Overcoming Grief

Cypress Tree

By: Angela

As human beings, we all endure losses, traumatic events, or a crisis of some kind over the course of our lives. Though each of us has our own unique way of coping with hardships and losses, the earth has provided us with universal tools to aid us in our journey back to joy. No matter the loss, the following tools will aid in overcoming grief, healing a broken heart, easing depression and loneliness, and promoting inner peace.

CYPRESS OIL

Used for centuries by mystics of many cultures, Cypress oil is an aromatheraputic tool used in healing and protection rituals. When burned in the home, or worn in a talisman, Cypress oil is a powerful symbol of eternity, healing, and love. Use in times of crisis such as the death of a friend or family member or the end of a significant relationship. Burn the oil in an aroma diffuser every night before bed until your grieving period subsides. You may also put 30 drops of oil in a 4oz spray bottle of distilled water. This spray can be used to mist over your aura when you are grieving, or feeling depressed.

STONES

  • Apache Tears: Helps one relieve sadness and overcome grief
  • Lepidolite: Aids in relieving depression and anxiety
  • Amethyst: Calms fears and helps dispel fear and anger
  • Botswana Agate: Eases loneliness and protects one from negative influences
  • Rose Quartz: Promotes love and harmony

TEAS

  • St. John’s Wort: Helps ease depression
  • Kava-Kava: Aids in relaxation
  • Ginseng: Boosts energy and vitality

Lastly, remember that grief and sadness are normal human experiences. You are not alone in the universe. Use the tools provided here as a supplement to professional counseling, and releasing emotions by writing daily in your journal.

All of the tools above are available at Earth Lore in Plymouth, MI.

Peace be with you.

Bruises Be Gone!

By: Angela

What is a bruise?

A bruise, also called a contusion , happens when a part of the body is struck and the muscle fibers and connective tissue underneath are crushed but the skin doesn’t break. When this occurs, blood from the ruptured capillaries (small blood vessels) near the skin’s surface escapes by leaking out under the skin. With no place to go, the blood gets trapped, forming a red or purplish mark that’s tender to the touch — a bruise. Bruises can happen for many reasons, but most are the result of bumping and banging into something. Fortunately, as anyone who’s ever sported a nice purple shiner knows, the mark isn’t permanent.

This month, we’ll show you how to treat bruises so they go away fast!

How can I get rid of bruises faster?

As soon as you bang an area of your body into something (or it bangs into you), try these helpful tips.

  • Elevate the area of the body you’ve hurt to keep blood from pooling under the skin.
  • Immediately apply a cold compress to the bruising area. If you are at home, grab a bag of frozen veggies from the fridge and apply it to the wounded area. Keep a cold pack on the bruise for at least 20 minutes, three times a day until the bruise disappears.
  • In addition to elevation, and cold compresses, apply my “Bruise Be Gone” oil to the affected area twice daily. This blend of natural essential oils will aid in blood circulation and skin rejuvenation.

“Bruise Be Gone” Oil Recipe

In a 1/2 oz. amber glass bottle, mix the following:

30 drops Cypress Essential Oil

10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Fill the rest of the bottle with natural Apricot Kernel Oil

Directions: Shake well and apply twice daily to bruised skin.

All of the oil recipe ingredients are available at Earth Lore in Plymouth, MI, along with a handy selection of books for making your own additional herbal body products.  While you’re here, check out Earth lore’s new stock of Yogi brand teas, herbal soaps, and bath salts. Thank you for your continued patronage.

Natural Laundry Part II, Soapnuts

Sapindus mukorossi, aka soapnuts, are now available at Earth Lore. These little guys are part of the lychee family, and also known as soapberries or washnuts. There are several varieties, native to different parts of the world. Ours come from northern India and the Himalayas.

Leathery nuts, or drupes, contain saponins, a key ingredient for soap making. For thousands of years,  Asian natives and native Americans have used them for washing and various aspects of folk-lore. Soapnuts are also used in many ayurvedic preparations, such as cleansers and shampoos. According to ayurveda, cleansers made from the nut are especially beneficial to those suffering from psoriasis or eczema. They are even said to lighten or remove freckles.  There is an insecticidal property to the soap nut, making it popular in repelling lice and bedbugs.

When using them for washing, consider whether your water is hard or soft, size of the washer, size of load,  how soiled the load is,  and the temperature of the load.  For an average load of laundry using warm or hot water,  use three or four nuts.  If using cold water,  hard water, or for heavily soiled loads use one or two extra.  Place nuts in a tied muslin bag  and remove pouch if rinsing in warm water.  If you rinse in cold, just leave them in the drum.  Reuse this pouch for up to four loads of laundry.  When it’s time for a new pouch the nuts will turn gray, mushy, and no longer feel soapy.  Please compost old soapnuts in the garden.  For hard water, you can add 1/4 cup coarse sea salt or baking soda to the wash cycle.

Alternatively, make a liquid soap.  Boil 12-15 nuts with six cups of water for thirty minutes.  When  boiled down you should have four cups of liquid left.  If there’s less than that, add extra water to make it four cups or simply leave it concentrated for use as hand wash or shampoo.  When the solution cools, strain out the nuts and store in an airtight jar.  Use two to three tablespoons per load.  Make small batches,  nature doesn’t make things that last forever.  I saw a wonderful idea online to freeze the cooled solution in ice-cube trays, simply use two or three ice cubes per load! If you decide to freeze, be sure to label the tray so no one gets a surprise in their drink.  Add essential oils like orange, lemon, lavender, or eucalyptus to the rinse cycle for fragrant linens.

Laundry is not the only use for soap nuts.  Use the liquid mixture as mosquito repellent, all-purpose cleaner, steam cleaning spot treatment, pet wash and repellent, or houseplant wash.  I urge all who try soapnuts to experiment and research others experiences. Happy washing!

Natural Laundry Liquid

Have you ever wanted to make your own laundry detergent? It’s easier than you think! In preparation gather up large empty containers from old detergent, or even Juice bottles. All you need to get started is one bar of pure castile soap, washing soda, borax, water, and essential oils. All these items can be purchased at the grocery store with the exception of essential oil. Step one: Grate the bar of castile soap into a sauce pot with a cheese grater, add four cups HOT water and melt it down to liquid. Pour this into a sanitized five gallon bucket. Add 1 cup washing soda and 1/2 c Borax. Stir it up good and fill the rest of the way with water. Allow this bucket to completely cool before adding the essential oils.
Now we have five gallons of double strength detergent. Remember, this recipe makes ten gallons total so when it’s time to package only fill containers half full and top off with water. It’s time to add essential oils.  I strongly warn against using anything but PURE essential oils.  Diluted fragrance oils will stain clothing.

Use oils like  lemon, peppermint, tea tree, and lavender which are antiseptic, will repel moths,  plus aid in the cleansing process.  Eucalyptus essential oil kills dust mites and repels spiders.  To remove grease stains and smells from clothes, use orange oil in the mix.  Use about fifty to seventy drops total added directly to your double strength five gallon bucket, perhaps 10-12 drops each of six or seven oils.  Feel free to use only a combination of two or three just make sure the total added is equal to fifty to seventy drops.  After stirring the bucket thoroughly, use a pitcher to fill containers half way with concentrated soap and top off with water.  Now you have ten gallons of laundry detergent for a fraction of the store-bought price! By cutting costs like this you’ll have more  money to spend at Earth Lore on your essential oils!!! Namaste.

Natural Body Powders

Body Powder

Body Powder

Body powders have been used for ages to smooth and perfume the skin. Use of herbs in conjunction with absorbent powders help to remove odors by not allowing the formation of bacteria. Body odor is impacted by many outside influences including stress, tension, diet, and even wardrobe.   Meat, in addition to the processed “improved”, or “enriched” foods most Americans eat contribute to bad bacteria build up, aka odor.  Alcohol and vitamin deficiencies also will affect body odor.  Several findings indicate a concern over usage of talc in commercial deodorants and baby powders. Talc, or magnesium silicate,  is a proven lung irritant and often contains arsenic.  Several studies have linked the use of talc in cosmetic preparations to  skin cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Particles of talc have even been found in tumors!  This aside, talc is still “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA.

