Dandelion Detox

This common flower is a favourite in western folk medicine and once we understand how beneficial it can be I don’t think we will ever look at it in the same light again. Creeping up through cracks in the pavement and popping up where we least want it, the unassuming Dandelion has enormous healing powers.

Dandelion’s (Taraxacum officinale) main uses in herbal medicine are:

• cleansing the liver

• purifying the purifier

• a diuretic

• improving digestion

• promoting lymphatic activity

The Chinese use Dandelion is for clearing heat from the body. Heat that is deep within the body and Chinese herbalists believe that it cleanses the sinuses. An indication that this is required may not be as obvious as a blocked nose but if white spots are visible on the tongue, or there is a film over the tongue, this can indicate that fluids in the body are clogged by mucus. This congestion can move into the bones casing aching.

These symptoms all link back to the liver, the main area of the body supported by Dandelion as the liver is responsible for detoxification and elimination from the body. The liver and kidney work together; the liver breaks down larger molecules so the kidney can eliminate them.

Due to its bitterness, Dandelion is a diuretic, which increases bile production, which in turn increases digestive activity, which has, clear remedial effects in liver disease by increasing the flow of bile through the liver and cleansing it. Thus increasing urine flow too, so it is important to drink plenty of water when taking Dandelion.

The beauty of using herbal medicine is that we benefit from all the healing properties the plant offers us. Most diuretics cause potassium loss in the body, but Dandelion has the added benefit of containing more potassium (three times as much as most other green plants) so it actually replenishes potassium rather than depletes it. The leaves are the best part of the plant for this action.

Due to its liver cleansing properties Dandelion, especially when combined with celery seed can have very beneficial effects for arthritis, gout or rheumatic conditions too.

If you have ever tried to dig up a Dandelion you will know that their roots run very deep and as they feed the plant they are bringing up calcium from the deeper soil and this could explain how it helps re-calcify the bones and teeth.

Emotions can be related to illness too, and anger, nervous tension and sluggish feelings are associated with the liver and these can manifest themselves when the liver is not functioning properly.

Parts to use:

Roots and Leaves

Harvesting:

Roots – collect from 2 year old plants or older. The older the better. Collect in early spring when they are filled the maximum amount of sap, although they taste sweeter in Autumn due to higher inulin content.

Leaves – pick young in the Spring/early Summer

Preparation:

Roots- wash and cut into long pieces (not too small as sap drys out). Dry by gently heat, or leave on a wire rack in the airing cupboard.

Leaves – Dry by hanging in a dark airy room or use fresh in salad, cooking or smoothie.

Properties:

Citric Acid, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, potassium, Inulin (sugar complex safe for diabetics), tannins, glycosides and hormone like substances.

Dosage:

I believe that with herbs it is better for our bodies and to aid absorption by taking less but more regularly throughout the day.

TEA: As a remedy at least 3 cups of tea are needed a day, or a couple of cups of tea plus a handful of leaves in a smoothie or salad. To make tea use 30g of dried or 60g of fresh root or leaves to 1 litre of boiling water. Always cover while cooling to avoid loss of essential oils.

TINCTURE: 5-15 drops 4-5 times a day. (see our How to Make a Tincture blog if you would like to make your own).

Be patient, as with all herbal treatments this can be a slow process but remember that you are actually curing and supporting the body using plants, not just masking the problem as with many conventional medicines.

Before taking any herbs medicinally you should always seek advise from your doctor first.

Refs:

The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann

The Herbal Drugstore by Linda White / Steven Foster

Colour Healing

Color Healing, or Chromotherapy is an ancient art dating back to early Egyptian times and the Hindus have used colour and its’ healing benefits as part of their Ayurvedic medicine system since 1025AD  when Persian philosopher Avicenna completed his series of five books called The Canon of Medicine. The Canon of Medicine remained a medical authority for centuries. It set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world and was used as a standard medical textbook throughout the 18th century in Europe. It is still used today in Unani medicine, a form of traditional medicine practiced in India.

Avicenna (980-1037) saw colour as vitally important both in diagnosis and in treatment. He wrote that “colour is an observable symptom of disease” and he developed a chart that related colour to the temperature and physical condition of the body. His view was that red moved the blood, blue or white cooled it, and yellow reduced muscular pain and inflammation.

Chromotherapists use light in the form of colour to balance “energy” lacking from a person’s body, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels.

