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Discover the properties of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is also known as medicinal aloe, “lily of the desert” or “elephant’s gall” and it belongs to the family of succulent plants in the genus ‘Aloe’. Its origin is believed to be in Sudan and has been used for more than 6,000 years, being recognized by many civilizations including the Egyptians, Spanish, Persians, Greeks, Italians, Africans, Japanese, and Indians. It grows best in warm and dry climates and that is why it is densely found in those areas, but it can be easily grown both indoors and outdoors.

Aloe Vera plant is often a stemless or sometimes very short-stemmed juicy plant that grows around 60–100 cm in height and the offsets spread out wide. The leaves of this plant are thick and fleshy and the color varies from green to gray-green. Some varieties of this plant have white flecks on the upper and lower portions of the stem surfaces. The margin of the leaves is like saw-tooth and the flowers bloom during the summer. Each leaf is full of a slimy tissue that stores water, which makes the leaves thick.

This slimy, water-filled tissue is the “gel” we usually associate with Aloe Vera products, and it contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. This plant has also compounds such as mannans, polysaccharides, lectins, and anthraquinones that are extremely beneficial for human health. Let’s have a look at all the benefits of this amazing plant:

  • For skin care (wounds, sores, rashes, etc.)

The pure inner gel extracted from the Aloe leaf is the best natural remedy for skin abrasions and it also helps diminish the symptoms of aging skin conditions like wrinkles. Many skin care and personal care products, toiletries, and cosmetics include Aloe extracts. In fact, if you have its plant at home, simply tear a small part of the leaf, take the gel and apply it in the raw form on your face. The topical external use of this plant is the most commonly known and it has long been known as a treatment for sores, particularly burns, including sunburns. Some people prefer drinking its juice, which also enhances skin health, as the properties of the plant work internally. It also helps in curing stings, rashes, acne, and psoriasis.

  • For beauty (moisturizer, hair care, teeth care etc.)

Aloe Vera has proven to be an excellent option for promoting naturally hair growth and essential to retain voluminous and healthy hair. You can apply its gel to the entire scalp or use a shampoo, which stimultaing your scalp can improves blood circulation and keeps you away from stress and mental tiredness.

Dental and gum diseases can also be cured by Aloe Vera. You can try out this natural remedy at home: put some of its powder on your toothbrush, then brush normally. It will soothe your gums and cure any kind of infection or bruises.

  • For digestion

The adaptogenic properties of Aloe Vera are beneficial for a proper digestion. It ensures better nutrient absorption and also eliminates harmful elements through smooth excretion. Its compounds called polysaccharides have the ability to cure a host of digestive disorders and ulcers, which are one of the most prominent consequences of digestive problems. Many studies have proven that with its anti-inflamamtory qualities it improves issues like Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcers, and other digestive tract disorders, mainly driven by the inflammation of digestive organs.

  • For constipation

This time it is not the gel, but the latex, that provides the benefits. The latex is a sticky yellow residue found just under the skin of the leaf and the key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin, or barbaloin, which has well-established laxative and diuretic effects (however, some concerns have been raised about safety issues with frequent use).

  • For immunity

Aloe Vera gel, again, contains powerful antioxidants, which belong to a large family of substances known as polyphenols. These polyphenols, along with several other compounds in Aloe vera, can help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans. Beverages made with aloe vera juice possess natural detoxifying properties that effectively cleanse the digestive system and the circulatory system. As the absorption level of nutrients accelerates, it results in better blood circulation and also improves health. Infact, when the blood is oxygen-rich, it automatically provides nutrients within the cells more proficiently. Zinc is also an important component in this fantastic plant and it’s essential to maintain a proper immune function.

  • For diabetes and general regulation of blood sugar

Some evidence in humans and animals suggested that Aloe Vera is able to alleviate the chronic hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level) and perturbed lipid (fat) profile that are common among people with diabetes and are major risk factors for cardiovascular complications.

  • For pain

The extract of Aloe Vera has shown to be an excellent stimulant of the uterus and intake of its juice is very beneficial during painful menstruation.

The anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe Vera help it to work efficiently on joints and muscle pains, caused by heavy physical acivity or diseases like gout or arthritis. Applying Aloe gel topically eases inflammation and swelling of the joints.

Aloe Vera Smoothie Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups of coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • lemon, if you like it
  • 1 cup of fresh mango (or any other fruit you like!)
  • 1 fresh banana (or any other fruit again!)
  • a handful of fresh mint
  • 1 medium Aloe Vera leaf filletted (1/2 cups)

How to fillet an Aloe Vera leaf:

  1. First, cut off any white parts close to the root of the leaf.
  2. Then trim the prickly sides by slicing them off entirely using a paring knife. When doing so, try to take off as little as possible.
  3. With the convex side facing up, use a potato peeler to remove the skin from the leaf. Alternatively, you can slice off the top skin with the knife.
  4. Then, slide the knife under the gel to separate it from the leaf skin, making sure there is no leftover skin on the gel.
  5. Dice the gel into smaller pieces. Refrigerate and cover your leftover Aloe.
  6. Add straight into your blender or juicer with the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Enjoy!

Create your home made herbal remedy

Nowadays deciding to be treated only with herbal/holistic/homeopatic remedies is becoming a thing. People want to go back to the oringins, being more healthy and natural, find a way to cure themselves minimizing the risks and potential side effects. DIY is becoming generally very popular as well, maybe for the lack of trust in the health system or for feeding our curiosity and improve our own skills. No matter what are the reasons for both these tendencies, but I thought it would be interesting writing about it, combining the herbal remedies with the DIY side. Obviously you need some knowledge in order to treat yourself properly, so I suggest you to take these advices only if you have some experience or after you have spoken with a professional herbal therapist for the dosage and type of herb you may need to use.


