Honoring the Daily Waters: An Herbal Shower Bundle

While in Peru, the Donas’ and Pacos talked with us about the spirits of the waters that inhabit lakes, lagoons, rivers, and oceans, and showed us how they made their offerings and gratitude to the spirit of the waters.

 

 

Dona Bernadina also encouraged us to make each and every shower, bathing time, or moment we turn on the faucet and water comes out, a blessing, a ceremony and a moment of gratitude to those spirits of the waters that keep the water fresh, clean, healthy and abundant.   The shower can become your daily prayer and a daily cleansing of your spiritual, emotional and physical bodies, by asking and intending that the spirits of the waters work with you.

I arrived home today from a long 24 hr airplane ride, and was ready for a cleansing and refreshing shower.  The house was a bit stuffy and warm- and I just was enjoying the garden before I got into the shower, and began to pick a small bundle of herbs, fragrant and uplifting and cleansing herbs like rosemary, sage, lemon verbena, basil and marigold.

I tied them all together and then, instead of using the bundle as a broom to sweep my body with the cleansing and clearing properties of the plants, I hung that bundle of plants up on the shower head, as I bathed, honoring the spirits of the waters in this dry land with deep gratitude, the plants offered their cleansing and healing spirits to the bathing experience.

When you hang a bundle of herbs from the shower head, the warm water and steam naturally combine with the volatile fragrant oils of the plants, and fill the bath with the sweet aroma of your favorite spiritual and emotional cleansing plant allies!!!    The whole shower becomes a sensual, spiritual and ceremonial gift to yourself!

 

So, as you take your next shower (or bath, you can hang your bundle from the bath faucet too), make sure to give your gratitude to the spirits of the waters where you live, and honor them and yourself with a fragrant herbal shower bundle.  Each bundle can stay hung up for anywhere between a week or even a month, depending on  how hardy they are and how many showers.  Refresh your bundle as often as you desire.

A hardy bundle of creosote bush and eucalyptus leaves will last much longer than a bundle of rosemary and marigold.  I typically leave my bundle of creosote bush/chaparral (Larrea tridentata) hanging in the shower for a month or more, as it is very hardy and resinous and lasts a long time.

 

Directions:

gather a 2-3 inch diameter bundle of fragrant herbs from the garden: marigold, sage, rosemary, creosote, eucalyptus, fir, basil, verbena, thyme, peppermint, lemon balm, hyssop,mugwort, sage brush,  juniper etc.

Bundle tightly together with a rubber band or tie firmly with yarn. ( make sure its tight, you dont want pieces to fall out as it dries)

Tie a 8-12 inch length of yarn or string around the narrow end of the bundle in a loop and hang from the shower head.

Turn on the warm water, give thanks and bathe in the plant aromas. Make sure to allow the cleansing waters to help you cleanse yourself energetically as well.   (Replace as needed)  Sing or say a prayer to the spirits of the waters and the plants!

 

 

Autumn Herbal CSA Pre- Sale!

I’ve got openings in the Blue Turtle Botanicals Autumn CSA starting in August!549092_10152009545297099_1091853908_n   Previously CSA memberships have been available on a 6 or 12 month basis. Now I am offering them as a quarterly seasonal membership, which gives you more flexibility in getting CSA boxes at the times of the year that work for you and your family! Autumn CSA boxes will be delivered monthly August- November, and will be full of medicines that support your well being during the autumn months and seasonal transition into cooler weather.

You must sign up for Autumn CSA box memberships by July 31 to get this pre-sale pricing!

A Quarterly CSA membership is just $175 through July 31!

