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Wellness is the full integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Wellness includes social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, financial, intellectual and physical wellness.
Spiritual Wellness is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. Spirituality is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives.
Do I make time for relaxation in my day?
Do I make time for meditation and/or prayer?
Do my values guide my decisions and actions?
Am I accepting of the views of others?
Physical Wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress.
Do I know health numbers, like cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels?
Do I get annual physical exams?
Do I avoid using tobacco products?
Do I get sufficient amount of sleep?
Do I have an established exercise routine?
Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring.
Am I able to maintain a balance of work, family, friends, and other obligations?
Do I have ways to reduce stress in my life?
Am I able to make decisions with a minimum of stress and worry?
Am I able to set priorities?
Social Wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world.
Do I plan time to be with my family and friends?
Do I enjoy the time I spend with others?
Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?
Do I explore diversity by interacting with people of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs?
Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us.
Do I recycle, reuse, or donate?
If I see a safety hazard, do I take the steps to fix the problem?
Do I volunteer time to worthy causes?
Am I aware of my surroundings at all times?
Creative Wellness is the ability to participate in arts and culture activities for the purpose of self-expression, stress-relief, and skill-building.
Do I take time to be creative?
Do I enjoy observing art or making art?
Am I aware of my own creative talents?
Do I appreciate the creative talents of others?
Occupational (Career) Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives.
Do I enjoy my life most days?
Do I have a manageable workload at home?
Do I feel that I have accomplished my goals?
Financial wellness is an intricate balance of the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of money.
Do I have extra cash in my pocket?
Do I balance my checkbook regularly?
Do I protect myself from fraudulent activity?
Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment.
Am I open to new ideas?
Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills?
Do I search for learning opportunities and stimulating mental activities?
Do I look for ways to use creativity?
The 10th and very important, but often forgotten or neglected, dimension of our wellness is our:
Sexual Wellness includes intimate physical contact and close personal relationships. No matter what we are told by churches or parents sex is an important part of human life. Whether or not we want to admit it we are animals and have the same drives and urges. Sexual health is an integral part of your overall wellness as you age. Countless scientific studies have shown the many benefits of a healthy and active love-life including; living longer, obtaining greater success in business and a greater overall well-being.
Am I able to interact with all genders in appropriate and respectful ways?
Do I feel comfortable discussing sexual issues?
Am I able to effectively communicate sexual limits?
Am I able to express physical feeling of attraction without focusing on the genitals?
Am I able to discuss desires and fantasies with partners?
Do I take steps to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
Do I take steps to protect myself from sexually transmitted diseases?
Am I able to develop friendships without sexual agendas?
Do I appreciate my own body? Am I comfortable in my skin?
Do I understand the physical and emotional consequences of sexual activity?
All the different teas such as black tea, green tea, pu’erh tea and white tea come from the same evergreen tree, Camellia sinensis. Each of these teas is processed differently to achieve the different types. Locations where they are grown and when they are harvested also play a role in their quality and taste. Tea is arguably the most popular beverage in the world. It has shaped entire cultures and even fueled wars. Harvesting, processing and even making tea has evolved for thousands of years and is considered a high art form.
When I was growing up, my stepmother would make gallons of heavily sweetened orange pekoe tea brewed in the coffee pot. It was always refreshing with ice on a hot summer day.
Beyond refreshing and stimulating, the health benefits of tea are astounding. Rich in antioxidants, including catechins, numerous studies have shown tea to decrease cancer risk, aid metabolic processes for weight loss, and support heart health as well as longevity.
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Herbal remedies to use instead of over-the-counter chemicals.
In one dramatic study done by the French, tea drinkers were shown to have 24% reduced mortality rate over non-tea drinkers. They surmised this is due to the health benefits of tea and that tea drinkers seem to have healthier overall lifestyles. Of course, tea is a stimulant and can be high in caffeine. Not to be confused with caffeine-free herbal teas.
