Herbs and Healing Arts

3 Ways to Use Essential Oils to Get Rid of Moths

You’ve found the perfect sweater. Its color and fit are flawless. Each time you wear it, it’s like being wrapped in a warm, grounding hug.  

You take care when you wash your sweater, making certain not to shrink or warp the fabric.  

Then one autumn, after a long, hot summer, you slip into your sweater to be met by a series of holes compliments of a nesting moth.

And just like that, your sweater is ruined.  

Unless....

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3 Ways to Use Essential Oils to Get Rid of Moths

Clothes moths are so tiny that you may not ever see them. They can be such pests. They nest in your nicest clothes, usually the wools, silks and cashmere pieces because they contain keratin that provides nutrients to the larvae (yum). So when the larvae hatch from their soft little cashmere nest, the first thing they do is set off to munch away. And they have a voracious appetite. 

Moth balls are an obvious solution, they offer protection but there is a high cost for this protection. Moth balls smell terrible. Think back to grandmas attic. The smell is horrible and off-putting because moth balls emit toxic vapors to get rid of the moths. Vapors that can be extremely harmful to humans and pets (have you ever read the back of one of those packages- it's scary!). 

Luckily there are essential oils that can help us get rid of moths in a fragrant and natural manner. 

When it comes to repellent moths, there are many essential oils that will achieve this end goal, but my favorites to use are lavender and lemon. 

Lavender and lemon essential oils compliment each other beautifully and they get the job done when it comes to effectively repelling months. Moths are highly sensitive and can’t tolerate the aroma of  lavender or lemon.

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 ***Important note, lavender and lemon essential oil won’t kill moths and moth larvae, it will only repel them. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t have any preexisting "friends" hiding in your clothes. If you find them cedar essential oil will kill the larvae and moths. 

3 Ways to Use Essential Oils to Get Rid of Moths:

1) Make a spray! Mix lavender and lemon essential oil in a spray bottle (50% water and 50% lavender and lemon essential oils in equal portions).  Lightly mist your clothes. This doesn’t work well in humid closets! Only use in dry aerated closet or drawer environments. 

2) Drop lavender and lemon essential oil in the corners of your closet once a week. 10 drops of both lavender and lemon in each corner should do the trick. Replenish weekly. 

3) Douse an old scarf, tie or sock with lavender and lemon essential oil. Apply about 20 drops of each. Tie the scarf, sock or tie to the closet rod. Replenish each week. 

 You always have the option of using lavender and lemon rind sachets as well. You can replenish them by dropping lavender and lemon essential oil on them to boost the aroma. 

* Note, all of the above methods can work in a drawer too. Make sure that drawers are fully dry before you close them.  

For other tips on using essential oils to get rid of pest, visit my post 3 NATURAL AND ORGANIC WAYS TO KEEP SPIDERS AND CENTIPEDES OUT OF YOUR HOME!

DIY Natural Ear Wax Removal

Ears are complex. Delicate and finicky, they are so tricky!

Having been a child with chronic inner ear infections and regular bouts of swimmers ear, I speak from experience. 

Now, as an adult, though my ear infection days are behind me, I do suffer from ear congestion due to wax build up. 

It’s so frustrating.

It always happens in the spring, when my seasonal allergies start to kick in. My ears begin to feel heavy and clogged. It’s hard to hear. I’m constantly searching for a yawn to pop my ears for a moment of clarity.  

It's awful!

So... what is a girl to do?

I've had my ears flushed, I've used over the counter solutions such as Debrox, but at the end of the day, my favorite form of relief is one that I can make myself.

DIY natural ear wax removal is always an option!

 When my ears start to rebel, I arm myself with this simple and effective DIY ear wax removal solution. 

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Here’s what you’ll need: 

Apple Cider Vinegar  

Purified water

Tea-tree essential oil

2 ounce amber jar with a dropper top

Here’s What to Do: 

1) Fill your jar half way with the purified water

2) Add ten drops of tea tree essential oil

3) Fill the remainder of your bottle with apple cider vinegar  

4) Cap and shake  

To use: 

1)  Lay on one side and using the dropper top, fill your ear (2 dropper fulls approx) with the solution.

