Nostalgia Aromatherapy

Lilac in bloom

Lilac in bloom

Our senses conjure memories of time’s past. Distinctive shapes accompany colors and casual conversation, pressing the “play” button on recordings archived in our minds and hearts.

Mom's Lilac Tea Cup

Mom’s Lilac Tea Cup

A welcomed, familiar fragrance is often associated with one who has passed. Lilac floods the canvas that is my Mother’s. The heirloom lilac tree grows just outside our old homestead backdoor where the pale, purple perfume wandered in. My Mom chose this lilac backdrop to capture many family celebrations. She spoke of lilac memories a lifetime apart in such an enchanting way; I was convinced were my own.

Lilac Extraction

Lilac Extraction

Blessed with the lilac bouquet from this tree, its essence is preserved in this carefully created extraction:

Mom’s Lilac Spirit
*Infuse in a 6 oz. colored glass spray bottle
1 dropper full of Lilac Extract
4 oz. Distilled H20
3 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Sage
6 drops Lemongrass
4 drops Geranium (Bourbon Reunion)
½ dropper full Forget-Me-Not Distillate
6 drops Orange
2 drops Neroli

Cherishing Moms’ memory on Mother’s Day, and every day we are touched by their never ending spirit, wisdom and love.  I share this tribute with you, with every spritz, or two.

Mom's Lilac

Mom’s Lilac


Celebrating 150 historic years of healing with heart

Apothecary - Materia Medica

Reflections of the “Prince of Wales” Hotel in the equally historic “Niagara Apothecary”.

The Prince of Wales Hotel Restaurant and Spa celebrates 150 consecutive years of health and romance.  A short drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake (N-O-T-L) from Cleveland & nearby surrounding Great Lakes areas make it easily accessible. The Prince of Wales Hotel is sharing its year-long birthday observance with lovely Valentine’s packages making it the heartbeat of this historic town.  General Manager of this landmark Inn, Kelly Exelby, has arranged to celebrate with class, offering promotional packages blending luxury accommodations with four star rated dining for a sensual experience.


Escabeche Restaurant at the Prince of Wales Hotel

The Hotel’s restaurant, Escabeche, boasts a sophisticated ‘Tasting Menu’ optimized by award-winning wines from the excellent local vineyards – “A culinary adventure to tempt your palate and satiate your desire.” The dining room is thoughtfully arranged with intimate seating providing privacy for a peaceful and leisurely dining experience proven to be digestively beneficial. Upon scheduling reservations and being seated, professional servers inquire if there are any dietary considerations or special requests. Escabeche designs a menu to meet your individual health needs.


“Fall Vegetable & Upper Canada Ricotta Cheese Cannelloni”

Original dishes are kindly created with the freshest available ingredients from local resources. Every meal is therapeutic, positively stimulating all senses and further enhancing their notable “Secret Garden Spa” services. Menu modifications are not only willingly made, but suggested or recommended to meet specified health requirements. Chef welcomes challenges and understands food’s nourishing properties. Pictured dishes feature mushrooms like the chanterelle, chosen for their use in medical mycology. The Restaurant team will tap into additional menus from the adjoining “Churchill Lounge” to share ingredients for a personalized experience. Veteran ‘Garcon de Table’, Brad Kempsder, invitingly exclaims, “Let’s build something together.”


Signature “Churchill Coffee”

The Churchill Lounge invites you to relax around the hearth and warm your heart with a cup of traditionally brewed high tea or their signature beverage, “Churchill Coffee”.  I have frequented the Churchill lounge over the years and enjoyed satisfying meals, indoors and out.  There is no limit to this condensed menu carefully crafted from the same fresh, locally grown ingredients characteristic of the Prince of Wales.


Live musical entertainment at the Churchill Lounge

The palpable ambience vibrates with harmonic resonance while being treated to live, classic acoustic entertainment.


Private cottage up the mews from the Hotel

Every peaceful, private room greets you like a big hug.  Each room is uniquely decorated inspiring the rich Victorian style in keeping with its 1864 establishment.


Luxury accommodations

The Prince of Wales staff’s unparalleled services demonstrate their attention to detail. Fresh fruit and water upon arrival to your room, a fragrant rose bud placed on your pillow with care at evening ‘turn-down’ and handcrafted bath salts positioned on the private Jacuzzi tubs procure a personal touch. Accommodations are appointed with heated towel holders in the elegant and spacious bathrooms, adding to your memorable experience.


