Spicy Herbs & The Metal Element

How is it November already!? Like many of you, I’m surprised once again of how quickly time passes. We are deep into Autumn and the holiday season is quickly approaching. Many of you know that in Chinese medicine theory,  there are 5 Elements or Phases that have several correspondences, including a season. Autumn is associated with the Metal Element, as are the organ systems of the lungs and large intestines, the emotions of grief and acceptance, and the flavor of spicy.

Element Metal
Season Autumn
Color White
Environment Dry
Phase of Life Harvest
Organ Systems Lungs/Large Intestine
Flavor Spicy (Acrid, Pungent)
Sense Organ Nose
Tissue Skin
Emotion Grief/Acceptance
Sound  Crying
Entity Po- Corporeal Soul
Animal Tiger

Each element has a flavor or taste attached to it. In Chinese herbalism, flavors have very specific actions and can travel to precise areas of the body. Understanding the energetics of herbs and foods is essential in combining effective formulas.

The spicy flavor of the herbs has the specific function of dispersing Qi (vital life force energy) from the external part of the body, called the Wei Qi. You’re probably thinking, Ok, so what does dispersing qi from the external part of the body mean?

When qi is dispersed throughout the Wei Qi, the pores open and sweating occurs- reducing body temperature and pushing external pathogens, or “evil qi” out of the body. When someone has a strong Wei Qi, the pathogens that cause cold or flu are pushed out of the body. If there is a weak Wei Qi, the immune system is not strong enough to fight off the pathogen and frequent and recurrent colds may occur. A weakened Wei Qi can also be associated with Lung Qi deficiency  that manifests as seasonal allergies, asthma and even eczema.

After twenty years of studying herbal medicine and ten years as an acupuncturist, I have Resolve Amazon Picyears of experience working with all of these conditions. My love of aromatic plants and Chinese Medicine is what inspired me to create my Baker Botanica 5 Element Essential Oil line. Resolve, my Metal Element blend includes spicy herbs like Eucalyptus radiata, Douglas Fir, Scots Pine, and Tulsi (Holy) Basil.  Terpenes in Holy Basil are proven anti-pyretics (fever reducers) and Eucalyptus radiata is not only safe for children, but also has strong anti-bacterial and expectorant properties. The delicate notes of Douglas Fir and the sharpness of Scots Pine provide additional anti-microbial properties.

The therapeutic properties of aromatic plants are well documented, not only in Chinese medicine, but also from medicines around the world. Today most of us have access to highly medicinal plants and we don’t even think about. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, fennel, cilantro, parsley, garlic, onions, and scallions are found in grocery stores around the world, and although we think of them as culinary herbs, we have forgotten how they have been used as medicine for centuries.

To find out more about spicy herbs, the Metal Element (including our corporeal soul, Po) and more, check out the first episode of Season 2 of my podcast, The Herb Walk with Jessica Baker on iTunes. And please Subscribe and leave a review so I can serve you better!

I almost hate to say it, but the holy days are just around the corner. For fresh ideas, check out my Baker Botanica 5 Element Blends (purchase one or the entire set!) and my book, Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine, both available on Amazon.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic 

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Open & Bloom Spritz

One of my favorite things about Spring is watching the trees bud. As I watch them unfurl and open, I am reminded of how I also have the ability to blossom and grow year after year. In Denver it is always such a welcoming sight as I know the cold Winter is coming to an end. Living so long in California I forgot how drastically different I feel with each season change.  It feels good to witness my internal and external bloom!

Open & Bloom Spritz

2 drops Magnolia blossom essential oil- for transformation of self and spirit

2 drops Lavender essential oil- for accepting ourselves in times of transition

2 drops Mandarin essential oil- for integrating changes during transformation

2 drops Frankincense essential oil- for holding on to the truths of transformation

Add all essential oils to 1 ounce of spring water in a glass spritzer bottle.

Shake well. Spray yourself as often as needed to help with times of transformation.

 

With love and gratitude,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Citrus Diffusing Blend

The spring winds are kicking up all the construction dust around my neighborhood and I have been feeling a little congested from all the particulates flying around. Along with drinking my nettle tea to reduce irritation from allergens, I’ve also been diffusing essential oils daily.

My go to has been filling the air with crisp, citrusy tones and doing wonders for the irritants in the air.

