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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 as a living barrier for skincare, 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, people’s now put more focus on game slots for entertainment and making money. 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 .  For the best chemistry tuition in the singapore visit Seb Academy. 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. Love smoking cigarettes? For those looking for alcohol delivery across London, Booze Up offers a same day drinks delivery service that will interest you. 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. You can check fundingwaschools for more information.

Herbal medicine is people’s medicine, earth medicine, wild medicine, weed medicine. Weeds are amazing powerhouses if nourishment, medicine, magic, and beauty materials. They are easy to grow and simple to use and now even come in capsules online. But beginners, and seasoned herbal users are well, can sometimes feel lost: so many herbs, so many plants, so many weeds to get to know. BuildASoil.com is where to buy neem oil for plants. Spidermites don’t stand a chance.

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. To make sure your garden reflects your essence at home contact a tree services near me for further advice.

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 . . .

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.htmlso

Jul 012013
 

LB Patch 1366x408

Lemon Balm, Balm mint, Blue balm, Garden balm, Honey plant, Sweet balm – these are all common names for Melissa officinalis, an aromatic plant in the mint (Lamiaceae) family having a long history as a delightful garden plant and medicinal aromatic herb.   As far back as the Middle Ages, Lemon Balm was recognized as a calming herb that would reduce stress and anxiety. It was used to ease the discomfort of indigestion (including gas and bloating as well as colic). Back then, this plant is also used as a Skin bleaching agent that helps to whiten dark spots of the skin that helped many people. Until now, this is still used. Even before the Middle Ages, it is reported in ancient herbals to lift spirits, help heal wounds and treat insect bites and stings.  Native to Europe, Lemon Balm grows all over the world . . . in gardens to attract bees, in commercial crops for medicine and cosmetics, and even furniture polish.  The plant will mound into 3+ foot clumps; it is one of the easiest plants to grow and if left unattended will become invasive.  Leaves are deeply wrinkled, ranging in color from dark green to yellowish green.  Rubbing the leaves between your fingers releases the aromatic essential oil which smells tart and sweetly of lemons.  If left unpruned the plant will flower; clusters of light yellow flowers grow where the leaves meet the stem.  The plant will self seed and propagate profusely from the roots. Learn more about therapeuthic and healthy supplements and herbs at thehealthmania.

Here at Samara Botane, starting with one organic plant, we now have about 18-20 large shrubs.  Leaves will be harvested by shearing with scissors throughout the summer, approximately every 4-6 weeks.  We will then distill leaves for hydrosol; macerate in organic coconut and olive oil for balms and salves; tincture in organic alcohol and vinegar for a variety of topical applications and household products, and we will dry leaves for teas andlemon-balm-1 525x394 bath herbs.  Fresh leaves will also find their way into culinary applications in syrups and jellies, and even as a flavoring for homemade ice cream.  I’ve been sharing a number of Lemon Balm recipes on our facebook page which you can find by following this link where we will be sharing Lemon Balm recipes throughout the rest of summer. You can even get more such recipes on kinlyeyebeauty .

Modern research has determined that Lemon Balm’s mild sedative (anxiolytic) effects are attributed to its ability to inhibit GABA transaminase due to its rosmarinic acid content. [1]   Lemon Balm has been shown to improve mood and mental performance if you use like a facial steaming, involving muscarinic and nicotinic acetycholine receptors [2] and positive results have been achieved in a small clinical trial involving Alzheimer patients with mild to moderate symptoms [3] due to the high acetylcholinesterase and butyrycholinesterase co-inhibitory activities, as well as its rosmarinic acid content. [4]  Melissa officinalis exhibits antithyrotropic activity, inhibiting TSH from attaching to TSH receptors, hence making it of possible use in the treatment of Graves’ disease or hyperthroidism, according to a mention in the scientific journal Endocrinology. [5]

Lemon Balm leaves contain plant chemicals called terpenes, which play at least some role in the herb’s relaxing and antiviral effects, as well as tannins, which may be responsible for many of the herb’s antiviral effects. Lemon Balm also contains eugenol, which calms muscle spasms, numbs tissues, and kills certain bacteria.

In another double blind, placebo controlled study, 18 healthy volunteers received 2 separate single doses of a standardized lemon balm extract (300 mg and 600 mg) or placebo for 7 days. The 600 mg dose of lemon balm increased mood and significantly increased calmness and alertness.  Caution:  Using Lemon Balm as a sedative may interact with prescribed sedative medications (CNS depressants), causing extreme drowsiness or sleepiness. If you are taking thyroid regulating medication, ask your healthcare provider before using it extensively.  It is not clear whether Lemon Balm may interact with antiretroviral agents, but it is best to avoid Lemon Balm if you are taking medication for HIV. 