Let’s start from the very beginning, so by collecting herbs from field or garden. For a number of good reasons you should gather your own herbs: you are assured of their freshness and potency, you also know their source, if they are clean, pure and wholesome. You will also save yourself money and gain self-sufficiency and with time you will build an increasing knowledge of plants and their medicinal uses. Although each herb is different and some may require unique handling, the following general principles can be used for gathering herbs:

  • Herbs are generally gathered according to their particular growth cycle: annuals (plants that have one growing season, the seed germinates the plant flowers and bears fruit and then dies), biennials (plants which germinate and establish a good root system during the first year, flower and bear fruit at the end of the second year, and then die ), or perennials (plants that live and bear fruit a number of years before they die).
  • Herbs must be gathered in dry weather, as those collected in moist or rainy periods are generally weaker and more apt to spoil.
  • Gather in the cool of the morning after the dew has evaporated or in the evening before the dew forms on the plant. Also before the sun is high in the sky.
  • Preferably gather wild plants from high, dry soils, exposed to clean air and abundant sunshine.
  • In all cases, gathering must be selective according to the type of plant and the part to be used (flowers, leaves, roots, etc.).

It is an excellent thing to do cultivating your own herbs in the garden, and I would encourage you to consider it, but try to be selective in the number of herbs you are going to grow. If you do not have enough time, space or knowledge, just purchase what you need from a health shop or a recognised herbal supplier. This is the most quick method to start herbalism.

Once collected your herbs, you need to know how to dry and storage them in a proper way, in order not to lose much of their medicinal value. Dry all herbs carefully outdoors (spreading a layer of herbs on a drying screen in the shade as quickly as possible), indoors (in a dust-free room, at mild temperature, on a drying screen covered away from direct sunlight) or with artificial heat (be very careful, oven drying under 38°C is difficult and often done improperly).

To store them, place them in a tight appropriate container, not made of formaldehyde or certain damaging plastic types, and seal with sealing wax to keep the air from getting to the herb. Always label and date them, and make sure they are used within a year. Never put them under direct sunlight or in room too hot or cold. If its a oil, use a brown bottle or can.

General guidelines should be also followed when starting making your own preparations, for example never use aluminium ware as it poisons with its gases and metallic acid, stainless-steel ware is the best because it does not break, although you should watch for over-high temperatures that cause burning.

It is time now to describe the most common various herbal preparations. Remember that dosages must be adjusted according to personal need.

Capsule: Take the herbal powders and other materials that, because of their nauseous taste or smell, would otherwise be difficult to administer, and place them into a soluble gelatin shell or capsule. These capsules are easy to buy and they are made in different sizes for easy swallowing, with numbers 1 to 4, 0, and 00 being the most common. To fill the capsule, simply take the two halves of a capsule apart and push these halves into the powder and towards each other, pressing the halves together again and at the same time compressing the powder. Dosage depends on the age, size, vitality, condition being treated, and the strength of the ingredients in the capsule itself.

Decoction: This is a process used with hard materials such as roots and barks, chips, etc. Decoctions are intended for immediate use within a twenty-four hour period (72-hour maximum limit when stored in a very cool place) and are generally made by pouring cold water upon fresh or dried herbs. The harder the material, the longer the simmering and extractive period will be. Consider to pulverize them first by mechanical means or pounding; next, soak the ingredients for twelve hours, then set this liquid on the fire and gradually heat to a slight boil. After the extractive period, drain off the liquid while hot and press the herb hard to make sure that all of the therapeutic ingredients are removed, then let stand until cool.

The usual preparation is 1 ounce of herb placed into 1 and half pints of cold water (the half pint will be lost in the extractive process). The herb and liquid is then brought slowly to a boil. The decoction differs from the infusion in that heat is applied and continued over a period of time, because roots and barks generally need longer heating to extract their active principles. When cool, pour off the clear liquid on top, separating it from the settlings and, finally, sweeten to taste. Add more water when decoctions are too strong. Dosage depends on age, size and temperament, but generally 2 fluid ounces to a cupful of liquid three times a day.

Infusion: An infusion extracts the active principles of herbs in water, or other fluid, without simmering or boiling;. Pour a liquid over the raw or powdered herb. The liquid may be hot or cold, but the flavour of the herb is generally much stronger and the action is much faster when made and administered hot. Generally a standard infusion is used with the lighter herbs (such as the leaves, flowers, etc.), and is made by placing one teaspoonful of finely cut dried herb or two teaspoonfuls of bruised fresh herb into a cup and adding boiling, distilled water; cover and let steep for 15 minutes; strain and drink.

Be sure to cover the vessel and stir occasionally, and then carefully strain off the clear liquid. Dosage varies according to type of herb and problem condition, but usually one cupful three times a day. Regulate the quantity to fit the patient’s strength, kidney problems, extreme debilitation, etc.

Oil: This preparation is made from the plant oils. For instance, with the mints (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), the oils come from the leaves. Many of these oils, when properly made (with olive oil), do not go into rancidity easily. The amount of herbs used depends upon the quantity of oil desired, but often a pound of fresh herbs to a pint of olive oil is used. Simmer the herbs for hours until the oil comes out of the herb. In the case of cloves, grind up fine, and simmer the powder in olive oil at a temperature of 50-65°C. Never use mineraloils. For olive oil, which is high in nutritional value, massage as much as the skin will absorb; it can be also used in small doses internally, except when for gallstones or kidney stones.

