Healing Plants: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Plants by Helen Collins

675a18b1ed72fe8-261x361.jpg Author Helen Collins
Isbn 9781514802601
File size 0.5MB
Year 2015
Pages 126
Language English
File format PDF
Category fitness


Healing Plants An Introduction to the healing power of plants All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Contents Introduction Chapter 1 – Historical Uses of Flowers and Plants Healthcare The Power of Aroma Prehistoric Times Ancient Egypt Incense Aromatic Oils Tribal Remedies and Plant Usage Other Ancient Remedies and Foods Biblical Plants Middle Ages Mandrake The Present Day Chapter 2 – Health, Beauty and Cosmetics Bach Flower Remedies Aromatherapy Making Your Own Fragrance Oils Herbal and Homeopathic remedies Chinese Herbalism Creating the Right Atmosphere with Herbs Homoeopathy Making Your Own Cosmetics Cold Cream A Moisturiser A Toner A Deodorant A Face Pack A Cleanser A Facial Herbal Steam treatment A Hair Tint A Bath Treatment A Skin Revitaliser with Fruit Chapter 3 –Flowers and Meditation Learning to relax Creative Visualisation Getting Started on a Visualisation Meditation with a Flower Meditation with a Journey Other Meditations Chapter 4 – Looking at Colour The Importance of Colour Colour and Health Aura-Soma Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet Colour in Our Food Colour in the Home Chapter 5 – The Healing Garden Making a Herbal Garden Lesser-known Herbs Drying and Storing Herbs Drying Flowers and Making Potpourri Scented Pillows Plants for Your Garden Eating Your Flowers Thinking of Seasonal Garden Colours Creating Single Colour Schemes Small Garden Ideas Chapter 6 – Plants and Flowers for Decoration Buying House Plants Talking to Plants Colour in Plants Looking After Cut Flowers Prolonging the Life of an Arrangement Flower Arrangements in the Home Giving Gifts Using Flowers in Decoration Location, Design and Balance Objects for Flower Arrangements Introduction In this book, we are going to take a look at what plants and herbs can do for us, to improve our health and our general wellbeing, including how to make various cosmetics using plants and herbs. We will learn how flowers can be used in meditations, how the use of colour affects us all, and how we can use fresh and dried flowers as decorations and for healing. For centuries people have been aware that plants and flowers can be used in a healing capacity. Herbalism and homoeopathy, for example, are just two fields of therapy which use the inherent properties of plants and flowers to benefit health. Aromatherapy is another holistic therapy which seeks to reduce stress, illness and disease using the power of oils obtained from plants and flowers. The use of the power of flowers in healing is nothing new: the ancient Greeks used specific fragrances as healers, such as white violet for curing stomach upsets. Before the benefits of aromatherapy became widely known as an aid to relieving stress, scented bath cubes or various colognes or rosewaters were added to bathwater, not only to make the skin smell nice, but also to help the relaxation process. Many people are now turning to the power of aroma therapy oils to achieve physical benefits and to address many psychological conditions which are now, sadly, commonplace in our lives. The Bach Flower Remedies (Bach is pronounced batch) help to heal us mentally and physically, so we will also take a look at these, and at the linking of oils and colours in Aura-Soma. We will discover the benefits of natural products over artificial substitutes. If we can understand and appreciate what is around us in the world of flowers, perhaps we might be encouraged to protect flowers and plants for future generations. Many people are now actively engaged in fighting the development of urban areas in areas of outstanding natural beauty, and while not wishing to debate the rights and wrongs of what humankind seems to be doing to our planet, I believe that if we all understand a little more about nature, we will not seek to destroy so much of it so readily. Let's begin our journey of discovery, therefore, and take a more detailed look at the power of flowers. Chapter 1 – Historical Uses of Flowers and Plants Flowers, and also whole plants, barks, roots and herbs, have traditionally been used for a variety of things - not only for decorative purposes and gifts, but also in medicine, as fragrances, in skin and beauty preparations, and as food or decoration for food. In history, we used flowers and plants a little more in health care than is the case today, partly because many of the plants and (lowers held to be useful medically in the past may no longer have therapeutic value, due to interventions by medical science and technology. There are many plants, however, whose usage remains important. Mistletoe, for example, is known to be effective in treating high blood pressure and migraine, because it contains the drug guipsine. It has also been used effectively in the treatment of arteriosclerosis, and its Celtic name uile translates as 'all-healer'. Those suffering from dandruff might also like to try it in shampoo form, as it certainly works! In this chapter, we