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Boxes will go out by Mid-August. elderberryYou can expect herbal medicines like Elderberry, Wild Cherry Cough remedy, Immune soup blend with Medicinal Mushrooms, warming spiced teas/chai, Marigold Elixir ( a special fall plant ally from the Sky Islands), nourishing tonic vinegar with molasses and mineral rich herbs, and tasty spice and salt blends like the super popular Dukkah, and some special desert flower essences!   Each box always contains 3 full sized herbal products, and includes shipping to your mailbox monthly by priority mail!  Most members of the CSA have been continuously subscribed for several years! They know that they’ll always get a delicious and healthful surprise each month, with little repetition except on super popular and useful items.   (Because you can always use more Elderberry Syrup, but you may not need 3 different bottles of liver formula.) dukkah2   Herbal CSA memberships are a wonderful way to keep your home medicine cabinet stocked with fresh, seasonal, often wildcrafted, and always handcrafted herbal medicines for all seasons and conditions. Need a payment plan?  I got that too!  

Click here to sign up for the 4 installment payment plan!

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As always I am so humbly grateful that I am able to offer these medicines and that you receive them with such support and appreciation.  You make my world go round with your support!

Love, Darcey Blue

Get your Sparkle On Goddess!

Kristen Taylor is a goddess in the hills of appalachia, bringing her gifts to women all over in this sweet offering- Sparkle Goddess.  Its a like virtual womens circle and coaching group meant to unleash your inner sparkle and wise wild woman within you.  I am so proud to be a contributor to this amazing gathering of goddesses, with a super Special self care and self love clearing ritual using plant medicine as allies and guides.  You don’t want to miss this beautiful offering women, so I’m sharing today the magic thats Sparkle Goddess from a tea house in Asheville, and tomorrow heading up to Sacred Mountain to sit with Kristen and bring you something special at the end of this week!!

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http://www.beegreenfoods.com/ecourses/

Each week, our tribe will be diving into a different aspect of healing ourselves, looking into various ways (some common traps for women) of how we may be separating ourselves from our divine truth that is necessary for living as ecstatic beings. You’ll learn tips, tools and secrets for setting yourself up for success in every way imaginable! To follow along with the group, finish each lesson before the new one arrives and tune into the private forum for discussions and support. You can also travel along at your own speed.

 

Sparkle Goddess starts today June 25!  So dont waste a single moment  in signing up for a sacred container of women’s power and magic for the next 6 weeks!

http://www.beegreenfoods.com/ecourses/

How Make Flower Essences

Flower essences are made by infusing the energetic imprint of the plant or tree in pure water, with the aid of sunlight, and the plant deva/spirit, which is then preserved with alcohol.  They are given as energetic medicines-  most often to address the emotional and spiritual spheres or bodies.  Though truly one cannot separate the physical from the emotional and spiritual aspects of oneself, or the healing process. I find it helpful to have these tools to help address these aspects in a gentle and effective way.  They are also very helpful for folks who may not be able to hike long miles to visit a specific tree.  And as things are deeply connected within our bodies and psyche- often addressing emotional aspects will aid the process of healing the physical body.   They are completely safe, and will never interact with any other medication, herb or practice/religion anyone might be working with.  Usually if given an essence that isn’t appropriate, there will be no ill effects.  The effects of essences can be subtle, and only noticed over time (weeks to months) but I have also found that they work within hours or minutes for acute situations.

 

Most people are familiar with the famous Bach Flower Remedy- Rescue Remedy.  I’ve seen it calm a young child with autism in the middle of a tantrum within seconds.  And this was just the essence rubbed on the childs leg-nothing taken internally!  That is how powerful these can be in the right situation.  They can open doors to levels of healing that we didn’t even realize were there, so I suggest always having a friend or practitioner that you can talk with as things reveal themselves, and to realize that you may need new essences as your process happens.

 

There are many options for practitioners who work only with flower essences, and many training programs if you want to delve even deeper with these, but what I love about them is that they can be made and used by anyone, safely and effectively.  I suggest if you are new to essences, that you begin by using only one or two essences at a time, to really begin to feel and notice the effects they have on you.  When I use these with my clients I rarely ever give more than 5 at any one time, but prefer to give fewer if possible.  It takes fine tuning what the true root of any situation is, and what will best address it.  If you find that you do not know why or the root of a feeling, you can pick an essence that is appropriate, and usually it will lead you through the beginnings of uncovering what is the root.  From there you can work with the essences progressively.

