Skin Healer // Behind the Scenes of a Rooted Angel Product

Plantain, growing in the garden.

Plantain, growing in the garden.

Skin Healer came from my experience with the plants in our garden. One year there was an abundance of plantain growing amongst the herbs, flowers and vegetables. Plantain is considered a weed by some gardeners. My friend David Miles told me it was edible and rich in calcium and minerals. I tried eating it raw - it was a bit chewy and stringy, a good workout for my teeth and jaw. Then I tried it in a stir fry with some other hearty greens and some fresh chopped garlic.

Fast forward a few weeks… I was working in the garden and nicked myself with a garden shear. With a bleeding finger I looked down for something to wrap around the wound until I could clean it out with some soap and water. There was the plantain leaf - wide, flat, easy to wrap and felt cooling on this fiery cut. Later I learned that the Native Americans called the plantain a green bandaid! Pretty cool when that synchronicity happens. That was the start of the making of Skin Healer. I learned how to make botanical oils from several other plants like comfrey, St. John’s wort and calendula flower. Blending these with beeswax and plantain is the basis of this product.

Recently I felt called to add a new Skin Healer to the apothecary. It has all the basics of the original, with the addition of Sea Buckthorn Pulp extract and Patchouli Essential Oil. 

Sea Buckthorn is a plant that is native to Europe and Asia but can easily grow in North America into a beautiful bush or tree. The female plant produces the most stunning shiny orange berries. The medicinal uses of Sea Buckthorn go back as far as 618-907 A.D., with references found in Ancient Greek and classic Tibetan medicinal texts. The berries are considered a nutrient-rich superfood; rich in vitamin C, carotene, vitamin E, malic and succini acids, amino acids and other bioactive compounds. It also is a super source of omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9, plus the rare omega-7 essential fatty acid, which can keep your skin looking firm and lifted. We’re talking about superfood for your skin! 

Patchouli essential oil has its own sacred personality and purpose. It works with calming anxiety and depression. It is anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, and is also used topically as a wound healer.

There are so many plants with multi-dimensional medicinal purposes. I feel honored to be invited into their kingdom to learn about their healing properties and to be able to offer up their gifts.

Love as the Center

 

What if religion was each other?
If our practice was our life?
If prayer was our words?

What if the temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water-the rivers, lakes and oceans?

What if meditation was our relationships?
If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge?
What if Love was the center of our being?

 

A Reminder to Plant Garlic!

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I can't emphasize enough how easy it is to plant garlic! According to principles of biodynamic farming, there are a few prime opportunities left on the 2017 calendar to plant it.

Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. It was first developed in the early 1920’s based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner. Think of biodynamics as a way of honoring and collaborating with the earth. It represents scale in thinking – a view of all life as energy or consciousness. When we consider what is taking place energetically in the cosmos, we can begin to see how all life invisible forces both in the cosmos and in the earth; that is, all life is affected by Astronomical Rhythms, Seasons & Elements.

The biodynamic calendar categorizes plants into 4 groups: plants that we grow for their ROOTS (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes), plants that we grow for their LEAVES (lettuce, spinach, cabbage), plants we grow for their FRUIT (peas, tomatoes, raspberries, apples), and plants we grow for their FLOWERS (echinacea, borage, cauliflower, broccoli). The calendar is essentially a schedule - over the course of any nine days, there are specific times to work with each of these 4 groups.


The best days to plant ROOTS (garlic!!) in 2017 are:
December 3, 11, 12 or 13

 

If you plant your garlic on one of the root days this fall, you can expect to see fully grown garlic in your garden in July 2018. Here's how to do it:

1. Find a mostly sunny part of the garden and prepare the soil to receive a clove of garlic (take one head of organic garlic and break it into individual cloves leaving the paper on).
2. Dig a hole about twice the height of the garlic clove (about 1 1/2 inches deep).
3. Place the clove in the hole, pointy side up. You can do a row of garlic, spaced about 4-6 inches apart. 
4. Cover the cloves with the soil, a little water, and then top with about 3 inches of salt hay or leaves to keep them warm for the winter.  I like to offer a prayer of intention, welcoming them to the garden and thanking them for sending their roots into the soil, may they find their way effortlessly and freely into another dimension of themselves in the coming year.