will look at how our ancestors used (lowers, plants, herbs, shrubs and barks, for a variety of everyday uses, including medicine and beauty preparations. We will also consider the plants and flowers mentioned in the Bible - the word 'paradise' is derived from the Persian word for a walled garden! Beauty and Healthcare When you were a child at school, I am sure that one of the first topics you studied in History was the growth of and development of the human race. I remember learning about Troglodytes (cave dwellers) and visiting a museum where there was a 'mock-up' cave, complete with inhabitants, then subsequently going on a nature ramble with a teacher to look at the types of berries and plants that these cave dwellers probably used in their daily lives. I learnt, for example, that chewing on the leaves of a willow would cure a headache. This was a folk remedy from ancient times, which worked because the leaves of the willow contain a small portion of salicylic acid, which is a component of aspirin. It didn't taste too good, but it worked! Beauty preparations At school we also learnt a little about how other generations used various flowers and plants for beauty care. I remember vividly, when I was probably only about 8 years old, collecting what seemed at the time to be tonnes of rose petals to make some rosewater to use in the bath. Rosewater is useful in skincare preparations because it helps to soothe the skin and is a mild astringent. It is, incidentally, often used in commercial skincare preparations as a toner for those with dry skins. In the seventeenth century in Britain, women used rhubarb juice and white wine as a lightener for their hair and also used a mixture of burnt rosemary and alum flowers for cleaning their teeth gruesome! Civilisations in the distant past used plants and flowers to help to improve their appearance, both by face painting and by using flowers as decorations, and also used flower oils as fragrance. We still use flowers and their properties in skincare and beauty preparations. Many readers will be familiar with henna in shampoos and hair care preparations. Henna, particularly important in Muslim countries, is an evergreen shrub that has fragrant clusters of small cream coloured, four-petal flowers at the tips of each branch, and henna seeds have long been used to tint and dye the hair, finger and toe nails, fingertips, hands, feet, beards and even the manes, hoofs and tails of horses, as well as skins and leather. Many ancient Egyptian mummies appear to have been wrapped in cloth dyed with henna. Also, it is mentioned in the Bible in the Song of Solomon, and for many centuries, especially in the Middle East, henna's strong fragrance has been popular. Many Eastern races use henna in bouquets, and women wear it in their hair and put it on their clothing. Other natural hair and body dyes and tints can be obtained from camomile, marigold flowers, saffron roots or flowers, turmeric, rhubarb (also a good laxative) and sage (good to use in the bath), but more of that later. Healthcare Saffron is also mentioned in the Bible in the Song of Solomon. An Old World crocus, it takes about 4,000 blooms to make just 28 grams (1 oz) of saffron, using the dried styles and stigmas of the flowers. Consequently, saffron is quite expensive to use, but makes a lovely herbal tea beneficial in treating skin or liver problems, and is a good flavouring for foods. It was also formerly used as a perfume. Another flower mentioned in the Bible is the lily, which Jesus mentions in the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke. In Biblical terms, the lily and beauty were interchangeable. The marshmallow plant, closely related to the hollyhock, is mentioned in the Bible in Job as being used as food in times of hardship. Its tastelessness was obviously a strong point in its favour, as many other plants were known to have a bitter taste. Nowadays used as an ingredient of facepacks, it can also be used in the form of a tea for treating digestive problems, especially in children. The ancient Greeks used a great number of plants for health benefits. Plants were used in drinks, and a trip to any health store or supermarket will reveal many plant-based teas now available. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used juniper berries in medicine, and in later medieval times, these berries were considered to be remedies for ailments as diverse as snake bites and the plague, while in Tibetan history various species of juniper are claimed to be useful in cancer treatments. Hippocrates, from whom comes the Hippocratic Oath which doctors take, is known to have used plants in his treatments, including many quite common flowers and fruits. Likewise, Galen, personal doctor to many Roman emperors, used plants and flowers in his healing work, and his copious records are well worth reading. Incidentally, cold cream, still used by many as a beauty preparation and skincare aid, was invented by Galen. Many tribes of the world still use the plant life around them for their remedies. Many of us in the Western world have lost the desire or abilities we perhaps all once had to produce remedies for ourselves; we have become