 

Flower essences were originally developed by a disillusioned doctor in England in the 1930’s, Dr Edward Bach.  Fed up with the way medicine was being practiced, and his work, he packed his bags and headed into the countryside.  There he began communing with the plants around him, and was inspired to make the essences.  He began traveling around and used the essences to heal people all over, thus devising the indications for each essence.  He developed 38 essences of flowers and trees of England.  Today- there are people and organizations from all over the world making essences of the plants, places and stones around them.

 

I am going to cover the basics of how to make and use essences, so that you will be able to do this for yourself.  But should you choose to, you can purchase most of these from any number of places.

For the most part you should use the FLOWER parts of any tree or plant you wish to make an essence from.  My personal preference is to include the flowering parts along with any other parts of the plant in the essence.  There is some discussion of the flower being the highest energetic vibration of the plant, but I believe that the whole being of a plant has energetic vibration.  It is up to you in your making of essences.

 

  1. Find the plant or tree, in flower that you want to work with.  Often the plant will really shout out at you, or make itself known in a way that is unmistakable. Choose a sunny day in which you have 3-4 hrs to devote.
  2. Once you arrive at a tree that you wish to work with, spend some time with it.  Open your heart, ground, and listen.  Ask for permission to use the tree medicine in this way.  I have found that when working with a plant that hasn’t had an essence indication written for it, many impressions about its use will come to me during this time.  Pay attention, write them down.  Even if you already KNOW the indication for an essence, pay attention to any new info you may glean from the plant itself.  Most people who make essences call it cocreating an essence- because it truly is about relationship with the plant in question.  Make an offering if appropriate.
  3. In a clear glass or crystal bowl pour 2 oz of spring or rain water.
  4. With small clippers cut entire flowers from the tree into the bowl.  Do not touch them with your hands,  Cut enough flowers to cover the entire top of the water surface.  Alternatively, when working with plants where you might not want to actually cut flowers off (Lady’s slippers or other endangered plants) you may dip the flower into the bowl of water.  You will have to figure a way to keep it bent into the water (sticks, clothespins etc).
  5. Set the bowl of water with flowers in a sunny place near the plant undisturbed for 3-4 hours.  Continue noting any impressions, feelings, emotions or memories that come up during this process.
  6. After the allotted time, return to your bowl.  With tweezers or a stick, gently remove the flowers and return them to the earth near the plant.
  7. Strain the water with a coffee filter or cheesecloth to filter out any dirt or particles.
  8. Add exactly two ounces of brandy to the two oz of water.  This is preserve the water essence and prevents bacteria from growing.  You may use vodka if you wish, but brandy tastes better.  Bottle this mixture in a dropper top bottle, labeled MOTHER ESSENECE of  _____. This Mother should last you a lifetime, unless you choose to gift it away.  I was taught never to sell a mother essence.  You may take one or two drops of this to PROVE it, or note its effects on you.  But in general Mother essences should be diluted before administering.
  9. STOCK ESSENCES-  Generally what is sold in stores or by essence folks are stock essences.  These are diluted down from the Mother essence.  To prepare a stock essence – in a 1 oz bottle with a dropper, fill half way up with water, and the remaining half with brandy.  Add 2 DROPS of Mother Essence to this bottle.  Label STOCK ESSENCE of  _______.  You may want to shake the bottle several times.  Stock essences are diluted further into a dose bottle before administering to yourself, a friend/client or plant or animal (yes, you can use them on your plants!!)  A  stock bottle will last you a very long time.  You may sell or give these stock bottles away as desired.
  10. DOSE BOTTLE-  In a one oz dropper bottle, fill halfway full with water, and the other half with brandy(or vinegar if you want to avoid alcohol).  Add 2 drops of STOCK ESSENCE to the bottle.  You may add more than one essence to this bottle if you wish.  Shake briefly to mix.