RESOURCES for More Information on Biodynamics

Stella Natura - Biodynamic Calendar
A Way to Garden - Planting by the Cosmic Calendar
Oregon's Wild Harvest - What is Biodynamic Farming?
Today Show Video - Biodynamic goes further than Organic

Healing Herbal Bath Vinegar & Sipping Tonic

Holy Basil

Holy Basil

HEALING HERBAL BATH VINEGAR

(Makes 1 quart)
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh lavender
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh holy basil (tulsi)*
32 oz (1 quart) apple cider vinegar

Rosemary

Rosemary

1. Fill a glass jar with the fresh herbs. Pour the vinegar over the ingredients, filling the jar to the top with the vinegar. Make sure that the vinegar covers the ingredients by at least a couple of inches.
2. If you are using a metal lid, cover the opening of the jar with two sheets of wax/greaseproof paper, and then put the lid on or use a plastic lid.
3. Store vinegar in a cool, dark place for one month. Shake it once in a while and occasionally check to see if you need to add more vinegar, as some of the plant material may have soaked it up.
4. After 1 month, strain the fresh herbs from the vinegar. Discard the strained ingredients into the compost. The liquid left behind is your herbal vinegar. Store the vinegar in a container in a dark cabinet out of heat, light and temperature variation. It should last for about one year.

TO USE: Add ½-1 cup of this vinegar to your bath to soothe the skin and promote healing and regeneration to the body, soul and spirit. Or, take orally by sipping on 2 tbsp of this tonic before or with your meals as a restorative digestive.

*Fresh holy basil is harder to come by unless you grow it. Dry holy basil is easier to come by, or you can also substitute fresh basil (the kind you would use to make pesto)!

NOTE: you can make this herbal vinegar any time of year (even in the winter!) with dried herbs – just reduce the quantity to ¼ cup of each herb. Use the same process for storing and straining. I love using sourcing bulk dry herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer Fair Trade Certified herbs, essential oils and other products -  most of which are organic!


Lavender

Lavender

THE QI OF HERBS || MEDICINAL BENEFITS:

ROSEMARY || Rosemary is known as the herb of remembrance - it assists in releasing absentmindedness, forgetfulness or hypoglycemic tendencies. Rosemary is an excellent stimulant and warming herb, it improves poor circulation, lowers cholesterol, eases muscle and rheumatism pains and treats lung congestion, sore throat and canker sores. If you've ever woken up with a bit of a foggy brain, cut a sprig of rosemary, pop into a teacup and brew with hot water for about 6-8 min. Ahhhh, release!

LAVENDER || Lavender has long been used to decrease anxiety, induce relaxation and promote sleep. It also helps with pain, wounds, burns, depression, headaches, dyspepsia and bug bites.

HOLY BASIL ||  Holy Basil is one of the most sacred plants in India, and is often kept in courtyards and houses for its purifying and beneficial influence on its surroundings. Know as the elixir of life, queen of herbs and Mother Nature of medicine, it promotes optimal function of the lungs and heart, bolsters the immune system, heightens awareness and promotes mental clarity. Today's plant scientists have classified Sacred Basil as an adaptogen - a substance that helps us adapt mentally and physically to stressful circumstances.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR || AC Vinegar is excellent for extracting minerals from herbs, it helps the body's acid/alkaline balance and assists in digestion. Additionally it is particularly beneficial for health, being antibacterial and antifungal, boosting the immune system.

Cosmic Roots, Flow, Energy & Tai Chi of Garlic

According to the principles of biodynamics, the best time to plant garlic is on Root Days in November/Early December. Stella Natura has a great planting calendar that I use as inspiration and guidance for all the herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruits and trees that grow on our small plot of land in Old Greenwich, Ct.  

I just wanted to share this vision with you of how easy it is to plant garlic this fall for harvest in July of 2017.  

Not only will you receive the most amazing health benefits of garlic (I'll talk about this in a forthcoming blog post!), but the plant itself can take you through a process that I liken to a tai chi movement of the leaf, stem, flower and tiny seed pods that are waiting to burst through next spring!

Here's the plan:

Remaining Root Days in 2016 are November 14, 15 or 23, December 3, 10, 11, 12, 13. Plant your garlic on a Root Day!

1. Find a mostly sunny part of the garden and prepare the soil to receive a clove of garlic (take one head of organic garlic and break it into individual cloves leaving the paper on).
2. Dig a hole about twice the height of the garlic clove (about 1 1/2 inches deep).
3. Place the clove in the hole, pointy side up. You can do a row of garlic, spaced about 4-6 inches apart. 
4. Cover the cloves with the soil, a little water, and then top with about 3 inches of salt hay or leaves to keep them warm for the winter.  I like to offer a prayer of intention, welcoming them to the garden and thanking them for sending their roots into the soil, may they find their way effortlessly and freely into another dimension of themselves in the coming year.