Herbal Alchemy

By Andrée Beauchamp 18 Jan, 2017
After spending months, working diligently with Web designer, Graydon Ursel of Kawartha Media Pros, i am pleased to announce the launch of the NEW Website, Dharani Healing Arts.

Now is the time, to book a consultation, register for a course, inquire about a service, or purchase a Dharani Healing Arts Organic Herbal tea, Organic Herbal Vinegar or Relaxation product.

For every person who visits the new Dharani website over the next three weeks, and contacts me from the site, will receive a 25% gift voucher on select products or services you so desire. Please simply contact me from the website with your impressions of the new site.  i do appreciate your feedback. May I serve you on your path to whole health and holiness in the New Year.  OM ~dharani

Body                      Earth                   Spirit

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Herbal Alchemy

By Andrée Beauchamp 18 Dec, 2017
This recipe is a delight to complement just about anything on your Christmas table. OM
By Andrée Beauchamp 03 Nov, 2017
Borage, according to Pliny, in the mid-eighteenth century was taken to make the mind merry. A  syrup made with the flowers was taken to make the mind glad and to quiet the unrest of frenetic activity and thought to reduce anxiety, and the pain of grief.
Borage's star lady flower is a peri-winkle blue and the stalks are sturdy and covered in fine hairs. The leaves are salty to taste and reminiscent of cucumber, Borage is rich in calcium and potassium and other trace minerals. Borage's saline mucilaginous content is what gives this plant her tout. Borage's main properties are: Diaphoretic, (aids in cough) demulcent, (slippery) tonic to the kidneys, anti-inflammatory and galactagogue (increases mother's milk)emollient.

David Hoffmann refers to Borage, as a restorative for people with Adrenal Fatigue, especially for those who have undergone steroid treatment. Peter Holmes in his book The Eastern Energetics and Western Herbs speaks of Borage as a tonic for the respiratory system and for the circulation, to moisten dryness and to reduce heat, in the lungs and or the heart. This would be called Lung and Heart Yin deficiency. Borage can also be used according to Peter for kidney health, where there are persistent bladder infections, with kidney and bladder damp heat.
Borage readily grows in abundance in my garden. With a mix of sun and shade Borage thrives amongst the vegetables and keeps the bugs away from the tomatoes.  Borage will reseed itself if you allow this and will come up in the same place in your garden year after year. If you do, sow seeds in the fall to come up in the Spring and sow again in the Spring to have blooms all season long.
I make an Herbal Vinegar with Borage, one of the plants in the vinegar to enhance the taste of the Mineral Rich flavor along with Nettles, Dandelion, Yarrow, Red Clover, Alfalfa & Mint. I also eat the Borage flowers throughout the summer, indeed to keepeth my heart merry. i do my best.  And the leaves, i dry as i harvest them all summer long for the Summer Tonic with Verbena, Raspberry, Linden and Rose Petals.  

By Andrée Beauchamp 28 Sep, 2017
We harvest great burdock in the fall just after the first frost when the leaves are crisp and the great plant sends its energy to the roots. You know the plant whose burrs stick to your clothing and are darned to get off.

The basal or oval shaped leaves are a greyish-green in color with broadly wavy leaves that cascade out over our paths and grow in urban sidewalk cracks! The most potent medicine is found in its 1st years roots. The 2nd years delicate flower stalks (see below) and roots are delicious as a vegetable or in sou in the Spring, and the seeds later nestled in the burrs act as an unfailing kidney tonic.

Burdock has an earthy, sweet and thorough way of healing , with a deeply reaching, slow acting and extensive effect on the whole system, most profoundly felt in the lymph, sweat, and oil glands and the organs of the liver, lungs and kidneys writes Susun Weed.

 Burdock is a tonifying herb with minimum toxicity and touted as an anti-cancerous plant and recognized as preventive in epidemics. Burdock is notably high in chromium, iron, magnesium, silicon, thiamine (Vit. B )and rich in inulin, a soluble dietary fibre belonging to a group of carbohydrates known as fructans. Unlike most carbs, inulin is non-digestible. This allows it to pass through the small intestine and ferment in the colon. Through this fermentation process, the inulin becomes a healthy intestinal micro flora and known as a prebiotic, an important food for building probiotic, a key to a healthy gut.  Inulin is very high in the roots of plants in the Autumn, especially species from the Asteraceae family,  like dandelion and elecampane, being just two of many, from this family that are rich in Inulin. The fresh burdock root is rich in Vitamin C.