 

Dosage and frequency-  Standard recommendations are for 4 drops from a dose bottle 4 x per day.  But I tell people, and use myself, the method of taking a few drops every time I think about it, or as often as I need it to address the specific issue at hand.  I keep the bottle in my pocket or bag for easy use.  If you loose, drop, spill or otherwise forget to take it for extended period of time- it is usually a sign that you are ready for a new essence.  You may  take the drops directly by mouth or add your drops to water, a mister to spray yourself or your room with (add essential oils if desired), to a bath.  Rub it on your wrists, temples, neck, or belly (or anywhere else). You may add these to bottles of tincture already made if you wish.

Ocotillo Medicine : Ecstatically Grounded and Passionately Responsive- A Desert Ally for Stagnancy, Flow and Connection with Life Force

Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens): Ecstatically Grounded and Passionately Responsive- A Desert Ally for Stagnancy, Flow and Connection with Life Force

Ocotillo

 

 

As I stand on a windy ridge of the foothills of the desert mountains, I look out across the expanse- clear, blue open sky, pink earthen granite boulders, and the green snake like arms of Ocotillo- covered in multitudes of green leaves, which only serve to highlight the fierce, thick thorns that run the length of its arms, open like a vase to the desert sun and sky, and rooted firmly in the dry desert soil.  It has been just about two years since I have lived in the dry Sonoran desert landscape, and sat with the Ocotillo.  Once this plant was among the many unique plants in my apothecary that grow only here in my beloved desert, but now, as I have returned to this desert home, the Ocotillo has become something more, so much more; a herald and an ally, as I reclaim parts of myself, my life, my community that I left behind.  Those fierce arms waving gently in the breeze beckon me closer, to sit, and feel myself rooted in earth, and ever open to the wisdom and magic of the world around me; to protect my core with fierceness, yet dance freely and visibly with the burning passions within my most authentic self.

 

To non desert dwellers Ocotillo may look a bit like an alien with a vicious streak. It grows throughout the southwest in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts on rocky slopes and foothills to about 5000 ft.  It grows from a single base trunk close to the ground, which branches out into many arms opening upward and outward toward the sky. A single mature ocotillo may have over a hundred individual arms and grow to 15- 20 ft high.  Each arm is studded with rigid, sharp thorns which are modified leaf stems.  These thorns can be quite vicious and puncture the skin.

For much of the year in the desert, Ocotillo may look like it is not living, because it lacks leaves. But as soon as any moisture falls on the desert, the ocotillo responds instantaneously to produce hundreds of small oval shaped leaves that cover the arms, within a matter of days.  It can seem like almost overnight that the ocotillo stands bare and thorny and then flush with green shining leaves which capture the scant rainfall in their gently cupped embrace. Ocotillo responds so quickly to moisture in part because of its root system, which is close to the surface of the desert floor and spreads out in a diameter at least as large as the plant is tall.  In this way it can take advantage of any small amount of water that falls on the surface of the earth, but which may not penetrate very deeply.   Shortly after leafing out in response to rainfall, the Ocotillo will begin to produce a raceme of vivid, red tubular flowers, with dramatic stamens and sweet nectar beloved by hummingbirds and bees.  They flower between Feb and June, and sometimes into the summer rainy months.  Ocotillo is one of those remarkable plants that can root readily from a cutting of the branch, when planted in moist ground.  People often build “living fences” made from ocotillo cuttings which leaf and flower and grow with the rain cycles of the desert.

