This post will have two parts. We are approaching the time of year in which we are both looking back and trying to see the future. This is symbolized by the Roman deity Janus, one face that is old and the other young, looking opposite directions. This reminds me of the celebrations in Ecuador where the outgoing year is regarded as a widow and the incoming as a young woman . . . and men dress as widows or enticing young ladies, just once a year!
2020 will go down in history as the time when 194 countries almost simultaneously went certifiably insane. Many of you have been subscribers for decades, some all the way back to the mid- 1970s. It has been a sort of tradition for me to choose music from countries that were in the news, but I am going to break with tradition just a little. In short, I am not going to acknowledge the countries that, rightly or wrongly, have been most controversial, but rather the ones that have demonstrated more independence, starting with Taiwan. It has maintained its position. There have been seven reported deaths from the so-called epidemic. Last time I checked, there were six, all among people who had been abroad. I am not going to follow the story that closely now since you all know how to surf so you can follow up on whatever interests you. The first video selection involves traditional Taiwanese music played mainly on percussion instruments, sort of marimba-like.
Tanzania also broke ranks a bit, but I am nevertheless going to give the next honorable mention to Madagascar because they made their abundant herbal medicine available to everyone. The government distributed Artemisia annua for free to those with limited means and for a very small amount to others. They have had 261 deaths which represents a fatality rate of nine patients per million people, considerably higher than Taiwan and Tanzania, but still very low. The video I chose has wonderful scenes of exotic plants and animals as well as very interesting scenery. It makes me want to travel!
The third nod goes to Portugal, not for its success in managing the contagion but rather for being the first (so far as I know) to ban the PCR test since it was never intended as a reliable diagnostic approach and gives frequent false results.
The reason I post these links is partly to draw attention to parts of the world that are perhaps not covered by the press, but also to remind us of our diverse cultural traditions, something that is, for me, worth preserving. So far as the data and ongoing research is concerned, suffice it to say that I have managed to keep more or less up-to-date. I also continue to hope that sanity will prevail over what we have seen this year.
Risks and Survival
Health depends on a number of factors, and risk is, of course, one of them. Life styles are nearly as important as risks. What am I saying? There are people who live in areas with much more pollution and those who have relatively pristine circumstances. It’s obviously much more challenging to stay healthy if surrounded by health hazards, some of which are recognized and some that are probably not on the radar. Strategies are needed that counteract the risks. This is why life style matters. We have considerable control over what we eat and which habits we have that are counterproductive . . . and since the time for resolutions is near, I wanted to put this thought out there where it gets some attention.
There is another matter that is mostly overlooked even though I have occasionally mentioned it in posts about medical astrology. There is a system of tissue salts, sometimes called Schuessler cell salts that has been adapted to the Zodiac. The theory is that one has a lifetime tendency to use up the “salt” related to the sun sign, but there is a cyclical shortage ruled by Saturn. When Saturn was in Sagittarius, which rules silica, many people complained of hair loss or changes in the texture of their hair and nails as well as dental problems. There was also a global shortage of sand, beach sand, that is used for construction and the optics industry. Then, Saturn went into Capricorn which has an impact on how we utilize calcium. This is double trouble for the tissues that are associated with the fifth dhatu, called ashti dhatu: teeth, bones, cartilage, hair, nails, and dense tissues in general. Now, Saturn is in Aquarius which rules salt, sodium chloride. This means that over the next two plus years, people need to be careful about their intake of salt because electrolyte balance and all that is dependent upon electrolytes can become problematic. I have seen increases in demands for high quality salt as well as trace minerals in general, like shilajit.
2020 in Review
Everyone I know shares the view that 2020 has been a challenging year. We have each been impacted in slightly different ways. When looking for videos, I was searching predominately for dance music, but obviously, social distancing has drastically interfered with one of the ways we enjoy life. As with most of my colleagues, I don’t actually know many people who had anything remotely resembling “IT” but the pre-existing conditions often got worse, but, for some, they actually got better. People had more time for themselves, so it wasn’t all bad. How people and the various activities we used to regard as normal will recover is anyone’s guess. At my age, I don’t think I can earn enough to get out of the debt hole created in 2020. Others in the same boat probably feel that the boats are less seaworthy now than at the beginning of the year, but we will see. Everything depends on the decisions made for the future.
With the year almost over, I have tried to assess what was accomplished. I did as much as I could to empower others. For many people, the initial effort went into making occupied spaces safer. Some put their faith in ozone, some in UV light, and some in essential oils, an area in which I now have several decades of experience.
I posted do-it-yourself projects for making immune tonics as well as hand sanitizers and advocated for use of essential oils in all potentially contaminated spaces. In recent months, my graphics team made enormous improvements in the way some of my sites work as well as with new and wonderful labels for all the oils. That had been a stepchild. I hoped I could do this with a laser printer, but the labels have now been outsourced, and we are about 80% complete with the changes. Also, about 20 products have been added. Obviously, I started with immune and respiratory essential oils, but this has expanded to far more support for DIY projects, especially ones that require almost no time or effort but that can make a significant difference in breathing, mood, as well as hair growth and skin elasticity, i.e., reversal of aging. Essential oils are obviously made from plants, but these are grown all over the world. There are some from Paraguay, El Salvador, Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and France. . . to name a few and with airports shut down in many countries, 2020 was a rough year for both exporters and importers. For example, dozens of you wrote asking about blankets. I have almost no inventory, and the post office in Ecuador closed permanently. Airports were shut down entirely for many months. Today, I heard that I can get a shipment now if willing to use UPS. If you have been wanting blankets for yourself or as gifts, we are putting together an order now. It will come by UPS and arrive relatively fast.
