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St. John’s Wort Oil 2012 an “Astrodynamic” Preparation

St. John’s Wort Oil

               Harvested and processed in small batches by hand according to traditionalAlchemical/Astrological methods

St John's Wort Oil 2010

St John’s Wort Oil 2010

Hypericum perforatum (bostryx)
Hypericum perforatum (bostryx) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. John’s Wort, A.K.A. Hypericum Perforatum, is a powerful medicinal herb found growing over most of the northern hemisphere. Besides its well-known anti-depressant properties, the oil extracted from its flowers is used externally as a potent wound healer, antibacterial, antiviral ,anti-inflammatory, analgesic,(pain reducer), and as a specific for healing nerve related problems.

  We have records of its use since before the times of ancient Greece by many cultures around the world. A traditional treatment for the pain of bursitis, sciatica, neuralgia and myalgia , it helps heal cuts and wounds in general, and specifically those in nerve rich areas of the body, such as broken or crushed hands or feet. I have come upon references to its ability to clean and heal dirty, festering sores and ulcers, while its well researched anti-inflammatory properties are known for treating sore or swollen joints, sprains,strains,rheumatism and arthritis
.Native St. John's Wort, Israel 2012
                                       In the Home
  In the home it finds a respectable place in the family first aid kit for minor burns, sunburn, dry, itchy and cracked skin, it is a traditional remedy for childhood earaches cuts and scrapes and is known as a soothing treatment for hemorrhoids, piles, caked or sore breasts.


English: A table on medical astrology. From an...English: A table on medical astrology. From an Icelandic manuscript, JS 392 8vo, written between 1747 and 1752. Now in the care of the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  Astrologically, St. John’s Wort is ruled by The Sun and the sign of Leo.

From an Astrodynamic perspective, the medicinal qualities of St. John,s Wort herb are at their peak when these two astrological influences are prominent and well placed. With an eye to the cycles and placement of the moon, these are the times we cultivate, harvest and process the plant.

Science can determine the chemical constituents in each plant, how they affect our bodies and to what degree they are present in the medicine we consume, but it has no methods yet of measuring the energetic qualities of Plants or how they affect us..

 What makes one product of excellent quality and another product with the same ingredients inferior?

When the sun, planets and moon were lined up nicely, the flowers were pounded by hand with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in one of the larger mortars. An antique from the early 1800′s made from Lignum Vitae, ( Wood of life).  A few liters at a time, packed into large glass vessels to bask in the sun for a “Philosophical month”. A method that after many hundreds of years still consistently yields exceptional results.  Most herbs will not tolerate that kind of direct exposure to the sunlight or the ongoing heat, but St. John’s Wort loves it! ( One way we can tell a plants real  affinities and qualities).

St. John's Wort Oil. Flowers macerating for a "Philosophical Month".

St. John’s Wort Oil. Flowers macerating for a “Philosophical Month”.

  Crystal clear, Ruby red, with a crisp, sharp, fresh fragrance. This years’ oil is a beautiful and potent extraction of the plants healing properties. I believe it is my best yet. Kept properly it will serve well for many years.
If you would like to purchase St. John’s Wort oil, or if you have any questions about it and any other items I make, click on the picture below. It will direct you to a page where I will be happy to answer your questions or arrange shipping some to you.

St. John's Wort oil an Astrodynamic preparation  2012 Harvest

St. John’s Wort oil an Astrodynamic preparation, 50 & 100 ML.
2012 Harvest

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 “As above, So below”

Flyer Apothecary's Garden 2012

Astrodynamics is a modern term coined for a method of working with plants and Astrology to refine the energetic and physical qualities of herbs and their products. It is a branch of Herbal Alchemy which seeks to sublimate and potentate plant qualities  by working in harmony with Nature . Its goal is to bring plant life to its fullest potential, or in other words to  transmute what is mundane to a higher form of itself. This is reflected in the well-known pursuit of mineral Alchemy,  transmuting  Lead to Gold.

