Thursday, May 17, 2018

Medicinal Uses of Dandelions


It’s that time of year again: as far as the eye can see, pretty yellow flowers blanket the ground. Some say dandelions are noxious weeds, but to me they are a harbinger of warmth, summer and sunshine. Children make wishes on their fluffy seeds before blowing them into the wind, and weave them into chains and crowns.  Also, the leaves, roots and flowers all have medicinal properties that have been documented for centuries. What's not to like? Before you grab the herbicides like so many generations before us, read along to learn the wonderful health benefits of the common dandelion.

Make a Tea to Detoxify: Dandelion leaves are what is called a “diuretic”, which means they help remove excess water from the body. A diuretic can ease many kinds of bloating whether from p.m.s. or due to high blood pressure. Dandelion leaf tea is known to increase bile production and to flush out the liver and kidneys. It increases urine frequency, hence removing toxins from the body. Dandelion tea is a great addition to a full body cleanse or to boost your liver function. To make a tea, pour boiling water over a handful of fresh dandelion greens and let steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey if you like before drinking.


Roast up the Roots: Dandelion roots contain inulin, which is a prebiotic beneficial to gut health. Inulin aids in relieving constipation, helps nutrient absorption in the intestines, and creates healthy flora in the gut. The root can be roasted in the oven and then brewed like coffee for a healthy, tummy-friendly drink. To roast the roots, first make sure they are clean. Chop them up into 1 cm. pieces, and spread evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Put in a 200 degree oven for half an hour or until fully dried. Grind in a coffee grinder, and put in your percolator just like coffee.


Put Them In Salad: Many people don’t realize that dandelion greens are a healthy and tasty salad ingredient, and are even becoming available for sale in more commercial grocery stores all the time. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw just like spinach, or added to stir fries. These greens are high in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium, as well as being loaded with fibre like all your favorite leafy greens. Just make sure you harvest them in early spring, as the greens turn bitter once the plant flowers in the warm weather.


Treat Skin Conditions: The milk, or sap, of the dandelion is the white liquid present in the flower’s stem. Squeeze some of this milk onto eczema or fungal rashes to help clear them up. This has also been found to be effective treatment for acne. Dandelion milk has properties that inhibit infections in pimples, and the vitamin C can reduce the appearance of scarring. **Do not get Dandelion milk in your eyes!** You can also make a facial steam of dandelion flowers to help with acne and oily skin. Pour boiling water over a bowl of dandelion flowers, cover and let brew for 8 minutes. Then cover your head with a towel to create a tent, and hold your face over the steam for 10 minutes for an all natural at-home facial treatment.

***It is important to keep in mind that if you have plant allergies, are pregnant or nursing, are currently taking medication of any kind, or have other health issues you must check with your doctor before using herbal products like dandelion.


Harvesting


If you are harvesting dandelions to consume, make absolutely certain the area has not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. Gather them from an place removed from heavy traffic, urban fumes and pollution. Also make sure that no matter what part of the plant you are using, wash it thoroughly with cold water first.


To harvest leaves, cut them in early spring. Hang them upside down in a dry dark place away from light, until they are crumbly. To store, wrap them in paper towel or a paper bag, and then place in a sealed jar. The paper will absorb any access moisture and prevent mold. The best time to eat fresh dandelion greens is when they first grow in spring; as summer and fall seasons progress, their leaves become extremely bitter and don’t taste very nice.


When harvesting the root, it is best to use the second growth in the fall, as these roots contain more inulin than their spring sisters. The dandelion root is called a "tap root", which means it is long and deep. Tap roots can be challenging to remove from the earth, and require digging. You can buy special tools just for this purpose, such as a Fiskars. The roots will have dirt clinging to them and will need to be scrubbed with water thoroughly before use.


Gather the flowers when they are in full yellow bloom, and dry them by hanging just like the leaves, or else by laying them on dry paper in an undisturbed dark place until crisp.



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Creative Ways To Use Magickal Oils


Magickal Oils by White Moon Witchcraft


Essential oils have been used for centuries in medicine and magick. Smell is one of our most powerful senses: it can trigger long forgotten memories, change our moods, uplift or depress us, and even have physical effects on our health and well being.

Essential oils are fairly easy to find and purchase at most health food stores or metaphysical shops. When you are using them for magickal purposes, it is important to buy true essential oils derived from plants and resins, not synthetics or “fragrances” made from chemicals. Synthetics carry no magickal properties whatsoever because they do not contain any of the actual plant. To make sure you are getting true essential oils and not synthetics you must research the company that made them. Visit their website and poke around to find out where their oils come from and how they are processed. If you can’t find the information, send them an email and ask.

You may be familiar with using magickal oils and already have some favourites. You can use them blended together in a “perfume” for a magickal goal or use them one at a time. Here is a brief list of some magickal goals and corresponding oils that I have found work well for me and smell nice too.

Money – Peppermint and cinnamon

Peace – Lavender

Love – Rosemary and Ylang-Ylang and Rose (although real rose oil is incredibly costly – if you didn’t pay a pretty penny for it, it probably isn’t real).

Self Confidence – Ginger

Sex – Patchouli

Health – Sandalwood

Spirituality – Frankincense

Happiness – Orange

Protection – Clove

There are multitudes of fun ways to use magickal oils in our daily lives. Here are some of my old stand-bys:

-Put a small amount of the chosen oil on your fingertips, and then braid it into your hair. As you do so, visualize your goal as if you already have it (money, relationship, etc.). As you “bind” the oil into your hair, you are drawing to yourself the properties of the oil you have chosen. Tie the braid with an elastic and leave in until it falls out on its own or you feel finished with it.

-Put a few drops of oil on the blades of your ceiling fan to spread the chosen energy throughout your home.

-Add some drops of oil to a scentless body lotion, and wear daily. This turns ordinary mundane hand or body cream into a magickal tool.

-Dip a cotton ball in some oil and place it in the fan of your vacuum cleaner (the spot where you can feel the air blowing out) to spread the power of the oil all over your house. I like lemon for this because it is spiritually cleansing. If you are cleaning the house prior to hosting a get together or party, try using orange or lavender to promote feelings of contentedness in your guests.

-Put some drops of oil onto ordinary paper. When it dries it will leave a scent. Rub it onto letters and resumes. Love letters can be scented with Rosemary or Ylang-Ylang, resumes and job applications with cinnamon and cloves. Don’t drip oil directly onto the letter, as it will leave an unsightly stain. Obviously this doesn’t work for digital communications, but every once in a while in this modern paperless age an old fashioned letter can make a big statement.

-Add a couple of drops to your dish water, so the energy can absorb into your skin while you work.

-A few drops in your laundry will infuse your clothes with your chosen intent. When you wear those clothes the oil can work its magick whether it is to draw something to you or to keep something away.

-For Protection, draw a pentacle on your windows with your finger and some clove oil. Leave it for three days and three nights, then wipe clean.

-Douse a cotton ball with ginger oil, and keep it in a little airtight jar that can fit in your bag. As needed, discreetly sniff it when you need a little confidence or courage. There are also diffuser pendants made just for this purpose, that double as beautiful jewelry. A diffuser is a cage-like pendant in which you can keep your cotton ball of oil, so you can sniff it easily whenever you need to.

– Before going out to party, put a drop of Ylang-Ylang oil in each shoe to attract a mate (just a little! It can be sticky!). Likewise you can do this before work with money attracting oil to ensure you earn lots of cash.

-Put some on the threshold of the entry to your home to attract any of the aforementioned energies into your home.


*I originally wrote this for pagan pages in 2011