Signature healing salts

Overlooking Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the Niagara peninsula just down river from Niagara Falls.  The area is surrounded by water generating energy, lending to this therapeutic theme.  The Prince of Wales amenities include a chemical-free indoor salt water swimming pool and hot tub, a vantage point from which to watch the weather overhead through the wall of windows.

Therapeutic effects

Salt water pool


“Secret Garden” themed Hotel Lobby at the Prince of Wales

The pool room is above the “Secret Garden Spa”, whose tranquil facilities include a plethora of professional spa services, relaxation lounge with the promise of serenity.  Massage and regular exercise promote healthy parasympathetic activity by reducing blood pressure and heart rate, ameliorating cardiovascular disease. Homeostatic imbalances precipitate illness by compromising immune function. Adaptogenic herbs and foods also inhibit excessive catecholamine release substantiating the importance of complementary relaxation therapies.

Evening at the Prince of Wales

Evening at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Restaurant and Spa

The Prince of Wales Hotel Restaurant and Spa is located on the Main Street in downtown N-O-T-L, accessible by foot en route to shops, parks, The Shaw Theater, golf course, marina and several historic sites, expanding a refreshing exercise work-out.  An optional service provides transportation to wineries for care-free tastings!  For a more romantic adventure, a horse-drawn carriage is available just outside the door.

Evening at the Prince of Wales

Finding Your Foundation

For any foundation to be stable, it requires a minimum of three supports to create harmony and balance…


                              Emotional                                        Physical

When out of balance, illness results.


Biochemical Alchemy label

Paracelsus is attributed to having said: “Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.”  Discovering the fascinating capabilities of our bodies solidifies our integral understanding of life’s perpetual cycle. This, in turn, supports our own ability to heal.


Essential botanicals

Healthcare is a balance of what has been distinguished as conventional and alternative practices, effective when used in concert.  Also known as “functional medicine”, this philosophy is an approach designed to enhance outcomes.  If the body is treated holistically, then a broad spectrum of modalities should be taken into consideration.  When allopathic medicine is initially administered, it renders alternative approaches impotent by the medical model.  Take for example, the action of surgical and pharmaceutical procedures.  These so-called “alternatives” should be chosen as the primary approach because it elevates the body’s ability to heal itself.  The exception is in a true medical emergency.


Versatile healing plant

I am truly amazed how versatile herbs are.  Not only the plant themselves, but the many forms in which they may be employed.  One herb can serve multiple purposes.  This utilitarian concept illustrates the convenience of over-the-counter (OTC) meds and prescriptions that are manufactured to treat one symptom, or symptoms; period.  We have become programmed to being highly specialized in our healthcare at the expense of our own health.  Focusing on ailments, we continue to treat the symptoms rather than addressing the source.  Choosing to seek several different doctors for each set of symptoms and diagnoses whilst losing sight of the broad spectrum of holistic practices.

 How Plants Heal

According to Master Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, “The prevailing scientific view is that all disease is caused on a molecular level.  A chemical drug produces its effect by entering a cell through a receptor that conforms to the shape of the molecule like a “lock and key”.  In contrast, medicinal plants are described by their adherents as working on a higher physiological level making them more versatile.” 

Herbal adaptogens contain multiple constituents working together to produce a combined effect surpassing their individual potential.   This botanical synergism is the science of “nutrigenomics” – highly active substances from food and natural resources that serve as potent dietary signaling molecules, effecting genetic expression.  Taking a synthesized supplement is not equivalent to the multiple benefits from eating fresh, whole food.  Modes of preparation and ingestion are also important.  To illustrate, hepatotoxicity occurs with concentrated pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in comfrey root.  Aerial parts of this plant contain less and are absorbed transdermally.  Oral consumption of comfrey is ill advised as a direct route for ingestion.  Allantoin and rosmarinic acid are anti-inflammatory constituents primarily present in leaves and flowers, therefore; of therapeutic value.


Prepared plant parts

Plants impart wisdom to those of us willing to learn.  They offer a unique pathway to healing and healthcare.  Herbal preparations range from household products and cosmetics to prescriptives that maintain a chemical balance throughout for plants, animals and people alike.  The most outstanding gift of plants is that they strengthen our relationship with life and the natural world supporting the “permaculture” philosophy of how our biological beings relate synergistically to our physical environment to work in harmony.  Herbology is considered an alternative modality, though it offers an elegant biochemical for healing.  In its most basic element, a nutritive protocol, a philosophy and a lifestyle practice, Herbology is naturally the “art of healing”.