In addition to trying to eat less processed foods and processed meat, try drinking teas with peppermint or sage leaves.  Buy clothing made with fibers that breathe, such as cotton.  An easy, effective body powder can be made with a few simple ingredients.  Here’s the recipes, be creative and substitute different dried herbs, dried fruits and flowers if there is a particular scent you’d like to achieve.  With any herbal preparation, do a patch test on skin. Always use sanitary containers and tools while making recipes.

Lavender is gentle and used externally for skin irritation, making it perfect for babies or sensitive skin types.  Instead of using talc as a base, use arrowroot starch, baking soda, and/or corn starch.  Being a skeptical, and a commercial deodorant user, I was shocked to discover that arrowroot starch alone worked great.  Here are some preparations to try at home:

#1.

  • 1 part Arrowroot
  • 1 part powdered Blue cornflowers
  • 1 part Lavender powder
  • 1 part Violet Leaf

Now, when i say part, it can be any amount, just keep in mind herbal preparations don’t keep fresh forever. I’d suggest making no more than two weeks worth at a time.

#2.

  • 1 part orange peel powder
  • 1 part lemon peel powder
  • 1 part sandalwood powder
  • 1 part orris root powder

#3.

  • 1 part lavender powder
  • 1 part orris root
  • 2 parts arrowroot powder, or corn starch, or one part each

#4. “Sweet Powder”

  • 10 parts orris root
  • 4 parts powdered calamus root
  • 4 parts benzoin
  • 3 parts lavender
  • 1 part clove powder
  • 2 oz parts powder

#5.

Equal powdered parts orris root, orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, and your choice of calamus root or licorice root powder. Sift through and place in a jar or powder canister.

Another fun recipe to try goes like this:

Add flowers or herbs, such as gardenia, sage leaf, etc to an empty pint container, add arrowroot powder and/or cornstarch to fill.  Shake 3-5 times daily and replace the flowers with fresh every other day as well.

Harvest the last herbs from your garden and make some of these fragrant powders to remember summer’s warmth during the cold months.

Chai: A Taste of India

Chai tea, or “Masala Chai” as it is often called in Hindi, is a timeless beverage from the Indian Subcontinent.  Since antiquity, this rich & seductive drink has been enjoyed for its delicious taste and healing properties.  Perhaps you have enjoyed a Chai Latte from Starbucks, or an iced Chai drink from Oregon Chai…but what is Chai?

In general, Chai is made by brewing black or green tea leaves with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.  In India, Masala Chai is more of a medicinal, Ayurvedic mixture than the sugared-up, frothed up, recreational beverage of the western world.  In fact, the name “Chai” is a generic word for tea in Hindi, and it may be used to name any tea with one or all of the prominent Indian spices and herbs.

The most common spices in Chai are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and clove.  Other variations may exclude anise and pepper, or add nutmeg and licorice.  The spices and herbs are brewed with black or green tea leaves, and mixed with milk & honey (or soy products, and other sweeteners).

Chai Benefits:

  • provides a calm, alert, focused mental state
  • acts as a natural stress remedy
  • enhances one’s weight loss regimen
  • acts as a natural diuretic
  • aids in healthy digestion & circulation

Pick up a Chai Tea sampler at Earth lore!  It is a simple, delicious way to stay fit and healthy.

Saints: Healers and Helpers

by Kate

Saints

Catholic Saints

The healing power of saints has existed for two millennia and is still a time honored tradition today. Saints are not worshiped but rather are looked at as those who can interceded on our behalf because of their own faithfulness. In the same way one might ask a friend or relative to pray or light a candle for them, many people of all religious backgrounds turn to saints and angels for help and divine guidance.  Doreen Virtue, author and creator of Saints and Angels Oracle Cards, explains  that, “Since Christianity’s roots are found in more ancient belief systems of Judaism and  pantheism, I strongly believe that these… will benefit people of every religious and spiritual background. I’ve found the saints to be angelic, loving and powerful allies to anyone who calls on them, regardless of that person’s faith.”