2) Lay on your side for 5 minutes to let the solution get into the ear canal to soften the wax. 

3) After 5 minutes, return to an upright position, holding a clean washcloth to your ear, tilt your head to the side to collect drainage.  

Repeat up to three times a day if needed.  

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Easy as one. two. three!

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor or medical professional. It is always recommended to consult a physicians advice before attempting a home remedy. 

Using Crystals to Heal and Balance Your Chakras

Your are either a crystal person, or you aren't. This is not a post to try to make crystal converts out of you. Instead, I hope this post is practical and applicable for those of you who are... shall we say, "crystal curious," or active crystal practitioners. This is for those of you interested in learning to use crystals to heal and balance your chakras. 

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I'm going to try to be clear and to the point with this post. The chakra system, energy, the etherial body, vibrations can feel really esoteric and can leave even a seasoned yogi or energy worker cross eyed. The more I learn, the more I realize I have so much to learn, because there are so many doors that open the more you dig. 

Using Crystals to Heal and Balance Your Chakras

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Crystals are powerful and healing in so many ways. Due to their particular vibrational grids, they have the ability to elevate energy and increase the vibratory frequency of specific chakra focal points. In this way, crystals are an excellent addition to chakra balancing work. 

Crystals enhance healing by raising the vibration in a particular energy center (chakra) to bring about a desired effect. 

Crystals are all unique and contain their own energies and vibrations. Our chakra points also contain energies and vibrations. When two energetic/vibrating objects are placed in proximity, they rise to the frequency of the highest vibration. This is the Law of Vibration. Everything is energy, everything vibrates.

So, let's say, your root chakra is blocked and needs energy and an increased vibration in order for it to find balance. Placing a crystal that corresponds with the energy of the root chakra on or around your root chakra will help raise your root chakras vibration and create balance. 

Additionally, choosing certain crystals for their color can help to open and balance a particular chakra since our chakras correspond with a particular colors and color energies that are present in crystals. 

There are many ways to use crystals in chakra healing:

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1) You can lay on your back and line crystals along your chakras and go into meditation 

2) You can place your desired crystals on an alter and meditate nearby

3) You can hold your chosen crystals in your hands as you meditate

4) You can strategically keep certain crystals on your person ex) in pockets, in buns, in bras, in amulet pouches

What crystals correspond with the different chakras? 

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There are so many different options when it comes to crystals that work with the various chakras. I'm going to highlight a few. This is in no way a definitive list. The best way to decide which crystals to work with is to feel the energy of the crystal. Let your crystal choose you!

Root Chakra (red) - Red or black tourmaline, red jasper, garnet

Sacral Chakra (orange) - Carnelian, smokey quartz

Solar Plexus Chakra (yellow) - Citrine, tiger eye

Heart Chakra (green) - Adventurine, ammonite, rose quartz

Throat Chakra (turquoise) - Sodalite, avngelite, blue calcite

Third Eye Chakra (indigo) - Amethyst, lapis lazuli

Crown Chakra (violet) - Clear quartz, rock quartz

Here's a quick diagram of how the chakras line up in the body

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Should I quit my day job and become an artist? - lol

What are your favorite crystals to use to heal and balance your chakras? 

 

Amethyst: The Incredible Healing and Calming Gem

If I had to choose one and only one crystal to have and to hold and be my companion, I would, without a moment of hesitation go with AMETHYST... the Incredible Healing and Calming Gem!

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A rough, deep purple amethyst to be specific.

 

Ever since childhood when I mistakenly identified my birthstone as amethyst, (alas, June is actually Alexandrite…) I’ve been attracted to the radiant purple gem.

 

It’s not a natural choice since purple is not a color I usually vibrate towards. Some people are unabashedly attracted to the color purple,  I’m not one of those people. Green and turquoise have always been my spirit colors. Color preference aside, amethyst is still my soul gem.

 

Maybe it was my natural attraction to healing work, my connection with the moon, the pitta portion of my Ayurvedic constitution in constant need being tamed, but whatever the case, amethyst, it turns out is the perfect gem for yoga instructor, reiki healer, writer, and lover of quiet, me.

