Natural Health & Wellness
The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatics, Bitter, and Tonic Plants by herbalist Guido Masé
The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatics, Bitter, and Tonic Plants by herbalist Guido Masé
Nourish and Balance
The modern world has its faults, certainly, but it has provided us with some amazing tools and technologies. This is evident in the dramatic cures for infection and acute trauma achieved by medical science. The drugs and procedures used to combat these age-old scourges, which in the past decimated huge numbers of us, are remarkably, almost miraculously, effective. At the same time, however, we are struggling with new sources of morbidity and mortality. No longer is infection the leading cause of disease and death. Now we have chronic inflammation, hypersensitivity, cancer, and heart disease staring us down in our later years. Tonic plants, with their complex combinations of saponins, polysaccharides, and polyphenols, offer a potential solution through their ability to modulate immune function and genetic expression.
Tonics come to us unadulterated from the ecosystem. At very deep levels, they seem to be a necessary part of our xenobiome, the comprehensive chemical environment mostly made of plants, in which the liver evolved. Their use impacts conditions of weakness, deficient energy and immunity, and dementia as well as cancer, inflammatory heart disease, allergies, and asthma. But they are much milder than pharmaceutical drugs. If we are to influence the new diseases of the modern world, we will need to approach them with a slightly different mind-set; these diseases don’t respond well to the strong, direct treatments used for acute conditions.
In the face of altered diets, increased stress, novel chemicals, and a much faster pace of life (as well as a longer life span), we would be foolish to think that a single drug targeting a single receptor site might be able to reverse the years of cultural and ecological effects on an individual human being. Tonics are complex medicines well suited to interacting with our complex physiologies. It’s impossible to overwhelm a chanting crowd by screaming your message by yourself, but get some friends to whisper an interesting thought to their neighbors and the idea might become viral, spreading from person to person, until the chant changes. Medicine is beginning to realize this. Physicians are trying “polypills” for cardiovascular disease in the hopes that intervention at multiple levels might be more effective. Yet nature has been handing us much more complex and multilayered polypills all along: herbal tonics. Their effectiveness against the modern, chronic diseases is beyond dispute, especially when treatment is started early on. In fact, it is very possible some diseases exist, or are more widespread than they should be, because of an absence of these vital plants.
Safe, foodlike, highly effective when used habitually, and often quite tasty, the red fruits of a Hawthorn embody all the best qualities of a tonic. Though their effects are most pronounced on the heart, pharmacological research shows that they can substantially affect inflammatory balance and epigenetics as well, which may be part of why they are so helpful to the cardiovascular system. It continues to puzzle me why their use is not more widespread in the modern health care system. Perhaps it has become hard for us to trust that medicine might be found, already perfectly complete, hanging off a scraggly, thorny tree on the edge of a weedy farm field. Are we really trying to say that there can be no good remedy without human tinkering? Or have we become afraid of that which is unhybridized and uncontrolled?
Bio: Guido Masé is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, and garden steward. Author of The Wild Medicine Solution, he is the cofounder and codirector of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, he is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, the American Botanical Council, and United Plant Savers. He lives in South Burlington, Vermont.
The Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Masé © 2013 Healing Arts Press. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.
Healing Wise: The Spirit of Simples
Susun S Weed
What is a Simple?
A “simple” is one herb used at a time. A “simpler” is an herbalist who generally uses herbs one at a time, rather than in combinations.
Why Use Simples?
Most herbalists I have met — whether from China or Japan, Eastern or Western Europe, Australia or North America — use herbs in combinations. Simplers, like myself, don’t. Why?
Because I believe that herbal medicine is people’s medicine, I seek to make herbal medicine simple: as simple as one herb at a time. Because people worry about interactions between the drugs they take and herbs, I keep it simple: with simples, interactions are simple to observe, and simpler to avoid. Because empowerment in health care is difficult, I want to offer others easy, safe herbal remedies: and what could be easier, or safer, than a simple?
Simples Make Me Think
When I was just getting started with herbs, one thing that confounded me was the many choices I had when I began to match symptoms to the herbs that relieved them. If someone had a cough should I use garden sage or wild cherry bark or pine sap or mullein or coltsfoot (to name only a few of the many choices)? One way out of this dilemma was to use them all. I made many cough syrups that contained every anti-cough herb that I could collect. And they all worked.
As I got more sophisticated in my herbal usage, and especially after I completed a course on homeopathy, I began to see that each herb had a specific personality, a specific way of acting. I realized I couldn’t notice the individual actions of the herbs when they were combined.
It felt daring at first to use just one herb. Would wild cherry bark tincture all by itself be enough to quell that child’s cough? Yes! Would mullein infusion alone really reduce a person’s asthmatic and allergic reactions? Yes! Would sage soaked in honey for six weeks ease a sore throat? Yes! Each herb that I tried as a simple was successful. They all worked, not just together, but by themselves.
The more I used individual herbs the more I came to know them as individuals. The more I used simples, the simpler and more successful my remedies became. The more I used one herb at a time, the more I learned about how that herb worked, and didn’t work.
Simples Are Intimate
When we use one herb at a time, we come to know that herb, we become intimate with that herb. Just as we become intimate with each other by spending time one-on-one, tete-a-tete, simply together, we become closer to the herbs when we use them as simples.
Becoming intimate with an herb or a person helps us build trust. How reliable is the effect of this herb? When? How? Where does it fail? Using simples helps us build a web of green allies that we trust deeply. Simples help us feel more powerful. They help abate our fears, simply, safely.
Simples Are Subtle
Using one herb at a time gives us unparalleled opportunities to observe and make use of the subtle differences that are at the heart of herbal medicine. When we use simples we are more likely to notice the many variables that affect each herb: including where it grows, the years’s weather, how we harvest it, our preparation, and the dosage.1 The many variables within one plant insure that our simple remedy nonetheless touches many aspects of a person and heals deeply.
One apprentice tinctured motherwort flowering tops weekly through its blooming period. She reported that the tinctures made from the younger flower stalks had a stronger effect on the uterus; while those made from the older flower stalks, when the plant was going to seed, had a stronger effect on the heart.
Simples Give Me Power
Using one herb at a time helps me feel more certain that my remedy has an active value, not just a placebo value. Using one plant at a time, and local ones at that, reassures me that my herbal medicine cannot be legislated away. Using one plant at a time allows me to build trust in my remedies. Using one plant at a time is a subversive act, a reclaiming of simple health care.
Combinations erode my power, activate my “victim persona,” and lead me to believe that herbal medicine is best left to the experts.
From Complex to Simple
Take the challenge! Use simples instead of complex formulae. Let’s rework some herbal remedies and get a sense of how simple it can be.
The anti-cancer formula Essiac contains Arctium lappa (burdock), Rheum palmatum (rhubarb), Ulmus fulva (slippery elm), and Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel). Rhubarb root has no possible use against cancer; it is a purgative whose repeated use can “aggravate constipation.” Slippery elm bark also has no possible anti-cancer properties and has no doubt been added to counter some of the detrimental effects of the rhubarb. Sheep sorrel juice is so caustic that it has been used to burn off skin cancers, but it would likely do more harm to the kidneys than to any cancer if ingested regularly. Leaving us with a great anti-cancer simple: burdock root. One that I have found superbly effective in reversing dysplasias and precancerous conditions.
