19 January 2010

Herb of the Week: Angelica and a book review of Girls Gone Mild

Herb Of The Week: Angelica (Angelica Archangelica)

Parts Used: Leaves, roots, seeds, stems

Properties: Anti-inflammatory, aromatic, culinary, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic

About: Angelica is a plant rich in lore and traditions dating back far before the Christian world. Angelica’s ‘angelic’ powers were supposed to protect against witches and demons. I don’t know about that though . . . it hasn’t worked on my kids yet. o_O
Angelica has mostly been used for it’s effects on the respiratory tract. Coughs with excess phlegm are particularly helped, especially when noting the mild sedative and relaxing effect Angelica has on the body.

The upper section of the Angelica root is used primarily for building blood and is therefore an excellent treatment for anemics. Angelica has often been considered as the female ginseng due to it’s helpfulness with female reproductive problems of all sorts.

In cooking, Angelica lends a licorice flavor to whatever you are making, using usually the stems or leaves. Candied Angelica stems are a historical favorite and would make a unique treat for your friends and family.

Warnings: Angelica is not an herb to mess around with if you don’t know what you are doing. Not only is it easy to mistake it in the wild for the most certainly deadly Water Hemlock, but it also has been found to contain carcinogens.

The safety of Angelica has been compared by some botanists to the safety of coffee. However, a single 8oz cup of coffee has recently been found to contain as many carcinogens as an entire year’s worth of conventionally grown produce. Obviously if you buy organic coffee the amount of carcinogens will be less, but it isn’t just the pesticides that create this risk to your body: it is the roasting process.

Angelica is still considered safe by the FDA, but how much do we really trust those bozos, eh? So like drinking coffee, I advise using Angelica in moderation and for mostly medicinal purposes. Angelica won’t hurt you unless you take too much. I really don't think it's any more dangerous than comfrey (another maligned herb), but you need to know what you are doing and be 100% confident that you are wildcrafting the correct herb and using it in the correct dosages.

Dye Colors: Angelica stems and leaves produce a deep green dye if you use iron as the mordant.

Also, I want to remind everyone that Herbal Roots Magazine is a great resource for more herb knowledge, especially for children since that's who it's created for, but just fun herb knowledge in general. :)

Book Review: Girls Gone Mild - young women reclaim self-respect and find it's not bad to be good

I actually found this book by accident on Google Books. Wendy Shalit seems to be a woman after my own heart. She breaks down what the breakdown is in young women's lives. She also made me realize that more women feel as I do than I previously thought.

Wendy Shalit highlights the issue of young girls having sex and 'sexiness' shoved in their faces, as well as parents not understanding the line between adult and child. "Two women I interviewed had friends who photographed their baby daughters in bikinis, spread out on the hood of their car. They imagined that the adult pose was 'cute,' and they had brought the photos to work." 

I notice more and more little girls dressing provacatively. The parents not only allow this, but seem to encourage it as well by purchasing inappropriate toys and slinky clothes that would be out of place on a full grown woman in public.

Mrs. Shalit encourages modesty of dress in women in a time where I thought I was the only one. Through recent research I have found that there are MANY women who are taking back their bodies and their self-respect. There is an entire counter-movement against feminism and all it has destroyed. This book is a shining example; a beacon in the darkness of human repression through overt sexualization. "There is no longer any mystery or power to sex--it is just expected that everything will be sexual, and so nothing is. There is nothing to wait for, or to look forward to."

I liked this book because it helped me focus my thoughts on the matter of modesty and sexuality a bit more. People used to look forward to going on dates, stealing a kiss, getting married. I thought I was the only one who never went out on a date until I met my husband, but most apparently don't for a different reason. According to interviews Rolling Stone did with young college age women, a lot of young people don't date anymore, they just bed-hop. And many girls make themselves do it anyway because they think there's something wrong with them if they don't. I know I thought there was something wrong with me for years and years because I couldn't just kiss someone I didn't know, much less anything else!

Over the past few months, I've worried to myself about what sort of world my children are going into when they grow up. What kind of mate can my son expect to find? What sort of man will my daughter marry? Will my son be able to find a woman worthy of making his wife? Will my daughter ever find a real man out in the social jungle? Will everything I do for them be in vain? Will they still turn out just like everyone else?

The fact that there is an entire movement back to basic family values and a return to modesty relieves a lot of my worries. It helps me know that we aren't alone a single candle in the dark. If anyone who reads this is curious to read more or wants to know where they can join up with other people of a like mind, I have a couple of links below.

Peas and love,
Mrs. Yoder