Plant Families

The first step in wisdom is to know the things themselves; this notion consists in having a true idea of the objects; objects are distinguished and known by classifying them methodically and giving them appropriate names. Therefore, classification and name-giving will be the foundation of our science.
— Carolus Linnaeus

It would take seven lifetimes to learn the Latin names of every plant, how to identify them and to which families they belong. Even more, to learn all the common names and their medicinal actions plus energetics is an impossible task.

So let’s start simply:

Plant Families:

The best way to start is by introducing one family at a time.

Plant Names:

My name is Krista Coyan. My family name is Coyan. All of my immediate family members share the same last name: Coyan. Dan, Rebekah and Roxie Coyan. You can identify us easily by name. We live in the Czech Republic, but some of us live in California. So if you meet Tom and Dawn Coyan or John and Carolyn Coyan, you can maybe assume they belong to us, to our family.

Plants have families too. There are hundreds of plant families and within them millions of plant species. It’s an impossible task. Luckily, we have the internet and the hundreds of years of effort of botanists globally.

Plant names are reduced simply to into three categories: Family, Genus and Species.

At the simplest level of scientific classification, each plant has a name made up of two parts, a generic (or genus) name and a specific name or species. Together, these two names are referred to as a binomial.

generic name is a ‘collective name’ for a group of plants. It indicates a grouping of organisms that all share a suite of similar characters. Ideally these should all have evolved from one common ancestor. The species name, allows us to distinguish between different organisms within a genus.

Australia’s Virtual Herbarium
  • Binomial names are always written with the generic name first, starting with a capital letter, e.g.: Ocimum
  • The specific name always follows the generic name, starting with a lower-case letter, e.g.: basilicum
  • The full species name or binomial being Ocimum basilicum.
  • The common name is Basil.

There are hierarchical levels of classification (ranks) above and below the genus and species, the most commonly referred to is the grouping of several genera (plural of genus) into a family. As with plants within the same genus, plants in the same family have many characteristics in common. 

Australia’s Virtual Herbarium
  • Ocimum basilicum is in the family Lamiaceae, along with Mentha, Lavandula, Thymus and many other genera.
  • Family names start with a capital letter and generally end in “…ceae”.

The best way to begin is by getting to know one family at a time. During this course, Herbalism 101, you will become acquainted with five common plant families.

  • Lamiaceae- Mint family
  • Apiaceae- Parsley family
  • Asteraceae- Daisy family
  • Rosaceae- Rose family
  • Fabaceae- Pea family
Identifying plants within families:

Imagine that you are at your friend’s garden party and you have yet to be introduced to your friend’s family. If I asked you to find all of your friend’s relatives at that party, how would you go about it? You could ask everyone’s name and sort it like that. Or, you could look for common characteristics and deduce family members with that information.

Identifying Characteristics:

There is a saying: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

We will start with a plant family that you know well:

Lamiaceae-Mint Family

Key Words: Square stalks and opposite leaves, often aromatic.

Members of this family include:

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Motherwort
  • Horehound
  • Catnip
  • Thyme
Lamiaceae Medicinal Actions:

Medicinal constituents include the strong aromatic essential oil, tannins, saponins and organic acids. The oil is obtained by steam distillation. In aromatherapy, the oil is used for its soothing effects. The plant has sedative, diuretic, tonic, antispasmodic and antiseptic properties.

scialert.net
Illustration courtesy of Botany In A Day -Thomas J. Elpel

Once you are familiar with the family characteristics, it is much easier to identify a plant within that family. You will recognise its basic shape and often know its medicinal properties.

Identifying a completely unfamiliar plant:

A few years ago, when we lived in Hluboka, a plant which I had never seen before started to grow in my yard.

My husband used to mow a smiley into our lawn. This is where the new purple-flowered plant started to grow.

Starting with flower shape, I began the process of identifying its family, genus and species.

This plant has:

  • united petals
  • 4 stamen of two lengths
  • a square stem
  • opposite leaves

Given these characteristics, I can safely put this plant in the Lamiaceae family.

Using these resources, I am easily able to identify its genus and species:

Self Heal Prunella vulgaris Lamiaceae

Self-heal is used for inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), diarrhea, colic, and stomach upset and irritation (gastroenteritis). It is also used for mouth and throat ulcers, sore throat, and internal bleeding.