Citrus Spring Diffusing Blend

2 drops Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) essential oil

2 drops Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil

1 drop Lavender (Lavandula angustilfola) essential oil

1 drop Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) essential oil

1 drop Hemp (Cannabis sativa) essential oil

Mix all drops together in a small glass bottle with diffuser cap. Add 1-3 drops to your diffuser.

*Always dilute essential oils. Purchase your essential oils from companies that understand and honor that they are precious gifts that should not be consumed greedily.

For the love of plants,

jessicabaker 

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Spring Cleaning Essential Oil Spray

Although winter is not over, I am definitely feeling the vibrancy of longer days. I have already begun some spring cleaning and it feels good to clear out closets and drawers of unused clothes and clutter.

My sinuses have felt a little active since cleaning means stirring up dust and dander. Thankfully in Colorado there isn’t a mold issue, like I experience in Northern California, but the pollution of the city is present and I have noticed more congestion (what I call the Colorado dry booger!), sneezing, and shortness of breath.

What has been saving me is is my House Clearing Spray. It not only smells delicious, it also has the infectious fighting properties of aromatic terpenoids.

House Clearing Spray

2 ounces spring water

2 drops Thyme linalool essential oil

2 drops Mandarin essential oil

2 drops Lavender essential oil

1 drop Artemisia alba essential oil

Add drops of essential oils to the spring water. Pour into a 2-ounce glass spritzer bottle. Shake well. Spray your closets, drawers, or any musty places. You can also spritz yourself when you need energetic clearing.

Happy last week of Winter!

For the love of plants,

 cropped-jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

If you haven’t ordered my book, Plant Songs yet, now’s your chance!

Waking Up From Winter’s Slumber

Spring is almost here! Thankfully the snow didn’t wash away all of the early fruit blossoms and we may have a bumper crop year of plums and apples. I hope so! Last year we didn’t get any so I hope this year is different.

I see some of my herbal friends starting to wake up from their winter’s rest…dandelion, plantain, violet, self-heal,….I see you shooting your new sprouts! Although they are still small, I see the potential for what is going to prosper on our land this year. It’s always a little different and I love to see who will show up next!

What plants are awakening around or within you?

By the way….have you ordered your copy of Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine yet?

If not (or you want to gift it to a friend), order here!

 

For the love of plants,

 cropped-cropped-jessicabaker.jpg

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Healthy Lung Essential Oil Blend

If you read Tuesday’s blog then you know that my book, Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine is available from the Balboa Press website!

I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes from the chapter on titled Pine: Grow Tall 

Healthy Lung Diffuser

  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops pine essential oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil 
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop thyme essential oil

Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Turn off heat and add essential oils. Cover head and bowl with a towel and inhale deeply to open nasal passages.

Let me know how the blend works for you! And also, order my book from Balboa Press if you haven’t had the chance yet!

For the love of plants,

cropped-cropped-jessicabaker.jpg

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Art Credit: Jason Garcia 

Plant Songs Book Release!

Big News! Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine is now available for purchase through Balboa Press!

Two years ago (almost to the date) I was told I won a self-publishing contract with Balboa Press through a Writer’s Workshop I attended through Hay House Publishing. I am thrilled to announce that my book, Plant Songs is officially released!

Amazon has not updated the imagery in the book (I brightened the photos), so don’t order there YET!

If you want to check out my bookPlant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine,                click here!

And please tell me what you think once you’ve read it!!

For the love of plants,

 cropped-cropped-jessicabaker.jpg

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Time Keeps on Ticking…

The 1st of March! What?! Yep, time is cruising by and spring will be here before you know it. It’s a little overwhelming as I plan my year and already seem like my free time is fleeting! When I feel the apprehension rise, I remember to breathe and stay present in the moment. I refuse to fall into the trap of ‘there’s not enough time’ when in reality time is relevant, and when I slow down in my thoughts and actions, I don’t feel the rush of time passing.

Along with my Milky Oats (Avena sativa) and Nettle (Urtica dioica) tea, I have been wearing my aromatic blends that include essential oils of Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanoides) and Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) which both relax the nervous system and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Pine (Pinus sylvestris), that helps deepen the breath and strengthen your resilience to change. My plant allies are crucial to navigate life in this fast-paced world! I think you will find them helpful for you as well.