 

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Amethyst: The Incredible Healing and Calming Gem

·             Amethyst calms, protects and cleanses the spirit

·             Amethyst is grounding and balancing

·             Amethyst aids in meditation as it correlates directly with and stimulates the crown chakra and is known to heighten spiritual and psychic awareness

·             Amethyst eases anxiety, emotional imbalance and agitation

·             Amethyst helps to bring about clarity of thought

·             Amethyst is known to emit energy to help strengthen the adrenal glands, the reproductive organs and the respiratory system

·             Amethyst boosts the immune system

·             Amethyst helps with grief and loss

·             Amethyst is known to energize and foster creativity

·             Amethyst has been used to attract abundance and prosperity

·             Amethyst is a heart opener

·             Amethyst helps to free anger and repressed emotions

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I use amethyst jewelry when I’m engaged in healing work, I sleep with an amethyst next to my bed, there’s an amethyst at my yoga altar, I place amethyst around my plants and there’s an amethyst stone at my writing desk.

 

I adore my soul stone and choose amethyst, when it comes down to it, above all others.

What's your favorite stone and why?

5 Benefits of Reiki

 Photo by Jusna Perrin Photography

Photo by Jusna Perrin Photography

It was early autumn in the year 2000. I was happy-go-lucky and attracting, as a result, pure joy. Felicity was my favorite tv show and I had my sights set on grad school at NYU. Bye, bye, Western New York and hello city! A Drama major, I had just scored the role of Calphurnia in the school production of Julius Ceasar. To add to my good fortune, during rehearsals for Julius Ceasar, I was offered a "paid" role as a member of a professional theatre company in Buffalo. It was a dream come true. Amplifying my bliss, was the fact that I was head over heels in love in a blindly smitten first love kind of way. 

The universe was open to me. Everything seemed to be coming into fruition. I was glowing! 

On a rainy afternoon, I made my way to downtown Buffalo for rehearsal. I surprised myself and  found street parking right away on the Elmwood strip and reveling in my good fortune, decided to duck into some shops since I time to kill before rehearsal.

I sat my umbrella by the door and made my way towards the rows of books. I found a section of books about herbs. I flipped through some and ran my fingers along the spines, speed reading the titles. My finger stopped randomly at one book. 

The spine simply said Reiki. I had no idea what Reiki was, but I pulled the book from the shelf, smiled at the beautiful floral water color flowers that decorated the cover and after ten minutes or so of flipping through the pages, decided I couldn't live without it and purchased it. This was my unlikely introduction to Reiki. 

Reiki found me.

I held onto the book, referencing the pages on occasion. From time to time, I'd take the book out and show my roommates and friends. They regarded it as odd, changed the topic and life went on. 

Five years later, after graduating from NYU, I was living in New York City. Walking from a friends house in Queens to the Manhattan bound N, I came across a flyer advertising a Reiki training. Two months later, I saw my first client. 

Just as Reiki had found me five years earlier, I had now found Reiki. 

I sent Reiki to my plants, my cat Martha, I worked on myself and my roommates and friends. 

Seven years after my first two trainings, I found myself in Osaka, Japan training to be a Reiki Master. Reiki was inextricably a part of me. 

I had joyously discovered a healing practice that made me glow and feel strong. With Reiki I tingled with excitement and found the calm and quiet I needed to fuel my creativity. I lived in a city that was go...go...go...., yet I felt recharged and energized.

But why? As I started to work with a variety of clients, the same questions came my way. Why Reiki? People would ask, why not massage or acupuncture or something more tangible? 

5 Benefits of Reiki

It's hard to describe the intense radiant love and warmth that overcomes the soul during a Reiki treatment. It's hard to quantify the pleasant electric tingles that radiate down the spine or the soft swirling sensations beneath the palms of one's hands and feet. 

Luckily, science has intervened. Reiki has been studied and its efficacy proven.

Recently, I wrote an article for the website Savana Spirit concisely outlining my answer to the Why Reiki question.

From a girl who didn't know why when she stumbled upon this most healing and transformative art, here are 5 scientifically proven benefits of Reiki.

Want to give Reiki a try? Let's work together!

 

3 Natural and Organic Ways to Keep Spiders and Centipedes OUT of Your Home!

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I have a serious problem! 

