The Fidelity Plant

BIBITherapy_Rosemary Blossom

Among friends, there is no secret by now that I am in love with blue. So there you have it another bluish blossoming plant that not only is heavenly beautiful, it is a feast for the senses and it is also tremendously important for our computing centre.  The plant is none other than Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis or Salvia Rosmarinus new scientific name since 2017. There plant may have pink white or blue flowers depending on the cultivar.

Symbol of love, fidelity and loyalty rosemary has been connected to memory for centuries. Ancient Greek students were known to wear rosemary garlands around their neck during their exams.

So why writing this blog, since my splendiferous blue rosemary is not in season anymore. Well it is because the reason behind is REMEMBERING its beauty and colossal benefits that are attached to it. But more importantly it is because it is Christmas time again and the plant can be used as a little Christmas tree.

Again if you have a green thumb, go grab a seedling or two from Bunnings and plant it in your front yard. It will not disappoint you and you can even grow it next to your sage if you planted it already.

Properties: Rosemary has a unique aroma which is a mix of camphoraceous, floral and herbaceous depending on variety. The plant has highly medicinal properties, so that is why it has been used since ancient of times. B no means the list provided here is a complete one:

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic
  • Anti-nociceptive: inhibits the sensation of pain which goes through nerves to the brain
  • Digestive improver
    • Cholerectic – improves the volume of bile produced, thus easing the digestion of fats resulting in better cleansing of the gut system.
    • Cholagogue – stimulates the discharge if bile acids
    • Carminative _ helps expelling intestinal gas

Benefits: In the following you will discover two of the most prevalent benefits of this marvellous plant.

#1 Rosemary as Anti-Rheumatic Pain Agent Fighter

This plant is packed with anti-oxidants: two of which are the caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid that can help our health system suppress unruly inflammatory enzymes and enable us to regain the balanced health. Knowing first-hand what rheumatic pain is and how it affects my daily activities, I have used the plant in both teas and essential oil as topical application. As it is well known that the mode of administration of chemicals make a significant difference in terms of the level of the response, the topical application worked better to alleviate my pains. This benefit comes from the fact that the rosemary essential oil is anti-nociceptive and analgesic in nature. It is also backed-up by science (Degner et al 2009). Topical application of diluted essential oil (5 drops of essential rosemary oil to one table spoon of carrier oil) massaging the aching joints or muscles. I also like grinding it and use it as a salt enhancer.

#2 Rosemary as Clear Mind and Increased Mental Awareness Agent

Mental fog is unquestionably exasperating. Confused… distracted… lacking metal clarity and focus… never knowing what on earth is happening that nothing gets finished. Although, “brain fog” is not a medical condition, it affects one’s daily life negatively and more often than not, the coffee machine is the one we tend to surrender to. Well interestingly enough, recent studies show that not only brain fog is fixable without the coffee boost but also it affects in a positive way the alpha brain waves leading to decreased depression. This can happen only resorting to inhaling the unparalleled rosemary fragrance (Sayorwan et al, 2013). Furthermore, consumed in culinary quantities, was found to be beneficial for improving the cognitive function in the elderly Pengelly, et al 2012).

Highly recommended for use as a diffuser in the car during this holiday season when one needs to stay super alert if driving on a long distance trip

Rosemary oil can be found at any chemist pharmacy these days; one drop of oil on a tissue will surely energise the brain better than a coffee.

Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil is usually regarded as nontoxic, non-sensitising and non-irritant when used in sufficient dilution. However, individuals with hypersensitive skin should manifest caution. Furthermore, it is safer not to be used in pregnancy. The plant, Rosmarinus officinalis has no known toxicity and has no contraindications in culinary preparations.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition Diva, I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Degner et al, 2009, Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population, pp: 541-562, Chapter 26:Health Benefits of Traditional Culinary and Medicinal Mediterranean Plants https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123742285000263

Sayorwan et al, Sci Pharm., 2013, 81(2): 531–542. Effects of Inhaled Rosemary Oil on Subjective Feelings and Activities of the Nervous System. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700080/

Pengelly et al, J of Med Food, 2012, 15(1) .Short-Term Study on the Effects of Rosemary on Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population, https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jmf.2011.0005

Secrets of a Sticky Weed

Spring is here and with it Weeeeeeds!

