Community Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Spiritual Entrepreneur, Mother& Grandma. ~Celebrating Family, Earth and Spirit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Self Care-Aromatic Bathing

 How are you feeling? It feels a bit intense the past few days for me and planetary theory suggests this may be an intense week. Retrograde planets helping to release past issues and work them through is suggested as well. After researching a few theories, I have to say I agree by what I am feeling.
This brings up SELF CARE. This month tends to be financially difficult for many people and the question may arise, How can I do things for myself without money?
A few suggestions. Sip your morning beverage of choice with an open heart of gratitude. You may surprised how that simple act can bring great nourishment. I love coffee.
A mentor has put me to the task of self care everyday. I have had to be creative.
So I used my ordinary rituals to bring nurture to my soul.
When partaking of coffee in the morning, I have found one cup now does me a world of good and is about all I need without adding extra coffee to my cup,like I normally do.
Tasting the bitterness and creaminess of half and half, how it makes my body feel warm, gives me a bit of a wake up, are all part of a very wonderful, mindful practice I hope to continue in all I do. Taking great pleasure in all life has provided me.

I primarily want to write a note of encouragement to enjoy what nature has provided for you, right now, and take a bath to release the tension and stress you may be feeling.
Here is a sample of what we have here in the Jackson Hole Valley.
Pine branches that have fallen down, some lavender leaves from my winterized plant, some thyme that is in my fridge that needs to be used up, sagebrush from a walk I took, and some lavender petals I have instock.
Pine can create some resin in the pan, so I use one for work purposes only. Simmering the pine and sage, and adding the other lighter herbs after simmering the other botanicals first.

This can be strained into a running bath to indulge your body, clean out old energies and help one to relax and feel at ease. And a bonus to creating an aromatic bath by using botanicals in your area, is that it clears out old winter energies in the home. 
Here in Wyoming, we can leave the windows open from time to time, however my cabin faces oddly on the land, and it gets pretty chilled inside, so window opening right now is in bursts. Cleansing the air with simmered botanicals was pure delight. Then the bath to immerse in the awesomeness of it all.
 Bath Bombs made with essential oils based on what you need is also a fabulous Self Care ritual. I make these custom for people with a price of about $8 each. I also have little hearts I bag up for the same.
The fizzie adds a light bit of oil to condition the skin while soaking, is fun, and the essential oils work in the mind, body and emotions during the bathing ritual.
Salts are another fabulous way to self care. I love blending Dead Sea Salt with other salts around the world. The Dead Sea has been used for healing a long time. Detoxification is a primary function of salts. Adding minerals at the same time. I custom blend salts as well. You can do the same at home. Epsom Salts are easy to obtain and work wonders in the bath. Magnesium is high in Epsom Salt which releases muscle tension and can assist in a good nights rest. Since many people are magnesium deficient, this is an awesome  way to nourish the body.

Candlelight, music, and a beverage of your choice is also an awesome way to Self Care during a bath. Light a few candles, aromatic vessel, lantern, tea light....whatever you have, and enjoy the dancing light as you recline in your tub.It tends to lighten the emotional load somehow. Adding an aromatic also can assist that process in the brain.

And to those folks that are sensitive to scents, pure botanical oils tend to be uplifting and do not cause problems that synthetic fragrances do. However, if you are sensitive to any fragrances at all, unscented pure salts, unscented candles and time for yourself will still be nurturing.
I encourage you to SELF CARE however you can. The aromatic bath for myself and most people I serve, is the most available and nourishing way to clear out a hectic day to make room for a restful night.  Namaste

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cottonwood-King of Cheers

If there is one herb I talk alot about with great passion, it is the Wyoming Cottonwood tree. This tree is cursed for the cotton it produces in springtime, which makes a mess and does cause some allergies in sensitive individuals. After teaching a class at the Native Plant Society, people then began to see some positive attributes for this Poplus family, in fact the feedback was always this was what they most remembered.
This is a Cottonwood branch up close with a stand behind it along a water way.