Botanical illustrations are really helpful

WARNING!

There are poisonous and dangerous plants out there. Please be sure about your herbal identification before eating, drinking or rubbing it all over your face!!!!

We will cover the most common and most dangerous of the poisonous plants in the Herbalism 101 short course.

Perfume 501

Make me a fragrance that smells like love.

-Christian Dior

Creating a personal blend step-by-step is easy. And difficult. But, mostly easy.

Here’s how I do it.

Step 1: Choose some essential oils that you like.
  • Look at Michael Edwards’ Fragrance Wheel to see what combines well together.
  • Take a look at Perfume 201 to see what oils fall into what categories.
  • Put the oils into small groups that would go well together.

After choosing the oils you would like to work with:

Step 2: Experiment with different scents
  • Start combining the oils gradually over three or four cotton pads.
  • Keep a record of each mixture.
  • Let the scent mature over two or three days.

My Experiment #1:

  • 1– Ravensara (2 drops), Lavender (1 drop)
  • 2– Ravensara (1 drop), Lavender (2 drops), Rosemary (1 drop)
  • 3– Ravensara (1 drop), Lavender (2 drops), Rosemary (2 drops)

Once you have discovered your favourite base scent:

Step #3: Combine your favourite base according to blending factors
  • Take note of its blending factor.
  • Add the oils together on a cotton pad according to blending factors.
  • Allow the scent to mature over a day or two and test.
Step #4: Adjust the recipe according to your wishes
  • Add one drop of a single oil at a time.
  • Take note of the new blend.
  • Test after two days.
  • Repeat the process until you are satisfied with your blend.

My Experiment #2

  • Blending factors- Lavender (7), Ravensara (5), Rosemary (4-5) (These scents are well-matched)
  • Test #1: Lavender (4), Ravensara (5), Rosemary (4)
  • Test #2: Lavender (3), Ravensara (6), Rosemary (5)

After you have refined your recipe:

Step #5: Bottle your new scent
  • Choose a carrier oil (I recommend sweet almond, jojoba, fractionated coconut or grape seed oils)
  • Choose a container ( I recommend a 10 ml roller bottle)
  • Add your blend of essential oils to the bottle (double the recipe for a much stronger scent)
  • Fill the bottle with your carrier oil
  • Shake well

Krista’s Herbs Healing Focus Blend

This blend is rejuvenating and grounding. It helps you wake up and keeps you firmly focused on the here and now. I use this in the mornings here (at the time of this writing, I am still in hospital) as a refreshing wake up and whilst working on my articles as a focus blend. This can also be used to regulate blood pressure and on the chest and under the nose as support for a weakened repiratory system, in general it is good for the immune system.

Healing Actions:
  • Lavender (Lavandula officinalis): sedative, mental health support, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, antifungal, vulnerary, calms headaches, used for pain management, immunostimulant, support for menstrual issues
  • Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica): antiviral, immunostimulant, supports the respiratory system, antiviral, anti-infection, nervine, antidepressant, expectorant, relaxant, analgesic
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): digestive, liver tonic, regulates blood pressure, eases rheumatic pain, nervine, improves cognitive function, elevates mood, skin tonic, relieves menstrual cramps, promotes hair growth

A Quiet Place

A strong vision came to me today, clear and colourful and alive:

When my consciousness arrives, I’m laying on a soft green bed of moss. With eyes still closed, I notice the sounds of birds and insects. There is a cacophany of sound, yet it is serene and melodic. Frogs, bees, birds, butterflies; all are happily in action.

Gentle perfumes arrive on pleasant breezes. These are the odours of Spring. Recognisable; not warm and pungeant like Summer smells, but cool and fragrant. I catch early flowering broad bean blooms, a fragrance from my childhood. Cinnamon basil wafts in, not overpowering as it will be in a month or two, but subtle. I almost missed it. I have to focus to catch them, they are so shy still.

Though I have yet to open my eyes, still this would be enough. I am lying in pure contentment, still I look forward to more. I know this place is meant for me and I for it. We are connected somehow. It occurs to me that I may have always been here. It’s possible I have just now come awake.

Fluttering my eyes open, no hurry at all, I note that I am here; where I wanted and hoped to be.

I see the tall grass on either side of me and a meadow beyond with a forest encircling. Flowers of every kind surround me. There is a delightful chaos here that brings me joy.

