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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Aloe Vera

What is Aloe?
Latin Names: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe capensis
Other Names: Aloe vera, Cape aloe

Aloe is a plant originally from Africa. The long, green leaves contain aloe gel and a sticky yellow residue called latex.

Sources of Aloe
The gel is the part of the aloe plant used most commonly, both topically and orally. Aloe latex (also known as drug aloe) contains anthraquinone gycosides, constituents that have strong laxative effects, so it is rarely found in commercial laxative products.

Why People Use Aloe
Topical Uses

* Burn healing
* Wound healing
* Sunburn
* Radiation-induced skin reactions
* Genital herpes
* Psoriasis

Oral Uses

* Ulcers
* Diabetes
* Crohn’s disease
* Ulcerative Colitis
* Immune Support
* Constipation

What is the Evidence for Aloe?

* Burns
One of the most popular uses of aloe vera gel is for healing burns and sunburns.
*
*
So far, well-designed studies shown that aloe is effective for this.

* Radiation-induced skin reactions
There is also no evidence from clinical trials that aloe is effective in preventing or minimizing radiation-induced skin reactions in cancer patients. For example, in a randomized controlled trial, 58 head and neck cancer patients received either oral aloe vera gel or placebo while undergoing radiation therapy. At the end of the study, oral aloe vera wasn’t found to be significantly more effective than placebo in improving tolerance to radiation, mucositis, soreness, and well-being.

Another study looked at whether topical aloe vera gel could help reduce skin redness, pain, itching, and other side effects of radiation compared with a non-aloe cream in 225 patients with breast cancer. Aloe vera did not significantly reduce radiation-induced skin side effects. The non-aloe cream on the other hand, helped to reduce pain and dry skin peeling.

* Ulcerative colitis
A randomized controlled trial looked at the effectiveness and safety of aloe vera gel for the treatment of mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis. Forty-four people were given either oral aloe vera gel or placebo (100 mL twice a day for 4 weeks in a 2:1 ratio). At the end of the 4 weeks, oral aloe vera produced clinical and histological improvement more often than placebo.

* Psoriasis
Aloe vera gel has also been used for psoriasis, however studies haven’t shown it’s effective for this skin condition. For example, in a randomized, controlled trial, 41 patients with stable plaque psoriasis took applied aloe vera gel or placebo. The researchers found that aloe vera gel was not better than placebo.

Safety Concerns
Aloe gel
There haven’t been problems reported with the use of aloe gel, other than occasional allergic reactions. More research on the safety of aloe needs to be done.

Aloe gel should not be used for severe burns or wounds. People should seek medical attention.

The safety of aloe in children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with liver and kidney disease has not been established.

Aloe latex
People with intestinal disorders should not use aloe latex.

Overdose of aloe latex can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, red urine, severe diarrhea, kidney dysfunction, and possibly death.

Aloe latex is not recommended for use internally for longer than 10 days, because it can cause laxative dependency. Long-term use of aloe latex may cause potassium deficiency and result in irregular heartbeat and weakness.

Potential Drug Interactions
Aloe latex should not be taken internally if you are taking the following drugs: digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics, steroids, drugs for irregular heartbeat, and drugs that cause potassium loss.

Aloe taken orally may cause blood sugar levels to become too low, especially if combined with blood sugar medications.

Aloe appeared to interact with the general anesthetic sevoflurane in one report.

A preliminary study involving 18 people found that aloe vera increased the absorption of vitamins C and E.

Sources
_____________________________

Vinson JA, Al Kharrat H, Andreoli L. Effect of Aloe vera preparations on the human bioavailability of vitamins C and E. Phytomedicine.(2005) 10:760-5.

Vermeulen H, Ubbink D, Goossens A, de Vos R, Legemate D. Dressings and topical agents for surgical wounds healing by secondary intention.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2004)2:CD003554.