The Populus family is often thought of as the first aspirin, with the family containing salicylates in Willows, Aspens and Cottonwoods.
All parts of Cottonwood can be used. However my favorite part, and one I feel is strongest, is the buds. The leaves will birst forth from these in springtime so harvest and preparation must be intentional to get it all done. One the buds burst forth, one will have to wait until fall, winter, spring, depending on which Populus species is harvested. In late fall, I was able to harvest some fat juicy Aspen buds. Cottonwood on the other hand, not so yet, in my experience. Since I am not yet a winter sport partaker, I must wait until I can get to the trees in spring to harvest the buds. Cottonwood loves the water, so you will find most natural stands near the rivers. Willow likes water too. However both I see naturalized in town, so one can walk along their street and possibly find these trees in the area. Cottonwood however, can look really gnarly, deep creviced bark and sometimes just like a web of mess along the trunk with branches coming out everywhere in a strange area.
In late spring as those leaves are about to unfurl, the aroma is intoxicating. Love it or hate it, it is quite a pheromone experience for me.

In plant medicine, using the buds, my favorite way is to harvest, fill my clean mason jar, with buds and fill and  top off with pure oil.
The only difficulty is finding strong buds. Most of these buds will have a caramel color bud and new growth on the branches. Old and overwintered buds will often be black. Those are not typically what you want to use for good medicine, but I can attest, as long as there is resin on those black buds, it will still work in a pinch.

See how dark these buds are? Yet you can see the resin on it . But what you really want to gather is this

How to find buds? The very best way is to gather from what the tree has dropped off on its own through storms and wind. Why? Well, they typically come from the upper tree, one cannot possibly get to, and the buds are big! And nothing is taken from the tree at all by the gatherer.
However, it is sometimes not enough, and hand gathering from the branches must be employed, in which case, smaller buds will be harvested due to being closer to the ground.  The most succulent bud is typically on the end of the branch. NEVER take this one. That is the mama of the entire branch and taking that terminal bud will effect the nutrients needed for the health of that branch. Dont mess with mama!

Back to show the branch again. That thicker beautiful bud at the end of the branch is MAMA.

The resin, as you can see will get all over your hands. I have resin on my computer and cellphone due to work related things while processing buds.
It is a dirty job-but most work herbalists do get us dirty ~so pretty normal.

This year, I am also working more with those branches. Green inside, they still contain the active ingredient most of us seek cottonwood for. Pain Relief. However, another well known use is digestive bitter. I make cottonwood medicine primarily for preserving my natural care products, and pain relief, with its next known use of antisepetic and healing care for all manners of wounds.
I make salve with that which is the infused oil, strained, and beeswax added to create a firm ointment that can be taken along in the first aid kit in the wild, or kept in the house for those things that come up.
The branches this year will be used in a topical liniment I am creating with a local therapist for massage with sport soreness and injury. This will evolve with other local plants as spring turns to summer and the best plants are available in our mountain range. I am really excited about this project.
I also tincture the buds in grain alcohol or brandy. I have used it to ward off liver headaches in which something effected me and taking the cottonwood tincture, it calms down to nothing in a short amount of time.
My best use yet, for cottonwood oil was this year when I tore a ligament in my left arm. My buds had been soaking less than a week.
3 weeks of pain in my left arm, I had it looked at. I received the diagnosis and was given the option for a cortisone shot or rest and let it heal, which I chose the latter. That day, I warmed the cottonwood oil and applied and not only did the pain get eased very well, it also felt things were healing rapidly from that point on. This is not a typical plant for wound healing speed, however it worked for me that way. A total shift in pain and use of my left arm after using it daily.

I will have some of these items I mention in my shoppe and once it is gone it is gone. It is useful to ask me if it is sold out, as I often tier my batches, this area one week, this area another. So sometimes new medicine is about to come to the shoppe, but again, once I run out, I cannot obtain more until the season is right.

