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Monday, September 26, 2011

We're the Ones

This was shared with me at a full moon spring equinox gathering this year.  The words keep echoing in my head and have ever since I heard this read.  I thought I would post it for folks

You have been telling the people that
this is the Eleventh Hour
Now you must go back and tell the people
that this is The Hour
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your Water?
Know your garden
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are
those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold onto the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart, and
they will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The Elders say that we must let go of the shore, push
off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes
open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing
personally.  Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment we do, our spiritual growth
and journey comes to a halt.  The time of the
lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!
Banish the word "struggle" from your attitude
and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred
manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.

-The Elders
Oraibi, Arizona
The Hopi Nation 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lungfire Seasonal Remedy

In celebration of the recent cold front, I went to sleep with all the windows in my home open.  In Central Texas, the brutal heat had finally broke and I was looking forward to a couple of nice cool evenings to enjoy.  Unfortunately,  our area was plagued with massive wildfires in the wake of the cold front(brought on from the winds of a nearby hurricane which ironically gave us no moisture).  I woke up several times in the night with phlegm, worried that I was coming down with something.  In the morning, a haze filled the air.  Here is a photo to give you an idea of the extent of the damage There was no doubting the smell, fire.  As one woman said "Should we be wearing masks?  I bet this is what hell must smell like".  We were thick with smoke all over Austin.   Today was the day I was creating a seasonal support syrup to help people transition out of the blazing hot summer and lend a hand to their taxed out kidneys.  The syrup was going to be a base of wild Texas prickly pear tunas, wild Texas mulberry leaf and berries, peaches from my home garden, and a few added extracts.  The seasonal support syrup deserves its own post, so I will let you read more about it there. After experiencing the very toxic smelling and irritating air, I decided to make part of the base into a seasonal lung support formula.  I added into the base extracts of Mullein , Cordyceps, Gumweed, and Bee Balm.
Prickly Pears, Mulberries and Peaches are cooling and moistening.  The prickly pears and mulberries are added support to the kidneys and blood sugar imbalances(though this being a syrup makes that use questionable).  Thankfully, Kiva rose had already written up some ideas for supporting the lungs after wildfires, since she had experienced some recently where she lives in New Mexico.  After looking at her post here http://bearmedicineherbals.com/smoke.html  I got some more ideas for my own remedy.
Cordyceps, a mushroom(ish) extract, was added in because it also strengthens the kidneys and lungs.  It is gently tonifying and nourishes your vital essence, oftentimes it has been used therapeutically as an endurance remedy.
Mullein is one of my first go to's for lung support.  It enlivens the lungs yet relaxes them at the same time.  Mullein is soothing and gently astringent.  I use it in lung remedies to make sure and direct other herbs.  As soon as I take it, I can feel it center in on the lungs.   It is a specific for dry coughs, especially when used in syrup form.
Gumweed, I added this in to complement Mullein and add in some extra "oomph" so that any particulates from the wildfires could be more easily expelled.  Grindelia can relax the respiratory tract, lessening coughs, and also create a situation where when you do cough us is more productive.
Bee Balm is an herb that quells the fire.  It does so by drawing the fire out to the surface and allowing it to burn itself out more quickly.   For sore throats, there is no plant I can think of I would rather use.  As much as Mullein centers on the lungs, I feel Bee Balm centers on the throat.

All in all you've got a nice seasonal, bioregional blend of herbs and berries.  Want some?  We'll be at the Hope Farmers Market in East Austin or email me at wildflowerschoolherbs@gmail.com

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Uterine Fibroids: A holistic approach

What are they?   Fibroids are noncancerous growths beginning on muscle tissue that can get larger or decrease in size over time most often found in women of childbearing age.  Some signs and symptoms include abnormal or heavy bleeding and pain, a sense of fullness or pressure in the womb and sometimes you can even see the abdomen become a bit distended.  Uterine fibroids, according to allopathic medicine are caused from an overproduction of estrogen in the body, or excessive amounts in the body.  In allopathic medicine they are usually "controlled" with hormonal drugs or with surgery.  In holistic medicine, these growth indicate an imbalance.  The imbalance may be from hormone levels, dietary influences, elimination blockages or a combination of these things.

What to do about fibroids: Ultimately you need to make an educated decision about your own situation and come from a place of strength, not fear.  Fear will land you immediately to allopathic methods of suppression or slicing.  Susun Weed has a great lecture she's given on the levels of healing, I encourage you to go through all of your options, this is my interpretation 7-8 years later of her lecture, these are in order of their level of invasiveness:
0 Serenity medicine--Do nothing--many illnesses work themselves out
1 Story Medicine--Tell people about your situation and get opinions--several
2 Energy Medicine:  Flower Essences, Reiki, Etc that can shift your vital energy without actually the nutritional or chemical makeup of your body
3 Food Medicine:  Eating well and balanced for your body.  Eliminating things that cause imbalance or inflammation.  Adding the proper nutrition and even adding some dietary supplementation in at therapeutic levels
4 Sedate or Stimulate: Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, and other therapies like Massage, Yoga, Mayan Abdominal Massage, Chi Nei Tsung
5 Suppression:  Steroids, Antibiotics or extremely high amounts of herbal substances acting like drugs--or drop dosage herbs that act like drugs
6 Surgery and other Invasive procedures.  Keep in mind once you open the body up you can't go back.  It doesnt like being sliced into and being exposed to the outside world.  This is where secondary infections and other problems can come in.  Sometimes surgery is necessary, but in this scale of invasiveness, it is a last resort, not one of the first ones.
Please do not go immediately onto the internet and do research unless you know where to do research.  You can look at the student section of my website and I have put together a list of places to do herbal research on the internet at www.wildflowerherbschool.com/students.htm
 Most articles you will "google" on the internet about your condition and what to do about it site each other and have a limited amount of information available to you.  I encourage you to go see a Herbalist, Naturopath, Traditional Chinese Medicine Pracitioner, Ayurvedic Practitioner, or Homeopathic Pracitioner in your area.  Be sure to research and ask people their background and philosophy of practice.  You may or may not be a match for them.  In the realm of holistic medicine, you have lots of choices and I truly believe taking back some of the control over your health includes choosing practitioners you enjoy and have some common ground with--be responsible to yourself before you put your health in someone else's hands.  Sometimes this can seem expensive, but try surgery....even with insurance.........I think you'll find that seeing a holistic practitioner regularly is far less expensive in the long run. To truly heal from any illness usually takes a support team made up of practitioners, family, and friends.

 Dietary Changes:  Industrially produced meats, eggs, and dairy have abnormally high amounts of estrogen, since the animals are routinely given estrogen(amongst other drugs) to boost production(thanks Chanchal Cabrera).  Eliminate all of it from your diet.  Yet another reason to buy from the farmers market!
Inflammatory foods like gluten (wheat and other grains), sugar, dairy--ah yes here it is again, and it also makes elimination harder.  Eliminate it.
Refined carbs and deep fried foods, caffeine, SOY, and alcohol...yup eliminate it.
Taking things out is going to make what you put in work better.

Dr Tori Hudson, ND also says:
Saturated fats, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and junk foods are presumably problematic in two main ways:
  1. they interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize estradiol to estrone to estriol, and
  2. some of these foods are deficient in vitamin B or interfere with B-vitamin metabolism. If B vitamins are lacking in the diet, the liver is missing some of the raw materials it needs to carry out its metabolic processes and regulate estrogen levels.

Nutritional Supplementation to consider:  According to Chanchal Cabrera: B Complex, Vit E, Vit C and Lipotropic Factors ,may be helpful see article here: http://medherb.com/Therapeutics/Female_-__Holistic_Treatment_of_Fibroids_.htm

Herbs to research:  Raspberry Leaf(Rubus idaeus), Lady's Mantle(Alchemilla vulgaris), Ginger(Zingiber officinalis), Yarrow(Achillea millefolium), Wild Yam(Dioscorea vilosa)White Dead Nettle(Lamium alba)  Cinnamon(Cinnamonum spp) Vitex(Vitex agnus-castus) and Dandelion Root(Taraxacum officinale)

This list does not mean  to go out and buy all of these herbs and take them.  A skilled holistic practitioner will look at your constitution(body type) and blend together something that works best for your body.  OTC herbal supplements may help somewhat, but they are generally designed as kitchen sink remedies, where the company puts in anything that may influence the body towards better balance and that you will recognize one or more of the herbs and buy it.  I would not recommend buying premade formulas without having a skilled practitioner you trust decide if they are helpful.  Quality considerations are a big factor.  If you want herbs to work, get them from herbalists, not large herb companies that are now owned by pharmaceutical companies(surprise!).

In general, drinking gentle, nutritive teas that are slightly astringent like
Raspberry leaf(Rubus idaeus), 
Lady's Mantle herb(Alchemilla vulgaris)
and Nettles Leaf(Urtica dioica)
will most likely be beneficial in most situations for those that have fibroids.  Herbs that influence our hormones or shift our bodies to eliminate things better should be taken with care and other supervision so that changes in pathology can be monitored.   A general detoxification and liver herb that can be taken regularly to make sure you are eliminating estrogens and other things that can influence the growth of fibroids is
Dandelion Root(Taraxacum officinale).  This can cause pretty sudden shifts in body chemistry, menstrual flow, and elimination so again please make sure and find a trusted herbal practitioner that can monitor you.

Applying castor oil packs by rubbing castor oil onto the womb and covering with a hot towel covered by plastic wrap or wool to keep it warm for about 20 min 1-2 times a day is another general remedy you can do prior  or while eeing a practitioner.


Cod Liver Oil:  Omega 3s are Anti-inflammatory and regulating to our bodies, therapeutic doses of these will most likely have beneficial effects for those with fibroids


My experience:  I have worked with a few clients with fibroids and the greatest changes came from dietary shifts.   Herbs alone may help the body but unless the client in question makes major dietary, emotional work,  and lifestyle shifts, I have found it difficult to affect change and see them shrink.  I have found that in order for most major shifts to happen, the client MUST have regular check ins with a practitioner--like every 2 weeks so that they can be kept on track with diet and lifestyle and be held accountable at check ins.  Eliminating is harder than putting things into the mix.

Resources 
http://www.fibroidnetworkonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=26
http://www.ultimatehealing.com/uterinefibroids.html
http://www.menopause-metamorphosis.com/An_Article-fibroids.htm
http://www.tcmpage.com/hp_uterine_fibroid.html
http://www.fibroidnetworkonline.com/modules.php?name=Web_Links&l_op=viewlink&cid=67
http://drtorihudson.com/articles/uterine-fibroids-womens-health-update/