New International Eco-Journeys for 2017, It’s Time to Take Time

Rebecca teaching yoga at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize
Rebecca teaching yoga at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize

Eco-wellness wanders with Rebecca!  Wow it’s time to start planning for two amazing Holistic Journeys  this upcoming winter.  Hopewood Holistic Health is teaming up with two Wise  and Wild Women this winter to offer, The Art and Science in Wellness Feb. 4-11, 2017.  Join me, Lura Shopteau, Yogi and Integrative Medicine Practitioner and director of Bienstar Yoga Shala in Uvita Costa Rica along with Valerie Dearing, Yogi and Omega Inst. Artist in Resident, founder of Valerie Dearing Yoga, for a truly special 8 day/7 night  eco-wellness adventure.  The tropical paradise of Costa Rica will set the stage for this exploration of wellness, nature and art , all designed to nurture your heart, your mind your soul.  

Your trip begins with transportation from the San Jose International Airport to the sustainable bio-dynamic eco-lodge, Finca Luna Nueva near Volcano Arenal.  We will spend 6 nights here, exploring the grounds through Farm, Sacred Seed, Waterfall tours and night hikes.  While at Finca Luna, we will explore tropical plants and food as medicine through healthful, ‘localvore’ meals, workshops on Tropical Medicine, Flower Essences and Hydrosols!   You are guaranteed to have fun and deepen your understanding of Pan American and Tropical herbs, their healing possibility, scared foods (chocolate) and the history of Sacred Seeds.BodyMindSpirit.jpg

Every morning, Lura, Val or I will offer an opportunity to explore various Yoga and Qi Gong techniques. This is a chance to test the waters with something new or delve deeper into your existing practice.  We will offer Yin, Kundalini, Hatha Flow, Iyengar, Partner and MRF (Myofascial Release) selfcare classes integrated with Qi Gong breath and flow.  You can schedule  privates in yoga, Qi gong or MFR if you wish to deepen  your skill or forestmed11have personal needs and questions.   Lura, Val and I will also be sharing  afternoon or evening sessions in meditation, art exploration and Chakra  Awareness & Balancing.  All workshops and classes are open to participants and scheduled around various eco-tours to ensure you experience as much as there is to offer, but know, you can join in or just take time for yourself  as this is your chance to let go, relax and be present in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

We will transfer on the morning of our seventh day to the boutique accommodations of Hotel Bougainvillea.   This will give us a chance to reflect, rest, relax and enjoy the shear beauty of Bougainvillea’s grounds, gardens and pool.  The hotel is situated a convenient 20 minutes from the International airport so your last day shuttle will be worry free.  We will enjoy one last eco-adventure along our three hour journey to Hotel Bougainvillea so you can experience one more tropical delight that the tiny county called the Cost of Riches has to offer, but your have to be there to know what it is.   This experience is all inclusive once you IMG_1361arrive in county at the San Jose International Airport, all for the Amazing Price of   $1,475.00-1,575.00   based on double or triple occupancy.  A $300.00 non-refundable deposit due by Nov. 1st . Pay in full upon registration, save $100!, you can’t beat that.  A sir charge of $100.00 applies after Nov. 1st . Round trip air, tips and gratuities not included and we request you have your own international travel & health coverage. 

For Information or to register Contact  Rebecca Wood  at 740-590-3954 or becaherbtravel@gmail.com or www.hopewoodholistichealth.org and on facebook/hopewoodhealth!

For more specific information on teachers and programs contact Lura Shopteau at  506-8505-1369 or www.lurashopteau@gmail.com and Valerie Dearing at 330-397-1250 or www.valeriedearingyoga.com   Find and follow us on facebook and instagram for updates, pictures and specials!  Once you register a full daily itinerary will be sent to you.

Belize

For our second Central American Adventure of 2017 Rebecca and Hopewood Holistic Health is thrilled to join the incredible offerings of Arts and Cultural Travel for an UnBelizable experience Belize; Through the Lens and Beyond!  Join  me and Botanist, Herbalist, Author, Photographer Steven Foster and special guest Herbalist, Author Dr. Rostia Arvigo Feb 12-19  2017 (yes, I am a busy gal this winter, but how lucky am I.  As Rumi said “Travel brings power back into your life” ).  Steven and I will share our love of tropical plants, nature, birds, Mayan history & culture from the Rain-forests of the Cayo District to the Reefs of Southwater Caye.

The backdrop for the first five days of this Eco-Botanical & Photography Adventure  extraordinaire is the lovely DuPlooy’s Rain-forest Lodge.   Explore the surrounding grounds of The Belize Botanical gardens and hikes and tours of neighboring Eco-Resort, Chaa Creek.   Daily field sessions and adventures with Steven will sharpen your photographic skills, be it with camera or I-phone, helping you to capture the beauty of plants, nature or landscapes.  Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer…in Steven’s words “You do not need sophisticated, expensive equipment to take great photographs. It’s more about understanding simple concepts – lighting, being in the right place at the right time, and patience. I will show you have to get great photographs with whatever camera you own.”  Steven is an old, dear friend and herbal mentor, I know your will love spending time with him as much as I do.  All workshops and  adventure outings are designed to capture the culture, botany and exquisite natural beauty of Belize and a glimpse of neighboring Guatemala.  Tours include; Barton Creek Cave canoe tour, Mayan archaeological sites in Belize and Guatemala and the inland Blue Hole.

Sunset SW Caye
Sunset SW Caye

Ahh, but, we aren’t done yet.  You will spend your last two nights on Southwater Caye, one of the most pristine cayes on Belize’s Barrier Reef.  Listen to the waves lap the shore under you cabana, tour the surrounding cayes and reefs by boat and kayak and for be sure  to just take time to sit, ponder, wonder and wander…..

Pricing for this trip is just about done, it is all dependent upon the numbers of participants minimum 6 max 15  but we are looking at $2,700-3,200. So, if Photography, Herbs, Wellness, History and or Culture are your interest, grab a friend and sigh up now!    It’s an amazing opportunity to travel, explore and learn form the talented, skilled  and fun hosts.  Let us and our local expert guides will share our love of Belize’s Botanical, Natural and Cultural secrets.  This is all inclusive adventure once you are picked up at the Belize International Airport and you’ll love the flight back from Dangriga  to the airport mid morning of your last day, making for a spectacular and EZ transition  from Belize to home.

To register or get more information  on pricing and workshops or tours please contact  http://artsandculturaltravel.com/portfolio/photography-workshopbelizefebruary-12-19-2017/  For more general questions or to get to know your hosts check out www.stevenfoster.com or hey, me Rebecca at www.hopewoodholistichealth.org.

Stay tuned for more information on any of these tours and follow us on facebook, instagram and our individual web sites. 

 

Tropical Allies For Your Home and Landscape

Power Point for A More Sustainable Home

Create a Healthy Home or Office with Tropical Ornamentals

Choose these Tropical Allies to Purify Your In-door Environment

Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) A ficus in your living room can help filter out pollutants that typically accompany carpeting and furniture such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Caring for a ficus can be tricky, but once you get the watering and light conditions right, they will last a long time.

Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata) The red edges of this easy dracaena bring a pop of color, and the shrub can grow to reach your ceiling. This plant is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, which can be introduced to indoor air through lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.

Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures) Another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde, this fast-growing vine will create a cascade of green from a hanging basket. Consider it for your garage since car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. (Bonus: Golden pothos, also know as devil’s ivy, stays green even when kept in the dark.)

Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’) Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants.

Aloe (Aloe vera) This easy-to-grow, sun-loving succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more. Aloe is a smart choice for a sunny kitchen window. Beyond its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside an aloe plant can help heal cuts and burns.

Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii) Also known as the reed palm, this small palm thrives in shady indoor spaces and often produces flowers and small berries. It tops the list of plants best for filtering out both benzeneand trichloroethylene. They’re also a good choice for placing around furniture that could be off-gassing formaldehyde.

Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium This climbing vine plant isn’t a good option if you have kids or pets — it’s toxic when eaten, but it’s a workhorse for removing all kinds ofVOCs. Philodendrons are particularly good at battling formaldehyde from sources like particleboard.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) Shade and weekly watering are all the peace lily needs to survive and produce blooms. It topped NASA’s list for removing all three of most common VOCs — formaldehyde, benzeneand trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.

Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’) Combat pollutants associated with varnishes and oils with this dracaena. The Warneckii grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight. With striped leaves forming clusters atop a thin stem, this houseplant can be striking, especially if it reaches its potential height of 12 feet.

Resources taken from www.mnn.com (mother natures network)

HOUSEPLANTS HELP CLEAN INDOOR AIR

 

 

by Deborah L. Brown  Extension Horticulturist

Our space program has led the way to a fascinating and important discovery about the role of houseplants indoors. NASA has been researching methods of cleansing the atmosphere in future space stations to keep them fit for human habitation over extended periods of time. They’ve found that many common houseplants and blooming potted plants help fight pollution indoors. They’re reportedly able to scrub significant amounts of harmful gases out of the air, through the everyday processes of photosynthesis. Some pollutants are also absorbed and rendered harmless in the soil.

Plant physiologists already knew that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process. Now researchers have found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, as well.

Chances are, all houseplants are beneficial in this regard, at least to a certain degree, though they haven’t all been tested. Of those tested, not all have proven equally efficient cleaners. Nor can we assume all harmful pollutants can be removed in this manner.

Some houseplants are better at removing formaldehyde from the air, while others do a better job on benzene; none is much help when it comes to tobacco smoke. But there are enough known plants that do a good job of removing pollutants from the air we breathe to cause us to view houseplants as more than just an attractive feature in decorating the interior environment.

These are three of the worst offenders found in relatively new homes and offices. Newer buildings are constructed largely with man-made building materials and furnished with synthetic carpeting, fabrics, laminated counters, plastic coated wallpaper, and other materials known to “off-gas” pollutants into the interior environment.

The advent of the “energy crisis” a number of years back has increased the problems associated with indoor pollutants. Newly constructed buildings are better insulated and sealed tightly to conserve heat or air-conditioning. While it does save both money and energy, this new found efficiency has its downside in that pollutants may be trapped indoors and have less opportunity to dissipate to the outside. The phrase coined to describe this unfortunate result is “sick building syndrome.”

If your home is old enough to be leaky and drafty, you may not need to worry about “sick-building syndrome.” But if you live in a newer, energy-efficient home with windows and doors tightly sealed, or you work in a building where the air feels stale and circulation seems poor, the liberal use of houseplants seems like an easy way to help make a dent in the problem.

NASA scientists studied nineteen different plant species for two years. Of the specimens studied, only two were primarily flowering plants; chrysanthemums and gerbera daisies. Though commonly used to bring a touch of color indoors, particularly for holidays and special occasions, these plants are generally not kept indoors very long. After they’re through blooming they’re usually discarded or planted outdoors.

Most of the plants tested are “true” houseplants, kept indoors year-round in our climate, though they may be placed outdoors during warm summer months. One is the common succulent, Aloe vera (now renamed Aloe barbadensis), also known as “medicine plant.” Many people already have one in a bright kitchen window because of the soothing, healing properties its viscous inner tissue has on burns, bites and skin irritations.

Most of the plants listed below evolved in tropical or sub-tropical forests, where they received light filtered through the branches of taller trees. Because of this, their leaf composition allows them to photosynthesize efficiently under relatively low light conditions, which in turn allows them to process gasses in the air efficiently.

Soil and roots were also found to play an important role in removing air-borne pollutants. Micro-organisms in the soil become more adept at using trace amounts of these materials as a food source, as they were exposed to them for longer periods of time. Their effectiveness is increased if lower leaves that cover the soil surface are removed, so there is as much soil contact with the air as possible. Best results were obtained with small fans that pulled air through a charcoal filter in the soil, cleaning more than foliage could alone or in combination with a “passive” pot of soil. Even without the fan and filter, however, houseplants did remove trace pollutants from the air.

The NASA studies generated the recommendation that you use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house. The more vigorously they grow, the better job they’ll do for you.

With the exception of dwarf banana, a fairly unusual plant in this area, the bulk of the list of plants NASA tested reads like a “Who’s Who” of the interior plant world. They are:

  •  Ficus benjamina (Weeping fig)
  •   Hedera helix English ivy
  • Chlorophytum comosum spider plant
  • Epipiremnum aureum golden pothos
  • Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa’ peace lily
  • Aglaonema modestum Chinese evergreen
  • Chamaedorea sefritzii bamboo or reed palm
  • Sansevieria trifasciata snake plant
  • Philodendron scandens `oxycardium’ heartleaf philodendron
  • Philodendron selloum selloum philodendron
  • Philodendron domesticum elephant ear philodendron
  • Dracaena marginata red-edged dracaena
  • Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana’ cornstalk dracaena
  •  Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig’ Janet Craig dracaena
  • Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii’ Warneck dracaena
  • Ficus benjamina weeping fig

(Information taken from the NASA report Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, September 1989, by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Anne Johnson, and Keith Bounds, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, John C. Stennis Space Center, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000.)

H110I Reviewed 1/99

 

Breaking Boundaries through Nourishing Traditions in Food and Culture!

Hopewood Holistic Health & The Center for Food and Culture of Bowling Green Ohio brings your this Eco-Culinary and Garden Experience in Belize.  The Food and Culture Center’s main goal is to nourish connections people make to food, through food and the implications these connections have for our communities, environment, and quality of life.  What a better way to understand ourselves and others than tour their country and  experience their stories through their food, herbs and gardens.

During this journey, Doctor Lucy Long a professor in Eco-tourism and Foodways at Bowling Green University and Rebecca Wood of Hopewood Holistic Health will share their love of food, it’s nourishing tradition, ethnobotancial uses and foodways as we tour the country of Belize this winter. We invite you to join us as we discover the Maya secrets of copal resin in healing, the role of rue for medicine and magic and how red roses or hollyhocks might stop blood flow. Taste the spices of the Creole, Garifuna, East Indian and Maya in their traditional dishes with (garnochos, tamales, hudnut, serre, recado, fy jacks or dukuna) and share their history, stories, fears and dreams.

We’ll walk among the tropical gardens, milpas, monocultures and polycultures then discuss first hand, the pro’s, con’s and concerns of present and past farming techniques with the farmers and families that tend them. You’ll taste cocoa from the pod, sucking the sweet white pulp from your fingers before you bite into the bitter chocolate of the bean. We’ll pondering the trade routes and traditions of chocolate; the maya ‘drink of the gods’ and why the beans, once a currency for trade is now a major part of international trade and industry.

Each morning we’ll wake up to the many colorful birds of the tropics, the aroma of coffee and then discuss our days adventure as we sip our morning brew with a tipico breakfast of tropical fruits, gallo pinto and plantain. We will tour the shade grown coffee coppices, so important in trade and livelihood of Belizeans and indigenous throughout the world and see and hear about impacts and consequences of our love affair with coffee and chocolate and why is the concept of fair trade, worker owned, value added is so important to their lives of many. Or, we might find ourselves floating down a lazy jungle river, comparing the beauty the land use and the importance of water and water ways, both here and at home.

We will tantalize our taste buds with a plates of’ beans and rice’, ‘rice and beans’ or your choice ‘stew beans and rice’ with the obligatory dash of Marie Sharp’s many hot and exotic sauces and then try to count the multitude of ways to prepare and savor plantain (a banana relative), coconut and the many regional specialties.

We are bound to have more than one version of a Belizean Boil up; a dinner of corn, beans and pumpkin (squash) or cassava tubers and yams with hand made tortillas (made from you) on the comal. The variation will never bore you as the roots, spices and choice of fish or poultry (for the non vegetarians) vary with each culture and tradition.

Each day we will discover the importance and necessity of food , how it’s planted, harvested, prepared and the stories, prayers and cycles of the moon that dictates these long traditions. We will experience the diversity of the tropics, taste the sweet juice of fresh squeezed cane and see why some farmers grow the many flora just because they are muy bonita as my friend Don Saul says, “The flowers, they are so beautiful, they just make you feel better when you work so hard”.

A special part of our adventure, as always, is daily opportunities to slow down, with gentle yoga, qi-gong or nature meditation. The exploration of art, music, dance and craft unique to each culture in Belize will also give us pause. Rachel Clark another Holistic Journey guide will help you integrate all of these experiences through her Getting Closer to Nature sessions. These optional sessions are open to anyone and will entice you to tap into your inner artist and create your personal journal of your adventure.

I can guarantee you will enjoy the company and culture of those who will tell their tales and share their lives with us throughout this journey. We will nourish ourselves through food, art, music but also by expanding our insights into others as we learn what brings people of all cultures to the table and how breaking bread or folding tortillas helps bridge the culture gap through commonality, laughter and life’s stories. It’s time to take time. For a better world and a journey you won’t forget contact Rebecca Wood for more information on the Dec. 10-20 or Feb 18-28 trips. becaherbtravel@gmail.com or check us out at www.hopewoodholistichealht.org or hopewoodhealth@facebook.com.

 

Spring Plant Spotlight 2012

Spring Plant Spotlight 2012

Spice bush, Lindera benzoin, is one of the two members of the Lauraceae family found on mesic sites throughout the Eastern Deciduous Forest. This multi-trunked shrub can be easily recognized in every season once you learn its individual characteristics. Know as “forsythia of the forest” because its waxy yellow flowers brighten the sleeping woods before any other woody shrubs have woken up. It is an important early insectory and nectory plant for the immerging insects buzzing about.

Lean in close and take a whiff… Ah, the light spicy flora essence is what attracts these critters and subtly spikes our interest in the changing season. It’s waxy deep green, simple leaves are also a recognizable characteristic creating a rounded or arched configuration and deepening the forest shade where it is found growing in dense clumps. Early explorers looking for rich farm land used this shrub as an indicator for rich moist soil and sadly removed the forest for farming and the bergeoning western expansion of a growing nation. We now see them an indicator for ginseng and goldenseal or other woodland medicinals that prefer A moist quality site. It’s bright red barrel shaped berries are easily recognized and a cheery contract in the autumn understory. These fruits provide food for many forest species and have been dried and used for centuries as a spicy cooking condiment. (Don’t forget to crumble, scratch, sniff and taste the leaves, berries and twigs to help you place this plant in your herbal memory!)

The aromatic twigs and leaves have long been used in blending delightful teas and medicinally as a strong tea or decoction for mild, colds, flu’s or fevers. It has a mild diaphoretic, stimulant and expectorant action (Howell 2006) and has been used for delayed menses and as a spring tonic. Foster and Duke (1990) also reference the use of the berries as a carminative and the oil from the crushed fruit as a rub for sore muscles, bruises and rheumatism.

One of my favorite tea blends, created by my students is 50/50 spice bush twigs and white pine needles. It’s so light and sweet it doesn’t even need honey. But experiment, it’s tasty with sumac berries, sassafras and raspberry leaves too! Spice bushes light and sweet taste makes it a good choice for children or those of us with delicate tastes and olfactory senses.

Another recent use of the dried berry is in scenting candles, soaps and sachets. I would gander it would add a “spicy twist” to any bay rum recipe. Regardless of how you use it, it is important as with all plant allies to have a positive Id, know when and how to harvest and prepare and use all ethical aspects of wildcrafting. It’s also important to share your personal experiences and discoveries…….happy exploring. If you want to Get the Green Spark and learn more about Spring treasures in the Appalachian forests join us May 13th at the Goldenseal Sanctuary follow the link Love Your Mother for information on the United Plant Savers Mothers’ Day Celebration for hikes, workshops and more, more, more.

Rebecca Wood
Herbalist & Educator
Hopewood Holistic Health
14411 Rocky Pt. Road Athens Ohio

Sources: Peterson Field Guides, Easter/Central Plants, Steven Foster and James A. Duke 1990. Medicinal Plants of Southern Appalachians by Patricia Kyritsi Howell 2006 and many, many years in the woods.