Heart & Soul Blog
Does Your Garden Grow Wild - The Eastern Daisy Fleabane
If you have been anywhere this spring in the Hudson Valley, you will have noticed we have had lots and lots of rain, much to the happiness of the reservoirs! Summer heat will surely be upon us sooner than we can yell out Uncle, but until the meantime, many of us are experiencing an abundance of growth in our yards and gardens.
Personally my gardens are so overgrown, I am almost not sure what to do. I definitely need assistance, it's too big of a job just for me at this point. I even imagined while trying to walk through it this morning, that perhaps I should rent a rototiller and simply till the entire yard!
Happy to say though, while walking around the raised vegetable garden, that the garlic, onions and rhubarb all held out from last years weed pulling from a young fellow who attempted to assist me despite being told which plants were weeds and to pull.
Even my organic Adirondack Blue Potato Plants are doing fabulous!
This leads to today's subject on identifying what's in your yard. What plants can be used for teas and salves that are right under your nose and feet?
For the next few months, I aim to share a few common plants that live right underneath our feet that can be used for your medicinal and magical uses.
Let's start with Eastern Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus). It's a member of the Asteraceae (Aster) family of flowers. These flowers have fringed white (sometimes lightly pink) petals and are roughly less than an inch across with a lovely yellow center. With the exception of the shape of the leaf, it's easily understandable someone might think these look like wild chamomile or even feverfew.
Most people would simply pull these as weeds, but do note to definitely use gloves since some people can get contact dermatitis from handling the plants from their stems which are a bit hairy.
Native Americans have long used this plant, mostly it's leaves and flowers as they have most active medicinal components, but the entire plant can be used.
Collect the flowers and leaves when it's in bloom for best results in making a water or alcohol tincture.
"An alcohol and water tincture extracts the medicinal phytochemical compounds better than a tea, which loses the oil soluble compounds that are the most active." (*See below)
Several studies find very promising uses for this simple 'weed' in your garden.
In Folk Medicine and Native American Medicine: Fleabane has been used for urinary problems such as painful urination, and inflammation of the urethritis with scalding urine. Fleabane has also been used for renal or vesical pain; urinary stones, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea with back pain and blood clots. Fleabane is used as an astringent, diuretic, spasmolytic and emmenagogue. It also has a history of relieving gout symptoms.
For tea, only the flowers and leaves are used. - Collect (while wearing gloves) then let dry on a baking sheet - or bake for 2 hours in an oven at 175 F degrees. Then store in a container with tight lid.
Magical Uses: "
Fleabane has been used since the Ancient times to protect people from evil spells and to exorcise demons. Use Fleabane in sachets and hang it around the house to prevent evil of all forms from entering. Also use it to strengthen any healing or exorcism rituals/spells." (*Copyright © 2012 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Well that's good to note, I'd recommend adding a little sea salt to your sachets though and place them in the corners of your homes for extra protection too.
Insect Repellent: Contrary to it's name, it does not keep away the fleas per se, but does discourage other pests such as mites, mosquitos, and ticks. Plus are a delight to our humming birds, butterflies and bees and can be hosts for butterflies to lay their eggs.
Warnings: Pregnancy: - Do not use any form of eastern daisy fleabane while pregnant.
Here are additional resources to learn more about this most interesting yet useful 'weed' in your garden:
1) * http://thenatpath.com/williamson/herb-of-the-day-eastern-daisy-fleabane/
3) For more information on magical uses this is an interesting article I found: http://www.alchemy-works.com/erigeron.html
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to heal or cure any disease.
How To Stay Focused When You're A Creative
How to regroup and stay focused…when you’re a creative.
I don’t know about all of you, but as a creative I can easily be distracted.
We by nature are visualizers, we interpret all that we see with our art in its many mediums and styles. Being a creative also means we come up with ideas, loads of them in fact. But how do we deal with the input our brain sometimes gives us to handle from swirling in our heads on repeat mode?
