Archive for the ‘Five Element Shiatsu Program’ Category

Plant Medicine

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

The following information was submitted by Eileen Daugherty, a student in Karuna’s 500-Hour Five Element Shiatsu Program ,as a part of the Local Herbs and Plants as Medicine component of the training. In this elective to the shiatsu program, students study with local herbalist Chris Marano, RH of Clearpath Herbals. Students take herbal walks and forage indigenous herbs to learn to make medicine in the form of tea, tinctures, glycerin, oil, and liniments.

Dandelion Root Tincture

…………………….dandel08-l

Dandelion Root Tincture

For years, dandelion has been used as a blood builder, detox and liver cleanser, especially in the spring – after the dormant winter months.  All parts of this ‘weed’ can be used as medicine – the leaves, the flowers and the roots. 

Dandelion is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese pharmacy of herbs.  It also appears in the US National Formulary and in the formularies in Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and Germany. 

The health benefits of the Dandelion root include:

  • one of best known blood builders and purifiers
  • safely reduces blood cholesterol
  • Contains Vitamin A, C, D and B complex
  • Contains iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper and calcium
  • one of best liver cleansers
  • supports digestion of fats
  • speeds breakdown of various steroid hormones
  • helps flush out urinary tract between kidneys and bladder
  • helps build energy and endurance
  • good for use in hepatitis
  • increases activity of pancreas and spleen
  • strengthens female organs – excellent to prepare for pregnancy and estrogen balance
  • helps clean skin disorders.

What you need:

  • 2 year old, actively growing dandelion roots dug from a spray-free, pet-free  yard
  • spade to loosen soil from the roots
  • canning jar with a tight fitting lid
  • vodka, 80 proof

13321654_1207670509252436_7347249416408204855_n

Harvesting Dandelion Roots:

  • to dig roots, use a dandelion digger or a sturdy fork.
  • you want to break/damage the root as little as possible so you don’t lose much sap, which is where the medicinal properties lie.
  • Deep, rich soil will produce the thickest, easiest to harvest roots.

To Prepare the Tincture:

  • wash off the soil thoroughly
  • remove any crushed roots, leave root hairs
  • cut the roots into ½” sections
  • place roots in the canning jar, cover with vodka plus an inch or so, cap jar
  • steep contents for 3-4 months, in a dark cool place to full extract medicinal properties
  • when finished, strain off the tincture with a coffee filter, into dark bottles and label
  • discard the used root pieces.

Dosage:

  • ½ teaspoon 3-4 times a day
  • can be taken directly under the tongue and held in mouth for awhile and then swallowed.
  • can be placed in a small amount of water and swallowed
  • can be placed in a small amount of hot water, to evaporate off the alcohol.

Label and Date your final product.  Store in a dark place, out of direct sunlight.

  • use dandelion tincture with caution if you have gallbladder disease. 
  • Never use dandelion if you have an obstructed bile duct

Benefits of Dandelion Leaf

One of the main benefits of the dandelion leaf is the way it supports liver function.  Research has shown that dandelion leaf can promote healthy lipid profiles, reduced insulin resistance and suppressed fat accumulation in the livers of mice.  These benefits are likely due to the antioxidant content and the ability to calm systemic redness and irritation.

Some research suggests that dandelion leaf may protect the liver from acetaminophen toxicity.  Acetaminophen can produce oxidative stress which is especially hard on the liver.   Antioxidants like those within dandelion can be one of the best alternative therapies. 

Dandelion leaf can benefit the liver — and can also benefit other parts of the body:

  • Normal bile production supports efficient digestions which utilizes nutrients and purges toxins
  • Encourages fat metabolization, which helps achieve normal lipid levels
  • Helps to purify the blood.
  • Promotes normal blood sugar levels.

Dandelion leaf can be used as a green in salads, although it is bitter.  It is also offered in dried, loose leaf to be used as a tea. 

Plantain Salve

……….Plantago_major1

Plantain Salve

Plantain, is sometimes called the band-aid plant.  Plantain contains iridoids, which have a very soothing, anti-inflammatory affect on the skin.  It also contains aglycone and aucubigenin, which have antimicrobial properties and allantoin, which support skin healing. 

Plantain is helpful for:

  • bee/wasp stings
  • spider bites
  • mosquito and other bug bites
  • poison ivy / poison oak/ sumac
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • sunburn
  • diaper rash

Ingredients – makes about 1 cup

  • 1 cup fresh plantain leaves (from an area with no chemicals), chopped  – use only very dry leaves.
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp grated beeswax, tightly packed
  • ½ – 1 tsp tea tree essential oil, optional

Quick Version:

Harvest leaves on a dry, sunny day.  Pull off any distressed parts and brush off dirt.

Chop leaves or grind in a food processor.

Place leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil.  Oil should completely cover leaves.

Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your crockpot and place jars inside.  Add enough water to cover about half the jar.  Set crockpot to lowest setting for 12-24 hours.

If desired, give the oil a quick swirl with an immersion blender to release more of the plant into the oil. 

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve.  Let the oil sit for several hours.  If there is any water in the oil, it will collect in the bottom of the jar.  Removing water extends the shelf live of the salve.

Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler.  When it is melted, add the plantain oil – taking care not to pour in any of the water that may have collected in the bottom of the jar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed.

If adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

Pour salve into clean, dry container and allow to cool. 

Slow Version:

Harvest leaves on a dry, sunny day.  Pull off any distressed parts and brush off dirt.

Chop leaves or grind in a food processor.

Place leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil.  Oil should completely cover leaves with room for the leaves to expand a bit and go to the top of the jar.

Let jar sit for 4-6 weeks at room temperature.

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. 

If there is any water in the oil, it will collect in the bottom of the jar.  Removing water extends the shelf live of the salve.

Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler.  When it is melted, add the plantain oil – taking care not to pour in any of the water that may have collected in the bottom of the jar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed.

If adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

Pour salve into clean, dry container and allow to cool.

Label and date the salve.

This comprehensive information on dandelion and plantain medicine is one example of the wonderful resource  the 500-Hour Five Element Shiatsu Program is to the Karuna community. Another great resource are the Shiatsu clinics coming up this August, September and October. Practitioners in the Shiatsu Certification Program will be offering 45 minute full body treatment for $25! For more information and to reserve a session click here

.13305168_1201888579830629_63216811974318737_o