A John Lust formula for relief of coughs 2 contains Agropyron repens (witch grass), Pimpinella anisum (aniseed), Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), Inula helenium (elecampane root), Pulmonaria officinalis (lungwort), Thymus species (thyme herb), (murillo bark) 3, Chondrus crispus (irish moss), Lobelia inflata (lobelia herb). Witch grass has little or no effect on coughs; it is an emollient diuretic whose dismissal from this group would leave no hole. Anise seeds are also not known to have an anti-pertussive effect; although they do taste good, we can do without them. Lobelia can bring more oxygen to the blood, but is certainly not an herb I would ever add to a cough mixture, so I will leave it out here. Licorice is a demulcent expectorant that can be most helpful for those with a dry cough; however, I do use it for a variety of reasons, among them its exotic origins and its cloyingly sweet taste. Lungwort is, as its name implies, a pectoral, but its effect is rather mild, and its place in the Boraginaceae family gives me pause.
How much pyrrolizidine alkaloid might it contain? Thyme, and its more common anti-cough cousin garden sage, contains essential oils that could both quiet a cough and counter infection in the throat. A strong tea or a tincture of either could be our simple. Irish moss is, a specific to soothe coughs and a nutritive in addition, would also make an excellent simple. But it is elecampane that I would crown. It is not only a specific to curb coughing, it counters infection well, and tonifies lung tissues. Several small doses of a tincture of elecampane root should quiet a cough in a few hours.
Simples are fun. Give them a try.
1. Among the many variables, I have especially noticed that the tinctures that I make with fresh plants are many times more effective than tinctures made from dried plants. My elders tell me that preparations of common plants growing in uncommon places will be stronger as well. Many herbalists are aware of certain areas of their land that nurture plants that are particularly potent medicines.
2. John Lust. The Herb Book. 1974. Bantam.
3. Note that this formula, as is frequently the case, contains an “exotic” herb which Mr. Lust does not include in the 500+ herbs in his book, nor does he give us a botanical name for the plant, leaving us literally unable to prepare his formula as presented.
Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed’s four herbal medicine books focus on women’s health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health. Visit her site www.susunweed.com for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more! Browse the publishing site online at www.wisewomanbookshop.com to learn more about her alternative health books. Venture into the NEW Menopause site www.menopause-metamorphosis.com to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.
ORGANIC FOOD AND SUSTAINABLE EARTH
DEFINING GRASS-FED OR PASTURED
What are the health benefits of eating exclusively grass-fed and pastured animal products? First of all they are leaner (lower in fats), but the fats they do contain are much healthier for you than fats from commercially raised grain-fed animals. When farm animals are raised on lush green grass they absorb the vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals into their flesh, fat, and bones. Grass-fed meat and the accompanying fats are richer in antioxidants, including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Also, they do not contain added hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs.
Almost any food animal we are familiar with can be raised partially or entirely on grass. The most common products are beef, lamb, bison, yak, goat, pork, poultry, and dairy cows. Meat from grass-fed animals has anywhere from two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than from grain-fed animals. Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats, and they play a vital role in the functioning of every cell of the body. Omega-3s are essential for a healthy heart and a superbly functioning brain. They are significant in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. People with a high intake of omega-3s in their diet are 50 percent less likely to suffer heart attack and are also less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, ADD/HD, autism, or Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that only 40 percent of Americans consume an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids, and this national deficiency is reflected in our rising costs of health care.
Meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products from grass-fed or pastured animals are among the richest known source of another good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA. Animals raised on fast-growing grass contain from three to five times more CLA than those raised on grains. Much of the CLA is stored in the fat of the animals, and that is why including the fats from the exclusively grassfed animals in our diet is of great benefit to our health. Butter from grass-fed cows contains CLA, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 (activator X). In 1945, Dr. Weston A. Price described what he called “Activator X” as a critical nutrient for optimal health. This “X Factor” has now been identified as vitamin K2. This vitamin is naturally occurring in the fat of ruminants that graze upon green grass. Vitamin K is essential in helping your bones absorb vitamin D.
There is evidence that CLA may be a potent defense against cancer. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. When we switch from grain-fed meat and dairy products to grass fed, we may be able to significantly lower our risk of cancer. This can be achieved simply by including one glass of pastured milk, one or two ounces of grass-fed cheese, or a small portion of grass-fed meat in your daily diet. It’s that simple.
Eggs from pastured hens are also far richer in vitamin D, another important vitamin that we Americans are deficient in today. In fact, Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind, suggests that vitamin D could be the single most important vitamin for our overall health and is probably the most important antioxidant in the body. Vitamin D lowers the risk of all cancers, including skin cancers. It boosts the immune system and helps prevent autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, prevents cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, and both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes. Vitamin D also supports healthy brain function and moods and prevents seasonal affective disorders.
What is important to know is that vitamin D is found almost exclusively in the flesh and fats of grass-fed animals and wild-caught fish. The diet of our ancestors included up to 4,000 IU or more of vitamin D daily. Today, the recommended American daily allowance is only 400 IU and is very inadequate for meeting all the cellular requirements of maintaining our health. Synthetic vitamin D is not going to work; we need the natural vitamin D that only sunlight and animal sources (animals exposed to sunlight and a diet of grass) can provide.
Blue Cheese Burger on a Butter Lettuce “Bun”
This delicious burger has no bun. You will never miss it. What makes these burgers so tasty and moist is the caramelized onion.
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces grass-fed ground beef
2 tablespoons raw cream or milk
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Grilled Tomato Ketsup (optional)
sea salt and twist of pepper
4 large leaves of red leaf butter lettuce
4 ounces Pt. Reyes Blue, raw cow’s milk cheese
Garnish: thickly sliced garden tomatoes, avocado slices, and sweet red onion slices; more Grilled Tomato Ketsup
In a heavy bottomed skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil and slowly caramelize the onions until brown and creamy.
In a bowl, combine the ground beef, caramelized onions (reserve some of the onions for garnishing the burger), raw cream or milk, balsamic, and ketsup. Season with a little sea salt and a couple twists of pepper and mix well. Divide the mixture into two balls and then form into patties about 3/4 inch thick.
In a heavy bottomed skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Rare is good.
Place one large butter lettuce leaf in the center of the dinner plate. Place the hamburger in the center of the plate and top with the blue cheese and your chosen garnishes. Add another twist of pepper if desired, and then place the last butter lettuce leaf on top.
Bio: Pauli Halstead has been a Bay Area and Wine Country chef for more than 30 years. She began her culinary career in 1975 when she opened Pauli’s Café in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Now retired, she lives in Nevada City, California.
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Primal Cuisine by Pauli Halstead © 2013 Healing Arts Press. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.