Now add in those ‘asking for attention’ and interruptive notifications you receive about your FB post being liked or someone commenting on your IG post while you’re trying to work on your computer.
What about when family members request your attention or life’s mundane tasks that must always be done? How do we not unravel at some point?
Then add other factors, like your mind swirling with those ideas of things you need to do and in trying to make many decisions at any one point. It can get rather busy inside our heads, and when creating art - it can get extra busy.
It’s because we are in that zone, that creative zone, that allows our minds to wonder about things - all things.
Here are some ways I stay focused:
I use Peppermint and Rosemary Essential Oils in my diffusers. I also used an essential blend I created called Intelligence. Yes - a funny name (I do like to have fun when naming my products) - but it's for when you need to really get focused and concentrating on school work per se or anything else that requires memory tasks.
I am a big believer in lists. I have lists for everything, hence my love of journals. I have lists for my ongoing inventory of things to make, lists of products for my shop, lists of projects and their action steps to get from point a to point z, etc.
Each list is always dated, has handwritten squares to check off once the task has been completed. I use certain characters and notations with my lists to keep them organized from one another. It’s job within itself.
Then of course what about those other kind of lists - those lists that are forgotten about, left on the kitchen counter, so that when you arrive at the grocery store, you buy everything but that one thing that was most important, say the toilet paper or toothpaste. We’ve all been there at some point or time.
Personally I always look and read other people’s left lists in their now empty grocery carts - I find them so fascinating, but I am going off on a tangent here…
Sometimes, I have laughed literally out loud at myself when reviewing the list of things to do from the day before (or even perhaps a few days before). I have uttered these very words to myself, “Ummm Leah? - Why don’t you just change the date on the top of this page!? You silly!”
It’s because I didn’t even reach one goal that was on that list. It can be bewildering to wonder what did you actually do the day before, that you couldn’t even notch off even one of the items on your to do list. In fact in can be outright frustrating making you think you are not getting anywhere closer to your goals. Stop fretting over your things to do list. Really!
I have some solutions in how to handle your lists, and projects and in keeping your energy up & focused besides copies amounts of caffeine created in your favorite format.
You wan’t to know what it is?
One of my solutions is to just stop…. stop everything for just one moment.
In fact take two moments.
Turn off the electronic sounds, and simply see if you can sit outside for a few minutes to hear the wind coming through the trees, or the sounds of the cars bustling down the streets. Grab a sweater if you have to. You don’t need permission to do this.
Don’t concentrate on anything but the sounds and sights you are experiencing.
My mother Gertrude who raised me since I was five, used to have me count how many things I could identify by hearing them. I would sit and listen. Not speak, but tilt my head to hear best…. and say things like I hear a bluejay squawking, the buzzing of a bee, the wind rushing through those trees over there, the cat purring, oh and the neighbor’s dog barking. I can hear the sound of the tall grass bustling in the breeze and the chimes in my backyard.
Sometimes to get grounded and refocused is to take that respite. It’s a necessary thing to take a break.
I say this, since I haven’t been on a vacation in 8 years. But what I do everyday is my love and life. Some day’s I’ll be very productive while other’s not as much. But I don’t let it weigh me down. (Ok well, I try and not let it get me down -let’s be honest here).
One way I stay focused, is that I pay attention to nature. I watch for signs when I should ‘move’’ or take action. It’s the inner Native American shaman in me per se, but I am very aware of when the Canadian geese arrive in the field behind me, it’s my sign to start ‘real’ work for the day, and when I see them fly home for the night, it’s my sign to stop what I am doing and to switch gears.
Another trick and this is a good one! When you are feeling overwhelmed by your things to do list, don’t write a list of things to do, but write a list of things you have done for the day - and number them. That’s right, I’m telling you to stop writing down a things to do list.
Instead, write down and number for each and anything you did for the day onto your piece of paper.
List them no mater how trite they may appear, such as emptying the dishwasher (which by the way was finally done yesterday after the dishes had been cleaned 5 days ago) - yup!
