C is for…..
…Cornwall. When you come back into the county, do you instinctively know you are home by a certain aroma in the air? From the age of two I came to Cornwall on holiday with the whole family. And even then I didn’t have to ask .. ‘Are we there yet’ because I always knew when we were close to Mullion by a distinct, natural scent.
Up until last year I thought it was just that the cut grass in Cornwall was different from that of other counties but then on the Cornish coastal path I had an ‘epiphany’! I had just been enjoying the familiarity of this aroma from the grass on the south coast when I happened to have a different type of tea at a local café… it was Chamomile. Fig1 Ahh, the Teapig’s bag of whole chamomile flowers sent me straight back to those care-free childhood days. I wonder if that is why chamomile is a popular essential oil for child ailments. Do you remember the story of a sickened Peter Rabbit returning home and immediately bedridden by his mother with only a supper of chamomile tea? Happy days!
Through the years, Chamomile has been widely used to treat inflammations of the skin and various bacterial infections of the gums, skin and respiratory tract. As a tea, it was frequently used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety, to treat hysteria, nightmares, insomnia and other sleep problems. Chamomile has been valued as a digestive relaxant and has been used to treat various gastrointestinal conditions as mentioned above and used to treat colic, croup, and fevers in children.
More recently exciting studies on preclinical models of skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer have shown its promising growth inhibitory effects. A study showed Chamomile extracts caused minimal growth inhibitory effects on normal cells but showed significant reductions in cell viability in various human cancer cells. So it is easy to see how this herbal medicine from the past has a bright future. If you are considering using Chamomile as a remedy please be sure to ask your doctor and herbalist for advice first.
Another popular oil and most loved by our local medical herbalist and skin expert Dr Spiezia is Calendula. Dr Mariano Spiezia who graduated in Medicine and Surgery in Italy in the early 1980s, and has since worked on combining orthodox medicine with the extraordinary power of nature.
He can be found working in his laboratory on the Helford where he meticulously researches and formulates extraordinary 100% organic skincare elixirs. Effective, healing skin balms have been created based on a perfect synergy of chemistry and medical herbalism with one very important X-factor his sheer, exuberant love of life and curiosity for the kingdom of plants that makes him a charismatic and compelling innovator.
Dr Spiezia explains how he can’t pass by a beautiful orange calendula flower in the wild without taking a double look. Like the sunflower it is characterised by its ability to follow the sun; reminding him of the Egyptian god RA, the God of sun. This colour links with the 3rd Chakra called Solar Plexus (again related to the sun), the centre of our energy and power in the human body. The exuberant colour is a reminder of how calendula is rich in carotenoids (yellow-orange pigments) that are antioxidants, with anti-free radical activity and therefore fabulous for anti-aging and as an essential oil is beneficial for the healing action especially of the skin.
At Inlight, Dr Spiezia’s company they infuse organic calendula flowers in organic extra virgin olive oil to produce their “extraordinary herbal oils”, they thoroughly enjoy watching the changes in colour of the oil and attending to this “magic” alchemy; after a few days it becomes an intense yellow and then later orange. Fig 3You can find out more about the hand-made products made locally that contain calendula oil extract on Dr Spiezia’s blog.
Finally, I would like to direct you to another informative yet sensitive site where my brother is reflecting upon his chemotherapy challenge, part of his ongoing fight against breast cancerafter bilateral mastectomy in May. I first mentioned his story in May. If you recall he is a 57 year old GP so has found an abundance of research and tips from a professional perspective but with the compassion of a fellow patient. Please have a look or direct anyone to this site who is going through chemotherapy either personally or supporting someone close. Mike has managed to reach fellow sufferers from all around the world and the support has been invaluable for all who have connected.
Wishing you all good health and happiness,