Friday, December 30, 2011

Parque del Retiro Madrid

These magnificent gardens were originally the playground of the Spanish monarchs, they cover about 350 acres in Madrid proper. There were once very large palaces that were destroyed in the early 19th century. These beautiful gardens include many large statues, beautiful rose beds and a lake for rowing small boats! 
The light was very soft and beautiful when I walked through the gardens. While it is winter, there were a few beautiful surprises to photograph. I love being in public gardens and observing how nature adapts in such a big city, and how people who live in the city adapt to nature. 
Wishing everyone a very fresh and sparkly new year with much joy, grace, and sweetness in the year to come. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Gardens of Aranjuez

This was a particularly sparkly holiday in Aranjuez, Spain with my beautiful family. Many Argentine, Spanish, Irish and Greek specialties were shared with open Hearts. 
During this time, I was introduced to the gardens of Aranjuez and I was immediately inspired and fell in love with the light and the landscape. These gardens contain fountains, pools, statues and magnificent buildings all along side the Tagus river. This was the Spring residence for the Kings of Spain, originally constructed by Phillip II in the second half of the 16th century. The gardens were an oasis for the royal families, as the surrounding areas are quite arid. UNESCO declared this magical city a world heritage site. 
Included in the landscape, there are four gardens; The Isle garden, the Parterre garden, the Princess garden and the gardens of Isabella II.

While it is winter, there were still interesting botanicals to photograph. I love that there are roses in bloom in December!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Botanical Gardens Madrid, Spain

Today was a beautiful day in Madrid.  The light was so soft and delicate, it feels wonderful to be here. To get grounded back into myself I went to the Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid or Botanical Gardens. The gardens were established in 1755 by King Ferdinand VI, it covers 20 acres.  While most of the plants are not in bloom in December, I was gifted some beautiful surprises. I was really taken by the Chinese Roses, photographed below.
Wishing everyone a lovely holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Praise of Citrus

There are so many gorgeous citrus fruits available now and I have been remembering how when I was a child my mother taught us how to make pomanders that we would hang around the house for the holidays. Pomanders are traditional Christmas and New Years gifts and ornaments. They are often hung by red ribbons, and made by pushing cloves into fresh oranges which are then rolled in cinnamon powder. Over time the orange shrinks and it exudes a delicious scent. In Victorian times these ornaments were often hung in closets and kept in drawers to keep away months. Orris root can be used to preserve the ornaments, this comes from the root of the Iris. My pomander was rolled in cinnammon powder and I placed a drop  of sandalwood and ginger essential oils at the the top. At the top and bottom I also added handmade beads made of glass.

In my practice I love working with citrus oils. I feel that the scents of orange, bergamot, lemon, pink grapefruit and blood orange are like working with liquid sunshine. Mandarine and tangerine are other favorites that I use in pediatric treatments. Citrus oils have a short shelf life and should be stored in the refrigerator.
In natural perfumery they are considered top notes.
In Chinese herbal medicine the peels of citrus fruits fall into the category of herbs that Regulate Qi. For example tangerine peel, is called Chen Pi, or Pericardium Citri Reticulatae. It is acrid, bitter, warm and aromatic. It regulates qi, dries dampness and helps to prevent stagnation.

This week, I am off to the land of my people, Spain. I am in search of many beautiful and delicious scents, flavors and plants. Wishing everyone sparkly holidays. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Flowers

There have been several surprises here in the land of The Springs this week. First and foremost the plant world is  getting a bit confused by this very warm weather that we have been experiencing, as a result, tobacco flowers, calendula flowers and azaleas are in bloom!
Here are some pictures of these hardy and beautiful flowers.

This year I had some very beautiful journals printed in a limited edition. They were created with Mark Gavin at the amazing paper company Ecojot. We used one of my botanical drawings created in Photoshop to make the covers. In the illustration,  I included a saying that my grandmother Isabelle embroidered. Her love of botany, plants and beauty inspired me on so many levels. This piece of embroidery was framed and hung on a wall in her farmhouse in West Virginia. Since I can remember this embroidery has been a part of my life, the saying is 'Don't Hurry Don't Worry and Don't Forget to Smell the Flowers.'  These journals make great gifts for the holidays! There are two sizes for sale 5x7" for $11 and 6x9" for $16. If you are interested in purchasing a journal please contact me at

A portion of the sale will be donated to The Retreat in East Hampton, N.Y. where shelter is provided for victims of domestic violence.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pink Camellia Japonica

Camellia flowers are still in bloom and much to my surprise ants and a bee came by as I was taking pictures of the flowers today! The petals of the flowers are soft and powdery pink, they are gorgeous. These flowers have several meanings in the language of flowers; white represent perfection, pink represent pining or longing, red, passion or fire of the Heart. These flowers are also represent admiration and gratitude.

In China, the Camellia flower petals are symbolic of a woman and the calyx is symbolic of the protector of the petals or of a man. It is also a symbol of young love and deep devotion between a couple.  This quote appeared as I was writing the entry about the energetics of Camellias,  unfortunately I do not know where it came from but it is beautiful and fitting... 'Repeated acts of kindness are true love. Silent forgiveness is unconditional love.' For some reason, as I was taking the pictures of these very soft but hardy flowers these words really resonated with me.
Camellias are also symbols of good luck when they are given as gifts.
In Japanese culture, this flower is also symbolic of the Samurai as they often have short lives much like the life of a Camellia flower.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Magic of the Day

Today there was a lot of beauty here in Pretty Medicine land. A Passion flower and an Orchid opened simultaneously, I think that they were talking with one another in their secret plant language and decided to open at once and make flower magic. 