Often times saints are designated as a patron saint of a particular cause or profession, or invoked against a specific illness or harm. It is customary to carry medallions, place statues or burn incense for the saints that one prays with for intercession. For example, many people in real estate are familiar with St. Joseph, the patron saint of homes. Burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard is a fast way to sell a home! (We have St. Joseph Home Seller Kits for only $5.95!)

Earth Lore carries a wide variety saints and angels products. We have saint medallions on beautiful prayer cards for $4.95.  Including:

  • Venerable Matt Talbot: Patron of those suffering for Alcoholism
  • Saint Charles Borromeo: Patron of those with Stomach Ailments
  • St. Jude: Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Desperate Situations
  • St. Rita: Patron of those who suffer Physical Abuse
  • St. Maximilian Kolbe: Patron of those who suffer from Addiction & Drugs
  • St. Catherine of Sweden: Patron of those who’ve suffered Miscarriage
  • St. Alphonsus Liguori: Patron of those with Arthritis
  • St. Agatha: Patron of those who have Breast Cancer
  • St. Peregrine: Patron of those with Cancer
  • St. Dymphna: Patron of those with Mental Illnesses
  • St. Nickolas: Patron of Sick Children

Earth Lore also carries a wide variety of Doreen Virtue’s Angel Card Decks ($15.95)  including the Saints & Angels Deck mention earlier. This deck is a highly recommended favorite by our staff for its loving accuracy and guidance. Earth Lore also keeps a regular stock of Saint Incense(only $.95 /box!) including: Archangel Michael for Physical and Spiritual Protection (myrrh scented), St. Joseph for Home Protection and Family Harmony (lavender scented), St Jude for Desperate Causes (musk scented) and Our Lady of Guadalupe for Health (rose scented).

Salts of the Earth

by Larissa

Salt

Salt

Salt has long been considered sacred. Evidence dating back to 6000 BC illustrates neolithic people using salt as sacred offerings, trade, cosmetology, and food preservation. Interestingly, evidence of salt mining directly correlates to the rapid rise of these societies. In Egypt, it was often used in funerary offerings. In the 3rd millennium BC, Egyptians began to trade salt, and salted fish for goods such as cedar, dyes, and glass. Ancient Romans used salt as currency.  In the Hebrew bible, salt is mentioned in 35 verses, and the christian new testament mentions it in six verses. Jesus referred to his followers as the “salt of the earth”. Hindus consider salt auspicious, and use it in religious ceremonies. To preserve the covenant between people and God, Jews dip the sabbath bread in salt. Japanese Shinto use salt for ritual purification of people and places. Aztecs worshiped Huixtocihuatl, a fertility goddess who presides over salt and water. Pagans use salt as a space purifier and a symbol of the earth element.

Chloride and Sodium ions are necessary for the survival of all known living creatures as it regulates fluid balance in the body. Salt is associated with Aphrodite and is protective, grounding, purifying, elevates emotions, diminishes negativity, and enhances good will. It also connected with creation and destruction, life and death, and feminine earth energy. It cleanses and clears the heart chakra. Working with salt energy allows one to go deep within the self to find ancient solutions to modern problems.

Crystals, jewelry, and spaces can be cleansed with salt.  Perhaps if cleansing a soft crystalline form, opt for sage.  Salt or any abrasive could mar the surface of a soft stone, it will not however alter the properties.  Soak 7-24 hours, rinse in clean water, and energize in the sun.  Alternatively soak in salt water 1-7 days in a clear container which allows sunlight to penetrate. Once again for anhydrous crystals use  a bowl of dry salt and leave for a one day to one week, throw the salt away when through.

Black Lava Salt gets its color from coconut shell charcoal.  It’s praised for amazing skin detoxifying  properties, try adding some to a ritual bath. Adding salt to a bath causes an alchemical change as you’ve created a liquid from a solid, visualize a change in yourself. Visualize doubts, illness, or worries that plague you leaving the body, neutralized by the water.  It’s also used as a decorative finishing condiment.