Ocotillo is a special plant, unique to this dry little corner on the planet, with few relatives in the Fouquieria genus, one notably, called the boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris), and grows in Baja California exclusively.  Though Ocotillo is widespread through out this region, it is always at risk due to desert development and sprawl as urban areas spread into the foothills and slopes.  It is an endemic- limited in region and by climate, and so as with any endemic plant anywhere on the planet, one has to consider very carefully the protection and longevity of the plant itself, and its habit, and its place in the ecosystem where it grows before considering other uses.  This is not the plant for mass market commercial herb production or to be widely popularized across the world as the “next best herb cure for this or that.”  I firmly believe in the importance of working closely with the plants that grow around you, in your backyard, and in your bioregion, as primary medicine.  This isn’t to say you can’t use herbs from other places sometimes, but it is the plants that grow in the same environment in which we ourselves live, have a deeper, more appropriate medicine for that place and those people.  Exposed to the same climate extremes, rainfall patterns, temperatures, droughts, floods- plants and humans in the same bioregion are like two organs of a body system- they are adapted to each other, and respond to each others responses and feedback in turn.  Often times humans like to think we are immune to those sorts of energies, because we live in houses with artificial heat or cooling and our lifestyles do cut us off dramatically from the land in ways that eat at our  most primal soul, but we are deeply connected to the land we live on – and its experiences, its plants.  Ask anyone who has moved from their home landscape, they often feel displaced, uncomfortable with the type of surroundings, or feel an uneasy sense of longing in their new landscape.

And so, I write of ocotillo, an endemic medicine of the southwest, a medicine local to me to inspire respect for and value of a medicine plant that is so precious and unique, not to encourage each and every one to use this medicine. I love this plant dearly, and have found its medicine for me is even more potent now, spiritually, and physically, after having left and returned, and journeyed far from my  Home land. I want to honor this friend and introduce it to plant lovers and plant honoring herbalists so you can love and appreciate her, and those who feel called to the healing of Ocotillo, can do so wisely.

 

Harvest & Preparation

Harvesting from a mature Ocotillo one branch, is much like pruning a tree, and causes no long term harm to the plant, and you can always replant a piece of the branch nearby to propagate the plant naturally.  It is considered a protected plant in many places in the Southwest, so it is prudent to harvest from private land when possible, or when large tracts of desert are bulldozed leaving many uprooted plants.  I find it best harvested after a rain, and the leaves are on the branches, though any live branch will do.  Live branches without leaves have a waving pattern of green underneath the grey bark and thorns.  Sharp pruners, some leather gloves and a big rock are your tools, as you stand in the meager shade of your wide brimmed hat, watching the thorny arms dance in the hot desert wind.   Clip a single branch at the base, making a clean cut, with no dangling bark or ripped pith, and gently pull the branch toward the ground with your gloved hand. When you’ve removed the branch, lay it out on a flat hard surface, and I like to cut it into 4 or 5 smaller more manageable pieces.  Then take your big rock that fits into your gloved hand and pound the ocotillo branch on a second flat hard surface to split the fresh bark from the pith.  I’ve seen people use and recommend peeling with a knife, but it has always seemed to me, more dangerous and difficult to deal with the thorns, than just a nice heavy rock.   The bark peels off readily from a fresh branch after a rain.  This bark should be chopped (with good clippers) into smaller pieces to fit into your jar. You can keep your pith for a walking stick or fire boards or drills; it is rather pretty and creamy white with small depressions where thorns attached.    I tincture the bark fresh in 95% alcohol, 1 pt Ocotillo bark and leaf: 2 parts alcohol for 4 weeks.  My experience has been with the fresh plant tincture, and this is the form I use exclusively.  I was taught that dried plant preparations of ocotillo bark are less useful, but I haven’t put that to the test.    I’ve often found that the dogma of only fresh plant being active to be false on more than one occasion, so suppose it is entirely possible that dried ocotillo is useful as well.

 

The stunning red flowers can also be harvested, if you can reach them atop a 20 ft tall arm waving in the wind, and dried for a mild and delicious beverage tea.

