One of the duties of the lady of the castle was to ensure the planting and harvesting of the herb garden each year. Without a proper supply of herbs, the inhabitants of the castle may not last through a harsh winter. I thought you might find it interesting to learn which herbs she found most important and their uses. Most of these "castle" herbs are still available today and can be grown year-round in your garden or in pots on your kitchen windowsill.
Basil, Coriander, Curry, Chives, Garlic, Lavender, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, and Winter Savory. Chives, Garlic, some types of Oregano, and Winter Savory were often able to continue to grow through winter conditions. These herbs were used to give flavor to meals, used as a tea and often hid the taste of rancid meat.
Citron, Lavender, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Parsley, Rosemary, and Sage were used to freshen the air. Lavender, Rosemary, and Citron kept fleas and moths away. They were often used in sachets and as deodorants during months when bathing was not an option.
Boneset, Dandelion, Feverfew, Garlic, Goosegrass, Lavender, Peppermint, Sage, Self-heal, Tansy, and Willowbark.
Dandelion was used as a purgative and diuretic, Self-heal, Feverfew and Willowbark for fever and pain and Goosegrass, and Boneset were used for breaks, cuts, and lesions.
Often, these herbs would be mixed with a bit of fat and applied topically or ground and used in poultices. Of course, you can always buy them predried or capsuled and ready to use from herb retailers, such as Mountain Rose Herbs.
Thyme was commonly used to treat various ailments, from flu to epileptic seizures. During the middle ages, people mixed thyme with lavender in equal amounts and sprinkled on the floors of churches to get rid of any unwanted odors. Moreover, thyme was also used in making a poultice and applied to areas of the body to heal wounds and prevent infections.
Visit The Captains Lady's The Tiny Medieval Garden board on Pinterest for some fascinating ideas on how to create your very own medieval garden and ways to use your herbs for natural healing.
Artwork: My Sweet Rose by John W. Waterhouse with a sepia overlay.
If you have never heard of Thieves oil it probably sounds like some hokey snake oil treatment sold back in the day and you'd be half right. It was sold as a treatment, but there is nothing hokey about it. It actually works to fight off viruses. In fact, some believe it was the only treatment that worked to keep folks from contracting the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) in the 14th century.
Thieves oil was created by a handful of spice merchants who became thieves after the plague crashed the economy. They used the oil as a rub on their bodies and under their noses in order to be able to rob the diseased and the dead without becoming sick themselves.
In the old world, Thieves oil was actually made by creating herbal infusions, vinegar and tinctures with fresh or dried herbs, which takes a little longer to make, but can still be made today. It was often made in large batches in advance for cold and flu season epidemics. When needed immediately a stove top method for infusing the herbs could be used.
There are a variety of recipes for making old world Thieves oil. Each seems to claim authenticity. I'm inclined to believe it this is because Thieves oil was made from, either, fresh or dried herbs that were available according to the area one lived in, as well as the season of the year and economic status.
Here are just a few of the ingredients I've discovered along the way from various old world recipes. not all were used in every recipe.
The herbs and spices were placed in a jar, topped with oil or vinegar (not both) and sealed tightly. It was stored in a cool, dark place and shaken gently to turn the herbs once every day for two weeks. Then, strained well and bottled up.
After the infusion period, Thieves oil was taken by mouth (1 teaspoon every day) and applied to face, hands, body and feet for, both, prevention and healing.
Modern Day Thieves Oil
You can make your own modern day Thieves oil with, either, fresh herbs or essential oils (or both).
Many modern day Thieves oils contain only essential oils of Clove, Cinnamon, Lemon, Eucalyptus and Rosemary measured out equally. If you prefer, you can certainly start out with this very basic and potent recipe and get very good results for warding off bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including Herpes Simplex Virus. But, do your research.
After 3 days of non-stop, extensive researching, I realized some of the sources out there are, at best, dubious.
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Mindfulness is simply taking your mind off of things for a while. It doesn't have to be complicated. Consider it as just a few minutes out of your day to gain your balance, refresh your perspective, and give yourself a break from any overwhelm you may be experiencing.
Mindfulness is not like praying. When you pray, you ask or thank. In mindfulness, you focus and listen. The key to mindful meditation is to concentrate on something positive, without being distracted, for a certain length of time. Don't worry if your mind keeps drifting to your shopping list or last night's events. This is normal. It's OK. You don't have to make your mind a blank page, which is difficult for most people these days.