According to Astrodynamics, each plants physical, energetic and therapeutic properties resemble and resonate with different astrological and Planetary bodies. Each plant is influenced by, or “Ruled by” a planet and/or Sign of the Zodiac and there is a resonance, a harmony and an affinity between them. These energies are at their peak in plant life when their ruling sign or planet is prominent or well aspected in the sky. When their ruling planets or signs are at an ebb or in conflict with other heavenly bodies, the corresponding qualities in their subjective herbs will also  be at an ebb. There are different influences that are considered in this approach to herbalism.

The symbols used in Western astrology to repre...
The symbols used in Western astrology to represent the astrological signs (Zodiac) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

-The natal chart which shows the Astrological positions, relationships and influences at each given moment.

-The position of the Moon, whether waxing or waning and in which sign of the Zodiac it is passing through.

-The day of the week, each is ruled by a different planet, as is each hour of the day.

-Care is also given to one’s intent and mindfulness in every step of the process. One cannot separate oneself from the equation or not influence the end product. Each species is accorded the respect and care due to a unique individual, not a commodity. Thus Astrodynamics is about the dynamics of relationships, the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things.

-My experience has shown, that growing, harvesting and processing plants, conscientiously while working with their rulerships and Astrological affinities in this manner, yields products of superior medicinal quality, colour, fragrance and extended shelf life.

The second place we utilize this knowledge is when the medicine is made. This is directed by the organ or area of the body the dis-ease is affecting. Each organ is “Governed” by its own astrological and planetary signs.

The body and organs are supported with herbs that have an affinity with them.   The  medicine is produced at a time these energies are at their peak. While the dis-ease is addressed with herbs that are astrologically opposite in their nature and energy.AG Flyer Inside 2013

These are some basic principles of Astrodynamics,Herbal Alchemy and Medicinal Astrology, in a nutshell.

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Frankincense Grinding me to a fine powder in an old brass mortar

 200 year old Brass mortar and pestle. Courtesy Bat Sheva Sharaabi.
200 year old Brass mortar and pestle. Courtesy Bat Sheva Sharaabi.

I have been a bad blog daddy and written nothing here for far too long. Besides my usual travails and struggles through the dark of the sun and dark of the moons that go with it yearly, I have spent too much time  (now almost 2 weeks!!), working on the Frankincense “anti-aging” crème, and trying to write a page about my St. John’s Wort Oil with an introduction to “Astrodynamics”. An attempt that recently led me to realize I must devote a separate post or page to each. Back to the drawing board again! Many many re-writes, but on the bright side, much material from which to draw on for a final draft.

The new batch of Frankincense crème is coming along. Smooth, creamy, fragrant and moisturizing beautifully. However, with it have come new challenges and tests. My vision for years has been to create a sublimated product from the whole Frankincense resin. Not just a crème that includes store-bought Frankincense essential oil, anyone can do that. I chose to pursue this first by creating a water/oil emulsion, a lotion, so I could fully utilize the resin, essential oils and the water based gum present in the crude tree sap.. This opened a new set of challenges and can of worms.

There are unavoidable consequences and requirements when it comes to supporting the water portion of any emulsion. It must be preserved in some way to keep, and be useful for an extended period of time.  As soon as one introduces water into a formula, one has created a perfect petri dish in the equation. There are many life forms competing for dominion over our little Frankincense pool, determined to fulfill their life mandate of self perpetuation and proliferation, that drastic measures are called for. Some of these visitors are benign and simply mar the look of the lotion through time, but some are quite scary and physically dangerous to us higher life forms.

frankincense tree
frankincense tree (Photo credit: Alexbip)

My hope was to use the naturally present essential oils and resins to preserve this creme, along with some natural antioxidants and skin nourishing oils that would keep the other oils from rancidity. Many of the healing ingredients in this crème are at the same time, anti-fungal, or anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti-oxidant,or anti viral, but the quantities needed for them to be functional full spectrum preservatives in a water based formula, makes them unsafe on the skin.

Frankincense tree (Oman)

If I reduce the proportion of water to resins and oils, (using only a very small amount of water to dissolve and incorporate the gum part of the frankincense), I may find a solution, but time is needed to explore this option. No quick answers here. There are some cosmetic cremes on the market that boast having no artificial preservatives, but I don’t know how  accurate their claims are. What length of shelf life they offer. Or  how they manage this. This too requires more research. ……Time.

My apologies to all my Guinea pigs waiting for this lotion here at home and abroad. I will indeed keep and test this water based Frankincense “anti-aging” Creme formula, but it will be with a minute percent of “Liquid Germall Plus” added to it for everyone’s safety until I can perfect a formula which requires no added “artificial” preservatives such as my regular oil/resin formulas. It is easily researched on the web for your own edification, and for those to whom 0.1%-0.5% is an acceptable amount to apply to their skin, I will happily deliver a quantity for their feedback.

Meanwhile I have separated gum, or water-soluble parts of some Frankincense and some Myrrh, and will use this pure oil/resin as a base for a water-less “serum”. I will continue working on it, and a lotion version that holds “less water”. Of course, I will let everyone know how they are coming.

,Thank You All for bearing with me!!

Call it working outside my comfort zone, exploring new territory, or call it growing pains, stretching my envelope, learning, or all the above really.

But in the end, it seems it is I that is being ground to a fine powder by the Frankincense!!  How cool is that!!!

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Frankincense “Rejuvenating” Creme

Frankincense Creme;

Frankincense  Creme; made from the whole sap. 12/12
Frankincense Creme; made from the whole sap.
After years of planning, research, trial and error, I have produced a Frankincense ( anti-aging, anti-wrinkle) crème I am happy with. , ( yes, yes, many wrinkles later!), Must have spent 40 hours the past 3 days adjusting, testing and readjusting the formula.. This does not include the hours of washing bottles, columns, pipettes, beakers and funnels, which will be an upcoming rant I look forward to.

Perhaps being born in the year of the Wood Horse, I feel an affinity with trees. I love working with saps and resins. I feel drawn to them. I resinate with them! Sadly they find little use in mainstream therapies and cosmetics.
In the field of Aromatherapy, Perfume, Herbalism and the Apothecary arts, essential oils are the mainstay and readily available. In the case of therapeutic and fragrant trees, essential oils are distilled and separated from the sap using steam or hot water while the gums and resins discarded. Most people consider these isolated essential oils the “essence” of the tree, the “quintessence”, not only from an aromatic point of view, but from a therapeutic point of view. However, the truth is, essential oils make up only a small part of the“medicine” these trees offer us.

Many trees produce sap in response to physical injury, an exudate that heals and protects their epidermis or “skin” after damage. Commercial methods of collecting fragrant resins incorporate slicing and damaging the trees bark regularly to stimulate ongoing production and a higher yield of sap for distilled essential oils..

When I first embarked on my journey as a young sculptor, it was with wood. I loved the smell and the texture of wood, how it flew from the knife, the gratifying sound and feel of a single shaving of wood as it yielded, curled, and parted from the blade was hypnotic. This is ingrained in my body memory. It is part of me. I love trees with a capital L. They have such distinct personalities.Try it. Stand under a tree, feel its presence, you will find it is distinctly different from any other tree. Especially from another species of tree. Be still. Listen. You will hear. Trees do indeed talk. It is only for our lack of listening skills we may not hear them. Honestly they talk. One eventually comes to the conclusion that there are different types of intelligence and consciousness in this world. With them, different languages and forms of communication. From the womb of Nature springs great diversity. Including the consciousness and intelligence of trees.
Gauging by my words I must admit I have a deep and intimate relationship with trees. So delving deeper into their mysteries., exploring their gifts and healing properties makes sense for me. A path and a passion. I have no choice. I am sap for trees.

About 15 years ago I created a chest and cough balm using saps from local Spruce and Fir trees. It was gentle enough for children, strong enough for adults. It had a very pleasant fragrance, uplifting and grounding and effectively dispelled coughs and phlegm. I make it to this day with little variation on the original recipe. It would not be the same if I had used carrier oils and waxes as a base, not saps. Even if I added the same essential oils it would be nothing like it or near as effective. Because, as in Nature, the essential oils are only a small part of the whole. Even though we can isolate individual chemical constituents, name them and assign them different healing effects on our bodies, they are not, in my opinion as effective as the, harmonious and integrated whole.
The sap of most fragrant trees is composed mainly of alcohol soluble resin and water soluble gum in a ratio of 80% to 95%.. Essential oils are present only in small quantities, from ,5%-20%., yet we consider them sole representatives of the tree. I am drawn to the under appreciated healing power of the saps. Gums, resins and all. There is a hidden gem here waiting to be shared.

In Herbal Alchemy nothing is lost. Even the “dross” is not discarded, but purified and added back in, keeping the integrity of the product while raising and sublimating the whole to a new level. When I think about trees and saps I get that archetypal feeling of a profound mystery waiting. Like having a treasure map that no one else has seen. An adventure that awaits, secrets waiting to be discovered. A feeling similar to the mystery and lure of Alchemy. There is something transcendent here. Something Hidden that asks to be brought to light. And as in Alchemy, we can take a thing that seems mundane, and with knowledge and “art”, work with Nature to sublimate it. Raise it to a higher level, a higher octave. Transform and transmute it. Then again, perhaps the real mystery is how we  are transformed, transmuted and sublimated by the process.. I am, after a long labour,I have delivered this Frankincense “rejuvenating” creme into the world. Lovely stuff!! Velvety and creamy, smells and feels heavenly on the skin. Leaves it soft and supple, protected. Its effects are immediately noticeable. Now it needs some long-term testing to prove itself. It is ready to be tested on humans before being offered to the public. Any takers?

Let me know.


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First Step Full Circle

I haven’t posted anything since the Scorpio New moon. I must admit it has been busy. Not only keeping to my list of items and obligations to “purge” this Scorpio Lunation, but also trying to keep to my goal of establishing a new incarnation of the business before the end of 2012. This meant weeks of collecting my old recipes, copy, labels and logos from the past decade and a half, taking the best of it all and synthesizing a functionality and look that would serve the best and longest.
Saturday I attended the “Crafternoon Delight”.
A small venue, a “popup shop” on Dundurn in Hamilton, occupying the space where Dell drugstore was before it changed to “Shoppers Drugmart” and moved across the street.
I was pleasantly shocked by the ratio of items sold to the number of attendees. Whether the demographics of attendees, the word of mouth nature of the advertizing, or some other factor, I sold much more than I anticipated from such a small venue. So after 16-17 years of refining and improving the effectiveness and quality of the products, it was very satisfying to find a tangible appreciation of my efforts.
My thanks to Lisa, who’s Aries fire helped me push through the challenges and who’s critical Rooster eye gave me the best possible choices in layout and proofing.
Thanks to Michelle and Joey for organizing the show and choosing accomplished and talented vendors, and to Gabriela who passed my name to the organizers.
A first physical manifestation, of a new incarnation, where all my study and practice, exploration and experience from years past come together on a new level. A first step in a new circle. Or more aptly put, a new round in a forward moving spiral.

First Show, sparse but effective.

