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Kava Kava

Kava Kava

by Monique Meadows

Release. Surrender. Relaxation. The central intoxicating ingredient in Kava Kava or Kava Root is Kavalactone. Kavalactone is a compound primarily found in the root of this relative of the pepper plant. The compound is understood to have effects on chemicals that transmit signals from nerve cells to other neurotransmitters in blood such as GABA, dopamine, and norepinephrine. As an example, the interaction of Kavalactone with the neurotransmitter GABA is known to birth the sleep-inducing and anti-anxiety sensations associated with Kava Kava consumption. Kava Kava is also known for its neuroprotective effects, which has been observed (in a small amount of studies) to be beneficial for degenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s) and nervous system conditions.
It is clear that Kava Kava is a supreme homeopathic solution and alternative to prescription drugs for individuals with anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and/or stress. Although Kava Kava is generally a safe and gentle herb, it is important to note that idiosyncratic and rare instances have occurred where Kava Kava has been linked to liver damage. Therefore, it is important to always consult your local herbalist when seeking to use Kava habitually.

Kava Root: Magic in the Ritual

By Monique Meadows

Kava Root is a sacred, unifying herb of the South Pacific Islands. Particularly in Fiji, Kava Root is an integral thread of daily life and the cloak of culture. Typically multiple times a day, tribes o
f the heart (friends, family, new friends) will sit together to embrace one another and add a sense of pause to the day.
The root (in powder form) is strained with water into a large communal bowl. The bowl serves as the centerpiece of a circle of individuals sitting upon the Earth as they drink the earthy and slightly peppery Kava drink out of coconut shells. It is custom to drink the entire shell in one sitting rather than taking slow sips.
Within a few moments, the effects will begin to arise. At first a mildly numb tongue, t
hen a gently numb face, and then unalloyed relief. The sensation is similar to the state of sunbathing on a beach that is just the perfect temperature with a gentle breeze kissing your body as the ocean tides lap up to the sand in a balanced rhythm. Melting into the bliss. The mind is a blank canvas and the body feels completely free of tension. Entirely present and fully grounded, Kava brings you down to Earth. Although a relaxant and reliever, Kava does not rob an individual of full control over mind and body.
While Kava is a magic choice for anxiety relief, pain relief, tension relief, mental chatter relief, and more it is not something to over-indulge in. The Fijians acknowledge this and rather, prepare and consume Kava in a ritualistic and ceremonial fashion. There is an unspoken idea that the Kava would not have similar effects if prepared and enjoyed alone, which is something that is never done in Fiji. Rather, it is about gathering together and letting go of the worries. It is no wonder that the Fijian people operate on “Fijian Time” where 10:00am means 3:00pm and emanate with a kindness that is unparalleled. There is a local saying “Senga na lenga” which literally means no worries and that is exactly what bubbles up to the surface when Kava is ritualistically enjoyed.
Ritual. What about the practice holds such sanctity? What is the distinction between routine and ritual? Perhaps the sanctity of ritual lies within full, intentional engagement and life perceived as celebration. You are invited to relish in the healing gifts of Kava and share the experience with your loved ones. Herbs and ritual go hand-in-hand; two things that certainly lessen the worries of life.

 

 

All information on the MoonDance Botanicals website is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician

Berry to the Rescue

Berry to the Rescue 

By Coco Pile

Elder berries are famous for their use in colds and flus, especially for nasal congestion. The use of this herb for helping relieve symptoms and overcoming the infection has been documented for over 2,000 years. The berry not only activates the immune system, but it directly impedes virus’ mechanisms to invade cells. If that wasn’t enough, elder berries are also excellent for their releasing properties. They are considered as diaphoretic and diuretic.  Meaning they allow perspiration and urination to release toxins and metabolic waste from the body. This is key for feeling more energetic, recovering from the tissue damage and releasing waste from the immune system defending the body.

Elder Berry Harvesting Tip

Elder Berry Harvesting Tip

By Coco Pile

When it comes to harvesting wild elder berries, it is common practice for the herbalist to ask the tree for permission to harvest before gathering any parts of the plant. Harvesting responsibly is of the upmost importance to respect the plant and the job it plays in the ecosystem, but also to protect the herbalist. Elder berries are poisonous to consume when they are still green. It is best to harvest them when the berries have developed and matured into their rich black color.

