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Botanica: Part 2

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba
Photo credit: http://www.pfaf.org

It was heart warming to witness eager attendees from 33 different countries, with the common goal of experiencing the most cutting edge information and case studies in herbal and aromatic medicine. Each of the four days of Botanica 2012 the audience was packed with a wide array of professionals ranging from doctors, nurses, herbalists, microbiologists and clinical aromatherapists. The networking opportunity was fantastic and provided an invaluable view of how each country practices their trade based on culture, government and legal structures.

Anne Varley, a medical herbalist from Ireland, spoke about “The Map is not the Territory.” I did appreciate her insight on being open to the actuality of the case and time at hand. She talked in-depth about how not to confuse models of reality vs. the actual reality in regard to phytotherapy and complimentary medicine. I think this is a very valid point for life in general as well. What looks logical on paper or data that was compiled years past, may very well not be the most efficient way to handle the current situation. I like the quote from Deepak Chopra, “Instead of thinking outside the box… get rid of the box!” Politics of Irish herbal practice were discussed, including the herbs of Ginkgo Biloba and Hypericum’s ban and the campaign to have them re-instated as valuable healing agents. This talk gave me a feeling of gratitude for our current ability to use herbal and aromatic medicine in the United States, as well as a sense of fragility on the topic.

Love FlowersSwitching gears, we had the great pleasure of listening to a heart centered talk from Judith Hoad, a herbalist who also combines acupressure and homeopathy in her work. It was an honor to witness this loving being and her respect for all life. ‘Eco-kin’, a term that she coined, illustrates her deep respect for all living beings, including the plant world, our relationships with one another and how we communicate. She spoke about the intelligence embedded in all living cells and how this intelligence exists in plants as well(although not the same as humans, nonetheless still present). Co-creation Gardening, a book written by Machaelle Small Wright was recommended and Stephen Harrod Buhner’s teachings.
I had an opportunity to visit with Judith and her spirit was bright and demeanor humble. This woman, who as a side note has lived “off the grid” for over 50 years, was my all time fav of the event!

Lots more to come!  Stay tuned for Part 3.

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,
Kc
www.heartblossomessentials.com

Botanica: Part 1

Wow! I can’t believe it has already been 2 months since my trip to Dublin, Ireland for Botanica 2012. Time has literally flown by! Well, I’m just now getting to sharing some of my experiences there. Luckily, it feels like just yesterday that I was walking briskly along the cobblestone streets admiring the bountiful flower scapes draped out of each window box.

Botanica was organized by an industry top gun, Rhiannon Harris, owner of Essential Oil Resource Consultants and founder of the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy, an invaluable resource for clinical aromatherapists world-wide.

Because this event was so rich, I thought that I would break up the posts in parts, in order to share more.

So, Part I:

Stinging Nettles

Stinging Nettles. Photo credit: Wikipedia

The International Celebration of Plant Therapeutics was kicked off with a cheerful Ireland lassie, Vivienne Campbell. She spoke about a variety of the native plants and herbs, including their uses throughout history. One in particular was Stinging Nettles; an iron rich herb common in Irish dishes. Known for it’s detoxifying & tonic qualities, as well as strengthening the kidneys, nourishing to the blood and much more. She suggested using it in the form of tea(steeped 10 min.) or even cooked up with cabbage. I am very interested to try it and more so to wild forge some in my own backyard! Her side note tip: Wear rubber gloves to avoid getting “stung.” If you enjoy using nettles, comment on this post, I would love to hear your experiences.

A couple more of her suggestions: Ballymaloe, An Irish Cookery School, advocating using fresh, local wild herbs.  And, Wild and Free: Cooking from Nature by Cyril O’Ceirin; a great book on wild foraging. Some of their local picks:

  • Tormento-an astringent herb, helpful for IBS.
  • Silver Wheat-nutty flavor, helpful for sore throats.
  • Black Thorn-a type of plum and a traditional, valuable food source.
  • Primrose-good to relax nerves & ease insomnia.