Add things such as you changed the sheets, you walked the dog, you picked up your child at soccer, you threw in a load of laundry, you scanned in art, you worked even a little on a piece you’re in the middle of. You cleaned the dishes in the sink, or even just picked up the clothes off the floor.
List every single thing - make it be like a game. See what else you can add to your list of things you have done for the day. And make sure to number them!
By the end of the day, you will be surprised that you actually did more than you thought you did. You will no longer feel that you didn’t get anything accomplished that day - and will no longer see your lists as unsurmountable goals, but as guiding steps to move you forward with your goals.
I bring this trick and ‘alternative’ way of creating your things to do list for when you may be feeling overwhelmed.
It’s so very easy for us to be over-consumed by all the things we need to do on any given day - and by changing our focus for even one day and in listing those things we have accomplished, will in turn, give you a natural self pat on the back and vote of confidence wth a refocused mindset.
So Lets Let The Creativity Begin!
So how do you handle the stress of your life and art and family time? How do you stay focused and reground yourself? Please share with us in the comments below. Creative Artists Want To Know.
All images and article copyright 2017 Leah Quinn.
Top Ten Herbs To Help Perimenopause Symptoms
Top Ten List of Herbs For Perimenopause Support
Perimenopause - Herbs May Help Ease The Symptoms and Effects of Going Through the Changes.
Yes, the Times, They Are A’Changing.
It seems as if no one really tells us women what to expect when you start ‘going through the changes’. In fact, it’s different for each woman. Many factors can contribute to how much you feel at any one month to the next, in terms of how severe your ‘symptoms’ of perimenopause can be. But you needn’t be frightened, be enlightened instead.
First of all, what exactly is perimenopause and how long does it last? Perimenopause can start as early as when you are in your 30’s, but usually starts when women are in their 40’s. How long does it last? Four years is the average length of perimenopause, but some women can experience it for only a few months while others experience the perimenopause phase for up to 10 years.
You begin your Menopause phase, when you have gone 12 months without having your period, which is a signal that your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs.
Not all women experience perimenopause the same way, in fact it’s very individualistic. For some women, the types of period you get, can change - and they can become more severe. You may notice different sensations such as increased tenderness in your breasts, and a sense of overall fatigue. You may experience urinary urgency or anxiety.
Well that’s just great sounding isn’t it?! But there can be relief using a natural approach with the use of herbs and essential oils along with a few eating tips.
Before I suggest some herbs and essentials oils that may help with relieving these symptoms, let me share with you a list what are the more common symptoms of perimenopause:
Here is a list of just a few symptoms of perimenopause:
- Hot Flashes - We’ve all heard of these. Usually felt as a rush of heat, spreading over your body. They can be strong or weak, happen during the day or at night and can last for just a few seconds, to more than a few minutes.
- Night Sweats - known as Sleep Hyperhidrosis, which is caused by hormonal imbalances in conjunction with environmental factors. At it’s worse, night sweats can be a sign of underlying medical issues, so it’s important to share and tell your doctor if your night sweats are severe.
- Irritability - And you thought you were irritable now and before the onset of your period - ha! You haven’t seen anything yet. These can be more severe, making you feel ‘on edge’, and quick to snap per se. I refers to these as having the ‘Meows’ - like when a cat whines… Underlining causes: fluctuations in hormonal balances that affect the neurotransmitters which are responsible for your moods.
- Digestive Issues - studies have shown there’s an increase in lactose-intolerance as a women nears perimenopause. Also due to the aging process, less production of lactase (the digestive hormone responsible for digesting milk and milk byproducts) is yet another reason for the increased lactose intolerance experienced by perimenopausal women. Furthermore, hormonal imbalances can be disruptive to the transit of food, to the gut; and the added stress that one experiences can also add to the overall issue of experiencing more digestive problems.
- Vaginal Dryness - caused by drops in estrogen levels, vaginal tissue becomes thinner, drier and less elastic.
- Thinning Hair as a result of hormonal imbalances in the body.