Anyone who knows me, understands that I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say that I have a HUGE phobia of bugs- in particular spiders and (blech) centipedes. 

I probably need an intervention!

I've gotten into a minor traffic scrape because a bug flew in my car (it was HUGE! Downright Paleolithic, in my defense...) 

I've embarrassed myself countless times in public when caught off guard by a creepy crawly. 

And no horror has ever been more traumatic than my giant huntsman spider encounter in Mozambique!  

After living virtually bug free in New York City for the last 14-ish years, my bug phobia has returned full force since moving to the Maryland countryside earlier this year. 

I literally live in the middle of the woods. It's beautiful, it's serene, but creepy crawlers abound everywhere.  

A naturalista through and through, I refuse to resort to toxic chemical sprays. Instead, I've decided to fight back naturally and organically. I am on their turf after all. I don't want the creatures to die, I simply want to keep them OUTSIDE!!!!!!

If you also suffer from the occasional (or not so occasional) creepy crawler then here are three natural and organic ways to rid your home of spiders and centipedes and all of their little friends! 

1. Peppermint Essential Oil

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Spiders and centipedes HATE the smell of peppermint! 

Not only is the smell enough to keep them away from your home, but coming into contact with the oil burns them. They will retreat immediately!

To apply, I use a dropper and apply peppermint essential oil directly to cracks in the floorboard, underneath the radiator and around windows. 

For soft surfaces, like the perimeter of my bed and the sofa (I take no chances) I mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz the mixture where I need it. 

This works like a charm!

 

The peppermint leaves my house smelling cool and fresh and keeps spiders and centipedes OUT! When guests visit, they're always commenting on how good my house smells (if they only knew why....)

2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Similar to peppermint essential oil, spiders and centipedes can't stand the smell of eucalyptus (neither can mosquitoes or flies for that matter!) essential oil. 

I burn this oil in an essential oil steam diffuser. Eucalyptus smells so good and compliments the peppermint aroma coming from my floorboards. 

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Eucalyptus makes me feel like I live in a spa. Not only is the fragrance calming but it has medicinal properties. Eucalyptus is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic,  and decongestant, which means it is a natural air purifier, kills airborne germs and is also beneficial to individuals with chronic bronchitis, asthma and allergies.  

In a nutshell, you can't go wrong with eucalyptus! EVER!

 

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is extremely irritating to insects. Heck, it's irritating to humans if it gets in our eyes and mouth. 

Spiders and centipedes will go out of their way to avoid cayenne pepper which is why it is so effective when sprinkled outside around the periphery of a house and along exterior window ledges.  

IT REALLY WORKS!!!!

Let the bugs play outdoors so you can enjoy the indoors with this winning combination of natural and organic pest control.  

All of the above mentioned remedies are safe for humans, kids and pets (cats and dogs). 

Note: If you have pet rodents stay away from the peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils because the smell will upset them. Peppermint essential oil is actually effective in driving mice out of homes as well. 

For more tips and tricks for naturally repelling pests using essential oils see my post: 3 Ways to Use Essential Oils to Get Rid of Moths

10 Reasons I Love Shea Butter!

All Natural Eczema Cream You Can Make At Home

10 Reasons I Love Shea Butter!Whipped Shea Butter

I love shea butter! I have been a die hard fan of shea butter, since being introduced to it while traveling through Ghana nine years ago.

Simply put, shea butter is one of the best all-natural products you can use to nourish your skin and hair. Intensely moisturizing and curative, the rich cream that comes from the inside of the shea nut, is nothing short of remarkable.

10 Reasons I Love Shea Butter:

  1. Shea butter is rich in vitamin A, which works to remedy irritating skin conditions like eczema, acne/blemishes, and dermatitis. Vitamin A is also known to aid in the smoothing out of wrinkles (double whammy!)
  2. Shea butter is full of vitamin E, which is highly effective when it comes to anti-aging and fighting off free radicals. Vitamin E also increases circulation to the skin.
  3. Shea butter is a pregnant woman's best friend as it is very effective when it comes to the prevention of stretch marks.
  4. Shea butter is extremely versatile and can double as lip balm, cuticle cream and hair moisturizer (best for thick curly hair).
  5. Shea butter should be a staple in everyone's summer first-aid kit as it helps to heal sun burn and treats insect bites, poison ivy and poison oak.
  6. Shea butter is thick and creamy in consistency, making it ideal for dry, cracked, wintery skin. A dab of shea butter in the winter can equal instant relief!
  7. Shea butter can be used to relieve minor cuts, abrasions and burns. Applying shea butter will reduce the chance of scarring too.
  8. Shea butter is gentle and natural enough for newborn baby skin.
  9. Shea butter contains a natural SPF of about 6, which is great for days when you're in indirect sun.
  10. Shea butter is all natural and won't pollute your skin and body with chemicals and additives!

Interested in Shea based products? Check out my ETSY store to view my shea based line of organic skin care called Touch of Ohm.

10% off all orders on Monday (12/2) w/ code: CyberMon2013

Touch of Ohm Holiday Gift Set

Nourish yourself from the outside in!

Tinctures: Do It Yourself Herbal Medicine

As my fingers strike the keys, my throat burns, it feels like a small match as been lit between my tonsils. My temples pulsate to the tempo of my typing. I'm in trouble. I've got something resembling a cross between a sinus infection and a cold. Luckily, I've got an antidote. As cold and flu season looms ominously before us, I have been busy in my kitchen preparing herbal tinctures.

I rely on tinctures as both preventative medicine and as my first line of defense against colds and minor upsets.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting a series of tincture recipes that you can make in your kitchen.

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What is a tincture?

A tincture is a herbal infusion, where fresh or dried herbs are blended with either alcohol or (in the case of this recipe) apple cider vinegar. The result is a liquid medicine taken usually by the teaspoonful.

Tinctures date back to the Egyptian times where formulas for cordial infusions were found and preserved. Tinctures were used prevalently in Medieval Europe and are a part of traditional Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic) and African herbal medicine.

I first encountered the making of tinctures during my Ayurvedic studies. Tincture making is empowering and surprisingly easy.

Here is my recipe for an apple cider vinegar based tincture to combat coughs-

Cough Tincture

Handful of fresh basil

1 tablespoon of dried anise seed

1 clove of ginger

apple cider vinegar

 

Wash and chop the fresh basil on a cutting board then place the cuttings inside a clean mason jar.

Wash and chop your ginger and ad the slices to the mason jar along with the anise seed.

Pour your apple cider vinegar over the herbs until they are covered.

Affix the lid tightly and shake vigorously.

Store the mason jar in the fridge for two weeks shaking daily.

After two weeks, you'll be ready to strain the liquid using a cheesecloth or strainer into amber or cobalt bottles.

Store your tincture in the refrigerator and use within six months.

For adults 1 tspn when needed. For children 1/2 tspn when needed.  For toddlers 1/4 tspn when needed.

*This recipe uses apple cider vinegar so that it is safe for children and pregnant women. You may substitute 80 proof vodka.

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Charging Water With Crystal Energy

charging water with crystal energy I've been thinking a lot about mindfulness. About how I can approach each day with a set intention and tune in, really be aware during each moment. Thus began my experiments with energizing water with crystals.

Now before your eyes haze over and you write me off as a new age quack, consider for a moment, the undeniable science behind the notion of energy transference; after all, everything is energy. Energy can be transferred from one form to another and can not be created or destroyed.

Crystals have long been held in high esteem as gatekeepers of energy. Each unique type harnesses specific energies and attributes. Placing a crystal, bursting with energy in water creates an environment of transference. The energy from the crystal is absorbed into the water and then once consumed, that property or intention is transferred to a person on a cellular level- hence a somewhat tangible way to practice mindfulness and active intention.

How does it work?

By placing a crystal in purified water for a set period of time, the energetic vibrations of the crystal are transferred into the water. Upon consumption, the energetically charged water is absorbed into the body and a transformation occurs however slight.

Are there health benefits?

Crystals emit negative ions. Negative ions have been proven to promote health and well being because they create an alkaline quality which boosts pH balance and antioxidant levels. Water infused with negative ions released from crystals is detoxifying because free radicals are neutralized leading to cellular health and a reduction in toxicity.

 

What do I do?

Charging water with crystal energy is a fairly simple process. First, wash your crystal(s) in a solution of sea salt and warm water.

Place your crystal(s) in a glass jar (mason jars are perfect) and add purified water. You want to avoid tap water as the chemicals used to process the water can interact with the crystals. Let the container sit overnight or approximately eight hours.

For an additional twist, you may want to set your jar outside to soak in rays from the sun during the day, or beneath the full moon at night to absorb the moon rays.

The moon is said to provide abundance, peace, calm and love, while the sun is said to energize, provide confidence, and enliven.

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How do I know what crystals to use?

It is best to use rough crystals and not smooth polished ones as chemicals may be used in the smoothing process. Below are some crystal suggestions. You want to make sure that you choose a non-toxic crystal that doesn't contain metal. Do a bit of research before you purchase your crystals.

Ametrine- Removes blockages, disperses negativity, promotes healing

Amethyst- Stress relief, inner peace, balance

Rose Quartz- Unconditional love, spirituality, tolerance, joy, heart healing

 

What does this have to do with mindfulness?

Let's say you're developing a practice of setting a daily or weekly intention. If you would like to focus one week on peace for example, you can make a large batch of crystal water infused with amethyst. When you drink your water, you will be reminded of your peaceful intention. In addition, the energy of peace will be absorbed into your body to assist with your work.

So, how can this practice influence my physical health in a tangible way?

Let's say you have high blood pressure or hypertension (we can use the same example of amethyst infused water) the water which is vibrating with the energy of peace, stress relief and balance will be absorbed into your being. On a cellular level, you'll reinforce these states. Mentally and physically you will begin to alter.

Interested in giving it a go? Here are some resources that should help:

http://crystal-cure.com/

http://www.crystalwellbeing.co.uk/introcrystalhealing.php

http://www.crystal-healing.org.uk/crystal-healing/crystal-waters-gem-elixirs

Best Holistic Bookstores and Shops NYC

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Last week, a Reiki client of mine who recently moved to New York from the Bay Area voiced frustration over trying to locate a good holistic store in her neighborhood.

"All I want are some essential oils, crystals and books."

I could empathize with her frustrations. It took me several years in New York to form relationships with my favorite holistic and spiritual shops. It was also much easier in 2001, a time when there seemed to me a lot more independent spiritual shops in the city and surrounding areas. From 2001 to 2013, four of my favorites closed down.

So where is one to go?

While I agree, that New York is not as abundant as it could be with holistic and spiritual shops, bookstores and herb shops, there is definitely a spiritual and holistic sub-culture and a few great stores that cater to it.

While working with my clients, I am regularly asked about places to buy books, mala beads, sage, meditation cd's, etc. This post is my answer to these questions.

Here are my favorites:

The Herb Shoppe Brooklyn

394 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

(718) 422-7981

You'll find row upon row of medicinal herbs, tea infusions and spices at Brooklyn's charming little gem, the Herb Shoppe. I love this place! They have a great selection of tinctures, salves and essential oils as well and bonus points, there is a naturopathic doctor on hand to answer questions.

Namaste Bookstore

2 W 14th St  New York, NY 10011

(212) 645-0141

One could get lost in Namaste for a very long time, a very, very long time indeed. It is hard to have a single focus when you enter Namaste because there is just so much to experience. Namaste has an extensive book collection, one of the best in the city as far as holistic and spiritual books are concerned. Also extensive, is their crystal collection, jewelry selection, and menagerie of altar worthy statues and carvings.

The New York Open Center Bookstore

22 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016

212-219-2527 ext. 100.

The New York Open Center, in and of itself is a magnificent resource. Its bookstore is a wonderful resource as well. The New York Open Center Bookstore has a great selection of books. You'll also find a variety of goodies here from fragrance oils, reiki candles, incense, sage and mala beads.

Quest Bookshop

240 E 53rd St  New York, NY 10022

(212) 758-5521

Quest hosts an extensive collection of books. I love the quaint feel. This is another store where you could easily spend hours and not realize how much time has elapsed. In addition to a large variety of books, Quest sells candles, essential oils, crystals and incense.

*Also, Botanicas, depending on your neighborhood, can prove to be phenomenal holistic resources.