This speaker was so full of life and her enthusiasm for plant medicine just poured out of her. For more information on Vivienne, check out The Herbal Hub.

Irish Wildflowers

Irish Wildflowers. Photo credit: Dennis Flood

During my stay, I had the fortune of traveling from Dublin to Galway, a three-hour tour from the East coast to the West coast, with some of the most magnificent sights(now I know why they call it the Emerald Isle!). Plus, we had an awesome guide sharing juicy tales of myths and legends going as far back as the medieval times. We hiked over the Burren terrain-A one of a kind view of very interesting rock formations along the coast, home of native and rare Irish species. It has even been said that over 70% of Ireland’s wildflowers can be found there in the limestone array, many of which are used in the creations found at The Burren Perfumery. We unfortunately did not have time to stop at the perfumery, Ireland’s oldest perfumery and soap making shop. But, it is definitely on the list for my next visit.

More to follow in Part 2: Coming Soon!

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,
Kc
www.heartblossomessentials.com

Spreading the word around

Wanted to share a recent article written by Julie Sherwood, staff writer from the Messenger Post, that included our interview:

Naples’ entrepreneur Kc Rossi is growing her plant-based business called Heart Blossom Essentials, LLC that promotes wellness with pure-essential oils.

“I am a lover of joy, all things natural and optimistic living,” says Rossi of herself. The peace and pleasure she has found through her vegetarian lifestyle that includes daily meditation, plant-based medicine, yoga and positive psychology is something she is sharing through her business, she said.

Here is what Rossi had to say about her life as it relates to Heart Blossom Essentials-

Tell us when and why you started the business
I started Heart Blossom Essentials September 2010 really out of my sheer love for the plant world. Experiencing the amazing results from natural remedies and seeing that toxic household chemicals could be replaced with simple, eco-friendly ingredients gave me motivation to share the goodness.

Tell us a little about your background
In 1994, I received my first certification in Aromatherapy from the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy. Since then, I have expanded my studies in the field of clinical aromatherapy with the premier educators in the field; including Rhiannon Harris, Andrea Butje, Robert Tisserand and Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt. I am Nationally Certified through the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists. I have a thirst for knowledge and believe in constant, never-ending improvement in all aspects of life. My latest adventure is taking me to Dublin, Ireland this September to attend the International Botanical Conference, a gathering of worldwide herb and essential-oil authorities.

Click here to view the whole article.

Next post: My Botanica 2012 experience in Dublin, Ireland! Stay tuned. :o)

With the fast pace, pressure and demands of our modern lifestyle, stress is no stranger to many. Effects of tension can manifest in a variety of ways both physically and emotionally. One symptom that is on the rise is teeth clenching and grinding (medically known as bruxism). It is amazing how common this disturbing and many times painful habit is. Over the last couple of years, I have experienced first hand the frustrating and what seemed unavoidable repercussions of this act, including several chipped teeth, 4 fractured molars and jaw/head pain. The standard recommendation is to wear a mouth guard while sleeping. You can be fitted for a custom one by your dentist or pick up a generic one at the pharmacy. This seems like a surface “fix” and who wants to sleep with a mouth full of rigid plastic for the rest of their life? Not me!

So I began to incorporate daily practices in effort to soothe the root cause. They are:
Body Mechanics:

Becoming aware of body mechanics-furrowed foreheads, raised shoulders, clenched jaw, squinted eyes, held breath. The act of tuning in to specific body parts, checking their position and manually re-adjusting can be a great relief. The simple consciousness of “checking in” and breathing into the targeted area, allowing release, can be a profound first step in letting go of tension and stress. Many times we are unaware that we are even holding tension in our body. A night-time practice of relaxing the jaw and mouth area is especially helpful. Positioning the tongue upward with the teeth apart and the lips closed, gently moving the jaw up and down and side to side, and massaging the jaw and sides of the face and head are good habits to begin sleep.
Nutrition:

Nutritional support is a big help. I have found excellent results incorporating a product called CALM(a calcium/magnesium supplement). Other stress busting vitamins are a good vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C and Zinc. Also, staying hydrated has been shown to decrease teeth grinding, as well as cutting back on alcohol, caffeine and refined, processed foods.
Flower Essences:

Flower Essences are a safe and natural addition when addressing the emotional side of bruxism. According to Louise Hay, the under lying issues can be pointed to anger, resentment and feelings of powerlessness. Willow, Cherry Plum and Bach’s Rescue Remedy are helpful when dealing with the above.
Ayurveda:

Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine, advocates sounds for healing. I personally have found great results using this method every evening prior to bed or when I am feeling facial tightness. It works amazing! Dr. Deepak Chopra  says, “Take a deep breath and make the sound while exhaling. Each sound may be repeated from one to three times. This should be done daily for optimum results.” The sounds for relaxing the jaw, helpful for clenching, migraine and tension headaches are YA, YOU, YAI. You can run through all of them a couple of times using the mentioned method.

Relaxation Techniques:

Incorporating daily Meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga and/or Brisk Waking cannot be underestimated when putting together a healthy and relaxing routine. Lower blood pressure, increased body/mind awareness, stress reduction and centeredness have all been reported by adding one of the above for as little as 20 minutes per day.

Aromatherapy:

Essential oils have a profound effect on the nervous system. They heal on a holistic level, touching all aspects of the root cause; mental, emotional and physical. An effective blend(2 % dilution for daily use) is as follows:
Organic Jojoba: 1 oz.
Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia): 5 drops
Vetiver(Vetiveria zizanoides): 2 drops
Ylang Ylang(Cananga odorata): 2 drops
Marjoram(Origanum marjorana): 2 drops

Place in a cobalt or amber 1 oz. glass bottle. Gently massage around jaw line, neck and behind the ears. Apply once per evening, prior to sleep. Safe for children above 2 years of age. Avoid if low blood pressure is present.

I am a big believer of taking baby steps when incorporating new and different practices into your lifestyle. Start with one or two of the above suggestions. When you are feeling comfortable and established with the new routine, review the list again and add one or two more and so on. Before you know it, your clenching and grinding will be a thing of the past. Now that’s something to smile about!

Until next time,
Breathe joy…
Kc
www.heartblossomessentials.com

Lavender herb and essential oilThere is something really beautiful and profound in simplicity. In today’s world where more is generally perceived as better, it’s nice to pare down to basics, go deeper and establish a relationship with each essential oil. Taking the time to ‘get to know’ your essential oils will not only give you more aromatically pleasing blends, but an opportunity to create successful healing remedies as well.

And so, the line up for 6 essential oils that can transform how you deal with ailments both emotionally and physically are Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange, Roman Chamomile and Eucalyptus. Always look for pure, undiluted essential oils; organic, unsprayed or wild-crafted.

Lavender; The “King” of Essential Oils!
This purple power house is universally adored by men, women & children alike. The versatility is hard to match, thanks to it’s diverse and rich phyto-chemical make-up. From burns to bee stings, tension headaches to depression, Lavender essential oil is the one amber bottle you want to reach for.
Key Healing Actions of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia):
Antidepressant, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Cicatrisant

Peppermint; So Darn Cool!
Known for it’s wonderful digestive properties, ability to improve mental alertness and effectiveness on pain…refreshing any way you look at it.  A nice addition to blends when detoxification is needed, as it protects the liver.
Key Healing Actions of Peppermint(Mentha x piperita):
Analgesic, Decongestant, Anti-inflammatory, Febrifuge

Tea Tree; The Yuck Zapper!
Prized as a healthy choice when ‘cleansing & clearing’ are desired. Regarded highly for it’s broad band spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Effective on acne, sore throats and an awesome addition in DIY cleaning products.
Key Healing Actions of Tea Tree(Maleluca alternifolia):
Antibiotic, Antiseptic, Anti-fungal, Immune Stimulant