On the whole burdock strengthens the immune system without the stimulation that many immune herbs do.Burdock is a steady acting blood alterative.(cleansing)The root with its mucilaginous fibers has actions that nourishes the digestive system that helps to eliminate the toxins lodged in the muscles and connective tissues. Burdock is a good choice for those with colitis, stomach ulcers and colon cancer.   As a bacteria static burdock treats candida and provides relief in spleen deficient digestive discomforts, sinus congestion and headaches. Burdock soothes and eases joint pain relieving chronic discomfort for those with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis, and can stabilize blood sugar levels in hypoglycemic s and moderate them for those with diabetes.  Burdock with its deeply reaching effects  act on the liver and treats difficult skin conditions readily.

The fresh root is best prepared as a tincture in alcohol or  glycerine or as a decoction with fresh or dried root brewed on the stove. For an easy tincture preparation, harvest the fresh roots, wash the dirt and chop it vertically into slices. Fill your jar with the root and enough alcohol to cover. Fill twice and leave for 6 weeks . Decant tincture to smaller 50 and 100 ml bottles and label from what, where and when you harvested. For chronic care take 2 dropperfuls in a little water up to 3x a day for a minimum of 3 to 6 weeks. Or until your body tell s you to that is complete.

The Japanese have cooked with burdock (gobu) for centuries in soups and stews. The native Cherokee woman prepared burdock for both the woman and her womb before and after birthing. Burdock gives you stamina and strengthens the uterus.

How could we not benefit from this roots goodness? Make sure to bring a fork and an extra pair of gloves when you go to harvest burdock. She is a tough one and not for cold or the faint of heart. Burdock is for strong, fiery people. Give yourself time to let burdock works its way through for best results.

Try the Fall  Nourish Tonic to strengthen you liver, lungs and kidneys, to nourish your immune system and to prevent from colds and flu s. Take a large handful each of Burdock rt, Oat straw, Hawthorn leaf and berry, Parsley, Cardamom, Ginger, Orange peel & cinnamon.  Take 1 tbsp. per cup and steep for 15 min. Enjoy up to 3 x a week.

We are about to begin our Making Root Remedies teaching beginning October 12 Th. Please see the teaching page and come join us this year. Burdock will surely be one of our roots as i have two big first year plants in the garden.
By Andrée Beauchamp 26 Sep, 2017

My daughter has left for University.  After 18 years of being rooted raising Misia, I  feel as though i have lost my anchor,  without my daughter to hold, and be held by in times of loving kindness & vulnerability.  This feels both extraordinary and scary. I began reaching, looking for something to ground me. Resiliency announced itself, as i hugged my favorite oak, cultivate resiliency, as a tool to be held and support by, in these times of change and uncertainty.

Resiliency requires being able to bounce back, to adapt, to go with the flow and cope with challenging times or adversity, while all the while being calm and focused and grounded. What can we do, to become more resilient in times like these?

Strengthen our resiliency muscle. Building resiliency is like building a muscle that can be strengthened at every opportunity. Children and adults alike, can strengthen this muscle by working with, and handling stress. Healthy stress builds our capacity for resiliency.

During times of stress, the body goes through a number of changes utilizing the sympathetic nervous response to make us faster, stronger and more alert. Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure increases, and our adrenaline and cortisol surge. Over a shorter period of time this works well, however over the long stretch too much stress leaves cortisol running rampant, emotions riding high, impulses unregulated, and inflammation ongoing.  

When the sympathetic nervous system is left on, our immune system weakens, our energy levels plummet, and the feelings of anxiety and depression rise.  Science has now proven 80% of illnesses are caused by stress. What can we do to prevent this?

