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

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

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,

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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,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

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

Flowers of Freedom Blend

As yet another “holiday” approaches, we find ourselves celebrating our independence and freedom. Many of us are ghastly aware that these “freedoms” come at an extreme cost to our fellow humans and certainly to our planet. This 4th of July I am going to do what a lot of people are doing. I’ll gather with friends around a bonfire, play guitar, eat too much, and enjoy the privileges so few of us have.

Along with these time honored American traditions, I will also give offerings and thanks to the land that colonists violently took from those that had called this majestic place home. Our “freedom” is muddled with genocide, slavery, rape, clear cutting, mining, and built on hope, dreams, liberty, and freedom. We can no longer choose to remember the illusion of independence, but accept the reality of the actual cost of our being “Americans.”

I don’t say this to make you feel guilty. I say this to make you aware that in accepting the truth, you can change the future; only when you know where you came from can you be guided where you want to be.

The flowers in this blend were chosen to represent the red, white, and blue of the American flag.

Red signifies hardiness & valor

White signifies purity and innocence

Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice

Red- Roses: helps open your heart to love and compassion for all beings

White- Shasta Daisy: assists you to experience the purity and sweetness of life

Blue- Vervain: provides strength in advocating for justice for all

Either make a delicious sun tea out of 1-2 tbsp of each flower or add 1-2 drops of each essential oil (or absolute) in 1 ounce of carrier oil and anoint yourself daily.

Thank you for spreading peace and love throughout the world.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

The Evolution of Spirit & Science

Although I couldn’t attend a March for Science Rally because I was at the Acupuncture Association of Colorado’s Annual Conference, I was there in heart and spirit! What is most exciting to me about this movement is that emphasis is on our planet and how we can advance technology to enhance the Earth instead of destroy it.

There has been a gap in environmentalism and science and that is now rapidly changing. The chemical, pharmaceutical and agricultural leaders (Monsanto having a hand in all three) need to come up to speed. Domination and greed is the reason why they constantly fight to quell our food and health independence. The paradigm shift of manifest destiny is becoming one of ecology and transparency and companies that are motivated by destruction based profit are not going to be acceptable anymore as people become more educated about global climate change and our role in it. Sustainability, small organic farming, and herbalism have been the way of the past and are resurfacing as our path to a better future.

“The times, they are a changing”, sometimes just not as fast as some of us would like. As I keep forging ahead with my essential oil blends, the thought of being a steward of the Earth is foremost in my mind. I am not happy with the “sustainability” model of many essential oil companies, as it doesn’t seem to me that they take seriously the issue of how much plant matter it takes to make even an ounce of essential oil. If they did, they would not promote such vagrant use of our precious resources.

It takes about 250 pounds of lavender to make 1 pound of essential oil- that’s about 15 Wild_rosepounds of lavender for 1 ounce of oil! It takes 10,000 roses to make 5ml of rose essential oil! How about instead of dousing yourself in undiluted essential oil, you walk around with a few sprigs of lavender or rose petals in a sachet or anoint yourself with a couple of drops of diluted essential oil only.

A little goes a long way folks. Be mindful, have respect for the whole plant, and not just the distillate you buy in a bottle. Grow your own herbs. Make your own medicine. A cup of rose tea that you make from roses you grow can be just as strong as a drop of the pure essential oil.

We are all on this Earth together. Let’s make it the best we can.

With love,

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Jessica

Aromatic Wood Element Blend

Spring seems to be in full swing here in Denver, with the days getting up in the 70’s and the nights still dipping into the 30’s. I Love this time of year! I feel the renewed spirit of the Earth, as the longer days warm me deep within my core.

For others, Spring starts getting that Yang rising! Irritability, frustration, lack of focus and burn out can already be starting for those with a Wood element/phase imbalance.

This blend really helps me when I feel tension building in my neck and shoulders or I find it hard to take a deep breath in moments of impatience, anger or worry. As always use organic and/or ethically wild harvested herbs and essential oils.

Let It Flow Blend

3 drops Chamomile essential oil (Tanacetum is great to use too, and way less expensive)

3 drops St. Johns Wort essential oil

3 drops Myrrh essential oil 

3 drops Conifer essential oil (Pinyon pine, Douglas Fir, your choice!)

Add all essential oils (play around with what you blend first- it will give insight into the alchemy of plants as you notice the change in aroma depending on what gets added together first- use the blend even if you don’t Love the smell, these concentrated plant medicines are not to be wasted) to 1 ounces of Carrier Oil like Olive Oil, Apricot kernel or your oil of choice. I like to put my blends in roll-on bottles, that way I can carry with me and use easily anywhere I am. 

I’d love to hear how your blending goes!

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica 

Change through Compassionate Action

Emotions are high as we get closer to the inauguration of a man many believe can have a huge negative impact on their lives. As a woman, I am one of these people. I do not believe he has any respect, compassion or care for me or for women in general. That being said, I don’t believe many politicians have our best interest or care in mind. Unlike some, I am not afraid of Trump or his administration. I am motivated! My inner activist is evoked, and like the the wise words of Angela Davis (thanks Greg for sharing this with me)

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change,

I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

The truth is, I know that my motivation is fueled by my anger at the injustices that continue to happen, regardless of who is president. My anger is rooted in despair, millennia of violence, rape, and systematic control. I am having trouble coping with all of this myself. Thankfully this is when I remember my allies, and let the plants soothe my injured soul.

Today my blend is simple. Intentional in knowing that I need healing, that my clarity of words, thoughts, and emotions are of upmost importance so I can sustain my energy for the cultural evolution that is coming.

Mix all ingredients in a 1-ounce glass spritzer bottle

1 ounce Spring Water (vitality of all life forces)

9 drops Clary Sage (clarity of heart & mind)

6 drops Lavender (calms mind & body)

3 drops Piñon Pine (reminds us we all came from one source, connects body to spirit)

Spritz yourself whenever you feel disoriented, overwhelmed, sad, angry, or out of balance. Allow the plants to nurture your body and soul.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica