Spring is now in full swing (thank goodness!) and that means the Raja Wellness crew has some exciting adventures in our near future. We may not be able to take you with us, but we hope you will tag along in spirit! We’ll be deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina taking in the scenery, visiting with vendors, and attending some epic events centered around medicinal herbs, gardening, and crystals.
First up and fast approaching is the revered Asheville Herb Festival. This is the largest herb festival in the US and Canada—a yearly tradition we enjoy wholeheartedly. With a focus on Western North Carolinian growers, farmers, and herbalists, there are over 60 vendors to visit. Interestingly, this area of Appalachia has a climate that is nearly identical to that of southeast China, meaning that it is the perfect environment for many herbs and plants to thrive that are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact, the Asheville Herb Festival is where we’ve met and grown relationships with some of our favorite vendors.
We’ll be navigating our way through a variety of culinary and medicinal herbs, tinctures, salves, handmade soaps, carnivorous plants, perennial flowers, trees, and bushes, and hopefully grabbing another glorious sample of ginseng wine before our day is complete. The herb festival is also jam-packed with gardening and herbal medicine workshops. Our staff is excited to bring back and stock our store with many curated favorites for clinic use, as well as for our own gardens and greenhouses. For more information about the Asheville Herb Festival, visit ashevilleherbfestival.org
In mid-May, Mary (our NC native), will be traveling to visit three gem shows. Combined, there will be nearly 200 vendors to peruse with crystals from all over the world, rare gems, cathedrals, fossils, unique jewelry, statement pieces, lapidary equipment, and more. Many of these vendors can also be found at the renowned Tucson Gem Show. During this trip, Mary will be mining for gems as well! Aside from a biodiverse region for growing a variety of plants and herbs, this region is also incredibly abundant and diverse in minerals and gemstones.
If you’re local to our area in Kentucky, we’d like to invite you to send any special requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll be happy to reach out with specifics and discuss your crystal needs, purchase, and pick-up options. Examples of previously requested items include amethyst cathedrals, ocean jasper, peridot, celestite, dumortierite, chalcopyrite, Ethiopian opal, and smoky quartz. With so much to choose from, Mary will be on the search for rare finds to add to the diversity of both our collection at Raja Goods (and her personal stash!)
With these events just around the corner, you can imagine our anticipation and excitement! We hope our patients and customers will enjoy the stories and items we have to share upon our return and hope that you will follow along during our travels! We plan to share pictures of the fun on our social media accounts so keep an eye out for updates!
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Just how good is our burn cream?
Red says it's good enough to eat! And while we don't recommend eating it this all natural blend of oils and healing herbs soothes minor cuts, scrapes and burns and it's safe enough to accidentally get a little bit in the mouths of horses, humans and dogs. It's actually a favorite lip balm in our office during the dry winter months. You can order it online here or pick it up in the office. It's a great addition to any first aid kit. Here's some of the reviews:
“I burnt my finger on an industrial iron and it was close to the bone. Because of my allergies the emergency room wasn't able to prescribe much and it was extraordinarily painful. Not only did this take the pain away it healed very quickly and without a scar.”
“I scalded my hand with boiling water. The burn cream took the pain away quickly and by the next day you couldn't tell I had even done it.”
“I love this because I know it's safe to use around my kids and animals. Those little nicks and cracks we come up in the winter time on your hands, the painful ones that just don't go away? They don't stand a chance against this stuff”
There are several brands of burn creams to choose from that are made with traditional Chinese herbs and ingredients. Our favorites have very similar ingredients containing these key herbs:
The root of this plant is a powerhouse in Traditional Chinese Herbalism - especially for women. Not only do we find it in a wide range of oral formulas it also has noted abilities to “regenerate flesh” and may help to promote healthy healing of skin.
Another powerful healing root, commonly known as “purple root” this is a powerful herb for a variety of internal formulas that is also well known for it’s topical properties for soothing skin and antibacterial properties. It’s found in many formulas for eczema, carbuncles, boils and burns - especially where there is discoloration of the skin.
This root is found in many formulas for both internal and external disorders. It has broad antimicrobial properties and in some studies has been shown to be more effective than sulfa-based antibiotics due to the high concentration of berberine in it. It is frequently used topically to soothe itching or burning skin, and can even be used as a single herb for these purposes.
Yes, this serves as a base for extracting the herbs and an emollient, but did you know sesame seed oil is also bacteriostatic? This means it doesn’t kill bacteria, but it does prevent them from reproducing, helping to safely reduce the risk of infection in damaged skin.
A thickening agent with protective properties beeswax helps provide a barrier against contamination that is naturally anti-inflammatory and won’t block pores. It’s also high in naturally occurring Vitamin A to promote healthy skin.
Some formulations have additional herbs and providers tend to have their own favorites - but most will contain these key ingredients.
益母草 yì mǔ cǎo
Latin name: Leonurus heterophyllus
This bountiful herb produces rings of beautiful purple and white flowers above a thistle-like knob. Up close, the tiny flowers are quite lovely, but the plants will quickly grow to 4+ feet tall. All of the aerial parts are used and traditionally harvested when in bloom with the flowers and all generally around the time of the summer solstice.
In Chinese Medicine terms, this herb enters the Heart, Liver and Bladder, and acts to promote circulation, dispel blood stasis, regulate the menses, reduce masses, promote urination and relieves swelling and edema. The central stalks are hollow and tube-like following the doctrine of signatures in which plants with that kind of shape are often associated with increased urination. Because of the blood moving action and how it stimulates oxytocin production, this herb is generally contraindicated during pregnancy, but it is used in several formulas for postpartum conditions including abdominal pain after childbirth, delayed menses, and helping to clear the uterus postpartum.
Its action in the heart is reflected in its effects on calming heart rhythm, increasing circulation to the coronary artery, and decreasing blood viscosity and platelet aggregation rates. It can help lower blood pressure, relieve muscle spasms and neuralgias through the ability to increase blood flow through peripheral tissues and allow for better nourishment of the muscles.
It can be safely used as a single herb for tonic purposes and is traditionally combined with Dang Gui to help with postpartum recovery. The flavor is mild, and I recently combined some of the fresh aerial parts with mint, Jiao Gu Lian (a tonic and adaptogenic herb) with a little honey to make a lovely stress-buster tea that was both tasty and effective. I like to think of this tea as my own personal potion for recovery after a stressful day.
What would you call a potion to drink after a day spent slaying dragons? (or a mountain of paperwork at the office!)
As a single herb extract, it can be helpful for headaches, insomnia, vertigo and circulatory paresthesias. Sounds like a great potion for clearing the mind after exposure to evil spells by dark wizards (or that long commute that left you frazzled!).
We will have a dried version of this tea available for sale along with some of the single herb extract. I am looking forward to seeing what other formulas we can incorporate this lovely herb into!
The seeds are also used but considered more astringent and cooling for excessive uterine bleeding or red, painful, swollen eyes. More about those at a later time, so stay tuned...