reliant upon others for this help. Although there are those in our societies, the shamans, medicine men, healers or health care workers, whose primary aim in life is to help us to feel better about ourselves and find a way of conquering those ailments which beset us, we also need to rediscover how we can open ourselves up to other avenues where, with a little time, knowledge, patience and effort, we can help ourselves to make our own preparations. A little later in this book, we will talk about making such preparations, and how various flowers and plants can help us to improve our lives and our health. We should, however, take care with herbal medicines, and should consider consulting a qualified herbal practitioner. In the meantime, it is worth remembering that we all use natural remedies, albeit rarely. For example, most of us will know that dock leaves, growing by the side of stinging nettles, are a treatment for the sting of the nettle, as well as being useful for combating other skin rashes. Many plants and flowers are poisonous, and it is important to be able to distinguish these, not only for medicinal use, but equally for food. The Power of Aroma We can be attracted to flowers by their colour, by their form and by their smell. Scientists suggest that 17,000 smells, good, bad and indifferent, have been distinguished, and even psychiatrists will sometimes use the power of smell to bring out deap-seated memories in patients. Smell has probably been one of our most used senses, and one of the most powerful, since early times. Prehistoric Times Early humans probably used the sense of smell primarily to distinguish whether a substance was good to eat or not. Relying on taste as a first resort is not always advisable! When gathered around their fires in their caves, early humans probably became used to the differing smells of burning woods. They would have discovered that some woods, when burnt, gave off soothing fragrances, while others were less pleasant. Certain woods may have been observed to give people heightened experiences, and as a result, many peoples concluded that the smoke of the fires held some magical or mystical properties. Laurel was often burnt in religious ceremonies by the priestesses at Delphi as a means of creating prophetic visions. A similar tradition still exists in India and Java, where priests regularly inhale aromatic smoke before making prophecies. Likewise in various Voodoo traditions in Haiti, perfume and magic are closely linked. In Western culture, some groups believed that a mixture of sandalwood, hemlock and coriander could, when burnt, summon up demons. If henbane was added, this would enhance the experience. Most cave people would have had little knowledge of what their bodies were like internally, other than what they might have assumed from cutting up animals for food. Their use of natural substances, of plants and flowers, was the result of many experiments. Their knowledge of burning different woods developed into using fragrances to both hide other smells, to soothe or allure, for beauty purposes and to heal. They probably also began to realise that certain berries, roots and leaves when ingested made people feel better, and that animals also ate natural substances when ill in order to make themselves better. The beneficial effects of aromas and fragrances has not been confined to humans. It is well known amongst country folk that dogs can be calmed by a mixture of the copaiba, aniseed and rhodium fragrances, and that horses will generally respond better to a handler who has around him or her the smell of fennel Ancient Egypt It is uncertain when the use of fragrances for health benefits really began, although the use of fragrances in ancient Egypt was widespread, and it is known that frankincense, for example, was used in 3500 BCE (Before Common Era) by the priestesses in the temples. The ancient Egyptians believed that the gods lived in the fragrance and petals of flowers, and often laid floral tributes on or near the altars of their gods. Ra, the Sun god, was often portrayed surrounded by volumes of flowers, and statues to him were crowned with flowers, woven together. The volume of flowers used was considered a significant factor, and thus many statues were literally surrounded by flower offerings. In some cases, however, a certain flower was associated with a particular god, and only one kind of flower would be offered. The ancient Egyptians used the flower known as the everlasting flower in their tributes to the Sun god, possibly because of the flower ’s ability to last a long time, and flowers were carried in the processions at the annual Festival of Shrines. It is interesting to relate this to the use of flowers within churches around the world today. Flowers are still used to decorate altars, and at times, such as Harvest Festival, other plants and wild flowers are brought into the churches. The original pagan tradition of linking flowers and candles is worthy of note, as not only candles are used to mark important celebrations, but also flowers. The ancient Egyptians also used perfumes and flowers to mark funeral occasions, and many oils were used in funeral tributes. It