The Priestess's Stillroom
UPDATED 30 June 2001
In the Stillroom herbal concoctions are compounded. It is cool and dark in here, and quite fragrant. Do watch your step, though, there's are always projects in process.
Bundles of leaves and flowers tied with brightly colored string hang from the wooden rafters. On one wall is a tall shelf unit. On several shelves are large sealed glass jars, some with flower heads - such as roses, lavender, jasmine, orange blossom - others with green leaves, still others with spices - curls of bark and brown seeds of various sizes. Small jars contain chunks of resins - frankincense, myrrh, copal, benzoin, and others.
Another shelf holds many small brown and blue bottles of liquids: essential oils; tinctures and extracts for medicinal purposes, with droppers attached to their caps; flower-waters for scenting and flavoring. There are squat jars of thick pale-green salves - of olive oil, honey, and beeswax mixed with herbal extracts; dark bottles of syrups for coughs and sore throats; gelatin capsules stuffed with pale green or dark yellow powders; even jars of golden yellow and deep pastel clumps of propolis - pollen bees have collected and processed. Another shelf holds large jars of liquid with various herbs submerged in them. There are herbal vinegars - some for eating, some for healing, some for hair rinse. Earthenware crocks give forth the scent of potpourri. There's even a shelf with magical incenses and anointing oils.
On the counter-top is a small scale, stacks of filter paper, folded piles of muslin and cheesecloth, mortars and pestles - large ones of marble, small ones of porcelain. Hanging nearby are numerous calibrated spoons and scoops, funnels, metal mesh sieves. There are bottles of colorless liquids identified with labels - pure grain alcohol, witch hazel, distilled water.
On another wall, is a tall book shelf. There are books on herbal medicine, aromatherapy, homeopathy, flower essences, Chinese & Ayurvedic medicine, nutrition. There are cookbooks, too, since cooking uses herbs and spices. There are also many notebooks. Some have bits of dried herbs sticking out and the edges of drawings and paintings of plants. Others contain recipes for herbal preparations. Some have the look of grimoires - collections of magical spells.
The practice of Herbal Medicine is not legal in the United States of America. This precludes official training, licensing, and oversight such as there has been in Europe. I was pleased to see herbal medicine being practiced when i lived in France in the early '70's, although i have heard that in the 1980's officially licensed herbal practitioners are dying out there. (Anyone from Europe, please
and tell me what is true) Still, this does not prevent the publication of books and sale of oils, tinctures, etc. in the U.S. - but workers in health food stores are not supposed to tell you what to take for what condition (that would be" practicing medicine without a license") - they will refer the customer to a book and it is up to the customer to decide. Yet, there are many practitioners of Chinese & Ayurvedic medicine, aromatherapy, and so on here. As usual, it is a complex and contradictory situation. So what is here is merely meant to inform and amuse.
Personally, i see the standard (allopathic) doctor for certain problems, for example, bronchitis, strep throat, broken bones, bi-annual PAP smears. I will often augment a treatment with herbal and/or nutritional therapy. And for other conditions, i use natural treatments - sleeplessness, anxiety, mild depression, fatigue, minor burns, rashes, etc. In California where i live, many health insurance plans will cover treatment by licensed acupuncturist or chiropractor (although perhaps one has to have one's M.D. "prescribe" the treatment - every health plan is different). Still, this does not prevent the publication of books and sale of oils, tinctures, etc. in the U.S. - but workers in health food stores are not supposed to tell you what to take for what condition (that would be" practicing medicine without a license") - they will refer the customer to a book and it is up to the customer to decide. Yet, there are many practitioners of Chinese & Ayurvedic medicine, aromatherapy, and so on here. As usual, it is a complex and contradictory situation. So what is here is merely meant to inform and amuse.
None of the below constitutes a recommendation or promotion of any goods or services. What is presented here is meant only to inform, not to prescribe.
PROFESSIONAL NATUROPATHIC ORGANIZATIONS
Practitioners want to look professional, so there are now several organizations in the U.S. to certify members.
American Naturopathic Medical Association
Council on Naturopathic Registration and Acreditation
National Association of Certified Natural Health Professionals
Let me say that while i tend to be a skeptic, i don't automatically dismiss anything i haven't tested or gathered information on. Rather, i will read literature by a number of authors. If it appears they are all referring back to the same books or teachers, i'll remain skeptical. If it looks like it is worth checking in more depth, i will try out the therapy on myself. If it seems efficacious (or at least it didn't interfer with healing), i will then use it again. This has lead me to utilize certain herbs and oils on a recurring basis.
