I’ve got a preference for certain herbal supplement manufacturers.  I’ve never tried to conceal that. Now my favorite manufacturer has finally released their CBD! I’m so excited!

 

As I sit here, typing this post, I am overcome by just how much I have been at a loss of words as of late. I have been neglecting writing this post. I have said I was going to post it. I have planned on posting it. I have stared at the blank text box where I type the content for hours. It is not like me to struggle for words. I was gifted the the ability to “shoot the shit,” as my regular gas station customers would claim back in th’day. I feel it is this ability that always put me in a position to find out the stories people had to tell and compose them into articles for the local newspapers. Use words to get words. However, the words have been difficult to string together. I feel as if I have dropped the proverbial ball on this one. That’s when I finally was able to see the difficulty.

The energy center of your words

Vissudha is the energy center associated with the area of the throat, ears, mouth, shoulders, and neck. Also known as Shekhem in some ancient Egyptian healing traditions, it has to do with words. Words are just sounds strung together in order to have a uniform means of communication. This center has to do with speaking words, hearing words, listening and processing those words. It is literally where each being produces sounds of communication and takes in the sounds around us to be processed. This energy center is all about finding the truth in those sounds – finding what resonates within each of us as a unique individual.

Let me paint this picture for you: I was let go from my job. This is something that has never happened to me before. I began experiencing swollen glands in my neck, stiff neck, cold sores, itchy ears, sore throats, and a variety of other physical symptoms centered around the throat and neck area. I bombed some interviews – also not like me. I was not able to get my point across and I really don’t want the jobs anyway. There was at least one question at every single interview where I swear I heard crickets chirping because I had absolutely no answer for the interviewer. Every rejection email added to the voices in my head telling me what a terrible person I am for not being productive enough to stay employed. I must be the absolute most useless human being on the planet, right? I found myself lashing out some days. Other days I would just stay in and cry. The most heartbreaking thing of all was not being to craft my words.

I

could

not

write!

I tried so hard. I would read and research. Everything would seem perfect, yet when I sat in front of the keyboard, I would get sucked into the time vortex of despair. I was (and in some ways, I still do) sucking in all of the negative and hard-wiring it into my psyche. There are no words to write when you truly believe no one wants to read your writing. There are no words to speak when there is no one to listen to your sounds.

A small request

This is where I have to thank a reader. I don’t know who it is. I don’t know why they sent the comment. But I received a feedback form form my site, here. Usually they spam…not going to lie. Internet spam constitutes a huge quantity of the bullshit on the internet. It is the junk mail of the cyber world. Mixed in with the many emails guaranteeing me increased web traffic and foolproof sales funnels and all of the straight gimmicky shit out there, was one small message: “Make a more new posts please :)”

This message is why I forced myself to re-read about the throat chakra. This one positive, tiny request is what led me to see I was suffering from a blocked Vissuddha or Shekmet. I owe that reader a thank you.

In depth

This chakra is associated with the color blue. It is thought to be closely aligned with the thyroid and parathyroids. The thyroid gland is butterfly shaped and sits at the base of the neck, close to the voice box. It controls much of the functions of metabolism. The parathyroids are tiny granular balls that sit atop the “wings” of the thyroid. As far as it is known at this time, the parathyroids play a large part in regulating various minerals, most notably calcium.

This is the chakra, or energy center, of creativity and communication. The challenge associated with this center is “do I have the the right to communicate”. Animals often associated with this area include the elephant, bull, and lion (think of loud, throaty, vocal animals).

Essential oils that may be beneficial

Frankincense: regarded as Holy oil; beneficial in cases of under active thyroid. Rich, deep, and sweet, it is said it increases spiritual awareness and connection with the divine within.

Geranium: Sweet and citrus-rosy, it is used to calm down sore throats, clear oily skin, and move stagnant energy in the body. Creates a feeling of safety and security; used to ease nervous tension and promote a sense of well-being.

