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Monthly Archives: November 2010


Botanical: Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi
Family: N.O. Ericaceae
—Synonyms—Arbutus Uva-Ursi. Uva-Ursi.
—Part Used—Leaves.
—Habitat—The Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi, Sprengel), a small shrub, with decumbent, much branched, irregular stems and evergreen leaves, is distributed over the greater part of the Northern Hemisphere, being found in the northern latitudes and high mountains of Europe, Asia and America. In the British Isles, it is common in Scotland, on heaths and barren places in hilly districts, especially in the Highlands, and extends south as far as Yorkshire; it grows also on the hills of the north-west of Ireland. In America it is distributed throughout Canada and the United States as far south as New Jersey and Wisconsin.
It is very nearly related to the Arbutus, and was formerly assigned to the same genus – in Green’s Universal Herbal, 1832, it will be found under the name Arbutus Uva- Ursi – but it differs from Arbutus in having a smooth berry with five one-seeded stones, whereas the Arbutus has a rough fruit, each cell of the ovary being four to five seeded.

The only other British species assigned to the genus, Arctostaphylos, the Black Bearberry (A. alpina), with black berries, found on barren mountains in northern Scotland, and not at all in England, is the badge of the clan of Ross.

The generic name, derived from the Greek, and the Latin specific name, UvaUrsi, mean the same: the Bear’s grape, and may have been given to the plant, either from the notion that bears eat the fruit with relish, or from its very rough, unpleasant flavour, which might have been considered only fit for bears.

—Description—The much-branched trailing stems are short and woody, covered with a pale brown bark, scaling off in patches, and form thick masses, 1 to 2 feet long. The long shoots rise obliquely upward from the stems for a few inches and are covered with soft hairs
The evergreen leaves are of a leathery texture, from 1/2 inch to an inch long, like a spatula in form, being rounded at the apex and tapering gradually towards the base to a very short stalk or petiole. The margin is entire and slightly rolled back and the young leaves fringed with short hairs. The upper surface of the leaf is dark, shining green, the veins deeply impressed, the lower side is of a paler green, with the veins prominent and forming a coarse network. The leaves have no distinctive odour, but they have a very astringent and somewhat bitter taste.

The pretty waxy-looking flowers are in small, closely-crowded, drooping clusters, three to fifteen flowers together, at the ends of the branches of the preceding year, appearing in early summer, May – June, before the young leaves. The corolla, about two-thirds inch across, is urn-shaped, reddish white or white with a red lip, transparent at the base, contracted at the mouth, which is divided into four to five short reflexed, blunt teeth, which are hairy within. There are ten stamens, with chocolate-brown, awned anthers. The berry, which ripens in autumn, is about the size of a small currant, very bright red, smooth and glossy, with a tough skin enclosing an insipid mealy pulp, with five one-seeded stones.

—Parts Used Medicinally—The dried leaves are the only part of the plant used in medicine. The British Pharmacopceia directs that the leaves should be obtained only from indigenous plants. They should be collected in September and October, only green leaves being selected and dried by exposure to gentle heat.

Leaves must be gathered only in fine weather, in the morning, after the dew has dried, any stained and insect-eaten leaves being rejected. Drying may be done in warm, sunny weather out-of-doors, but in half-shade, as leaves dried in the shade retain their colour better than those dried in direct sun. They may be placed on wire sieves, or frames covered with wire or garden netting, at a height of 3 or 4 feet from the ground to ensure a current of air, and must be taken indoors to a dry room, or shed, before there is any risk of damp from dew or showers. The leaves should be spread in a single layer, preferably not touching, and may be turned during drying.

Failing sun, which in the case of leaves collected like the Bearberry in September and October cannot be relied on, any ordinary shed, fitted with racks and shelves can be used, provided it is ventilated near the roof and has a warm current of air, caused by a coke or anthracite stove. Empty glasshouses can readily be adapted into dryingsheds, especially if heated by pipes and the glass is shaded; ventilation is essential, and there must be no open tank in the house to cause steaming. For drying indoors, a warm sunny attic or loft may be employed, the window being left open by day, so that there is a current of air and the moist, hot air may escape: the door may also be left open. The leaves can be placed on coarse butter-cloth stented, i.e. if hooks are placed beneath the window and on the opposite wall, the buttercloth can be attached by rings sewn on each side of it, and hooked on so that it is stretched taut. The drying temperature should be from 70 to 100 degrees F.

All dried leaves should be packed away at once in wooden or tin boxes, in a dry place as otherwise they re-absorb moisture from the air.

Dried Bearberry leaves are usually quite smooth, and entirely free from the hairs that are present on the margins of the growing leaves and on the foot-stalks, which drop off during the drying process.

The commercial drug frequently consists of the entire plants, and therefore contains a large quantity of stems, but the latter should not be present, according to the official definition of the United States Pharmacopoeia, in greater amount than 5 per cent.

The leaves of other plants have been mistaken for Bearberry leaves, notably those of the Cowberry (Vaccinium Vitis-idaea) and of the Box (Buxus sempervirens), and have occasionally been used to adulterate the drug, but Bearberry leaves are readily distinguished by the characteristics given, viz. the spatulate outline, entire margin and rounded apex. Those of the Box have a notch cut out at the apex (emarginate) and have the epidermis loose and separable on the under surface of the leaf, and are, moreover, quite devoid of astringency. The leaves of the Cowberry may be distinguished by the glandular brown dots scattered over their under surface and the minute teeth on their margins. They have only a very slight astringent taste.

—Constituents—The chief constituent of Bearberry leaves is a crystallizable glucoside named Arbutin. Other constituents are methyl-arbutin, ericolin (an ill-defined glucoside), ursone (a crystalline substance of resinous character), gallic acid, ellagic acid, a yellow colouring principle resembling quercetin, and probably also myricetin. Tannin is present to the extent of 6 to 7 per cent. On incineration, the leaves yield about 3 per cent. of ash.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—In consequence of the powerful astringency of theleaves, Uva-Ursi has a place not only in all the old herbals, but also in the modern Pharmacopoeias. There are records that it was used in the thirteenth century by the Welsh ‘Physicians of Myddfai.’ It was described by Clusius in 1601, and recommended for medicinal use in 1763 by Gerhard of Berlin and others. It had a place in the London Pharmacopoeia for the first time in 1788, though was probably in use long before. It is official in nearly all Pharmacopceias, some of which use the name Arbutus.

The usual form of administration is in the form of an infusion, which has a soothing as well as an astringent effect and marked diuretic action. Of great value in diseases of the bladder and kidneys, strengthening and imparting tone to the urinary passages. The diuretic action is due to the glucoside Arbutin, which is largely absorbed unchanged and is excreted by the kidneys. During its excretion, Arbutin exercises an antiseptic effect on the urinary mucous membrane: Bearberry leaves are, therefore, used in inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract, urethritis, cystisis, etc.

Besides the simple infusion (1 OZ. of the leaves to 1 pint of boiling water), the combination of 1/2 oz. each of Uva-Ursi, Poplar Bark and Marshmallow root, infused in 1 pint of water for 20 minutes is used with advantage.

The tannin in the leaves is so abundant that they have been used for tanning leather in Sweden and Russia.

An ash-coloured dye is said to be obtained from the plant in Scandinavian countries.

The berries are only of use as food for grouse. Cattle, however, avoid the plant.

—Allied Species—Manzanita, the leaves of A. glauca from California, are employed like Uva-Ursi.

The leaves of A. polifolia from Mexico and A. tomentosa (madrona) are also used in medicine.


Themes: Freedom, new beginnings, justice, morality, organization,
promises & universal law
Symbols: Ostrich feather ( or any feather )

About Maat: In Egypt, Maat is the ultimate representation of fairness,
justice, and truth. As the spirit of orderliness and legislation, she
assists us by overseeing any legal matters, hearings, promises, and
oaths to ensure harmony and honesty. In some Egyptian stories, a
person’s soul was weighed against Maat’s feather to gain entrance to

To Do Today: On June 19th in 1865, the slaves in Texas were finally told
about the Emancipation Proclamation signed three years
previously. While freedom was slow in coming, it finally arrived,
likely in part thanks to Maat’s encouragement.

For all of Maat’s spells it’s best to have a feather to use as a
component and focal point. Change the colour of your feather to suit
the goal. Pick blue for true seeing ( or to encourage honesty with
yourself ), white for pure promises, black and white for legal equity,
and pale yellow to inspire a new beginning filled with Maat’s keen
insight. Bless the feather, using the following incantation ( fill in
the blank with your goal ), then release it to the wind so the magick
begins to move!

Maat, on this feather light,
bring to me renewed insight.
To my life _____ impart;
make a home within my heart.

from 365 Goddess – A Daily Guide of the Magick and Inspiration of the
by Patricia Telesco

Goddess Meditation

There I was, shining and dancing,
There I was, the queen, shining,
There I was, the queen, dancing,
when my lover came to me.
My lover came to me and
knit our hands together.
My lover came to me and
put his neck against my neck.
His fields are ripe with herbs.
His loins are ripe with seed.
His fields are ripe with grain.
His ripeness brings me joy.
~ Babylonian Songs of Inanna

Every woman is endowed with the urge toward union with a loving other.
Yet the energy so simply expressed in nature is more complex for
modern people. What if only the most beautiful apple blossom drew the
attention of the bee? The world would quickly suffer a shortage of
apples. Yet that is the message that we are given today: that only the
most beautiful deserve the pleasures and delights of love.

Finding confidence to love herself is a tremendous challenge for a woman
today. Around her, products shriek their demands that she buy them,
claiming that without them she does not merit love. Yet lovers came
together to celebrate the Goddess’ greatest gift long before aerosol

Relaxation Through Meditation

My preference would be to call meditation relaxation – conscious relaxation, chosen relaxation. These are words that are more universally understood, more comfortable. Constantly working toward the goal of discovering my own ability to reach a state of serenity, I have learned to meditate.

Meditating is actually easier than you might imagine. Most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation. Maybe during an exercise class or to manage pain at the dentist or anxiety before a test. We start by paying attention to our breathing. The practical effort to focus completely on our breathing takes our minds away from the “mind clutter” that constantly tries to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to a time of calm. With repeated effort the goal of clearing your mind – to think of nothing, does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy. The result is, and I guarantee this, peace, serenity, calmness, eventually opening yourself to new insights.

Meditating for Life

Too much stress, stress reduction, chill out, let it go, detach – familiar phrases to all of us. Our world is fast, fun and exciting. It is also challenging, trying, demanding and frightening. These two sides of our lives produce stress, emotional reactions, anxiety, worry and anticipation. Our bodies and minds can tolerate only so much of any of these. After a while, each of us reaches a saturation point and the results become uncomfortable at best; for some it may be unbearable, even unendurable.

No magic pill is available to eliminate these feelings. The reality is, as the wise old man said, the answer is inside all of us. To manage these universal concerns we must go inside ourselves. Among the steps we can take is the learning and practicing of meditation.

What to Expect

With time and faith in the commitment to practice frequently, (daily meditating is ideal), during your meditation time you may “leave the moment.” A feeling of separation exists where the mind is clear, clean and blank. You will still hear sounds around you, but they will not interfere with your meditation.

Sometimes you may weep — you may not even be aware of what is making you weep. It is your own emotions having a voice of their own. Sometimes you may feel a smile across your face — that is contentment showing itself. Sometimes you may fall asleep and awaken truly refreshed.

There is no right or wrong behavior during your meditation. It is your time for you. Everyone deserves this kind of personal attention. This is a self-care activity; loving oneself! Teach it to your children instead of a time-out in their room or corner. Teach it to your friends, family, anyone who will listen. We can share this gift and get back as we give. We are all better because of each person who meditates. The peace and joy felt by those who meditate enters the world for all of us as positive energy. From it the world is a better place.. Imagine if we all practiced meditation!


To honor your Personal Deity
Dry peel of one Orange 1 Teas. Nutmeg 1 Teas. vanilla extract
1 Teas. almond extract Petals of one carnation Petals of one rose

Garlic Flavored Mashed Potatoes

18 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup olive oil
8 russet potatoes
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated 2 tbsp.
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Put the garlic and olive oil in a heavy saucepan over lowest
possible heat and simmer until soft; 30 to 40 minutes. Drain
off oil Puree garlic; set aside. Meanwhile, prick potatoes
with a fork and bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour, or until
soft. While still hot, peel and mash. Melt butter in heavy
cream; whisk in pureed garlic. Stir into potatoes. Stir in
cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a casserole
dish. Place in a 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until
browned and bubbling.
YIELD: 12 Servings
Categories: Side Dishes

Funky Dog Soap with Neem and Rosemary


  • 7 oz   water
  • 3.3 oz  full fat buttermilk
  • 4.2 oz  lye
  • 5 oz  coconut oil
  • 8 oz   palm oil
  • 8 oz  olive oil
  • 8 oz  soybean oil
  • 2 oz  neem oil
  • 1 oz   emu
  • 2 Tbsp  neem powder
  • 2 Tbsp  powdered rosemary
  • .5 oz  rosemary essential oil


Makes 2 pounds. My dogs inspired this, and not because they can dance. It removes ‘eau de doggy’ and is great for doggy dermatitis. I imagine it would be a decent flea repellent as well. Fine for humans too. Combine water and lye, cool a bit, then add buttermilk. Set aside 1 oz of neem and emu oils. Melt solid oils in microwave, add to crock pot along with liquid oils. Add lye water/milk and proceed as usual. Just before pour, combine neem and rosemary powders, neem and emu oils and rosemary oil, then add to soap. Mix and pour.

Snow Moon Crafts – November

Source:  Moon Magic

By:  DJ Conway


Pomander Balls


Start with an orange, lime, or lemon that is firm and frre from blemishes.  Warm the fruit to room temperature before beginning.  Using a darning needle to pierce the skin of the fruit, insert whole cloves in rows that touch each other. When completely covered, put the fruit in a dry place for at least a month to dry out.


Blend together equal amounts of orris root powder, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and rosemary. Roll the fruit in this mixture until coated; then leave it in the powder for another two weeks.


Enclose the clove-decorated fruit in a square of netting and tie at the top with a ribbon loop for hanging.


Protective Blessing For Dogs

“Diana, goddess of the wild,
Keeper of dogs both fierce and mild,
Hold (name of pet) safely in your arms,
And protect this creature from all harm.
And should the day come that he / she roams,
Guide him / her to the path back home.
Bless (name of pet) with joyful life,
Free of hardship, stress, and strife”
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