Our executive functions are controlled by the pre-frontal cortex and involve attention, problem solving, impulse control, and the regulation of emotions. Resilience is related to the capacity to activate the pre-frontal cortex and to calm the amygdala, (the part of the brain that initiates the stress in the first place.) When the amygdala is calmed, through mindfulness, the physiological changes reverse, expanding the capacity to recover from and adapt to, or find a solution for, the present challenge or adversity. 

Here are 10 ways to strengthen your resiliency

1. Build loving and respectful relationships. People really just want to be loved and feel loved. People build resiliency when, there are a number of strong and caring role models to encourage us, which also include mentors, teachers, coaches and friends.

 2. Practice Optimism. There is no better way to strengthen a sense of resiliency than to practice being positive. Utilize a strong witness to notice negativity and change our attitude for something more optimistic.

3. Studies show that people who are capable of accepting their reality and who can take responsibility for their situation are far more likely to overcome their difficulties, and succeed than those who cannot. This includes a capacity to make realistic plans and carry them out.

4. Develop tools to take decisive actions during times of stress to help us through them.

5. Understand our strengths and abilities. Develop skills in communication and problem solving and learn to manage strong feelings and impulses as they arise.

6. Reframe our perceptions to find positive changes out of adversity. Avoid blowing things out of proportion to better ride the waves of difficulty.

7. Practice self care, with mindfulness training, daily movement, optimal nutrition and forms of relaxation, meditation and play time.

8.  Creative play. Learn to Improvise. Improvisation has been shown to support strong resiliency muscles during times of adversity.

9. Studies amongst a group of military commanders show, those who demonstrate high levels of gratitude, thrive.

10. Cultivating a deeper sense of resiliency, requires having strongly held values, with beliefs that our lives are meaningful, and that we have a sense of purpose in life.

Matzu-kazi is a kata,(a set of self defense techniques against an imaginary opponent) that I continuously  practiced in preparation for my black belt test, and means "wind in the pines."  I also look to the support of trees when I seek resiliency.  Healthy trees are both rooted and flexible and capable of bouncing back during all kinds of conditions. Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a medical botanist and passionate about trees. Diana shares In her film, The Call of the Forest  ~A Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, that trees emit chemical aerosols, like pinenes and limonenes, that trigger our relaxation response.  Hug a tree today to support your deepest sense of resiliency.  Hug yourself.  Hug  another.  Hug humanity. OM.

By Andrée Beauchamp 04 Aug, 2017
Vervain, Verbena hastata is a native medicinal plant to America and is the sister plant to the European, Vervain Verbena officinalis.  Verbena hastata is often confused with Lemon Verbena, Aloysia citrodora. These are not the same plants. The European Officinalis and the American hastata can be utilized interchangeably.

Vervain, is primarily a Nerve tonic, a sedative, anti-spasmodic, diaphoretic, (sweat) hypotensive, (lowers blood pressure) hepatic, (liver health) emmenagogue, ( for women) and galactagogue (promoting healthy bile flow) says David Hoffmann, Medical Herbalism.   Vervain contains  Iridoides, including verbenin, and verbenalin, flavanoids, volatile oils, triterpenes, mucilage, tannins and saponins.

Vervain will often be spotted in wetland areas where there is plenty of sunshine. The purple bundles of flowers,  herald the landscape as a sweeping brushstroke might. The flower bundles and the leaves are harvested in the summer when they are in full bloom. Clip the first 12" to 18" and make a tincturechopping the plant finely to improve absorption and pack the jar as you go. Pour your menstrum, alcohol or vinegar over the jar of  Vervain plant material.   Fill the jar to the top with your liquid. Label this with name and date that you collected the plant. Vervain is super bitter. i would not recommend one drinks Vervain as a tea.

On the whole Vervain is considered a low intensity and wide spectrum medicinal, according to Peter Holmes with versatility not unlike Yarrow or Meadowsweet.  Vervain is perfect for this time of year when the weather is both hot and humid, to reduce dryness and heat from the lungs, liver, kidneys and reproductive organs, with bronchial asthma, fever and coughing, with edema, stones and the pain of fibromyalgia.  Vervain supports those with chronic deficiency (tiredness) and conditions where there is chronic nervous tension. Vervain  ex ells  at relaxing the nerves with depressive tendencies.  Vervain also skillfully helps to manage migranes, dizziness and tinnitus. Vervain may be taken with Oats and or St. John's for nerve pain or with Scullcap for a comprehensive and deeply reaching nerve tonic.  Perfect for this August reset. Available in the Dharani Dispensary. Please do not take this remedy without an herbalist s or without a qualifed practitioner's advice.  Or  contact dharanihealingarts to discuss this.