Jasmine: has a beneficial effect on the voice. It is used in cases of hoarse voice. It is said to penetrate the deeper layers of the soul and open us up to repressed emotional pain, allowing energy flow through the throat chakra. Enhances greater communication of our feelings, enhancing relationships and intimacy.

Sage: ancient sacred herb and a master healer. Traditionally used to heal gum disease. It is said to ease depression and mental fatigue, opening up channels in the upper body and chest area and allowing for energy to flow more freely.

Cypress: decongestant and detoxifying properties; used to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid, clearing build up toxins. traditionally used for bleeding gums, bronchitis, and respiratory congestion. Fresh, herbaceous, slightly woody, it is thought to aid with transformation and inner renewal.

Peppermint: Minty and sharp; long used to freshen breath, for respiratory infections, and to ease headaches due to congestion; invigorates and stimulates the mind and has a direct action on the intellect. It promotes creativity and self expression.

Eucalyptus: Fresh, medicinal, with a woody scent; historically used to calm inflammation of the nasal passages, clear sore throat, and sinusitis. It is said to promote well-being and opens inner space when we feel overwhelmed or constricted by our environment. It promotes the feeling of inner freedom and expansiveness.

Clove: very strong, spicy oil that has been traditionally used for mouth, tooth, and gum tissue healing. It has been said to be used to assist in regulation of the thyroid gland, dissolving blood clots, and removing stagnation in the blood. It is thought to  help to create feelings of protection and safety and promote good sleep.

Tea Tree: fresh, medicinal aroma; used for thousands of years to treat a variety of fungal, bacterial and viral infections; strong antiseptic and has immune building properties. It is said to enhance, harmonize, and possibly promote cleansing and purity.

Affirmations that may be of use

  • 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 experiences 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.

Herbs that may be of assistance

Chamomile

Kelp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Moss

Dulse

Herbal Trace Mineral Blend

 

**DISCLOSURE: any products ordered from the links to The Herbchick’s Shop do pay me a small commission. These commissions, along with selling my books, paid speaking events, and so-forth, are how I make a living. I thank you for your purchase(s). 

If you follow my blog you’ll notice that I’ve had quite the break in between posts. It’s because I’ve been wanting to post about the heart chakra for a while, but I was feeling that my heart was not in the right place to do so. You see, I took a job that I thought would allow me more freedom and it was in the arena of what I went to school to do. However, what happened was I started to feel as though I was losing myself. Everyday became more stressful. My days became consumed with worry about making sales goals. And honestly, I really just don’t feel that my heart was in it.

 

I’ve been gone from that job a little over a month now. I’ve gone through a grieving and mourning process. I’ve worked through my feelings of failure. I kind of feel like I’m starting to ReDiscover what brings me joy in life. That, is very good for my heart.

 

So this inkling of joy leads me here, to my happy place…to my blog….to my business. It is, after all, where I want to be. When i went through all of the health issues way back at age 16 and 17, i wasn’t very joyful. I was depressed and melancholy and generally felt like shit on a daily basis. When herbs and natural methods made me feel good, I wanted to share this success with others so they could feel good, too.

 

This is where the heart chakra comes in. Anahata is the sanskrit word for the heart chakra.  Its associated with the color green and is thought to be located in the center of the chest. So perhaps it is best to think of it as being just behind the breast bone. Anatomically,  this is the location of the thymus, and the anatomical heart sits just slightly to a person’s left of that.

Anahata sits right behind the breast bone.

 

 

 

Anahata is the energy center that allows us to connect with unifying forces in the universe. It aids in each person realizing they are a part of a greater whole. It’s where bonds with other living things are created. It houses caring, compassion, self-love,  altruism, generosity,  kindness and respect – for self and others. It can be destroyed by grief.

 

When these are in balance there is joy, warmth, and love about a person. You can imagine the expressions of imbalance, can’t you? Note, this is also the chakra that allows people to say no, with grace, and not over extend him or her self.

