“The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it.”
I keep hearing about integrative medicine. Fill me in.
Today the pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars creating expensive and sometimes damaging drugs. While pharmaceuticals are sometimes necessary, they’re often not and when they aren’t, integrative medicine is another approach. It focuses on treating various illnesses and ailments with herbal, plant-derived remedies that have been around for centuries.
How can I get into the whole herbal thing?
It’s easy! There are numerous herbs and essential oils that treat different issues and that you can find at local health stores. Here are five that you should keep in your (alternative) medicine cabinet at all times.
1. Tea Tree Oil
This strong-scented essential oil fulfills multiple purposes and is championed by many herbalists. You can apply some tea tree oil to a pimple to shorten its lifespan or to an infected piercing to help it heal. In fact, tea tree has been used to kill various infections for hundreds of years. Scientists were actually so impressed with its bacteria-killing powers that they recently performed a study to make sure it isn’t toxic to our bodies. Lucky for us, it was determined to be completely safe to use.
Envision a magic berry that can do everything from curing the common cold to easing nerve pain, to helping with fatigue and even lessening the effects of cancer. That magic berry is real, and it’s called elderberry. There’s evidence to suggest that prehistoric man and woman even used elderberry to help with different issues! Here are simple steps for making your own elderberry syrup.
3. Lavender Oil
Night owls: this one’s for you. Lavender oil produces a calming effect in many people, so anyone who has trouble sleeping can benefit from adding a few drops to his or her pillow (this is why so many of those bead-filled eye pillows are lavender scented!). It also speeds up healing time for minor wounds like burns and cuts.
4. Peppermint Oil
Have a headache but don’t want to take any pain pills? Apply some peppermint oil directly to your temples. If the tingly sensation doesn’t distract you from the head pain you’re experiencing, don’t worry – the peppermint oil will help to reduce it after just a few minutes. This oil can also be taken orally to help with the common cold/ flu as well as some digestive issues.
Bacopa is a super interesting one. It’s a plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It has helped to combat mind-related disorders such as anxiety, memory loss and ADHD and has far fewer side effects than most psychotropic drugs. Can you imagine a day when kids are being prescribed a plant over pharmaceuticals?
Speaking of the mind …
In one of the Mindscape Film Festival’s award winning films, ‘Dance of the Neurons,’ the mind is illustrated in a truly unique way. Twenty-four dancers embody the birth of neurons, activating the brain/body. Filmmaker Jody Oberfield got with Conscious Good to discuss the process of creating the film. See her interview below.
Conscious Good (CG): What inspired you to make Dance of the Neutrons?
Jody Oberfelder (JO): I was working on a live performance “The Brain Piece” and while investigating what makes our minds human, I decided the biology of our brains would make for an excellent abstraction. I consulted with many neuroscientists in discussion. Dr. Gary Marcus, author, directed me his colleague Ed Lein, from the Allen Institute of Brain Science who drew little diagrams of how our neurons form and connect with others. The visuals were tantalizing.
CG: Your film was selected to be a part of the Festival not only because it was beautifully crafted and met the Mindscape criteria but also because it is a wonderful example #ConsciousMedia – What does Conscious Media mean to you? Why do you feel your film is #ConsciousMedia?
JO: Conscious Media offers a chance to manifest in the world ideas for contemplation and interaction, it is a platform for processing and being with vital ideas for mind and body connections. Our brains and bodies are our sensory vehicles that beautifully enter and interact with the world. Dance of the Neurons creates a visual world of neurons dancing with each other, and zooms in on layered possibilities of connections.
CG: What message were you hoping to convey to the audience with your film?
JO: That we are all part of one giant brain, and that our interior worlds are swarming with possibilities.
CG: Are you in the process of making another film? If so, can you share it with us?
JO: My next film will be addressing macro and micro relationships. Kind of like Eames “The Power of Ten” with more personal connections, how sometimes we feel like a speck in the universe, and sometimes huge, like a giant, with smaller internal worlds within. Stay tuned for both live and filmed works, please visit my website for more information!
What other thought-provoking films should I add to my rainy day queue?
If his son and #1 protégé survived the coma incurred after a brutal boxing match, Garrido vowed to care for God’s lost children. Giving up everything he had and taking to the streets, Garrido decided to bring new life to a once decrepit, crime-ridden lot underneath a bridge in one of São Paulo’s toughest neighborhoods: by turning it into a boxing gym. ‘Boxing Out’ is one film you won’t want to say you missed out on.
‘Dancing in the Crossfire’ is another moving film that you should add to your list. In the middle of one of Rio de Janeiro’s infamous favelas, poverty-ridden areas known for their high-crime rates and violent drug overlords, Tuany Nascimento, a 22 year-old dancer and resident of the favela, teaches ballet.
Since 2012, Tuany has been running Na Ponta dos Pés — “On Tiptoes” — a social project through which she teaches free ballet classes to over 40 students aged between four and fifteen. In a place where teenage pregnancy, prostitution and drug abuse run rampant and might seem like unavoidable facts of life, On Tiptoes offers a place of respite – a means through which young women can reevaluate their self-worth and reimagine their future.