I had a request this month to write about simple home remedies so I asked the team of naturopaths at Mullum Herbals for their favourites and added them to mine for this list:
Herbs – can be used as teas or in foods fresh from your garden or dried from us, or other organic herb suppliers. Can also be used as liquid tinctures, glycetracts (which are sweeter so can be easier for the kids to take), capsules or tablets.
Peppermint – aids digestion, can lift energy levels, soothes tummy after rich foods
Chamomile – reduces stress, can help sleep, and soothe colic and digestion
Fennel Seed – aids digestion, reduces spasms and gas, reduces congestion and phlegm
Licorice (herb not the lolly!) – balances blood sugars, lifts tiredness and supports adrenals
Comfrey – the root heals bones and tissues, powerful tonic for lungs and respiratory system - the leaves are anti-inflammatory and astringent, highly nutritious (try in soup)
Rosemary – helps memory and mind, soothes headaches, also great for skin and hair
Lavender – Reduces stress, calms and soothes, aids sleep, soothes burns and bites
Lemon Balm – reduces stress and anxiety, soothes the nervous system, calms the heart
Tumeric – never use raw as its too hard on the liver, add to cooking or simmer and then add to other things when cool. Reduces inflammation, is a great anti-oxidant and general healer
Nettle – a good digestible source of iron, calcium, copper and vitamin A. Heals burns and stings, and also benefits the skin, liver, and hair. (Easy to grow but watch the sting!)
Cinnamon – aids circulation, promotes digestion, strengthens, warms the kidneys
Slippery Elm – healing and soothing for the whole gastro-intestinal tract. Mix with a yummy tasting liquid like apple juice. Great for stomach pain, gas, constipation, nausea
Triphala (Three ayurvedic fruits so not in your garden but is so amazing I had to include it) - heals all sorts of digestive problems and helps in absorbing. Best taken before meals and/or supplements, helps the liver so great after a big night out, high in vitamin C, great anti-oxidant, helps us absorb iron and B vitamins from our food
Oregano – reduces worms and parasites, helps dizziness, tonic for hair, scalp and cramps
Gotu Kola – aids memory, tissue rejuvenator, heals joints, reduces arthritis
Cumin seeds – aids digestion, reduces flatulence
For more info or questions contact Jacinta.
Ive started writing small articles in our local Northern Rivers magazine. This is an informative and connecting community mag and I love being able to share some health tips here.
Check out this link for my latest article on health and wellbeing in this Spring season.
Ayurvedic Medicine advises us all to regularly cleanse our body and mind of toxins. This is a primary way of gaining and maintaining good health. In Ayurveda we understand the inseperable link between body, mind and spirit and traditionally this age old system of health was used to restore balance even before disease manifested physically. Therefore it is advisable to cleanse at least once a year for preventative health care, and more often if treating imbalances which have already caused or manifested as diseases.
The best time to cleanse is at the change of seasons as at this time we shed toxins more easily.
A key element in Ayurvedic Medicine is the concept of Ama.
Ama are the toxins which accumulate when we lose contact with nature's rhythms. They may arise from eating unsuitable foods, like over processed or chemical laden foods as well as consumption of alcohol, tobacco, excessive meat, coffee or white sugar. Toxins can also enter the body via the skin when we expose ourselves to to the chemicals in some skin care products, cleaning products, and hair dyes. Additionally these days ama comes from over use of screens like computers and from excessive mobile phone use.
For many of us we are exposed to toxins on a daily basis - thus the importance of cleansing.
Toxins can also result from not digesting our food properly. If our digestive fire (or agni) is not functioning well, we are not able to absorb the nutrients and minerals so end up becoming depleted and under- nourished. The power of digestion is one of the most important determinants of good health and longevity.
Cleansing removes the ama which is undermining good digestive function, and vastly improves it.