It is associated with the element of air…amazing since the lungs are in this area, too. The color green is assigned to it. Yarrow,  an herb looked to as an “attitude adjuster” is often associated with Anahata, as are the scents of jasmine, lavender and rose. (Yarrow, as well as lavender, jasmine and rose essential oils are available for order in the The Herbchick’s Shop)

 

 

Affirmations for the heart chakra

  • I am open to love.
  • Love resides within my heart.
  • I completely love and accept myself.
  • I am wanted and loved.
  • I live in balance, in a state of gracefulness and gratitude.
  • I love the beauty of nature.
  • I am open to love.
  • I am connected with others.
  • I feel one with nature and animals.
  • I am peaceful.

 

 

 

We covered the root chakra, which is considered the base chakra. That is the foundation upon which all of one’s energy is based. Next is the second chakra called Svadhishthana. It is said to be located two inches below the navel. It is represented by the color orange and it’s symbol includes a crescent moon.

 

This chakra is the energy center of sweetness. It is said to sit in the pelvic area and corresponds to pleasure and enjoyment. This is a step above the concerns of survival attached to the root chakra. It is thought to be associated with feelings and sensations, most notably the feelings and sensations of pleasure, sensuality, intimacy and connection. These are feelings associated with “living in the moment.” How many people so you know who are always thinking about the past and dealing with depression; or those people who are experiencing anxiety about the future? A counselor I once saw told me, “when you have one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, all you do is piss all over today.” This is so very true.

Svadhishthana is also the energy center associated with creativity. I like to remember this as the pelvis being the “cradle of creation.” Really – it is! The uterus is there. It is where the egg and sperm unite to create life. It is also the energy used to “birth” new ideas, works of art, inventions, and so forth. So really, this energy center has to do with connecting to the creative power and power to create change within ourselves.

Obviously there are physical issues that are associated with this energy center. Dysfunctions of the sex organs and urinary system are tied to Svadhishthana. Emotionally, it is tied to feelings of disconnectedness. So while the root is all about feeling like you will survive, the next one up is all about feelings of being connected to those around you (family, friends, significant other, etc). Enjoying the emotions associated with this center are often misunderstood and we are taught at an early age they should bring feelings of guilt. Guilt is a huge challenge associated with Svadhishthana.

I am a huge fan of affirmations. Self-talk, as many refer to the thoughts we run through our minds, can leave lasting results. Negative self-talk results in negative feelings toward our selves; defeatist attitudes can arise; depression and anxiety can then follow. It only then stands to reason that affirmations can result in some positive self-talk. And this positive self-talk can illicite responses that are more positive in nature. This then just snowballs and results in well-being.

Some affirmations that may help:

  • I love and enjoy my body.
  • I have healthy boundaries.
  • I am open to experiencing the present moment through my senses.
  • I am passionate.
  • I feel pleasure and abundance with every breath I take.
  • I nourish my body with healthy food and clean water.
  • I know how to take care of my needs.
  • I value and respect my body.
  • I am open to touch and closeness.
  • I allow myself to experience pleasure.
  • My sexuality is sacred.
  • Emotions are the language of my soul.
  • I take good care of my physical body.
  • I am at peace.

 

Essential oils that might be of assistance:

  • geranium
  • ylang ylang
  • rose
  • lavender
  • blood orange
  • pink grapefuit
  • red mandarin

Ylang ylang is one of the essential oils associated with the second chakra.

 

Herbs that may help to feed Svadhishthana:

  • cinnamon
  • hibiscus (tea)
  • licorice
  • ginger
  • black cohosh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now YOU can be added to a digital STUDY GROUP led by Lori, The Herbchick. Currently, the group is using the Facebook group format to teach a monthly “live” class. Also included is discussion threads and posts relating to the “topic of the month.”

 

The first month of membership to the group is FREE. After that, the subscription rate is $17.79/month. If you’d like to join the group and learn some traditional and folk wisdom with added scientific research, like The Herbchick LLC on Facebook and contact us (either through this website’s contact me options OR by messaging on the Facebook business page).

Hawthorn for your heart

Hawthorn berries* have long been used as a tonic herb for the heart and circulatory system. Hawthorn contains antioxidant flavonoids, including OPCs, may help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage. Not only has the berries been used medicinally but also the leaves, and flowers of the hawthorn plant have been used, too.

Hawthorn is sometimes mixed in combination* with other heart friendly herbs, like Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo also helps to work with the blood vessels to increase circulation. It has been shown of benefit in some studies to improve situations of hardening of the blood vessels and/or fat deposits in the blood vessels. It is only natural to pair this great herb with Hawthorn.

February is heart health month.

You may want to consider using Hawthorn alone or in a combination to help your heart.

*The items linked to this blog post are not necessarily those used in the studies referenced. They are linked in order to provide an example of products containing the herbs mentioned. If you do decide to purchase from my shop, I thank you now for supporting my business.

Energy centers are not a new concept in alternative healing. For thousands of years traditional modalities like Ayurveda (Indian in origin) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have acknowledged these energy centers. In the west, they are becoming increasingly popular. The New Age popularity of chakras (energy centers) has almost trivialized the existence of them. Many now consider the idea of various energy centers in the body as “hippy nonsense” or “psuedo-guru goobledy gook.”

Chakras are not made up

Chakras, as they are laid out in Traditional Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, do have certain placements which correspond to what we now know are major endocrine organs. Given the time of the development of the ideas of a chakra system, it is entirely plausible that the healers of the time knew there was something in this area, but not exactly what. The endocrine system function and mechanisms are still being studied and new things are discovered all the time. It is not unusual that people gave their best understanding of something when attempting to understand. Let’s face it! It hasn’t been that too long ago since doctors suggested the root cause of disease was bad blood and utilized leeches.

It can be a difficult task to visualize energy. Throughout the ages, chakras have been assigned locations and colors and so forth. In order to better understand the chakra system and why it could possibly be important to you in our modern times, I figure the best place to start would be the root.  The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. It is though to  encompass the very bottom of the pelvic area and the first three vertebrae (from bottom to top). It’s energy is associated with the color red because of the frequency associated with its energy. For now, I’m not going to go just too deep in to the frequencies, etc. In Sanskrit the name for this chakra is Muladhara. It is thought to govern a person’s relationship with physical needs (i.e. food, water, shelter); the feelings of trust, acceptance, mental health…..those mental health aspects that make a person “well grounded.”

The root chakra is called Muladhara. It encompasses the pelvic area and the base of the spine.

 

Disfunction in the Muladhara (root chakra) may manifest as one of the following:

-Kidney function, bladder irritation

-Foot & knee pain

-Anxiety and extreme fears

-Addictive behaviors and/or a lack of self esteem

-Lower back pain

-Reproductive issues

-Gynaecological issues, accompanied with bleeding or circulatory issues

Food and herbs to feed Muladhara

Red foods are thought to support this chakra. Red beets, acai berries*, and so forth can be delicious additions to your diet. Some red anti-oxidant packed juices* may be of assistance. Warm, nurturing foods that provide sustenance are excellent supporters of this chakra (think along the lines of steel cut oats or quinoa porridge). Red Raspberry* has often been used as a toning herbs for the uterine muscles and is highly encouraged by herbalists (including me) throughout pregnancy. It is high in iron, too. Red Clover* is used as a blood purifier. (See the color hint there?)

Supplements high in iron can feed the body’s need for iron. Low iron is considered to be one issue that could be effected by a week root chakra. Liquid drinks high in copper chlorophyllins* can be sued as they supply easily bio-accessible iron.

The kidneys filter waste from the blood. They are thought to be closely associated with the emotion of anger or extreme fear. Increasing one’s water intake can aid in kidney function. It would, in a way, be supplying your body with its basic needs instead of denying them. Lemon added to the water can act as a light diuretic. Astringent herbs like Uva Ursi* (a.k.a bearberry) and Juniper Berries* can help to pull more fluids through the kidneys.

