Here’s a little “flora” eye candy to get things rolling!
Neem. This herb and healing tree is getting a great deal of attention in the beauty care industry and from farms to pharmacies. It’s one of the top herbs used in Ayurveda. I am in a love affair with Neem. Beyond the honeymoon phase I appreciate our relationship even more as I deepen my knowledge of this beautiful healing plant.
Last month I had the honor of admiring Neem trees up close in its native home of South India. As I learned to identify the tree I realized it grows generously where I traveled through the southern states of India where their seasons are… hot, hotter, and hottest.
Neem trees grow tall, sturdy and have a delicate looking grace about them as I observed them from the balcony of my friend’s home in Tamilnadu. Each time I felt the tree wink at me … talking to me … so I started to think how I would expand its use beyond beauty care and really use this gift of nature and life-giving tree in my Ayurvedic practice to heal others.
Azadirachta Indica. That’s the botanical name for the Neem tree. Indica gives away the tree’s origin, India, although it grows in many parts of the world, especially in tropical and subtropical climates where it thrives on heat. The botanical name translates to The Free Tree of India. Azad – free; dirakht – tree; i-hind – Indian origin. Other names neem is called is Sacred Tree, Heal All, and the Village Pharmacy in India.
Much to boast about Neem, this humble life-giving tree is a fast growing evergreen … noted for its drought resistance … thriving on the dry coastal southern parts of India. It flourishes in hot weather and loves bathing in sunlight. The more the better, especially for young Neem trees.
Though I haven’t tried yet, I heard it’s true that you can grow Neem trees in any soil. I purchased seeds earlier this year from a Neem Farm in Florida. I have also learned there are trial Neem tree plantations in the US. I am waiting to plant the seeds here in the Central Coast of CA until I have a more permanent location for them. Though now I hesitate if they should be planted here at all with the cool moist ocean air… we only get a handful of hot days in the year.
Be sure to check back in next time for more about Neem … how to use it and all of its benefits.
Hope you enjoyed this month’s “Plant with Purpose”. I welcome your Neem comments and any questions by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria Carbonel, an Ayurvedic practitioner in Santa Barbara, CA. www.samaayurveda.com
For all you arachnophobes … and Lexi in Virginia this includes you … turn away! This creature built it’s intricate web right outside my office. One day I forgot it was there and walked right through it’s little home. Fortunately both of us are still alive.
Spidey … you would have been fabulous to use in a Halloween display!
Speaking of Halloween … here are a few pumpkin facts:
The name originated from the Greek word for “large melon”.
They are in the same family as squashes and cucumbers.
They are 90% water.
They are high in Vitamin A and potassium.
The carving of the Jack-o-Lantern originated in Scotland and Ireland.
Pumpkins have come a long way baby! Now grown in a variety of colors and shapes you can find one to fit your every fancy.
You will now get a glimpse of The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine.
Claire, whom I worked with at City Gardens in Boston back in the day, is the hostess with the mostess! She took us to this multi-faceted garden as well as on a tireless crusade in search of “Maine’s Best Lobster Roll”! She’ll be thrilled to learn that I will be returning to New England next summer and can’t wait for part 2 of “CW-W’s Wild Tour”. Perhaps she’ll ferry us around in a limo this time!
Again, shopping at the farmers market is one of my favorite things to do… and this salad turned out fabulous! Adding the focaccia bread is a must, especially if it is still warm Serves 4.
4 cups of Butter Lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup of Arugula, chopped
6 large basil leaves, chopped
3 green onion sticks, chopped finely
1/2 small white onion, slices then halved
1 large heirloom tomato, cut into slices
1/2 cup of feta cheese
Sprouts – to your liking
1/2 cup Walnuts – or to your liking
Combine all of the above in a large bowl and top with your favorite dressing. I used Trader Joe’s Champaign Vinaigrette, which tasted fabulous with this combination!
Top this bread with Cheddar Cheese when it comes out of the oven for extra pizzaz!
1 packet of dry active yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp. olive oil
Sift together in separate bowl:
4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. of basil
1 tbsp. of oregano
Sift flour in large bowl and make a well, then add yeast mixture into the center well. Mix slowly until all ingredients are combined. More flour may be needed to make a soft, firm dough. Knead on floured board and then place in a oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place untill doubled (several hours). Knead dough and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
Lady Dahlia loves the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market. Shop local … eat what’s in season … go organic!
Here are a few photos from the 1st annual SOL Festival. Sustainable Organic Local … just the way The Lady likes it!
We are so full of things to say and show you that we at Joy Us have decided to publish the blog every week.
Look for us again on November 8th and every Monday thereon.