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Special Feature: 'The bond between humans and plants' | Herb: Sarsaparilla

Special Feature: 'The bond between humans and plants' | Herb: Sarsaparilla

Special Feature
The spiritual relationship between humans and plants
Gratitude to Plants who transform light for human healing

TINDERBOX cherishes the spiritual relationship between humans and plants and invites you to begin the New Year with a whole new respect for plants and our intrinsic dependence on them.
Let us seriously resolve to integrate them more meaningfully into our lives by being more cognisant and receptive of how they can nourish and heal our human body.
The universe vibrates with cosmic forces, and it is the plants that absorb these forces in the form of light and transforming them into life.
Light becomes matter and richly nourishing food and medicine.
Consider how plants led organisms onto land from the sea some 400 to 450 million years ago, developing from a single algae lineage. Their evolution has continued, with plants becoming 99 per cent of all living organisms on Earth.
Every life form on the planet is here because a plant has the unique ability to capture sunlight, using this energy to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The extracted carbon dioxide is then combined with hydrogen and oxygen from water to form sugars that help make up the plant’s leaves, stalks, roots, seeds and flowers, all of which contain starch, fat and proteins.
We humans cannot create the tissue that makes up our bones, organs and flesh directly from sunlight, water and air. Plants, however, can create their bodies from these elements; this makes us completely dependent on plants for our very existence.
All our food comes from plants, or from animals that ate plants. Animals have recourse to herbs, seeking out by instinct the grasses and weeds they need.
This is also the human relationship to plants throughout the history of our existence; though sadly now this inherent ability lies dormant, unawakened.
Our undeniable symbiotic relationship with plants
Plants and people have an undeniable symbiotic relationship as they provide us with our very breath, creating almost all oxygen on this planet through photosynthesis.
Oxygen needs chlorophyll for its production; as we must also have chlorophyll for haemoglobin to carry out its function. Our by-product of respiration is carbon dioxide, which plants need to live, although plants would still have enough carbon dioxide to survive without us.
Indigenous healers and shamans have known since antiquity that plants possess a spirit essence that can communicate through light, sound and vibration and join with human intelligence to bring about profound healing.
This takes us beyond mere symptomatic treatment to aligning us with the vast web of nature.
Plants are more than their chemical constituents; they are intelligent beings that have the ability to raise consciousness to a level where true healing can take place.
As plants transform life through photosynthesis, humans transform life into consciousness through perception. The human grows towards the light and becomes the plant of consciousness.
Plants can awaken the human being to the cosmic intelligence that pervades all life as they belong to time and the cosmos in a way that is unique to the vegetable world.
Nourishment and energy
Nourishment for plant growth may come from earth, air and water; but the energy for their growth comes from the sun, moon and stars.
Whereas humankind and much of the animal kingdom seeks shelter at night, plants lie directly under the night sky so that their life rhythms are also mysteriously connected to cosmic time.
Daytime is solar, as in the yearly cycle, and monthly cycles are lunar. The moon controls the rising and falling levels of sap and water. Earth- rooted plants reach ever upwards, mirroring the aspiration of ascent and the marriage of earth and sky.
We have an indissoluble link with the plant world because we are vitally dependant on it for survival and always have been.
When we are close to nature, the feeling that nature is a living being full of won- drous powers in inescapable.
When we begin to work with plants, this connection to the original source of vitality and health is restored and we discover that plants can be our healers and teachers, offering us their inherent intelligence and healing power.
We need only be open to this precious connection as our natural birthright.