- Loss of Sexual Drive/ Libido - Well, now you don’t even need that old excuse that you have a headache, now a days, you actually do have more headaches. Still, due to changes in your hormones, one’s libido and drive can feel diminished.
- Bloating - Do we ever get rid of this feeling?! Lower levels of bile can contribute to bloating with is caused by your new estrogen deficiency. Be aware though of bloating lasting more than a few days, as persistent or unexplained bloating or stomach pain lasting for more than three days should be checked out by your doctor promptly.
- Irregular Periods: Caused again by changes in hormonal balances. Your period could become more heavy or lighter than usual. Spotting and skipping periods is also common. Definitely still use protection while having sex! Especially since you may not be noticing your periods of ovulations as easily due to your vaginal dryness. You still can get pregnant!
- Anxiety - Frequent or one-time events, caused by sudden drops in estrogen levels circulating in your body, which in turn reduces the production of neurotransmitters (serotonin & dopamine) responsible for mood regulation. - Well, that’s just great!
- Tingling Extremities - Caused by lowered levels of estrogen affecting the central nervous system.
- Tension and Muscle Pain - A increase of the stress hormone cortisol brought upon lowered levels of estrogen can be one of the leading causes for more tension being felt in the body than normal.
Well doesn’t this sound all pleasant and lovely?! Yea… no! But there is relief, there are answers to relieving some of these symptoms and in even preventing them. Here are my top ten herbs I recommend to help alleviate some of the symptoms of perimenopause.
- Black Coolish Root. Taken in capsule form, will help to alleviate those ‘meows’ aka mood swings, anxieties and moodiness. They also help with changes in one’s sleep patterns. It also helps to relieve and even prevent (or lessen the severity) of hot flashes and night sweats.
- Sage (Salvia Officinalis) (related to the mint family) when drank cold, it reduces sweating, when drank hot, it increases sweating, which then cools you down.
- Elder: improves overall circulation and moves fluids along, helps to reduce bloating and flushed skin.
- Yarrow: regulates the fluids in the body. When drank warm, it will help to open up skin pores and help to reduce heat in the body. Do avoid Yarrow if pregnant.
- White Willow: cooling and anti-inflammatory.
- Raspberry: It’s one of those wondrous plants that helps us women in all stages of our lives. Supports easing of menstrual cramps to helping with digestive issues.
- Dandelion: Supports Digestive System, helps to remove toxins from your liver faster.
- Horsetail: Phenomenal herb to drink for increasing one’s electrolytes. But this tea is great for gingivitis and loss of hair which is also associated as a symptom of perimenopause.
- Nettle: Helps with reducing inflammation associated with muscle pain and tension, including joint paint. Helps to relieve some of the symptoms of allergies (which can be increased during the perimenopausal stage).
- Marshmallow: Supports Urea Cycle, Urinary System, Helps to reduce joint paint and supports respiratory system for increased allergic symptoms one may experience during perimenopause.
Additional Pointers To Help Relieve Symptoms Experienced During Perimenopause:
- Eat Cooling Foods: Certain herbs and foods help to cool down the body. Do an internet search on cooling foods whether Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda. Some of these foods that help to cool the body (thereby preventing hot flashes) are: the green part of a scallion, cucumbers, melon, coconut, leafy vegetables, bok choy, celery, swiss chard, broccoli, bananas, pears, all citrus fruits, zucchini, spinach, radish and eggplant to name just a few.
- Take a B-complex Vitamin Daily. This will help with a slew of the symptoms associated with perimenopause including depression, increased stress and tension, those ‘Meow’s as discussed, aka the irritable moments, etc.
- Do Yoga and Meditation to help reduce & disperse stress and tension associated with perimenopause.
- Sleep in the Nude: Sleeping au natural will help you to regulate your body easier than if you’re all covered up in your flannel nightgown under blankets. Also having layered blankets will help so you can flip on or off the layers you need during the night as your body temperatures fluctuate.