Go somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed and get into a comfortable position. It's nice to have a spot in your home for just this, a place to be quiet or pray. Close your eyes and regulate your breathing, neither too shallowly or too deeply. As you breathe out, imagine you are expelling all of your tensions and worries. Let negative out. As you breathe in, you are taking in peace and love. Let positive in.
While being mindful you might also focus on what you hear, smell or feel around you. For example, really feel the sun on your face, smell the earth and newly fallen leaves in the rain, hear the birds singing, the wind in the trees or waves rolling up on the beach, focus on the warm coffee cup in your hands or hot sand between your toes. Or, simply picture a place in your mind you would like to be that is calming and focus on your senses as if you were already there.
Being mindful isn't about creating exciting, mental rendezvous or preparing for meditation. No. It's about creating a mental oasis of serenity that you can pull into place wherever and whenever you feel stressed for a short or as long as you like. Of course, the longer your mindful practice lasts the more relaxed you'll feel.
After your mindful "meditation" sit for a moment or two and reorient yourself to your surroundings, your breathing and your senses. Smile and give yourself a shoulder hug for taking a mindful timeout.
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This following simple deep breathing exercise is a simple way to melt away stress. Before you begin, sit on a straight-backed chair with your back straight, palms on thighs and feet flat on the floor.
Close your eyes, breathe naturally, and inhale to the count of 4 and hold your breath for the count of 4. Without straining, exhale to a count of 4 and hold your breath for a count of 4. This is one breath cycle.
Repeat this cycle (inhale to 4, hold 4, exhale 4, hold 4, etc.) while focusing on your Solar Plexus, which is located at upper stomach area just below your breastbone. This is where your inner light resides, your sun. Feel the warmth of your inner sun spreading from your Solar Plexus throughout the rest of your body as you breathe in and out.
You might not be used to breathing deeply. Tension and stress cause you to become a shallow breather. If you become lightheaded or dizzy you are breathing too deeply. Don't take in so much air. Take more shallow breaths. Or, breathe in and out to the count of 2 or 3 and increase your count to 4 only as you get used to breathing more deeply over time. The idea is to breathe naturally and relax.
Calming benefits are immediate while it can take up to 6 weeks to experience a profound meditative state.
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All too often, stress at work will wear you down and make you wish you were doing anything else but what you are doing for a living. But, sometimes, when you truly dislike or even "hate" your work position in life it is simply because you are ill-prepared mentally or physically for your day (or night). The following 10 suggestions are meant to help your work shift go more smoothly and reduce sensitivity to stress on the job.
#1: Get to bed at a decent hour (before 11:30 PM) or early enough to sleep 7-10 hours at night. If you work nights, keep a regular sleep schedule. Get up early enough to not have to rush. More sensitive or overwhelmed people become anxious when rushed. Being rushed can set a negative tone to the rest of your day.
#2: Eat breakfast with a proper dose of protein or have a protein shake. It is always best to eat a larger amount of protein with your first meal of the day. This helps to stabilize your blood sugar and mood throughout the day.
#3. Now, I don't know about you, but I can't lay my clothes out the night before because by the time morning rolls around I'm no longer in the mood for whatever I laid out the night before, so I'm not going to tell you to do that. However, I do suggest that you make time in your weekly schedule to have your basics ironed, hung up, and put away in their places so all you have to do is grab what you want to wear in the morning.
#4. Wear comfortable shoes. A poor fitting shoe will cause aches and pains all the way up your body. Poor fitting shoes can make your back hurt and give you a headache. Better shoes usually cost more but they will save you money by saving your health in the long run. another option is to buy insoles.
#5. Dress up to the next level in your position. Often, when we aren't happy with our jobs we lose self-esteem and begin to let go of our appearance because we just don't care anymore. However, this only causes others to see you in a negative light and will greatly reduce (if not eliminate) your chance for a promotion. If you are in sales and you want to be a supervisor, dress like one. If you are a supervisor and you want to be a regional manager, dress like one. In other words, when it is at all possible, take your appearance up a notch while still dressing in clothing that feels comfortable to you (not scratchy, too tight, too warm, to cold, etc.). You will find that when you place effort into how you look other people will take you more seriously. And, remember to smile.
#6. If you sit at a desk much of the day make sure your chair is comfortable. Bring in a cushion or wear some form of back support. Make sure your legs are relaxed in front of you with your legs only slightly bent in a relaxed position.
#7. Your eyes, when sitting up straight (and looking straight ahead), should be focused at about 2 inches below the top of your monitor screen. To keep from getting a crook in your neck, your phone handset should have a shoulder pad attachment. Look away from the screen and stretch regularly.