is said that a sealed alabaster vase discovered in 1922 when the excavations of Tutankhamen’s tomb took place still gave off a mild fragrance. Incense The use of incense and fragrance was once widespread. One of the earliest recorded incense formulas appears in the Bible in Exodus 30:34 where the holy incense of the Israelites is described. One of the main items carried by the caravans of Oriental traders who journeyed the spice routes to Damascus is pure frankincense, a sweetly scented substance, much like gum, which comes from certain trees in India and Arabia. Frankincense is still used widely in religious ceremonies, and is a great aid to meditation when used in oil form in an aroma therapy vaporiser or as an incense. Valued and prized as highly as precious jewels to the ancient Egyptians, frankincense was often used to aid concentration, alleviate toothache and breathing problems and cleanse wounds. One can only assume that the medicinal benefits of various plants and herbs came about due to much experimentation. People would pass on their knowledge to those within their communities, and such knowledge would then spread. To the Babylonians, flowers, herbs, roots and trees were often used in prescriptions for health benefits, and clay tablets still survive with Sumerian notations upon them, listing such things. The Babylonians as a race were less disposed to be accurate with their writings, and we do not have details of the actual quantities used or the exact formulae. However, we do know that an ancient Babylonian king had within his garden most of the plants which are today actively used within herbalism and aroma therapy. Within ancient Egypt, those who dealt in the sale of fragrances were important, as it is recorded that certain young men used up to 15 different types of fragrances to attract women. For their part, the women hid globules of aromatic substances in their hair. The use of incense was also extensive and sophisticated, and most incenses are made of a single substance, rather than a mixture, so that each can be more accurately reproduced at a future time. Aromatic Oils The Romans also used fragrances, especially aromatic herbs, within their homes and daily lives. The Romans used marjoram for their hair, mint for an underarm deodorant and palm oil as an aftershave. Within the ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian civilisations anointing oils were used not only in religious ceremonies but also by others for the fragrance emitted and also for medicinal value. Anointing oils are still sometimes used, especially for coronations, and Queen Victoria is said to have disliked the smell of the original coronation oil to such an extreme that another, more acceptable, fragrance was developed. This formula is still used at such occasions. It is supposed that much of the information for using plants in healthcare came from the Greeks. It is well documented that the Greeks used olive oil to absorb the fragrances of various flowers, so that the perfumed oil resulting could be used for either healthcare purposes or in beauty preparations. It is also recorded that Greek soldiers would carry ointment made from myrrh into battle to help in the healing of wounds. Myrrh comes from an Israeli shrub with fragrant wood and bark. It is known to help with mouth and throat infections and can be useful as a tonic to improve a jaded appetite. Myrrh is said to symbolise the suffering of Christ, and was known in the time of Cleopatra to be useful as a skin preservative, hence its use in embalming the Egyptian dead. Another well-used plant is rosemary, mentioned in Shakespeare's Hamlet as being 'for remembrance'. The Greeks used rosemary both in cooking and at shrines where it was burnt, it was sacred to the Romans, and it was used throughout the Middle Ages in exorcisms and in sickrooms as a means of reducing disease. Rosemary has strong antiseptic properties, can help with respiratory problems, can delay putrefaction in meat, can hide underlying bad tastes and is also a brain stimulant. It can also be used in hair care preparations, especially for those with dark hair, and is said to help bring back colour to greying hair. It is also one of the original ingredients of eau de Cologne. In China, the tradition of herbal medicine and using plants, flowers and barks in healing goes back to before 2000 BCE. The Chinese herbal medicine classic known as Pen ts'ao kang-mou lists over 8,000 different formulae, many using plants, as well as minerals, and it is recorded that, as long ago as 1000 BCE, the Chinese used opium for the treatment of dysentery. The Chinese left records going back over 4,000 years detailing many herbal remedies. One remedy, based on the juice of a Chinese fir tree, Ma Huang, was said to cure bronchitis and asthma, and research on this remedy carried out in 1878, found that the juice contains the alkaloid ephedrine, which became used in the treatment of pulmonary disorders, eases breathing, especially in cases of asthma, and is also useful in cases of hay fever. Herbal cures still feature strongly in Chinese healthcare, and there are many herbal dispensaries in their hospitals. Likewise in India, the