I need to stay on track! However, with my strong interest in ethnobotany and traditional medicine, it was devastating to see world commerce shut down. For oils, many raw materials can only be harvested once a year. Lavender is a good example. It is distilled when the flowers are at their peak so there is a window of perhaps 2-3 days to cut, clean, and distill the lavender. Sometimes the distillation is done in another country. This is especially true of CO2 extractions. The plant material is often shipped to Germany, and some plants are distilled in France. Now, think of all the agricultural produce ready to export and no transportation. Many countries were entirely shut down so they could neither export nor import. It has been not simply a nightmare but exactly the reason I advocate so strongly for traditional guilds and community-based enterprises. For example, if the processing is done in the same community as where the plants are collected, the shelf life would be extended and crises such as we had in 2020 would not be quite so severe.
The New Products
As we know, understanding is a little bit like a plant. Botanical products need soil, nutrients, sunlight, and water. Then, they grow from seeds to lovely plants, anything from the little bacopa to the big neem. I mentioned these because they are the most novel of my new products. People have, of course, taken these two medicinal plants for millennia, but usually as powders, pastes, teas, tinctures, or “oils” in which the leaves were macerated and soaked in a carrier oil, like sesame oil. For example, the neem oil one generally uses for massage has been made from leaves that were cooked for three days in oil. I carry this form of neem oil as well as oil pressed from seeds, but the new one is made by cold pressing the leaves. No oil is added and the leaves are neither dried nor heated in any way. Neem is incredibly detoxifying and can be taken internally or used externally to treat wounds, skin diseases, and fungal infections.
Bacopa is produced in the same way, but from the leaves of a tiny plant, not a tree. It is called “Brahmi” but Gotu Kola is also “Brahmi” so we need to keep the plant identity clear. Both are important tonics for memory and anti-aging. Both of these oils can be taken internally in very small amounts or used in massage oils, lotions, shampoos, or medicated dressings for wounds. The question is then which oil to use as a carrier, and I have added seven to our product line, two have been there for a while, almond and jojoba, but now there are more, including apricot kernel, marula, tamanu, neem seed (not leaf), and andiroba. Most oils are pressed from seeds or nuts, not leaves. You choose your carrier oil based on your specific concerns: wrinkles, scars, open wounds, itchiness, age spots, and then add the essential oil to the base. It can be a simple as removing the cap on your shampoo bottle and adding 8-12 drops of oil to the shampoo.
You know I am curious . . . and sometimes one experiment leads to another and another. For instance, if you read the literature on swishing, it has all kinds of warnings about how toxic the oil is and what to do with it. I decided to spit some into a clean spice jar. Years passed, absolutely nothing grew. I tried all kind of oils: pumpkin coconut, sesame, sunflower, and ghee. but the oils obviously inhibit growth since we can be sure my mouth could not have been 100% germ free because I swished before brushing my teeth or rinsing my mouth.
The other additions to the product line reflect my evolving passion for CO2 extracts. These are made using carbon dioxide and pressure and then the pressure is released without leaving a trace so it is a preferable process as compared to using solvents and then trying to remove toxic substances such as hexane. What is the point here? Unlike herbal preparations such as tea, a water extraction, or tinctures, an alcohol extraction, or an essential oil which captures the water soluble volatile oils, CO2 extractions contain the entire plant material. The best example of this is one of my new favorites: Cinnamon but not the zeylanicum that we all know but the burmanii which is super delicious. Just a tiny bit is an inhibitor of microbial and fungal growth. How experimental am I. Well, here is an example. I put some “food” into a sealed jar and waited for it to become hairy and gross. Then, I add an oil, like clove oil. What happens? All the fungi disappear in minutes with just a tiny bit of oil. This is great for dental products and all kinds of other issues, but then I will keep reading. For instance, Rhatany not only is used in Peru to clean the teeth, but to restore whiteness. So I tested it and the result is phenomenal.
I first heard about CO2 extractions in my Santa Fe days. A British expert in aromatherapy told me that calendula is used for race horses after racing when the horses are still in shocking condition after pushing their limits. Calendula was used on open wounds for cancer treatment by Dr. John Pattison whose methods I discussed in my book. So, I made a Calendula Creme as well as an anti-scarring creme, Feathered Turtle, using C02 extracts. They used to be horribly expensive but with the legalization of MJ, smaller presses hit the market so that much less investment is needed to process plants so these “super critical extractions”; and they have come way down in price and lots more plants are being extracted using CO2. I probably have a dozen of them on my site. Most are made from fruits, like sea buckthorn or schisandra, or seeds like chia, or bark like some cinnamon products. Of course, resins, wood, flowers, and roots can also be used.
This is not a complete list of the new products, but I invite you to visit Bioethika Oils and have a look around. We are on the home stretch. When something is available in multiple forms, these are now grouped. For example, there are three species of frankincense: carterii, rivae, and serrata. The carterii is available as a CO2 extract or steam distilled oil. Likewise, there are now two different types of orange essential oil, Sweet Orange and Blood Orange. They have the same botanical name but are very different. There is another new citrus oil, Yuzu, and it is truly heavenly, definitely a cut above the crowd, better even than bergamot . . . in my opinion and oils not only differ in certification and methods of distillation, such as cold pressed versus steam distilled, but aromas appeal to people in different ways, kind of like pheromones so what turns on one person may not have the same effect on another . . . and if you apply an oil to the skin, the aroma differs from person to person based on the person’s chemistry. It’s all quite magical, but I am interested in healing, not perfumes, so I carry only oils that have known benefits.
This turned out to be much longer than expected but it might be the last until New Year’s Eve. Wishing you all a safe holiday season and a truly wonderful 2021.
First posted to subscribers on 29 December 2020
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2020
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