The toxic effects of negative life experiences, stress, trauma, negative thoughts and addictions are also a form of ama. When the body-mind is chronically bathed in the biochemistry of anger, hate, envy, resentment, fear etc we experience the cellular dysfunction which accompanies such mental or emotional ama.
My teaching companion Leanne and I regularly offer Ayurvedic Cleanses.
The next one is to be held at the Byron Yoga centre in November 6th to 8th 2015.
Over the weekend we guide you to begin your cleanse, and then if you wish to continue for a few more days at home you are empowered to do so...
Mother Maya coming to Australia
I am part of the team hosting Mother Maya here ….. I read her (Maya Tiwari) book “A Path of Practise” many years ago and it deeply inspired me - so Im excited to have this amazing Ayurvedic woman teacher coming here… Will post dates and more details soon
I Love Ayurveda
I came away from sharing Ayurveda, in the recent ‘Ayurvedic Head Massage Workshop,’ with an even deeper appreciation of how relevant and simple, and yet profound, this science really is. It was inspiring to hear feedback from the participants, and seeing the energetic change in people, after just one day of being immersed in Ayurveda, touched my heart.
Somehow it feels like the further I delve into Ayurveda, and the more places in my life where I use the principles with myself and my patients, the more I see its simplicity and practical common sense nature, despite its vast complexity. It’s as if, however we are introduced to the principles of Ayurveda; whether it be a workshop like this one, an Ayurvedic training for yoga teachers or a simple consultation, there are easy ways to bring the benefits into our lives with practical steps. These, often quickly, begin to re-balance our mind and bodies, bringing more harmony. It’s also empowering in that it doesn’t matter whether you have a lot of money or not, you can still bring more balance, and relieve symptoms you may have, by introducing lifestyle changes alone.
I love how, from the simple things like which spices to use in our food to the more complex things like which direction to massage a marma point, Ayurveda is like a journey. Wherever we are right now we start on the journey, and as we see and enjoy the benefits, we become further inspired to continue.
Shirobhyanga Ayurvedic Head Massage Workshop
Saturday 28th June 2008
9.30am to 4.30pm
Learn and receive the powerful healing technique of traditional Ayurvedic Head Massage in a beautiful setting near Mullumbimby NSW
Ayurveda recognizes the unique blend of the elements within each of us and thus helps us in bringing more balance. In this workshop you will be shown the basics of Ayurveda and how to incorporate them into your life.
The head has many marma’s, or vital energy centres, and is a map or energetic reflection of the entire body. Thus Ayurvedic Head Massage (or Shirobhyanga) promotes rejuvenation to the whole being. It helps relieve insomnia, headaches and stress related disorders while boosting the immune system. This massage blissfully relaxes and balances mind body and spirit.
$175 (including lunch). For concessions – talk to me!
* Ayurvedic lunch provided
* Detailed Handouts provided
Bookings : Ring me on 02 66843165
You can download a pdf of the poster below. Feel free to print it out and give it to anyone who may be interested.
Head Massage Poster
I also ran this workshop and an Introduction to Ayurveda in Adelaide on Monday 19th May at the Australasian Massage Therapists annual conference.
Wise Woman’s Way
A healing path based on Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Alchemical Nature Wisdom
with Jacinta McEwen
02 66843002 / 66849422
1. Basics of Ayurveda and how to use this understanding in your life
2 Identifying your Constitution and Current State and bringing balance
3 Daily Regimes
4 Ayurvedic Head Massage
5 Ayurvedic Hand and Foot Massage
6 Self Oiling
7 Ayurvedic Yoga – theory and individualised practise
8 Simple Ayurvedic Cooking
9 Herbs – the basics
10. Herbs – the next step
11. Essential oils for health and healing
12. Natural First Aid for you and your family
13. Meditation – theory and practise
14 Deep Relaxation
15 Chakra Balancing – theory and practise (for self)
16 Science of Breath – theory and practise
17 Traditional Chakra Balancing – Chakra Sparsh
18 Health and healing for the whole family
19 Health and healing for over 40’s
20 Menopause – the graceful way
21 Fertility and Conception Naturally
22 Natural pregnancy and birth support through Ayurveda
23 Lymphatic Drainage
24 Foot Reflexology
26 Basic massage and Marma’s
27 Massage – the next step
28 Ayurvedic massage
Or if you have a particular area of interest please ask and Jacinta may be able to design a workshop just for you and your friends….