A Different Brain
Born this way. –Lady Gaga
“Thirty thousand years ago, we were wandering around in small groups and not thinking much about the future,” noted Robert Gifford, an environmental psychologist at the University of Victoria in Canada. “Everything that was important was within a few kilometers or so. And that is the brain we still have.”
Correction: once had. Giant leaps in brain development have already occurred in the twenty-first century, and more are coming. Demands and pressures are accelerating at rates so rapid that brain structure and function are forced to alter. The brain is being reshaped by the digital world and by a barrage of chemicals. The result? Quirky kids and pooped parents. The entertainer Lady Gaga is hot not just because she’s bold and brash but because of what the reporter Ramin Setoodeh noted in an article he wrote about her: “She’s become an evangelist of self-acceptance, preaching to an audience of outcasts.”
The new kids think differently, communicate differently, and respond to different cues. It has been said that they are the dumbest generation ever and have been stupefied by twittering and texting to the point that they no longer maintain a memory of things “past.” Really?
Okay, so multitasking is harder on IQ than pot smoking, and without rest and simple “time-outs” like staring into space or watching clouds drift by (flow states), the brain is unable to organize itself and process what it has learned. But a biggie we’re overlooking are kids who play dumb because they’re bored, don’t fit in, or are just plain uncomfortable in their own skin.
The Greatest Advancements
The greatest talent of the new children is the ability to abstract and function from the conceptual level. These children are not concrete thinkers. They are adept at the art of conceptualizing, dealing with broad ideas and notions. Forget thinking “outside the box.” For them, the box was never there to begin with. They can tie facts and figures and ideas together and rapidly produce solutions that fit, without having to go through conventional routines. Their minds leap instead of think. That’s why they buckle under “tried and true” methods that demand rote discipline. Kids who abstract get from here to there as if by magic; not because they are wise but because they do not recognize limits.
A two-year-old child was in a conversation with her mother. She stopped midway, impatiently stomped her feet, and yelled: “I don’t know the word for that yet!” Stop for a moment. How does a child of two know she doesn’t know the word she wants to use at the precise moment she wants to use it? We mistakenly think the new children are wise old souls. This isn’t wisdom at work here–it is the amazing, almost unbelievable ability to abstract knowledge, to know things without knowing. These children are conceptualizers, made to order for the Conceptual Age.
The greatest advancement of all advancements in our brain is the prefrontal lobes (both left and right). The prefrontals operate as the seat of judgment, morals, empathy, compassion, and well-being; they moderate social behaviors, decision making, and personality expression. The prefrontals developed late in the evolution of humankind, becoming a signature feature for distinguishing higher brain development. There are many scientists and educators studying the prefrontals. The best is Joseph Chilton Pearce; read his book The Biology of Transcendence.
What people like Pearce tell us is that the mother’s state while carrying her child determines the brain her child will have. Everything hinges on her perception of safety. If she feels threatened or if her environment is stressful, fearful, angry, her child will be more apt to develop the lower or reptilian brain (fight, survival). If she feels comfortable, safe, it’s as if the fetus gets an “all-clear” signal to go ahead and develop the prefrontals, the higher brain. The first three years are the most important for the “flowering” of the prefrontals. The second most important time is puberty. The brain does not fully mature until we are around the age of 25.
The study of prefrontal development in children will become a priority in the decades to come.
The Greatest Challenges
Brain disorders/learning disorders seem to be the “curse” of being a new kid. The stats are worth repeating: two out of every five children in our country has a learning disorder; one out of ten are mentally ill; cases of ADHD are up 600 percent since the early 1990s; autism spectrum is now so pervasive it is considered an epidemic.
Known causal factors for brain/learning disorders include:
- Metal toxicity, organic toxins, lead paint–especially in toys
- Pesticide exposure (including pre-birth exposure)
- Artificial food coloring, chemical food additives, hormones and antibiotics used in meat production
- Smart meters, cell phone towers, WiFi, and electronic grids
- Some vaccinations; multidosages in one shot; too high a dosage
Action can be taken to reduce these factors. You can insist that vaccinations be given in a series of shots instead of all at once. Question what’s in them. Also, check on what chemicals are in your food; switch to organic milk. Have paint and metals tested. Investigation pays off.
New research is showing that it is possible for many children to recover from autism, dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and other brain/learning disorders. The brain is malleable. It is capable of healing and recovery: sometimes partially, sometimes all the way.
Nonverbal autistic people are responding to keyboarding on a computer in ways that are shocking scientists. It’s as if they “wake up” once they discover this way out. Sue Rubin, a film writer with autism, is one who made that leap once she began listening to the news and reading the newspaper thanks to her newfound keyboarding skills. Today she’s a history major in her junior year at Whittier College and lives semi-independently a few blocks from campus. “Tell everyone,” she types, “that nonverbal autistic people are intelligent!”
Bio: P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., is a distinguished researcher of near-death experiences, prayer chaplain, spiritual counselor, and visionary. She is the author of seven books including Coming Back to Life, Future Memory, We Live Forever, The New Children and Near-Death Experiences, and Beyond the Indigo Children. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Children and the ADHD Diagnosis
By: Dr. Tricia Pingel, NMD
If your child lacks focus, is unable to complete his or her school assignments or won’t sit still, you may feel frustrated enough to seek medical advice. If you are like millions of parents, your child may then be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.)
An estimated 5.4 million children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD since 2007, and 66 percent of those diagnosed received medication for treatment, according to the Center for Disease Control. That’s 2.7 million children medicated on drugs such as Ritalin or Strattera, both of which are meth amphetamines.
The problem with the ADHD diagnosis is it’s extremely difficult to support. Mental health practitioners make this diagnosis using a subjective questionnaire, which asks parents to rate questions about their child like he or she: “often fails to pay attention to details or makes careless errors in homework or other activities,” “often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in his or her seat” and “often lies to obtain things or favors or to escape obligations.” The parents rate their child and a diagnosis is made based on a point scale. The problem with this questionnaire is that it’s subjective and not focused on a case-by-case basis.
- For some children with symptoms such as inattentiveness, lack of focus, hyperactivity or impulsivity, the problem may be caused by imbalances in neurotransmitters. Both ADHD patients and those who display similar symptoms may be suffering from imbalances in dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is also a factor in drug addiction, a reason so many ADHD patients also suffer from drug, alcohol or other addictions later in life.
- Another possible cause of ADHD and behavior similar to ADHD are neurotoxins found in the body. In the womb, a mother may pass such neurotoxins as lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, drugs, alcohol or tobacco to the fetus. In some cases this transmission may not directly be a result of actions taken by the mother during pregnancy. It may be that she has a high body burden due to environmental causes. For example, if she grew up in a house where her family smoked or in a toxic area such as near a power plant, she may have absorbed metals or other toxins into her system and unknowingly passed it on to her fetus during gestation.
- Nutritional deficiencies also play a factor. Many patients suffering with ADHD and similar symptoms have low levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to brain development. Breast milk contains DHA, and studies have found that formula fed children are twice as likely to develop ADHD than those that are breast fed, although now some formulas include DHA to better supplement as a breast milk alternative. Some patients also have very low levels of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium.
