Last Minute Valentine

February 10, 2013

IMG_7083

In your light I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,

Where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do, and that

sight becomes this art.

~Rumi

Dear loved ones,

Now is the time when we focus on the heart.  Of course the heart permeates all that we do every day of the year, but in the month of February we make a conscious effort to remember that which makes ours beat.

I  have a few heart-centered teas and chocolates for you and your valentines…

Loving Kindness:  Hibiscus, rose, hawthorne berry, elderberry, schisandra, and red clover blossom

*Medicinal Properties:  Cardiovascular tonic, blood purifier, magical heart-opener

Taste notes:  Sweet and sour, mildly astringent, grassy

And the (almost) famous and dearly beloved…

Nap in a Field:   Wild oatstraw, skullcap, linden, nettles, lavender, and motherwort

*Medicinal Properties:  Nervine, blood purifier, elixir of ease and good flow

Taste notes:  Sweetly grassy, floral notes, a tiny bit salty

Teas are sold in 1/2 oz and 1 oz quantities, with prices being $6.00 and $12.00 respectively.   Also, limited quantities of…

Herbed Truffles Dark chocolate truffles infused with Damiana cordial and rolled in rose cocoa powder.  Six generously-sized truffles for $10.00

The Sweetheart Sampler:  Six Herbed Truffles and 1/2 oz of both teas, Nap in a Field and Loving Kindness all wrapped up pretty  $25.00

IMG_5202

Get in touch if you’d like to order:  415.613.7010 or wiseleafherbal@gmail.com. *Teas are for supplemental use only, not for treating a medical diagnosis or serious health care condition

IMG_6662

Hatred paralyzes life;  Loves releases it.

Hatred confuses life;  Love harmonizes it.

Hatred darkens life;  Love illuminates it.

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Advertisements

So I’ve been ruminating on roots…inspired by their undergroundedness.

Roots are the below to what is above.  It’s deep.

In a healthy plant, the root structure reflects the foliage.  As the leaves and stems reach wide, so do the root hairs branch below.  It’s the literal, physical foundation for the beauty we witness and appreciate on the surface of things and a wonderful metaphor for these winter times.  A mirror image in the darkness.  A good, quiet secret.

Now that all the rushing of the holidays is finished, we need to rest and restore.  Most likely our nervous systems were overstimulated with travel,  parties, and tons of social time.  When all that goes away, there is a tendency to wonder “Is that all?  It happened so fast.”  Enter the root as metaphor…

A root moves micronutrients and water up into the aerial plant parts.  It’s also a storehouse that feeds the plant in lean times.

Similar to a dormant plant,  it’s important to get back to what roots us–to go back to listening to our our inner dialogue.     Really take the time to ask yourself “Did I have a good holiday?”  “Did I really enjoy that (literal or symbolic) wild airplane ride?”

The New Year is a great opportunity for coming back to the “underground” energy  that feeds us.  The pulse of what gives us our vision,  strength, and stability.

This late fall and early winter season I’ve had the very good fortune of making some amazing roots into medicine.  Both are adaptogenic in nature– a plant that works on moderating the human stress response, helping to develop stamina for life’s bumps and thrills.   Introducing the dynamic duo:

Rhodiola~Rhodiola rosea,  a northern beauty!!  Literally smells like a (rootish)   rose.  Native to Canada, Scandinavia, Siberia.  Used to nourish the lungs, and often taken to prevent sickness in said cold climates.  “Shown to enhance alertness, reduce fatigue, and improve memory and depressed mental states” (Adaptogens, Winston and Maimes.)  Beneficial for the heart, helpful for regulating blood sugar levels and compromised immune systems.  Life feels a little brighter with this plant on your side.

And then there is…

Ashwagandha~Withania somnifera:  the Hindi name for this plant, asgandh, refers to its horse sweat odor.  This fellow may stink up your kitchen (if you are processing it into medicine) but it will also strengthen your chi like no body’s business.  It is calming plant, yet perfect for perking up a sluggish thyroid gland (suitable for hypo folks, not hyperthyroid.)    Works on anxiety and nervousness.  Good for stress-induced insomnia.  I love this plant for how strong it makes me feel…just a small dose once or twice a day makes a noticeable difference when I’ve got projects and no one to complete them but me.

Both handsome roots do so much more than I’ve just given them credit for.  They are the tonics of the winter, the quiet yin heart dirt energy.  Root medicine.   I love that we can both be rooted, and take roots into our bodies.

It’s time to get deep…

Deep rootedness, part one…

November 17, 2011

Lately I’ve been thinking a ton about being deeply rooted..being planted, really.

Secret:  there are days when I long to actually be a plant.  It seems to be a more peaceful, predictable experience.  But when sense starts talking again, I realize I am personifying the phyto-experience, and that is the wrong thing to do.  Both humans, plants, and all species are in the same boat when it comes to control.  That is, we have very little.  We respond to our environment, and respond again.   Leaves move to greet the sun and are literally shaped by lack of water or other extreme conditions.  Roots grow directly into sewer pipes when necessary.

While I am a bit fragile in extreme conditions, I can at least water myself.  I won’t forget and die of thirst, thank goodness.

This fall has been full of lots of harvesting and chopping…Yellow Dock, Skullcap, Blue Vervain, just to name a few.  I am learning how to be an herbalist, and  to remember the deeper cycles of things.

For instance:  Guess what?  You have to harvest when the harvest is ready.  You can’t just put it on your to do list and get back to it.  I am reminded of my mom putting up food (tomatoes, green beans, peaches) until the wee hours of the night.  As a child, I was always so amazed at how late she would stay up to get the job done.   Close enough to being a farm girl, she would fret about picking the peas and what to do with all that zucchini.  Poor dear.  I get it now.  Even though I am tired, getting the herbs chopped up and soaking in the alcohol (to make the medicine) is very important to me.  They receive a lot of star energy as I work late at night after my family has gone to bed.

So as I am dwelling on rootedness, and how I am not so good at it, I am cooking up roots.  Pots of them.  Because I’ve had a bad cold, and now I must make medicine for me.  (Roots for rooting.)  I like this…

Inspiration steeped in fog

August 22, 2011

Well, it’s been ages.  The title of this post is a dead giveaway that my own inspiration seems to be coming and going with the fog here in Northern California.  In and out, not always burning brightly until 3pm, and then only for an hour or so.  Inspiration is a thin, smudged-up hard to open window these days.  Still, it’s a window.

After a frantic early summer, I have literally been head down in the garden, working the dirt and working it some more.  Learning these lessons again and again:  beginnings, leavings, plants gracefully growing and sometimes tragically ending.   Mildewy bud upon mildewy leaf.  Such is the way of the garden, and it is not always easy to accept.  (Like the fog.)

Still, there are glimmers of loveliness and some clear blue skies (which are always a guaranteed inspiration for me.) And of course the fog itself has very important things to offer:

First of all,  a deep and lasting, quiet.  I love how it becomes a buffer for city sounds.  Instant auditory insulation.  Amen.

Then there are the soaked bumblebees early in the morning.  There is something so dearly vulnerable about their damp, slow bodies.  They are a metaphor…we must move slowly through this dense blanket.  Buzzing is for warm days.

With the fog we don’t need to water our gardens as much.  And topical moisture is very nice for the skin.  I know you are appreciating my optimism here, but of course there is a cold side…

When it’s foggy, it feels to me like the world has been turned inside out and we are surrounded by our inner lives.   No more turning from the shadowy side of our existence.  It’s damn foggy.  The fog is in (us)!  It can be spooky sometimes.  Grumbly.  Nurturing.  Either way, it’s always a teachable moment, asking us to take a closer look at ourselves, as we can’t see the nearest (any)thing.

And so, while I work on developing my patented “Fog Suit” (No, I am really not kidding),  I thought in the meantime I would make a fog serum.  Because it never hurts to have a little help from our (plant) friends.   A lovely extract of Lemon balm, St. John’s Wort, and Ashwagandha.  Stamina for the fog, in a bottle.  One ounce is $10.00.  Available in fog-sized quantities, whatever that means to you.  To order call 415.613.7010 or email at wiseleafherbal@gmail.com.   Shipping available.

Photographs by the wonderful Daniel Norris.  Thanks Dr. Dan.


Happy Spring everyone.  This winter seemed especially long, so I’m grateful that we’re transitioning seasons.  But before all common sense flies out the window, it’s time to remember to take care of the body.  First tea, then tank tops, if you know what I mean.  You don’t?  Well, have you ever noticed how many folks get sick around seasonal transitions?  Or how an unnaturally beautiful patch of weather in early spring leads to lots of extroverted behavior which leads to a hacking cough and calling out sick?  Right.  Here is your remedy…

Find these dry herbs at your local herbarium.   Put them in a pot, and boil the love out of them. I mean it.  One small handful of burdock root (Arctium lappa), one small handful of dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale), one smaller handful of orange peel (citrus sp.), plus 5 tongue depressor-shaped sticks of Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus).  Add some leftover elderberries (Sambucus nigra) that you find in the back of your cupboard.  Or perhaps you need to sweeten your mix up with some licorice or some cinnamon.  Channel your inner herbalist.