Practical Uses of Lavender

Practical Uses of Lavender

By Coco Pile


One of the best ways that you can benefit from lavender is simply having it around and smelling its fLittle lavenderragrance.
People around the world recognize the significance lavender’s aroma. That is why it is one of the most popular perfumes for self-care products at home like soaps, cleaners and skin care products. By merely inhaling lavender’s sof
t yet bold aroma, your body’s nervous system is gently sedated to promote balance from excessive stimulation. It has been used historically to improve mental well-being by calming the nervous system in behavior patterns of anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and depression.

Not only is Lavender calming to the mind, but it is also calming for the skin and soft tissues. That is why lavender is commonlLavender Infusion!y used as an analgesic, or anti-pain ingredient, in body care products. Responsibly harvested lavender can have high concentrations of the ester functional group, or anti-inflammatory compounds. Using lavender infused oil or carriers with lavender essential oil over
muscles and joints can relieve aching pain and soreness. Whole parts, extractions, or topical products with proper essential oil concentrations can be used on skin to reduce irritation or inflammation of the skin. One great herbal product to have at home is a lavender spray. A few spritz over burns will ease the pain, cool the heat, and promote rapid healing of the tissue.

Lavender is also effective at easing digestive pains. Its gentle tonifying effects in combination with its strong anti-inflammatory properties are great for topical application over the abdomen.

It doesn’t end there! Lavender is known for its benefits for circulation, glucose regulation, insect bite relief and repulsion, skin rejuvenation, and its strong antiseptic properties. There are endless herbal creations that you can make with lavender to improve your health and wellness.

Have fun discovering what lavender can do for you!!!

Best Place to Source Lavender

Best Place to Source Lavender

By Coco Pile

 


Lavender Infusion!Although lavender typically prefers mediterranean climates for its regularity in available water and moderate temperature changes, it can still be found in extreme climates like Colorado. Unfortunately, no two climates are created equally. Influencing factors such as access to water, nutrients, foot traffic, pollution, altitude, climate, predators, etc. all affect the way the plants look and what constituents they create. This is why there is so many species of the “same” plant and why sourcing your herbs appropriately can make or break an herbal recipe.

The most renowned region in the world to source your lavender from is France.  This is due to the fact that the harvest fields in France have a climate that doesn’t get too cold to disturb the ester compound formulation. They also have the advantage of altitude, which allows them to distill lavender at lower temperatures. Because of these factors, the Lavandula Angustifolia essential oil from France has the highest constituent content of esters compared to majority of other Lavender farmers/plants around the world.  For those of you who are not familiar with functional groups, esters are compounds that have an anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal effect on the body. The esters also contribute to the potency of the plant’s aroma. Making French Lavender one of the greatest sources for perfumes and medicines.

Lavender is extensively cultivated around the world for varies reasons depending on the climate and the farmer’s intentions. It is not uncommon for lavender farms and distilleries to add synthetic constituents to their crops and essential oils to boost their medicinal value. Be cautious when purchasing your lavender to make sure it is pure, organic, and unaltered. These adaptations may cause undocumented side effects and/or change the way your lavender acts in the recipe or on your body.

Lavender: History to Current Research

Lavender: History to Current Research

By Courtney Danielsen


 

Lavender - Up Close and Personal

Getting to know herbs on multiple levels is part of the fun and love that is herbalism. So for this blog we are exploring some history and current studies of wonderful lavender. Lavender is part of the Lamiaceae family more commonly known as the mint family which includes the obvious peppermint and spearmint but also sage, rosemary and basil. The most common type of lavender used today is Lavandula augustifolia and it is native to the Mediterranean. The word Lavandula comes from the Latin word lavare meaning to wash so many of the historic uses have to do with cleansing and scenting the body. The use of lavender goes all the way back to the Egyptians who used it in the mummification process as well as in bathing and perfuming. The Greeks and Romans used lavender for bathing as well as in their cooking. Soon they started realizing that these beautiful fragrant little flowers also had medicinal benefits. During the plague it was believed to protect you from infection. What it was actually doing was working as an insect repellant preventing the lice (which carried the plague) on rats from coming near. More recently in 1910 the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who is considered the father of Aromatherapy, had an accident where he badly burned his hand. Gattefosse quickly dipped his hand into a nearby tub of lavender essential oil and discovered that it eased the pain. The burn healed quickly and with very little scarring. This little accident set Gattefosse off on an exploration of essential oils and their benefits.
Today we know of the many therapeutic actions of lavender including working as an analgesic (pain relieving), antidepressant, antiseptic, antiviral, carminative (helps with gas), nervine (helps with nervous system including sleep issues), and as a vulnerary (wound healing). Lavender is well known for healing burns including soothing sunburns and is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin.