I urge you to find what plants call to you. To deepen your connection to nature, find a class or conference near you. Herb Rally is a great resource that lists hundreds of classes across the U.S. Check them out and start your journey with plants!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Divine (Herbal) Intervention

The last few few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. I’ve traveled from California to Colorado, back to California and now to the Yucatan Peninsula. I guess I am feeling the stirrings of spring more than the deep retreat of winter.

With all of this moving around I have been trying to stay healthy, balanced, and sane. I’m doing my best- despite mega viruses, crowds, and societal drama. Besides my daily yoga/qi gong practice, drinking tons of water, and washing my hands like a maniac, I really give credit to my plant allies for playing a huge role.

I don’t leave home without at least one of my aromatic essence blends. My favorite one right now is a blend of Night Blooming Jasmine and White Sage essential oils in a carrier of Calendula infused Apricot kernel Oil. Divine! It keeps me clear and grounded- much needed in all my transitions.

What oils or herbs do you use to help you in times of change? If you aren’t sure, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and see what plant first comes to mind. More than likely, this is who you need in your life. Trust your intuition. You know what is best for you.

For the love of plants,

 cropped-jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Magnolia: Breathe Life In

February is my birthday month! Yes I take a whole month- it is a short one after all!

Since it’s the first day of my month long celebration, I want to start it off with a contest for a chance to win a copy of my (very) soon to be released book, Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine! To be entered into the drawing, sign up for my newsletter! The drawing will be on Chinese New Year, February 16, 2018!

Today’s recipe is one of from the first chapter, Magnolia: Breathe Life In 

Breathe in Life Spritzer

  • 6 drops magnolia flower essential oil
  • 3 drops rose otto essential oil
  • 1 drop vetiver essential oil

Mix the above essential oils into 2 ounces of carrier oil (olive, apricot kernel) and put into a 2-ounce spritzer bottle. Shake well and spritz yourself throughout the day. This is great for depression, to uplift the emotions and help transform and absorb the beauty of life.

Make sure you sign up  to enter the drawing to receive your free copy of my upcoming book, Plants Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine!

For the love of plants,

cropped-cropped-jessicabaker.jpg

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Art Credit: Jason Garcia

 

Winter Wellness Recipe

So far I have scathed off any of the flus and viruses that are floating around the United States. On the plane from Denver to San Francisco, I was the masked person on the flight. Although I got many weird looks, I felt empowered taking my deep breaths as people coughed and sniffled around me, including the guy to my right.

In my cloth mask (thanks Willow!), I applied a diluted blend of holy basil, eucalyptus radiata, douglas fir, and pine. I also tried not to touch anything and I washed my hands religiously. That is the best I could do on a plane, but in the winter I rotate a daily preventative tea that is full of Vitamin C and antioxidants that will strengthen my immune system. This tea is not only nutritious, it’s also delicious!

Winter Wellness Tea

2 tbsp Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

2 tbsp Rose hips (Rosa centifolia

1 tbsp Citrus peel (Citrus reticulata)

1 inch piece of fresh Ginger (Zingiber offinicale)

Gently boil all ingredients in 16 ounces of water for 15 minutes in a covered pot. Strain out herbs and set aside for a second boiling. Cover and boil herbs with another 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes. Drink up to 4 cups a day as needed to prevent colds and flu. Stay well!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Live & Love Spritzer

I’m feeling a little bluesy today because of the news of three strong women passing in just a couple of days. The one that hit the hardest was the death of one of my best friend’s mom. I am extremely sad and still a little in shock. I am once again reminded of how precious life is and how important it is to live every day to the fullest.

Today’s recipe is for her. She was a feisty, strong woman with a love that knew no boundaries. Babs, I send this aromatic offering to you. May your journey into the unknown be filled with love, peace, and light. Big hugs to you on the other side from your J Jesser!

Live & Love Spritzer

3 drops Mount Shasta Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) essential oil

3 drops Rose (Rosa centifolia) essential oil

1 drop Angelica (Angelica archangelica) essential oil

Add all essential oils to a 1 ounce glass spray bottle and add spring water to fill. Shake well. Spritz yourself as needed to remind yourself how loved and supported you are. Give thanks to your angels and guides for guiding you on your path. Be grateful that you are alive!

Much love,

cropped-jessicabaker

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Feels So Good Foot Bath Recipe

As the days darken and the nights grow cooler I look forward to evenings cuddled up with a book, cozy blanket and hot cup of tea. A couple of times a month I make these nights even more special with warm foot baths. I blend together my favorite flowers, hydrosols and essential oils and escape into my own aromatic oasis. Foot baths are super easy to prepare and are more rewarding than you can imagine.