Richardson J, Smith JE, McIntyre M, Thomas R, Pilkington K.Aloe vera for preventing radiation-induced skin reactions: a systematic literature review. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). (2005) 17(6):478-84.

Paulsen E, Korsholm L, Brandrup F.A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a commercial Aloe vera gel in the treatment of slight to moderate psoriasis vulgaris. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. (2005)19(3):326-31.
Su CK, Mehta V, Ravikumar L, Shah R, Pinto H, Halpern J, Koong A, Goffinet D, Le QT. Phase II double-blind randomized study comparing oral aloe vera versus placebo to prevent radiation-related mucositis in patients with head-and-neck neoplasms.Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. (2004)60(1):171-7.

Langmead L, Feakins RM, Goldthorpe S, Holt H, Tsironi E, De Silva A, Jewell DP, Rampton DS.Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis.Aliment Pharmacol Ther. (2004)19(7):739-47.

Yeh GY, Eisenberg DM, Kaptchuk TJ, Phillips RS.Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes. Diabetes Care. (2003) 26(4):1277-94.

Heggie S, Bryant GP, Tripcony L, Keller J, Rose P, Glendenning M, Heath J.A Phase III study on the efficacy of topical aloe vera gel on irradiated breast tissue.Cancer Nurs.
(2002)25(6):442-51.

Circe

Suggested Mantra: Choice

Alone but not lonely, Circe is the epitome of autonomous woman. Harness
Her energy to empower your own destiny, but beware of the temptation to
use the energy to harm others.

Suggested Affirmations:
*I can make choices
*I am my own best friend
*It is my right to choose my path
*My awesome power is released
*I am full of energy and passion
*Look out world, here I come!
*I am free to choose my own destiny
*My power is unleashed for the greatest good of all

Related Essences: Vanilla, almond, oriental lily & bergamot.

Related Gemstones: Carnelian, coral, agate, brown jaspar ( orange stones
) & aquamarine.

Circe or ( Kirke, pronounced Kir-kee ) is the daughter of Helios ( The
Sun ) and Perseis ( the daughter of Okeanos ).

Goddess of the Moon and the night, Circe began life as a “mage for hire”
in order to fund Her expensive pursuit of magick. She was immortalised
in literature ( Homer’s Odyssey ) as a femme fatale, enticing Odysseus
to Her island whereupon She transformed his sailors to the animal
closest to their true nature – pigs.
Because of Circe’s mannerism of encircling her “victims” before
enchanting them, She was named after the death-bird “kirkos” ( a
circling of falcons ). However, she was neither good nor evil. Circe was
simply ruthless in her endeavours to further Her own goals.

For modern women, this means Circe challenges you to take responsibility
for your own actions and life. Stop floating along with the mindset that
“life just happens” and draw on Circe’s energy to use your own power to
create your own destiny.

Living alone on Her island, the archetype of Circe is that of autonomous
woman, self-empowered and whole unto Herself. She does not need a man to
complete Her, although Her story tells of jealous tantrums where She
unleashed Her magick to metamorphose men and women who had crossed Her.

Alone but not lonely, Circe’s bouts of jealousy represents love in its
irrational passion and remarkable power. This energy can be harnessed to
enable your own transformation too. Let Circe’s energy carry you
forward, up and out of the life that is making you feel powerless.
Do something for yourself that will confirm your power over your own
destiny – make decisions that feel right to you rather than by social
conditioning.