Ointment: It is a soft, semi-solid fatty herbal preparation used for a protective and emollient effect, liquefying when applied externally. Ointment bases are generally composed of various mixtures of waxes, animal and vegetable oils and the medicinal substances are mixed with them. Start with a melted base, such as olive oil and beeswax, and combine with herb. A good standard is 14 ounces of olive oil, 2 ounces of beeswax, and 1 pound of fresh or 1 and half pound of dry herbs. Place into a closed container, put into the oven and leave there at low heat (around 80°C) for 3-4 hours. Periodically, take a fork and lift the fresh herbs to see if they aregetting browned and brittle, and whether the oil has drawn the value from the herb. Vaseline as a base is generally inferior to animalor plant oils, but may be used if you do not want the preparation to be absorbed quickly into the skin.

Pill/Tablet: In this case the herbal agent is ground into a very fine powder and mixed with a mucilage of gum Arabic (made by dissolving gum Arabic in water), slippery elm, or a syrup, etc. which is then worked up into a pill mass. A portion is then cut off, sliced into small strips and then into smaller pill-sized pieces, which are then rolled into little round balls for easy administration. A small amount of powdered rhubarb or flour on the board in preparation will keep the mass from sticking, but keep the pill mass in a quite firm consistency, or else the excess mucilage or syrup will absorb too much rhubarb or flour.

Pills can be coated or uncoated, but the pearl-coated pill is a favourite and is readily soluble in the stomach. Pills are usually made so that one pill equals about 300-400 milligrams of the herbal compound. A pill differs from a tablet in that a pill needs mucilage or other substance added to keep the herbal agent in an adhesive mass, whereas the tablet will adhere by its own characteristics upon compression.

Poultrice: This herbal preparation is a soft, semi-liquid mass made of some cohesive substance mixed with water, vinegar or other substances, and used for supplying heat and moisture to an area, or to act as a local stimulant. Have the herbs ground or granulated. When using fine powder, just use enough moisture to make a thick paste, and when using the granulated form, a thick paste may be made with a mixture of water and cornmeal. If fresh green leaves are used, simply heat, bruise, triturate or chop the leaves up finely, and apply to the affected parts. Be generous in making poultices, covering the afflicted area thickly.

Spirit: It is an alcoholic or hydro-alcoholic preparation containing ordinary alcohol and a watery liquid that has been distilled from an alcoholic tincture or mash. It is a volatile prepared by distillation, whereas a tincture is prepared by infusing the volatile substance in alcohol. These are used as tonics, etc.  A few drops on up are used as specified.

Syrup: A thick, sticky liquid preparation made by dissolving sugar into distilled water, decoctions, infusions, juices, or other aqueous solution, and it is used to suspend medicinal or flavouring agents for easy administration alone, or to combine with other preparations. For making a syrup with herbs, settle out the heavier matter and pour off the clear liquid; then add to that 1 and 3/4 pounds of sugar, place into an appropriate vessel, heat until the sugar is melted, cool, and store for future use. Another formula for making a simple syrup is to pour 1 pint of boiling water over 2 and half pounds of sugar, place on a hot stove and stir until the liquid begins to boil, and then instantly remove. Dosage varies from 1 teaspoonful to 1 tablespoonful once or few times per day.

Tincture: This is technically a fluid extract, but the medicinal virtues are extracted into solution with grain alcohol or vinegar, which are better preservative for long term storage of extracts. Take approximately 4 ounces of ground dried herbs or 8 ounces of finely chopped fresh herbs and place them in a glass bottle with at least 16 ounces of alcohol or vinegar, until the herb is completely submerged under the liquid. This is tightly capped and each day for 10 days to 2 weeks the bottle is shaken vigorously at least 3 times a day or more. Extract all liquids, squeezing the herb residue thoroughly, with a regular juice press, or wring out by hand through cloth, etc.

After the liquid is extracted, place the tincture extract in dark or painted bottles, stopper thoroughly and store. When administering a tincture internally, you may evaporate the alcohol from the solution by putting it into hot water, or it can be taken as is. Dilute at least 1 teaspoonful of tincture to each cup of water.

Comprehend Ouserlves through our Aura – Part 1

The aura given out by a person is as much a part of them as their flesh – Lucien Freud

Someone once wrote that “we are spirits having a human experience” and it is actually this spirit’s frequency which vibrates creating the energetic field around us. This field around our physical body is known nowadays as the “aura“. Such a belief comes back to Egyptian and Hindu times, when it was thought that we have 10 colorful auric bodies which can generally be seen radiating from 6-18 inches outside of the physical system. Later in our holistic and energy-life path as human being, by the time we were also developing more our scientific knowledge and point of view of the world, we assigned to this belief the name of “subtle anatomy”.

As I was writing above, the subtle anatomy surrounding a person refers to the aura, or our electromagnetic field. It is ovoid in shape, with the widest part around the head and the narrowest under the feet. The aura is made up of seven layers or bodies, each of them interpenetrating and working with others.

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The layers consist of the etheric, emotional, mental, astral, etheric template, celestial and casual bodies.

