Welcome

15193510_140759779739033_3491119891465689900_nWelcome to the web page of Raven Starhawk the online home of “Sacred Garden: Herbs and Botanicals!”  This blog is a place for me to share my knowledge of herbs, herbal remedies, and botanicals from the garden.

If you click on this link you may visit the Sacred Garden Shop on Facebook where I sell herbal tinctures, healthy herbal tea blend, botanical and aromatherapy lotions and soaps, and much more.  Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy!

Love and Light! ~ Starhawk

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Native American Herbal Remedies

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Alfalfa: Relieves digestion and is used to aid blood clotting. Contemporary uses included treatment of arthritis, bladder and kidney conditions and bone strength. Enhances the immune system.

Aloe: A cactus-like plant. The thick leaves can be squeezed to extrude a thick sap that can be used to treat burns, insect bites and wounds.

Aspen: The inner bark or xylem is used in a tea to treat fever, coughs and pain. It contains salicin, which also is found in willow trees and is the foundation ingredient for aspirin.

Bee pollen: When mixed with food it can boost energy, aid digestion and enhance the immune system. If you’re allergic to bee stings you will most likely be allergic to bee pollen.

Beeswax: Used as a salve for burns and insect bites, including bee stings. Intended to only be used externally.

Blackberry: The root, bark and leaves when crushed and infused in a tea are used to treat diarrhea, reduce inflammation and stimulate the metabolism. As a gargle it treats sore throats, mouth ulcers and inflammation of the gums.

Black Raspberry: The roots of this plant are crushed and used as a tea or boiled and chewed to relieve coughs, diarrhea and general intestinal distress.

Buckwheat: The seeds are used in soups and as porridge to lower blood pressure, help with blood clotting and relieve diarrhea.

Cayenne: The pods are used as a pain reliever when taken with food or drunk in a tea; used to treat arthritis and digestive distress. It can be applied to wounds as a powder to increase blood flow and act as an antiseptic and anesthetic.

Chamomile: The leaves and flowers are used as a tea to treat intestinal problems and nausea.

Chokecherry:  The berries were pitted, dried and crushed into a tea or a poultice to treat a variety of ailments. These include coughs, colds, flu, nausea, inflammation and diarrhea. As a salve or poultice it is used to treat burns and wounds. The pits of the chokecherry are poisonous in high concentrations.

Echinacea: Also known as purple coneflower, this is a classic Native American medicine that is used to strengthen the immune system, fight infections and fever. It also is used as an antiseptic and general treatment for colds, coughs and flu.

Eucalyptus: The oil from the leaves and roots is a common treatment when infused in a tea to treat coughs, sore-throat, flu and fever. It’s used to this day as an ingredient in cough drops.

Fennel: A plant with a licorice flavor, this is used in a tea or chewed to relieve coughs, sore-throat, aid digestion, offer relief to diarrhea and was a general treatment for colds. It also is used as a poultice for eye relief and headaches.

Feverfew: Used to this day as a natural relief for fever and headaches – including severe headaches like migraines – it also can be used for digestive problems, asthma and muscle and joint pains.

Feverwort: Another fever remedy that also is used for general pain, itching and joint stiffness. It can be ingested as a tea or chewed, or crushed to a paste as a salve or poultice.

Ginger root: The root was crushed and consumed with food, as a tea or a salve or poultice. Known to this day for its ability to aid digestive health, it also is anti-inflammatory, aids circulation and can relieve colds, coughs and flu, in addition to bronchitis and joint pain.

Ginseng: The roots were used as a food additive, a tea and a poultice to treat fatigue, boost energy, enhance the immune system and help with overall liver and lung function. The leaves and stems also were used, but the root has the most concentration of active ingredients.

Goldenrod:  As a tea, an addition to food and a topical salve, it is used to treat conditions from bronchitis and chest congestion to colds, flu, inflammation, sore throats and as an antiseptic for cuts and abrasions.

Honeysuckle: The berries, stems, flowers and leaves are used to topically treat bee stings and skin infections. As a tea, it is used to treat colds, headaches and sore throat. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Hops: As a tea it is used to treat digestive problems and often mixed with other herbs or plants, such as aloe, to soothe muscles. It also is used to soothe toothaches and sore throat.

Licorice: Roots and leaves can be used for coughs, colds, sore throats. The root also can be chewed to relieve toothaches.

Mullein: As an infusion in tea or added to a salad or other food, this is a plant that has been used to treat inflammation, coughs and congestion and general lung afflictions.