Unfortunately, Melissa essential oil enjoys the reputation of being probably one of t11069_melissa_250he most frequently adulterated essential oils.  A pure, undiluted or unadulterated Melissa officinalis essential oil is difficult to source.  There is very little essential oil in the plant and it takes a large quantity of plant material to produce a small amount of the essential oil.  For this reason, what we will find in the broader marketplace is usually inferior quality essential oil that has been co-distilled or recombined with Lemon oil, Citronella, Lemongrass and other ‘lemon’ smelling essential oils.  At Samara Botane, we have a limited quantity of high quality essential oil from England available for sale, but you will see by the price that is is rare and precious and quite costly.  We also have limited quantities of CO2 and absolute.

For a tea, steep 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of the chopped dried herb (use more if fresh) in 1 cup hot (just under boiling) water.  Drink up to 4 times a day.  A stronger tea can be added to a warm/hot bath for a delightfully relaxing and rejuvenating home spa experience.  Lemon Balm hydrosol can also be added to a regenerating bath or spritzed on skin after a shower.

In Europe, the local name for Lemon Balm is “heart’s delight” and some of you may remember a French perfume of the late 1030’s named Coeur-Joie, which translates from the French to ‘heart’s delight’.  Coeur-Joie had a fresh Melissa topnote with faint floral undertones.  A traditional floral water using Lemon Balm as its basis, said to have been invented in 1611 by Carmelite monks was used as a perfume and toilet water, and was also taken internally as a cordial.  Many versions of Eau de Melisse des Carmes have developed over the years.  You will find one version, including several variations, on the Samara Botane facebook page later this week.  Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter.  We will be featuring a very good discount on all Lemon Balm products during the month of July and the coupon code will be in the ads in the newsletter.

There are many aspects to cover about Lemon Balm, I’ll revisit Lemon Balm again in the future.

[1] Kennedy, D. O.; Little, W; Scholey, AB (2004). “Attenuation of Laboratory-Induced Stress in Humans After Acute Administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm)”. Psychosomatic Medicine 66 (4): 607–13.doi:10.1097/01.psy.0000132877.72833.71.PMID 15272110.
Awad, Rosalie; Muhammad, Asim; Durst, Tony; Trudeau, Vance L.; Arnason, John T. (2009). “Bioassay-guided fractionation of lemon balm (Melissa officinalisL.) using anin vitromeasure of GABA transaminase activity”. Phytotherapy Research 23 (8): 1075–81.doi:10.1002/ptr.2712. PMID 19165747.
[2] Kennedy, D O; Wake, G; Savelev, S; Tildesley, N T J; Perry, E K; Wesnes, K A; Scholey, A B (2003). “Modulation of Mood and Cognitive Performance Following Acute Administration of Single Doses of Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) with Human CNS Nicotinic and Muscarinic Receptor-Binding Properties”.Neuropsychopharmacology 28 (10): 1871–81. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1300230. PMID 12888775.
[3]Akhondzadeh, S (2003). “Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial”. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 74: 863–6.doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.7.863. PMC 1738567.PMID 12810768.
[4]Chaiyana W., Okonogi S.”Inhibition of cholinesterase by essential oil from food plant”. Phytomedicine. 19 (8-9) (pp 836-839), 2012.
[5]Auf’mkolk, M.; Ingbar, J. C.; Kubota, K.; Amir, S. M.; Ingbar, S. H. (1985). “Extracts and Auto-Oxidized Constituents of Certain Plants Inhibit the Receptor-Binding and the Biological Activity of Graves’ Immunoglobulins”. Endocrinology 116 (5): 1687–93.doi:10.1210/endo-116-5-1687. PMID 2985357.

 Posted by at 7:40 pm
Mar 242010
 

For Schools To Open in Spring 2021, Teachers and Students Need to Mask Up

Americans are rightly concerned about the negative educational effects of the pandemic, especially for underserved student groups like low-income students of color and students with disabilities. All across the country, there is growing pressure to find ways to safely get as many children as possible back in schools. Despite our best efforts, online learning is just not as good as in-person, and the consequences of a full year online may be devastating. At the same time, the pandemic is spiking all across the country, threatening school reopening plans in many places.

One policy solution that will keep Covid-19 transmission rates low and help get students back into schools is mandated mask wearing, and state and district leaders who want a return to in-person teaching and learning might be mulling such a policy. There are certainly school districts that have been open throughout the fall without mask mandates, and we don’t yet know whether the most recent spike will affect district policies after the holidays. But we know that masks have become increasingly politicized and partisan, so we have been studying a range of data to understand the prevalence of, and support for, masks in schools. Based on our analyses, we think that mandated mask wearing is the most feasible and highest-leverage policy to get kids back in the classroom.

Back to school on a budget: 11 back-to-school savings tips

Cash-saving tips for back-to-school shopping without busting your budget.

