Remedies for body and mind

Winter often gives us one last kick to the can of our physical health before the warmer weather establishes. Most of us have go-to herbs or vitamins or methods that we use at the first, littlest symptom of a germ or virus trying to find habitat in our body. Pau D’Arco is mine.

It is in my suitcase, my carry-on (under 3 oz.), and on my kitchen counter with the daily supplements. Pau D’Arco is a Peruvian herb. One can take it by tincture or brew a tea from the bark. I use the non-alcohol based tincture.

At first hint of something off with my body, three droppers of the tincture every 2 to 3 hours is the action. That is maintained for three days, even if symptoms decrease or disappear in less days. I don’t wake up specifically to take it, but have the night time dose when Mother Nature calls from the bathroom.

I have used Pau D’Arco for about ten years and have used the non-alcohol tincture from Botanic Choice (online vendor) the whole time. When in a pinch, Natural Grocers also has a non-alcohol brand. Whole Foods tends to have alcohol-based. Why non-alcohol? It is quite palatable; the alcohol-based tincture is very caustic to the mouth and tastes terrible. Yes, alcohol tinctures are slightly more potent than glycerin based ones, but if you can’t get it down, that small gain in potency is no gain. And, if one is offering herbal tinctures to children, definitely non-alcohol based for this reason.

Here’s a link to the product I use. I always have an extra bottle on hand. It is often given out to friends and family as well.

One’s mind is probably the most faithful prophylactic there is. A non-stressed mind supports a non-stressed body, thus supports well-being. Humanity and the world are sorting of a variety of causes and conditions. We and Mother Earth will be doing so for some time. But one thing I know is that we are all connected in every way seen and unseen, recognized and yet so. As such, my state of emotions and mind are not only important to me but to those around me and those far away. So, in addition to my daily meditation practice inclusive of its prayerfulness for the illumination of truth and truth of being, the documentaries listed below lift my spirits when the psychic currents of humanity around the world are those of despair and fear. Yes, I do this for me, but we are all connected! I trust that someone somewhere feels the buoyancy and is helped in their situation or through their day. I trust that because it happens with me some days.

Music documentaries
I’ve gone back to music that had social meaning and the people who were making it, as well as to music as an instrument of unanimity. My choices of documentary are admittedly narrow. But maybe this short list will inspire others to investigate music from other parts of the world.

American Epic: This series originally played on PBS several years ago. It was produced by Jack White, T Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford. Current musicians where brought into a one-room studio with one mike from early 1900’s to record songs originally recorded on wax discs. Each episode provides music according to the part of the country and type of music being recorded back then, but now being freshly performed. This includes the first Cajun song recorded, the first Hawaiian songs and the first time steel guitar was heard on continental America, as well as the first recordings of Native songs. Of course, there are the songs of Appalachia and the Ozarks, too.

The Rolling Thunder Revue: Martin Scorsese has made more than one music documentary. This is one. The Rolling Thunder Review was a creation of Bob Dylan together with a group of artists. Dylan’s music is timeless, like Shakespeare’s plays. The performances of songs like “A Hard Rain” made me cry with how prescient he was. Dylan saw then (60’s-80’s) the soul of America and the ways that we obstruct it. This documentary was riveting for the music and him as a masked truth-teller, as well as the ideal of small-town, small venue performances which Dylan preferred post Newport Jazz festival and the Albert Hall in London.

20 Feet from Stardom: If you haven’t see this one yet, or haven’t rewatched it in a while, my goodness, get your dancing shoes on and play it loud!

The Wrecking Crew: Another documentary about the people who made music possible: studio musicians. This collection of musicians played behind numerous male and female artists through the 60’s and 70’s. Great music, all done without race as a consideration.

Then, of course, there is Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads) and The Last Waltz (The Band).

Permaculture and Earth’s Renewal
Now that I’ve moved to southern Colorado where it’s high (7800ft) and dry (semi-desert), my love of gardening has become an inspiration to renew and rebuild the soil in my small back yard in way that leaves it regenerating itself annually, growing fruits and nuts, and doing so with moderate to minimal water use.

YouTube is such a great resource! Many documentaries are posted there and, if not, I’m happy to support a small film company through the purchase of their film.

On YouTube, check out the channel for Happen Films. It’s an Aussie film company and the examples of the full-length documentaries are also in Australia. But dry is dry where I live! I’ve learned a lot from these films but, more important, it is so cool to see what is being done to renew Mother Earth in other parts of the world. I know I can do it here. The principles of permaculture are few and basic. The distinctions of what plants to plant  where is unique to your environment. There lies particular research and working with those in the know.

Dirt, the Movie: This documentary talks to medium to large scale farmers all over America who understand that one is not really growing crop, one is growing soil in order to grow crop. Fascinating to listen to these farmers champion cover crops, no-till, and restoration of bio-diversity within their soil as methods that brought their farms back from financial hardship.

Green Gold, a documentary by John D. Liu. Amazing, again! Watch how people with pics and shovels in China remake a vast devastated landscape, devastated by centuries of human overuse. He, then, takes his camera and principles to other areas in the world.

The Biggest Little Farm is sooo inspiring. If you have not seen it, do. This one has to be rented for $3.99.

About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

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