#8. Keep your desk or work area clean and organized. This reduces tension and promotes focus.
#9. During breaks, if you can, go outside or look out of a window for a few moments in nature, especially if you work in a cubicle.
#10. Plan for and eat your lunch daily. Stash of trail mix or some other healthy snack hidden in a drawer for just in case.
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End of the year family get-togethers can be stressful, to say the least. First, it's Thanksgiving with Halloween following close after, then Christmas and then New Years. Thanksgiving is the time of the year folks, traditionally, get together with family and friends to share the traditional meal of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls, and grandma’s jello salad, and pumpkin pie. We entertain ourselves with details of our experiences and retell the stories of times past. The men might watch a game or the holiday parade on television, while the women tend to the children and the dishes. Christmas is often celebrated the same way, but with the additional stress of gift giving. These special holidays are often filled with happy traditions but, for others, it can mean loneliness, frustration, and sadness for, both, personal or financial reasons. Potlucks and family get-togethers can be stressful. So how can you plan ahead of time to reduce holiday stress?
Perhaps, like me, you have a hard time coping with large groups of people, even when it is family. I know I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to walk into an environment filled with various smells, odd lighting, changing temperatures, a cacophony of voices (some familiar and some not) and familial expectations that can make you feel trapped, like others wanting you to share your thoughts and feelings on a subject or asking you to say grace. Then, there’s the having to make excuses to leave when your sensitivities are about to make your head burst and hoping no one will be upset after you make your exit. It’s enough to make you want to play hooky from the event altogether. It’s called overwhelm.
None of us like overwhelm because of the way it makes us feel and, all too often, we turn down invites. But, without participating in life, we run the risk of low self-esteem, which doesn’t feel good either. When we fear feeling a sense of overwhelm we are actually fearing life or our reaction to it.
With that said, and thinking in terms of happy tradition, perhaps it is time to start some of your own traditions that honor your sensitivities and who you are at this time in your life.
Perhaps you could…
Tips to Keep Your Energy from Being Drained
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People stay in negative situations and abusive relationships for three reasons; fear, social or cultural reasons, and personal beliefs, but at some point, you might decide, "That's it. I've had enough. I'm done!"
Fear is a trauma based emotion. If you suffer a traumatic event, situation, or ongoing emotional, mental or physical abuse, fear will greatly impact your health if it is not dealt with. It can even cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, people who survive codependent and abusive relationships can develop PTSD. This is why I thought it befitting to offer up some advice on what to do if you have decided to leave a narcissistic or abusive relationship. But, before moving on I'd like to address sexual abuse.
Abusive relationships can also involve some sexual abuse in many forms and involve all manner of boundary issues, such as neglect (where your needs are not being met physically or are painfully criticized), unrealistic expectations, and even rape. None of these are acceptable. You should never be made to do something outside of your comfort zone or be criticized or abused when you say no. And your need for intimacy (being emotionally and physically close to another) should never be abandoned. See HSP Resources for free support if you have ever been sexually abused.
When You Decide You are Leaving: What to Do Before Going
Most people in codependent and abusive relationships think about leaving for 2-3 years before ever doing so and have already considered some of the suggestions below for leaving their abusive relationship. Hopefully, you'll discover a few new ideas to add to your list of things to achieve before finally walking out the door and never looking back.
Divorce Advice for Women is an excellent place to start if you are looking for legal advice. Although this reference contains valuable information for a married woman leaving an abusive spouse, I would think the advice could easily apply to men as well.
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If your wish to resolve conflicts is not appreciated or respected and your partner refuses to communicate in your relationships to resolve issues or your find that most of what is written in my blog, Is Your Relationship in Hot Water?, is true for you, it could be you are involved with a narcissist.
A narcissist, by definition, is someone who includes you in their life for the sole purpose of making themselves look good to the world. Your wonderful qualities makes them shine to their family, coworkers and friends. This makes them feel great about themselves. Narcissists easily come across as stable, charming, generous, and the answer to your dreams, but it's only a manipulation, a bait. It's not about you. It's never about you, your feelings, your wants, needs or desires. It's always about theirs, what they want, what they need, what they desire.
Oh, life may seem intoxicating and wonderful in the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist, until you realize something doesn't feel quite right. At that point, you may begin to ask your partner questions, which will not bode well with the narcissist. You see, feelings, particularly yours, don't matter to the narcissist. What matters is that you continue to make them the center of your universe and continue to feed them what they need to feel good about themselves. Narcissism goes beyond just ordinary selfishness and conceit. It is the inability to truly have empathy or compassion for others, unless it suits a personal purpose. In other words, they do not know how to love.