Deep Relaxation

But, first, a hush of peace– a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast– unuttered harmony,
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.
~ Emily Bronte

Here is an exercise you can use to calm yourself or to help someone else
to calm him or herself. This will be particularly useful in response to
anxiety or illness. It should be read slowly and with patience and
compassion. Give the person you are reading to plenty of time to respond
to each instruction before you go on to the next sentence.
First, find a comfortable position. Lying down or sitting back in a
reclining chair would be good. Adjust your clothing so that nothing
binds you or causes uncomfortable pressure on your body. Close your eyes
and just settle in and feel the position of your body as you begin to
relax. Notice where it touches the surface you are lying on. Notice the
weight of your body as it presses into this comfortable surface you are
resting on. Adjust your position if necessary to allow your body the
freedom to give in to gravity. Let the earth support you. You don’t need
to struggle to hold your position, gravity will embrace you and the
earth will support you. Feel the beginning of deep relaxation as you
settle in comfortably. Your body is easing into a state of deep
relaxation and peace.
Notice any reluctance you may feel to letting go. Notice any hesitation
you may have about allowing relaxation. Say to yourself, “I let go of my
fears. I relax completely.”
Take three or four nice deep breaths. Allow the breath to expand your
lungs and your belly, and then let go of it. Be free to make a sighing
sound as you exhale. Breathe. Breathe in peace. Let go of fear. Let your
breath settle in to a nice comfortable pattern of inhaling and exhaling
with total freedom. Your breath is free to move in its own pattern. The
air is always there for you. Your body always knows when to inhale and
exhale. As you relax, you will find that the pattern slows on its own
and your breathing is peaceful and calm.
As you continue to breathe peacefully and calmly, imagine that a softly
glowing white light surrounds your body. This is a light of peace. It is
a light of health and healing. This wonderful light surrounds you and
protects you. The light is of all that is good. It brings with it deeper
relaxation. It protects you from any worries or negativity that may be
affecting you. Let the light glow in your heart. Let it fill you with
healing energy. Let it bring a deeper sense of peace and relaxation.
Now take your time and scan your body for muscle tension. One area at a
time, you will turn your attention to your body and release any muscle
tension you may find. Beginning with your right foot, you will work your
way up your body releasing tension and accepting peace.
Direct your focus to your right foot. Put your whole attention there.
Feel the sensations of your foot and toes, and allow any tension you
notice there to float away. You may feel sensations like tingling, or
pulsing, or warmth. Enjoy these sensations as a sign of the healing life
of your body. Release any tension you feel in your right foot. Let it
relax. Just relax.
Now direct your attention to your right calf. Feel the sensations in
your right calf and let the muscles relax. Allow peace and relaxation to
wash over your right calf and foot.
Now, moving up your right leg, pay attention to the sensations in your
right thigh. Your thigh is home to some large and long muscles. Feel
them there as you focus on your right thigh. Feel the sensations. Invite
relaxation to your right thigh. As your thigh relaxes, your whole right
leg becomes ever more relaxed.
Now attend to your left foot and toes. Feel the sensations in your left
foot. Notice any tension there and let it go. Both feet now are very
relaxed.
Draw your attention to your left calf. Feel the sensations in your left
calf, and let the muscles relax. Allow peace and relaxation to wash over
your left calf and foot.
Move your focus to your left thigh. Notice the feelings in your left
thigh. Feel the muscles relaxing. Feel all the subtle sensations there.
As your thigh relaxes, your whole left leg becomes more relaxed.
Both of your legs are quite peacefully relaxed. Both of your legs are
taking a break and resting calmly and peacefully.