Sweet Orange; Bright & Uplifting!
This cheery citrus is a must for any emotional unease. A first choice contender for stomach disorders (bloat, gas, nausea, etc.). Great when blending for children because of it’s sweet and pleasing aroma.
Key Healing Actions of Sweet Orange(Citrus sinensis):
Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Carminative, Stomachic

Roman Chamomile; Star Soother!
Such a gem when conditions of the nervous system call to be calmed. Perfect to assist with sleep, restless leg syndrome, anxiety and other tight & stressful conditions.
Key Healing Actions of Roman Chamomile(Chamaemelum nobile):
Antispasmodic, Sedative, Tonic, Calming

Eucalyptus; Germ Killer to the Rescue!
What a choice for cold and flu care, both preventative and symptomatic. This essential oil is awesome for respiratory conditions and when strong germ fighting abilities are needed. Also an excellent natural insect repellant and used to treat blisters and wounds.
Key Healing Actions of Eucalyptus(Eucalyptus globulus):
Antimicrobial, Antiviral, Mucolytic, Expectorant

When using essential oils, remember they are very concentrated little buggers! It is recommended to use a carrier(like all natural, unscented cream or organic jojoba for example) to protect the skin and aid in proper application and absorption. Store in colored (amber or cobalt) glass in a cool, dark space.

A good rule of thumb is the 1-2-3 method:
1% dilution: 5-6 total drops of essential oils per carrier ounce. Perfect for children, elders, chronically ill persons, sensitive folk and pregnant women.
2% dilution: 10-12 total drops of essential oils per carrier ounce. This dilution is used for the average adult and for daily use.
3% dilution: 15-18 total drops of essential oils per carrier ounce. Best dilution for illness or injury. Recommended for short term use.

Now the fun part…Let’s Create!
A couple of recipe suggestions to get you started:

Room Spray-airborne deodorizer, antibacterial, uplifting

Dilution: 2%
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)-10 drops
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)-10 drops
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)-3 drops

In a 2 oz. clean spray bottle add the above essentials to 2 oz. of distilled water. Shake well before using. Spray throughout the room, as desired.

Steam Inhalation-for decongestion, sinus, cold & flu
Add 1 drop of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to a bowl of steamy water(not boiling). With your eyes closed, lean over the bowl, with a towel draped over your head and breathe in for as long as comfortable. Useful 2-3 times per day, for approximately 3 days when symptoms are present OR once per day, once a week for preventative maintenance. Not for children under 5.

Pain Relief Cream-for sore, painful and/or inflamed conditions
Dilution: 3%
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)-20 drops
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)-10 drops
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)-5 drops

In a 2 oz. clean glass jar mix the above essential oil blend in 2 oz. of all natural, unscented lotion base OR jojoba. Stir well, until combined. Apply over affected area up to 3 times per day or as needed. Not for children under 5.

Household Scrub-for sinks, tiles, stove tops and more
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)-20 drops
Tea Tree (Maleluca alternifolia)-15 drops
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)-5 drops

Mix 1 cup of baking soda, 3 tablespoons of castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with the above essential oil mix. Whip and store in a glass container, with an airtight seal. Apply like a ‘soft scrub’ on the back of a scruffy sponge and clean away.

Aromatherapy is a beautiful way to enhance you and your families quality of life. Continue researching, experiment, have fun and most of all use your blends! You will be surprised how easy and effective creating remedies with essential oils can be.

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,
Kc
www.heartblossomessentials.com

Focus! Focus!

Memory and clarity are desirables when it comes to the mind. Many factors including age, hereditary, stress, poor health and diet play a role in how keen our mental sharpness is. However, essential oils can improve the ability to focus and concentrate. Among the top stimulating choices are Peppermint, Basil, Rosemary and Lemon.Image
Yesterday, I went on a road trip to Lyons, NY. Home of H.G. Hotchkiss, “The Peppermint King”. Established in 1839, this family run operation grew, harvested, distilled, bottled and distributed the essential oil of Peppermint. Their essential oils won 17 Prize Medals at World Expositions, the first being in 1851 in London. It was delightful to peep in and imagine the hustling and bustling of this operation over 173 years ago.

The Bottle Filling Area

“Touching garden mint, as the very smell of it alone recovereth and refresheth the spirits.” -Pliny AD 77

Image

Peppermint(Mentha x piperita)

Ok, back to our line up. Focus! Focus!

  • Peppermint(Mentha x piperita) is reached for when ‘digesting’ information is required. It has a stimulating effect when learning. It is uplifting, refreshing and enhances creativity.
  • Basil(Ocimum basilicum ct linalool) is a strong cerebral stimulant, fortifying and good for clearing the mind(cephalic), as well as relieving intellectual fatigue.
  • Rosemary(Rosmarinus officinalis) is probably one of the most widely chosen essential oils when focus and memory are needed. It strengthens the mind, promotes concentration and enhances presence. Even when you rub fresh rosemary leaves between your fingers, the piercing aroma released instantly brings attention and clarity. Rosemary is especially helpful when confusion and/or pressure is present.
  • Lemon(Citrus limon) “One of the most clarifying oils for the Intellect(Yi) is Lemon- Light and refreshing in nature, it is indicated for the heavy-headed and congested individual whose concentration is “muzzy” and dull. It helps, in addition, to maximize learning and memory-especially of details and numerous facts.”-Mojay

The alliance of the above essential oils prove to be a synergistic combination enhancing the effectiveness. They can be mixed in equal parts and diffused or a couple of drops of the master blend can be placed on a cotton ball and kept near during concentration or when clarity and memory are needed. Safety Note: Not for children under 5, pregnant women or if you have epilepsy or high blood pressure in your health history.

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,
Kc
www.heartblossomessentials.com

Cha Cha Cha Changes…

tran·si·tion
[tran-zish-uhn, -sish-] noun
1.
movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change. (dictionary.com)

Lately transitions of all kind have been on my mind.  From dramatic climate changes, to the massive expansion of access in global communications, change is occurring at a rapid pace.  So rapid, that sometimes it feels overwhelming to “catch up” or stay tuned in. Bringing it back from “out there”and pulling the reins into your inner circle can be very helpful to re-group.

One thing that I have found useful in managing the swirling and twirling of mind-boggling options is to actually slow down, do less and be more one-pointed.  The first fear is that you are going to miss something exponentially urgent, not fit in, or drop the ball.  When in fact, what I am finding is quite the opposite. What is fundamentally important is rising to the top, like fine cream.  Taking the space to actually “sift” has been shown to be noteworthy with positive effects.  Weeding junk e-mails, clearing out household clutter, donating what no longer represents personal style, organizing files, spring cleaning…all of these seemingly mundane tasks actually can renew individual perspective and give increased inspiration for future goals.

Change is sometimes scary.  Fear of the unknown, insecurity, doubt, all seem like standard characters in the play of change.  We can reflect confidently on history and see growth spurts, major achievements and advancements in agriculture, business, education, etc. go through enormous transitions(many very uncomfortable) before the pleasing end result.  Evolution is crucial to survival.  And in today’s time, being flexible and finding innovative strategies to not only cope, but thrive, when life throws you a curve ball is more imperative than ever.

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” ~C. S. Lewis.

When you find you need a little extra support during life’s inevitable changes…
Smooth Transitions Daily Lotion-Original Essential Oil Recipe (2 % dilution):

2 oz. of all natural, organic cream or lotion base
Grapefruit(Citrus paradisi)- 7 drops
Black Spruce(Picea mariana)- 5 drops
Bergamot(Citrus bergamia)- 5 drops
Black Pepper(Piper nigrum)- 2 drops
Laurel Leaf(Laurus nobilis)- 2 drops

Combine the above ingredients well.  Store in a  dark, airtight jar.  Apply a nickel size amount over the chest area daily, in the morning.  Avoid direct sunlight on the application area for 12 hours after. For adult use.

To growth, and being open to the infinite possibilities that surround us.

Until next time…
Breathe Joy,
Kc

www.heartblossomessentials.com

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