By Abbie White
Yesterday I went to a monthly meeting for the Herbal Community of Central Massachusetts. New and old members were present. We participated in a discussion about heart healthy herbs.
Let’s begin with this being my 60th Birthday. Looking back, I am amazed and profoundly grateful to have reached this major milestone. I am thankful for my loving family, caring friends, and vibrant communities for making my world beautiful. HCOCM has a special place in my heart. I was strongly reminded of meaningful connections with other Herbies yesterday.
Mary talked about hibiscus and circulated a jar of dried flowers for viewing. Mary’s handout explained the many benefits of hibiscus and defined some Ayurveda terms. Beth contributed a strong herbal tea made with a slow cooker. I recall a list that included green cardamom, all spice, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. We tasted delicious cookies made with almond meal and home grown rose petals made by Diane. Sharyn talked about arjuna. I made the mistake of consuming a teaspoon of her powder. The bitterness and texture was awful. I exited and rushed to the nearest sink to flush out my mouth with lots of water. Another member talked about the labor-intensive process of cleaning rosehips for salves. Discussion went to cardiac care for dogs with wondering if hawthorn was safe. Denise talked about linden. Carla shared her personal experiences with growing and using motherwort.
I shared my heart healthy hot beverage. Several times a week I combine in a gallon jar two cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise, a small handful of my own dried foraged nettle, and one-quarter cup of dried foraged elderflower. I pour boiling water over the herbs and let steep for an hour. I do not strain this tea. As variations I often add sliced gingerroot, dried mint, linden flower, linden leaf, tulsi, and/or a couple of cloves. I bring this tea in a thermos for commuting. Interestingly, people ask often what sweetener I use. Many cinnamon sticks contain sap that is strong enough to sweeten the entire gallon of tea.
I went to the meeting with the intention of not getting a tattoo. I have no permanent tattoos. I am proud of my husband and two sons for being free of body art. I am in dismay that many people prioritize going to a tattoo parlor over more important spending such as eating healthy foods and health care.
I listened with fascination as Mandy described the practice of certified henna. I did not know that the genuine ink was made from ground up leaves. I became eager for this authentic experience.
Sharyn’s daughter Stacy was the second person to eagerly sit for a tattoo. I asked why her mother was not taking photos. She replied that her cell phone had died. I realized that I had an obligation to capture this moment of teenage joy. I stepped into action and left with 75 images to sort through today. As I took the photos, I really came to appreciate Mandy’s love of her craft.
After Stacy, I quickly sat down with Mandy and asked Sharyn to take my phone. I requested Mandy create an image to reflect heart inspiration. I love this large tattoo on my left arm and hand. The ink has a lovely clove scent. The sparkles at the end added a nice touch.
Mandy is a joy to be with for a henna tattoo experience. She loves her craft with a passion. She is quick and skillful with her art. Monthly, Mandy volunteers at the to The Healing Garden in Harvard MA. She offers henna crowns for chemo patients.
Having a henna tattoo with Mandy is a wonderful experience. She demonstrates admirable artistic skill. Her process is very quick. My ink was infused with a delightful clove scent that lasted the rest of the afternoon. The added sparkles lifted my mood. I applaud Mandy for being an ethical henna practioner. She makes her own henna from high quality ingredients.
Notice the huge smiles matching the large tattoos in these photos! https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMbnjhPGhEIyXjOPTaKshTRnO4ONBkD6j-5RD2ic5qVHu_EdPYOpIJm6t-Dvh09Xw?key=bldWM2VQQmVZSjdmQ2x0ZlFmdTdVVjhyVjJsVC1n
I hope you will all enjoy the photos of our henna tattoo activity. Sharyn and I captured the joy and fun of this event. The room was chilly. However, our joyful hearts, smiles, and laughter kept us all warm.