For each teaspoon of herbs, use 1 cup of water.  Once you have your water and herbs in a pot, bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer away.  For the maximum medicinal benefits, cook these herbs for at least one hour.  Two hours if you’re nasty.  Strain, and drink hot or cold.  Sweeten with honey or another natural sweetener if you must.  Stash your leftovers in the refrigerator and drink throughout the week.

Why should you do this? Well, Astragalus mobilizes the immune system (kicking out lingering winter bugs), dandelion and burdock refresh and renew the liver (think of wringing out a washcloth) and perk up digestion in general.  (Remember the holidays?  So does your liver.)  Orange peel balances the formula and provides a Vitamin C kick.  This tea is your spring tonic.  Let these herbs literally “clean house” for you.  Your body will be ready for Spring in that classic “out with the old and in with the new” sense.  In Northern California speak, this tea will shift the energy of winter (1st gear) into second gear~the energy of early spring.  (You can’t go successfully from 1st to 3rd, can you?)

Enjoy the unfolding of the season…

Here they are–your last-minute Hanukkah gifts and Stocking Stuffers…


Flower Power

Solstice Survival Flower Essence: I have customized this blend for the holidays, as they have a knack for bringing unresolved emotional drama to the surface.  Let this be a tool in your toolkit to help you handle the holidays with grace and authenticity.

1/2 oz. for $10.00




Elderberry Cordial: My family’s favorite for keeping the colds and flus at bay.  I use this delicious syrup as a preventative.  Elderberry’s immune properties are widely known and in combo with some other very special herbs this formula is a literal virus stopper.

2 oz. for $15.00


Elderberry Immune Tonic

Herbs meet Water:  Custom Herbal Infusions are lovingly blended for you to give as gifts.  Something special in mind to stuff that stocking?  Honey likes citrus but isn’t a fan of mints and she needs an energizing tea…no problem!   I absolutely love creating a tea for a specific person or purpose.   1 oz of custom tea is $15.00


Hands make tea...

Gift Certificates for Western Herbal Consultation and Reiki are always available in any dollar amount.

Please call 415-613-7010 or email me at wiseleafherbal@gmail.com to place your orders before December 20th, 2010.

May you have a very blessed, very loving holiday season.

Happy New Year!

kt

Words can be fertile ground…(a garden fairy tale come true.)

Some of you will remember a post about my friend Marion.   Marion and I were planting a medicinal herb garden at her home in Piedmont, CA this spring when she passed away suddenly.  This was a very sad happening, and her family wondered what to do with the herbs that she had planted.  There was much consternation, and then her husband Zafiris said the magical words “Take them away.  I don’t know what to do with such things.”  Really?!?  (Tears watered the soil beneath Marion’s oak tree.)

And so I bravely dug those happy plants out of their home dirt, and ferried them across the Bay Bridge to land in their new location–an under-utilized garden in the Inner Richmond.   A vast landscape of quick-draining soil, amended with homemade compost.   Hip hop music blasting in the background.  Old relics of the past garden lying around.  Woodchips from the trees that used to stand on site.  In other words, a blank canvas, a new beginning.

Forgive for a moment a narrator’s interruption:  I want to be clear.  I’m not the hero of this story.  I’m just the dopey sidekick.  The plants are the brains.  And despite all the unpredictable variables of their new destiny, and in spite of the gardener within that keeps saying “we’ll see…” they are looking really good!  Like sticks of a plant, with brand new basal growth where dirt meets aerial parts!  New growth!

And this gardener is so happy I could spit.  Honestly.  I’ve been waiting for this moment for such a long time:  sunny San Francisco location meets herbal medicinals.  An herb garden of my own!  To share with others, eventually.  First we’ve got some growing to do.

Sticks and stones get moved around to host Solidago, and Chamomile, Blue Vervain, and a ton of Grindelia…

Take a peek.  It may not look like much, but come next Spring and Summer, these baby plants will be usefully engaged in soothing your sore throats, calming your fried nerves, and pepping up your tired bones.

For now they look like sticks among the stones.  We are moving toward the winter solstice.  It’s cold and dark, it’s raining.  But eventually the rains will stop.  And then the plants will be lush.  And I’ll pick some of their leaves, and make you a tea.   See?

A deep thank you to Mary and Ted