Ooh, That Feels So Good Foot Bath

Bring a stockpot full of water to a boil.

Turn off heat and add a handful of your favorite fresh or dried herbs

Let herbs steep for 10-15 minutes.

Strain out enough liquid for you to enjoy a hot cup during your foot bath

Pour the rest of the tea in a plastic or resin tub large enough to place both feet

If necessary, add more warm water to cover up to your ankles.

Once the footbath is at a comfortable temperature, add 1-2 tablespoons of Diluted essential oils to the water and swirl to mix with water.

Place both feet into tub, sit back and enjoy your cup of tea.

My favorite herbs for a relaxing foot bath:

Rose petals, Lavender and Calendula flowers, and Skullcap

I like to use coconut oil as my carrier oil for essential oils in most baths because it feels so yummy and moisturizing. It’s great for rough areas like our heels so it’s perfect for foot baths.

My favorite essential oils for a relaxing foot bath:

Lavender, Vetiver, Frankincense (ethically harvested), Hemp, Ylang Ylang, Rose Geranium

Only 1-3 drops of essential oils is needed per 1 ounce of coconut oil. Remember it takes a lot of plant material to make a small amount of essential oil. Use sparingly and respectfully.

This is a super simple recipe, yet relaxing to mind, body, and spirit. Take the time for yourself tonight. You deserve it.

For the love of plants,

cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

Plant Spirit Communication

These holy days of honoring our ancestors always make me a little sad. I have lost a lot of loved ones (two and four legged) and my altar usually overflows with pictures and names of friends and family that have passed over. I am in San Diego this year so my altar is small and sparse, with only my medicine bag, some gemstones, and a few oils and elixirs I like to travel with. Although I can’t honor them the way I normally do, I still thank them for all the wisdom and love they have given me.

In Chinese medicine, many aromatic plants have the ability to “open orifices.” This means that they can expand our consciousness and open our heart and mind to new thoughts and experiences. Aromatic plants also transform dampness, which can bring us more clarity of thought and action. While the opening and transformative powers of aromatic plants help connect us to our own spirit, they can also help with communicating with our ancestors and other spirits as well.

There are a few aromatic plants I call upon when I want to deepen my insights, meditations, and communication with the spirit realm.

Marigold– the aroma of Marigold is the only flower that the dead can smell; opens communication between earthly and spirit realms

Clary Sage– brings clarity of thought and feelings; increases visionary awareness

Rose– transforms all grief and heartache, helps to see the beauty of life

Frankincense– opens chest and lungs, reduces constriction caused by loss and grief

Cinnamon bark– warms and invigorates, strengthens gate of fire, provides grounding for deeper meditation

I hope you find the aromatic plants that call to you and discover all they have to offer.

May you, and your ancestors, be nourished.

For the love of plants,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Somehow all the craziness of the last few weeks has finally left my body and I am starting to feel “normal” again. Right now, “normal” means I have hours where I don’t feel panicked or despair. I am sleeping pretty well again and I don’t believe we are all going to hell in a hand basket. At least not today.

When my anxiety rises I’ve noticed all of my self-care techniques and advice to my clients go out the window. It’s like I don’t know what herbs and oils I need to be in balance. I am great at doing this for others, but not always for myself. I finally got enough distance from it to remember what I need to do.

  1. Breathe! It sounds obvious but it’s not. I have finally been taking deep breaths and it feels great! 
  2. Drink herbal tea! Again, sounds easy enough but when I’m stressed I go for black tea instead of nourishing nervines. My favorite this week (and every week)- skullcap and oat straw.
  3. Sniff essential oils! Not straight out of the bottle necessarily, but I’ve been using my diluted roll-ons. This week my go-to’s have been St. John’s Wort, Hemp, and Frankincense. My mood has improved and I have a much brighter outlook on life. 
  4. Walk in the woods. Or sit on the beach. Or go into nature and just be. You will feel wonderful. And you’ll breathe better!

For the love of plants,

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

Harvest Moon Elixir Recipe

Happy Harvest Moon!! May the fruits of your love be blessed with abundance and joy!

I love the Harvest Moon so much that my husband and I chose to be married ten years ago on the date of the Harvest Moon, the first full moon after the Autumn Equinox. We had a private ceremony on the cliffs above Luffenholtz Beach, the first place we went when we moved to Humboldt County twenty years ago. Two decades later our love burns bright.