I am intertwined with this place. It’s as if I know each blade of grass. The moss gently rises up to meet the curves of my back. Without fear, birds chirp at me as they pass, allowing me to stroke their breast and offer my greetings. Bees, spiders, snakes, all manner of tiny fauna, encounter me along their paths, we silently acknowledge each other with familiarity and friendliness. We know each other.

I have nowhere to be. I sense that I am completely alone, but I don’t feel lonely. I feel no desire that I have, no wanting. There is no time frame, nothing that needs be done. No one is calling my name. I am not needed, I can merely be. There is nothing to strive for here, for all my longings have been met. And I embrace this with gratitude.

Lying amongst the moss and tall grass, I notice the light through the young green birch leaves. Dappled like stained glass, the sunlight gently warms me as a breeze blows across like a blanket I didn’t know I needed. The blue sky is cool and deep and crisp. I lose myself in its gaze.

Across from me on my left is a hill. At the foot of this green mound is a small moss-covered stone ruin; ancient and achingly beautiful. My things are there. I don’t know what things they are, but I know that what I need is in this structure. I love to lean against its cool rock wall when twilight hits. There I will sit, comfortably, and read.

There is a book inside that small stone ruin. It is one that I am sorely eager to read. I am looking so forward to reading that book for I know it will be captivating, yet there is no hurry. Time is not pressing on me. I can truly be present and enjoy this one moment. I need not think of the moments that come after this one.

Later, there will be time with others. Loved souls, ones that bring me joy; for them, there will be time. I look forward to these reunions. A rush of anticipation comes, the feeling is sublime. Then peace; for now, I have all I need.

Behind me lay a forest with paths of timeworn stone. These paths have known my footsteps as I have known their every twist and turn. One need not worry of straying off these forest paths, for the paths find you and each returns you home. I long to explore them. Peace, there is time…perhaps tomorrow…

Pisek Psychiatric Hospital, 26.3.21

These concepts resonated deeply within me:

a quieted and contented soul

time: unfettered, unhindered, unshackled

connectedness to all living things

from one strand is made many

Herbalism 101: Lesson 2

Just as the flowers grow from the earth, so the remedy grows in the hands of the physician. The remedy is nothing but a seed that must develop into that which it is destined to be.

-Paracelsus

Activity 1: Seeing
  • Make three monographs, one for each of your herbs (I suggest keeping these together in a binder or notebook in alphabetical order)
  • Draw a colour picture of each of your herbs to add into the monograph; include seed, flower and root if possible
  • Include in the monographs the energetics of these herbs that you discussed with me
  • Pick 5 of the most common medicinal actions from their monographs to familiarise yourself with
  • Add to this list: analgesic, vulnerary, antiseptic, nervine, carminative, aromatic
Activity 2: Touching, Smelling, Tasting, Hearing
  • Getting to know plantsin the Lamiaceae family
  • Pick Lemon Balm, Lavender, Mint and Basil
  • Note the shape of their stems, the shape of their leaves. Note the similarities and differences.
  • Rub their leaves between your fingers and inhale deeply. Note the aromatic similarities and differences. (Have coffee or coffee beans nearby to inhale inbetween to cleanse your olfactory system)
  • Taste each one and note their similarities and differences. (You can use lemon or ginger to cleanse your palate)
  • Note: How each makes you feel when you inhale their aromas and their energetics as you taste them.
Activity 3: Practice-Making an Herbal Tea Blend
  • Gather herbs for the Calming Tea recipe
  • Make the tea and taste: note the flavour, the energetics (See Lesson 1)
  • Adjust the tea recipe according to your taste. Let me know the adjustments you make.
  • Look at the medicinal actions of the herbs within the tea. Note especially the nervine and carminative actions. Do you feel these actions as you drink the tea?
Poisonous Plants: Deadly Nightshade

Herbalism 101: Recipes

Lesson 1: Infused Oil

  • Dry herbs in a dehydrator or in a cool dry place.
  • Grind herbs with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder. You need as much surface area as possible to come into contact with the oil.
  • Fill a jar half full with the ground herbs. Fill to the brim with the oil of your choice. (I normally use olive oil for salves and almond oil for cosmetic creams).  Allow for air pockets to bubble up. Continue to fill with oil until saturated.
  • Place the oil in a sunny window for 6-8 weeks to macerate or place in a bread maker on low heat overnight.
  • Your oil is now ready to be made into a salve, cream or placed directly on your skin.