What is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos comes from a plant grown in South Africa (Aspalathus linearis). This popular beverage makes a red tea that is sweet, aromatic and caffeine free. Rooibos tastes great on its own but it also is delicious with other herbs and spices. When brewed it makes a beautiful red beverage and because of this it is sometimes referred to as red tea.
Herbal Teas: What are they and why are they consumed?
Herbal teas are technically an infusion of plant chemicals in hot water. The chemical compounds extracted in hot water are highly diluted as compared to supplements, tinctures, or essential oils. This makes them safer to use with little to no risk of toxicity or poisoning. Although long term use of some plant materials can cause undesirable physical reactions.
The chemical compounds extracted from the plant material into the hot water work on the body much like supplements and vitamins because they are nutrients in their most basic form. The body uses the nutrients to work properly. Unlike supplements, teas are dissolved in water, so they already have a way past your intestinal wall and do not have to be broken down or converted by the liver to nourish the cells. Herbal teas are all natural, nutrient dense, water-based, health building power houses!
How to Brew Your Tea
Tools: You don’t need anything fancy; the most important tea tool is a non-aluminum pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add a stainless-steel strainer or reusable tea bad and a teacup and you are good to go.
Beware of cheap aluminum tea strainers. Aluminum reacts negatively with the compounds in both tea and herbal tea and can cause oxidation. Making your tea rancid within seconds.
Average Dose: The average dosage is usually 3 to 4 cups in a day. Bitter medicines need only be taken in small doses, usually 1/2 cup at a time.
Variations: Spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and allspice add heat and energy to the infusion. Almond and vanilla extracts, raw honey, fresh lemon, or a pinch of stevia add flavor and zest.
Standard Brew Ratio: Two cups water to one-ounce dried herb. This equals 2 tablespoons of dried leaves or flowers. To brew a single cup, use 1 teaspoon per cup of water. When infusing fresh herbs use 2 to 3 times the amount of dried. Depending on the herb you will generally use hot to boiling water. Pour hot water over herb in a closed container and leave to steep.
Brewing time: 5 to 20 minutes. Infusing herbal tea is unlike brewing “tea”, Camellia sinensis, which becomes bitter and undrinkable if left to infuse too long. Most herbal teas benefit from a longer steeping time, the better to extract the medicinal properties. Brewing the herbs in a closed container like an enamel teapot prevents and volatile compounds such as essential oils from escaping.
Making tea of barks, roots, seeds and stems is a slightly different process due to the density of the plant material. This is called making a decoction; the material is boiled for 5 to 30 minutes depending on desired strength. Simmering covered is best for retaining volatile compounds.
Strain: Or not. I often just let the herbs settle to the bottom and pour off the top, letting the herbs soak in the water. The second cup is often better than the first. With practice you will get a feeling for how strong you like your drink. You need not throw out the leftovers either and may want to reuse them as a “starter” for another fresh batch.
Storage: Refrigerate any unused portions in a clean glass jar with a lid. Herbal teas are often better the second day but should not be kept longer than 3 days as a general rule. Herbal teas do not contain any preservatives so mold formation happens quite rapidly.
Cold infusions: Sun and Moon Tea.
For sun tea put fresh or dried herbs in a glass jar filled with water and place in a hot, sunny windowsill for several hours. A Moon tea is made by placing the herb in an open crystal glass or bowl. Cover the herb with fresh water and place directly in the moon light, a full moon being the best time. Do not cover. Allow to infuse overnight and drink first thing in the morning. These infusions will be subtle, and work best with fresh, aromatic herbs like chamomile, and mints.
There are three basic types of Lavender available.
The first is Spike Lavender (Lavandula spicata). This wild character smells a bit like its name would lead you to believe…rough and spiky. It is full of camphoraceous notes and is not likely to soothe or relax you.
The second are the True Lavenders (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis). This type of Lavender can be further divided into what the French call Fine or Population lavenders, and the Clonal Lavenders.