- Drink Teas that Support Women’s Reducing the Symptoms of Perimenopause and avoid Drinking Alcohol & Smoking Marijuana (which creates heat in the body)
My Top Heart & Soul Apothecary Products That Were Created to Help Perimenopause:
- Yo, Easy Aunt Flo Anointment Oil: A mix of organic essential oils and jojoba oils in a roll-on bottle, that you apply to your lower abdomen and lower back area to help reduce pain associated with painful periods.
- Tame Your Flame Mist: A Combination of Organic Hydrosols of Peppermint and Cucumber with organic essential oils that help to cool your body S.T.A.T. and help prevent the length of hot flashes when used at night before you go to bed. Great to help cool down the body at any time.
- Tame Your Flame Tea: An organic herbal mixture specially created for reducing hot flashes. Tastes great cold or hot.
- Great Aunt Flo Tea: A tea made specifically for the perimenopause stage. Helps to control those ‘Meow’s’ and irritable moments.
- Wise Woman Tea: Another great calming tea for that stage going from perimenopause to menopause.
2017 Workshops at Heart & Soul Apothecary
Want to change your life? Wish to upgrade it to be a new you for 2017? Our engaging and fun creative workshops might be just what you need. I have been carefully designing them to fit everyone's budget, time and energy.
I have also created various types of classes, in hoping that you will find a class that resonates with you. We will have guest teachers, local artists and healers be a part of this year's workshops at Heart & Soul Apothecary.
I'm greatly excited for this, but also know I need to be grounded as well. So in addition to working up the schedule and class details, I have been preparing myself with daily meditations, journaling, along with a little yoga when I can fit it in.
One cannot change merely overnight, though I know a lot of us wish we could and perhaps have even tried.
2016 has been a tough year for so many and I will share share in my next post additional resources you might find interesting in furthering your own growth.
Here's a list of some of the courses I am creating for you all.
- Crystal Healing 101, Grid Making, Intention Settings
- Incense Making
- Sip & Smell Apothecary Nights (Weekly Apothecary Craft Nights)
- Creative Journaling
- The Vein of Gold Workshop (a book club)
- Candle Making 101
- The Art of Aromatherapy
- Meditation 101
- Ayurveda 101
- How to make Balms & Salves from your garden
- Organic Gardening 101
- Tinctures 101
- Feng Shui 101 & Your Kua Number
- The Art of Decluttering & Using Bagua Maps
And so many more! I am scheduling them for the afternoons and at night. Registration begins on January 1st. There's even a series choice that will save you monies should you choose that option.
Hope you join us! If you aren't already on my newsletter list, become a Heart & Souler today using the form below.
Best List of Essential Oils for Colds and Flu Help Shorten Length of Time Being Sick
Want to shorten that cold you just got?
How about making sure it doesn't spread from one person to another under the same household?
No one likes being sick. How is it that some people seem to never get colds or flu while others are constantly sick? Well first of all, one's defense systems and levels of immunity are strong factors, but even the best of us with vigorous health can get the flu.
That's what happened to me on Christmas day this year. I've been under great pressure running the shop and in producing the products, getting online orders out while having big changes in my life which helped lead my immune system to be overly stressed, hence weakening my defense systems in preventing colds as I saw a lot of people in my shop just before the holidays.
As this is the first bad cold I have gotten in over three years since working with essential oils, I took it as a sign of much needed rest (I haven't had a vacation in over 8 years). So off to my own supply of essential oils to help lessen the length of my cold as well as the severity.
Below lists some of my most favorite essential oil combos that are my go to's helping to shorten the length of one's cold or flu.
Essential Oil Blends That Are Perfect For Your Diffusers When You Have a Cold or Flu:
Thieves Blend (Eucalyptus, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus & Rosemary)
These help to disinfect the air.
- Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Sage & Lemon This powerful combination is quite opening to the lungs while supporting immunity. Eucalyptus is known to help loosen mucus in the lungs. Sage is also a great expectorant. Lemon helps to treat infections to the throat while peppermint helps to reduce pain associated with cough while helping with nausea systems, dry cough and is cooling for fevers.
- Thyme, Rosemary, Cypress & Myrrh Here's another super combo that helps to soothe the side effects of one's flus and colds. Thyme is super fabulous due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties plus it helps in relieving those coughing spasms. Rosemary is long known for its supporting lung health. It's also aids in removing toxins from your body as it's a depurative while also supporting your immune health as it is also an immuno-modulating essential oil which helps to stimulate your immune system positively to fight off infections. Cypress has been said to keep fluids in the lungs from accumulating while it's also aids in toxins build up while supporting lung health. Myrrh is yet another over-all super super powerhouse essential oil as it's an expectorant while being an antimicrobial immunity booster.
Create Your Own All Natural Balm for Cold & Flu Relief:
Making your own balms and salves are super easy. This is also a great way to apply essential oil to your body.
- Grab four tablespoons of coconut oil and place in a bowl.
- You may soften the coconut oil in a clean microwave for five or ten seconds on low.
- Add 2 to 3 drops each of peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender essential oils. Stir till well combined.
- Then place mixture into a small sealable jar such as a clean baby food jar. Next let harden back up or start to use right away. Keep covered in fridge for safe keeping.
- Apply a small amount to the bottoms of your feet, on your back covering where your lungs are located, and on your chest. You can even place a little just under your nose. This will make breathing easier while helping shorten the length of your cold and its' related symptoms.
Good to note that if you have my Running Feather Balm - use this as well, since it contains Black Pepper, Lavender and other inflammatory essential oils that will help with breathing and supporting your immune system.
Here is a List of Foods to Avoid During Colds & Flu Due to their Supporting Mucous Creation... Yea Yuck!
– Dairy products (yogurt, milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, ice cream, butter, ghee)
– All corn products
– Sugary treats (cookies, cake, pies, pastries)
– Wheat (bread, pretzels, buns, bagels, muffins, etc.)
– Deep fried foods
– All soy products
– Safflower/sunflower oil
– Jams and jellies
– High-fat red meat
Please Read more at http://livelovefruit.com/foods-that-cause-excessive-mucus/#P65U7bvEXdJh8cMz.99
This link above also has a nice list of foods to eat that help reduce mucus too including a Mucus Cleansing Smoothie Recipe ! Just what the new year ordered!
The list of foods to avoid mentioned above is an excerpt of a super fab article written by Carly Fraser of http://livelovefruit.com. I highly recommend checking out her website and article - there's a lot of very useful information and great stuff!
Foods to eat in supporting relief of your colds and flu:
- All Fresh Herbs, especially Rosemary, Thyme & Chives/Scallions, Peppermint
- Ginger, Onions, Garlic
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper (supports lung function and reducing inflammation.)
- Broccoli, Sweet Potato & Leafy Vegetables
- Apple Cider Vinegar (In salad dressings & drinks)
- Rescue Me Tea & Hot Herbal Teas that include ginger and peppermint.
So Get Your Rest, Drink Your Fluids and Start to Feel Better Super Soon.
Contest Giveaway For Using Our Spices & Herbs
Since it's the season to start cooking inside again, we thought to help inspire you and your cooking creations by giving away a $50 gift certificate to our shop. Woot woot!
Want to learn how to win this serious fun gift certificate? It's super easy peasy!
There are but a few rules:
- Take a photograph of one of your food dishes made with our spices, herbs or spice blends - extra credit for showing the spice bottle next to your dish...
- Then share your photograph on social media: Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.
- Last step is to make sure you 'tag' us with either hashtag #NYHeartnSoulCooks or tag us with our handle name: NYHeartnSoul.
Contest ends at Midnight on Sunday November 13th and the winner will be announced on Monday November 14th. We will contact the winner and provide the winner with the details on how to receive their Heart & Soul Apothecary Gift Certificate.
Winner must follow all rules, and gift certificate must be used within 30 days of winning.
So Have fun cooking! We can't wait to see what you cook this week!
XO The Chef Maven