They are too sparkly and beautiful to not share. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Working with the Energetics of Roses

This past week I have been really working with the energy of Roses. I was gifted this blossom and have been watching it open slowly. This bud feels particularly vibrant and its life force feels contagious as it has been soothing the Heart and sharing it's gift with my patients in my office. 
I continue to explore working with Rose oil and all of its possibilities in my perfumes as well as with the flower essences of various Roses. 

 I am currently working with the Perelandra Rose Essence of Gruss An Achen, this essence supports balance and helps our system to stabilize physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 
Historically, Roses have been connected to energies that are associated with the Divine. I was reminded of this again, after receiving the gift of the bud.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Praise of Spruce

There are three Spruce trees outside of my office that are bearing cones this year. Gradually they are filling out and creating a protective layer of greenery that shields my office entrance from the wind. In this neck of the woods it can get quite gusty in the winter so all protection from the elements is welcome.
Historically the Spruce has been regarded as a tree that provides female protection and is symbolic of life. In Europe, Maypoles were traditionally made from Spruce trees. 
There is a cluster of Spruce trees in Norway that is believed to be 9,550 years old!
In my practice, I  particularly like using  Black Spruce (Picea Mariana) essential oil. Now that the season is going into the cooler weather I am bringing out my essential oils for immunity and for nourishing the Kidneys. I have been using this oil to  massage over the Kidney area in treatment. I have also been encouraging my patients to inhale the oil before we start treatment if there is congestion in the Lungs. From a Chinese medical standpoint this oil invigorates Qi and Blood and invigorates the Lung Qi. All oils that come from evergreens present us with an opportunity to build our own life force because the needles of the trees remain green throughout the Winter, this means that they carry a very hardy life force. 
When blending this oil, it should always be used with a carrier oil. It is an excellent oil for improving circulation in the joints and for boosting the immune system.  This essential oil also has the ability to clear the mind when we are feeling scattered and uplift us when feeling depressed or in low spirits.
In Native American medicines this tree is used in many remedies, specifically the sap. It is also believed to carry the energy of prosperity and abundance. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


These gorgeous Parrot Tulips were given to me by one of my lovely patients yesterday. I was so happy to receive them and the richness of their colors. They brought joy into my Heart and with that came tremendous gratitude. Tulips carry the energy of grace. I am now exploring how the energies of grace and gratitude are very similar. It seems to me that if we can be in the energy of gratitude that there will naturally be grace in our Hearts.
While exploring the definition of gratitude, I found these words that I really like....'When we practice an attitude of gratitude we are practicing feeling loved.'

 I am grateful to be able to do what I love and share the medicine that I practice with so many amazing people. I am grateful to be able to have the opportunity to share my pictures, work and vision on this blog. I am also deeply grateful for all of the loving, supportive and nurturing people in my life who have shared their Hearts with me.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. 
With love, Mia

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oak Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen')

 I am sharing my recent art work that has been created with my new scanner, dried Oak Leaf Hydrangea flowers and leaves, and Photoshop. The colors of the leaves are gorgeous and brilliant.
In China, the Hydrangea is considered a symbol of Enlightenment.
This beautiful flower represents a gift from the heart.
Traditionally Hydrangeas are given on the fourth wedding anniversary.
Oak Leaf Hydrangeas have beautiful long flowers that bloom in clusters. Even when the flowers dry out, they are quite beautiful for making arrangements. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)

   The scent of Rosemary always reminds me of my mother's cooking, she had a deep love and appreciation for cooking with herbs and this was one of her favorites. Here are photographs of a sprig of flowering Rosemary. 
   Medicinally, Rosemary is a very significant herb, it has been historically used to improve circulation and memory. It is also  known for its strength in supporting the adrenals, reducing stressful feelings,  and for improving circulation in joints. It makes a great essential oil to add to blends for warm soaks and massage oils. It may be employed in blends for depression, grief, and for raising one's spirits. It is also known for its abilities to relieve respiratory congestion. It is used in many hair products for cleansing the scalp.
   The strength of this herb lies in its long thin dark  leaves. This is a plant that loves the sun, as it is heat tolerant. It is best to harvest the leaves of the plant after the dew has dried in the early morning during the hottest time of the year. At this time the oil of the plant is at its peak. It takes approximately 50-100 kgs to make one kg of oil!
   It is a masculine herb that is associated with the sun and the element of fire. Rosemary is symbolic of health, love, and cleansing. It has also been a symbol of fidelity and devotion between lovers. Rosemary also has a history of being included in ritual as it has a cleansing property. It may open the third eye.
   In Greek and Roman temples branches of this herb were often burned to invoke the gods and goddesses and eliminate unwanted energies. It was often made into garlands to be worn during festivities.
   During my essential oil training this year, I learned that this essential oil is warming in nature and works with the Lungs, Liver, Gallbladder and Kidneys in the paradigm of Chinese medicine.
I am now reading  The Scent of Desire,  Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell by Rachel Herz, PH.D.  I love her methodical and specific research into the realm of scent. She writes about psychology, human emotion, taste, memory, and healing.
This is a photograph of Rosemary flower buds.