I mostly see to grow Ivy, it is a cemetery for sure. There are many old trees, providing a shady retreat for grieving, and around their trunks grow layers of Ivy. The abundance and symbolism stand out especially in the autumn.

Colorful leaves fall from the trees as well as the youth gradually leaves our physical body. But Ivy remains green despite of frost as well as the soul is able to cross the gate of physical death. For me, Ivy is a symbol of rebirth and a new beginning.

I remember one day a few years ago when I walked to a cemetery just because of Ivy. I felt so strong calling to go there, so I did. I spent few hours in contemplation at the cemetery, where did not rest any of my friends or relatives. And when I returned home, I found unexpected dismissal in my mailbox. I was so sorry, but all the Ivy at the cemetery helped me to better accept this situation. Suddenly I knew deeply in my heart, that this end is simply a door to a new beginning. And it was.

Perhaps I have a strong connection to Ivy because of the name. My first name is Ivana and Ivy is one of possible short versions of it. And if you ask, I don’t mind that Ivy is poisonous. Even I know how to be poisonous. And no wonder, I am born under Scorpio sign. In addition, I am well aware that a lot of poisonous substances are healing. As well as Ivy and maybe sometimes like me and like my doing.

I fully believe that not only sweet and harmonious are important in the life. We can be greatly enriched by what we fear, and from what we run away.

Heart, love and trees

With autumn progress I feel forest as a place of evening hygiene. Trees put off unwanted dresses directly on damp ground and some of them are completely naked, ready to put snow pajamas on. Just conifers remain proudly green as if they ignore the cycle of life.

Today’s walk brings me to think about linden (Tilia). I realized that a strong linden tree needs space. To prosper, it cannot be squeezed in a tight crowd. Linden tree is wide and noble, needed a place for its majesty. It can grow on the edge of forest or in the alley, but other trees must maintain a respectful distance.

Since childhood, I was taught, that linden is our national tree. Never ever I had any idea what does it mean. I just honestly admired huge linden trees, which survived centuries. Centuries of peace and wars, centuries of children’s games and lovers’ kisses.

I remember two old linden trees in my hometown beside the church. Big sign proclaimed that they are the trees protected by the state. When you come closer, you could see huge metal belts around the trunks. And to make the protection perfect, they poured concrete into cavities. I didn’t feel any pride at all, either personal or national. I felt only sympathy for the living thing that grows despite the protection provided by the people and the state.

Today, I realized my respect and love for linden. It has nothing to do with the nation, it is a matter of heart and humanity. It responds to patient love and gifts, supplied to us from linden trees through ages. It’s no coincidence that the leaves are shaped like big hearts. Fragrant blossoms attract thousands of bees in order to produce equally fragrant honey. Tea of linden blossoms is an effective tool against fever and colds. And linden wood is an excellent inspiration for carvers of any nation to make our world more beautiful.

What are your experiences with linden or its products?

Agrimony: The Herb of Truth

I love Agrimony like a beautiful and noble plant, like an effective medicinal plant and also like an essential flower remedy. It’s an amazing gift of nature and fully deserves our protection and respect.

I have my favorite place, where I observe and collect Agrimony plants. When at the end of spring begin to appear velvety hairs on young leaves and buds, I feel tenderness and vulnerability. It seems to be soft and supple. But few weeks later Agrimony dramatically changes its appearance. It rapidly drives the main stem to a great height, to keep track of everything what is happening around. Suddenly, tenderness becomes pride and vulnerability becomes need to control. Optimistic yellow flowers abundant on the top of stem balance both polarities. And this is the right season to collect Agrimony before its stem lignifies. Lignification represents the stage, when Agrimony preserves mask of optimistic arrogance, ignoring its own vulnerability and willingness to help.

Harvesting at the right time, Agrimony has a wide range of healing effects for both, exterior and interior application. I like yellow slightly bitter tea of Agrimony, which positively affects entire digestive system without any side effects. Additionally it strengthens our immunity. Externally, Agrimony is very helpful for wound healing and treatment of skin diseases. Together with Yarrow, Agrimony belongs to the most effective plants for coalescence of what has been divided and for aftercare of scars.

Who is familiar with the flower remedies of Dr.Bach, knows well the effects of Agrimony in our emotional system. And if you remember the words about physical appearance of Agrimony, you get an idea of these effects. Agrimony flower remedy helps to all, who covers vulnerability and true emotions by funny faces. People, who seem to be optimistic in every situation, just as they always have everything under control, are like Agrimony, which begins to lignify.

And that is why I call Agrimony “the herb of truth”. It helps to be honest and not to hide weaknesses and fear, not to waste energy on maintaining of artificial and always positive masks. Thanks to Agrimony we can feel free and freely use any of emotions.

Power of Butterbur

In my language, name of Butterbur sounds like 9 powers. This clearly demonstrates how effective and respectable plant Butterbur is.

Additionally to the healing effects, Butterbur is amazing plant. In the early spring, still in the snow, you can see around small water streams purple flower heads of Butterbur. They look fabulous. I have to admire them every year. You might think they have to be hard and tough when grown in snow. Be careful, they are easily breakable and full of cold water. I love to keep this fresh spring beauty in alcohol as a tincture because it helps preventively in time of cold and flu.