Closest to the physical body lies the etheric body. This layer is the blue print of the physical body, and disintegrates with it at death. It is here that can be seen or felt as an accumulation of energy in the wrong place, which if it is not eradicated it will progress into a disorder or proper disease in the physical body. The etheric body contains the Chakras, our central wheels of rotating energy, and Nadis, the energy channels connected with the nervous system.

The second aura layer is called the emotional layer and extends two to four inches away from the physical body. This layer is primarily connected to the second chakra, feelings, emotions and experience. It is constantly in a state of change, reflective of our current mood. This layer also stores unsettled emotions such as fear, resentment, and loneliness. The energies present in the second aura layer will communicate with the first layer, and then process this information into the physical body. That’s the reason why usually physical tension, muscle cramps and upset stomach could be a result of the first layer being bombarded by emotional pain.

The third aura layer is the mental body, extending itself four to eight inches from the physical body. This layer is connected to the third chakra, our consciousness, ideas, logical processes, belief systems and intellect. Here stay our mental health and/or mental issues, thoughts and ideas are rationalized and validated. Every thought that we have creates a form or shape: if we think negative thoughts, they will attract other negative thought forms, and thereby amplify the original thought. Same for positive thoughts.

The astral layer is also called “bridge layer”, as it is a window to our spiritual nature, separating the first three layers from the outer three aura layers. It is eight to twelve inches away from the physical body and connects to the fourth chakra, our sense of love, well-being, expansion and life-balance.

We named the fifth aura layer the etheric template one. It is one to two feet away from the physical body. It connects with the fifth chakra, sound, vibration, communication and creativity. Primarily this layer of the aura serves as a carbon copy of the physical body on the spiritual plane.

The sixth aura layer is called the celestial body. It extends two to three feet away from the body and reflects our subconscious mind, memories, dreams, spiritual awareness, intuitive knowledge, trust, honesty, and unconditional love. It is where the physical mind comes to connection with the spiritual mind through meditation and devotional practices. The celestial layer holds our experiences of having a connection to something greater than ourselves, untangible.

The causal layer is the link to one may call “God”, “Creator”, “Source”, or “All That Is” within each individual, and extends three to five feet away from the physical body, depending on our spiritual state. The seventh aura layer, or causal layer, is connected to the seventh chakra, all knowledge and all possibilities. This layer protects and holds all other aura layers together, and contains the blueprint of our spiritual path, reflecting all of the soul’s experiences and events through time. So basically, it is the record of all our previous lives, plus the reason for our present incarnation. When we reincarnate, we bring with us the knowledge of the path that we have chosen to walk and the challenges we have selected to meet. But from the moment of birth we are subjected to conditioning which makes us forget our life plan.


I know there is a lot to take in…

So I will let you “digest” all these information first, and I will be back next time focusing on the colors and their meaning of the aura and then on how to start seeing the layers, with some useful tips and suggestions for beginners with the will to learn!

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

 

 

Picture taken from: https://nexusnewsfeed.com/article/consciousness/how-aura-energy-healing-works-1/

 

Natural Hair Care and Treatments

Spending too much on expensive shampoos, conditioners, oils etc. but not getting the desired results that you see in TV ads? It is mostly possible and very common. First, because TV results are obviously overly exaggerated. Second, there an ugly truth we all need to face: hair care is very personal. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. That’s why I decided to write this post and share some tips to my audience, hoping that following these easy and simple beauty advices for hair will give that strenght and shine all of us are looking for!

1. Egg treatment
Use the entire egg to condition your hair. If you have dry or brittle hair, use egg whites to moisturize your hair. Use ½ cup of any egg mixture (egg white, entire egg) and apply to clean, damp hair. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water. You will immediately notice changes.

2. Avoid hot water
I know, it’s hard. But try to skip hot water showers, because hot water will make your hair dry and brittle as it strips protective oils from your hair. Thus, prefer a temperature which is just a bit warmer than your body temperature.

3. Bottle gourd treatment
Extract some bottle gourd juice and apply it into your hair. Keep this solution for half an hour and wash it off thoroughly. This is one of the simple beauty tips for hair that would do wonders.

4. For that shiny soft hair
Prepare a mixture of 1 cup of your daily conditioner and 2-3 tablespoons of honey. Apply this mixture evenly on your wet hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and wash it off thoroughly. This mixture will close down your hair’s cuticle and give your hair 
that amazing shine.

6. Baking soda therapy
Quite a common and well known beauty therapy. Make a mixture of 3 tbsp of baking soda and some water. Rinse your hair with this solution after shampooing. Let it set in for at least 5 minutes before the final rinse. This therapy will help to remove the excess shampoo and styling product from your hair.

7. For bouncy hair
Apply a one to one mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar to your hair. Rinse it thoroughly after 5 minutes to get rid of the apple cider smell.

8. Don’t wash your hair frequently
Wash your hair every 2-3 days, for proper regulation of natural hair oils. Washing your hair less often will also help regain your hair’s naturalbody and luster.

9. For strong hair
Use almond oil to treat dry and damaged hair. It is a very simple procedure, pour some almond oil in a bowl and heat it for 40 seconds. Then evenly distribute on your hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and then rinse normally with shampoo and conditioner using cold water.

10. Say bye-bye to dull hair with lemon juice
After the final rinse, apply 1 tbsp lemon juice to your hair. Simply towel dry your hair and style as normal to get rid of dry hair.

11. Treat sun damaged hair
Make a mixture of ½ cup honey, 1-2 tbsp olive oil and 1-2 tbsp of egg yolk. Apply this mixture on your hair for 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. This treatment will help to replenish keratin protein bonds.

