Ashwagandha (Withania) is one of the most valuable herbs in the Ayurvedic medical system.  It is not just a herb for stress relief; it is also beneficial in helping to keep one healthy, young and mentally sound. Those who take Ashwagandha, even after just a few days, become aware of increased energy, a feeling of internal warmth, wellbeing and overall balance.

The therapeutic qualities of Ashwagandha are well recognised in Ayurvedic traditional Indian medicine. Dating back an estimated 5,000-10,000 years, Ayurveda is widely believed to be the oldest known system of health care. Buddha (born c. 550 bc) was a devotee of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic practitioners value Ashwagandha as an important medicinal plant. They regard it as a rasayana herb … indicating that it strengthens, rejuvenates and invigorates. It is an adaptogen that works to normalise physiological function by acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the neuroendocrine system to control stress and regulate body processes. Ashwagandha has “middle note” or neutral action, which means it can be warming as well as cooling, depending on the condition. According to Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha simultaneously balances the nervous system (vata = air) and the musculoskeletal system (kapha = earth, water) while it increases heat (pitta) in the body. As a result, it improves memory, counteracts the effects of stress and calms the mind. (See the Information and Reference Guide in Nature’s Creation book for a more in-depth explanation of Ayurveda.)

Ayurveda is India’s 5000-year old medical science of life, health, and longevity. According to Ayurveda, there is no separation between body, mind, and consciousness. Therefore, the concepts of health and disease must address all of these aspects.


Milk Thistle

St Mary’s thistle or milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has been famous as a liver herb for thousands of years and promoted for its liver-protecting effects..  Milk thistle is distinguished by the large glossy leaves with creamy-white variegations around the veins. Tradition says that the variegations originated from the milk of the Virgin which once fell upon the plant.

The main active ingredient in milk thistle is the high amount of silymarin.  Modern research shows that St Mary’s thistle has a truly remarkable ability to both regenerate damaged liver cells. It has been widely used for liver and gallbladder diseases including hepatitis, cirrhosis (of the liver), gallstones and jaundice. The silymarin extracted from milk thistle has proven` to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Milk thistle or St. Mary’s Thistle (Silybum marianum)  should not be confused with Holy or Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus).

It is a different species with different medicinal properties. Blessed Thistle is not edible, whereas, Milk Thistle is edible and used by foragers as ‘bush food’.

 Blessed Thistle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is said to have obtained its name from its high reputation as a heal-all, being supposed even to cure the plague. The name derived from the Benedictine Monks during the Middle Ages… who used it as a cure-all during the bubonic plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s.

Blessed thistle was traditionally used in bitter tonics to stimulate appetite and digestion, among other potential uses. Today it is commonly brewed as a tea, or in dietary supplements (usually in capsule form), in herbal tinctures and extracts.

Blessed thistle contains tannins, which are water-soluble polyphenols that help protect the body against oxidation and support healthy digestion; whereas, milk thistle contains silymarin, a popular ingredient in herbal supplements used to support liver health.

 

 


Natures Creation

NATURE’S CREATION – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants – Book & Cards

A wonderful book and card set for those who are passionate about medicinal plants. Use the book and cards to learn about over 40 medicinal plants, their history, myths and, most importantly, their healing properties. Discover how to utilise the plants’ medicinal qualities through a variety of herbal preparations. Tinctures, decoctions, flower essences, essential oils and herbal teas can be powerful tools in healing on all levels…physical, mental and emotional.

Each card has also been designed to provide insight and to aid in recognising an issue and facilitating its release or simply in using a particular plant for personal support. Choose a card daily or whenever you need guidance and support. Browse the corresponding chapter to get a feeling for the plant and what it’s offering you and to reflect on the gentle lesson it teaches.

Many of the insights in the book embrace spiritual practices for personal growth and balance. Yoga, meditation, fire ceremony and other modalities can be used to strengthen the plants’ healing abilities and assist in transforming, aligning and bringing balance.

Check out the book/cards set. The perfect Christmas gift!

Buy the book/cards on the website: www.naturescreation.biz

 


Essiac Tea Immortal 8 Herbs

This recipe was given to Renee Caisse from the  Ojibwa / Ojibwa Tribe (North American Indian tribe from Canada). Essiac is Caisse spelt backwards.  Renee Caisse set up a clinic in Canada to help cancer patients. This remedy originally consisted of 4 original herbs. Later…4 more herbs were added.

This powerful mixture of 8 medicinal herbs has the potential ability to assist in the healing of  people with a variety illnesses including, Chronic Fatigue, Diabetes, chronic inflammation, supports the immune system, promotes detoxification.

I became interested in Essiac Tea as a treatment for arthritis, but after some research I found the combination of herbs is known to help various other ailments with (word of mouth) good results. I only just purchased the tea…and as yet…I have to test it for myself so I cannot give testimony of its healing abilities, as yet. I will post results as I experience them.

The 8-Herbs:

Blessed Thistle:  Widely used to treat liver and gallbladder diseases. Aids in digestive problems and has anti-inflammatory characteristics.