Ayurvedic medical practitioners (from two Sanskrit words 'ayur' meaning life and 'veda' meaning knowledge) use herbs in their cures and remedies, as well as vegetables and minerals. The Romans, more interested in simple things which could be prepared themselves at home, were well versed in the use of flowers and plants, and were very successful in the field of preventive medicine, using natural substances to prevent an illness from becoming serious. The Bible details several plants and flowers used in the preparation of food and culinary matters. Mint, dill, cumin, rue and mustard leaves were all actively used, and the caper berry was used as an appetiser. The pods of the carob tree were usually fed to animals, young vine leaves were eaten as a green vegetable, the root of the broom tree was eaten, and endive and chicory were used at times of Passover. Manna, which was probably coriander seeds, was the basic food for the Israelites when in the wilderness, and was ground into cakes. The peoples of that time also used plants and fruits for medical care, and it is known that fig poultices were often used. Galen, who was born in Asia Minor (now Turkey) around 131 CE, learnt a great deal about the body from treating gladiators' wounds with plant and flower remedies. In Arabia just prior to 1000 CE a Persian doctor, Avicenna, used plants and herbs for health benefits and left details of over 800 plants and their effects, which has been most useful for those following on. Avicenna also discovered how to distil the essential oils which are used in aromatherapy. Tribal Remedies and Plant Usage Many primitive peoples had knowledge of plants and their healing abilities, and this has been passed down to our present day in manyof the remaining indigenous tribes of the world without ever having been formally recorded. Many South American plants and herbs are now actively used within health care. Statistics suggest that around 80 % of the world's herbal flora can be found within the Amazon basin and an American University has been experimenting with more than 1,000 of these plants for many years, knowing that for centuries the Indians of the Amazon have been using them in healthcare. It is known, for example, that certain tribes will use the bark from a willow tree, infuse it in boiling water, and drink it when they have headaches. Likewise, digitalis which comes from the common purple foxglove was used by many tribes in South America for heart problems, and it is common knowledge that digitalis can reduce the pulse rate and also promote the secretion of urine. As such, herbalists such as George Graves, who wrote Hortus Medicus in 1834 recommended its use, with care, for inflammatory conditions of the chest as well as for palpitations and other ailments. Cures for coughs, colds, skin complaints and rheumatism are all actively made from plants, flowers and roots. Quinine is a commonly used medicine which was first used by the Indians of South America. Within the culture of the North American Indians herbal, flower and plant remedies abounded. It is known that the Dakota tribe relieved asthma with the powdered roots of skunk cabbage, that the Kiowas used a plant called soap root in the treatment of dandruff and that the Cheyennes would drink a tonic of boiled wild mint when nauseous. Other Indian remedies included black nightshade, which was a Comanche tuberculosis remedy, Indian turnip which was a Pawnee headache remedy and yarrow, which was used by the Utes for healing cuts and bruises. The Crees were known to chew on the tiny cones of spruce trees to soothe sore throats, and many frontiersmen owe their lives to the remedies given to them by friendly Indians. It is said that Prince Maximillian's life was saved in 1834 by an Indian remedy of eating raw bulbs of wild garlic. In recognition of the medicinal value of Indian cures, the authoritative US Pharmacopoeia and the National Formulary officially accepted 170 Indian natural remedies.

Author Helen Collins Isbn 9781514802601 File size 0.5MB Year 2015 Pages 126 Language English File format PDF Category Fitness Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare While we appreciate the beauty of plants given as gifts and growing in our gardens, we rarely consider their power to heal. In this book the author shows how this power can be harnessed and used in healing situations – both in the now widely practised natural therapies, such as aromatherapy, herbalism and homeopathy, and in the increasingly recognised field of colour therapy. She shows how plants and herbs can be used to enhance everyday life in a variety of simple but highly effective ways – in cosmetics, mediation and home decoration. Helen Collins deals with people who are looking to improve their physical and spiritual wellbeing. She specialises in counselling, using her detailed knowledge of the obscure.     Download (0.5MB) Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine Essential Oils: Historical Significance, Chemical Composition and Medicinal Uses and Benefits Ayurvedic Medicine Rodale’s 21st-Century Herbal The Science of Natural Healing Load more posts

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