What Herb is That?
Old-fashioned herb enjoying come-back

SARSAPARILLA root has a spicy sweet fragrance and a pleasant taste that was prized by indigenous South American tribes for centuries as a general tonic; especially for sexual impotence, rheumatism and skin ailments.
The name sarsaparilla is derived from two Spanish words, sarza, meaning "bramble" and parilla, meaning, "vine." European traders learned of it and introduced it into their culture in the 1400s, where it became a cure for syphilis and physicians prescribed it as a blood purifier, diuretic and diaphoretic.
Sarsaparilla has gained much popularity as a medicinal herb and was registered in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a syphilis treatment from 1820 to 1910.
In Mexico it is still used as a tonic and aphrodisiac. Sarsaparilla was once a key ingredient in root beer and other beverages, included for its foaming properties. Often sarsaparilla was the option for those abstaining from alcohol.
It enjoyed popularity a while ago by gym enthusiasts as it was believed to increase lean body mass and boost stamina and energy. This use was endorsed by many body-builders who considered sarsaparilla helped to build muscle mass, while avoiding the harmful side effects of anabolic steroids.
Nowadays it may be found in herbal teas, a great addition due to its rich vanilla-like flavour.
Sarsaparilla is a wonderful aromatic root tonic that is an effective alterative, meaning it acts intrinsically as a cleanser or blood purifier, especially targeting the urinary system, liver and gallbladder. This makes sarsaparilla a widely applicable herb to aid proper functioning of the body as a whole and certainly in the correction of such systemic problems as skin and rheumatic conditions.
Scaly skin conditions such as psoriasis, with much irritation, respond very well to treatments containing sarsaparilla. Combine this herb with yellow dock and burdock to treat such ailments.

DECOCTION: put 1-2 teaspoons of sarsaparilla root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times a day.

Sarsaparilla attacks and neutralises toxins and is especially good for removing heavy metallic contaminants from the blood, including environmental poisons. The herb exhibits diaphoretic properties, which promote urination and sweating; actions that further aid elimination of toxins through bodily secretions and cool the body during fevers.
As an antibacterial, sarsaparilla may be used internally and externally to counteract a variety of infections, including urinary tract infections.
The herb is topically applied to treat psoriasis, leprosy, boils, abscesses, skin diseases, wounds and eczema. For centuries sarsaparilla was justifiably a key treatment for syphilis, gonorrhoea and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Sarsaparilla contains vitamins A, B-complex, C and D and the amino acids methionine and cysteine. It is very rich in trace minerals, primarily selenium and zinc, as well as iron, manganese, sodium, silicon, sulphur, copper and iodine.
Such elements make the herb a balancer of the glandular system and a strengthener to the nerve fibres and tissues of the brain, spinal cord, lungs, and throat. The roots are rich in steroidal saponins that provide the building blocks necessary for the body to produce steroidal hormones.
It contains diogenin, a saprogen that in turn contains the female hormone progesterone and the male hormone testosterone, which can restore both sexual interest and erectile function. It is a boost to the female sex drive and helpful to lessen menopausal symptoms.
Sarsaparilla is said to help hair regrow and enhance vision. As a hormone enhancing treatment, include sarsaparilla with liquorice, ginseng and wild yam for excellent results.
Athletes can benefit from regular use of this muscle-building herb, which boosts energy and stamina while easing the inflammatory conditions brought about by strenuous exercise.
Sarsaparilla does help to ease inflammatory conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis; and its diuretic properties encourage the excretion of uric acid to relieve gout.

Fact File
Name: Sarsaparilla
Latin name:  Smilax officinalis
Family: Smilacaceae
What is it? It is a perennial vine that grows in the rain forest. It has a long tuberous root and an evergreen vine that can reach up to 15m in length. The parts used are the bark and rhizomes, which can be unearthed throughout the year.
Origins: Sarsaparilla is native to South and Central America, along with many islands in the Caribbean. There are many different species throughout the temperate and tropical areas of the world, including India and parts of China. It is commercially cultivated in Central America.
Therapeutic Properties: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, tonic, alterative (blood purifier) diuretic, anti-rheumatic, aphrodisiac, immuno-stimulant, diaphoretic
Indications: Psoriasis, skin ailments, arthritis, rheumatism, hormonal imbalances, low energy, poor elimination and sluggish liver. Improves appetite and digestion.

Yoga Workshop
Presented by Tinderbox
Identify your Divine Self

EXPLORE the sensory path of Yoga in an exclusive weekend retreat hosted by Tinderbox on 16-18 March 2012 in Balingup, Western Australia, about three hours south of Perth.
Yoga: The Sensual Journey explores the fascinating fusion of aromatherapy and Yoga to awaken your true nature and realise your real potential.
This will be a fun weekend filled with yoga meditation, asana and philosophy; all infused with pure plant scent, transporting you to a more centred place of well-being.  We hope to inspire you towards a deeper practice and ultimately illuminate the inner path to transcendence. For further information phone 08 9764 1034 or email tinderbox@tinderbox.com.au.

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