Lesson 2: Calming Tea

  • 1 part Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis
  • 2 parts Mint Mentha
  • 1/2 part Lavender Lavandula officinalis

Dry the herbs (in a cool dark dry place, in the oven on the lowest temperature or in a dehydrator) until completely dry and crumbly.

Grind the herbs in a mortar and pestle or with a juicer or herb grinder.

Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

1 tablespoon of tea per cup of boiling water, let steep for 5-10 minutes covered.

Dose:  1 cup of tea as needed

Medicinal Actions-

  • Lemon balm: Diaphoretic, carminative, nervine, antispasmodic, sedative, decongestant, antihistamine
  • Mint: Nervine, antispasmodic, carminative, antiemetic, analgesic
  • Lavender: Vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, nervine, carminative, anxiolytic

Lesson 3: Herbal Salve

Herbal Salve

  • 1 cup (240 ml) herb-infused olive oil Infused Oil Recipe
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) beeswax
  • 20 drops essential oil

In a double boiler (or a pot nestled in a larger pot filled with a bit of water) over medium heat, add the oils and beeswax. 

Stir until the beeswax melts and is fully incorporated.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a moment.

Add the essential oils. Stir.

Pour into clean and sterilised jars.

Medicinal Actions:

Write the medicinal actions for your chosen herb.

Lesson 4: Herbal First Aid Kit

Echinaceae Tincture:

  • Leaves, flowers and seed of E. purpurea (dried or fresh) or root of E. angustifolia
  • Alcohol (at least 45%, brandy, vodka or distilled alcohol 80% if using root)
  • Sterilised jar and lid

Grind or chop the plant material as finely as possible. I use my juicer to grind the dried plant material.

Add the plant material to the jar: Dried- fill 1/2 of jar

                                                         Fresh- fill the entire jar

Add the alcohol. Fill to the brim. Keep an eye on it for the next several minutes and keep adding alcohol until all the plant material is covered.

Seal well and label with the plant name, date, percent and type of alcohol and the date 6 weeks out.

Shake the jar daily and store in a cool, dark place.

After 6 weeks, strain out plant material and decant the tincture into sterilised bottles for use.

Label bottles with the tincture name.

Whole Plant Tincture

I prefer to make a tincture from the whole plant, thus I combine the root and aerial parts tinctures. This allows for the overall effectiveness of the tincture to be increased simply because different parts of the plant have differing strengths of similar properties.

Medicinal Actions:

Echinacea is an immunostimulant, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. It has an affinity for bronchial and respiratory infections as well as throat and overall oral infections. It has a full complement of polysaccharides, which help protect cells against invasion by viruses and bacteria. Other key constituents are: sesquiterpenes, linoleic acid, tannins, beta-carotene and Vitamin C.

Chamomile Tea:

  • Dry the chamomile flowers (in a cool dark dry place, in the oven on the lowest temperature or in a dehydrator) until completely dry and crumbly.
  • Store in a dark, dry, cool place.
  • 1 tablespoon of chamomile flowers per cup of tea, let steep for 5 minutes covered.

Calendula Salve:

Step 1: Calendula Oil
  • Dry calendula blooms in a dehydrator or in a cool dry place.
  • Grind flowers with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder.
  • You need as much surface area as possible to come into contact with the oil.
  • Fill a jar half full with the ground herbs.
  • Fill to the brim with the oil of your choice. (I normally use olive oil for salves and almond oil for cosmetic creams).  
  • Allow for air pockets to bubble up.
  • Continue to fill with oil until saturated.
  • Place the oil in a sunny window for 6-8 weeks to macerate or place in a bread maker on low heat overnight.
  • Your oil is now ready to be made into a salve, cream or placed directly on your skin.
Step 2: Calendula Salve
  • 1 cup (240 ml) calendula-infused olive oil Infused Oil Recipe
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) beeswax
  • 20 drops Lavender essential oil

In a double boiler (or a pot nestled in a larger pot filled with a bit of water) over medium heat, add the oils and beeswax.

Stir until the beeswax melts and is fully incorporated.  

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a moment.

Add the essential oils. Stir.

Pour into clean and sterilised jars.

Psych Ward Fun Facts #1

Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.