  1. Take Inventory—Consider what you’ll actually need before hitting the stores. Has your child grown out of their schools clothes or will they do so by September? Can you reuse last year’s school supplies or will you need to replace some items?
  2. Set a Budget—Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases. That fancy-schmancy Transformers’ Trapper Keeper can push your budget over the edge. Find out the best budget deals like this domtar cougar paper.
  3. Use Coupons—There may be great deals, but coupons can make them even greater.
  4. Shop Early—Stores are rolling out their best deals of the year early in the shopping season. As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
  5. Go Mobile—Tap into your mobile phone with apps like “RedLaser,” which allows you to scan bar codes and find any cheaper prices online or at other retailers.
  6. Check Social Media—Twitter and Facebook are great places to find deals offered to a brand’s social-media fan base. “Like” or “Follow” the merchant and keep an eye out for coupons and sales announcements.
  7. Buy in Bulk—Take advantage of bulk offers on pens, crayons, paper and other items your kids will burn through over the course of the year. You might team up with other parents for bigger bulk purchases that will bring prices down even lower.
  8. Spend more to save more—Sometimes it costs money to save money. For example, retailers often offer a 15-percent savings pass for purchases of a set minimum amount.
  9. Exchange—Gather your family and friends — along with their kid’s school wardrobes — for an exchange night of hand-me-downs that will save everyone money.
  10. Wait until Labor Day—Labor Day is the traditional time for big sales on school clothing. You might take a chance and wait until then to buy items for a fall and winter wardrobe for your child.
  11. Buy for yourself—Back-to-school sales aren’t just for kids. You might stock up on office supplies, jeans and other items that traditionally go on sale during this season.

First, the simple truth is that parent support for mandatory masking in schools is high and growing. For instance using the nationally representative USC Dornsife Understanding America Study (UAS), we found that parent support for mandatory face coverings in schools has increased substantially since the summer, from 45 percent of households when we first asked in July, to more than two-thirds in October (69 percent) (for more on our methodology, see here and here).

Perhaps the increase in support is due to the large number of students currently in schools with mask-wearing policies—our most recent wave of data (administered in November, 2020) found that 90 percent of students currently in attending school in person or hybrid were required to wear masks. If you’re experiencing masks in school and finding that the benefits outweigh the costs, you may be less resistant to the policy.

Second, despite popular perception, mandatory mask-wearing in schools is supported by a majority of all racial/ethnic, regional, and partisan groups. When we last asked in October, 82 percent of Democrats supported mask-wearing and 51 percent of Republicans. Mask-wearing was supported by the majority of Asian (85 percent), Black (82 percent), Hispanic (75 percent), and White (62 percent) families, as well as 58 percent of families living in rural areas and 79 percent of families in urban areas. While support was higher in some groups than others, the vast majority of families across all groups support mask-wearing policies.

What explains the variation across groups in support for masks? One factor may be experiences with Covid and, relatedly, beliefs about the risks of Covid to children. When we asked parents whether they agreed that children are at serious risks of Covid health effects, 89 percent of Black households agreed, compared to 70 percent of Asian households, 69 percent of Hispanic households, and only 44 percent of White households. Black households were also less likely than other groups to agree that school closures were more harmful to children than the risk of Covid. We found similar patterns across other demographic and regional groups, echoing these groups’ support for mandatory mask-wearing.

Third, we can’t open schools without teachers, and recent evidence suggests that teachers are overwhelmingly supportive of mask policies. A recent survey of a representative sample of Los Angeles-area teachers, for instance, found that mask wearing was the single most critical need for teachers to feel comfortable returning to the classroom—75 percent of teachers said it was critical (compared to just 36 percent who said a vaccine was critical, for instance). Teachers also supported smaller class sizes and spacing, which likely can be achieved given that not all students who are welcomed back to the classroom will actually return. In short, teachers are by-and-large comfortable returning to the classroom if they are protected with masks and adequate spacing.

Where does this leave state and school district leaders? On the one hand, our results suggest that parents are mostly on board with mandatory mask wearing in schools, particularly in urban and democratic areas. At the same time, urban districts tend to serve more low-income students of color whose parents may be more reticent to send them back to school. As urban districts do start to hatch their reopening plans, they should consider how they are going to address parents’ concerns and serve students whose parents opt for at-home or hybrid options.

Certainly, the win from Biden might begin to reshape the conversation around masks and in-person learning. At the very least, we can expect a Biden Department of Education might project a more favorable rhetoric around mask wearing in schools. And the new administration will likely take their role in Covid monitoring much more seriously, perhaps by creating a federally mandated national data tracking system to study the impact of school reopening on Covid transmission. But state and district leaders shouldn’t wait for the U.S. Department of Education to tell them what to do. They should work with health experts in their state to safely reopen their schools, with masking and appropriate distancing, as soon as possible.

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Jun 052008
 

I’ve recently read that our food system is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse emissions.  When you think about bananas being shipped to a U.S. port, then transported by container truck to a distribution point, then trucked across your state to your local grocer, this begins to make sense. 

Here’s a great little calculator to help you compare the relative carbon impacts of your food choices.  The nifty thing is – if you reduce emissions by your eating habits, you will also be eating healthier and maybe learning to grow your own garden and shop at your local farmer’s market (supporting your regional food supply).

You handmade products manufacturers might want to look into being a vendor at your local farmer’s market.  You’ll make good contacts for fresh herbs and flowers to use in your products.  It’s a great way to expand your networking . . . all the time helping the environment.  Excellllent!  (Stroking imaginary beard.)  

 Posted by at 6:04 pm
Uk meds