To celebrate our love for each other and for harvest season I want to share one of my favorite recipes with you. Harvest flowers under the light of the full moon. If you are using dried flowers, prepare the elixir outside. If you have a significant other, harvest and prepare elixir together.

Harvest Moon Elixir

1 bundle of yarrow flowers

2 wild roses

2 organic cannabis buds

Place flowers in a clean, glass quart jar. Fill jar with fresh spring water and cover with a lid. Place jar in a location where the full moon is in sight and can infuse the elixir throughout the night. In the morning, strain out flowers and sip infusion throughout the day. Share with the one you love the most.

For the love of plants,

cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Chrystalinks

 

Autumnal Equinox Blend

Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, one of my favorite days of the year. There is something about equal day and night that brings balance to my ever changing moods. This year, more than most, I feel we need a sense of balance. We need to remember the importance of equality, duality, harmony.

Today’s recipe is very simple. Two herbs that represent yin yang, day and night, sun and moon. May we honor the light and the dark that resides within us all. May we be illuminated by our own courage to see the beauty in ourselves so we can finally recognize it in everyone else!

Autumnal Equinox Blend

3 drops St. John’s Wort essential oil

2 drops Night blooming Jasmine essential oil

10 ml Organic Apricot kernel oil

Pour apricot kernel oil into a 10 ml roll-on glass bottle. Add essential oils to carrier oil and shake gently. Apply to areas of the chakras to feel the balance of light and dark. 

With love,

Jessica 

After Sun Skin Soother

I’ve tried to spend more time outside the last few days to get in as much as I can of the last of summer. My skin is feeling a little tight and dry and I need to make sure it stays moist and supple before the cold, dry air hits Colorado.

This is one of my favorite blends for nourishing skin after a day out in the sun.

After Sun Skin Soother

2 ounces of Comfrey and Calendula infused Apricot Kernel or Olive Oil

5 drops Lavender Essential Oil

5 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil

3 drops Helichrysum Essential Oil

2 drops Hemp Essential Oil 

Blend essential oils into carrier oil and mix well. Apply to the entire body after a long day in the sun. It’s also wonderful after being in the pool, river, lake, or ocean.

All of these essential oils have properties that will heal damaged skin and repair oxidative stress. 

With love,

cropped-jess-plant-bath

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

Change Comes From Within Blend

There’s a lot of energy in the air with many people feeling overwhelmed, sad, or angry at what is happening in our country. Monday’s solar eclipse also has some people excited and energized, hoping that this event will shift our paradigm and perspective. Maybe it will, but I think it’s going to take more than an eclipse to change the politics and beliefs of our citizens. It is going to take standing up for our beliefs and giving to organizations that are working towards ending oppression.

This week I know I need something to nourish and relax my nervous system, while giving me the energy to stay active to create the changes I want to see in the world. This essential oil blend has been helping me tremendously. I hope it helps you too.

Essential Oils:

3 drops Lavender- to reduce anxiety and fear

3 drops Frankincense- to ease heartache and grief

3 drops Clary Sage- to bring clarity to thoughts and actions

Add essential oils to 10 ml of carrier oil (I love olive or apricot kernel)

Put essential oil blend in a 10 ml glass roll-on bottle. Apply to heart chakra, third eye, or anywhere else you desire. Don’t wait until you are already overwhelmed or emotional. Use preventatively to help you stay calm, clear, and collected.

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

How to Make Calendula Salve

Last week I shared a recipe on how to make a calendula infused oil. If you’re ready, we can take this oil and make it into a salve. It’s super easy and fun!

Ingredients:

250 ml Calendula or other Herbal Oil

6-8 ounces beeswax

10 drops Essential oil of choice (optional)

Supplies:

Double Boiler

Wooden spoon

Dark, Glass Jars

Essential Oils

Heat oil and beeswax in a Double Boiler on low heat until beeswax is completely melted.

Test the firmness by placing a tablespoon of mixture in the freezer for 1-2 minutes. For a softer salve, add more oil. For a harder salve, add more beeswax.

Remove salve mixture from heat and add 10 drops essential oil. Stir with wooden spoon.

Immediately pour into dark, glass jars. Put on lids after salve has cooled.

Used on dry, irritated skin, bug bites, or scrapes.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows