Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - It has long been understood that the plants which grow around us, in our gardens and on the side of roads, have properties that can help us to heal. Dating back to ancient Mesoamerican cultures the flower was prized for its aroma, and when people were sick, it was their tonalli, or cosmic energy, that was off balance and needed to be restored.
In modern times, we often struggle to maintain a sense of connection between plants, medicine and the cosmos, yet there are many ways that we can entrain to these natural rhythms by using common plants and herbs in our everyday life and healing.
Infused oils are a simple way to incorporate the healing properties of flowers into everyday activities. They work on our limbic system and enhance our emotions and cognition in positive and powerful ways.
Rosemary has a very stimulating aroma and helps with fatigue; it makes a great culinary herb or can be steeped as a hot tea. Chamomile, known as Manzanilla (little apple) in Spanish, settles an upset stomach and aids insomnia.
Lavender, one of our favorite aromas, decreases stress and depression, and enhances mood. Lavender can be used for its aroma or as a culinary herb added to hot chocolate or muffins.
A medicinal use of lavender has been developed for anxiety and insomnia in the form of a concentrated product called Lavela WS 1265. It is a patented formula of lavender essential oil that has been well studied for internal use for the treatment of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. The recommended dose is 80 to 160 milligrams per day for adults.
Make Your Own Lavender Pillow
1. Pick your own lavender plant and create a bundle. Hang upside-down to dry or simply lay in a basket. The drying process will take about 1-2 weeks depending on humidity. If you do not have your own lavender plant, you may go out and purchase already-dried lavender. The good thing about lavender is that it retains its scent over a long period of time - simply rub it gently between your fingers to renew the scent.
2. Obtain cotton fabric and stitch your pillowcase! You may stuff with cotton or wool and then sprinkle some dried lavender in it, OR you can make a little pillow and exclusively fill it with the dried lavender.
*If you are not up to sewing your own, purchase a small muslin bag and fill as desired. Secure with string.
New research suggests that exposure to large amounts of topical lavender can disrupt hormones, especially in young boys. Occasional use of lavender pillows or steams is fine but avoid applying oil to the body.
To learn more about Flower Power see my forthcoming book, Natural Woman, Herbal Remedies for Radiant Health at Every Age and Stage of Life.
Interested in studying? I teach an online 18 hour professional training course in Integrative Medicine and Nutrition for Mental Health.
Leslie Korn has lived and worked in Banderas Bay since 1973 conducting research in Traditional Medicine of Mexico. She is a Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health-educated clinician in clinical practice in Mental Health Nutrition, Integrative Medicine and the prevention of dementia and cognitive decline. She is the author of 8 books including 'Natural Woman.' To learn more about her work, visit DrLeslieKorn.com. She can be reached at lekorn(at)cwis.org.
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