Saturday, October 29, 2011

Late Autumn Color Palette

Yesterday was a very sparkly day in Springs, the light was especially beautiful and soft. On my morning walk I took these pictures with hopes of capturing the last rich colors of Autumn. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Essential Oils in Chinese Medicine and Natural Perfumery

This has been the year of the (magic) Rabbit and also a year of in depth study of plant essential oils. In January, I began a year long training in the use of essential oils in Chinese medicine with Dr.  Jeffrey Yuen in Chinatown, NYC. This wonderful training was held once a month. This past week-end was the last training, so I am sharing a little bit about what I have learned.  Each class is full of rich information that I am bringing in to my practice. I am now making custom blends for my patients as well as salves for external applications based on the paradigm of Chinese medicine. 
Almost all of my sessions now include the use of essential oils. I place them directly on Acupuncture points, as well as make blends with top, middle and base notes to treat acute, chronic and constitutional issues. I have found that working with essential oils in this way to be highly effective in treatment.
Additionally,  I have been studying natural perfume making. Over the past year I have built a gorgeous collection of amazing oils, resins and absolutes from all over the world. This week I am diving back into making small batches of solid perfumes that have been favorites of friends and patients. I am creating a mailing list for when the liquid and solid perfumes are available for sale. To be included on this mailing list kindly email me at and title the email 'perfume'.  Each time I have a new blend available I will send information about the blend and pricing. 
This photograph was taken of spices from my collection, representing some of the botanicals and oils that I use in my perfumes. The Vanilla beans I purchased in Tonga, the orange was so delicious that I had to take it's picture and the green seedlings on the lower right are my calendula plants.  
The spices on top include Star Anise and Whole Cardamom. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bees of Autumn

The bees are loving the flowers of the Cimicifuga Simplex in front of my office. They seem to be slowing down with the cooler temperatures and taking their time with these pearly white flowers. 
This is a very special plant that is used in Chinese Herbal medicine. Sheng Ma, or Rhizoma Cimicifugae is harvested in Autumn. 
This herb is the the category of Cool Acrid Herbs that Release the Exterior. It enters the Large Intestine, Lung, Spleen and Stomach channels, the tastes are sweet, acrid and cool. In Chinese formulas, this medicinal releases the exterior and vents heat, it relieves toxicity and raises sunken qi. In Western Herbal medicine, this herb is known as Black Cohosh rhizome. 
These gorgeous bumble bees allowed me to take beautiful portraits. 
This sleeping bee was resting in the morning sun in the middle of a magenta dahlia flower. 
Bees were symbols of royalty in ancient Egypt, and in the Celtic tradition, bees are symbolic of great wisdom. Because bees are involved in honey production they can be seen as symbols of sweetness, and joy.
While I was in my herb garden last month, I was stung by a bee on Pericardium 9. This is a very powerful Acupuncture point, it is called a Jing Well point. The Pericardium is considered the protector of the Heart in Chinese medicine. Immediately after I was stung, I could feel the activation of this meridian and my chest opened up and there was a tingly sensation throughout my entire body. It so happened on that particular day the sting on that point was incredibly powerful medicine. Bee sting therapy is believed to be one of the first forms of Acupuncture. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Magic of the Day

Today I had a visitor........
Monarch butterfly on Verbena bonariensis flowers. 
This sweet ornamental plant attracted the most gorgeous butterfly, it is native to South America, from Columbia and Brazil to Argentina. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Winterberry Holly

Today I fell in love with Holly berries. The deep red and green colors are a welcome sight in a garden that is starting to go to sleep for the winter. There are many different species of Holly, the one photographed for this blog happens to be Ilex Verticillata or Winterberry Holly. 
The Bach flower essence of Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is an excellent remedy for opening the Heart. It is especially helpful for individuals that were hurt during childhood and who have a tendency to give into anger. This essence helps one to open to a more loving and connected way of being in the world. 
Holly leaves and berries  have been used for centuries in Europe at the time of the Winter solstice.  Romans exchanged branches at the time of the winter festival called Saturnalia. Historically it was also used for protection outside of the home and from lightening.  Because it maintained its vitality throughout the cold winter months,  the ancient Druids believed that Holly was sacred and carried the energy of the sun.
 Holly is a symbol of life force, it is related to the element of fire, the gender is masculine and the planet association is Mars.
Please be mindful that while this plant may be used as a remedy, the berries are toxic.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Honeysuckle Flowers....... Jin Yin Hua

 This week was especially sparkly in our neck of the woods. The light was golden yellow and the colors of the leaves and the sky shimmered in the glittery way they do in the month of October.
The scent of the honeysuckle flowers (Flos Lonicera) was also quite intoxicating. On my morning walks I have recently walked past two large patches of this sweet smelling vine.

Honeysuckle flowers are known as Jin Yin Hua in Chinese herbal medicine. These flowers are in the  category of Herbs that Clear Heat and Relieve Toxicity. Jin Yin Hua translates as "gold silver flower". The energetic properties are sweet and cold and this medicinal enters that channels of the Large Intestine, Lung and Stomach. It is included in formulas to clear hot painful inflammations, especially in the upper body as flowers generally treat conditions of the head. It is also used to clear externally contracted wind-heat when there is a presentation of a headache, sore throat or when there is a sensitivity to wind.

The Bach flower remedy of Honeysuckle is an essence for helping people to come out of the past and into the present by letting go of situations and events that prevent one from moving forward and embracing new possibilities.  This essence also supports us in our process of letting go of regrets and relieving homesickness.

Honeysuckle flowers are believed to attract money if placed in a vase in the home. If the vine grows near the home, it is also believed to bring good fortune. The gender that is associated with this flower is masculine, and the associated planet is Jupiter.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Precious Pears

As it is Autumn, there are many delicious pears now available to us in the Northeast. Pears are used in Chinese dietary therapy  as they are cooling and sweet. They clear lung heat by quenching thirst and moistening the lungs. They also reduce inflammation from a dry cough and clear heat in the stomach.
Pears are excellent for when one has a hoarse voice or has excessively dry skin.
In Asia, they are often softened by poaching or when added to congee.
There is a Chinese belief that pears should not be shared between lovers or friends because it may lead to separation, the word "li" means both pear and separation. One should finish his or her own pear to ensure, healthy and long relationships. Pear trees are often planted by various cultures when a child is born as they represent a long fruitful life.
This fruit is also a symbol of immortality in Chinese lore.
In ancient Egypt the pear was sacred to Isis.
In Korea the pear tree is a symbol of comfort.
Seckle pears happen to be my favorite pears. They remind me of a beautiful tree on my grandparents farm that gifted amazing sweet fruits, the taste of these small pears remind me of my special visits with my grandmother Isabelle.