A herb used in traditional European folk medicine for over 3,000 years could be a potential treatment option for depression, according to the results of a new study. The study, published in Phytomedicine, was led by Dr. Jun J. Mao, an associate professor of family medicine, community health and epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Rhodiola rosea, also referred to as Roseroot, has been used in traditional folk medicine to promote work endurance, increase longevity and promote resistance to several health conditions including fatigue, altitude sickness and depression.
Previous studies have suggested that roseroot could enhance mood by stimulating the receptors of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotoninin the brain that are involved with mood regulation. Other research also suggests the herb affects beta-endorphin levels in the body. - Source: Medical News Daily
According to Herb Wisdom Roseroot is known in Asia and Eastern Europe to be efficacious in easing fatigue and enhancing work performance, alleviating depression, stimulating the nervous system and preventing high-altitude illness.
The ancient Greeks used Rhodiola rosea. In 77 A.D., and Greek physician Dioscorides documented the medical applications of the plant, which he then called rodia riza, in his classic medical text De Materia Medica. It grows wild in the Caucasus Mountains and its documented history gives us an idea of how this herb traveled more than 2000 miles to Ancient Greece. Dating back to 3,000 BCE (Greek Bronze Age), trading expeditions crossed the Aegean Sea, Hellespont (Dardanelles), Marmara Sea, Bosphorus and the Black Sea to a place called Colchis (Republic of Georgia).
The Argonauts, a tale that blends both fact and fantasy, hints at an intriguing theory of how Rhodiola rosea might have made the incredible journey to Greece from its native land.
Ovid, Metamorphoses :
"The task remained [for Jason] to charm the Draco to sleep, that ever-wakeful beast with threatening crest and three-forked tongue and curving poison-fangs, the ghastly guardian of the golden tree. Then with the herb's Lethean juice (sucus Lethaeus) Jason sprinkled the creature and pronounced three times the words that bring deep peaceful sleep, that stay the troubled seas, the swollen streams, and on those sleepless eyes sleep fell at last. And Jason won the famous Golden Fleece and proudly with his prize, and with her too, his second prize, who gave him mastery, sailed home victorious to his fatherland."
The herb in question is thought to be Opium by some and Roseroot by others. Clues are given in Latin Lexicon's where the term Lethean is thought to come from far away regions and to invoke a sense of forgetfulness and deep sleep. If too much is prescribed, Lethal.
It wasn't just the Greeks that found this herb to bring their people the power of endurance, the Vikings also used the herb to enhance physical strength and power of mind. Emperors of China referred to it as the 'Golden Root' (it was valued above Gold) used in medicinal preparations and would often send out expeditions to Siberia to root out this Magical herb. Mongolian physicians would prescribe a tea made from the root to treat everything from tuberculosis to cancer.
To this day, the people of Siberia claim that people who drink Rhodiola rosea Tea will live to be more than 100 years in age. Centuries old practices are making a come back in our modern age, a time when people are looking for cures from the Earth to treat both body and spirit. There was a time when the harvest and use of this wild root were closely guarded by Siberian families but as populations and trade goods grew in number; Rhodiola rosea became a most valued commerce and was traded for Georgian wine, fruit and honey.
For additional reading:
USDA: Plant Profile Roseroot
Extract used in the Healing Arts
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Mystic Moon Events
What Are We Doing Here?
At this time I would like to take a few minutes to offer all of you this thought to ponder.
A deep yearning to belong is a natural state for most of us. As it is, we are all spirit having a human experience. This is a balance that humankind has been in search of since the beginning of our time on this planet. I believe this is part of "What we are doing here?"
We have all chosen to embark on a search for like minded folk. A seeking of a strong, compassionate, open community where one can share ideas, thoughts and speak what you believe. A place where each person is free among their people, to follow their own path and to hold their own truth... Without fear of judgement. We gather in groups like this for support and assistance in times of despair and to celebrate with each other in times of joy as well. In difficult times such as economic crisis, family conflict, death, disaster, we rally as "tribe", our instincts tell us that there is safety in numbers, this is again a part of "What we are doing here?"
We gather to herald the birth of our children and our grandchildren. To share our joy of an anniversary, a wedding, birthday, graduation, or new job. We gather to drum, to dance, to celebrate the cycle of our Moon, our high sacred days, and our lives as pagans with ritual and feasting. We need to be together. That is what we are doing here.
We constantly strive to provide a positive community but what does that mean?
It means that we as pagans have come from the same places and face the same problems and obstacles as the general population. Are we as pagans, better than the general population? No.
Can we strive to be more positive respectful people, more positive practitioners, more aware of our energy, our fellow humans, our earth, our environment. Yes!
I’d like to take a few moments to give you the meat of some discussions I have had over the years with some other long time pagan community members that have either visited Mystic Moon or, have met with at different gatherings over the last 15 years. Shekinah Moutainwater, Dorothy Morrison, Lillith Dorsey, Bev Richardson, Silver Ravenwolf, Selena Fox and several more folks, are that are of a mind set likened to the way we try to work here. Leaders seem to be created and designed by the community around them and very few have bestowed that title on themselves. A true pagan community cannot consist solely of leaders. Name recognition is not more important than the real work we are trying to accomplish. Within many pagan communities come some problems with uncontrolled egos. Leggo your ego... Please and just find what you love about the community and support it! That will help with weeding out labels and need for people on pedestals or personal status and bring about the gathering of folks who just want to associate with other folks of like mind. That’s yet another answer to "What we are doing here?"
I think Shekinah Mountainwater summed it up best as to say: "Everyone is worthy of a relationship with Divinity, The All ,The Gods/Goddesses, and, they do not need anyone to intercede for them. The folks that we may call leaders simply have more experience with or study of esoteric knowledge, ceremony, teaching and/or administrative duties".
For this purpose, we have elders but are not "the leaders." Elders do have some of that experience needed to take the steps required for a working community. As a tribe, we should expect to respect our "elders" as they are a very valuable part of our history and usually hold some of the secrets that have gone before us. Secrets that can be lost over time, as we know well enough as a pagan people, how this has happened in our past.
Shekinah also goes on to say: "That getting people to think differently about community is similar to fish swimming upstream. In a line. There is a lot of resistance because of where we come from, with the water moving in the opposite direction." How do we guide folks to swim differently within a new age of thinking? We don’t. We simply go back to the ancient ways of the "circle". So, we think about circles for a moment and how leaders aren't at the top. They are a part of the circle of people, and have some of the skills to help circle the group and propel it wherever it goes.
This is our goal at The Moon to maintain a strong, compassionate community of support. We do and always will have certain "rules of hospitality," these rules are no more than anyone would have in their home. As a retail establishment fostering a community center, we provide a space that is open to all spiritual paths, whether we agree with them or not, it is not our place to judge and their right to follow their own paths must be respected here. Our existence depends on Mystic Moon remaining a "safe sacred" space for everyone. We have never been just about the business, however, to stay here and provide community we have to keep the store solvent and keep customers. I don’t know any one person or group that can fund an entire community solely out of pocket, do you? Our efforts here depend on the "circle" and the movement of "the circle".
That is why, with the exception of our "rules of hospitality" we have not, do not and never will , tell anyone what they should or shouldn't do with their spiritual self. Your path is your own, your truth is yours. We respect you, and your beliefs here whether you are Wiccan, Asatru, Hindu, Atheist, a Vampire, a Satanist, or even a Baptist! You are welcome here as a respectful seeker. There is no one here that is more important than you are, nor are you any more important than anyone else here. We are not a group, or a coven, we are a tribe of equals, there is no hierarchy in the community here!
Our goal and mission is to create a "circle of assistance around each and every one of you to offer help however we can help you. If you refuse help, then you have the right to learn from your experience. You do not however, have the right to make others miserable due to your experience. We are here to help, not to enable or validate co-dependency.
We work to develop a positive environment. We ask for help from all of you to make some long needed changes here and in communities wherever you may go. Pagan communities don’t happen simply by magick alone, it takes a lot of money and many dedicated volunteers to make these events happen.
A question: When was the last time you thanked a volunteer? There would be no events if not for them. They choose to be here to help, for you, for a cause we all believe in. They do this out of love, out of a sense of responsibility to give. This is truly a labor of love. Do you thank them? Do you leave your trash for them to clean up? Do you get an attitude with them if an issue has to addressed? We never pressure anyone to volunteer, and we don’t want anyone to feel bad if they can’t or even don’t want to, but at least be respectful of those that are here trying to help you have something you want in your community!
If you choose to be a part of the team effort for Mystic Moon Events or represent Mystic Moon in any way, there are requirements. Yes, there are requirements! Being a part of staff here is wonderful and so is being a part of the community as a whole. With the privilege of being a part of any community event or activity also comes some obligation, at least while you are here. Everyone must understand, there are things required of everyone in life, and there are things required of all of us to maintain a healthy productive community.
Instead of telling you what to do, we express to you what we feel needs to be done and offer the procedure that works best from our own experience or liability. A healthy group dynamic can be attained with a willingness to rise above negative weakness and pull together in difficult times. Things are negative enough out there without contribution on our part as a magickal people. Healthy, positive relationships within a community could be maintained by considering these "Seven Rules for Collaboration for Humans" written by Professor Muneera Spence:
1. Look for common ground with others, look for shared experiences, listen and give feedback in a respectful way, accept differences in perceptions and opinions, uncover similar ethics and values, be open about who you are and expect the same of others.
2. Learn about others in your community, recognize their perspectives and needs, allow people to express themselves.
3. Critique results, not people, help others to feel good about themselves. Personal hostility and intolerance is a waste of time and energy. Try to avoid put downs and criticizing the person instead of the idea if you disagree.
4. Give and get respect from others, respect other opinions, try being considerate and friendly, try some empathy. Speak to each other with confidence and tact.
5. Proceed slowly, check for understanding and acceptance of ideas or relationships before moving onward.
6. It is important to move slowly in the creation of community and numerous new contacts. Try to surround yourself with those who share the same goals.
7. Be explicit and clear when you engage another, observe nonverbal communication, speak clearly, select meaningful words. Stay away from rumors and gossip.
Thank you for taking the time to think about this important question.
An Iowa woman will make history next month by being the first Wiccan in the nation to give the opening invocation at a state legislature.
Although Christian pastors and priests normally give the invocation, Deborah Maynard of the People’s Church Unitarian Universalist told KCRG that Democratic state Rep. Liz Bennett asked her to open the Iowan House of Representatives with a Wiccan prayer on April 9.
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