Passion flower: The leaves and roots are used to make a tea to treat anxiety and muscle pain. A poultice for injuries to the skin such as burns, insect bites and boils also can be made from passion flower.

Red clover: It grows everywhere and the flowers, leaves and roots are usually infused in a tea or are used to top food. It is used to manage inflammation, improve circulation and treat respiratory conditions.

Rose hip: This is the red to orange berry that is the fruit of wild roses. It is known to be a source of vitamin C and eaten whole, crushed into a tea or added to food it is used to treat colds and coughs, intestinal distress, as an antiseptic and to treat inflammation.

Rosemary: A member of the pine family and used in food and as a tea to treat muscle pain, improve circulation and as a general cleanser for the metabolism.

Sage: A natural insect repellent and can be used for the standard list of digestive disorders, colds and sore throat.

Spearmint: Used for treatment of coughs, colds, respiratory distress and as a cure for diarrhea and a stimulant for blood circulation.

Valerian: The root as an infusion in a tea relieves muscle aches, pain and is said to have a calming effect.

White Pine:  The needles and the inner bark can be infused in a tea. Used as a standard treatment for respiratory distress and chest congestion.

Natural Ways to Suppress Appetite & Fight Hunger

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Sprinkle Cinnamon on Your Food

Whether you flavor your coffee with cinnamon, dust sliced apples with it, or blend it into your green smoothies, make sure you’re enjoying cinnamon daily to keep your appetite in check. This delicious spice hasn’t been described as ‘nature’s gastric band’ for nothing!

In a 2007 study, scientists asked participants to add just 6g of cinnamon to rice pudding in order to determine its effect on appetite. They found that the cinnamon slowed the absorption of carbohydrates from the small intestine. This led to the cinnamon group of participants feeling fuller for longer than those who ate the pudding without cinnamon.

Add a Little Cayenne Pepper Too

Cayenne pepper is well known for its ability to kill pain in the body, thanks to the presence of a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is also one of the secrets behind cayenne’s appetite suppressing effects – and one of the reasons that many celebrities use cayenne in their weight loss tonics and detox drinks.

A 2009 study which looked at the effect of capsaicin on appetite found that people who consumed capsaicin with green tea experienced less hunger and increased fullness. Capsaicin also has thermo-genetic properties which means it causes your body temperature to rise, increasing blood flow and metabolism.

Sip on Green Tea

Green tea is an incredible tonic with numerous health benefits. But it’s also a great drink to have on hand to prevent overeating. Studies have shown that green tea naturally increases metabolism, and its polyphenol antioxidants help control blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. What’s more, these polyphenols also have anti-depressant like effects, which can help fight the anxiety and depression that lead to emotional eating.

If you’re not sold on the benefits of green tea for appetite suppression and weight loss, consider this: green tea increases the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a digestive hormone that actually tells the brain the body is full!

Start with Salad or Soup

Eating a salad or bowl of broth-based soup before your lunch or dinner can suppress your appetite and help you eat less of your main meal. Studies have found that consuming two servings of low calorie soup daily can lead to 50% greater weight loss than consuming the same amount of calories from a snack food!

Go to Bed on Time

Sleep is vital to help us recharge our batteries and allow the body to heal itself. Sleep is also necessary for our ‘hunger hormones’ to reset themselves. Sleep deprivation is known to lower levels of leptin – the appetite suppressing hormone, while increasing ghrelin, the hunger stimulating one. Studies have shown that those who don’t get enough sleep tend to be hungrier and crave sweet and salty foods.

Smell Your Food

You don’t always need to eat to feel full! Several studies have shown that just smelling the food can be enough to trick your brain into turning off its hunger signals. Some of the foods tested for their satiating smells include extra virgin olive oil, apples, bananas, garlic, fennel and grapefruit.

Diffuse Essential Oils

Just like smelling foods can help suppress appetite, so can inhaling certain essential oils. The key is to vary the oils you diffuse to prevent desensitization, which means the effectiveness of the inhaled oils would diminish. Rotating oils like peppermint, grapefruit, bergamot, patchouli and lemon can all help kill your hunger. Invest in a diffuser necklace and regularly change the pads to experience the benefits.

Manage Your Stress

We all know that stress and anxiety can lead to emotional overeating and binge eating in many people. But now scientists can explain exactly why this is! Chronic stress causes levels of ghrelin (the appetite stimulating hormone) to rise in the body. This serves to decrease feelings of depression and anxiety in the short-term. So while our bodies are doing us a favor by helping us relax and boost our mood, an unfortunate side effect is that we eat more!