- Diet and food allergies are a contributing factor in children displaying symptoms associated with ADHD. Children with diets high in sugars, artificial colors and sweeteners may be more predisposed. Certain food allergies cause malabsorption and gut inflammation making it difficult for the child to absorb the essential nutrients they need for healthy development. Malabsorption may also be caused by bacterial overgrowth such as candida or H Pylori.
- For cases of ADHD, a naturopathic doctor may refer a child to a specialist who will implement cognitive treatments such as neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is a technique that involves attaching a child to electrodes and giving him or her a computer game to play. The computer responds to the brains activity. It essentially forces the child to retrain his or her brain to focus on a specific task.
- A naturopathic physician may administer a physical or blood test to find possible imbalances of dopamine and norepinephrine. Amino and fatty acids are then used to alter these imbalances. They may also be given zinc, magnesium and Omega-3 to supplement deficiencies.
- Environmental toxins should be recognized and removed through a detoxification process. It is important to identify where the toxins are coming from to chelate metals out of the body and prevent recontamination.
- Diet is always an essential element in overall health and wellness. It is imperative to look at a child’s diet and remove any refined flour, artificial colors (especially red and blue dyes), junk food, fried food and sugar. These foods should be replaced by foods from the earth such as fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, fiber and plenty of water.
- An inflamed gut leads to malabsorption. Food allergies causing this inflammation need to be identified and removed from the child’s diet. The gut will need time to be cleaned up and healed for proper nutrient and mineral absorption. To heal the intestinal lining, a naturopathic physician may administer digestive enzymes and/or such herbs as glutamine, aloe vera juice, slippery elm, marshmallow root, Deglycyrrhizinated licorice or N-Acetyl glucosamine.
There is no doubt that ADHD is a real problem facing children, but the diagnosis is made far too often, and children are placed on harmful meth amphetamines that are very toxic to the liver. It is important for parents to understand that ADHD is a serious condition that impacts a child’s socialization, leading to addictive behavior, aggression, depression, inability to hold appointments or meet deadlines and procrastination. It is not a diagnosis to be taken lightly.
There are many underlying issues that may be going on if your child is displaying symptoms similar to ADHD. Just because a child has difficulty focusing or is hyperactive does not mean he or she is suffering from ADHD. Before placing children on a potentially harmful drug, a parent should evaluate all possible causes and treatment options.
For children or adults suffering from symptoms similar to ADHD, it is wise to seek the health care advise of a naturopathic physician before self-diagnosing or administering herbal remedies.
About Dr. Pingel:
Dr. Tricia Pingel is a naturopathic medical doctor located in Scottsdale, Arizona. She treats a variety of conditions, including menopausal symptoms with bio-identical hormone replacement, infertility, cardiac, thyroid disorders, anxiety/depression, gastrointestinal concerns, such as, gas/bloating, food allergies, celiac disease, IBD and more!
Please visit www.drpingel.com for more information.
Is There an ‘All Natural’ Alternative to Antibiotics?
by, Susun Weed
There are good reasons to use antibiotic drugs. That said, most physicians and healthcare professionals agree that they are often overused. The overuse of antibiotics has created “superbugs” that are immune to the most common antibiotics. But on a more personal level, antibiotics can wreak havoc on your own immune system and gastrointestinal tract.
The good news is that there is an all-natural alternative to antibiotics that I’ve found to be very effective. If your infection is not life threatening, you may wish to try herbs instead of, or in addition to, regular antibiotics. Of the most-often used herbal anti-infectives—calendula, chaparral, echinacea, goldenseal, myrrh, poke, usnea, and yarrow—it is the lovely purple coneflower, echinacea, that I most often turn to.
I find echinacea as effective as antibiotics (dare I say sometime better than!) if E. angustifolia/augustifolia — but not E. purpurea — is used when you make your own tincture; tincture, not capsules or teas, is used; the root, and only the root, is used; and very large doses are taken very frequently.
To figure your dose of echinacea, divide your body weight by 2; take that many drops per dose. There are about 25 drops in a dropperful; round up to full droppers. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, take 90 drops/4 dropperfuls. There is no known overdose of echinacea tincture. With acute infection, I take a full dose every 2-3 hours. When the infection is chronic, I take a full dose every 4-6 hours.
Many infections can be countered by echinacea alone. But, when there is a deeply entrenched infection in the pelvic area, for example, I add one dropperful of poke root tincture to my one- ounce bottle of Echinacea. Poke is an especially effective ally for men with prostatitis, women with chronic bacterial vaginal infections or PID, and anyone dealing with an STD/STI or urinary tract infection (UTI).
There are many good-quality vendors who sell echinacea root. To make your make your own echinacea antibiotic tincture: Put 4 ounces, or 115 grams, of echinacea cut root in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with 100-proof vodka. Cap tightly, and be sure to label it and keep it safely out of children’s reach. Wait at least 6 weeks before use. This tincture is even more potent after 1 year.
Bio: Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed’s four herbal medicine books focus on women’s health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health. Visit her site www.susunweed.com for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more! Browse the publishing site online at www.wisewomanbookshop.com to learn more about her alternative health books.
Susun S. Weed
“Dearest granddaughter, come close and look into my eyes.” Grandmother Growth beckons and her voice grows deeper and more resonant. “Look deep into my eyes and acknowledge the beauty there.
“Yes, my skin is wrinkled. My face is the face of age, and to many, that is fearful. But my beauty, like my wise blood, now resides inside of me. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you look beyond the hair on my chin?” she says grinning, flicking her fingers under her chin in a most unladylike manner.
“Can you forgive the places where my scalp shines through? Can you find the truth of my beauty, the beauty of age, which is so different from the beauty of youth?” Her eyes grow fierce, but sparkle with amusement. “I know you can, for I know how beautiful I am.”
Grandmother Growth takes your chin in her strong hand and looks at you with eyes so intense you fear you may catch on fire. She commands: “When you look into your mirror, I ask you to look deep into your own eyes and to acknowledge your own inner beauty.
“I know, I know, metamorphosis is changing you and you don’t like it. Like a teenager, you peer and peer into the looking glass, noting every new wrinkle, every hair on your face (and other new places). Counting each grey hair as it grows. Worrying that your hair seems to fall out by the handful.
“Dear one, my most precious child, take care, but do not fret. And do not tell yourself that you are becoming ugly. I know it is difficult, in fact it may be one of the most difficult tasks of your menopause, but you must recast your own opinion of beauty so that it includes old women who have hairy problems and live well with them – like you!”
Too much hair (on the chin), too little hair (on the scalp), falling hair, thinning hair, greying hair – no matter what the complaint, many women notice something happening to their hair during menopause. As hormone levels shift during the menopausal years, hair responds to the changing hormones by changing texture, falling out, or by growing in “odd” places. Here are remedies for those who want more hair, and for those who want less.
HAIR LOSS (ALOPECIA) & GREY HAIR
STEP 1. COLLECT INFORMATION
Menopause does not cause grey hair; taking hormones doesn’t stop it. Greying, thinning hair is a normal part of aging. Women whose menopause is induced in their 20s and 30s do not suddenly go grey.
Hair loss at mid-life (androgenic alopecia) is more strongly linked to genes than diet or lifestyle. Those of European origins are far more likely to experience it than Asians, Native Americans, Africans, or African-Americans. Hair loss starts earlier and becomes more extreme on men’s heads, but just as many women deal with receding hairlines and balding patches. Roughly half of all women experience some hair loss during their menopausal years. Two-thirds of post-menopausal women deal with thinning hair or bald spots. And no one likes it. Americans spend a billion dollars a year trying to regrow their hair!
Normal hair loss (50-100 hairs a day) is gradual. Sudden unexplained loss is not normal. Events which can trigger hair loss include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, severe emotional stress, rapid or profound weight loss, thyroid disorders, pituitary problems, malnutrition, iron deficiency, lack of protein, large doses of vitamin A, chemotherapy, radiation, general anesthesia, chronic illness, scarlet fever, syphilis, certain medications (see Step 5), and hair abuse including bleaching, permanents, tight braids, tight pony tails, tight wigs, and tight hats.
(The National Alopecia Areata Foundation, 710 C St, Ste 11, San Rafael, CA 94901 (415-456-4644) can help you contact a local hair loss support group, and gather more information.)
STEP 2. ENGAGE THE ENERGY
Homeopathic remedies for women with hair loss include:
- Lycopodium: loss precipitated by hormonal fluctuations.
- Sepia: especially for menopausal women who have sweaty flushes and heavy bleeding
- Phosphoric acid: loss after grief or extreme emotion, accompanied by exhaustion.
STEP 3. NOURISH AND TONIFY
· Infusion of stinging nettle, 2-4 cups a day, strengthens hair and checks falling hair with its superb supplies of protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, and other minerals. Regular use restores thickness, body, shine and sheen to hair. If you have any infusion left over, pour it on your head and rub it into your scalp for faster results.
· Every grey hair represents a day with too few minerals,” a wise woman said to me. Actually, the color of hair is produced by special cells which gradually die as we age. But it is true that hair is loaded with minerals, and getting extra minerals may keep those color cells alive longer. To increase my mineral intake, and keep my hair healthy, I eat more yogurt, drink more nourishing herbal infusions, prepare more mineral-rich soups, use more herbal vinegars, and increase the amount of seaweed in my diet.
· Lack of minerals, especially iron, can cause hair loss. Yellow dock is one of my favorite iron-tonics.
· Natural hair dyes can cure the grey blahs. Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is a plant that is easily purchased ready-to-use to change the color of your hair, and you are not limited to carrot-top red. So long as it is not overused (less than four times a year) henna is strengthening to the scalp and hair.
Other natural hair dyes include coffee, black walnut hulls, or infusions of sage or rosemary herb.
· Herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford suggests using lemon balm or lemon grass infusion as a hair rinse to prevent hair loss.
· Burdock seed oil, one of the best selling hair tonics in Russia, is especially recommended for those with thinning hair or hair loss. Apply to your hair and scalp, leave on overnight and shampoo it out the following day. Repeat as needed.
· Just plain olive oil is also a tremendous hair tonic. So is jojoba oil. Apply a handful of either to hair and scalp, wrap well and leave on overnight, washing it out the next morning.
· I know you know, but let me say it again, exercise! Yes, it can make your hair healthier too.
STEP 4. SEDATE/STIMULATE
- While some temporary loss of hair at menopause is considered normal, something worse may be brewing. Thin, dry hair is one of the first signs of an underactive thyroid. Hair loss is also an early sign of lupus, an autoimmune disease.
Chugging down a gulp of cod liver oil or wheat germ oil every day for six weeks could help your hair.
- Menopause sends lots of energy to the crown of your head. That can overstimulate the scalp and cause hair loss (and/or headaches). Get your energy moving with a scalp massage. Let your head calm down and your hair cool off.
- Blow dryers, dyes, perms, and other harsh treatments damage hair and scalp. Rosemary essential oil, a few drops rubbed into the scalp several times a week, repairs the damage, increases hair growth, and improves hair texture.
Other essential oils which improve hair growth and reduce hair loss include lavender oil, lemon oil, thyme oil, sage oil, and carrot seed oil. You can mix 10-20 drops of any of these into 4 ounces of plain olive oil, infused burdock seed oil, or jojoba oil. Other essential oils said to reduce hair loss include birch, calendula, chamomile, cypress, rose, and yarrow.
- Avoid chlorinated water on your hair. A shower filter is more important than a drinking water filter. And cut down on the number of times you wash your hair. Once every 5-10 days is ideal for healthy hair.
- Avoid cayenne. Heroic herbalists say it increases hair growth by improving blood circulation to the scalp. But when there is hair loss, says Janet Roberts MD, specialist in women’s hair loss and member of the Oregon Menopause Network, there are inflamed follicles. Cayenne increases inflammation, ultimately increasing hair loss.
STEP 5A. USE SUPPLEMENTS
- Dry, brittle, thin hair is often due to a deficiency in one or more of these nutrients: protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, iron, zinc, essential fatty acids. Food and herbal sources of these nutrients are preferable to pills.
- Avoid hair weaving, a cosmetic treatment that weaves replacement hair in with the still existing hair; it actually causes more loss (by creating traction alopecia).
STEP 5B. USE DRUGS
- Hair loss can be caused by drugs, including: birth control pills, anticoagulants, diet pills, thyroid medications; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin, ibuprofen, and Aleve; cholesterol-lowering drugs such as clofibrate and gemfibrozil; arthritis medications such as gold salts (auranofin), indomethacin, naproxen, sulindac, and methotrexate; beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), and timolol (Blocadren); and ulcer drugs such as cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), and famoridine (Pepcid). And, of course, chemotherapy.
- Minoxidil (Rograine) dilates blood vessels, encouraging baby-fine hair. Only the 2% solution is approved for women. Of those who use it only 19% achieve even moderate regrowth; 40% have minimal regrowth. Meanwhile, 40% of the women using the placebo had regrowth!CAUTION: Side effects in women include unwanted hair growth on the face, heart disturbances, and dizziness.
- Fertile women are not allowed to use (or even touch) finasteride (Propecia) for fear of the severe birth defects it causes. This is probably a blessing in disguise, as the side-effects (loss of libido, lip swelling, breast engorgement, birth defects) are not pleasant. Finasteride is completely ineffective in reversing hair loss for postmenopausal women. Tell your men friends a dose of 0.2 mg (one-fifth the normal dose) works just as well, costs less ($10 a month instead of $50), and is gentler on the liver.
- Hormones, including ERT, HRT, birth control pills, and anti-androgens (cypoterone acetate, spironolactone, and fluramide) are used singly or in combination to treat women with androgenic alopecia.
STEP 6. BREAK AND ENTER
- Hair transplants can cover a bald spot but are far less successful on women than on men. Micrografts do a better job of dealing with women’s diffuse pattern of hair loss.
- “Scalp lifts” tighten the scalp, making hair appear thicker and fuller.
HIRSUTISM/TOO MUCH HAIR
STEP 0. DO NOTHING
A few brazen souls just grin and bear it. Seriously, does anyone else notice that extra hair? Ask a few people who will tell you the truth. Perhaps you are making a mountain (beard/moustache) out of a molehill (a couple of extra hairs)?
STEP 1. COLLECT INFORMATION
It is not at all unusual to find extra hairs growing on the chin, upper lip, breasts, and legs during or after menopause. It is thought that menopause makes some hair follicles more sensitive to testosterone’s hair-promoting effects. However, sudden hair growth can be caused by a tumor on the ovaries, thyroid, adrenals, or pituitary.
STEP 2. ENGAGE THE ENERGY
Visualize a large mirror. Look at yourself in this mirror. When you see something you don’t like, ask the mirror how you can change. Finish by telling your image how much you love her. Repeat frequently.
STEP 3. NOURISH AND TONIFY
Oatstraw infusion tends to increase the activity of testosterone; increased levels of testosterone contribute to excess hair growth during menopause. It’s a long shot, but avoiding oats, oatmeal, and oatstraw infusion may help eliminate or reduce those extra hairs.
STEP 4. SEDATE/STIMULATE
- Natural bleaches, like lemon juice or sunlight (or both together), are generally safe even for use on the sensitive skin of the face.
- Shaving, plucking, and waxing are minimally invasive means of removing excess hair. Such means may increase the rate of hair growth, however, or make the texture of the hair coarser, or cause hair follicle inflammation and ingrown hairs.
STEP 5B. USE DRUGS
- Hirsutism may be caused by corticosteroids and medications for high blood pressure. (Rograine was originally a blood pressure drug.)
- Drug treatments – which are 80% successful according to one MD – include the corticosteroids prednisone and dexamethasone. Hormones, including birth-control pills and anti-androgens such as spironolactone, are occasionally used.
STEP 6. BREAK AND ENTER
Electrolysis is expensive, painful, tedious, must be done several times over, and can cause scarring. Most sources advise against home electrolysis.
Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.
Susun is one of America’s best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women’s health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at www.susunweed.com
Feng Shui of Your Kitchen
By Denise Linn, co-author of The Mystic Cookbook
There are Two Rules for Feng Shui of Your Kitchen.
If it feels good, it’s good Feng Shui.
If it feels bad, it’s bad Feng Shui
A Bit About Feng Shui
The Chinese word “Feng Shui” refers to an ancient art developed over 3,000 years ago in China, however in ancient cultures throughout the world, there were various forms of this mystical art form. This system teaches how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune of those within.
- “Feng” means wind and “Shui” means water. In Chinese culture, gentle winds and clear waters are associated with good health, thus good feng shui came to mean “good fortune,” as good health is the greatest fortune one can hope to achieve. Feng shui is based on the idea that the land is alive and filled with “Chi,” or energy and the principle that we can harness that energy.
In feng shui, the kitchen is considered one of the most important rooms in a home, as it is the place where the food that nourishes and sustains us is prepared. The kitchen represents the true heart of the home. It’s believed that when the feng shui of the kitchen is in balance, good health, prosperity and abundance will follow.
Following a few simple feng shui “rules” can help elevate this life-force energy in your home. However, some feng shui tenets can be confusing, especially as the experts and books don’t always agree with each other. So how do you know if you have good feng shui in your kitchen?
Remember, if it feels good, it’s most likely good feng shui . . . and if it feels bad, it’s probably bad feng shui. If your kitchen feels great to you every time you enter it, and if your health is great and your abundance is flowing (in feng shui, the kitchen has a direct relationship with one’s prosperity), then you have good feng shui. Don’t change a thing. However, if it doesn’t feel fantastic to you every time you step into your kitchen (or if you’re having financial or health challenges), then you might consider making some feng shui changes. (See my books: “Sacred Space” and “Feng Shui for the Soul.”)
Only make a feng shui change if it feels good to you. Some suggestions are common
sense, some come from traditional feng shui cures, and some are under the category of
superstition, so look at any feng shui suggestions with discernment. However, feel free to experiment. Even if a change seems unconventional, you might consider trying it for a while, and if things improve, keep the change; and if they don’t improve, disregard it.
Energy Up Energy Down
Every object in your home will bring your energy up, take it down, or be neutral, even if you are not aware of it on a conscious level. You can use the exercise below to explore how each item, and area, within your kitchen makes you feel.
The Energy Up/Energy Down exercise is a powerful one that can be employed in every aspect of your life, not just within this exercise.
First method: Close your eyes, relax, and imagine yourself walking around your kitchen. Visualize yourself picking up a variety of items in your kitchen. Notice where your energy seems to go up, and where it goes down. Do some items make you smile and others give you a sinking sensation? This is the answer to what stays and what is gotten rid of in your kitchen and throughout your home and even your life.
Second method: Actually walk around your kitchen, staying in touch with your intuition and how your body is reacting. Notice where you feel happy and up…and where you do not! This is an excellent tool to use in de-cluttering or rearranging your kitchen.
The Kitchen As Heart of the Home
The preparation of food is an act of the soul, it connects us to the great cycle of life and reminds us that we are dependent upon the abundance of the earth to survive and thrive. Within the kitchen this relationship is ritualized throughout the day, every day, as meals are prepared, shared and consumed. This room also symbolizes your health, abundance and financial resources because the kitchen is where you connect with what sustains you and keeps you alive.
In earlier times the kitchen was the center of the home as the family gathered around the stove to keep warm and talk while food was being prepared. Even today people will often spontaneously migrate towards the kitchen while at a party or gathering. Perhaps this is because the atmosphere of a warm, inviting kitchen subconsciously recaptures a nurturing communal feeling.
The ideal kitchen, from any standpoint -not just in regard to feng shui— is clean, light and airy, and full of free-flowing energy. There should be excellent lighting (halogen or incandescent lighting, rather than florescent, is recommended) and, preferably, plenty of natural sunlight. If possible, have lighting on levels, such as under-counter lighting for local areas, task lighting, and overhead lighting. Fluorescent lighting is not ideal, as it may cause eyestrain, headaches and stress to the energy fields of the body. If you must use fluorescent lighting, invest in full-spectrum bulbs.
Cheerful, vibrant colors are best for the kitchen, as they convey a sense of health, happiness and vitality. The best feng shui colors for a kitchen depend on the tastes, goals, and desires of the people in a house. Although some feng shui systems recommend particular colors for the kitchen, pick the color that makes you feel good and is a good backdrop for the meals you prepare. Of course, if you are unsure about what color to use, white can provide a perfect backdrop for other color accents to work with your particular kitchen. White allows the food and your accessories to shine and come to the forefront.
Add splashes of color with decorative bowls filled with ripe fruit or colorful vegetables. A white ceramic container filled with your colorful cooking tools will catch the eye and add more color and zest.