I have been enjoying teaching more lately…… If you want me to come and teach in your area then gather some friends together, decide which workshops you are interested in and then contact me and we can plan a programme just for you….
I am delighted to be offering some women’s work again.
The Rose Tent is a saturday afternoon event for women only and will be held on 21st June near Mullumbimby,.
The focus of the Rose Tent is to connect with, nourish and celebrate the unique blessing of our feminine nature. We may do a range of things depending on the feeling of the moment and the group of women that gather. We focus more on being in the body than on talking although there will often be an opportunity to share if something needs to be spoken. We may use dance, sound, breath work and gentle touch. Often we will have a short meditation or guided visualisation, maybe some chanting and some paired and group work. You are never required to do something that does not feel right to you.
The four of us that are offering the tent have journeyed together in our own women’s circle for 8 years. We cherish the nourishment and support that we gain from our group and would now like to share some of the fruits of our time together with a wider community of women.
My partner and I recently returned to Australia after receiving Panchakarma treatment in India, so I will share some of my experience there. Panchakarma is the ultimate in Ayurvedic rejuvenation and healing. Called the five actions (Panch = 5, karma = action), it eliminates ama (toxins) from the system and returns the elements or dosha’s to their proper home.
These processes are cleansing to the body, mind and emotions. The first part is referred to as “the gathering of ama” where the thick, sticky ama becomes increasingly liquefied and is able to be moved from places where it is stuck.
The middle part is the more intense cleanse section, where the ama is expelled from the body.
Then the last part is the more rejuvenating time, where deep nourishment is given to help maintain ongoing balance and an ama free state of health.
I’ve always wanted to receive Panchakarma so I was quite excited to finally be able to go to India and do it, whereas my hubby was a little unsure about it initially. He was willing to give it a go though as he has a chronic back condition which gives him quite a lot of pain. So off we went.
As soon as we arrived we were encouraged to deeply relax, and everything was taken care of. Simple, but yummy, sattwic(pure) food was served. We had a basic but comfortable and clean cottage, where we could sit on the verandah and gaze at the paddy fields and forest. All cleaning etc was also done for us by friendly Indian women. After an initial thorough consultation our specific Panchakarma routine was established.
For both of us the whole time, everyday we received an Ayurvedic massage. For the gathering part, after the massage, we then received Shirodhara and then whole-body-dhara (which meant warm medicated oil being poured over our entire bodies, and we both absolutely loved this). During this time old pains, which for me was the sciatica I suffered a few years ago, resurfaced as they were moving. Practically this meant for me I had a day of pain. For my partner it meant four or five days of intense pain, which was of course challenging, and eventually they gave him herbal pain relief support to get through it. They say that it’s a bit like peeling an onion, and we are going backwards through and eliminating the residues of traumas, diseases, bad habits (alcohol, cigarettes etc), and the like. We also found it a little challenging to be doing absolutely nothing. I was at least allowed to have little walks whereas my partner spent most of the time lying flat.
The daily Shirodaras were very nourishing for me. It was also good to experience how deep they went, and to be on the receiving side for a change.
The cleansing part of course always depends on ones condition, age, current state, etc. For both of us the treatment was massage then steam (with our head out of the box so we didn’t get all hot-headed) and then the medicated enema. It was this part that my partner especially had worried about before coming, but as it turned out for both of us it was not that challenging and we felt amazing afterwards. After the treatment we would come back to our cottage and ly down and rest. For me this part really seemed to open up my intuition and let go of old stuff, not just physical but mental and emotional as well. Our meals while cleansing was Kunji, which is a sort of wild rice gruel. I came to love this, luckily!!