A Clonal Lavender is a True Lavender that has been bred for certain characteristics (most usually a sweet bouquet) and which is propagated by taking cuttings from the parent plant, as opposed to by seed.
The Population Lavenders are the original Lavenders of Provence and because they are grown from seed, each plant will have a unique genetic make up and this can be seen in the variance in the appearance of the plants in the field. This variance also gives the essential oil a rich complex bouquet, and a correspondingly rich therapeutic potential. Population Lavenders require cool air to thrive, so they are only found at high elevations.
The third and final group are the Lavandins. Lavadins are types of Lavender produced by interbreeding the True Lavenders with the Spike Lavenders. There are many different strains of Lavadin, of which Abrialis, Super and Grosso are perhaps the most common. The reason that so much of the ‘lavender’ sold these days comes from strains of Lavandin plants is because these hybrid plants grow vigorously to a large size, they resist disease, and they have large flower spikes that yield a lot of oil – making the essential oil inexpensive.
Lavandula spica (spicata)
A beautiful dwarf form of English Lavender. Very Fragrant, intense blue flowers are held on short erect stems during spring summer. The flowers are held above a neat, compact, silver-grey mound of camphor scented foliage just 25cm across. Great cut flowers and dries beautifully. Lovely small specimen for pots or makes a very tidy border edging plant. Enjoys full sun in well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Tolerates dry periods. Frost hardy once established.
Spike Lavender is differentiated by its minty, herbal scent. This aroma is helpful for supporting the respiratory system as well as local circulation. Spike Lavender is also more stimulating and active on the skin than Lavender Angustifolia.
Spike lavender is wonderfully cooling when hot flashes hit. Not nearly as harsh as peppermint and yet cools the entire system when applied in diluted form onto the skin. Assists in balancing hormones associated with body temperature and regulation.
Blends well with: Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Black Spruce, Cedar Atlas, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Globulus, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Silver Fir, Frankincense, Hyssop Decumbens, Inula, Lavender, Oregano, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Peppermint, Wild Scotch Pine, Rosemary Cineol, Sage, Tea Tree, Thyme, Wintergreen.
Safety Information: Do not apply directly on young children. Do not ingest.
Maximum Adult Dilution: 19%; 114 drops per ounce of carrier
Recommended Dilution: 1-5%; 6 – 30 drops per ounce of carrier
Known as broadleaved lavender, spike lavender or Portuguese lavender, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to the western Mediterranean region, from central Portugal to northern Italy (Liguria) through Spain and southern France. Hybridization can occur in the wild with English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). The scent of Lavandula latifolia is stronger, with more camphor, and more pungent than Lavandula angustifolia scent. For this reason the two varieties are grown in separate fields.
Aromatically, Spike Lavender Oil tends to blend well with the same families of essential oils that traditional Lavender Oil does including other floral, mint and coniferous oils. Rosemary Essential Oil, depending on the chemotype, also tends to have a large percentage of camphor. If you particularly like the aroma of Rosemary Oil, you should find the aroma of Spike Lavender Essential Oil appealing.
Spike Lavender Essential Oil possesses usage applications similar to that of traditional Lavender Oil. However, it’s greater percentage of the constituent camphor gives it stronger analgesic and expectorant properties. It is a better choice to ease headaches or use as an expectorant in the diffuser. Diluted for topical use, it can be used to help ease aches, pains or the discomfort associated with arthritis. It is also reported to be effective in repelling insects.
Due to its camphor content of up to 25%, Spike Lavender Essential Oil should be used with care. Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young do not specify any contraindications for Spike Lavender Essential Oil, but state that it may be mildly neurotoxic. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 329.]
Properties : Nervous system regulation, calming, sedative, anti-depressive, powerful antispasmodic, muscle relaxer, hypotensive, general and pulmonary antiseptic, heart tonic and tonic, cardiac nerves contrastimulant, skin repair, skin regeneration (external use), anti-inflammatory, analgesic
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