Red Alaea Salt is formed through evaporation from shallow tidal pools in Hawaii.   There it mixes with red volcanic clay. Said to contain over 80 naturally occurring minerals,  natives use this salt for healing.  Traditionally, women in their late 40’s and 50’s increase their intake of red salt in hopes of helping with the onset of menopause.  It has also been used to stop bleeding from cuts and minor injuries.  Use in salt scrubs and masks to promote smooth, healthy skin. In contemporary Hawaii still use this salt mixed with water, this is sprinkled using a ki, or ti leaf on persons, structures, and building sites for purificatory purposes.

Pink salt, from the foothills of the Himalayas, was formed by marine fossil deposits over 250 million years ago. This mineral salt helps balance the body’s ph levels, normalize blood pressure, and increases circulation and conductivity.  This salt is hand selected, hand washed, and hand crushed. This salt has been used in baths to relieve ailments such as; arthritis, rheumatism, osteoporosis, gout, kidney and gall bladder stones, skin diseases, and psoriasis. Facial steams can be used for those with asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, and for all illnesses of the upper and lower respiratory tracts.  Simply boil water, add salt to water, cover your head with a towel to create a “tent”, and inhale the vapors for 10-15 minutes.

To protect a home sprinkle salt into the corners of each room, visualize it sterilizing and removing negativity from the home.  If you feel the need to focus your energies and attention, carry a bit of salt in a green bag. Salt has also been added to money-attracting talismans and is used in such spells. Blessed Be.

An Evening of Acne Clearing

by Larissa

Clear SkinSkin is sometimes called the third lung, as it is our largest organ of elimination and assimilation.  Acne is not only embarrassing, it is a sign that internally something is not right.  Many factors come into the picture when we see our skin erupt, from diet, to stress, to hormones.  Although the problem area is usually the face, the chest and back are also prone to breakouts, especially this transitional time of year.  Besides good nutrition, rest, and exercise there are other rituals to bring beauty into your life. Excess oil on the face is a major cause of irritation.  Sometimes an evening of working on yourself is in order to clear up problems which may be manifesting themselves in the form of acne. Making your own remedies guarantees synthetics, preservatives, fragrances, and coloring agents will not be present to spoil the results as they often make problems worse.  Try to set aside an evening once a week to do this for yourself, and don’t forget daily cleansing and toning to maintain radiant skin.

Start with making a cup of tea.  The chanakara line from Stash offers seven different caffeine free herbal teas.  Please avoid teas or any beverage containing caffine when trying to clear up angry skin.  If you don’t drink tea, have water or make a fruit and ice smoothie and try to use honey or agave nectar instead of refined sugar for extra sweetening. Put on music or enjoy the silence.  Leaving the tv off is a must, overstimulation stresses the body.

Draw a warm bath, try not to bathe in extremely hot water, it strips moisture and oils out of the skin, and can actually cause overproduction of oils.  If you aren’t into baths, or just don’t have time just do a facial steam.  Either way the pores will be opened.  For this ritual use the same herbs i suggest for the steam right in the bath if you don’t feel like standing over a bowl.

  • Facial steams – use about 1/2 oz to 1 oz total of these combinations make notes in a journal of how the results were so your recipes can be tweaked to meet the needs of your skin.
  • Licorice Root- Unique and potent in opening pores so other herbs can medicate.
  • Violet Leaf-Soothing yet astringent, contains SALICYLIC ACID and are extremely high in vitamin A. Try infusing in a carrier for a body massage treatment
  • Comfrey Root- contains allantion which can liquefy pus and necrotic protein(causes death of tissues) thus accelerating healing of lesions and denuded skin
  • White Willow-Contains salicin, very astringent

Feel free to substitute the white willow with Lavender, Neem, Witch Hazel, or any other gentle herb you’ve had good experiences with.  I suggest swapping the willow because i personally don’t like the smell.  Try , however to use the licorice and comfrey, as they assist other herbs in medication.

After steaming , or soaking in the tub, cleanse skin with a gentle cleanser.  Here is a recipe for cleansing grains, however be gentle and as with any exfoliant,  let the scrub do the work for you so you do not over stimulate skin and cause it to make more sebum(natural oil produced by skin)

  • 1 part fine ground oats to 2 parts clay(green or white)
  • Dash of ground almonds or apricot kernel meal, dash powdered lavender
  • Dash of powdered roses
  • 1-2 drops each lavender essential oil and lemon essential oil

If you wish, add a little honey and distilled water to make a creamy paste.  Do not make more than a weeks worth at a time, keep it fresh in the fridge.