Narcissism goes beyond just ordinary arrogance, selfishness and conceit. It is the inability to truly have any compassion for others. And, you cannot teach them. Being a good example will never change the narcissist. You will not win that battle. It will only drain you of what is left of your reserves and kill your self-esteem in the process. It may even make you incredibly ill.
Once the narcissist begins to see or feel you are resisting their antics, your narcissistic mate will begin to show a very cruel side. You may find they become physically abusive.
To demand respect, attention, or appreciation from a narcissist is futile. If they believe you still add value to their lives in some way they might allow you a glimpse of the person you always thought they were for a short time, just to reel you back in. They may buy you something they know you've wanted. More likely, they will try to bribe you to stay by producing something they know you need, whether it's food in the cupboard, a bill paid, or a long awaited hug.
Emotional Warning Signs of Being in a Relationship with a Narcissist
You feel negative and lonely (or like something is missing) most of the time.
You get down on yourself and feel guilty when you think about doing the things that used to do that made you happy (visiting with loved ones, focusing on your career, working out, wearing makeup, and nice clothes, etc.). This can feel like depression or fatigue. It is actually oppression.
Even when things are going well in your relationship, you can't stop the feeling that, at any minute, things are going to become bad again and your world is going to come tumbling down. And, it will. Narcissist automatically sense when you are too happy. Your happiness makes them feel vulnerable (as if they have lost the upper hand) and they will hurt you for it one way or another. When you feel this way and are treated this way for any length of time your self-esteem suffers terribly. You can begin to doubt yourself in ways you never have before.
Also see How to Move Safely Away from an Abusive Relationship.
Photo Credit: Mask (iStock.com #174917746) with sepia overlay.
Most people value being in a close, loving relationship. This is wonderful and healthy. However, if you are the soft-hearted type and have a need for peace (which is often an underlying need to feel secure, by the way) you may attract the wrong people.
You know, if you throw a frog in hot water, it will surely jump out and run. However, if you place it in cool water and slowly heat it to boiling, it will stay put, stew, and die. You might say "dumb frog". Guess what? There are dumb people too. I know. I've been one. Well, maybe not dumb, but, certainly, gullible. I've also kissed more than one toad while looking for my prince charming and ended up with my share of emotional warts.
We enter relationships when they are cool. In the beginning, our partners may seem to balance us and make up for what we feel we lack. Sadly, the result is that we end up making decisions for ourselves based on emotions that are not always in our best interest. As our relationships "heat up" (become increasingly unsatisfying) we often stay anyway, allowing them to drain us of our precious energy and our self-esteem, making us ill, and, sometimes, even killing us.
It's a good idea to check the temperature of your relationships and situations often. Emotional tension or physical suffering of any kind may be a clue that you are in very hot water. Constantly being stressed or fearful is hazardous to your health. And, it should be OK with your partner to ask him or her how they feel the relationship is going if you are uncertain. Questions such as this are welcomed in healthy relationships.
Relationship Red Flags
Red flags are those emotional alerts that are demanding our attention. They tell us when something is not quite right about a person, place or thing. Pay attention. Trust your gut feeling and the emotions you experience when you are around others. Walking around on "eggshells" all of the time is a sign of abuse. Meaning, if you do not feel comfortable or safe being yourself around another person some sort of abuse or neglect is most likely involved.
Signs of Being in a Toxic Relationship
If your wish to resolve conflicts is not appreciated or respected, this is another red flag. Perform an evaluation of your relationship and establish some boundaries and priorities. Lets' face it. Sometimes, we can all be a bit of a jerk, but if this attitude from your partner (family, coworker, boss, etc.) continues, seriously consider breaking off this relationship before it breaks you. Do not make the mistake of thinking it is easier or safer to stay where you are.
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There's so much that goes into a love relationship, your heart, your soul, your dreams and wishes, your worst fears, and any leftover emotional baggage, that it is important to consider what goes into a healthy relationship in order to continue nourishing the relationship you already value or before starting another.
If you are in a mostly difficult, unhappy, or abusive relationship you can almost expect to have more frequent breakouts. And, it doesn't matter how old you are. You may have heard that herpes breakouts tend to appear less often as you age. This is not true for the person suffering from ongoing emotional stress. In fact, herpes can become chronic when you are under ongoing stress and one source of ongoing stress is a poor relationship with your mate. Below, you'll discover the three cornerstones of a healthy relationship; one you can relax and feel secure in.