Mental and emotional practices

Meditation and similar techniques (like guided imagery) have been used to try to work on the mental aspects associated with this chakra. It is common in some practices to focus upon a symbol for this chakra while meditating. While this is not my strong area of expertise, I find it interesting that the symbol corresponding to Muladhara is square, much liek the sturdy foundation of a house that makes conenction to the earth and supplies the support for the rest of the structure. It is not a far stretch to think of the functions associated wiht this chakra as being foundations of life. This is the chakra upon which all others are built.

“Rooting” is sometimes suggested. This is where a person works on imagining the root chakra connecting with the earth. Some people refer to this as “grounding” or “earthing.” It is making a physical connection with the earth. Many do this by walking barefoot upon soil. Some find benefit through imagining a root anchoring him/her to the ground. Whichever method(s) you choose, it is clear why this energy center is important.

To truly gain a solid foundation in your own health and wellbeing, addressing the care of the root chakra is important. Whether you think of this energy center as a literal or a figurative thing is not where the emphasis should lie – but instead think of the wonderful ways you can work to build a better foundation for your body, your mind and your spirit.

 

*This asterisk identifies hyperlinks which lead you to products in The Herbchick’s Shop. While my blog reflects no one brand in particular, I have included these links to make purchasing or trying these products easier for you, my reader. I do make a commission from my sales. It is one way I make a living. You are under no obligation to use the products I sell, but if you do, I sincerely appreciate your business and know that you are supporting one more small business in America. Thank you

 

A ton of households in the world have a healing powerhouse plant on the window sill. It is the oldest medicinal plant on record and is sometimes referred to as “Lily of the Dessert.” Originating in Northern Africa, probably Sudan, Aloe Vera can grow 60 to 100 centimeters. This gives the succulent the potential to be taller than me! That is huge. ,

It is widely known to be of benefit to the skin (it makes an exceptional masque), especially when sunburn occurs, but aloe supplies other benefits some people may not know about.

Aloe and the gut

We know the juicy insides of the aloe leaves can be good for the skin, but it is also good for an irritated gut. Studies show it can decrease stomach acid secretions (Keshavarzi, Z., Rezapour, T. M., Vatanchian, M., Zare, M., Nabizade, H., Izanlu, M., . . . Shahveisi, K. (2014, March). The effects of aqueous extract of Aloe vera leaves on the gastric acid secretion and brain and intestinal water content following acetic acid-induced gastric ulcer in male rats. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050311)

Think of it as a cooling gel pulling inflammation for the G.I. tract walls. With this pulling of inflammation, it also does some detoxifying. People suffering from hot, swollen conditions may want to consider giving aloe a whirl. This can result in a somewhat laxative effect. So if that is an issue for you, you may want to decrease how much you are using or discontinue use.

My huge Aloe at home.

Nutrients

Aloe is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. It contains the vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6 and B12 (rare in plants). Twenty minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese are contained in the spiny-edged, stemless leaves. The enzymes in aloe (Aliiase, Alkaline phosphatase, Amylase, Bradykinase, Carboxypeptidase, Catalase, Cellulase, Lipase, Peroxidase) help to break down sugars and fats. Bradykinase, specifically, reduces inflammation (See the section above).  These components make aloe a very nutritive plant.

Immune benefits

Anthraquinones are present in Aloe, but just in the juice. Anthraquinones have analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. They can be toxic, but they are in just the right quantities to be okay in Aloe. If I am planning on consuming aloe vera juice, I prefer to use it in a prepackaged supplement from a company with a superb, complex quality control department and standards of procedure to ensure safety. 

In one study I read, aloe was successfully used against H. pylori (a bacteria strain often implicated in gastric ulcers) in in-vitro studies.( Cellini, L., Di, S., Di, E., Genovese, S., Locatelli, M., & Di, M. (2014, July). In vitro activity of Aloe vera inner gel against Helicobacter pylori strains. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24597562)

The results are very promising and combine aloe’s benefit for the gut and the immune system.