Each color has its own frequency vibration, and corresponds to a particular chakra (or energy center) in your body. Selecting and using the right color allows you to harness its frequency vibration, which in turn helps you to create your reality intentionally.

Everything in the universe is made up of light energy. Light energy moves at different frequencies, but the human eye is only capable of perceiving light in a frequency range of about 400nm-700nm (from red to violet). However, there are other animal species that are capable of perceiving even more frequencies and colors (for example, many birds and insects can see ultraviolet light, which is of a higher frequency than we can perceive).

Regardless of the range of color and frequency vibration that we are able to see, the ability to perceive different colors simply means that we have an innate ability to easily detect the vibration that we need and want. An easy way to help create your reality is through using colors that align with the vibrations of what you desire.

Colour theray can be as easy as painting your office wall yellow to promote communication, or wearing pink to bring calmness to your day.

We will looking into individual colours over the next few weeks on our Wild Medicines blog page.

Get Happy Skin Again!

Thank you Emm at Vintage and Vampires for the review of our Facial Steamers and Rosehip and Neroli Face Oil:

“Wild Medicines Helping Me Get Happy Skin Again…”

When I was younger, my mum used to have a facial steamer and would pop in a few drops of essential oils to the hot water and let the vapours from the steam work wonders on her skin. I was too young to be interested in doing the same at the time but i always loved the scent that would waft around the room whilst she was doing this.
My skin has been feeling very irritated and congested for the last few months, i’ve noticed a lot more breakouts and felt my skin looked bumpy since the holiday definitely but I put this down the sun lotion I was using and thought it would clear up in time. Nothing has really changed so I thought about what I could do or change in my daily skincare routine to make my skin happy again – it just suddenly occurred to me that i should try steaming my face. I googled a few things and was looking for facial steaming bags when I came across Wild Medicines; a must have brand for any green beauty lover!
Wild Medicines was created by the lovely Louise Bowery who believes we can both sooth our skin and our minds by using and listening to nature, which is all around us. We all have a fragrance that when we smell it, it has the power to move us and alter our moods… I absolutely love the scent of jasmine for its uplifting properties and woody scents such as patchouli to calm my mind. Her powerful and potent products are paraben & cruelty free and never test on animals.

I have been using the Facial Steamers (£4 for 4 bags) designed for oily/teenage skin as I wanted to feel like my skin was being purified and decongested of any toxins and grime from every day life. They aim to do just this and leave you with healthy glowing skin afterwards which  can safely vouch for! I popped a bag in a bowl of hot water (you don’t need a fancy steaming facial kit to use these like my mum had) and put a small towel over my head and breathed in the vapours whilst they got to work on my skin for around 5 minutes. I’m not a massive fan of steam rooms and find it hard to breathe so i don’t tend to use for longer than 5 minutes and pop out for air but you can use for 5-10 minutes quite happily if you wanted to. My skin felt fresh as a daisy and totally rebalanced and i felt like i’d had a mini spa session minus the price tag! I think another positive of using steaming in your skincare routine every now and then is that your skin is primed for any skincare that you use afterwards – especially face masks or serums/oils as your pores are open and more receptive to lotions and potions. The bags come in a handily little tin to keep them fresh and can be easily stored in your vanity cupboard.

I have only just started using the Neroli Facial Oil (£16 for 30ml) but even though I have oily skin, i’m finding it a real pleasure to use. I’ve not had any breakouts and don’t find it heavy, plus the scent it divine. I try to steam once a week and choose to use a facial oil every other night or so. I’m not sure why, I just don’t feel the need to use it every night, but i love using oils like this one when my skin needs a serious hit of moisture.

If you want to try these products for yourself or find out more, visit Wild Medicines or why not tweet Louise on Twitter who will be happy to advise!

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Press – Grazia

This week Wild Medicines features in Grazia Magazine. Our Facial Steamers, now also available from VictoriaHealth.com, grabbed the attention of Grazia’s Health and Beauty writer as a great product to help stop winter flu.

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Press – Cream of the Crop

This month Simply Worthing have written about the Wild Medicines natural skin care range in the September issue of Simply Health and Beauty.

For further information on the products they have selected please visit:

Face Cream with Rosehip and Avocado Oil

Face Oil with Otto Rose, Nettle, organic Rosehip and Vitamin E oils

Face Oil with organic Rosehip, Evening Primrose, Patchouli and Neroli

Body Butter with Oilve, Papaya and Juniper Berry

Unfortunately some of the prices in the article were in correct, but if you would like to order please use coupon code ‘happy’ for 15% off.

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Press – Women Actually

Local Press Coverage:

We were very excited to have an article about our skin care products in the Women Actually pages of the Argos recently. Thank you to the editor for writing a great article about Wild Medicines skin care and including product photos of our Avocado Face Cream, Rosehip and Patchouli Face OIl and Papya Body Balm.

Press release are available on request from Louise@Wild Medicines.co.uk.

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The Wisdom of Nature

I wanted to share with you a thought process that goes back centuries and since first learning about this folklore, I now look at nature with fresh eyes.

Since with 1600’s philosophers have believed that plants are created with signs that guide us to understand what the plant’s purpose and intended use is. There were illusions to this theory in the writings of Galen in AD131 – 200 but it was not until a chap called Jacob Boehme wrote a book called ‘The Signature of All Things’ in the first half of the seventeenth century that this idea took hold. Boehme was banished from his home town for this belief and was told he could not come back unless he promised not to write anymore books – he could not make this promise, so he left!

Paracelsus, a Swiss doctor and mystic of the early 1600’s, was one of the first to take this idea seriously and worked out an entire system of knowledge, based on nature as a living, intelligent being. He named this knowledge ‘The Wisdom of Nature’. He described a different way of perceiving the world, based on the intelligence of Mother Nature and believed those who live close to nature can learn this knowledge through their experiences.

Can the patterns in nature correspond to patterns in people? These signals don’t take the form of carton like images popping up all over the country side, but they are there and sometimes they are very obvious, once you start looking. For instance, look at a Hawthorne berry – red and round. What type of person, or part of the body might that be useful for? Traditional herbalists will use the Hawthorne Berry to regulate the function of the heart, and this little berry does resemble that organ. The sort of people that have trouble with their heart are quite often a little flushed and perhaps a little overweight… red and round like this magic little berry. Another heart healer is the Pepper – like the Hawthorne Berry, it is not only red but inside it is divided into four, as is heart.

It is not just how the plant looks that we can pick up clues from, but also it’s habitat. As an example, plants which grow in sunny locations are often them selves drying and uplifting, like the sun – Rosemary or Calendula are prime examples. In contrast, Angelica, grows in damp and shady places and has warming properties which remove damp and is used traditionally to treat damp, cold conditions such rheumatism.

Hidden within nature is a vital life force, some like to think of this as a substance, rather than an energy as it is easier to think of it as something tangible. Careful and imaginative observation of a plant’s habitat, season of flower, smell, colour, texture, shape and even taste can all help us understand and learn what the plant’s energy is intended for.

So, next time you are walking in the woods, or even down the street, take notice of the plants and flowers that force their way up through the pavement, or creep along the forest floor. What does the texture of their leaves reveal to you, how do the colour of the petals make you feel and what is it about where they are growing that could direct you to it’s use? You will need to use your imagination, but I don’t think it will be long before you start making connections.

Whether we believe that these patterns are created by God, Mother Nature, or all just strange coincidences, and although it may not be possible to scientifically prove this kind of thinking, does that mean it should be ignored?

Answers to ‘The Wisdom of Nature Quiz’ are:

Elderflower: Respiration.
Don’t the shapes of the stems and tiny flowers remind you of the bronchioles and little air sacks in the lungs? Traditionally their anti-catarrh and relaxing effect is used to soothe the lungs and combined with their anti-inflamamtory properties they are used by Herbalists for asthmatic conditions too.

Hawthorne Berries: Heart.
As mentioned above the little round red berries resemble the heart, they are even split into four internal sections just like the heart. They are full of flavonoids which are very effective for repairing the walls of small blood vessels. The flowers and berries are used by Herbalists as they open up the small arteries of the body, which increases blood supply and oxygen to the tissues, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

Calendula / Marigold: Depression caused by nervous anxiety.
Who could not look at this beautiful, orange flower and not feel just a little uplifted? Used by Herbalists for many skin ailments, it also has a relaxing effect on the nervous system which is known to help treat depression caused by nervous anxiety.

ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED HERBALIST BEFORE USING ANY PLANTS AS MEDICINES.

References:

The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

The Botanic Medicine Society, Ontario, Canada

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