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners and Empty Calories

Because foods like this don’t exist in nature, our bodies are naturally expecting a hit of vitamins and minerals to go along with the rapid influx of sugar and calories. When they don’t get it, they need to use some of our stored nutrients to burn these calories, leaving us in ‘nutrient debt’. The body then craves more food to make up for these depleted nutrients. By eating whole, nutritious foods – as nature intended – you’ll ensure your body only signals for more food when it actually needs it.

Eat an Apple a Day

Apples contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin which reduces the amount of sugar and calories that are absorbed into the bloodstream after eating – ensuring more stable blood sugar levels. An apple can keep you full for up to two hours after eating, making it the perfect mid-morning snack.

Treat Yourself to Dark Chocolate

If you really need to satisfy your sweet tooth, nibble on a square of high quality dark chocolate – containing at least 70% cocoa. In a study of white and dark chocolate, it was found that participants who ate dark chocolate experienced more stable blood sugar levels than those who at the white variety. What’s more, another study found that those who ate dark chocolate a few hours before a pizza actually ate 15% less than the people who ate milk chocolate.

Cook with Coconut Oil

This tropical oil has so many uses – in the home, in beauty products and in the kitchen. Coconut oil can attribute a lot of its health benefits to the fact that is made up of a high percentage of medium-chain fatty acids, rather than the long-chain fatty acids found in many other oils. Scientists have proven that MCFAs are oxidized in the liver and are more likely to be burned as fuel instead of stored as fat, like LCFAs are. Swap your regular cooking oil for coconut and enjoy decreased appetite levels.

Take Apple Cider Vinegar Daily

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been long revered for its medicinal uses. It is also a well-known appetite suppressant which can balance blood sugar levels. In a 2005 study, participants were given varying levels of the fermented vinegar along with white bread – a simple carbohydrate known for causing blood sugar peaks and dips. Blood tests showed that the higher the levels of vinegar taken, the lower the blood glucose and insulin levels of participants.

Hydrate!

Many nutrition experts recommend drinking a glass or two of water when hunger hits. That’s because sometimes our bodies think they’re hungry when actually, they are dehydrated. Studies may back this advice up. In 2012, researchers discovered that people who drank 17oz (500ml) of water before every meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week period than those who didn’t. The researchers believe this occurred because the water increased feelings of fullness, and prevented participants from eating more than they needed to.

The Immune Benefits of Elderberry

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As spring begins and summer quickly approaches, many of us are looking for a refreshing, sweet treat to help boost our immune systems and stay healthy during peak vacation season. One of earth’s best, not so hidden, little secrets is found in the form of a flavorful berry that provides the antioxidants to promote immune support and help contribute to year round health.

For centuries, elderberries have been used to support wellness. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was particularly fond of the tiny berry for its potent antioxidant qualities and the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that elderberries may help maintain healthy sinuses and nasal function.  Today, the effects of the elderberry spans continental divides with North American, European, Asian, and African cultures utilizing them for their overall health and wellness benefits.

Due to its pleasant taste and health-promoting qualities, elderberry is found in several widely accessible wellness products. Elderberries contain vitamins A, B, and C, which help support your immune system.  Additionally, the tiny berry’s extract acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from free radicals and supporting the immune system.

Enhancing the immune system has a wide range of benefits. While many of us focus on immune support during the winter, it is just as important to keep our immune systems healthy during the warmer months as millions of people across the world travel and hit the road for family vacations and summer activities.

Whether in the form of an immune-boosting vitamin or a tasty drink mix, the nutrients found in elderberries support a strong immune system so we can stay healthy while doing the activities we love.

FLORAL + SAGE SMUDGE STICKS

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SUPPLIES:

White sage

Cedar
Lavender
Roses or any other herb or flower that dries well
Cotton culinary twine

DIRECTIONS:

The instructions are pretty basic here: Bundle together your herbs and flowers in a pleasing way. Wrap tightly with cotton twine and wait until dry.

Or if you’re working with dried ingredients already, disassemble an existing sage smudge stick (look for a high-quality one with large leaves still intact, not one that looks crumbly already). The leaves will already have a shape to them so let their direction inform how you’re adding new bits and how you ultimately tie it all together. You can let the sage be the outside “wrapper,” since the leaves are the broadest of the bunch. Add springs of dried cedar, lavender, roses, rosemary or anything else you have on hand to the center of the bundle. Then carefully close the bundle together in your hand and wrap with cotton twine.

The leaves must be completely 100% dry to burn so it’s best to wait until you’re sure. Light one end and enjoy!