Burdock Root:  Blood purifier, nutritive liver tonic, and mild diuretic. Burdock Root is one of those rare herbs that stimulate lymphatic drainage and detoxification.

Kelp:  An amazing marine plant and a concentrated source of minerals, including: iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Kelp is a nutrient dense source of iodine which is crucial in the production of thyroid hormones.

Red Clover:  A source of many important nutrients, including: calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C…but first and formost a blood purifier. It is also one of the richest sources of isoflavones…water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens.

Sheep Sorrel:  Sheep Sorrel’s action is diuretic, refrigerant and diaphoretic, and the juice extracted from the fresh plant is of use in urinary and kidney diseases. Sheep Sorrel contains a rich source of oxalic acid, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, beta carotene, and vitamin C. Be aware: oxalic acid can be harmful in large doses.

Slippery Elm Bark:  Contains nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C. It regulates the colon, easing both constipation and diarrhea and has a soothing action on the digestive lining. It is also effective  as a cough remedy…soothing sore throats and coughs due to upper respiratory ailments.

Turkish Rhubarb Root:  This a detoxifying herb…famous for its healing abilities. Rhubarb root purges the body of bile, parasites, and stagnating food in the digestive tract by stimulating the gall duct to expel toxic waste matter.  It has proven effective in alleviating chronic liver problems due to its liver cleansing properties.

Watercress: A nutrient rich plant growing in slow moving water. It contains more Vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas. It also contains Vitamin A, B6, B12, magnesium and phosphorus. Its high antioxidant content may lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Consumers who are not battling illness might use the tea as a detoxifying elixir in less potent doses.

 

 

 

 


I went to bed last night with a scratchy throat…the kind you get when you feel like you may be coming down with something but no real specific symptoms…more a feeling of unbalance and exhaustion. This morning I was aware of the same feeling so I took some immune strengthening herbs.

I stopped by the Organic shop on my way home from the grocery store to pick up a couple of dry herbs. I walked in and I was immediately drawn to the liquid Echinacea supplement. Echinacea is best known for its positive effect on the immune system. Herbalists regard Echinacea as one of the best antibiotics and blood purifiers…activating the immune system, and helping to resist disease.

I returned home and decided to draw one of the Insight cards from my book, Nature’s Creation – Knowledge and Guidance through Healing Plants. Synchronicity. I was a bit taken back when I drew the Echinacea card and immediately connected with the message this plant was sharing with me. I was not coming down with something but my immune system was definitely out of balance. The Insight message below rang clear and true.

Insight…quoted from the book.

“If you have drawn the Echinacea card today it is time to pay more attention to your physical needs, especially your immune system. You may be under stress at home or at work or you may have had some physical or emotional trauma recently. It could be that you are not aware of the stress you have taken on. The effects of stress or trauma may be underlying and not obvious; however, if the stress isn’t recognised it may manifest in an immune-related illness. The fact that you have chosen this card at this time is an indication that you are likely holding on to stress in some way, consciously or unconsciously.

The power of Echinacea will enable you to look within and re-connect with your intuition to bring to the surface any underlying stress. In order to release the stress you must be able to take responsibility for everything that occurs in your life without blame. By acknowledging the stress you are then able to release it fully and once again feel your inner strength and calm return. This will bring balance back to your immune system with a renewed feeling of wholeness, freedom and inner peace”.

I had an “ah ha” moment. I knew exactly what was causing this imbalance and how to change it. As the author of this book, I had to remind myself that I too need a refresher course on the power of medicinal plants and how to once again, “stop and smell the roses” (or the Echinacea).


A member of the rose family with over 1,000 species worldwide, identification of Hawthorn confuses even some of the most experienced botanists. This is partly due to the fact that the different species hybridize (cross-pollinate) very easily. However…the chemical profiles of Hawthorn found in all areas worldwide appear to be identical.

Hawthorn acts on the body by lowering the blood pressure and having a positive effect on the functioning of the heart. The effectiveness of Hawthorn in the treatment of chronic heart conditions has been confirmed in a number of clinical trials…most noteworthy was a 1994 trial in Germany. The ability of Hawthorn to improve heart rate and lower blood pressure was clearly documented in patients.

Drawing the Hawthorn Insight card (the lesson that the plant teaches) that accompanies the Nature’s Creation book is an indication that the heart is involved in some way. This could mean an obstacle or difficulty arising in the affairs of the heart or it may relate to an imbalance or block in the heart energy.

The yogic practice of Pranayama (breath work) is wonderful for clearing an imbalance in heart energy and bringing balance and clarity to the body on all levels. Practices suggested: Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (energy network purification) and Bhramari Pranayama (humming bee breath). These practices are detailed in the book under the Information and Reference Guide and can be done daily.

“Heart intuition or intelligence brings the freedom and power to accomplish what the mind, even with all the disciplines or affirmations in the world, cannot do if it’s out of sync with the heart” –Doc Childre and Howard Martin–

Nature’s Creation – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants

www.naturescreation.biz



I’m beginning to gather my annual and perennial medicinal herbs to plant out in my garden and/or in pots. In the photo above (left) I have comfrey, viola, calendula, mint varieties, Herb Robert, yacon, and nasturtiums ready to plant. In the pots, I have strawberries and lavender. Below are pictures of my herb garden, comfrey, and Herb Robert.

