April 8th, 2014Artemisia

-Jo Franks

The International Herb Association has declared the genus Artemisia as herb of the year for 2014. There are 2 herbs from the Artemisia genus on the School of Natural Healings 100 herb list. Artemisia tridentate, whose common name is desert sage and Artemisia absinthium or wormwood.

Artemisia tridentate or desert sage is a plant that grows abundantly here in Utah. After a summer rain it fills the air with its pleasant aroma. It is used as a tonic and blood cleanser and to help to regulate female issues. The branches of this plant are bound together and used as smudge sticks to clear the air when burned.


Artemisia absinthium or wormwood is usually used in combination with other herbs. It will expel worms and is a good liver tonic and digestive aid. A tincture made from the fresh leaves makes a good liniment for sore muscles, sprains and bruises. The dried leaves have been hung in pantries and storage areas to keep bugs away.


Both of these herbs are very bitter. Use a teaspoon per cup of boiling water and steep for 30 minutes. A cold infusion is best when using desert sage. Leave to steep a few hours or overnight.


Jo Francks is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing. She is also a Holistic Iridologist and Quantum Touch practitioner. 


January 31st, 2014Digestive Fire

Dr. Christopher taught that to combat constipation and keep your bowels healthy, exercise is an essential part. On page 34 of Dr. Christopher’s Guide to Colon Health, he states:


The exercises that are of the greatest value in cases of constipation are those which bring into strong action the muscles of the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are generally weak and relaxed, and the intra-abdominal pressure is consequently low.

By appropriate exercise the weak muscles may be strengthened, the intra-abdominal pressure may be raised and the colon may be thus enabled to contract with sufficient impetus to expel it contents. 


I recently learned of a great exercise that will build the digestive fire, strengthen the abdominal muscles and keep your bowels moving. It is an Ayurveda technique called Agnisar Dhouti. In Sanskrit, agni means fire and dhouti means “to cleanse”. This technique only takes a minute or two a day and the benefits are great.  It creates purification of the bowels by increasing the movement of air in the fire region of the middle abdomen. It is a pumping action of the abdomen which is much like blowing into the firebox to intensify the combustion of the fire.


This technique is best done on an empty stomach early in the morning and ideally after the bowels have been emptied. A good goal is to strive for 30 pumps per round and to do 3 rounds.


So here is how to do it:


1-Stand with your legs slightly apart and knees bent. You may place your hands on your knees to support your torso. Your back should be straight and abdominal muscles relaxed.

2-Inhale deeply through your nose.

3-Exhale through your mouth, keeping your head slightly bent forward. Looking at your stomach.

4-Pull your stomach in and upwards.

5-Hold your breath and flap your abdomen back and forth (pull/relax; pull/relax) 10-12 times or as many times as you can while holding your breath, working up to the 30.

6-Release your stomach and inhale deeply. This is one round.

7-Breath normally until you feel rested and repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds


Some of the benefits of Agnisar Dhouti are stimulating the immune system, improving digestion, strengthening the abdominal organs such as the spleen, kidneys, liver and intestines. Plus it provides relief from chronic constipation. Little effort, big benefits! Give it a try and build the fire!


Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

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