We sell powdered rose and lavender, but electric coffee grinders or a mortar and pestle work fine. DO NOT USE SYNTHETIC OILS IN SKIN PREPARATIONS, they can burn or irritate skin.

After cleansing , do a mask if you like or simply close pores with a toner.  Try an infusion of herbs in apple cider vinegar. Cover herbs with apple cider vinegar in air tight jar. Seal and keep in a dark location for one to two weeks.  Try to remember to shake the concoction daily for even distribution.  Strain, and to each cup of herbal solution, add half a cup of distilled water, or food/cosmetic grade rosewater. Since the solution is in vinegar, it is preserved and does not need refrigeration.

One of the biggest mistakes acne prone people make is not moisturizing.  As I mentioned earlier, when the skin is over-cleansed and oils are stripped, the skin actually makes more oil to compensate.  This oil, in turn clogs the pores and the vicious cycle begins again.  At least put a thin layer of jojoba on while skin is still damp.  I promise, it won’t make things worse, only better.  Beauty and blessings!!

Living With Psoriasis

by Larissa

Psoriasis is difficult to treat, painful, and often embarrassing.  Although attributed to heredity, environmental factors; especially prolonged injuries, food allergies and stress, are now acknowledged as contributors. This skin condition is recognized by thick or scaly patches of skin most often occurring around the extensor part of a joint such as: the elbows, knees, hands,fingers, toenails,  and feet. Dermal cells multiply at ten times the normal rate, bunching up rather than laying smooth and flat. When treating at home, or even by a professional, it’s important to address what could be causing the ailment.

Internal issues must be dealt with when it comes to improving skin disorders. No one likes to hear everyday routine things such as; smoking, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, meat, spicy foods, and even fruits high in acid, can cause skin flare ups. However, by omitting these things from the diet for at least a few weeks, one may find immense relief.

If hereditary, severity of symptoms may be reduced by making lifestyle changes, and sticking to them. Orthodox treatment with ointments, cortisone, and steroids will temporarily suppress the condition.  Outside the condition may improve, while internally the ailment may go deeper, possibly  manifesting as a more serious disorder. Once medication is removed a harsh rebound of the ailment can occur as the body has become reliant on the drugs. The main reason for failure in healing any problem naturally is too few are prepared to stick to lifestyle changes, largely due to social pressures. Be  disciplined with yourself and be prepared for positive changes, you and your body will be together a long time.

Of all the things books and articles have suggested, one keeps popping up, stress reduction.  It makes sense since stress throws hormones out of whack, resulting in imbalances.  Getting a massage on a regular basis promotes well-being, allowing the mind/body connection to heal.  Along with stress reduction, be sure to moisturize properly.  Essential oils are used to treat inflamed areas in a number of ways from compresses to baths. Use care to not scrub or massage the area vigorously as it may further irritate the area. In addition when taking healing baths do not use extremely hot water.

Some essential oils to try are:

  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile

Try adding two drops of each to two ounces fragrance free lotion. Also try mixing the above into an avocado base oil for a massage oil to smooth irritated scales. Do not add oil directly to a huge bottle,  make up small amounts of treatments.  Concoctions should be shelved no longer than two weeks unless preserved to prevent spoilage. To treat stress and anxiety, try Bach flower Rescue Remedy spray and Rescue Remedy cream for a topical.

Often the skin is referred to as the third lung.  We take in nutrients through skin and release toxins as well. Some herbs to try in a bath bag include:

  • Birch Bark
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Comfrey Root

Herbal baths are not only medicinal, they are a great stress reducer.  If you doubt the efficiency of herbal baths or topical treatments, rub half a raw garlic clove on the bottom of the foot.  Within minutes you will taste the garlic! Consult your primary care physician about supplementing with fatty acids,  dairy substitutes, and other dietary changes.

Earth Lore carries all of the herbs mentioned in this article, as well as the Bach remedies.

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