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Feb 112014
 

In this age of over-privatization, it is politically healthy to see an honest fight to keep something that belongs in the realm of the commons, to remind ourselves that not everything should be made to hoard for personal monetary profit. Most especially something made from the plants that grow abundantly in all of our gardens and orchards. I, like many herbal practitioners, have been making fire cider since I first began following the excellent herbal work of Rosemary Gladstar, who coined the name in the 1970’s. It is not something our company currently sells, but something bottled up for family wellness and given to new friends along the way, the recipe always evolving and expanding, but based on the tried and true core ingredients Rosemary taught. You may not be aware of the story that recently prompted herbalists across the globe to revolt against the move by three young people to trademark the name ‘fire cider’. To take it for themselves, exclusively, with the threat of legal action that ‘registered trademark’ implies. Enthusiastic, perhaps well meaning, young people who have somehow missed the traditional spirit of self-care and empowerment through herbalism and the wise woman way handed down for centuries. These three young people, Dana, Amy and Brian, are aware that they have sent ripples of displeasure throughout the greater herbal community, but have drawn a line in the sand and refuse to withdraw their registered trademark which restricts any other company from using the name in the marketplace. Instead, they foolishly inflate and see themselves as heroes "bringing visibility to the general public" oblivious [perhaps by choice] to decades of early published herbal work and education provided by Gladstar, Susun Weed, Jeanne Rose, Michael Moore, Paul Bergner, Mindy Green, Colleen Dodt, Cascade Anderson Geller, Howie Brounstein and countless others upon whose backs they deem to build their empire . . . advertising themselves as willing mentors to a seeming new breed of "business-minded herbalists".  Methinks they don’t understand the collective but mostly unspoken pride that probably won’t stop any of us from making and, yes, marketing, fire cider and honoring those who came before us as we continue tradition in the manner intended. Long Live Fire Cider!

 

shaking hand with branch2 432x242And so went my fb post of fierce resistance in response to the definitive gauntlet thrown . . . then Tina Sams from The Essential Herbal Magazine suggested we expand on the idea and genesis of the herbal tradition.  It was then that I realized perhaps I, personally, maybe hadn’t been doing enough to educate young people growing up with fewer and fewer community traditions that represented gathering and openly sharing that occurs without underpinning the necessity for the exchange of money as a prerequisite.  That my personal experience, and that of others like me, both in creating and participating in venues for Agora in the traditional meaning as a gathering place had not taken root and might be lost to future generations with respect to the greater purpose and importance of freely sharing.  And, now if you Google ‘Agora’, you get everything from a Washington D.C. Turkish restaurant to an online charter school, to an art gallery, to an incorporated consumer newsletter,  a ballroom in Cleveland, financial forecasts, and even a movie starring Rachel Weisz.  So much for an ancient word that might have led us to understanding the concept of the commons, and indeed, the very meaning of commonwealth.  Tina calls us to the greater task of defining the greater good as it now applies in our technologically advanced society in which the individual reigns supreme over all he can patent, trademark and profit from.  Where, in the harshest manifestation,  the John Galts appear poised to separate themselves from the rest of humanity in ivory towers and the word ‘inequality’ has risen to prominence in the political discourse. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of business, I can read financial reports and complex comparative analyses.  I’ve certainly been rewarded generously for my participation in market economics and the ability to incorporate and insure my endeavors for the best possible outcome and security into the future.  The same as those walking before me and beside me, we didn’t just fall off the sunflower-covered hippie VW bus.  Most of us either have experience and education in community planning and public events [a long forgotten professional pursuit, it seems], or specialized study and apprenticeship that prepared us.  Or we discovered a book listing resources or stumbled upon public gatherings of people excited about and anxious to share what they’ve learned – in this particular case, herbs, but the same can apply to music [especially folk and alternative], organic gardening and food politics, and a long list of environmental and human rights activist endeavors . . . those that embrace the idea that there is good reason to make certain knowledge accessible to all, that idea that this will serve and help evolve humanity -  that some information was not meant to be hoarded and privatized.   The idea that this won’t impede an ability to create our own individual design and artistry surrounding products and services that originate in early folklore and have now evolved to include sophisticated science – that we can be rewarded financially without restricting anyone else from marketing their own endeavor rooted in those same traditions.   That idea that claiming a name from the commons as our own to restrict its long shared use is repulsive and antithetical to the herbal tradition.  

I’ve interviewed people who have inspired, entertained and delighted  here on my blog in the past.  It’s time to renew the effort to spotlight those I believe best represent the shared values of a strong and enduring community.  Watch this space.

In the meantime, here are some links covering fire cider . . .