Now let this calm sense of repose move from your legs into your hips and
buttocks. Let the entire lower part of your body feel very relaxed.
Release any tension you may be holding in your hips and buttocks. Let
the light of peace and healing glow in your lower body.
Now, moving to your hands and arms, put your attention in your right
hand. Let your hand relax completely. It is at rest now with nothing it
has to do. Feel the sensations in your right hand. Feel the healing
energy flowing there. Let your right hand be filled with comforting
light. Your hand is very relaxed.
Moving now to your right forearm, bring the same sense of relaxation to
your forearm. Your attention is in your forearm and you release all the
muscles there. You right hand and forearm are very relaxed.
Notice your right upper arm. Feel its sensations and allow your growing
relaxation to move there as well. As your right bicep relaxes, your
whole right arm is as relaxed as can be. It is as relaxed as your legs
and your whole lower body.
Attend now to your left hand. Let your left hand relax completely. Like
the right, it is at rest now with nothing it has to do. Feel the
sensations in your left hand– the healing energy flowing there. Your
left hand is filled with comforting light. Your hand is very relaxed.
Your left forearm, by now is also feeling very relaxed. Feel those
muscles in your left forearm growing more relaxed. You release all the
muscle tension and just enjoy the sensations of peace and healing.
Bring that relaxation up to your left upper arm now. Notice the nice
sensations of life in your left bicep and allow the relaxation you feel
in your lower arm to flow gently upwards to fill your whole left arm,
just as it has filled your right arm and your legs and hips.
Now that both of your arms are comfortably relaxed, move your focus to
your shoulders. Let the relaxation spread from both arms to your
shoulders and neck. Take another deep breath and release it with a sigh,
allowing the breath to cancel any tension you have built up in your
shoulders. Let all those shoulder muscles go. Let them soften. Breathe
relaxation into your shoulders and neck. Breathe peace into your
shoulders and neck. Imagine that those muscles of your shoulders and
neck are growing softer and more supple with every breath.
Now, moving up the back of your neck let the relaxation flow to your
scalp and the whole upper part of your head. Release any tension in your
scalp and your temples. You feel the sensation there as signs of the
healing that goes on in your body all the time. As your cranial area
relaxes, your mind is at peace, and the peace of mind grows deeper and
deeper.
You are feeling quite comfortable by now, and you let the feelings of
relaxation and comfort move into your face and all the rest of your
head. Relax your eyes. Relax your jaw. Relax all the muscles of your
face and head. Allow your mind to settle into a deep sense of
well-being.
Now let your peaceful feelings of relaxation flow down from your head
and neck to the front of your torso. Place your consciousness in the
area of your lower abdomen and feel the energy there. See the beautiful
light that surrounds your body glowing in your abdomen. Allow calm and
peace to descend on your abdominal area. Feel the warmth of your belly.
Allow the goodness of the light to move up your spine filling each of
your organs with healing energy. The light brings peace and balance.
In your mind’s eye see the glowing light filling your whole torso and
glowing especially bright in your heart and lungs. With each calming
breath the light grows more comforting. The light cleanses your lungs of
all impurities. Your breathing is easy and peaceful. Each breath carries
the relaxation through your whole body. Your breath and the light become
one, and together they fill your heart with all that is good.
Now in this very relaxed state take your time to enjoy the peace you may
feel. Follow your breath and the light embodied in your breath as it
reaches each part of your body. Scan again for any remaining tension and
let it go. Feel your peace. Allow your mind to be still.
When you feel that you are ready, take another deep breath, open your
eyes, clench your fists and stretch as you return to outer awareness
with a new sense of clarity and peace.