 

Energetics & Actions

Ocotillo is a warming and mildly drying lymphatic and blood/fluid mover. It has an affinity for the tissues and region of the pelvis and liver/portal vein system, and the respiratory system.  It is a stimulant, decongestant, chologouge, expectorant, and mild emmengouge. It is a warming bitter, with a sweet, oily or soapy taste.

It improves digestion of and assimilation of dietary fats, improving the uptake of lipids from the liver/portal vein blood and intestines into the mesentery (digestive lymphatic tissue) and pelvic lymphatic tissue.  It stimulates bile production and secretions by the liver and gall bladder.  It moves stagnant qi, energy, blood, mucous, and intracellular fluid in the pelvic region or lungs outward, upward and downward.  It decongests respiratory tissue and excess mucous by increasing secretions to move stagnant fluids out through productive coughing.

 

Applications

I use ocotillo most frequently in people with gall bladder and liver deficiency, poor bile production, and poor digestion and assimilation of dietary fats.  These people tend be on the cold side, and often have dry, itchy, or scaly skin, and cracked lips.  Sometimes they eat adequate dietary fats, but do not absorb and assimilate them, which can show up as steatorrhea (fat in the stools), or they cannot tolerate eating much fat at all, and the diet lacks sources of healthy fats necessary for skin health, mental health, hormone production, and healthy inflammation levels.  Ocotillo increases the uptake of dietary fats from the portal vein into the lymphatic tissue of the pelvis, improving digestion, assimilation, and utilization of fats, and relieving stagnancy of blood in the area.

I often see ocotillo indicated as well in people who have alternating diarrhea/steatorrhea and constipation from hormone imbalances, liver/gall bladder deficiency, weak/cold digestive function, and stagnancy in the pelvic area.  This stagnation in the pelvis is a key indicator for ocotillo- stagnant portal vein and lymphatic drainage and often stagnant liver qi.  This shows up in numerous disorders indicating stagnation, along with constipation, there are often hemorrhoids, varicose veins in the upper thighs/buttocks, acne or boils in the pelvic area/thighs, buttocks,

 

In men it can be useful in cases of benign prostatitis, often from too much sitting, (of course ruling out other more serious causes of prostate inflammation/swelling), frequent urination/polyuria, as well as sexual debility and difficulty maintaining erections.  In this case I find ocotillo is helpful if the primary cause is stagnancy in the pelvic region.  This situation often has other accompanying causes which must be addressed concurrently (malnutrition especially protein and B vitamins, lack of sleep, excessive stress, food allergy, and emotional or psychological reasons.) A male client of mine who used Ocotillo for stagnancy in the pelvic region that included constipation, liver stagnantion and difficulty with maintaining erection says, “When I took ocotillo, I noticed my stamina and libido working in a more harmonious way. I do believe my lower back was a little wrenched at the time I received ocotillo and could feel a shift occurring.”

 

In women this stagnancy shows up in sluggish menstruation, and uterine stagnancy, with cramps and old, brown spotting at the beginning of the cycle followed by clotted blood and cramping.  Ocotillo can be helpful in cases of endometriosis in addressing the pooling, stagnant blood along with other therapies and herbs.  It is also helpful for women experiencing loss of libido, again, working with all the aspects and root causes.

 

I’ve shared ocotillo with many clients and students, and everyone consistently remarks on the warming and relaxing sensation that they experience in the pelvic region and I have found ocotillo over and over again to help address the symptomatic pattern associated with stuck/stagnant liver qi.  This is a symptom pattern from TCM that is somewhat parallel to the symptoms of pelvic blood/lymph stagnation.  It includes a hot core and cold extremities, dryness of skin on the extremities, while the core can be oily.  There may be redness in the face or eyes, allergies, eruptive explosive emotional outbursts, constipation or diarrhea, stagnant menstruation.  Ocotillo, along with other relaxing, diffusive, and draining herbs can help to move the stagnant qi from the core and restore even qi flow throughout the body.  I combine ocotillo with verbena, stachys, mahonia, zingiber, curcuma, rosa, citrus peel, and/or taraxacum.  As with any therapy, the root cause of qi stagnation must be addressed as well- including removing food allergens, excessive alcohol, pharmaceuticals/nicotine, sleep debt, repressed emotions, excessive consumption of cold foods, and general cold/deficiency in the system.