The petition:  https://www.change.org/petitions/united-states-patent-and-trademark-office-revoke-fire-cider-trademark

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/ci_25079375/rsquo-fire-cider-rsquo-brand-ignites-dispute
http://www.examiner.com/article/herbalists-fighting-copyright-of-fire-cider-free-recipes-labels-and-an-e-book
https://www.facebook.com/originalfirecider
http://www.sagemountain.com/rosemary-gladstar/winter-recipes.html
http://mountainroseblog.com/fire-cider/
http://commonwealthherbs.com/2014/01/trademarking-tradition-the-fire-cider-controversy/
http://www.punkdomestics.com/category/tags/fire-cider
http://www.healingspiritsherbfarm.com/recipe/fire-cider
http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-fire-cider-recipes-from-the-kitchn-199972
http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/12/06/immune-boosting-fire-cider-for-cold-flu-season/
http://thesproutingseed.com/fire-cider/
http://www.readingmytealeaves.com/2012/11/make-your-own-fire-cider.html
http://wildspiritherbs.blogspot.com/2014/01/fire-cider-make-it-yourself.html
http://sagescript.blogspot.com/2014/02/fire-cider-day-2014.html

Nov 092010
 

42-15620395Seasonal viral and bacterial influenza is infection of the sinus, lungs and airways, and presents with one or more of the following symptoms: fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a general feeling of weariness. It used to be that winter was the most likely time you would get the flu. The typical flu season runs from late November to March, however, there are possible outbreaks at other times during the year.

There are many sensible ways to keep seasonal viral and bacterial influenza at bay. Common sense and scents can help. Create awareness in school and the workplace and adopt and share one or more of the following suggestions that can put your mind more at ease:

Wash your hands often throughout the day with pure soap. Avoid touching your eyes, nosecolds flu washing hands 220x165 or mouth as germs enter your body more easily this way. Steer clear of synthetic chemical antibacterial liquid cleansers that strip your skin of its protective flora and actually create bacterial rashes. We carry several lovely choices of pure, natural soap, Black Soap from Africa, made from powdered Cocoa pods and the peel of the Plantain, using Coconut and Palm Kernel oils, is a wonderful choice. This soap will amaze you with its wonderful cleaning power and clean smell. We use it for everything!  It comes in a bar, or liquid, including a handy 2 oz. size for your purse or backpack.  You can easily make your own hand-wipes, spritzing cut-up paper towels with our Healthy Skin Hydrosol and conveniently carrying in a ziploc bag.

To avoid spreading disease, stay at home if you are sick, unless absolutely impossible. If you sneeze and cough at work or school, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or tissue. Do your best to keep those germs from going airborne and infecting others, prolonging illness in the workplace or school. Avoid crowds, and especially close contact with sick people. Generally keeping a distance of about six feet between yourself and others helps reduce your risk of exposure.

Using aromatics can introduce antibacterial, antiviral protection into your respiratory, sinus and throat regions. First Defense™ is a proprietary blend of the most powerful, yet gentle essential oils proven to address colds and influenza. This synergy is handy to have at hand when you feel the need to keep germs at bay. It is available in a convenient inhaler, especially good for travel, and for teachers, who are constantly exposed to the colds and flu of the younger population. It is also available as a diffuser synergy.

Proper ventilation significantly reduces the concentration of pathogenic bacteria and viruses76582_L_air_Fr_room_sp_140 in the air. Simply opening a window can help; unfortunately, this is not possible in many workplaces. If your workplace allows, use an environmental aromatic blend of essential oils like First Defense™, or Spring Breath™ in a personal diffuser on your desk to improve the air quality. You can also use them in a diffuser that works in the cigarette lighter socket in your car, or make a fine mist spritzer with the synergy suspended in water. You’ll find a wide range of aromatic diffusers here at Samara Botane, as well as the bottles and closures.  For routine prevention, you might also enjoy our L’air Frais™ Aromatic Room Spray, a bright, fresh environmental mist to clean and purify air.

Drink lots of water and eat sensibly. Foods that can boost your immune system include raw garlic (actually kills cold and flu virus), yogurt (immuno-stimulatory effects), green tea (powerful antiviral), fruits and vegetables (preferably fresh: full of vitamin C: apples are an excellent choice). If you get sick, avoid mucous-producing foods like milk, cheese . . . and, yes, ice cream! Pay attention to your nutritional needs and include vitamins and supplements as necessary. See your doctor and other health practitioners regularly, including your dentist.

Marcia’s Chicken Tortellini Soup for Flu Season

colds flu chicken tort soup 260x1953 large chicken breasts (brown in olive oil in skillet, remove and cut into cubes, set aside-chicken should be white all the way through)

Sauté to soften in skillet (adding more olive oil if needed):
1 1/2 c. celery, diced
1 1/2 c. carrots, diced
2 small or 1 medium onion diced
3-6 garlic cloves, minced (the more the better)

Add above ingredients to stockpot with:
8 c. chicken broth (add water as needed)
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
3 c. spinach leaves, chopped (or 3 c. broccoli)
1 15-oz. can sliced tomatoes (do not drain)
3-4 Tbsp. Braggs Amino Acids (optional)
2 tsp. Dried Tarragon, ground in mortar & pestle to release optimum flavor
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
cook at slow boil for 15 minutes
Add:
12 oz. fresh cheese tortellini pasta
cook for another 4-5 minutes or according to directions on pasta pkg.

Spoon into bowls, add:
freshly grated Parmesan for garnish, optional

This soup will keep well for several days refrigerated and can be reheated.