I like to plant mint and comfrey in pots as both of these species can take over the garden very quickly if left to their own devices. Comfrey will re-grow from the most minuscule piece of root left under the earth. A trick I’ve used in the past is to plant them in good sized pots, dig a hole in my garden and put the whole pot, with the plant potted inside into the hole. This method prevents the roots from escaping and the plant taking over the garden. They then become part of the herb garden and stay within their boundaries.

My little herb garden has been fertilised, mulched and left over winter. It’s now ready to plant out. This garden gets lots of sun in the summer so I have another little garden space for shade-loving plants like Herb Robert (above). My climate is sub-tropical, therefore the herbs I’m planting grow well in this climate. It is best to do some planning and figure out which plants will be happy planted in your garden bed and which ones would prefer a pot outside or even inside on the kitchen windowsill. I planted my lavender in a pot so I can control how much water it gets. Lavender does not particularly like the humid, sub-tropical climate or wet feet. My strawberries are in pots on the edge of my garden bed as strawberries are another plant that spreads rapidly and takes over. I only have a small herb garden so I have to plan it out well. I like to have a low maintenance, easy to manage garden. Everything comes down to how much space is available in your garden and what you choose to plant. It is important not to overcrowd the garden and to leave space for each plant to stay healthy and to grow to its optimum size…especially if you are using the plant medicinally.

Companion planting is also something I like to do. I know that nasturtiums and calendula like kale so I will plant a few kale plants with them. I’ve learned that kale isn’t keen on strawberries so I will keep the strawberry pots well away from the kale. Mint is good around cabbage and tomatoes but not parsley or chamomile. Lemon balm is often called bee balm as it attracts bees that pollinate other plants in the garden. Check out companion planting as a diverse mix of plants that are compatible makes for a healthy and beautiful herb garden.

Nature’s Creation Book and Cards have lots of good information about many of the available herbs and how to use them medicinally. www.naturescreation.biz

 


Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) or Saint Robert’s Herb is a European woodland geranium with an extremely long history as a valuable medicinal herb. It had all but disappeared from medicinal herb gardens. However, with its amazing healing qualities, this little herb is making a well-deserved comeback.

Very little information is written on Herb Robert’s healing constituents but this special plant has repeated time and time again, that it has supreme therapeutic qualities. It has proven that it has the capabilities to enhance the immune system. Research has established that the source of germanium in Herb Robert is a beneficial element in the body…having the ability to make oxygen available to the cells. This ability gives the body the opportunity to fight disease enabling the cells to regenerate and heal quickly. Free radicals cause a lack of oxygen in the cells and disease such as cancer can manifest.

Germanium’s outstanding effects on the immune system have been well documented in medical journals. As an adaptogen herb, it increases the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue. Adaptogens generally work by strengthening the immune system, nervous system and/or glandular system…helping to boost, balance and normalise functions in the body. Herb Robert has earned a reputation as a cure for cancer with testimonials to back up the claims.

This is a herb that can be of great benefit and used daily. The plant provides vitamins A and C, as well as B. It is full of minerals such as iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and calcium. Fresh leaves and flowers can be steeped to make a tea or dried and stored to use throughout the winter months as a tea or tossed into salads as a nutrient booster. The root can also be dried and used.

 


Yoga (inner ecology) & Permaculture (outer ecology) – A Foundation for a Healthy & Sustainable Life

The outer environment is in danger from global warming, pollution, and myriad chemicals. As our toxic outer world spins out of control we become aware of the environmental dangers of disturbed emotions, disease, negative and aggressive thinking.

The external environment is a reflection of the environment within our bodies. When the external environment and ecology is out of synch, our inner ecology is also affected. The mental and emotional pollution within us needs to be restored and harmonised just as the outer pollution does. Yoga practices can restore the inner ecology and Permaculture practices can restore the outer environment and ecology…bringing back harmony and balance internally and externally. The two are intricately connected.

For inner and outer ecology we have to consider the food we are consuming…the soil and how the food is grown. If the food we eat is impure then our mind and thinking will be impure also. Food has a tremendous influence on our mind. It forms the mind as well as the body. If our environment is sick and depleted, we will become sick and depleted also. Through yoga we realize that it is our duty and responsibility to look after the two gifts we have been given, namely, the environmental complex upon which we depend for our survival, and the body-mind complex in which we live.

Combining Yoga & Permaculture is a foundation for a complete approach to living a sustainable and healthy life. Anahata Retreat in NZ invites you to join us in November for a unique Yoga & Permaculture Design Certificate course to learn how to balance these two important aspects of a sustainable, healthy life.

The last Permaculture & Yoga Course held at Anahata Yoga Retreat, New Zealand was such a huge success that we are offering the same course again this October.

Anahata Yoga Retreat
Yoga & Permaculture Design Certificate Course
4-22 October 2018 (18-day course)
yoga@anahata-retreat.org.nz
www.yoga@anahata-retreat.org.nz
+64 3 525 9887