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Where does the time go! Summer is already here!

We’re at the halfway mark of 2021. Isn’t that crazy?

The Summer Solstice is two days away, and here are some things that are nurturing and energizing me right now:

My gardens

Every morning I spend time with my plants talking with them, watering, pruning, observing their growth and examining all their parts for any sign of pests—I see you aphids, millipedes, and Japanese Beetles (see rid-safe recipe further in the post)—nothing energizes me more and gets me ready for the day ahead!

Everything this season seems to be blooming all at once? Doesn’t it?

It was only yesterday that my tulips, bearded Irises and sunny yellow chuckle patch of Coreopsis were showing off and poof they’re gone. My curious Clematis continue meandering up and around their trellises, Calendula’s are popping their bright orange and yellow heads, left and right in every nook and cranny, shy Chamomile’s quietly sleep, with their petals lowered till the sun comes over and perks them right up! Miss Salvia with her majestic purple spires sprawling herself across her new neighbors: Holy Basil (Tulsi), Hyssop and Lovage. And the irresistible sweet scent of my crimson-colored roses is divine! Now that’s aromatherapy in action!

My First Guest Podcast Appearance

Speaking of aromatherapy, just this week I was a guest on Amy Anthony’s podcast Essential Aromatica. She’s a wonderful human, certified aromatherapist, podcaster, instructor and founder of nycaromatica where she produces the podcast and offers many free online classes. Tune in to this episode on her site or on ApplePodcast, GooglePodcast and Spotify.

It was a fun, energizing time talking about everything aromatics—beyond the bottle and diffusing—how my practice started and how accessible aromatics are to you and me, why it matters, and how we are already experiencing aromatherapy on a daily basis right in our kitchen!

If you’re like me, I love experimenting and creating in my kitchen with herb and spice mixtures: for rubs, marinades, dressings, sofrito, pestos, soups, sauces, spiced honey and remedies to calm all sorts of discomforts like menopause, what got me started practicing in the first place.

For me there’s synergy between cooking and formulating with herbal aromatics both at home and at Botanicaromatica taking safety measures into account of course. Aromatics often call to me to add a bit of this and little of that. Just the scent alone, while it all comes together, works wonders on the mind, body and spirit! Think slow-cooked pasta sauce, freshly baked cookies or simply peeling an orange.

Herbal Infusions, Macerations and Tinctures

I’ve also been experimenting with herbal and flower infusions and macerations (steeping plant material in a glass-covered jar, in the sun for a few weeks) for tinctures, herbal infused oils and spicy hot honey:

  1. Cilantro is macerating in virgin olive oil for 4 weeks now. It’s ready to decant, strain, rebottle and use. Cilantro is high in micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins A, B2 and C. It contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Can be useful in helping the body rid itself of heavy metals and production of oxidative stress. A great herb for cooking. Virgin Olive Oil is a healthy fat and contains polyphenols (antioxidants) and is rich in alpha-linolenic acid with many researched health benefits.

  2. Honey Suckle flowers infusing in raw apple cider vinegar and goldenrod honey, from the apiary up the road, to be strained, rebottle and double infused into a fire cider, and a batch in Calendula oil also ready to strain, rebottle and use as natural perfume. Honey Suckle contains antioxidants with astringent, antibacterial properties and its scent resembles Jasmine. Can be useful in modulating inflammation, in oral health and as a natural perfume. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar contains amino acids and antioxidants with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Raw Honey also contains phytonutrients, antibacterial and antifungal properties useful in wound healing. Calendula oil is rich in complex fatty acids, antioxidant carotenoids and flavenoids useful in skincare. Golden Rod also contains polyphenols is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and may be useful in digestion, skin, musculoskeletal and urinary conditions.

  3. Stinging Nettles infusing in Vodka for a tincture, as an addition to a client's signature support system to help calm seasonal allergies. It has 6 more weeks to go. Stinging Nettles is a powerhouse herb. It contains Vitamins A, C, K and several B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium phosphorus, potassium and sodium, healthy fats, amino acids, polyphenols and beta-carotene to name a few. Its antioxidant, antimicrobial, astringent and analgesic properties have many benefits one of which is allergy relief, 'tis the season.

I’ve also been experimenting with herbal and flower infusions and macerations (steeping plant material in a glass-covered jar, in the sun for a few weeks) for tinctures, herbal infused oils and spicy hot honey

My Clinical Aromatherapy Certification

The month of June, especially right around this time, always excites for the warm long sunny days ahead, full of life all around and the opportunity to renew and replenish our mind, body and spirit. It also reminds me of how far I’ve come from taking my first official aromatherapy course—hydrosol distillation in the middle of the East Village crossing straight right thru the LGBTQ parade (what an awesome fun day!), to writing this piece for you today.

This is why this year’s Summer Solstice in particular is special to me. It marks a new chapter a new beginning of brighter days ahead.

As you know I’m a life-long learner and never stop learning something new!

After obtaining my certified aromatherapy practitioner certification at The School of Aromatic Studies last year, encouraged by my friend Molly Graze of Mollycat Mosaics, every day I’m getting one step closer to my set intention of obtaining my clinical aromatherapy certification by the end of the Summer. It’s taking me a bit longer than expected, but what hasn't these days. Then it’s onward to continuing my herbalism studies and realizing my dream of offering you a true holistic immersive experience and a softer place to land. More on that as it starts coming together.

Shhh! There are clues in the podcast so tune in!

In the meantime, let’s continue enjoying the energy of plants, their healing goodness, each other and longer warmer days ahead, savoring every moment one aromatic day at a time.

Looking forward to steeping moon tea outdoors in its path on Sunday night and for my summer beauties to bloom: Lavender, St. John’s Wort and Echinacea all showing signs of growth.

I’ll be sharing them with you soon!

This time of year is truly energizing! Isn’t it?

What’s energizing and nurturing you this June?


Gardening Tips

To safely get rid of aphids, millipedes and to deter Japanese Beetles:

First, spray plants briskly with a garden hose, then add 1.5 teaspoons of unscented Castile soap to 30 oz. of distilled water in a spray bottle and spray critters every couple of days for two weeks until they are completely gone.

Keep an eye on the plants and rinse and repeat as needed.

To safely discourage larger critters nibbling on your prized plants drizzle garlic oil around their parameter, once every week or so, depending on the rainfall. Keep an eye on the plants and rinse and repeat as needed.