Yoga and Meditation Retreat on the Island of Lesvos, Greece

I had the privilege of joining a yoga retreat on the island of Lesvos in Greece, with teachers and students from the Winston-Salem area . I had opportunities to go for afternoon walks and observe the plants of this arid region. The island has

100.000 inhabitants; and is caring for 10,000 refugees. It also has olive trees everywhere. I was told there were 6 million trees on the island. Enjoy these photos.  I am still searching for the names of these plants. If anyone has thoughts, please email me.

Herbal Blessings from Greece.

Milky Oats (Avena Sativa)

Have you ever grown a crop of Milky Oats? Sow the oat seeds in the Fall and let them overwinter. In the Spring the green shoots will come up and by late Spring the oat seeds are ready for tincturing. I want to thank my friend Kristen who planted the oats in a garden we share.

How do you know the oats are ready? Squeeze the seeds between your fingers if the seed pops and a milky substance comes out your oats are ready to tincture or dry. I often went out morning and night to see if the oats were popping yet!
According to one of my teachers David Winston, “Oats strengthen and nourish the nervous system and contains calcium and magnesium which are essential nutrients for the nervous system.” I have used it in my practice for adults and who are exhausted and feel jangly and anxious. I love the combination of milky oats with holy basil tincture for its calming and effect on a person’s mental state.

Oats in combination with other herbs can help with withdrawal from nicotine. Herbalist and Alchemist has a formula called Smoker’s ResQ that has the first ingredient listed as Fresh Oat milky seeds, followed by Skullcap. These two in combination calm the anxiety that often accompany withdrawal.

In these pictures you can see the height of the oats which was over 5 feet. The tincture makes a bright green color when you first add the alcohol to it. I blended gluten free alcohol with the oats in my Vitamix which made a thick slurry. The intense green color only lasts a few hours before it turns a darker green. the tincture was ready in about a month’s time.

Belize 2019 Cacao Making Class

Italian Adventure 2018

This October I travelled to Tuscany and was able to stay on an olive farm near Survereto, a town near the sea below Pisa. The family farm is called Le Germandine, and the owners welcomed me spending the day with them harvesting olives for olive oil. Their land had an ancient grove of trees with some of the trees close to 350 years old. They harvested about 500 kilos of olives a day and then drove the olives to an organic press, picking up the freshly pressed olive oil the next day. At first the new olive oil has a bitter taste; as it ages the taste gets mellower and sweeter.

I enjoyed getting to know the family, who also had an herb farm and herb lab on their land. In between the olive trees they had planted Helychrisum, an herb I use as an essential oil for pain in my practice. One evening they invited us to their herb lab and gave us a tour. They are very dedicated to producing organic products and sold herbal teas, rose syrups, digestive bitters, and tinctures. It was a pleasure to meet Italian herbalists.