LavenderSome of the current research into the benefits of lavender includes its effects on sleep and anxiety in coronary ICU patients, and looking into lavender as a treatment for migraine headaches. In 2015 the British Association of Critical Care Nurses did a study with 60 coronary ICU patients to see how lavender would affect their sleep quality and levels of anxiety. They found a statistically significant difference in the group that received the lavender and they concluded that it helped the patients with sleep quality and reduced their anxiety. In another study, published in the journal of European Neurology in 2012, 47 patients who were diagnosed with migraine headaches were studied. The group using an inhalation of lavender essential oil had statistically significant relief of their headache pain as compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that lavender essential may be useful in the management of migraine headaches.
This is only a taste of all that lavender does and I hope it has given you inspiration to explore more!

Peppermint’s Powerful Effect on Circulation

Positive Impacts of Peppermint on Circulation by Coco PilePeppermint Close Up


Peppermint is known for its healing abilities across the world.  What makes it so popular is its diverse spectrum of healing properties that can benefit most of our body’s systems. The reason for this is because of peppermint’s unique affinity to influence blood and lymph.

Many people are curious as to how peppermint is both cooling and warming. This seemingly contradicting statement actually describes its physiological action on the capillaries of our tissues. The cooling sensation is from peppermint’s strong astringent properties causing the tissues to vasoconstrict. As the cells metabolize the constituents that produced this effect, the body’s response is to vasodilate and bring blood and fluid back into the tissues. The flush of blood provides the heat for peppermint’s warming effect.

Imagine being at work and not having what you need to conduct your job. Then all of a sudden a delivery of everything you need and more comes right to you. This is what happens to our cells. The rush of fresh blood filled with nutrients and oxygen stimulates and strengthens the tissue. Peppermint’s unique stimulation of circulation allows tissues to perform their job and have long lasting improvement of function.

As much as peppermint is indispensable, it is also problematic. This herb is known as a counterirritant, meaning that its circulation and endorphin stimulation can reduce pain and discomfort, but in large doses it can actually increase discomfort. If you excessively over use peppermint you can increase blood flow and heat to the area and intensify your inflammation. So use peppermint mindfully and observe its influences on your body respectfully. Herbs can be powerful.

 

Peppermint’s Wonderful Benefits on Digestion

Peppermint’s Wonderful Benefits on Digestion

 Written by Coco Pile


_mg_1033Powerful Peppermint is popular because of the many benefits that it brings to the body. One of the greatest gifts that it can bring to our bodies is its digestive assistance.

Peppermint’s carminative properties helps strengthen our digestive tracts. It tonifies the intestinal walls to improve absorption of digested material, and promote healthy peristalsis.

As a digestive, it has the ability to bring the secretion of digestive juices into balance. It assists our digestive tract to either secrete more or less digestive juices to optimize or improve our digestion.

Peppermint’s antispasmodic characteristic is also useful for digestive stress. It is great for relieving digestive pain or discomfort, by calming the smooth muscle of the digestive tract.

Its strong affect on circulation is also beneficial for clearing out and strengthening the digestive tissues. Helping the body to combat majority of instigators that may cause digestive distress.

Overall, it is clear to see how peppermint can be used as a digestive aid. Peppermint is best used for acute conditions, it is not recommended to be use over prolonged periods of time.

An easy, yet effective way to utilize peppermint’s many benefits for our digestion is to consume peppermint tea. You can drink up to three servings of peppermint tea for larger bodied people.

Please be cautious and do not over dose yourself. Peppermint is very stimulating and is actually more effective when used sparingly. But as always, error on the side of caution and monitor your body’s reactions when making dose decisions.

Stay smart and enjoy what peppermint has to offer your digestive system!