OVER-VIEW OF VARIOUS NATURAL HEALING METHODS
Holistic Healing Web Page for descriptions and links on a wide variety of naturopathic
NEW Consumer Health and Medical Information: Alternative Healthcare and Complementary Medicine
Hitchhiker's Guide to Natural Medicine - even older than my page...
HealthCity Alternative Health Care
Australian College of Herbal Studies
Canadian Internet Directory for Holistic Health-WellNet
Homeopathy goes back to the 1700's. The theory (crudely put) is that if a lot of something makes one ill, a teeny amount (thousandths or millionths) will stimulate the body to overcome it. I've been skeptical about this one. I've tried out a few formulas (PMS and anti-anxiety) on my teen-age daughter, who is also a skeptic, and they do help. Numerous companies manufacture compounds - mostly in Europe, but available around the world.
North American Society of Homeopaths
NEW! Homeopathy Home
I have found Aromatherapy quite helpful for some mental/ psychological/ emotional issues. There have been a few scientific studies supporting the effects of some oils, although in general the scientific community tends to be rather skeptical of anything that isn't produced by a drug manufacturer. In Japan, this information is used to improve workers' state of mind, keeping them more alert, and, of course, more productive. I have given my daughter cotton balls soaked in oils (mint and lemon) in separate resealable plastic bags to take with her when she is taking tests. She felt it helped keep her alert and her mind clear (and she's as skeptical as i am). As with so many natural healing methods, much information is anecdotal. But it is known that humans are quite affected by scents, even though we are not always conscious of these effects. And if it doesn't have miraculous healing properties, well, at least it smells wonderful, and that can surely delight one's spirit.
Ancient Healing Art - Scentsible Aromatherapy good basic info.
Fragrant World: Guide to Aromatherapy good basic info.
NEW! AGORA: Aromatherapy Global On-line Research Archives
NEW! The Aromatic Plant Project
Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy and Herbal Bodyworks
UPDATED! Jean-Michel's Aromatherapy Internet Resources
Bassett Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy Information and Resources
Phybiosis sells oils.
Leydet Aromatics sells oils.
AromaVera sells oils.
Flower Essences are used primarily to treat emotional/ psychological problems. I have tried them a few times and i am not yet convinced they work. Still, I am still fascinated by the idea and will continue to test them. The Bach Flower Essences are the best known. Dr. Bach, an Englishman, made his discoveries in the 1930's. His essences are quite popular in the U.S. and Europe. New essences utilize indigenous plants from Australia and the U.S. - from Alaska with glacial essences, from the Southwest US desert with cactus essences, from California with West Coast flowers and trees. There also gem and crystal essences, even star essences.
UPDATED! The Garden Pharmacy: Bach Flower Essences, describes what each is for
Whole Energy Essences, their own kind of "Vibrational Essences".
Flower Vision Research, sells FIFTEEN different lines of essences
Flower Essence Services, makes their own line, "Quintessentials", based on North American flowers and plants (the Bach line is based on English plants).
Star Essences, make over seven lines of essences, including Gemstone Chakra Essences and Andean Orchid Essences.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system, claiming to go back to about 3,000 BCE. It is a holistic system. One's basic type is determined, then through use of proper spices and food supplements one is brought into and maintained in balance. It is relatively new to the US.
Ayurvedic Rasayanas: Ayurvdic Herbs
UPDATED! American Institute of Vedic Studies, physically based in New Mexico USA.
Here are a few news.groups i've found. Since they are used primarily by Joan and Joe Netizen, they cannot constitute any "official" recommendations, but satisfied users and practitioners can at least point you in the direction of more information.
OTHER HERBAL RESOURCES
Some of these links are informative, others are vendors.
UPDATED! Arnica Natural Medicines & Homeopathy, sells aromatherapeutic, homeopathic, and herbal products; and some natural health care articles.
UPDATED! PlanetHerbs: the home of Dr. Michael Tierra's East West School of Herbology
Evenstar Herbal Services
People for Extending Earth's Life, Inc.
Herbs and Remedies
Green King herbal extracts
Nature's Answer herbal extracts
The Herbal Extracts i use, from the Health Food Store, are Herba Pharm and Gaia.
Go to the Temple Directory for links to other rooms in this temple.
Comments? Questions? Answers? Send me E-Mail!