Not everybody knows this but I sometimes struggle with anxiety attacks. They're not your typical attack as they go straight to my tummy instead. But the fear of having one can itself become such a problem that it has stopped me from going in to London, socialising or going to new places.
Last week I was down on my allotment checking on the seedlings, when to my surprise, I saw some kind soul had left some heads of Lilac on our table. They smelt divine. I love these little gifts I sometimes get on the allotment. I don't know where they come from. Once I was given a branch of rosemary as long as my arm!
Sometimes I wish I had an illness. Because then I could say to people "sorry I can't do that I have x". I want to be able to have a reason other than "work" to be able to cancel social engagements or reduce my responsibilities. People have no respect if you say "sorry I can't come tonight I really need to take the night to myself to chill" but if I say "sorry I can't make tonight I have too much work on" then that's seen as a legitimate reason which won't be argued with. No one will hold me in a bad light if I have too much work on. But if I take time to chill that's me being selfish and antisocial.
I never was one for marching in the streets, strapping myself to poles or collecting signatures. But for most of my teen years I was obsessed with the injustices in the world and climate change seemed to be the biggest injustice going. The way we live as humans and the resources we require for life have become a burden too heavy for the earth to bare. But it wasn't always like this. We used to live symbiotically with the planet, and some tribal communities still do.
I recently had an enquiry from Rebecca Desnos, a plant dye crafter. It went like this:
I'd love to know more about some of the plants that I use for fabric dyeing. What traditional medicinal properties do they have and what do you like to do with them? These are some of my favourites dye plants, along with the colours that I get from them. I'd love to know what therapeutic value these plants have.
Most will think that balancing blood sugar is just something diabetics do. Few realise that it's crucial for regulating female hormones as well.
When our blood sugar dramatically rises and drops throughout the day we release insulin to try and compensate. But if we do this for a long time gradually we build up a tolerance to the insulin and this throws other hormones like oestrogen out of whack. This happens in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). A woman with PCOS may experience male pattern hair growth (hirsutism), irregular periods and infertility. They often struggle to maintain a healthy weight too.
Most of us know about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. But a lot less of us know how important it is to have healthy vagina flora too. When it gets out of balance it can lead to some serious stuff like; a weakness to some sexual transmitted infections, HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease, urinary tract infections.
Adventure needs to be thrust upon us from time to time. Otherwise it is all too easy to become anxious and depressed at the monotony of life. We can become fearful of anything outside of that. Going from point a to b in a straight line is all I do. To do anything else felt illogical and a waste of my precious energy. That is until one day.
It's shrove Tuesday on the 28th. One of my favourite celebrations of the year I must say. I remember when my Mum would continuously supply us with fresh-off-the-pan pancakes till we were filled to the brim. But that stuffed, sickening feeling was probably because of all the highly processed white flour!
A big part of my PMS course is learning how to keep track of your hormone cycle so you always know where you're at. When I learnt how to do this (using the fertility awareness method) years ago I used good old fashioned pen and paper. There are specially designed charts which you can print off for free from the internet. It's designed so that as you collect your signs and symptoms you can see quite clearly when you ovulated retrospectively and most women get signs of their period before its due so it's easy to predict.
I'll be honest, Valentines day makes me cringe. The sentiment of expressing your love for someone on a singular day of the year is pretty depressing. But, there is a wonderful wave of love themed articles, art work and photographs in the blogosphere this time of year which are right up my street. I love how the internet gives us the ability to redefine an event like valentines day, one blog at a time! In the past I have focused on Roses for valentines day but I read in an old herbal the other day that Rose was not always the herb associated with this day. It was once Violet.
Over the last few weeks I'd been reading a lot about Elecampane. I wasn't researching it it just kept coming up. I grow two plants in my garden so I thought I'd better harvest some and get better acquainted with it. It's a gorgeous plant which grows as tall as me with a large yellow flower in the summer time.
I don't know about you but I started my "health kick" the day after boxing day. I'm lucky in many ways because I don't have any food sensitivities so I can eat most things without any trouble. But the constant barrage of sugar, carbohydrates and meat over Christmas is too much even for me.
January is detox season, and with good reason. It's totally natural to want to clear your kidneys and liver with bitter digestive herbs in response to the heavy feeling all those Christmas meals leave you with. But really, this is still winter! It's far too cold for heavy duty detoxes like living off lemon and water for days or even most juice cleanses. The cold weather requires us to detox in quite a different way.
This month is a hectic month to say the least. I feel like I'm being over-loaded with social engagements and the desire and social pressure to be out and about is difficult to keep up with. Especially when all I want to do is stay inside with a movie, and hot chocolate by the fire.