More tips for avoiding colds and flu:

no-smoking-symbol-140x139Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking is a high risk factor for influenza, and there is a higher mortality rate from influenza for smokers than non-smokers. Smoking causes structural changes in the respiratory tract and a decrease in immune response.

Dress properly. Thermo receptors (our body’s temperature sensory receptors) are concentrated on hands, feet, neck and head. Keep these parts of your body warm.

Modern life is stressful and many of us are worried, apprehensive and dealing with difficulties. This mental and physical state can lower your immune capability and create an environment for colds and flu to take hold. Pay conscious attention to reducing the stress in your life and pamper yourself – take time to relax. Luxurious aromatic baths and footbaths can soothe tired and sore muscles and calm frazzled nerves. Treat yourself to a therapeutic massage. Take long walks in the open air, away from the smog and traffic. Find time to relax with soothing music and/or a good book. Have a cup of tea with a friend. Talking to an empathetic ear can have a therapeutic effect.

We at Samara Botane hope you find these simple suggestions useful. We are here to serve through the aromatic life. You’ll find specific aromatherapy uses for each essential oil on the “uses” tab in the shopping cart on our website.

 Posted by at 6:23 pm
May 132009
 

There are no known cures for colds and flu, so being prepared by building your own immune system is your best approach if you cherry_2008_300 don’t want to depend on a flu vaccination.   Here’s twelve great tips from the American Lung Association, People’s Medical Society, Family Doctor and Medscape that will reduce your chance for any cold or flu infection.  Don’t forget to check out the many wellness products and ingredients on our website to help keep your family ahead of the game when it comes to warding off cold and flu viruses.

(1)  Wash your hands!  Flu and cold viruses are spread by direct contact.  Germs can live for hours – sometimes weeks – on telephones , keyboards, doorknobs.  You can make your own hand sanitizer by suspending antiviral essential oils in aloe vera gel and saturating paper towels.  Cut them into smaller sizes and carry in a ziploc for quick use on the go.

(2)   Make sure you sneeze into a Kleenex, or handkerchief because virus germs will cling to your bare hands.  Use a tissue and throw it immediately away.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the air, turning away from people. 

(3)   Colds and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose or mouth.  Don’t touch your face!  Touching their faces is the most likely way that children catch colds and pass it on to parents and siblings.

(4)   Drink plenty of water!  Water flushes your system, washing out poisons as it rehydrates.  Minimum daily requirement:  36 oz.  You can tell if you are getting enough water if your urine runs close to clear; if deep yellow, you need more fluid intake.  Don’t mistake coffee, tea or soft drinks for plain old water  . . . they don’t count.

(5)   Take a sauna.  A German research study found that people who steamed twice a week got half as many colds as those who don’t.  One theory is that the air you breathe  in a sauna is over 80 degrees, a temperature too hot for cold and flu viruses to survive.

(6)   Get fresh air, especially in the winter months.  Staying indoors puts you in an environment with more germs are circulating, especially in crowds.  Sleep with a window open.

(7)   Get regular aerobic exercise.  Speed up your heart and pump larger quantities of blood throughout your system.  This will transfer oxygen from your lungs to your blood and increase your body’s natural virus-killing cells.

(8)   Eat foods containing phytochemicals.  Natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged burst.   Eat copious amounts of dark, green, red and yellow vegetables and fruit.

(9)   Eat yogurt.  Some studies show that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds and flu by as much as 25 percent.  It is assumed that the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate production of  the immune system to help fight disease.

(10)   Don’t smoke.  Heavy smokers get more severe colds and more frequent ones.  Even being around second-hand smoke profoundly zaps your immune system, dries out nasal passages and paralyzes cilia, the delicate hairs that sweep viruses out of your nasal passages.  Experts contend that one cigarette can paralyze cilia for as long as 30 to 40 minutes.

(11)   Cut alcohol consumption.  Heavy alcohol use also suppresses the immune system. and dehydrates your body . . . it actually takes more fluids from your system than it puts in.  This makes you prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications.

(12)   Finally . . . Relax!  Teaching yourself to relax can activate your immune system on demand.  Evidence shows that interleukins (the leaders in an immune system response against cold and flu viruses) increase in the bloodstream during relaxing meditation.  Train yourself to relax in a positive state by visualization (holding a pleasant picture or image in your mind).   Soothing music can aid this process.  Remember that relaxation is a learnable skill to create a state of mind; it is not simply doing nothing.

These tips provide a proactive approach to warding off colds and flu and make your whole life healthier.   We’ll be back next week to continue our Earth Day Every Day series.

Tealight_Candle_Blue_200  Special continued for another week (through Sunday, May 16):  Take an extra 10% off all Samara Synergies.   Good time to stock up on First Defense  for the family’s flu artillery or Calma for aiding sleep.  Many others to choose from.  Orders over $35 will also receive a free decorative tea light holder (pictured at left).    Enter “Colds & Flu #1” (no quotes) in promotional code on checkout page.
http://www.wingedseed.com

 Posted by at 4:42 pm