Then the last main part, which focused on nourishing and rejuvenating, began. For this the treatment consisted of warm massage, shirodharas and then medicated rice poultice treatment. It sounds simple but, again, was quite profound and very very nourishing for mind, body and spirit. At the completion of the Panchakarma you are supposed to rest at least for a few days.
We both also loved being able to see our medicines grow in the herb garden and being made welcome to watch the medicines being made in the herb kitchen.
My partner stayed longer than me. After the treatment I traveled to Arunachala, the sacred mountain of Shiva and Ramana Maharshi. I participated in a meditation retreat, which was again very nourishing and easy after the Panchakarma.
Overall it was a powerful and life changing treatment for both of us. We are still feeling the difference on many levels. My partner is returning for more treatment actually, as to really change his chronic condition he needs longer… The initial treatment inspired and helped him so much that he is happy to be going back alone this time…
I have been teaching Ayurveda lately as a part of Yoga Teacher trainings here in Byron Bay which has been fun and inspiring. I have been a Yoga teacher myself for over 20 years, as well as practising as a Naturopath and Ayurvedic Consultant here in Mullumbimby. To check out my Herbal and Naturopathic Dispensary called Mullumbimby Herbals have a peek at our website.
In my personal Yoga practise for the last few years I have been playing with balancing whichever element (or dosha) is excessive or causing symptoms with Yoga asana’s and specific breathing exercises as well as meditations. Now Im getting this great opportunity to share my yogic/ayurvedic balancing experiences with dedicated yoga practitioners which is exciting as well as humbling. This has been a deepening for me in my understanding of Ayurveda and how to make it relevant for the times we live in..
Once people understand the basics of ayurveda then they can use it as a daily tool to help bring more harmony within and without. So for those of you who dont have much Ayurvedic theory I thought I would write a little here to share.
Introduction to Ayurveda
Ayurvedic Medicine is traditional Indian medicine. It encourages a life lived in harmony with nature’s rhythms, with an awareness of balancing all levels of being - body, mind and soul.
It is believed to have begun as far back as 6000BC when a group of Rishis (or enlightened beings) had compassion for mankind’s suffering. Through Divine inspiration and observation of the Laws of Nature, they devised a complete “science of life” otherwise known as Ayurvedic Medicine.
As Natures Law’s are unchanging, Ayurveda is still a completely relevant healing system today.
Ayurveda is a science that is widely acknowledged to be the worlds oldest system of healthcare. The World Health Organisation recognizes the antiquity of Ayurveda, regarding it as “the world’s most ancient, scientific, wholistic, complete, natural system of healthcare”.
The purpose of Ayurvedic medicine is to avoid (or help reverse) serious illness by understanding how and why we become ill. Ayurveda impresses upon us the art of daily living in harmony with the laws of nature, so we learn how to maintain our health and vitality as well as how to heal disease. It is a wholistic system of healing in the truest sense, embracing body, mind and spirit. In working to create health Ayurveda takes into consideration all the different levels of life and their interconnectedness.
As a science of healing Ayurveda encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, rest and relaxation, meditation, breathing exercises and medicinal herbs and other medicinal substances. It also includes cleansing and rejuvenation programs for healing body, mind and spirit. Other therapies such as sound, mantra, colour and aromatherapy may also be used, depending on the individual and the state of imbalance.
Ayurveda is empowering, giving us choice in dealing with our own health. Depending on our current state of health and well being, it can mean simple changes or adjustments in our diet and lifestyle which will greatly improve our health. Of course if dis-ease is manifesting more strongly then the treatment will also require stronger balancing agents like medicinal herbs, or hands on treatments. But if we catch an out of balance state early enough, then it is easy to rebalance.