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Sunday Labour

Last of the Calendula flowers taken down from the rafters, brittle dry and brilliantly orange.
“Ten thousand year old Tobacco,” rolled as tightly as juicy leaves would allow, now unfurls, light as a feather with paper rustling fragility of a fall wasps nest. Its delicate textures of leaf and stem, edged in greens and filled with mocha browns where slow drying has cured the leaf. The aroma of the cured Tobacco is rich, round and heavenly. How elegantly it lends itself to become the perfect snuff! A little dry flaky leaf rubbed between the fingers produces the finest sneezing powder, clearing the head, expelling mucus and waking a sluggish mind with a rush of oxygen.
Stored for a few days in a humidor it is ready to be rolled into cigarillos, cigars or cut for cigarettes,( which seems a crude and inelegant use when compared with the alternatives). I will probably flake some of the leaf to use in a burning/Smudge mix, and would love to make a perfume tincture from whatever is left over. My only concern with using the Tobacco leaf as a perfume ingredient is the possible toxicity of its Nicotine content absorbed through the skin. It is not something I can really measure with the equipment I have, or afford to have measured by a laboratory for such a small amount.
This Scorpio Lunation seems an appropriate time to pull down the rest of the herbs still drying, finish up any oils and tinctures still macerating, and tie up as many loose ends from this season. Freeing me up for the next stage in the cycle.
Today the Puffball Mushroom slices will come down from drying since it is monday. Probably shortly, seeing as dawn is almost upon me.
There are conflicting opinions as to which planets and signs “rule” Mushrooms in general. The Moon is my choice. With its cycles and mysteries, and after over twenty years of hunting, eating and using mushrooms for medicine, I cannot think of a planetary energy that they resonate with better than the moon.
Does working in harmony with these planetary energies really make a difference in the quality and effectiveness of herbal preparations? Or of food for that matter? This is a question each of us must ask ourselves. There is an abundance of information and knowledge to be gleaned online, but this is one of those subjective esoteric “mysteries” of life, where only from within can we know with any verity what is real. Where only our personal experience and intuition can give us the answers we seek. Finding our answers from within.
Perhaps it is at this point, we might find a balance between head and heart, Science and spirit, small self and higher SELF. Forge our own individual path through our perceptual limitations to a world much greater than what we have been lead to believe, add our expanded view of reality and higher vibrational rate to the planet, and perhaps find ourselves perceiving this world in a much different way. Closer to old and ancient friends and spirits, masters and guides, a little closer to a bigger world view, to our destinies and our reason for being with this planet.
Hokey, new age double talk? Or a new way of thinking of things?
Certainly food for a good thought.
Answers to important questions that no one outside ourselves can give us.


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Scorpio Lunation

Saturday night, the Crescent. Moon a bright, crisp golden sliver, hanging in the western night.
The symbolism. And meaning of this 29 .5 day period are more obscure to me than the other 11 Lunation cycles, and it would seem appropriately so.
The sign of the Zodiac, Scorpio represents mystery and that which is hidden. In ancient times ruled by Mars alone, planet of war, death and the mysteries beyond the grave that will always be speculations of the living, Scorpio has been given to the Planet Pluto since that planet’s discovery. Pluto is considered to signify the higher octave. Of Scorpio. Where Mars rules action, aggression and war, (and infers death and transition), Pluto is a symbol of death and Life. Old and young. Perhaps the mysteries that obscure our clear perception ,make us see those older or younger as different and seperate from us, removed from oneness, somehow different.and seperate from us in our perception. An odd thing that.
The time span of the Scorpio Lunation is one that recomends ” cleaning house”, purging the unneeded from our lives, eliminating the ” monkies from our backs”, those chores and obligations we have been putting off forever that weigh us down and distract us from our goals. It is a time to fine tune our focus. Perhaps with a metaphorical sword that the God Mars might weild to battle, slice away the the thought forms, relationships with things, attachements that we cling to. Some we drag with us through our days with a fear of letting go, and some we pile on our plate with a fear of what might happen when we discharge them.<h
So, in a way, the Scorpio Lunation cycle might present us with an opportunity to see what mysteries of self lie beyond our fears and self limiting choices. Perhaps a good time to cut unwanted habits from our lives, unhealthy relationships with things and with people. A time to take action while Mars lends us His weaponry and Pluto thins the veil of perception a bit to ease our trepidations of what might lie around the corner of self emancipation from our self chosen slavery.
On another note, The Apothecary’s Garden received its first fall cleanup on Saturday, there is perhaps a metaphor there, relating to the Scorpio presence. Dead growth cut back, all invasive seedlings that took root during the year were pulled so they wouldn’t crowd out the specimens we were nurturing. Tansy, Yarrow, Lemon Balm and Dandylion all thriving in the cooler weather and quietly establishing footholds in the garden, hoping to continue unnoticed. Till they become impossible to remove in the spring. Linda, Mary Louise, John and Jane, all giving there time to tend to the closing of the garden. Many thanks to you all!!
Looks like we will need one more push this coming Saturday to finish the job. Hopefully we will not be dealing with an unexpected blanket of snow.