– Fred Rogers

Even though I have some second hand experience because of my daughter, I was amazed at how it feels to really be here and how easily one can get used to something that one has only seen in movies.

I wanted to share the highlight reel from Hospital #1 here:

Fun Fact #1

When you receive your meds, the nurses wait for you to swallow them and then check inside your mouth and under your tongue to make sure.

Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

Fun Fact #2

The nurses will yell at you if you try to go outside in your robe and pjs during outside time.

Not me, Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

Fun Fact #3

The Viking wasn’t allowed outside at Outside Time for three weeks because they thought he would destroy the cement ping pong table in a fit of rage. (He wouldn’t)

The Viking, Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

Fun Fact #4

All the rules and procedures are disseminated patient to patient in the smoking room. Those of us who don’t smoke have no idea what the hell’s going on.

Ceske Budejvice Psychiatric Hospital

Fun Fact #5

Most of the nurses are really caring and amazing. Some are ok, professional and polite. There were two that had the same shift and they would yell at the patients. Just yell at them and push them around a bit. Then they would go into the nurses station and laugh and joke around. I hated them.

Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

Fun Fact #6

If you get a roommate who snores, the nurses are really sympathetic. They look at you knowingly and hand you a sleeping pill and earplugs. They are totally prepared for this scenario.

Update-My current roomates say I snore. I looked at them knowingly and offered them earplugs.

Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

The Psych Ward: Part 1

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.

-Glenn Close

A tale of two hospitals

I hope you find this interesting. I do, but it is happening to me, so there’s that.

Me, Pisek Psychiatric Hospital

My hospital bed, Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

Things had been getting worse. Read more about that here.

The day or two before I went into hospital, my husband asked me exactly how I was feeling. I told him I was scared and I told him why:

I feel horrible and I feel nothing all at the same time.

Me, Zbudov 48, Divcice

The day I went in, I didn’t want to go. But, I was lying on the couch crying and I saw that I was also really, really making life bad for my family. It was like I wanted the comfort of home, but I couldn’t get help at home. My family didn’t know how to help me. The only place that could help me was hospital. It was why I was crying. I knew there wasn’t another option at this point. I knew that I had to pack my stuff and go, and possibly be away for a while. I would miss my cats…man, my cats. And, I would miss my herbal workshop and my garden. I would miss my bed and…everything.

So, I packed all of my stuff. It was hard to do. I know what this is like from the other side only. We have packed Bekah for hospital many times. I started getting nervous. I knew what to expect and I totally didn’t know what to expect.

Healing Words

We get to the hospital, a drive we’ve taken quite often. As we were sat in the waiting room, two things came to mind: What if they don’t admit me? (Am I sick enough?) and I wonder what it’s like on the other side of that door? (This is a place I’ve yet to have gone.)

After a lengthy conversation with the admitting psychiatrist, she said these words to me:

We will admit you into the hospital. Let us take care of you now.

Admitting psychiatrist, Ceske Budejovice Psychiatric Hospital

I cannot tell you what these words did for me. The nervous energy and the anxiety, were momentarily, yet effectively, healed by this holy balsam. Imagine that, someone just told me that they were going to take care of me. I don’t know if it was the way she said it or just the simple words, but it deeply affected me. It’s like in 6 words she had pinpointed what had been sorely missing. I needed care. Oh, and meds.

I cried sitting on my hospital bed. The balsam of healing words had worn off. It hit me that I was in hospital, effectively a prisoner. I sat and I cried.

I had missed dinner, so I ate crackers I had packed.

I’m glad I packed those.

A day in the life: Hospital #1

Hospital Prison Daily Schedule

6:30 Woken abruptly by loud nurse yelling “Wake up!”

6:45 Get ready

7:00 Sit in the hallway with the other patients whilst they mop the rooms and empty garbage

7:15 Pick up breakfast tray, eat in room with roommate (See fig. 1)

7:30 Turn in breakfast tray, showing nurse that the butter knife is safely on your tray (no sharp objects allowed)

7:45 Try to get a nurse to give you hot water for coffee. Patients can’t have access to really hot water for safety reasons. Or jars of coffee (no glass allowed)

8:00 Line up for meds (just like in the movies, folks)

8:15 Sit in the hallway with all the other patients to wait to see the doctor.

