Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Friendly Turtle and the Last to Leave the Nest

 A friendly turtle from the woods stopped by for a visit today.
 It allowed me to take its portrait!
  I also discovered a gorgeous nest filled with Cardinal chicks. It was a rare and special treat to find birds still in the nest!

The proud parents were having a noisy spat with two rather large black birds when I discovered that they  were protecting their nest in the boxwoods. As I was taking the pictures, the male and female Cardinals were both in the branches above me, watching my every move.
 These pictures are of the last of three chicks who were leaving the nest. At first I saw three chicks, then two then this last one.....
These special visits by two and four legged friends reminds me to be open to their symbolic medicines  and be grateful for the quiet lessons they have for each of us.

Friday, June 24, 2011

St. John's Wart (Hypericum perforatum)

June 24th is also known as St. John's Day and Midsummer. The bushy shrub is named after St. John because on the celebration of this special day, these yellow flowers are in bloom. 
 When I began to read about the plant St. John's Wort I discovered many interesting facts about the plant and it's European lore.
 It is believed that if a sprig of this herb is placed under a pillow on St. John's Eve, it would bring on dreams, visions and blessings by St. John. 
This plant is also known as "the leaf of the blessed", it offers beautiful deep yellow flowers. There is a lore that if the flowers are collected on the Solstice, they are then twice as powerful and may make you irresistible to others. Dew collected on the morning of this special day was thought to have magical powers.
St. John's Wort is used in external remedies along with Calendula for reducing inflammation.
This shrub has associations with the astrological sign of the sun and it's element is fire.
I had the good fortune of taking this picture of the flower with a visitor.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bai Ji (Rhizoma Bletilla Streata)

This lovely and hardy ground orchid just finished flowering in the garden. It is surprising that it came back after such a harsh winter. The colors and the energy of the plant were strong and vibrant this year and I was happy to see it come back with such vigor. 
In Chinese herbal medicine, this plant is in the category of Herbs that Stop Bleeding. The tuber is dried and made into a powder. It enters the Lung, Stomach and Liver channels and may also be used topically for localized trauma.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Roses are in bloom and they are gifting us beautiful scents and gorgeous colors. One of my favorite and most used essential oils is Damask rose oil.  I often place a few drops of Damask rose (Rosa Damascena) essential oil along Pericardium channel and specific points when my patients are sad, anxious or in need of emotional support for the Heart.
Rose oil also benefits mature and dry skin as it is an emollient, it also helps to heal broken capillaries.
In Chinese herbal medicine, Mei Gui Hua (Flos Rosae Rugosae) is catagorized as an Herb that Regulates Qi. According to the Benksy Materia Medica, they are sweet, slightly bitter and warm, and they enter the Liver and Spleen channels. In herbal formulas, they promote the movement of qi, harmonize the blood and disperse stasis.
The astrological association is Venus and the elemental association is water. In ancient Rome, the feast of Rosalia was celebrated in honor of Venus, rose petals often lined the streets during this celebration.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mantis Nymphs

I recently had the good fortune of watching an egg case of Mantis nymphs emerge. I used my extension tubes in addition to my macro lens to take pictures of these tiny beings come into the world. After they wiggle out of the case, they rest for a few minutes, then their limbs become unstuck from the body and they are mobile. They seemed to stay by the case for a while so I had a wonderful opportunity to take pictures. It was an extraordinary thing to witness and photograph. These pictures are of nymphs that are less than an hour old!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)

 Passion flowers were documented by Spanish explorers in South America in 1569.  At that time, they were believed to be symbols of Christ. Various parts of the plant were believed to represent the various elements of his trials during the crucifixion. The three stamens represent the wounds, the twelve petals represent the Apostles and the corona represent the crown of thorns. 
This flower is also known as the flower of the five wounds or "La Flora de las cinco Llagas". The original Gaurani name is Mburucuya. In the area of Argentina known as Corrientes, this name is still used today to refer to this amazing flower.

Passion flowers are said to bring peace and harmony. They are associated with the planet Venus.

Passion flowers are prescribed in Western Herbal medicine. I do not have experience with this remedy but I have learned that the flowers and leaves are used as remedies to reduce stress.  

I have fallen in love with its other worldly structure, just looking at these flowers reduces stress! The colors are truly amazing.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Precious Peonies

More amazing Peonies are in blossom right now, all of the little roots planted in the past few years have matured to present gorgeous fragrant flowers. I have brought several flowers into my treatment room and the fragrance is intoxicating.
 The actual word 'Peony' and the genus name Paeonia is derived from the Greek physician Paion who was the physician to the gods and mythological being who discovered medicinal applications of herbs.
 Pliny the Elder (ca. A.D. 23-79) claimed that Paeonia was the most ancient of all medicinals that could cure many diseases.
In Chinese Herbal Medicine, Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan Radicis) is the bark of the plant, it is used in Chinese herbal formulas and falls into the category of Herbs That Cool the Blood.  The bark is generally harvested from mature plants that are between three to five years of age.

 There is a belief that if you sleep next to Peony flowers you will have expansive dreams!
Peonies are related to the Sun and the element of Fire.
Phenol compounds in the leaves and flowers are believed to keep little garden four legged friends from eating the plants. All of these pictures are of Peonies from my garden.