 

Ocotillo has an affinity for moving physical stagnation from the pelvis and liver, it also helps to unlock blocked/stagnant energy of the pelvic and sexual regions.  In particular the kundalini stuck/blocked in the first three chakras – root, sacral and solar plexus.  It is these chakras associated with our core self, our security and sense of safety, our roots in the earth, our sexuality, our passions and pleasure, and our ability to manifest and create.  I have seen, in myself, and in others, that when this flow gets blocked at any of these three chakras, the result is a lack of sexual energy and vitality, overwhelming fear, difficulty providing for ones physical needs, inability to connect with core self and purpose, denial or inability to deal with emotions and frustrating or unhealthy situations, a feeling of being cut off from purpose, passion, and creativity.  This can cause depression, a sense of overwhelm, over emotionality and explosive reactions, or on the flip side a complete disassociation from ones feelings and a sense of apathy and a complete lack of interest in sexuality and intimate emotional connection with others, or with ones purpose and creative work in the world.

I have used both the flower essence of the bright red ocotillo blossoms, and the tincture of the bark and leaf to address varying degrees of this manifestation of blocked energy in the physical/emotional/energetic body.  For my part, I found myself as a perfect example of this picture for almost a year- depressed, unable to function or connect with others; unable to do work I loved, completely cut off from my roots.  I felt adrift, lost, and empty. Ocotillo was the medicine I needed, along with support and counsel of someone I trusted, community and re-rooting in the landscape I belong to.  I have worked with ocotillo essence and tincture personally, in addition to hours spent sitting with the plants as they leaf out, and bloom this spring; and as I landed back in my homeland this spring- I found myself at the feet of the Ocotillo, filled with awe and gratitude to this ally for sharing so clearly with me its medicine- that goes far beyond the liver and digestion.  In several cases since I have given ocotillo essence or ocotillo tincture with great benefit to the person, almost immediately.  One client remarked, “The ocotillo has been quite powerful and amazing. I am feeling more like myself than I have in a while.”

Ocotillo also speaks to me of being grounded, ecstatically, knowing fully ones purpose and connected with ones passion, and having the ability to protect and maintain healthy boundaries, while at the same time showing up joyfully and powerfully for living in the present moment and expressing oneself creatively and the ability to be open and responsive (as opposed to reactive) to the environment, to life and to connection with others just on the merits of its appearance and its particular characteristics and how it grows.  Additionally, reflections and confirmations of this information about the medicine has come through sharing it with students in plant medicine circles- in which both tincture and flower essence are taken and the immediate physical and emotional experiences shared, followed by a plant spirit medicine journey, again with insights shared with the group.  The experiences and information shared by these students is cohesive and clear, reflecting my understanding of the plant, even from people who have never worked with Ocotillo medicine previously.

 

Herbalist Mimi Kamp echoes my own sense and understanding of the plant medicine and describes Ocotillo flower essence indication as such: “One’s passion in life frustrated, blocked, or abused becomes a destructive impulse erupting in ANGER, aggression, jealousy, defensiveness, manipulation, complaining, blaming, demanding attention, or just too much talking. Or, the repression of such energy causing mental/ emotional stagnation, LOW VITALITY, and poor self-esteem. ABUSE issues. Sexuality and vital force. Reactivity. Overly sensitive/reactive to external stimuli, allergies.  Deficient fire stimulated, and a negative or wasteful fire expression cooled, calmed, re-centered, and re-channeled into self-healing and creative manifestation. Quiet strength and SELF-CONFIDENCE. Taking RESPONSIBILITY from a deep-rooted place. BOUNDARY and protection. Focus calm and thorough. Stability.”