Anytime between 8:15-9:30 Chat with the doctor for 5 minutes. This is when they ask you how you are feeling, how you are sleeping and how you feel on your meds. They are mostly concerned with your meds. On Wednesdays, the whole psychiatric team meets with you. They kind of stare at me while I sputter out random stuff. It is nerve wracking being sat in front of a whole team.

9:30-11:30 Sit in your room. Because of Covid, the patients can’t really hang out in common areas. There were varying degrees of strictness about this, depending on the staff that day. There really are good nurses and bad nurses. During this time, I would usually work on my website and social media.

11:30 Lunch. Again, in the room, with your roommate.

11:45 Turn in lunch trays, knife check, line up for meds.

12:00-2:00 Sit in your room. I usually napped. Meds make you tired.

2:00-3:00 Outside time. If your doctor says you can, you get to go outside. See fig 2. It’s more like a pretty prison yard where you can walk around in a circle for an hour, play ping-pong (if there are any balls or if they’re not broken), sit on a bench or sit on a bench and smoke.

3:00-4:00 Social time. We would talk a nurse into letting us get coffee from the vending machine (a real treat!) and we would sneak and sit in the dining room (typically closed off because of Covid). If there were good nurses, they wouldn’t say a word. I would use this time to play chess with a fellow patient I call The Viking. He looks like one, really.

4:30 Pick up your dinner packet. This consisted of more bread and possible paste of assorted flavours and dubious provenance.

4:45 Line up for meds.

5:00-9:00 Sit in room and figure out what to do. Maybe get depressed.

Assorted evening activities: Shower, wear a face mask, watch a movie (with wireless headphones. No strings or cords allowed), get depressed, get anxious, ask for more meds.

9:00 Last (and very often best) meds of the day

9:30 Lights out.

Fig. 2: Outside Time

Covid Strikes Again

The Psychiatric Hospital in Ceske Budejovice is more of a holding pen to keep you safe, regulate meds and figure out where you should go next. The typical stay is 2 weeks to a month. There is almost always a thing you need to do next. This is like step one.

Though a holding pen, there is still typically therapy during the day, even some arts and crafts, yoga, ceramics and cooking. This is all cancelled because of Covid. We were really lucky that we could sometimes congregate…playing chess with The Viking was really a good deal.

Suffice it to say, no therapy, just lots of free time.

Meds

The meds were so strong that at first I just kind of slept and shuffled around in my bunny slippers. I was on meds anyway, but they gave me a stronger dose of everything, plus a new one to stabilise me. So, week one was kind of a wash.

Thinking thoughts

Week two was super boring (though I enjoyed having time for yoga in my room and getting to know my roommate who was awesome and doing my herbal stuff on my social media). Having a lot of time to think can be good and bad. If I get too introspective, I can get super anxious…then need more meds. But, having the time to think, with no responsibilities, with nurses who were super kind and caring and loving (most of the time) was kind of amazing. If you needed anything, you just shuffle over in your slippers and ask and they sweetly help you. If I was feeling bad, they would care for me. It’s a little like being six.

I could think my thoughts and carefully organise them into safe ones and unsafe ones. It enabled me to at least take an inventory of what really hurts and what doesn’t. I don’t think I’ve given myself this much time to think thoughts in my whole life.

I had a really bad panic attack one day which led into an anxiety state that caused me to get an appointment with The Psychologist. Please picture Jared from Silicon Valley/Gabe Lewis from The Office.

He specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and he helped me work through a specific scenario and gave me some skills for the next time. I got to see him twice and I was happy to walk away with a new skill and the hope that CBT could work as a therapy for me.

Week Three

I’m literally going crazy in this place! Walking around in a circle for an hour outside, sitting on my bed, NAPPING!?!. I want to go home. I feel really anxiious, like I’m never going to see my family, my cats or my garden again. I know it’s illogical, but my body doesn’t know that.

I am told that they finally have a place for me at the therapeutic hospital in Pisek. This is the place where you get therapy. This is what I need, what I have been asking about for a while now. I look forward to when they tell me it’s my turn to go.

On my way

I pack my bags and say my goodbyes. I feel like my real journey is just about to begin!

Perfume 401

The physician treats, but nature heals.