Living things are another excellent manner in which to increase energy flow. Fill vases with fresh flowers and lush greenery. Grow your own herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, basil, lavender or whatever you love in your choice of pots on your windowsill. Pots of fresh herbs growing by the window, ropes of dried chili peppers, onions and garlic, bunches of dried herbs and flowers are excellent to have in the kitchen. Not only are they beautiful to look at and useful, they also celebrate the abundance of the earth and ground and connect you to the source.
Set up your kitchen in a way that’s comfortable for you to work in and allows for easy workflow and energy movement. Make sure the items you use most are accessible and items that you rarely use are stored in shelves or cupboards. Have a stepstool handy if you need access to items that are stored out of reach. This is all good feng shui.
Surfaces should be clean and free of clutter to allow for ease and efficiency in preparing meals.
Every object you use to prepare meals should be visually pleasing, in good working order and full of soul. The tools you use in your kitchen are not only utilitarian, they should also bring joy and light as you use them. The feel of a sharp knife as it easily slices a ripe tomato, the ease in which you can crush garlic when using a quality garlic press or the feel of well-loved wooden utensils in your hands as you stir and mix–these all contribute to the energy of the meals being prepared.
Please do not be tempted to hold onto scratched and dented pots and pans with handles that are hard to grasp or wooden spoons that have seen better days unless you absolutely love them. Some pans do seem to have a soul, and you should hold onto these.
You may also wish to pass on to someone else appliances that are rarely, if ever, used and that are taking up valuable space, energetically and on your countertop. Say goodbye to those late-night “As Seen On TV” purchases that never really lived up to their promises.
The Importance of Your Stove
In feng shui, the stove is considered the most important element of the kitchen. Since food is cooked there, it represents life force and nourishment, but also it’s an energy generator. In traditional Chinese feng shui, both the stove and the food cooked on it are connected to finances and abundance. In fact, the stove is considered to have more impact on wealth than any other part of the home. The stove is also believed to affect your vitality, physical health, marriage, family harmony, personal protection from legal entanglements, and many other areas of life. You can see why the stove is deserving of attention and care.
In feng shui it’s believed the cook should be in a “commanding position” while working at the stove, preferably facing out into the rest of the kitchen or room. However, in most kitchens the stove usually faces a wall. The popular and time-honored Feng Shui “cure” of hanging a mirror against the wall behind the stove to reflect the energy back into the room can be employed. The decorative practice of shiny, reflective back-splashes may have originated from this cure. If the kitchen is very small, strategically positioned mirrors can expand the room and add to the feeling of abundance. Any reason why mirrors are placed behind the stove is to symbolically double the burners. (The number of burners is thought to represent the amount of wealth so if normally there are 4 burners, with the additional of the mirror, it now looks like there are eight burners.
A stove should not be placed by a window, as the wealth energy is said to be able to escape easily out of the home. A microwave is often placed above the stove, this is also not considered ideal feng shui, as it suppresses the energetic flow of energy in the kitchen.
Cooking islands are usually excellent solution as their central placement allows the cook to remain in command of the kitchen and oversee what is happening throughout the kitchen.
Additional Feng Shui Tips for the Kitchen
• Make sure your stove is clean and isn’t surrounded by clutter. A dirty stove is thought to deplete energy and drain finances. The burners are most important, but a regular cleaning of the oven and broiler is also recommended.
• Use all of the burners. Only using one or two burners may suggest you are not utilizing the full potential of the abundance which is available to you.
• Broken burners should be fixed immediately. This applies to anything on the stove
that doesn’t work, such as the oven light, fan, clock, oven hinges, or cracked or broken
• Don’t leave empty pans on your stove, as this is believed to symbolize a lack of abundance.
• In Tibetan feng shui, the burner in the far left position is considered the most important, as it symbolizes prosperity. Make sure you use this one occasionally.
• The stove shouldn’t be right next to the refrigerator, if at all possible. (If it is, then put
something made of wood, or a photo of trees, on the refrigerator to soften the effect of this inauspicious placement.) The reasoning is that the cooling properties of the refrigerator symbolically dampens the warming aspect of the stove. However, the fire energy becomes stronger when wood is added. Thus, the picture of something wood balanced this energy.
• You shouldn’t be able to see the stove from the front door. This is considered very
inauspicious. If so, hang a wind chime, curtain, round-cut crystal, or a mobile
between the door and the stove.
In the kitchen there is natural conflict between Fire and Water. The oven, stove, microwave and toaster represent Fire. Water is represented by the sink, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher. If the oven and sink are on the same wall, they should be separated by counter space if possible.
Take the garbage out daily. The garbage should not be immediately visible when you enter the kitchen. Place the garbage can in a pantry or under a sink.
• Keep counters as clutter free as possible.
• There shouldn’t be any obstacles to movement in the kitchen. The cook should be
able to maneuver quickly and easily throughout the kitchen.
• Generally bright, vibrant light is much better than dim light, and halogen or
incandescent light is better than fluorescent.
• Toilets are considered inauspicious and shouldn’t be facing the kitchen. (If so, place
a curtain or beaded curtain in front of the door and keep the door closed.)
• In traditional feng shui, an aquarium shouldn’t be in the kitchen because the water
element symbolically puts out the fire element of the stove.
• Knives shouldn’t be left out on the counter, especially if they face toward anyone
entering the kitchen. Put them away. (However, in a butcher block is okay, if it feels
good to you.)
• If there are multiple doors into a kitchen or if, in fact, the kitchen is a passage
between rooms or if it’s an open kitchen, the “chi” may be too fast, and it may be hard to hold on to money, or there may be discord between family members. As a suggestion, place wind chimes, mobiles, or faceted crystals in the doorways. Visualize peace and prosperity as you place these objects.
The most important key to great feng shui in your kitchen is paying attention to your intuition. It’s always the best guide, no matter what the feng shui “rules” are.
Denise Linn is an internationally renowned teacher in the field of self-development. She’s the author of the bestseller Sacred Space and the award-winning Feng Shui for the Soul, and has written 16 books, which are available in 24 languages. Denise has appeared in numerous documentaries and television shows worldwide, gives seminars on six continents. With her daughter Meadow Linn–a noted speaker, writer, and chef—she has just written and released The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food (Hay House). This gorgeous and empowering book is filledwith luscious recipes, stunning photos, imaginative meals and magical wisdom, that open a portal for you to embark on the sacred journey from nourishment to nirvana—and to harness the hidden dimension of food. Visit www.theMysticCookbook.com for recipes, a guided meditation to connect with your Kitchen Angel and more.
Health Practitioner Heather Schmidt of Canyon Ranch’s DVD: Strong & Sculpted sat down with us to answer some questions below regarding healthy living and the desert.
Sedona Conscious Magazine: Tucson holds a special place in our heart because we once lived there before moving up to Sedona. The landscape is really unique and inspiring. How do you feel the desert contributes to a healthy mind & body connection?