 

When I was growing up, my grandma was a huge proponent of Aloe. Every time I break off a leaf of my giant alow plant at home, I can’t help but feel she is happy with my choice.

If you read the previous couple posts, you notice a common theme: enzymes are essential. It is true, though, that some experts worry you could become dependent upon enzyme supplementation. They are concerned your body may decrease, or even stop, production of it’s own magic chemical catalysts. It is not my intention to guide anyone to that kind of state! So it should be mentioned that I use enzymes after heavy protein meals and during times of uncomfortable bloat. Holiday meals are one of these times. Hell…I’m just human. I have no more self control around the goodies than anyone else. This also means I am no stranger to the discomfort from the bloating and digestive pain which may accompany this type of event. That is when I break out the slam dunk of enzymes.

 

But what if you have a general feeling of digestive distress?

A general feeling a gastric distress is pretty common, from I have noticed from working with clients for over 22 years now. What are you supposed to do if you are one of these people experiencing the general feelings of light indigestion? You definitely do not want to discourage your body from making these essential chemical movers and shakers. They are the secret sauce that makes the chemical bonds dissolve and free the nutrients for your body to take in.

 

Enter bitters

“Bitters” is a term identifying herbs containing certain components known as tannins and other constituents which give a bitter taste to the plant. Coffee is a common bitter, tannin possessing, beverage which falls in this category. Dark chocolate, dandelion greens (one of my favorites), green tea, and more are also members of this group. As I kid, I watched a lot of old movies (hey! I had no choice! We didn’t have cable on the farm). Remember how the sophisticates in the movies of the 1950’s would have a martini before big a dinner? Vermouth serves as a spirit AND as a bitter.

Coffee contains bitter tannins

The bitter flavor serves a very important purpose. When the taste receptors in your mouth recognize the bitter flavors, they send a message to your brain as an advanced warning that food is going to be coming. This gets the juices flowing. The salivary glands start putting out the waterworks, the mucous membranes in the throat get ready to coat and swallow, the stomach starts churning. The intestines pick up peristaltic action. It’s kind of like pre-heating the oven before putting the bread in. It creates favorable conditions, like the secretion of bile for fats digestion, to allow for the best possible environment to achieve maximum conversion of the food you eat.

 

Now, think of the grocery store you go to every day. Just how much bitter stuff do you see? Even if you stick to the outside aisles, where the least processed foods normally reside, the shelves are filled with sweet tasting treats, creamy icings, bright colored fruits and veggies. There are very few true bitters sold in these areas any more. Arugula is an example of a bitter herb/salad fixing which works to stimulate digestive functions. So next time you get a before-dinner salad, don’t pick it out and set it off to the side, eat it. Trade in that sweet dressing and use a balsamic and olive oil blend instead, perhaps.

 

An easy aperitif

An aperitif is an alcoholic beverage containing bitter herbs used as a pre-meal sipper. Sales is a very popular liqueur in France flavored by one of the most popular, and efficient bitters, gentian. Hops in beer is also a very efficient bitter herb. This might explain why those people of German decent drink so much of it. Just imagine how it may help the digestive tract get prepared for the sausage dishes my ancestors loved! Dark, hop-sy beers are still bitter and I do like them, a lot.   However, alcoholic beverages are not always an acceptable practice, especially in the workplace. Could you imagine the backlash on that? Holy Crimeny!!

Gentian is commonly contained in liqueurs used as aperitifs

How about an extract of herbs containing these bitter wonders, instead? One of my favorites is Digestive Bitters Tonic. It is safe for adults and children alike. It may help, just as all of the above mentioned bitters, to aid in the digestion processes. It even has a touch of stevia to take the edge off the bitterness and cardamom to relax the digestive tract just a bit to ease the expulsion of gas, etc (yes – I’m talking about burping and farting).

You can check out Digestive Bitters Tonic in the Herbchick’s Shop by clicking here.