-Hippocrates

Create perfumes that heal

What you need:

  • Essential oils
  • Carrier oil: something light with no scent like jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or grape seed oil
  • Clear, amber or blue 10 ml glass roll-on bottles (use clear because it looks so pretty with the flowers and other plant material floating in the perfume, but the scent will degrade much more slowly in a coloured bottle)

Let’s get started:

Choose your essential oils based on healing needs and fragrance. Using the blending factor chart, add no more than 10-12 drops of total EOs into the 10 ml glass bottle. Swirl the bottle around to thoroughly combine the oils then fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil of your choice. Replace the cap and swirl again.

The oils will bloom over time. After a week or two, the scent will really begin to shine!

Healing Recipes:

antibacterial:
  • 3 basil, 2 rosemary, 2 tea tree, 4 lavender
  • 5 lavender, 2 manuka, 2 clary sage, 3 ginger
anxiety:
  • 4 lavender, 1 mandarin, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 2 frankincense, 2 marjoram
  • 1 orange, 3 bergamot, 4 grapefruit, 2 patchouli, 2 ylang ylang
  • 1 peppermint, 2 basil, 2 rosemary, 1 chamomile, 1 wintergreen, 2 franincense, 3 lavender, 1 marjoram
aphrodesiac:
  • 3 cardamom, 2 cinnamon, 1 clove, 5 patchouli
  • 1 cinnamon, 3 jasmine, 4 passionflower, 4 bergamot
broken heart:
  • 2 neroli, 6 Damascus rose, 2 ylang ylang
burnout:
  • 1 peppermint, 2 basil, 2 rosemary, 1 chamomile, 1 wintergreen, 2 frankincense, 3 lavender, 1 marjoram
  • 6 grapefruit, 2 mint, 2 lemongrass
confidence:
  • 3 geranium, 3 patchouli, 3 bergamot
  • 3 peppermint, 3 lemon, 3 lavender, 1 basil
  • 2 patchouli, 1 vetiver, 2 lavander, 2 beregamot, 2 ylang ylang
doldrums:
  • 6 coriander, 4 patchouli, 2 bergamot
  • 2 bergamot, 4 sweet orange, 1 grapefruit, 3 rosemary
  • 3 rosemary, 2 mint, 4 lavender
facing challenges:
  • 3 peppermint, 3 lemon, 3 lavender, 1 basil
  • 2 patchouli, 1 vetiver, 2 lavander, 2 beregamot, 2 ylang ylang
fatigue:
  • 3 lemon, 2 grapefruit, 2 basil
  • 4 lavender, 1 lemongrass, 1 mandarin, 3 patchouli, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 3 juniper berry
focus:
  • 3 lemon, 2 grapefruit, 2 basil
  • 3 peppermint, 3 lemon, 3 lavender, 1 basil
  • 4 lavender, 1 lemongrass, 1 mandarin, 3 patchouli, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 3 juniper berry
gratitide:
  • 2 rose, 2 neroli, 2 grapefruit
grounding:
  • 6 patchouli, 3 rosemary
  • 6 green tea, 4 hinoki wood
  • 3 patchouli, 4 hinoki wood, 1 vanilla, 2 cedar
  • 3 rosemary, 2 mint, 4 lavender
  • 2 patchouli, 1 vetiver, 2 lavander, 2 beramot, 2 ylang ylang
hormone support:
  • 3 neroli, 3 geranium, 1 rose, 2 sadalwood
immune support:
  • 4 rosemary, 2 grapefruit, 2 lemon, 2 neroli
  • 4 eukalyptus, 7 lavender
inflammation:
  • 4 ginger, 4 frankincense, 5 myrrh, 1 cinnamon
insect repellent:

insomnia:
  • 1 orange, 3 bergamot, 4 grapefruit, 2 patchouli, 2 ylang ylang
lonliness:
  • 3 peppermint, 3 lemon, 3 lavender, 1 basil
  • 2 patchouli, 1 vetiver, 2 lavander, 2 beregamot, 2 ylang ylang
meditation:
  • 3 frankincense, 2 patchouli, 3 vetiver, 1 ylang ylang, 2 yuzu or neroli
  • 4 lavender, 1 mandarin, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 2 frankincense, 2 marjoram
  • 1 orange, 3 bergamot, 4 grapefruit, 2 patchouli, 2 ylang ylang
memory support:
  • 3 fennel, 2 may chang, 1 peppermint, 4 rosemary
uplifting:
  • 2 lemon, 3 lime, 5 vanilla
  • 3 lemon, 2 grapefruit, 2 basil
  • 4 lavender, 1 lemongrass, 1 mandarin, 3 patchouli, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 3 juniper berry
pain relief:
  • 3 rosemary, 2 mint, 4 lavender
  • 3 helichrysum, 3 frankincense, 3 lavender
  • 1 peppermint, 2 basil, 2 rosemary, 1 chamomile, 1 wintergreen, 2 franincense, 3 lavender, 1 marjoram
recovery:
  • 1 peppermint, 4 rosemary, 7 lavender
  • 3 neroli, 4 mandarin, 3 ylang ylang
respiratory health:
  • 1 anise, 2 fennel, 5 rosemary
  • 2 anise, 3 rosemary, 1 mint, 2 fennel, 1 lavender
  • 1 mint, 2 rosemary, 2 lemon, 2 sage, 6 pine
  • 3 rosemary, 2 mint, 4 lavender
  • 5 ravensara, 2 wintergreen, 1 fennel, 1 rosmary
skin issues:
  • 1 roman chamomile, 3 geranium, 2 clary sage, 1 rose, 2 black seed
stimulating:
  • 2 bergamot, 4 sweet orange, 1 grapefruit, 3 rosemary
  • 3 lemon, 2 grapefruit, 2 basil
  • 4 lavender, 1 lemongrass, 1 mandarin, 3 patchouli, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 3 juniper berry
stings and bites:
  • 3 chamomile, 3 lavender
stress:
  • 3 bergamot, 2 lavender
  • 4 lavender, 1 mandarin, 2 geranium, 2 ylang ylang, 2 frankincense, 2 marjoram
  • 1 orange, 3 bergamot, 4 grapefruit, 2 patchouli, 2 ylang ylang
  • 1 peppermint, 2 basil, 2 rosemary, 1 chamomile, 1 wintergreen, 2 franincense, 3 lavender, 1 marjoram
virus:
  • 3 basil, 2 rosemary, 2 tea tree, 4 lavender
wounds:
  • 1 yarrow, 5 lavender, 1 fennel, 3 manuka

Herbalism 101: Lesson 1

The plants have enough spirit to transform our limited vision.

-Rosemary Gladstar

Activity 1: Seeing
  • Identify three herbs that grow in your area or you are familiar with already.
  • Read their monographs online or on Kristas Herbarium. (What’s a monograph?)
  • Read sample monographs on kristasherbarium.com-Herbalist’s Workshop-Monographs
  • Sample monograph of Calendula
Activity 2: Touching, Smelling, Tasting, Hearing
  • Find these herbs outside, in a shop, dried or fresh
  • Depending on the herb (consult with Krista if you are unsure), make tea with each herb.
  • Note: the taste of each herb (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, acrid)
  • Read:energetics
  • Listen to how your body feels: warm (think peppers) or cold (think mint), dry (think dry biscuits) or moist (think cucumbers)
  • Make a chart of your herbs and their taste, energetics
Activity 3: Practice-Make an infused oil
  • Choose Lavender or Chamomile
  • You will need 50 grams of dried herb, a clean glass jar, olive oil
  • Follow the infused oil recipe
  • Wait 4 weeks….
Followup with Krista:
  • Send me pictures of your teas, oil and herb chart
  • Contact me with any questions

Herbalism 101

Herbalism is all about the senses: seeing, touching, tasting, smelling and hearing.

seeing:

  • recognising plants by their family groups
  • recognising plants by key identifiers
  • able to identify poisonous plants
  • recognising plants in and out of bloom
  • understanding the help and harm of the Doctrine of Signatures

touching:

  • feeling the textures of leaves
  • recognising the shapes of stems
  • spending time holding types of plants and becoming familiar with their energies
  • recognising plants by their textures

tasting:

  • recognising the five flavours: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umame or acrid
  • being able to identify poisonous plants without tasting

smelling:

  • recognising the power of scent emotionally, physically and spiritually
  • understanding what it means if an herb smells foul to one person and good to another
  • understanding aromatic herbs and their uses

hearing:

  • listening to our body and what it tells us
  • recognising symptoms and understanding the root of these symptoms
  • listening to our body, emotions and spirit as a collective
  • reacting in harmony with our senses
  • understanding the medicinal actions of herbs
  • listening to how our body energetics feel and what the plant energetics are