They are everywhere.

I hate them! I love them! I hate them I …..use their secrets holistically!

You guessed, I have again the Herbalist Hat on.

Today I choose one weed that used to bother me a lot in the past.

It turned out that it was the weed that my body needed the most in the process of recovering from some serious autoimmune illnesses I have been blessed with.

This plant, Cleavers (Galium aparine), is known under many different names including sticky weed, Velcro plant or goose grass. It grows everywhere in my garden and I cannot say it is my favourite. Every time I collect it, inevitably I also get a little skin irritation.

The plant is edible, leaves, stems as well as the fruits, mostly cooked. Due to its clinging nature (Auld B.A. and Medd, 1987) it is less palatable when attempting to eat it raw.

This sticky plant harbours many secrets. The ancient Greeks used the stems in the form of a coarse colander to strain milk. In Anatolia the plant is known these days as the Yogurt plant, because of an enzyme that curdles the milk. Similar uses of the plant are in practice in Sweden as well.

Benefits. Current research on Cleavers and its use for human consumption is sparse. However, the very many chemical constituents, including but not limited to monotropein, asperuloside, tannins, flavonoids or polyphenolic acids (Deliorman et al, 2001) demonstrate that the plant pharmacological properties are yet to be demonstrated by the modern science. Therefore the secrets this plant possess are about to be unveiled by modern science.

Given the lack of substantiated evidence I will mention only the very well-known applications of Galium aparine (Maud, 1971), as outlined below:

  • Slimming effect: possible due to the asperuloside component, known to increase metabolic rate in mammals;
  • Supports the lymphatic system
    • Promotes lymphatic drainage;
    • Breaks up lymphatic congestion (enlarged lymph nodes) especially in the pelvis,
    • Acts in general as a lymphatic tonic;
  • Diuretic;
  • Choleretic: it stimulates the flow of the bile;
  • Can be used as a coffee substitute: dried and roasted fruits of the cleavers;
  • Its medicinal effects are great if used in soups;
  • Cosmetic benefits
    • Hair tonic : rinsing the hair with cleavers tea infusion;
    • Facial rejuvenation and anti-wrinkles action.

The plant has no known toxicity and has no contraindications.

Best ways to use the plant is to drink a stronger infusion during the day.

Harvesting the plant: should be performed while the plant is in the growing stage with its bright green foliage.

How to use it: Teas and facial cleanser

#1 Diuretic Cleavers Infusion Tea

  • 3 table spoon of dried plant
  • 500 ml boiling water ;
  • Let it sit for a good 20 minute;
  • Strain and drink throughout the day.

This tea is useful to stimulate the lymphatic flow. It has a gentle purgative action due to a chemical in the plant called asperuloside. It also aids the bile. Drink small quantities during the day.

# 2 Natural Facial Cleanser

Cleavers makes an excellent facial cleanser and wash. The chemical components in the form of acids, polyphenolic, tannic and citric acids help tightening the skin. Excellent against those wrinkles and sags we all want to get rid of as the skins matures due to aging.

  • 1/3 cup of dried Galium aparine
  • 500 ml boiling water
  • Let the plant steep for a good hour
  • Wash the face as you would any other facial cleanser.
  • To be effective it has to be used several times a week.

So what are we all waiting for? Let’s gather Galium aparine before going to seeds and enjoy a detox cuppa!

What a great secret gift we have with this sticky weed.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Auld B.A. and Medd, R. W., Weeds – an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia, 1987, (2nd Ed), Melbourne, Inkata Press. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9658129?selectedversion=NBD4476220

Deliorman D. et al, Pharmaceutical Biology, 2001:39(3):234-235, Iridoids from Galium aparine. https://doi.org/10.1076/phbi.39.3.234.5928

Grieve, Maud , 1971. “Clivers”. A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folklore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses, Volume 1. Dover Publications. p. 206. ISBN 9780486227986

The Violets Season

Welcome back my dear reader! My love for nature and its wonders is growing to such a speed that I have forgot to post my monthly blog in July and August is almost gone.. He! He!

So coming back to plants, there are so many that I have progressively started to love and introduce in my daily use. Today, my focus is on one of my favourite weed from my garden: the sweet violet (Viola Odorata). It’s in season at the moment and delights the eye as well as the smell.

But little did we know that the sweet violets, flowers and leaves, are edible as well as have medicinal properties. Their extravagant perfume has been appreciated by many in the past history. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte was attracted by the soothing sweet aroma that makes one smile. He was known to his supporters the Corporal Violet.

A snippet about Napoleon’s love for violets: Violets are native to the Mediterranean, including Napoleon’s home island of Corsica. Therefore he would have been very familiar with the adorable happy little hardy flowers. Perhaps he may as well have picked violet bouquets for his mother as a boy. What we know for sure from history books is that the sweet scent of violets was the favourite fragrance of his first wife, Josephine. Not only she wore violets on her wedding day but every year, on the anniversary of their marriage, Napoleon sent her a bouquet of violets. Napoleon would wear a perfume specially made for him with violet base. (Kane, 2015)

According to the “doctrine of Signatures” herbs will have the shape, color, texture of the organ/system are good to use as remedy. In the case of the Viola, it resembles the heart shape; therefore it would mend an emotionally broken heart. Since time immemorial this humble, yet powerful plant has been used for many ailments. Current research on Viola demonstrated that its chemical constituents, in the form of alkaloids, salicylate, saponin, mucilage, or vitamin C are responsible for the acclaimed therapeutic applications (Chandra 2015) including:

  • Heart tonic both emotional as well as for physical pain;
  • Respiratory conditions;
  • Purification of the blood;
  • Treatment of skin bruises, acne or rashes.

So how can we use the plant to gain such powerful benefits?

I will share two of my favs:

A word of caution: this is a VERY powerful plant: one must use it with care in very small quantities: the saponin component from the plant may cause some stomach for some people.

#1 Violet Tea

  • Infuse 1 teaspoon of dried violet flowers in a 250 grams of warm water;
  • Let it sit for a good 20 minute;

This tea is useful to stimulate the lymphatic flow and aid the liver in purifying the blood. Furthermore it helps expectorate mucus when respiratory problems are present. Additionally, if consumed before bed time, the aroma of the flowers calms the nervous system and helps the mind to quiet down for a restful sleep.

# 2 Violet Flower Fermented Cooling Drink

This one is a very old recipe I learned of from my grandmother.

Ingredients

  • One cup clean sweet violets (viola odorata);
  • 3 Litres of water preferably boiled and cooled;
  • 5 table spoon of honey;
  • The juice from one lemon or a table spook of Apple cider vinegar;

Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a 4 litre wide open jar and let it rest/ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days.
  • Decant and distribute the syrup in flip-top bottles and place the bottles in a safe place to ferment further for up to five days or drink immediately. CAUTION: fermentation will happen more quickly in warmer temperatures. Carefully ensure that all bottles are checked for the carbonation level and release the carbon dioxide during this time. Store the bottles in a cool place.

This drink is wonderful to clear heat and detoxify.