Vervain Verbena Hastata is growing right outside my kitchen window presently, where i can see the tall, erect purple bundle of joy moving with the wind.  Legend says Vervain is the bringer of  love and luck  to our doors. i feel so deeply grateful for this plant medicine. OM

By Andrée Beauchamp 22 Jul, 2017
St John's is a  dear friend and ally which i have been taking for many years.  I collect the upper stalk of leaves and flowers once they are in bloom in mid July. This is a perfect time to go out and wild craft St. John's Wort to make a tincture, a salve for burns and bruises or dried for tea.

St John's likes to grow in abundant sunlight in stands along the roadside, in meadows and at the edge of the forests. St john's is rich in volatile oil, flavanoids, and alkaloids (hypericin, hyperforin,) two of its most important chemical compounds, which have been extensively researched this past century,  for what scientists believe act as the anti-depressant.  St John's Wort actions are nervine, anti-inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary (skin) anti-microbial, and anti-viral.

St John's is  specifically an ally to restore the nerves, to lift the mind and to relieve depression and anxiety. Peter Holmes in the The Energetics of  Western Herbs says  St John's supports the kidneys, the adrenals and intestines due to tension and constraint, with deficiency. This would explain why St John's has been such a supportive and wonderful plant remedy for me. Peter Holmes shares in chronic conditions involving the whole nervous system, St John's nervous relaxant and nervous restorative abilities are especially suited to women in menopause, and for people in general  who struggle with nervous tension, insomnia, irritability and depression.   St John's also works well for people who work out often reducing lactic acid build up in their tissues after a vigorous yoga class or workout. Take one dropperful before and after practice to ease your bones.

The French speak of Millepertuis as a plant that shares good humor for those who take it. Oh St. John's to you, i am so deeply grateful.  Come along and pick up a tincture of St John's Wort in the Dharani Dispensary, or use the herb to make a tea. The color and the aroma of St. John's Wort is truly divine. metta.

By Andrée Beauchamp 15 Jul, 2017
Lady Yarrow is a valuable medicinal plant to grow in your native gardens.  Yarrow has moved around in my garden, at her own pace and where she feels she can sprawl a little more over the years.  She likes dry chalky soil and heat generally and is found in the meadows and rocky hillsides of our Canadian shield.  I notice the yarrow is doing rather well this year despite all the rain.

Her new growth in the late Spring fans out like a squirrel's tail, and later the sturdy stalks rise up to give bloom to the thousand petaled flower which last quite along time in the summer. Yellow and pink versions of yarrow are more decorative-however the white yarrow is the most medicinal of the three.

Yarrow has been found, along with Chamomile, in ancient burial sites of the great Persian sages dating back to 270 AD.  In China, sturdy yarrow stalks were used as divining sticks. The name Yarrow Achillea, is named after the great Roman General Achilles, who discovered that yarrow stopped the bleeding of his soldiers wounds while at war. Chewed upon and stuffed into a fresh wound of some depth, yarrow will staunch the bleeding quickly. Yarrow was of great service to the carpenter or woodsman of old, and a sprig of yarrow placed in their tool box was a talisman for protection and for keeping out of harm's way.  Yarrow is considered a plant ruled by Venus and for that reason myths also said, when we place yarrow at our doorstep or under our bed, love doth come.

Medicinally, Yarrow has a complex and diverse array of more than 40 chemical constituents that make it a rather fragrant and versatile plant. Yarrow works particularly well for young women who struggle with irregular menstrual cycles or for people who experience nosebleeds. Yarrow can drop the temperature of a spiked fever if taken in due time, may end a pregnancy, and will address a urinary tract infection readily. Yarrow is also considered a gentle long term remedy for the liver. One does not use yarrow as a dried herb so much as in a tincture. As a dried herb yarrow is bitter and g suitable combined with other herbs, as is here with Michael Tierra's blend for flue, with yarrow leaves and flowers, echinacea root & elder flower.  A Yarrow tincture combined with water and oil works well to deter mosquitoes.

Susun Weed simplifies and specifies the use of  Yarrow as a blood mover internally and stops blood externally. Yarrow works particularly well for people with varicose veins and circulation concerns. Do note: Yarrow does reduce blood pressure.

Harvest the yarrow stalk and blooms after they have just opened  to dry or to make as a tincture, or as a delicious vinegar. Yarrow used as a simple, is a highly effective remedy when the situation calls for it. OM
By Andrée Beauchamp 07 Jul, 2017
Motherwort ~Leonurus Cardiaca- Lionheartedness,  Motherwort is an ally for women at all stages in life, whether she be a teenager  with difficult menses, during the labor pain of childbirth or for women in menopause. Motherwort's actions are: nervine, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, hepatic, (liver) cardio-tonic and hypotensive.

Mothewort is a bitter, rich in alkaloids, flavonoids, and volatile oil. Leonurine, is a powerful alkaloid that together with other companion constituents of the Mothewort plant, supports those with nervous conditions related to anxiety,  especially acute anxiety, for PMS, hot flashes, headaches, and for heart conditions. Motherwort strengthens and relaxes the heart without straining the heart, says David Hoffmann, and is a remedy specifically for heart palpitations, tachycardia. Motherwort is also a useful preventive remedy for hypertension and hyperthyroidism. 

All plants are best identified when they are in bloom. Motherwort is hardly discernible in the Spring as the new growth is merely a sprawl of dark green, palmate leaves that  grow close to the ground in a mound. She slowly unfurls and reaches towards the sky in a gracious spike with auxiliary whorled lobed leaves and blooms similarly to many of the flowering plants in the mint family with a tiny, delicate pink slipper.   

Snip the tops during the flowering period and place as many buds as you can put in a jar, cut them, and fill the jar to the brim with your menstrum.  Make an herbal remedy as a tincture with alcohol, a vinegar or with a syrup.  Label and store the remedy away from the light for a minimum of six weeks.  Shake it from time to time. Decant your remedy (removing the plant material from the menstrum and transfer the remedy to an amber bottle.  Keep what is needed in a smaller 50 ml bottle for your dispensary and use as needed, with up to 15 -25 drops 1 to 6 x a day maximum for acute anxiety. Careful not to lean to far on Motherwort however, as she can become a necessity. Treat her with kindness and respect and she will be  your  support,  when experiencing hot flashes, a racing heart with acute anxiety or a painful period.

Motherwort has been my daughter's ally throughout her high school years to ease the work load of Marie Riviere and to sooth her painful menses.  Although, Motherwort is not my ally particularly, i do love to chew on the fresh buds in the heat of the summer month's to slow an anxious heart, and to ease my mind. Motherwort has taken to grow in the planter right outside our door, which indicates how much she is needed presently.

In the Chinese pharmacopoeia, Motherwort is always taken as a simple and not combined with other plants which i have found to be true. Motherwort, the lion-heartedness stands on her own. 

By Andrée Beauchamp 16 Jun, 2017
Sage Officinalis is especially splendid this year with her long tendrils of periwinkle blooms that sprawl over the rock garden after the evening's rain. Sage is native to the Mediterranean and North  Africa and hence why she prefers dry conditions, and yet, she will readily grow wherever she is  welcomed.The leaves and flowers are cut back in the early summer just before flowering. One can harvest Sage two or three times over the season, cutting the plant back by 1/3 to provide you with a bounty of goodness that will serve well over the winter season.

Sage means to save in French -salvere. There is an old saying that Sage follows the fortunes of the household. I feel so deeply grateful for the home Misia and i have spent the last ten years.   And sage has been a part of that. Sage heals by deeply and simply serving us, for people and animals alike. 