Most people could probably go longer without water than without unconditional love.
If love or joy go missing from your life for a prolonged period of time your energy levels will suffer and you will be more prone to dis-ease.
All people, sensitive or not, need unconditional love, but, it's not just love from others that's needed, although that is an important factor. Self-love has to exist as well. When you love yourself, wellness follows. When you love yourself you are able to allow others to love you too.
Love isn't just something you feel. After all, if you love someone and never tell them or show them, it's highly unlikely they will know. No. Love is an action. It's something you do.
Without love and joy you are being held back from living through your senses because that is how love is experienced.
Understanding & Intimacy
Understanding and intimacy are vital factors in developing healthy relationships and keeping them that way. Intimacy isn't sex, although it can be an expression of intimacy. Intimacy is the ability to be close, to be yourself, and to feel safe in that closeness as you reveal yourself to another. You cannot have intimacy without kindness. And, kindness takes understanding. Acts of understanding and kindness allow your body to remain relaxed (without tension) and emotions content enough to be intimate (close).
The Ability to Share Simple Pleasures
You can't truly live your life or feel alive without using your senses. Enjoying the simple things in life; a golden sunset, a puppy bounding clumsily across the grass, or cuddling beside a loved one during a movie lifts your spirits and fills us you with love and joy. Why? Because you are getting the chance to react to your senses in a positive way that promotes wellness. Healthy relationships are one of the cornerstones of emotional and physical wellness and to share simple pleasures is healthy indeed.
Photography Credit: Holding Hands (iStock.com #641831648) with sepia overlay.
Mari J. Dionne ~ CHP, CLC
"The older I get the more sure I am that one's thoughts create one's reality. They say home is where the heart is but I have found it is the mind that that determines where one's heart resides."
Forgotten English Health Terms
Fish-Whole - as sound as a fish or healthy
Blind Cupid - the backside
Accoucheur - a male mid-wife
Kingsevil - a disease or swelling of the cervical lymph nodes
Valitudinary - subject to sickness; crazy
Chime-Child -a child born on Sunday who was immune to witchcraft, could see ghosts, and was a natural healer
Periblepsis - a delirious stare of the eyes
Wormland - churchyard
Green-Sickness - a disease incident to virgins; sickly paleness, with green tint of complexion
Tissek or Tissicky Cough - a tickling faint cough
Multiplying Medicine - an elixer of the alchemists, used in making and multiplying gold
Peat-Reek-Whisky - highland whiskey, distilled over peat fires
Belly-Brussen - a distended stomach or having a protuberant stomach
Oint - to smear with an unctuous substance (usually having to do with painting or disguising something)
Farbed-Up - confused
Nyctobasis - somnambulism; to walk in one's sleep
Roozles - wretchedness of mind and body
Coolth - coolness (opposite of warmth)
Pharmacopolist - an apothecary
Laver - to wash (before dinner)
Gothicism - to be rude or rudeness
Desuetude - lack of use
Splay the Bream - to cut up that fish
Doctor of Skill - a physician
Dendranthoplology - the theory that man sprang from trees
Fash - to care, to trouble one's self, anxiety
Satisfy Colon - to satisfy one's hunger
Neurasthenia - debility or impairment of the nerves
Trollibags - the intestines
Cothish - faint, sickly, ailing
Fogo - a disagreeable stink, stench, or smell
With Squirrel - pregnant
Pottinger - a cook, apothecary, druggist (Scotland)
Pomster - a quack doctor; to treat illness without knowledge or skill
Bleflummery - vain imaginings
Venefice - a practice of poisoning
Weaponsalve - a salve that was supposed to cure the wound by applying it to the weapon that caused it
Overset - to recover from mental shock
Fordolked - wounded
Wamblecropped - humiliated
Peffle - in a nervous state
Measondue - a hospital or poor house
Dead-Nip - a blue mark on the body not caused by an injury or any known cause...sometimes called a witch's nip
Sadly On - expressing that a person is ill or in a bad way
Whirligigs or Tallywags - testicles
Betwattled - to be surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses
Bone Box - the mouth
Dicked in the Nob - silly, crazed
Head Rails - teeth
Hickey - tipsy, hiccupping
Knowledge box - a term for the head
Sugar stick - the virile member
Pimpish - Dainty in the matter of food (taking in small quantities)
Witchify - to bewitch
Naufrage - shipwreck
Artwork & Photography Credits
Side Bar: Pen & Ink, Old Door, and Star (iStock.com ~ All rights reserved.) with sepia overlays.