Ayurveda recognises that each of us are unique, and teaches us our constitutional type which is our own unique blend of the elements. Once we recognize these in ourselves then bringing balance becomes like common sense. For example if we have too much heat in our system and this is manifesting as heartburn or a skin rash, first we understand the need to cool down. This cooling may be best achieved with avoiding heating foods and choosing cooling foods instead, or by taking cooling herbs, or using cooling breathing techniques.
In Ayurveda we understand the inseperable link between body, mind and spirit. ie if someone is manifesting a disease, it is never just the body that is imbalanced. Usually the root cause of physical disease is in the mind or spirit (80%). Traditionally Ayurveda was used to bring back balance, even before disease manifested physically. We use practices like yoga, meditation, mantras, pure actions, devotion, compassion, pure foods as well as lifestyle adjustments etc to balance and strengthen and purify. Where there is imbalance, or depletion, Ayurveda also uses counselling, herbs, and specific foods, as well as therapies like nasya, massage, and shirodara.
Daily ayurvedic routines provide a system of not only bringing balance but, even before that, helping us to see our imbalances (vikruti) so that we can then know how to balance. In this way we can understand which steps need to be taken, which energy we need more of and which energy we need less of.
I personally love Ayurveda as it is not just a healthcare system, but a complete approach to living. We can adapt the basic principles of ayurveda into any cultural traditions of the world. In practicing ayurveda we do not have to become like Indian’s, but by simply understanding the basics we can bring balance to our lives wherever we live.
The science of Ayurveda, like the science of yoga, is a huge body of knowledge which is best learnt and understood through practice. Ayurveda recognises that much of life is non-physical and cannot be studied objectively. Thus the necessity of incorporating Ayurvedic principles into your own life so it becomes an experience rather than merely a theory.
Understanding our Constitution/Prakruti
First we need to understand the elements and how they are manifesting in our body, mind and spiritual tendencies. Our prakruti is our original fingerprint, or our own magical blend of the 5 elements. To be in perfect health on all levels we gently bring ourselves back (or as close as we can), to this original state. Ayurveda uses Vata, Pitta and Kapha as ways of classifying or understanding this elemental blend. Each of us has all three dosha’s, but we will also have a more dominant dosha or two more dominant ones and it is these which will tend to become over dominant and lead us out of balance and into possible disease. ie if you are mainly Vata then Vata qualities (like a windy day or too much cold dry food), will take your Vata into excess and imbalance you. To come back into balance you will need Vata balancing qualities to soothe and quieten down this Vata excess.
In our modern lifestyles most of us have some Vata imbalance so it is usually a good dosha to start with.
Understanding our Vikruti/Present state
Our current state of health in mind body and spirit is called our Vikruti. It is the particular blend of the 5 elements which is manifesting in us right now. For most of us we are not totally in our original state of ideal health, so the first step in regaining or improving our health is to understand honestly our current state. Then as we recognize which elements and which dosha’s are in excess we can take the appropriate steps to balance them. If we are dry, depleted, ungrounded, stressed or anxious we realize the need to balance Vata, with the opposite qualities. If we are more impatient, hot (with hot flushes or reddish eyes say), or strung out from over pushing ourselves, then we need to balance our Pitta. If we are toxic, overweight, feeling sluggish foggy or depressed then we need to balance our Kapha.
So quite a lot of information for you all…… I hope this is helpful and relevant.
I am looking forward to presenting Ayurvedic Womens Health in a unique way at the upcoming Australian Goddess Conference. My workshop Goddess Health Naturally will be based around the 5 elements which form the basic building blocks of who we are. I am planning to give women a more experiential taste of the dosha’s or intelligences which govern us…rather than just the theory.
The conference is to be held on the Gold Coast (southern Queensland), on the 12th and 13th October.
If you want to check it out have a look at their website
Have a look in the workshops section here, as I have upgraded the workshops I now offer. Please contact me if you would like me to come to your area to share with you and your friends or students.