The Enchanted Leaf

The World of Herbs: Medicinal, Magickal, Meliorative


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November: A Time of Transition

 

There was a time in my life when I dreaded the month of November. It seemed to me to be the most dreary of all months. Cloudy, leafless, normally there is a cold drizzle that is almost constant. As with many of my old beliefs, this one has also been cast aside. November didn’t change, I changed.

 

Let me urge you this November, if you are in a part of the world that has distinct seasons, to take a new look at this month. Yes, the brilliant colors of October are dulling. The cooler temperatures are driving us indoors. Aesthetically, November will always be a dreary looking month, but take a look at the deeper meaning of what is taking place. November is a wonderful time for transitioning into a better, happier life. For those who have just recently celebrated the turning of the Wheel on Halloween, this is the beginning of a new year. Now is the perfect time to do some soul searching.

 

The trees are releasing their hold on all of the old leaves. They are shaking off all of the things that they no longer need making way for the new that is to come. They stand naked in the cold drizzle showing their true form and allowing the rain to slowly, methodically wash away the dirt and grime of the past.

 

We, too, can take this time to shake off the old stuff that we may be holding on to. This could be anger, hurt, fear, or any other negative emotion that we hold dear. These are, more than likely, the things that are making us sick anyway. We can get rid of old things, also. Clean out closets and rid our physical life of the stuff that no longer serves us. Any time we have the courage to release old stuff, we are making room for new stuff. (And by stuff, I mean emotions, beliefs, habits, and, yes, stuff.)

 

As the trees of November shed their leaves and we see their true form, take some time to look inside. We can come to see our own true form as well. The first goal in Wicca is to ‘Know thyself’. This is a fine time to come to know who we really are. Each one of us has a responsibility to know who we are and what our place is on this Earth. Once that self knowledge is in place, we can truly fulfill our purpose and be happier than we ever thought possible.

 

Nature can teach us so many things about ourselves, listen closely to her wisdom.


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To Flu Shot or Not To Flu Shot: What Are Your Choices

It’s that time of year again! Flu vaccine season. Every drug store and many of the discount super stores have a promotion going for you to get your flu shot. Chances are your healthcare practitioner is also giving out flu shots like candy. That is, unless they are a holistic practitioner. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are offering flu vaccines to their workers. By offering, I mean using tactics that are bordering on bullying.

 

More recently, the Western medical community has turned to intimidation tactics by telling their workers that if they don’t get the flu shot, they will have to wear a mask. Ah well, my opinion is, if you don’t want the flu vaccine, wear the mask. It is your body. Flu vaccines are still a choice.

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What is a flu vaccine? Are there side effects?

 

The flu vaccine that is injected contains the dead virus. The vaccine that is administered as a nasal mist contains the live, weakened influenza virus. The type of flu vaccine that you receive will protect you against certain strains of influenza, not all strains. The strain of flu that is circulating in your area will, hopefully, match the flu vaccine you get.

 

Not everyone who gets a flu shot has side effects; however, it is important to know what they are so that you can make your decision for or against getting vaccinated. The side effects can be mild or severe, as with any medication. The mild side effects range from pain at the injection site to dizziness or headaches. The more severe side effects are allergic reactions such as, hives, swelling, inability to breathe to a neurological condition called Guillian-Barre Syndrome which requires hospitalization.

 

Natural Alternatives

 

Natural alternatives can be more effective than the main-stream flu vaccine. These alternatives target the total immune system, strengthening your body to fight off all viruses, not just influenza. These natural alternatives are also safe for those who cannot take the flu vaccine.

 

My own choices for the prevention of influenza are: echinacea tincture, elderberry syrup, and vitamin C rich foods. The echinacea tincture and elderberry syrup I make myself (and will soon be available in my Etsy shop, The Enchanted Leaf). I take one dose of each, twice daily just before and during flu season.

 

The vitamin C rich foods are a part of my everyday diet. Aside from the usual citrus fruits and juices,. Your choices can include: Peppers, both hot and sweet peppers are loaded with vitamin C. Kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are all rich with this immune system booster. If you want to add fruits, choose from kiwi, papaya, strawberries, cantaloupe, and guava.

 

Herbs can also add to your Vitamin C intake, just add parsley and thyme to the foods you already prepare. Rosehips are also loaded with Vitamin C, this makes a great relaxing and warming tea for those cold winter days (and nights).

 

You can guard against the flu without getting a flu shot or nasal mist. Although many flu vaccine proponents say that there is nothing really dangerous about the flu vaccine, you still have a choice. That choice does not have to include getting a shot or getting the flu. Now, for those who work in a healthcare environment, you may have the choice of getting the shot or wearing a mask. If you feel strongly about not putting the influenza virus into your system, put the mask on and take of your health naturally!