 

So much vitality and health rests in healthy digestion, but also a healthy connection with self, purpose, passion, and a healthy flow of our energy and emotions.  Ocotillo is a plant with a deep affinity for improving overall vitality of the spirit and core-self, the smooth flow of energy and fluids in the body, and the healthy function of basic processes of digestion and assimilation.  There are of course many plants which can help us with one or more of these needs in our human experience, Ocotillo happens to be the one that grows near me, in the landscape where I belong, in the plant community that I consider my family and friends, and that has personally served me in my own journey to reconnection with self and healthy expression in the world, and to countless members of my community here in the desert.  It is a medicine well worth understanding, and if it doesn’t grow near you, I definitely encourage you to work with the flower essence, as it is a very sustainable and ethical way to connect with the medicine of this plant on an emotional and spiritual level.  There are many souls in the world disconnected from their roots and their passions, their sense of self, and sense of purpose.  This is a medicine appropriate for reconnecting our society and culture as a whole to healthy intimacy with self and other.  To me, Ocotillo is the medicine of ecstatic groundedness, and passionate and appropriate responsiveness to life itself. I am so deeply grateful to work with this unique medicine in my Home land.

 

Sources

Kamp, Mimi. Essences of the Desert. www.essencesofthedesert.blogspot.com

Moore, Michael, Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West.

Drink your Turmeric – Lemonade Style

It started with golden turmeric chai lattes swimming in creamy steamy cups…but, now its 90 degrees, and well, thats just not in my climate friendly repetoire now.  I think turmeric is a wonderful herb that we should be feeling free to use and be creative with, instead of just adding it to our curries.  How can we get a little turmeric every day? Aside from capsules, and tinctures….tumeric lemonadeglass

Lemonade!!

Liver loving!

Digestion boosting!

GI tract inflammation calming!

 

I sip a small glass of this stimulating, tasty and inflammation fighting and digestive supporting tea/lemonade most days.

You can also get creative with the basic recipe, adding your own favorites to change things up!

Turmeric Liver Lovin Lemonade

1/2 gallon jar

1/2 gallon hot boiling water

1 lemon, juice squeezed (more if you like it tart)

2 tbsp turmeric powder (you can use fresh roots if you have them, grated, using slightly more)

2 tsp ginger root powder (or fresh root, grated)

a few tablespoons of honey, to taste (i prefer less sweet)

1 c calendula blossoms

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch chiltepin chile (or cayenne- this is optional if you are not a fan of spicy hot)

1 tsp grated orange zest

turmeric lemonadeMix all the ingredients in a 1/2 gallon canning jar, pour hot water over the mix and stir, let infuse covered overnight.  Strain, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  Sip 8-12 oz once or twice a day.

You can serve this warm if you prefer, which is wonderful for a sore throat, and you can add other favorite herbs to the mix, marshmallow, rosemary, schizandra, green tea, lemongrass, black pepper, etc.

 

 

And here’s an old (from 2007) blog post about Turmeric from Gaia’s Gifts. 

April Medicine Plant Walk ~ Tucson, AZ

spring sandwortr flora

 

APRIL 19th from 8:00 am ~ 2:00 pm

Join Shamanic Herbalist Darcey Blue for a Plant walk in the low desert Riparian zone where we’ll discuss the Plants we see, Medicinal & Edible properties, and Plant Spirit Medicine. We will sit with plants and attune our Hearts to their messages and use a Drum Journey.

Be prepared for all kinds of weather! Bring sun protection (and rain protection!), Snacks, Water, a Journal, a Camera and good shoes.

We meet at Le Buzz Cafe at Tanque Verde and Catalina Hwy at 8 am to caravan/carpool to our walk location

Cost $25

PLEASE Visit this event and details on Facebook at Click Here! While your there Click Join

& RSVP to shamana.flora@gmail.com