An integrative approach to healing ourselves and our world: honoring people, plants, planet

Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Love Medicine: Traditional and Scientific Uses of Herbs for Love

Nature loves. It shows its heart if you look.

Nature loves. It shows its heart if you look.

In his song “Nature Boy,” Nat King Cole sings, “The greatest thing you have to learn is just to love, and be loved in return.” Nature is abundant with plants that help us learn to love and be loved in return—and not all of them are for the Viagra-kind of love.

The quest for romantic love is a part of the human condition. Daniel Moerman, author of Native American Ethnobotany, recorded over a hundred stories of Native American tribes using plants as love charms to lure a potential suitor. For instance, the Iroquois considered asters, which are daisy-like flowers, to be love medicine. Perhaps asters were used like the he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not daisy method of divining a suitor’s sincerity, or they could have been knotted into chains like dandelion-flower necklaces.

Several tribes used powdered seeds of Columbine to be sprinkled as a kind of love-dust. Other tribes marked a man’s palm with bloodroot, a native wildflower aptly named for the blood-red liquid which oozes from a cut root.

As a more drastic measure—and maybe a last resort for the desperate and restless—yellow dock root was boiled and splashed on the face and clothes to make one more appealing to a love interest. Though, anyone who has seen yellow dock root knows it makes a yellow-staining dye, and therefore, it seems the amorous seeker would be made quite obvious.

Contemporary use of aphrodisiac herbs include performance-enhancing herbs, such as yohimbe or Asian ginseng, which increase virility for men, or female tonics, which help maintain sexual function, such as an herb from India called shatavari, which means “she who has a hundred husbands.” The name conveys its efficacy.

For relaxing into a romantic relationship, damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca or Turnera diffusa) is a traditional herbal beverage, either as a tea or as a Mexican herbal liqueur. Supported by scientific studies, damiana is considered to be a mild antidepressant and nervine, which relaxes and calms the nerves so that a couple isn’t too stressed out to be interested in each other.

Passionflower helps with marriage maintenance.

Passionflower helps with marriage maintenance.

For marriage maintenance, old-timey Appalachian herbalists revived tired domestic partnerships with passionflower vine, appropriate for couples who’ve grown bored in a relationship, having lost the appreciation for the familiar. A recent clinical trial has proven passionflower as effective for anxiety as an anti-anxiety pharmaceutical benzodiazepine, which would likely help the relationship, as well.

More than just finding and keeping a romance, love medicine can foster a sense of togetherness, which is needed in building and maintaining all relationships. Since communication is the key to maintaining healthy relationships, kava kava, a Polynesian herb which means “talk talk,” could be of value. Kava kava has been traditionally used to ease communication and facilitate a win-win conversation when different tribes join together in conversation.

A farmer's market potato heart.

A farmer’s market potato heart.

Most importantly, all love is built upon a compassionate, forgiving self-love. Cultivating self-love involves physically, spiritually and emotionally healing the wounds of the heart, so that one can be open to feeling love for others and allowing oneself to receive love. Reishi mushroom and hawthorn are used as herbal tonics to heal and support the heart on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. By nourishing the heart with antioxidants, and calming the emotional and spiritual mind which, according to Traditional Chinese medicine, resides in the heart, reishi and hawthorn prepare someone to learn to love and be loved in return.

Herbal Help for Mood Disorders: Radio program 12/11 on Highway to Health

Sorrowing old man ("At Eternity's Gate") by Vincent van Gogh

Sorrowing old man (“At Eternity’s Gate”) by Vincent van Gogh

I’m on West Virginia radio tomorrow for the Highway to Health show with Dave Hawkins, 9:15am. It’ll be available at http://www.motherearthworks.com/ immediately after the show.

Herbal Help for Mood Disorders
Therapeutic herbs are used worldwide to relieve anxiety, depression and a host of other mood disorders. Healthy Dave is joined by registered herbalist and psychotherapist Holli Richey to discuss a natural approach to therapy using herbs, psychotherapy and stress management practices designed to help the whole person – body, mind and spirit.

Please call in to (304) 422-3154 at 9:15 AM EST.

Grand Opening: Center for Integrative Medicine, Chattanooga, TN

Rear-view of Center on Main

Rear-view of Center on Main

Lotsa Hoop-La happening on Main Street, Chattanooga, TN this Saturday, Dec 7th. Including the GRAND OPENING of Center on Main, a healing center for Center of Integrative Medicine, Center MedSpa and Center Physical Therapy. The ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Andy Berke is at 12:30. Events at Center on Main include: Ask the Experts Panels, Tai Chi, Zumba, and talks on Acupuncture, Herbs, Spa Treatments, and Gluten-Free Living. Events coincide with the annual festivities of MainX24 Event, which has hundreds of fun experiences all along Main Street for 24 hours.

There will be teas to sample for colds, coughs, and holiday stress relief. Also, you may stock up on liquid extracts for dealing with allergies, cold, flu and coughs. All will be available this weekend.

Making Cold Formulas

Making Cold Formulas

Herb Class this Saturday at Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center, 10-3

Herb Class at Reflection Riding Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center

An Herbal Approach to Healing Chronic Heath Complaints such as Inflammation and Stress

Seasons-Change

September 14th, Saturday, 10-3pm

Learn how to heal common health complaints with gentle herbs. Join herbalist and therapist Holli Richey in a class that will include plant walks, herbal medicine making and an overview of  the ecological pattern of health and disease.

Simple spearmint infusion.

Simple spearmint infusion.

An Herbal Approach to Healing Chronic Heath Complaints such as Inflammation and Stress

Stress provokes the neuro-endocrine-immune systems, and over time can cause an imbalance which looks like a chronic health condition. This class will focus on how to assess the impact of stress and inflammation on the body, and how to return to balanced homeostasis using an ecological approach to herbs. We will also focus on Supporting our Gut–Brain Axis: Herbs for mental and digestive health. The gut (the enteric brain) is considered by some as the secondary brain, and even perhaps the primary brain. This class will focus on herbs that support GI and brain/mood health–and interestingly enough there are a lot! Nature is telling us something.

At the Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center:   Contact CANC for details and registration.    $60

Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center Fall Native Plant Sale Friday, Sept 21-Sept 23

Goldenrod, also called End-of-Summer, is traditionally used as a tea to prevent colds and flus.

Three full days of fascinating talks and native plant walks accompany the annual Fall Native Plant Sale at the beautiful Chattanooga Aroboretum & Nature Center, Reflection Riding. This weekend’s weather will be the kind that makes September feel like a deep satisfying breath. Join me in enjoying the weather at 11am on Saturday while we walk and talk about the medicinal qualities of the native plants at the Arboretum. I’ll talk about how Southeastern Indians, Appalachian settlers, and Confederate doctors used some of the plants that grow around us.

Visit the Arboretum’s website for the full weekend schedule. Talk topics include funky mushrooms, tree ID, tall grass prairies, beneficial insects, and growing tips for native plants.

Crabtree Farms Fall Plant Sale – Saturday, Sept 8th

Come by Crabtree Farms, Chattanooga’s urban educational sustainable agriculture farm, for their annual fall plant sale. I will be speaking about creating an herbal “farmacy” in your yard and how to use it. Or, if you have already started an herb garden, but aren’t sure that you’re putting it to use, you’ll likely go home with some new appreciation for the medicinal qualities of your garden and some confidence in how to use it. My talk is at 10:30am Saturday, and it is followed by great talks on composting by Bud Hines, and an organing gardening Q & A by Joel Houser.

About Crabtree Farms, from their website:

“Crabtree Farms was founded in 1998 to bring urban sustainable agriculture to Chattanooga. The mission of Crabtree Farms is to promote research & education in sustainable agriculture.  Crabtree Farms serves the greater Chattanooga community through education and advocacy programs that teach about growing food sustainably and choosing local produce.”

 

 

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