The most popular part for healing is root of Butterbur. And the best harvesting time is either in the early spring or in the late autumn, it means now! When you slice washed root and place pieces to dry, they look like magical rings of irregular shapes which can be created only by nature. Powdered root of Butterbur can be used directly or inside of tincture depending on type of healing.

Pay special attention to leaves of Butterbur. They are huge like umbrellas and often occupy large territory, so it is hard to pass through. They are very juicy and no wonder. Look at the leaf in detail and you will see large veins for water and nutrients transport. And this is how they work on human body. Because of juicy consistence Butterbur leaves represent effective skin treatment. All healing substances are quickly delivered to the right destination. You can use it directly without any complicate preparation. Just put slightly damaged leaves on affected area and you will see a miracle soon.

For me, density of robust veins inside of Butterbur leaves means a clear hint. They are more than useful for treatment of varicose veins and helpful in arteries unblocking.

Butterbur is also effective in releasing spasm of nervous origin, so you can imagine veins of the plant as healthy nerve fibers. No tension, no obstacles. That’s why some people use remedies based on Butterbur in treatment of migraine and headache. Luckily, at this point I don’t have any personal experience. What about you? Do you have any experience or impressions with Butterbur?

The Chocolate Tree

Of course there is no “chocolate tree”, chocolate is a product from the seeds of the Cocoa Tree (Theobroma Cacao). It is a tropical evergreen tree, whose oil seeds are known as cocoa beans.  And from the beans we get the cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

Anyway Chocolate tree sounds well, doesn’t it? If you could dream about, how the “chocolate tree” looks like?

Chocolate is a subject of various myths and legends with many effects including the aphrodisiac ones. If a nickname of the petroleum is black gold, I would call the chocolate as brown gold. I feel its magical and deep earthy energy which is able to connect body and soul to substantial items. Perhaps because of high content of fat we descend to depths like on a chocolate slide, ending without injury in the right place.

Today, most people of so called “civilized world” consider chocolate like a common sweetness because there is a huge quantity of chocolate on the market (in a wide range of quality), we can buy it everywhere from supermarket to petrol station. It devaluates chocolate and its extraordinary features.

Heavy and sticky energy of chocolate is suitable for application on the lower part of body, especially on feet of those who run away from problems or stay in dreams or virtual reality too often. Together with other ingredients like cinnamon, clove, vanilla or chili chocolate warms up your feet and allows you to stand on ground, face difficulties and find solutions.

I like to use chocolate to gentle massage of legs below the knees. Cocoa butter is an efficient carrier for herbs and tinctures assisting with treatment of varicose veins, for example blossom of horse chestnut.

I also use the cocoa butter for preparation of herbal vaginal suppositories. And I am convinced that it is the magical X-factor from the cocoa butter, which expands herbal healing effects in this deep place of secrets. Scientifically speaking, the cocoa butter has an appropriate consistency and melting temperature for this kind of application.

What surprisingly chocolate does not like, is the stomach acid. It paralyzes most of special effects, it takes the magic away. So common eating of chocolate snacks is not effective application of the extraordinary features of cocoa and chocolate. It rather confirms their devaluation and lack of respect for this brown gold.

Wild Rose: Beauty among thorns

Looking at the wild rose bush I see the life cycle of nature – four seasons, birth and death, innocence and experience.

Starting in winter, surrounded by crunchy white snow, you see small red fruits full of vitamins and nutrients how they invite hungry birds for lunch. Also for humans are rosehips useful in winter, they help against cold and flu. And of course, they are the promise of a new beginning, surviving drops of blood in the icy age.

With spring days on the bush start to sprout green leaves and shortly after them sprout blooms in various shades of pink. From almost virginal white to deep purple they symbolize different stages in a woman’s life. Regardless of the age, the woman is always surrounded by thorns.

Have you notice, that on the bush always remain some fruits from the last year? They are shriveled like an old woman’s face and they probably transfer the old woman’s experience “how to survive among thorns” to the next generation.

In summer, the bush loses pink skirts of petals and it comes time of motherhood, time of fruits. Rain and heat help to growth, sunlight changes color from green to orange-red.

And finally now in autumn, the miracle is finished, the fruits are ready for harvest. I like to have enough for winter tea; its orange color reminds me warm summer days additionally to the healing effects.

I put part of the harvest into vodka to prepare excellent drink for our traditional Scorpions birthday party. I do it either in sweet and sour or in spicy pepper taste. Both are really delicious, highly recommended.

I have a small part of the harvest also for cosmetic purposes. I love to make and use soft facial soap with wild rose fruits’ extract. Due to huge amount of vitamins and antioxidants the soap is very kind to mature skin. It seems to me as if the soap compensates the thorns, experienced by skin in the run of life.

There are many tips how to use rosehips, what is your favorite?

I wish you successful harvest! But be sure to leave some fruits on the bush for hungry birds in winter.