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Category:Flower Medicine

Smell Your Life

I still remember an evening, many years ago, in the Mission district of San Francisco as I wandered for hours, drunkenly drawn along by the intoxicating scent of cherry blossoms. When I first traveled to India, it was the scents, as I stepped off of the airplane, that first signaled to me that I had arrived somewhere that would transform me.

Now that I am a mama, I could lie for hours, cuddling my little guy, taking in the smell of his hair (granted, he’s only 4 😉 ). The smell is uniquely him.

What are some of your favorite (or most memory-inducing) scents?

Smells have incredible power to inform you, transport you or uncover memories long stored away. Smelling requires an intimacy that we don’t often consider. In order for you to smell something, small molecules of it have to enter your body. Your sense of smell connects you to your most ancient animal origins.

In holistic medicine, scented oils, incense and flowers are all used as therapeutic components. While the effects of smell may seem subtle, the impact is profound and pervasive.

Connecting with your sense of smell:

      • For this contemplation, you will need something strongly (naturally) scented. Some ideas include incense, essential oil, fragrant tea or a fresh flower.
      • Sit comfortably with your chosen scent nearby. After a few moments of connecting with your deep breath, light the incense or cradle the flower, tea cup or a few drops of essential oil in your hands.
      • Inhale the scent deeply and allow it to permeate your mind.
      • Notice what thoughts or sensations arise in your awareness. Inhale deeply again as the impression of the scent on your experience starts to fade.
      • After a few minutes, close with a few deep breaths into your belly.

If you don’t own any essential oils, you might consider buying one of the ones in the list below to experiment with a bit. I love the oils from Floracopeia.

Stimulating and invigorating scents (clear dullness and lethargy)

– Camphor
– Eucalyptus
– Clove

Cooling and irritation-soothing scents (soothe anger, irritability and frustration).

– Sandalwood
– Rose
– Lavender

Calming and grounding scents (help ease anxiety and settle down for sleep)

– Orange
– Geranium
– Amber
– Vanilla

What are some of your favorite scents? Share in the comments below!


Summer Recipes: Squash Blossoms and Fava Beans

Some of my favorite summer ingredients are Squash Blossoms and Fava Beans!

Squash blossoms are mild in taste and so beautiful. You can grow them pretty easily, but sometimes you can find them at the farmer’s market at this time of year. They’re really easy to prepare.

Squash blossoms are relatively high in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, but you would have to eat lots to get much of those nutrients. The bright color and blossoming energy of them is very appropriate for early summer.

Cooking with Squash Blossoms:squashblossom

To prepare them, you should remove the base of the blossom and the stamen inside.

Then you can slice the blossom “chiffonade” style, in long narrow ribbons.

These ribbons could be thrown on a pizza or into a soup or sautee towards the end of cooking. They need very little time to cook and become tender. Read more »

Flower Medicine: Peony Power

Flowers are good medicine. Just having flowers around us can have such a positive effect on our mood. The ancient texts of Ayurveda recommend sweet floral scents in our environment to cool the heat of the summer sun and to soothe the intensity of pitta dosha. Since most of us live in urban areas, bringing flowers into the home can be an important way to stay connected to nature.

Think of buying flowers (or better yet, growing them) as part of your regular health routine!
The beauty of certain flowers has inspired artwork and poetry as long as humans have made art. One of the most exuberant blooms of spring, the peony, has a rich mythological history.

In greek mythology, the peony is named after Paeon who was a student of Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing. The story has a few different versions, but in one version Paeon was asked by Leto (Apollo’s mother and goddess of fertility) to gather a root growing on Mount Olympus that would ease the pain of childbirth. Apparently Asclepius became jealous and threatened to kill Paeon, but Zeus instead immortalized him as the flower we know today.

Today, many herbal traditions use the root of the peony flower as a medicine to support blood flow to the pelvis and uterus, to induce menstruation and to ease menstrual cramping. It is also used for its general nervous-system calming effects, for relieving the symptoms of gout, for reducing fever and for easing asthma.

Think of buying flowers (or better yet, growing them) as part of your regular health routine!