Heather: The first time I came to Arizona I was nine years old. I remember the unfamiliar smell of cresote. As I stood in the middle of the desert, tilting my head towards the sun, inhaling the intoxicating smell I told my family, “I will live here someday.” Seventeen years later I finally made Tucson my home. This is a place where the sun is always shining. Maybe it’s the blue sky, the majestic mountains, the unusual animals or perhaps the unwavering sunlight that motivates me to set my alarm for 4:30 every day. I can’t be certain. However; I know I am not alone in this quest to cherish each moment of daylight. This is apparent as the first ray of sunlight illuminates Sabino Canyon and the ritual of exchanging good mornings with my fellow enthusiasts begins. There are no bad days here. It is magnificent.
SCM: How does working at such a renowned retreat center affect your practice as a health practitioner?
H: My mentors are amazing fitness instructors, exercise physiologist, physicians, nutritionist, therapist, healing practitioners, co-workers and of course the guests. I am fortunate to learn something new every day. This in itself shapes me as a health practitioner.
SCM: What kind of healthy living regime do you follow? – What is a typical day like for you and your work?
H: I love to run, but limit it to three days a week. On the days I don’t run, I strength train. There is also the early morning ritual of dog walking. Most importantly I never exercise inside.
A typical work day usually includes a strength class, boot camp type class, pool class and a yoga class.
SCM: Do you have a spiritual practice?
H: I feel very connected to nature. I suppose if I had to label my need for outdoor activities, I would say it is spiritual. I typically spend 6-7 hours a day outside either exercising, gardening or building something.
SCM: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the 3 segments on this DVD: Core, Strength and Yoga.
H: We decided to focus on the areas where participants would benefit the most. The combination of strength and stretching allows the participant to build agility and power while providing a sense of calm and balance. Additionally, the workouts are designed to work together to firm, tone and invigorate the entire body, offering a total-body transformation.
SCM: Can you offer 3 tips that our readers can incorporate into their healthy living routines that will offer the most benefits?
H: Choose walking over driving whenever possible.
Drink plenty of water.
Stay well rested.
To learn more about this DVD and more by Acacia, visit:
Book Excerpt for Delta Medicine by Yann Rougier, M.D.
Calming and Reconciliation
You now wear the label of “sick person.” The medical team has put this somewhat brutal diagnosis on you, and it makes you uneasy, generating fears and anxieties. A mass of cells has been built inside your body. You don’t have control over it and the doctors call it “a tumor.” No matter what the case, if you consciously accept the fact that this illness belongs to you, you will have a much easier time helping your body deconstruct it.
From the moment the diagnosis is made, the first work must then be one of calming and realization in the form of Delta Respiration exercises (Tool #1) combined with specific thoughts, as explained in the following pages. This stage of positive combative acceptance (and not capitulation) is very important. This specific disease has developed in this specific body (yours, with its unique strengths and weaknesses). It is your disease! If you reject it and hate it, you reject and hate yourself at the same time. The more you try to deny it, the more you will drain your forces to fight it.
Don’t forget that the imbalances that have accumulated over the years express themselves through your most fragile organ, the one whose weakness is inscribed in your genetic “life book.” Imagine a dozen people storming a mountain’s summit. Those first exhausted will always be the least in shape, the least solid physically and psychologically. As the ascent continues, exhaustion comes to the others little by little. In the end, only the strongest remain.
It’s the same with our tissues, organs, and cells. The weakest are the first affected by illness. By any logic, we should want to help them, support them, save them. Not only because they are the most fragile but also because they have made themselves the brave and generous messengers of our imbalances. They tell us, translate for us, some of our erroneous behaviors. Sometimes they even cry out to us that our lifestyle is not adapted to maintaining the good health we had when we came into the world. But most often we radically reject the afflicted area along with the illness that we want to get rid of.
Are the liver, prostate, ovaries, or lungs affected by disease? We sometimes turn our attention away from these organs, as if they are responsible for the disaster. We somehow feel betrayed by the sick organ. We might even hate it. We want to tell it, “Why are you doing this to me? We’re a part of the same body!” These reactions are tainted with negative emotions (a sense of injustice, anger) that are capable of further disturbing our nervous, metabolic, and immune equilibrium.
Instead of repeating these reproaches, we should send the organ messages of support.
Making Peace with a Sick Organ
- Lie down in a quiet place, or if this isn’t possible, sit down in a comfortable position. Relax, release the muscles of your body, and close your eyes.
- Breathe deeply three times (always through the nose), then adopt a regular breathing rhythm without forcing the breath. Breathe in counting to three (one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand), then breathe out slowly, counting to six (one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four one thousand . . .). Repeat three times.
- Now imagine (visualize) your sick organ. You can choose how you’ll form this representation: look at an image or a photograph of the organ in a dictionary or an anatomy book to inspire you, or let your imagination create a more or less schematic or fanciful representation. What’s most important is that the image “speaks” to you.
- Next, send a wave of serenity to this sick organ. The most commonly used image is a beautiful white or gold light, calming and beneficial, that bathes the sick organ.
- Anchor this image with an accompanying statement. Repeat it silently to the organ: “I’m aware that you are suffering for me and I thank you.” And: “Now, I send you the strength of this light to help you and to heal you.” When you pronounce these words, it’s as if you have sent both gratitude and new healing forces to your body (the two mix in the positive effects of psychosomatics).
- Repeat each step of this visualization seven times. Then concentrate again on your breathing rhythm as you slowly return to normal consciousness, and open your eyes.
Note: I will say this over and over, but if you aren’t accustomed to therapeutic training, don’t let your mind judge you and criticize you: “What I’m doing is stupid,” “This is a waste of time,” “These are just childish words,” “Words don’t heal,” etc. Keep in mind that anything big that is done in the world always occurs by way of bravery and words. Calmly persevere for at least ten days: this is how long it takes to tame your critical thoughts coming from your fearful unconscious.
Health vs. Illness: Some Definitions
Health. Imagine a balance; the pan on the left holds the memory of good health (with which most of us entered the world) while the pan on the right is weighed down by our weak points, imbalances, and daily aggressions. Our organism can support a significant amount of imbalance (nutritional overloads, nervous exhaustions, emotional shocks); as long as the healthy side of the balance remains heavier, we can withstand it.
The Delta Point. By weighing down “the sick side,” all of these imbalances accumulate and create a more violent movement of the scale. At first, the two sides are equally weighted. The body enters into a pre-disease zone, and the symptoms, up to this point acute, become recurrent.
Chronic or Degenerative Illness. Once having surpassed the point of equilibrium, disease is declared. It is visible, clearly identifiable, and classifiable by way of the symptoms it provokes.
Bio: Yann Rougier, M.D., has devoted his more-than-30-year career in medicine to studying the intersection of mind, body, nutrition, and the immune system, particularly as it applies to cancer and other degenerative diseases. He is a founding member of the Institute for Applied Neuronutrition and Neurosciences. He lives in France.
Delta Medicine by Yann Rougier, M.D. © 2012 Healing Arts Press. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International.