Sage is a superb hormonal support primarily, is a glandular tonic, rich in volatile oils of up to 30%, with thujone, cineole, linalol, camphor, salvene and pinene, with tannins, triterpenes, flavanoids and resins. Sage is anti- inflammatory, carminative, anti-spasmodic, astringent, anti-catarrhal, emmenegogue and a febrifuge.

Sage is effective and soothing for young women during puberty, for fertile women in motherhood and for the crone, in the menopausal years. Sage being estrogenic, helps young women regulate their menses in the early years, and smoothes out emotions, helps nursing mothers to reduce their lactation, and skillfully addresses perspiration and salivation excess in the menopausal years.

Sage is antiseptic, anti bacterial and microbial, like all plants in the Mint Family (lamiaceae family)and readily treats the mouth and gums  as a gargle, colds and coughs, as well as laryngitis, and acute sinus infections. Sage has an overall gentle, yet, pronounced effect on the digestion with conditions such as dyspepsia. Sage supports folks with weak spleens and unchaste liver malaise. Although Sage is not the first native plant i think of, can be used as a poultice to heal a wound. Sage would be prepared medicinally, drunk as a tea, made as an infusion, poultice, or alcohol tincture.

Sage is delicious and earthy made as a tea, especially for the elderly- to treat both mild anxiety and depression as well as poor digestion. Have you tasted a Sage honey? Available in the Dharani Dispensary. Lady Sage works her magic on the many layers of our mind, body and spirit. Invite her into your garden today and revel in her goodness. Herbal medicine is people's medicine. 

Sage Infusion for Hot Flashes
Place one ounce or 30 gram of dried and crushed sage leaves in a liter jar. Fill to the top with filtered and boiled water. Let this sit on the counter with the lid on, for a minimum of four hours. Decant the herb and store the sage infusion in a mason jar in the fridge. Take 1-2 tablespoon with honey in a little warm water or milk in the evening time for 3 to 6 weeks to reduce hot flashes easily.

Sage Pesto
Prepare your pesto as you might a basil pesto. Use the blooms of the sage plant instead of the basil leaves.  The Sage blossoms, walnut oil and ground flax seeds give the pesto a delicate taste that is creamy and thick to enjoy with just about any of our summer menus where pesto is called for. 

By Andrée Beauchamp 02 Jun, 2017
Sweet Violet, Viola Odorata unearths herself in the early Spring with the Dewdrops, the Forget me Not, and the Johny Jump Up Pansies. The heart-shaped leaves unfurl to brighten the gardens edge and to bring nourishment to our table. The leaves and the blossoms of Sweet Violet contain a rich source of Vitamin C, in the form of abscorbic acid and with approx 264 gm per 100 gm of plant. Do get out your salad bowl and enjoy the sweet violets all around you.

Susan Weed speaks of Violet as a skillful companion to support and alter the function of our nervous system, the immune system and the reproductive organs. Susan shares sweet violet is particularly effective for the breasts and is her favorite ally for fibro-cystic breasts, breast cancer and mastitis.

Due to sweet violets complimentary chemical compounds  with alkaloids, salicylates, flavanoids and saponins can serve well, those with aggressive cancers and especially supportive to the liver, gall bladder, digestive and urinary systems.  According to Susan, medical literature of the early 20th century included at least five studies where Sweet Violet's healing constituents demonstrated potent dis solvent, and anti-cancer properties. Maude Grieves in 1931 said "It is recorded that during the nine weeks that a nurseryman supplied a patient suffering with cancer in the colon was cured at the end of this period-A bed of violets covering six rods of ground was almost entirely stripped of its foliage."

In contemporary times, the flowers of sweet violet are mainly used in the form of cooling agents, in the manufacture of perfumes as well as for cough syrups.

Violet leaves are also a head easer and a respiratory ally, cooling the effects of the head, mind, brain, lungs and nervous system. Aunt Violets cool infusions in the midst of an overheated congestion will come to the rescue when there is blocked grief, traumatic remembering s and feverish fears.

Pour 1 liter of filtered and boiled water over 30 gm of dried blossoms and leaves of dried sweet violet. Let this stand for a minimum of 4 hours and strain to make your infusion. Drink the violet infusion either hot or cool for a deeply beneficial source of nourishment and wisdom to guide you on this journey. OM.
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