What a great gift we have with this little purple flower.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Chandra, et al. Curent research in Chemistry,2015, 7:44-52, Phytochemical and Ethnomedicinal Uses of Family Violaceae, https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=crc.2015.44.52

Kane, 2015, The Return of Corporal Violet https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/the-return-of-corporal-violet/

The Orange Season

Time Tested Solutions for a Healthier Living

I am not a big fan of cold, but I am a big fan of citrus fruits. And now, when the temperatures are dropping into teens the citruses in all their splendour abundance are my go to fruits for many reasons. A not too distant research (Morand et al., 2011), advocated that a component found in oranges, (called hesperidin) may increase the blood flow throughout the body. Interestingly, a little later, another study (Takumi et al., 2012) demonstrated that just eating a few oranges before going out into the cold can make our fingers and toes a little warmer. It makes me wonder, how come the nature knows when to provide these blessed fruits for our benefits?

But did you know that while we all enjoy the juice and the fruit itself, it is the skin peel that brings more health benefits? More often than not it gets thrown out so that the worms in the worm farm benefit.

Soo… you guessed, this blog is more about that orange peel fresh or dry. I’m going to share few ways to use it outlining their beneficial aspects.

#1 Orange Peels Non-toxic Cleaner – Concentrate

There are some specific chemical components, (terpenes, saponins, phenols) in orange peels that make them appealing as natural, non-toxic cleaner. They can be easily extracted using vinegar. Here is how:

  • Take 2 cups orange peels (lemon or lime works too);
  • Fill a jar with 2-3 cups white vinegar;
  • Seal tightly and let it set in a cool dark places for about three weeks;
  • Decant using a sieve into another bottle;

This is the CONCENTRATE cleaner. Therefore it must be diluted before use (50/50 is my preferred. You can dilute more if u want).

Surfaces that this cleaner works as tested by BIBI:

  • Porcelain, fiberglass;
  • Bathroom tiles;
  • Shower glass door – excellent soap scum remover;
  • Toilet cleaner.

Note: I did not use it on other surfaces.

# 2 Orange Flavoured Salt with Awesome Health Benefits

If the oranges are grown organically, their peels are very useful in cooking with exceptional health benefits (Rafiq et al, 2018).

The chemical components that make the peels clean the surfaces in the house, are also responsible for cleaning the body inside out. So hold your horses and do not be surprised because consuming the peels can benefit the body in the following ways:

  • 2a) Weight loss management
    • Orange flavoured tea: Make a tea from fresh or dried orange peels (1 teaspoon + 300 ml boiled water, let infuse for 10 minutes, decant and do not let the peels into the tea as it makes it too bitter. It will add a nice twist of flavour to the green or black tea.
    • Orange flavoured salt: Grind dried orange peel and mix with herbs (thyme, rosemary are my best friends) and your choice of salt.
    • Immunity booster ,Prevention of heart health disorders
      • Use 5 to 9 grams of ground orange peels in serve of yogurt, smoothie or home-made protein bar.

# 3 Orange Infused Oil

In an air-tight jar (0.5 L) add strips of dried orange peel. Cover with olive oil and let it infuse for at least a week in a dark place away from the sunlight. Not only this will make an awesome salad dressing but it will also add a blissful glowing if used on your skin. So what are you waiting for? Start the winter season with some great ways to keep your house, yourself and your skin healthy and glowing.

This oil is perfect for a self-massage: one you can do every day to sooth stress but more importantly to re-energise your body by stimulating the lymph thus helping the body do its own healing. Best time to do it is just before having the bath in the evening.

For more recipes or information on how to aromatically keep your house, yourself and your skin healthy and glowing click contact us.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.]

References

Morand et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2011, 93(1):73-80.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21068346

Takumi, et al, Food Funct. 2012;3(4):389-98.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22307524

Rafiq et al, 2018, J Saudi Soc. Agric Sci 17(4) 351-358.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1658077X16300960

Aromatherapy and Gastronomic Treats

Three Gentle Ways for a Life of Great Health

Because it is summer and the last couple of days were a bit hot here in Melbourne, I will dwell a little on the connection between Aromatherapy and Gastronomy. I encourage the exploration of gentle and safe available options using culinary essential oils. As always, this blog is for education only and I strongly encourage consultation with a therapist trained in the specific protocols related to the use of essential oils internally. Be safe first, everything else will follow naturally. If in doubt you are always welcome to contact BIBI Therapy with your enquiries.