12. Moisturize your hair
Pour a little beer in your wet hair. Distribute evenly and massage your scalp with your fingers for 20 minutes. Then rinse it thoroughly to get rid of the beer smell. Do this procedure once a week, but it is recommended that people with sinus and cold should avoid using this treatment.

13. Do not brush wet hair
Wet hair is three times weaker and thus more likely to break. He recommends, towel dry your hair first and then gently detangle your hair using a wide tooth comb. Also, you should get your hair trimmed at least every six weeks to eliminate dry, split ends.

14. Let your hair air-dry
Allow your hair to dry by itself instead of using a blow-dryer or hot rollers. Using this artificial mode of drying technique will make your hairmore brittle and dry. If you have no time to let your hair air dry, then use blow-dryer sparingly and make sure you use a warm setting instead of a hot setting.

15. Use a miracolous home-made Aloe Vera mask
Against hair fall: Mix two tbsp. of fenugreek tea into one cup of aloe Vera gel. Blend both the ingredients so that you get a smooth paste which is easy to apply and easy to wash. fenugreek is very famous as it makes hair shiny, smooth and thick when used regularly. Apply this hair mask for 30-45 minutes and the rinse out the mixture.

For dry hair: Take 4-5 tbsp. of fresh aloe Vera gel, 3 tbsp. of coconut oil and mix it with 2 tbsp. of honey. Mix everything well and apply this on your hair in root to tip direction. This is a hydrating hair mask and if your hairs are dull and dry then this will nourish them deeply. Keep this mask for 20-25 minutes and then wash off.

For shiny hair: You need 2-3 tbsp. of fresh aloe Vera gel, 2 tbsp. of yoghurt, 1 tbsp. of honey and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl and then apply it on your scalp. Massage your scalp for initial 10-15 minutes and then let it stay for extra 25 minutes. This hair mask will promote hair growth and it also reduces dandruff problem. Repeat it 3-4 times a month.

Reduce and prevent dandruff: Take one cup aloe Vera gel, 2 tbsp. of ACV and one tbsp. of honey. Mix it well and then apply it on your roots and strands. Rinse out the mixture by shampooing regularly. Do this 2 times a month to get rid of dandruff completely.

For hair growth: You need one cup of aloe gel. Add tow tbsp. of castor oil and powdered fenugreek of each in the aloe Vera gel. Mix these ingredients well; you can also blend it in a blender to get a smooth paste for easy application. After everything is mixed start applying it on your roots and strands. Cover your head with shower cap and keep it overnight so that the hair-mask can penetrate deeply. This mask is highly conditioning, nourishing and it also promotes hair growth.

Focus on: The Throat Chakra

Sanskrit name: Visuddha
Element: Akasha
Color: Blue
Shape: Crescent
Petals of the lotus: Sixteen
Rights: To speak
Physical association: Throat, ears, mouth, shoulders, and neck
Psychological function: Communication
Identity: Creative identity
Challenge: Lies
Plane: Human plane
Planets: Mercury
Incense: Frankincense
Herb: Chamomile


 

The Throat Chakra is the fifth chakra and it is the first of the higher or spiritual chakras on the “chakra ladder”. Located at the center of the neck at the level of the throat, it is the passage of the energy between the lower parts of the body and the head. “Visuddha”, which means “pure” or “purification”, is related to the element of sound. Through the throat, sound is propagated into the air and its vibration can be felt not just in our ears, but also in our whole body. That’s why the function of the Throat Chakra is driven by the principle of expression and communication.

The Throat chakra is most commonly represented with the color blue turquoise or aquamarine blue. And its symbol is composed of a circle with sixteen petals, a crescent with a circle inside of it and, sometimes, it is symbolized by a circle containing a downward-pointing triangle in which is inscribed another circle. The most commonly accepted location for the fifth chakra is at the level of the throat. It’s important to remember that this chakra is multidimensional and is often represented as going out of the front of the throat, and going in the back at a slight upward angle.

As a communication center, it not only allows you to express who you are and what you stand for, but also allows you to listen deeply to another. Infact, the gift of this chakra is accepting your originality, expressing your authentic voice and speaking your truth. The energy of this chakra allows you to seek knowledge that is true, beyond limitations of time and space, beyond cultural and family conditioning. A person with an open Visuddha Chakra is a good listener, enables another person to have the experience of being heard, one of the most profound human needs. He/she has also good sense of timing and the propensity to create and projecting ideas, realizing his/her vocation and purpose in life.

The main challenge for the fifth chakra is doubt and negative thinking. A Throat Chakra blockage can also manifest as the inability to express and realize your truth in the world, which can significantly impact your ability to achieve your goals and being able to communicate effectively with others for fear of ridicule and judgement. Lack of control over one’s speech, speaking too much or inappropriately, not being able to listen to others, imperceptible voice, not being able to keep secrets and telling lies are just some of the manifestation of problems related to Visuddha.

But how can you open and rebalance it again?

  • Be blue. Using chakra colors to support or stimulate the fifth chakra opens up a whole array of possibilities. For example, incorporating the color blue into your decor at home and work is a nice, subtle way to bring focus to the throat chakra. The calming effect of this color of wisdom and honesty can help open up and heal a blocked fifth chakra. Wearing precious or semi-precious blue stones is a great boost for chakra healing and balance. Meditating on the color blue also helps alleviate throat chakra imbalance.
  • Yoga for the Throat Chakra primarily focuses on simple neck movements, such as moving you head from side to side, can help ease tension that can block it.
  • Sing and drink water. These are great Throat Chakra cleanser.
  • Clear the air. At-home aromatherapy can help dispel negativity and restore balance to the chakras. Consider introducing one or a combination of these scents to heal and activate your fifth energy center: jasmine, rosemary, sandalwood, calendula.
  • Write it down. Learning how to express yourself without censoring or editing can be valuable. Practice mindful self-expression by journaling. Get it all out on paper and let it sit, then revisit what you have written at a later time.
  • Talk it out. Talk openly with close friends and family. Make it a point to be open and honest with all you say. Simply speaking in a heartfelt way can work wonders to strengthen and balance the throat chakra. Speak the truth with love.
  • Let it be. Letting go is difficult. Holding on to things over which you have no control can lead to resentment, guilt, and anger — all of which contribute to an imbalance of the throat chakra.
  • Work on these believes you may have consciously or subconsciously in order to figure out where they come from and solve them:

Throat Chakra Affirmations

I am open, clear and honest in my communication.
I have a right to speak my truth.
I communicate my feelings with ease.
I express myself creatively through speech, writing or art.
I have a strong will that lets me resolve my challenges.
I nourish my spirit through creativity.
I live an authentic life. I have integrity.
I love to share my experience and wisdom. I know when it is time to listen.
I express my gratitude towards life.
I listen to my body and my feelings to know what my truth is.
I take good care of my physical body.
I am at peace.

Discover the properties of Lobelia

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy and it is one of the greatest herbs ever given to the world. A brief history of this amazing herb starts with the Native Americans, who smoked it as a treatment for respiratory problems. In the 19th century, American physicians prescribed Lobelia to induce vomiting in order to remove toxins from the body. Because of this, it earned the name “puke weed.” After that, the belief that Lobelia was a dangerous poison began, due to the fact that Dr. Samuel Thompson was having an amazing success treting his patient with this herbal remedy, instead of using orthodox medicine.

Nowadays, scientists think an active ingredient in the Lobelia plant, lobeline, may have similar effects to nicotine. For this reason, back in the days they were using lobeline as a nicotine substitute in many antismoking products and preparations designed to break the smoking habit.

In general, Lobelia is an efficient relaxant, the best counter-irritant known to mankind! Its action is felt immediately on the serous, mucous, muscular and nervous system of our body. It is also a powerful antispasmodic, expanding at the same time the contracted parts of the respiratory system, allowing the “breath of life” (oxygenized blood) to flow freely in the whole body.

Lobelia is also commonly known as a “selective thinking herb”. This means that when a foetus is dead or in an extremely weakened condition, this herb will cause it to abort. While, if the foetus is healthy but the mother is sick, it will help the mother healing and strengthen, enabling her to carry the child until the delivery. Then during the labour, Lobelia will allay and regulate the violent pains and ease the spasms. Very effective also for menstrual disorders.

Be careful though! Bear in mind that Lobelia is a potentially toxic herb. You can safely use it in small doses (for example homeopathic doses), but moderate to large doses may cause side effects ranging from dry mouth and nausea to convulsions and even coma. As a general rule, an herbalist should always give it in combination with a stimulant as per its powerful relaxing effects. But anyway, you should use lobelia only under the supervision of your health care provider.

Preparations and Dosage (for adults, with normal weight and no medical conditions):

Decoction, fluid extract, infusion (mostly seeds crushed), pills, poultrice, powder (leaves, stems, flowers and pods), syrup and tincture (green and dried leaves). With prudence, you may give Lobelia in either small or large doses, at shorter or longer intervals:

  • Decoction: 1/2 cupful
  • Fluid extract 10 to 30 drops
  • Infusion 1 cupful
  • Powder 200-650 milligrams
  • Solid Extract 100-300 milligrams
  • Syrup 1 to 4 teaspoons
  • Tincture 1/2-1 teaspoon, or 10 to 30 drops

Syrup of Lobelia (for cough and vomit inducer):

2 and half ounces of Lobelia and 2 ints of distilled water, simmer togheter down to 1 pint. Strain and dissolve 2 pounds of raw sugar or 1 pounds of honey into it. Take 1 teaspoon for coughs or up to 1 cupful as a vomit inducer.

Decoction of Lobelia (for liver problems, jaundice):

1 part of Lobelia, 1 part of Pleurisy root, 1 part of Catnip and 1 part of Bitter root. Mix the herbs well and steep 1 teaspoon of this combination in 1 cup of noiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, then strain. Take 2 tablespoon hot every 2 hours.

Tincture of Lobelia (for relief fever, asthma and spasms):

2 ounces of Lobelia herb, steam and flowers, 2 ounces of crushed Lobelia seeds and 1 pint of apple cider vinegar (better choice than alcohol). Macerate in a tightly capped bottle for 10 to 14 days. Shake every time you walk by it, or at least once a day. Strain off the liquid and bottle it for use.

How to choose your own Bach Flower Remedy

I wrote about Dr Bach’s Flower Remedies here. This time I’m looking at how to find the right remedy for you.

Each person is an individual, with their own emotional world, fears and stresses. Rather than give patients a diagnostic label, Dr Bach suggested that discovering how each person feels should be the guide of choosing individual support and treatment when they are unwell. This is what we could call an “olistic approach” to each patient.

In treating cases with these remedies, no notice is taken of the nature of the disease. The individual is treated and as he becomes well the disease goes, having been case off by the increase in health. (Dr. Bach in The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies)

The remedy dosage

The Bach flower remedies are completely safe and natural and they work exclusively and directly on an emotional level, seeking to balance negative emotions. Their aim is to empower us to support ourselves through difficult times and to help us developing our positive strengths. For obatain the best results an adult should take 4 drops from a treatment bottle 8 times a day for chronic states. For very acute states take 4 drops every 30-60 minutes, reverting to the normal dosage when more balance has returned.

It starts with self reflection

Going into the path of identifying the Bach Flower Remedies that will be the most beneficial, either for yourself or someone else, is a simple process of self-reflection and observation. Easier to say than to do maybe. But remember that no matter what is the issue, you are simply looking for the remedies that will help you bring greater balance to how you think and feel.

Start by looking at how you are reacting to the situation that you are experiencing in a egative way, then review your general reaction to the events and conditions of your life, to identify any general trends or patterns in the way that you think and feel. For example, some people face the world with feelings of hopelessness, doubt or judgement, while others struggle to find balance in their relationships with those around them, and so on.

It is possible to mix almost 293,000,000 different bottles of remedies to suit each person’s individual emotional state. There are 38 individual flower, plus one ready mixed combination which Dr Bach called the “crisis mix”, but it is often known as Rescue Remedy. This is used for emergency help when we feel traumatised, shocked or upset. The remedies can be mixed to match the emotional state of anyone needing support and they can be easily grouped in seven families, in order to help people finding what they need quickly:

  • Fear Group:

Aspen, Cherry Plum, Mimulus, Red Chestnut, Rock Rose

  • Uncertainty Group:

Cerato, Gentian, Gorse, Hornbeam, Scleranthus, Wild Oat

  • Insufficient Interest in Present Circumstances:

Chestnut Bud, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Mustard, Olive, White Chestnut, Wild Rose

  • Over Care for Welfare of Others:

Beech, Chicory, Rock Water, Vervain, Vine

  • Over-sensitive to Influences & Ideas:

Agrimony, Centaury, Holly, Walnut

  • Loneliness Group:

Heather, Impatiens, Water Violet

  • Despondancy or Despair:

Crab Apple, Elm, Larch, Oak, Pine, Star of Bethlehem, Sweet Chestnut, Willow

If you find really hard exploring yourself and your emotions, going through this online questionnaire may help you sorting out your doubts and make a choice:

Online Bach Flower Questionnaire

Also available for purchase.

A look into Iridology

The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden; and like a mirror, they also reflect the person looking into them. (P. Coelho)

When people are asked what they look at first when they notice an attractive person, several answers come to mind. Some say they notice how a person walks or what a person is wearing, their hair or perfume. But a great proportion of people notice the eyes. When we look at each other’s eyes, we can often determine people’s feelings. It is said that the eye is the window to our soul, but it can actually also be the map to our body.

What is Iridology?

Iridology, known also as “iris diagnosis”, is a method used in alternative medicine to analyze the health status by studying the ocular colors, marks and signs in the iris, pupil, and sclera (=the white part of the eye) through a digital specialized camera and lens.

Have you ever noticed clouds or marks in the iris of your eyes? And these clouds change depending on your state of health or age? Have you noticed that your left eye is different than your right eye? There is an explanation.

The Iridology origin

Iridology dates back hundreds of years, but the first iris map developed was in the early 1800’s by a Hungarian doctor named Ignatz von Pezcely. He’s often referred to as the father of iridology. It is said that he captured an injured owl in his backyard once in his childhood. He noticed in one of its eyes that there was a black line but when the owl’s broken leg healed, a white mark appeared where the dark mark was. This incident started a life-long interest and study of iridology.

Since then, many scientists, doctors, and health professionals around the world have studied iridology. It is now taught as a proper profession and  modern medicine has begun to take notice of it as a good diagnosis method in relation to the traditional ones.

How does Iridology work?

But more practically, I presume you are asking yourself, how does it work? How is it possible? Nerve pathways from all over the body are continually sending information to the brain via the part of the brain known as the thalamus and the hypothalamus. These parts of the brain are the basic monitors of all vital activities going on within the body. The thalamus and hypothalamus are connected by nerve fibres to the blood vessels, muscles and surface of the irides. From nerve impulses that are relayed from the thalamus and hypothalamus physiological changes develop in the iris tissue revealing information from all parts of the body that have a nerve supply.

What will your iris tell you?

Please remember that iridology does not diagnose but can identify areas or organs which may be weaker, be over or under active or have poor waste removal. This practice is not able to determine your life path or predict time of death. It also does not reveal pregnancy or the presence of gall or kidney stones, or cancer as these do not have any nerve supply feeding information to the brain. Signs in the iris only show areas within the body that are inflamed, overactive, degenerating or under active, so the iridologist can suggest you the proper therapy you may need (herbal, massage etc.) and/or the specilist doctor you should consult.

To find an iridologist near your area, check online in their professional body The Guild of Naturopathic Iridologists:

Find your iridologist in UK

How to create your herbal pillow

Herbal sleep pillows are a wonderful way to incorporate herbs into our lives. They can help in case of headaches, insomnia, restlessness, and much more, just by releasing in the air the fragrance you need while you are sleeping. They are very simple to make, follow these quick steps in order to create your own personalized herbal pillow!

  1. First select a piece of fabric, preferably cotton or another natural fiber (this is the perfect opportunity to use leftovers). Wash and dry the fabric, and cut it into two pieces, whatever shape you wish. Each piece should be the same size as your finished pillow plus half an inch seam allowance. A six-inch square is good, but you can make it any size you choose.
  2. Place the right sides of the fabric pillow facing each other. Sew them together along three sides, leaving the fourth open for stuffing. Turn the sewn fabric the right side out and press with an iron.
  3. Now you are ready to fill the pillow with your herbal blend! But…which one choose? Obviously it depends on the type of pillow you need. At the end of the article you will find a nice list of herbs you should use considering the effect you want to obtain.
  4. Finish the pillow by sewing the open area shut. For a sewing-free option, use cotton muslin bags or scraps of fabric tied tight with twine or yarn. Leave your pillow in an air-proof bag for at least a day before you use it. This allows the scent to strengthen and enhances its therapeutic effects.
  5. At bedtime or nap-time, tuck your herbal pillow inside your regular pillowcase, or just lay it beside you.

Tips:

  • Cotton balls added to the herbal blend can help make your pillow more comfortable and soft.
  • A fixative or few drops of an essential oil will help your dried herbs retain their fragrance much longer. Fixatives may include: musk, ambergris and cive.
  • Do not sleep with your herbal pillow every night. Allow your body and mind to take their time and not get used to the fragrance very quickly.

Sleep pillows are great for all ages and for those who have a difficult time falling asleep.  For a pillow that encourages deep sleep, blend any of the following organic herbs: catnip, chamomile, hops, lavender, lemon balm, rose petals, rosemary, mint and sweet marjoram.

Dream pillows are for those who want to enhance their dreaming or wish to remember their dreams.  To create a blend that encourages dreaming, use any of the following organic herbs: balsam needles, lemon verbena, mugwort, peppermint, cloves (only 2-4 per pillow) and rose petals.

Anti headache pillows are for those who want to realease their mind from the overthinking and stressfull lives we are living nowadays. To create your natural pain relief pillow add the following herbs: eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint or spearmint, cedar tips, sage leaf, cinnamon and lemon grass.

Bach’s Flower Remedies: 7 FAQs

.Health depends on being in harmony with our souls.

-Dr. E. Bach-

Dr. Edward Bach was a British physician active in the beginning of the 20th century. He saw disease as a physical manifestation of the final stage of unhappiness, fear, worry and “negative” emotions. He looked to nature to find a natural and omeopatic treatment. Over a period of years Dr. Bach found 38 healing flowers and plants, which can be divided in seven groups. With the right preparation they can remove all negative emotional problems.

How do the Remedies work?

The Bach Flower Remedies are a natural method of healing. They gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred and indecision. These feelings interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. The Bach Flower Remedies allow peace and happiness to return to the sufferer so that the body is free to heal itself.

How are the Bach Flower Remedies made?

The Bach Flower Remedies are made 100% naturally from spring water infused with wild flowers, either by the sun-steeped method or by boiling. To be preserved, can be added in the mixture 27% grape based brandy or glycerin made from sunflowers in the alcohol-free version.

What happens if I take too much of the Remedies?

It is impossible to overdose with the Bach Flower Remedies. They are 100% natural and safe. You can drink a whole bottle of Remedies and not “overdose”. However, if you think that “more is better” you are wrong. They work best over a period of time, taken from the treatment or stock bottle at least 4 times a day.

What happens if I take the wrong Remedy?

Nothing is going to happen if you take the wrong Remedies. The Remedy will only work on the energy level that we are having problems with. For example, if you have a “known fear” (MIMULUS should be used) and take ASPEN for “unknown fear”, nothing is going to happen. Your “known fear” will stay and ASPEN will not do anything for you. When you take the wrong Remedy, nothing happens.

What are the difference between Essential Oil and the Bach Flower Remedies?

Essential Oil: As the name says it is a natural tretment based on oil from different plants and flowers. The smell is usually very strong and some of them should be avoided for people with different illnesses, pregnancy, in the sun etc. The Essential Oils comes from the whole world, and they can be taken in many different ways (as ointment, nebuliser, etc.).

The Bach Flower Remedies: They do not smell and they can never do any harm to anyone at anytime. They are made by infusion of wild plants and flowers with spring water. They take more time to actually make an improvement in the body and mind.

Can pregnant women/children/pets take the Bach Flower Remedies?

Bach Flower Remedies are extremely helpful during pregnancy, when the expecting mother goes through a wide range of emotions. The Bach Flower Remedies restore peace of mind when the mother feels her mind and body is unbalanced for any reason. Although you shouldn’t forget that all medication taken during pregnancy should be at a doctor’s direction.

As they are growing and their body and mind is in a costant change and development, children respond very well to the Bach Flower Remedies. They can help children reach a balance within them self, so that they can learn from life’s ups and downs.

Our pets also have emotions and the Bach Flower Remedies are very helpful to aid pets overcome difficult times. For example they have been very successful in calming hyperactive dogs, fearful cats, trips to the vet, moving, etc. The only difficult part is to understand well your pet and give him the right treatment for his situation and emotion, although the wrong one would not cause any harm.

What is Rescue Remedy & Rescue Remedy Cream?

Dr. Bach created an emergency combination of Remedies which he called Rescue Remedy. This is the only remedy which can really assist and makes you feel better immediately without taking time to improve your actual condition. It contains five different Remedies: Star of Bethlehem, Clematis, Impatiens, Cherry Plum and Rock Rose.

Carry it with you in case of emergencies or everyday stress, such as an exam or job interview. On occasions when you are stressed and your mind is over-active, take a dose or two of Rescue Remedy in the evening before going to sleep.