If you have cottonwood in your area, these are a few ways I work with them and use them. There is alot of history in ethnobotany of this species as well. You can check your local library for that. I know one of my favorite things was a Native American drum made with cottonwood and skin.
Also, at our cabin, I use thick branches to dry my dishes on the drying mat. I love washing dishes but drying is not my favorite part so I leave them. The branches give enough airflow to dry the dishes. Just because I love it so.
So look for those downed branches, even if the leaves have opened, the branches that have fallen may provide enough to get you through a year in your personal first aid kit. Namaste~ Kristena

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fyre Cyder, Dragons Breath, Kick Ass Tonic

Call this what you'd like. Amazing herbal tonic, sinus reliever, circulation elixir, immune system tonic, digestive warmer, marinade....
At the current time, an herbal company is attempting to trademark the name Fire Cider. The term fire cider has been carried over for a long long time and herbalist Rosemary Gladstar has this in her recipe books as well. This does have the herbal community very upset, as if this trademark is approved, something we have called this elixir for a long time and learned from our teachers is being stolen, in a sense. Many people would have to have their printing companies redo their labels with a new name to avoid legal issues of something there should not be legal issues with anyway. Thanks Shire Company for the chaos.
So, I am going to give you a recipe I love for this and call it what you will. Change the spelling or get creative with it.

The ingredients shown above are divided between 3 different 2 cup mason jars. Each jar has an addition of some other spices to make it even, well, spicier. Pink and White Peppercorns and berries, fresh herbs like oregano, cayenne and thyme. Adapt this to what you like.

1 large onion
3 jalepenos
1 clove garlic
1 grated horseradish root
3 small ginger root grated
1 large lemon with zest and juice
1 pinch of turmeric
Apple cider vinegar covering all the herbs into each jar
Place wax paper over the top when done before sealing so the metal lid does not corrode.

Leave about 3 weeks to steep. Be sure to check on it well the first couple days to be sure the vinegar is covering all the herbs. Then from time to time take a peek and top off as needed.

After 3 weeks or so, strain the mixture, squeezing well all the vinegar out of the herbs.

At this point, many people like to add honey to taste. I add it to one or two of my jars and leave the other unsweetened, as it can be sweetened later if desired.
This is so tasty on steamed greens. Often, people will take this by the spoonful for energy. The only downside to this is very strong garlic smell, so if you are going to be around people that day, keep that in mind. I take mine when I am working alone or at night most often if I will be around people during the day. It is awesome for cold days, for marinading foods, and when one is starting to feel a bit under the weather. Sometimes this is enough to help one bounce back before illness sets in. The horseradish helps to clear sinus cavities that tend to get stuck mucus or hard mucus from heat or exposure to dust.

Make your own and call it what you will. An hour of prep at the most will give you enough so that you are set for the winter. I often trade this for services and gift give as well, since it is made with love to those that don't have much time to cook and prepare something like this. Enjoy...Namaste

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Earthy Herb Chick Looks For a Job

This post was going to be on how to make Fire Cider, an immune boosting, energy giving, sinus clearing, awesome old time recipe that works great also for marinades, salad dressings and on steamed greens.
However, my girlfriends and I had fun on Facebook with this, so I thought I would pass it along and hopefully bring you some lighthearted fun. The next post should be on Fire Cider, a recipe you can make, or buy it from me if you dont have time, only I trade it for services so often, I usually don't list it for sale. I am excited to share this recipe with you so keep your eye out for that.

So this goofy topic got started when I was given some beautiful clothing the other day. Professional type of things. I love everything, but honestly, at times it feels foreign. I am pretty down to earth and often don't exactly know how to put these professional things together. So we came up with a fun exaggerated album to describe how out of the element this stuff can feel for an herbalist. Or I should say herbalists like me that dresses in comfortable clothing and ready for harvesting or making things the majority of the time. Working with oils and soap calls for clothing that is not this nice, and since I work with this stuff daily, you will get the point as I bet most of you can relate. Enjoy.....

Popping Organic Candys to Wake up in the indoors. At least I am wearing an Organic Skirt and it feels good:)
Yes Sir, I do have hiking boots on with my houndstooth skirt because I want to harvest usnea on my lunchbreak. My tag is showing?? Oops I put my shirt on inside out. It looks the same both ways.

Is this pajamas or a dress??? It only says J Crew
Uh not again, my big butt busted the clasp and it fell down in the parking lot at the whole grocer too (not exaggerated-that happened a couple weeks before)

Ummm I feel like my breasts are showing. Oh the resume, ya I know it is a little wet, but its ok. I gave my girlfriend a ride and her baby spit up on it but it really is ok because she exclusively breastfeeds and is an organic vegan

They told me I would have more self confidence if I wore a bra:)

My boys said I look office presentable of course they are color blind

I went to pull out my pen for paperwork and pulled out my raw hemp rolling papers instead...oops Its for mullein

WTF??? I still can't figure it out

Can't you just love me for me????

I did it! I finally match:)

Thanks to my mama friends who sparked the little kid in me to take a break and have fun. I hope you can entice your inner child to play a little bit to. Namaste

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dandelion Balls-Crafting Fun for the Family


I am not sure where I had seen these, but I fell in love instantly of course. Dandelions to an herbalist mean something wonderful and helpful to the body. And if you were a child that blew the tops and made wishes, it can bring out the kid in us as well.

This craft is so simple that even the wee ones can do this with minimal help.

First off, purchase styrofoam balls at a craft shop. This time of year our dollar store has them as well.

Buy qtips. Cut the qtips in half.

Poke each qtip into the styrofoam ball until covered.

Mix some food coloring in water to the desired shade to color the qtips. Roll the qtip covered ball into the coloring and allow to dry. You may want to do this a few times for even and brilliant color.

If you want some wild dandelions, paint the styrofoam balls and allow to dry before inserting the qtips.

Attach to silk flower stems, sticks, or anything strong enough to stand upright. They brighten up the room indeed.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is your skin feeling like this???

When we relocated to our safe place, I had only a few made and cured bars with me. Many were going places and I was waiting for supplies to make the new lines for the season. We were blessed with some nice looking bars. Dead Sea Mud, another 2 from higher end companies, and we were grateful to have soap while mine cured.
However, I my skin was feeling miserable, even waking me at night, and I was not sure why until I looked at the soap given us. That is exactly how my skin had felt!

 But when I was able to use my bars, I dont even need to moisturize most of the time. They cleanse and condition. Handmade soap retains the glycerin the chemical reaction creates, but is much stronger than glycerin soap and has herbs and oils to work even harder at wrapping your body up in skin healthy vitamins and minerals. They with most of my bars, the aromatherapy part brings in the bliss:)

So I was thinking that the cost of making soap, at least for me, can be pretty steep. But I also dont have to buy other products to fix the dryness and scaly itchy yuck I was going through with store bought soap. So in the long run, I am using a small amount of product to keep my skin as young and pliable as possible without extra things for 6 or 7 dollars. And my soap anyway, gives me aromatherapy delight and can help me after my shower with courage, energy or calm, depending on what it is. So, in the long run. it is way less cost, because when I was using the other soaps above, the ones with cracks, I had to use other things to make my skin calm which never totally worked anyway.
If your skin is struggling through this change of season, try handcrafted soap and see if that rocks your world in a good way. For my and mine, I know, especially after this experience, it works!  And people love getting this as gifts most of the time. I gave a basket to a pastor once, without a thank you and he probably threw them away. But thinking back, he was alot like that cracked, worn out dry soap anyway that lied and manipulated. But 99 percent of other people will appreciate handcrafted soap, especially when it helps their skin troubles and smells so darn good.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soap Free Face Wash by Dreamseeds

Cleansing Grains were introduced to me as I was studying herbalism and reading Rosemary Gladstar's work. This is an organic, herbal and natural care product that is wonderful for all skin types. I have this canister listed on Etsy currently and will put it on the HC store later today.  Great gift idea for your people or something special for yourself. Looks great in the bathroom and once you are done, the canister can be reused for another wonderful product. Or you can reorder a bag of grains from me to refill. Have a wonderful week. Here is the write up on Etsy for this product.

This is a favorite old herbal soap free cleanser that works wonders on the face. Crafted with fresh ground organic oats, lavender, roses, calendula, peppermint, corn meal, french green clay, rose clay, and essential oils. I really love how silky smooth my skin feels after using this. Add 1-2 tsp of grains to enough water, hydrosol, even yogurt, honey or your favorite medium, stir and make a paste and clean away! Rinse with warm water. 
This gentle cleanser helps increase circulation, absorb excess oil, removes dead skin cells, and revitalizes your face very gently, without harsh dryness. This can also help some folks with breakouts.

This comes in a lovely glass canister that will be loved by yourself or as a gift for a loved one.
Contains 50-75 applications. Store in a cool and dry place for longest shelf life.

For orders outside the United States, please convo me so I can check on shipping prices for you. The postal prices have not been very accurate, so I feel better to check first. Thank you