Imagination is the only limitation when it comes to harnessing the essential oils benefits to not only enhance the culinary delights you might create, but also to have great health benefits. I will share three of my absolute favourite: Black pepper, Fennel and Juniper berries.

The oil How it works
Black Pepper Piper Nigrum This spice has been linked to gastronomic delight for millennia. Not only it enhances gastrointestinal functionality while boosting nutrients absorption but its rich phytochemistry provides physiological benefits in cognitive brain functioning. (Butt, M et al 2013). Constipation : Abdominal massage ( Buckle, 2003), stimulates the colon and gets the stagnant build up moving again (Turan and Ast, 2016);
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel was valued by ancient Chinese, Egyptians as well as Romans. The common denominator the belief that it conveyed longevity, courage and strength. Fennel seeds have also been used for hundreds of years as a digestive aid. Fennel essential oil has long been used as an appetite suppressant and is believed by some to help with weight loss. It is beneficial for the digestive system and is believed to be a tonic for fatigue. It is also one of the best detoxifying essential oils and is much used in lymphatic drainage massage. Irritable bowel syndrome(Portincasa et al, 2016): Abdominal massage with diluted oil or taken internally (1-2 drops) in a favourite smoothie Alcohol poisoning: Fennel can be taken internally in the form of tea decoction ; Additional information on safe use can be found following the link. Not to be taken in pregnancy or lactation.
Juniper berries Juniperus communis Known for its flavouring qualities of famous spirits designated as gins. The many chemical components existing in this balsamic pine scented oil make it very useful as antiseptic diuretic, tonic as well as bactericidal and strong fungicidal properties (Pepeljnjak et al, 2005). Can provide effective relief from bloating (Bouyahyaoui et al 2016)

My preferred way is to use them in a flavoured salt with wither the oils or the actual spices: Metabolism Enhancing Detoxifying Flavoured Salt

Here is how to make it: two drops from each of the essential oils (Black pepper, Fennel and Juniper) mixed with 100 g salt (Himalayan Pin, Celtic Gray, Sea salt etc). If you prefer grounding the actual spices you might like the following ratio: one table spoon Fennel seeds, one table spoon of Black pepper and juniper berries. De gustibus non disputandum est, along the line with in matter of taste there can be no disputes.

CAUTION!!! It is important to be aware that any of the oils described here are very powerful and should only be used in very small quantities. Avoid using them if pregnant or if you undergo chemotherapy as the components in these oils interact with the treatment; consult your natural therapist or doctor.

Wishing you a great green time this March 2019.

Precautions

  • The use of any oil should not replace any prescribed course of treatment. If you have a sensitive skin, make sure you conduct a patch test before you splash essential oils on your skin;
  • Always dilute the essential oils, ratio of 2-3 drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil of your choice and
  • remember to check with a practitioner who specialises in aromatherapy before attempting to use any essential oil. This is especially important if you are pregnant, nursing or undertaking any special medication including homeopathic medication.

Sources

Buckle, J.,Clinical Aromatherapy. 2003; 20: 310, One of the simplest and most gentle ways to ease constipation is through abdominal massage using essential oils.

Turan and Ast, Gastroenterol Nurs., The Effect of Abdominal Massage on Constipation and Quality of Life; 2016; 39(1) 48-59.

Bouyahyaoui et al, Nat Prod Commun. Antimicrobial Activity and Chemical Analysis of the Essential Oil of Algerian Juniperus phoenicea. 2016: 11(4):519-522

Butt, MS et al Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Black pepper and health claims: a comprehensive treatise. 2013; 53(9): 875-886; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23768180

Pepeljnjak S, et al, Antimicrobial activity of juniper berry essential oil (Juniperus communis L., Cupressaceae). 2005; 55(4):417-422; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16375831

Portincasa P et al, J Gastrointestin. Liver Dis, Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, 2016; 25(2)151-157 ; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27308645