As a Certified Herbalist, I plant my own healing garden I harvest to prepare herbal tinctures, blends, remedies and food to maintain vitality.  A lifelong practice, herbalism is a craft carefully cultivated from intuition, science and strong belief.  These are the elements to necessitate transformation.  These are the ingredients connecting us with our roots that formulate a balanced lifestyle.


More gleanings from the garden


Pansies at Dawn

I was intimidated, rather downright pressured into growing my patio garden again.  Work and other commitments have kept me from my much needed therapy.  The elder women in the neighborhood were having yet another garage sale.  This always attracts the attention of other neighbors who make themselves known with dog introductions and re-introductions, gesturing where they live.  Nobody even recognizes me when taken out of the context of my garden.  “Oh, you’re the one with all of the beautiful flowers” they ascertain.



I listened to the Ladies’ accolades with joy and pride.  The polite introductions rally into conversations, quickly becoming a chorus of collective scolding I haven’t heard since childhood. “The best boat is your friend’s boat “applies here.  I nodded in shame from across the street apologizing for my “Morticia Addams” style collection of dusty ceramic pots and barren window boxes.  They prattled on, eventually acknowledging the time and effort I spend expressing my passion in a manner that delivers a similar sense of satisfaction.


Portulaca Inclined Window Boxes

The afternoon sun succumbs to a cooler, more tolerable time to dig in the dirt.  I let the days pass and had a responsibility to the folks who have shared in the sheer delight of all the life and beauty a garden brings.  I put everything aside and set out to discover a new nursery nearby able to supply my needs.  I’m like a kid in a candy store, well, in my case a bakery, high from the sugar rush of colors I equate with the floral festooned frosted Hough Bakery cakes commemorating every special occasion.


Pink and Purple Portulaca

Armed with my arsenal of healing herbs and fragrant flowers, my affect immediately changes.  My husband breathes a sigh of relief as I flit about the patio performing my ritualistic dance.  “You’re in your habitat” he confirms.  This is my necessary prescription – Ga (gardening) is my element.


Rosemary on Guard at Gate


Sage Wisdom

Each year I am faced with the same considerations depending upon which plants return, what I may need to replace, what offers privacy and how much food I can grow.  Our garden is a balance of containers and ground, annuals and perennials, herbs and flowers, trees and shrubs.  I have successfully germinated from seed and nursed trees, planted, transplanted, shared and purchased.  Like our neighborhood, our patio reflects a similar cross section of variety and local “color”, adding dimension during the past decade.


Lavender Rhododendron

My modest garden literally transforms into a living tapestry I sometimes entertain the notion of replicating on the concrete pad beneath.  The plants are a conversation piece, an excuse to say hello and exchange for helpful tips. The stage is being set for growth where we cultivate friendships and kinships.  Acquaintances and seasons alike mature, yielding the abundance of the first harvest signaling the traditional sharing of recipes and preparation of “boomerang foods”.  The dishes given return filled with cherished, home crafted meals that nourish our hearts.


Pink Lipstick Sweetheart Rose

My friend recently forwarded an inquiry she had made to the National Wildlife Federation regarding a “backyard habitat”.  Registering your backyard as a wildlife habitat promotes generations of plants and species indigenous to the specified area.  My parents registered their yard after accepting stewardship of a few acres of wooded ravine and apple trees of nearly 40 years.  We live near the old homestead and have nurtured a wildlife community of our own.  We have repeatedly attracted humming birds and hummingbird bumblebee moths.  Not sure if it is due to the frequency of our themed purple patio or our proximity to a nuclear power plant – which also emits a frequency of its glowing own.  In all seriousness, we don’t live close.  I still react to an image that sticks in my mind of a two inch wasp I once saw in that area.


Hovering Purple Petunias

All of these thoughts and activities circulate the blood and stimulate the senses with a therapeutic effect.  The individual botanical notes calm our nerves whilst awakening our spirit.  We participate in life’s never-ending cycle to be one with the world.


Perpetual Purple Verbena

The beloved Hibiscus tree is still hibernating.  The Oleander now stands in its stead.  I am hoping it sets an example for the Hibiscus from its garage window view.  We are ALL keeping our fingers crossed.

Hibiscus in Full Bloom

Hibiscus in Full Bloom