© 2001 Tom Barrett
http://www.InterludeRetreat.com

Uncrossing Oil

1 drop Cedarwood
2 drops Clove
3 drops Vetivert
Optional: Roll in one or more of the following: Copal, Nettle, Angelica, Cinquefoil or Vervain.

Hawaiian Banana Bread

This could also be called Queensland Banana Bread as macadamia nuts are a native of Queensland Australia and before people say i’m wrong Captian Cook took the nuts/seeds of the macadamia tree to the Hawaiian Islands..
Bananas represent fertility (there’s a surprise!), potency, and prosperity – and they’re a good source of potassium too! Legend has it that bananas should never be cut, only broken.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
3 ripe bananas, peeled
2 cups flour
1/2 cup macadamia nuts (or pecans or walnuts)

Mix flour, soda, salt. Set aside. Mash bananas with fork, add butter, mix until fairly smooth. Add egg, mix well, then add sugar, and mix well again. Fold banana mixture into flour mixture. Fold in nuts. Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture into pan. Bake 300 degrees until top springs back, about 40 minutes.

Dry Skin Lotion

1/8 tsp Borax
1/4 c. Distilled water
1/2 c. Fractionated Coconut Oil
1 Tbs grated beeswax
1 tsp scent (You may want to add this slowly and adjust to suit you)
1/8 tsp lecithin
1/2 c. Aloe Vera Gel

Combine water and borax. Bring borax and water almost to boiling. In a separate pan mix oil and beeswax and heat until wax is melted. Slowly add borax/water to oil/beeswax, stirring briskly, a small wire whisk works perfectly or you can use a hand blender. Add essential oils during the whisking process. Let cool to room temp.
Once lotion is at room temp add the 1/2 cup Aloe Vera gel and whisk to incorporate fully into the lotion. Bottle.

Creating Your Own Candle

Creating Your Own Candle

An Easy Way To Make Your Own Candles
Materials:
Paraffin wax, or scraps of left over candles.
Crayons (for color), or candle dye.
A strand of candle wick (you can get 6′ or more for under $3.00 at your craft store. This will last a long time.)
Small coffee can, or small metal container.
Small pot.
Heat-proof containers, (such as shot glasses, film canisters that 35mm film comes in, prescription medication bottles, or empty jello pudding cups.)
Cooking spray. (to coat inside of mold)
Toothpicks
Funnel. (Optional, but makes it easier)
Wooden spoon. (To stir the wax with)
Wax paper or foil. (To catch wax drippings)
Wick tabs (wick tabs are the small metal tabs that are used in candle making.)
Herbs, stones, and oils. (optional)
Place wax inside coffe can.
Place coffee can inside pot.
Fill pot with water until you reach half way up the outside of the can.
Heat the pot of water until the wax melts. DO NOT TURN HEAT UP TO FAR, WAX CAN CATCH ON FIRE! (at this time, add crayon or wax coloring until you’ve reached your desired color.)
After wax and color is completely melted, turn off the heat. Remember to stir your wax every so often.
Spray cooking spray inside your containers.
Cut off a length of wick and attach it at the bottom of your container with a wick tab.
Wrap the top of the wick around a toothpick and support it on top of the container.
Now is the time to add your herbs, stones, or oils if you desire.
Be sure to place wax paper or foil under your work area before pouring you candles. Wax is not fun to scrape off of surfaces. (I speak from experience here. *grin*)
Pour the wax into the containers using your funnel.
After you have poured as many candles as you want, let them sit for 4-6 hours before attempting to remove them from the containers. (If you are having trouble getting the candles out of the containers, I discovered they will release easier by putting them into the freezer for approx. Half an hour.
After removing the candles from the containers, wipe away the oily substance and let them sit for at least another 3-4 hours to dry.
If you have left over wax in your coffee can, allow it to cool, then put a lid on it and store it away until next time.

———————————————————————————

Making Taper candles

Just follow the directions above, and instead of pouring the wax into molds, do this:
Start with a long piece of wick – twice the size of your desired candle length plus 3 inches (you will be making 2 candles at once). Bend the wick in the middle and hold it by the bend. Dip the wick into the wax and then lift back out. Getting started is the hardest because the wick will float on top of the wax until it has enough wax on it to weigh it down. Allow it to get completely cold between dippings when you first start.
After your candle has started to take shape you can speed up the process a little. I keep a pan of cool water nearby and dip the candles in the water after each dipping in the wax. While this speeds up the process a little, candle making is a slow process but very well worth the time and energy you put into it.

Aradia’s Heart

In the Misty dream we sat on a hill near the Ancient temple
of a forgotten Goddess. Outward across a sacred lake,
Hearing the Voices of the past. Then Day turned to night,
And a Great Voice came from the Darken sky. Filling us With
Hope, and compelling us to put right all that is Wrong. Visions
Of the future, friends and families of the past Holding hands
around, chanting slowly, “All Are One”. Calling on the Ancient Ones.
Voices of the past coming through telling all Witches, everywhere,
to magnify love. For when Shared, It Grows!
“So May It BE.”

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