About Tricia Clark-McDowell

I have had a passionate interest in gardening, herbalism, and the healing qualities of plants for over 40 years. My partner of 30 years, C. Forrest McDowell, and I steward our beautiful 22-acre Cortesia Sanctuary, outside of Eugene, Oregon. My lifelong interests in photography, art, nature, writing and meditation have allowed me to share my celebration of life in many ways, including gallery displays, best-selling gardening books, the creation of Cortesia Flower Essences, and the line of Cortesia Solomon's Seal products. I feel blessed to be of service, and to have a reverential relationship to Earth and all those in need.

Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment (with Solomon’s Seal): Its Use and Effectiveness

An herbal liniment is a medicinal liquid formulated with herbs in a base of rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, or oil. It is firmly rubbed into the skin to provide temporary, fast-acting pain relief for sore and inflamed joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It may also alleviate some of the discomfort of arthritis, bursitis, circulation problems, old injuries, rheumatism, sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises.

Liniments are extremely practical, having been used for thousands of years, often giving necessary short-term relief from pain, discomfort and stiffness within minutes. For those with joint health issues (stiffness, inflammation, pain), an effective liniment is invaluable. Athletes and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, from runners to gardeners, often use a liniment before and after exercise to keep muscles and joints loose and flexible. It goes without saying: Every medicine chest should have a bottle of liniment.

We have taken great care in formulating our Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment. The selected organic herbs are known for their individual and synergistic therapeutic value. They are steeped in a Witch Hazel and Isopropyl Alcohol base for many weeks for optimal distillation of each herb’s chemical constituents. We hand-bottle each liniment on demand from the steeping menstrum base to ensure highest and freshest therapeutic qualities.

Although liniments are not designed to provide long-term relief from chronic pain or discomfort, they work especially well when combined with herbal salves and/or tinctures, which are more lasting over time in their healing effects. We discuss this healing strategy thoroughly below. Continue reading

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Using an Herbal Liniment: Key Part of a 3-Step Healing Strategy

An herbal liniment (such as our Cortesia Quick Relief Liniment) is a medicinal liquid of herbs in a base or “carrier” of rubbing alcohol, Witch Hazel, or oil that is firmly rubbed into the skin to provide temporary, fast-acting pain relief and increased blood circulation. A liniment can be used alone, however, its effectiveness is increased when part of a 3-Step Healing Strategy using an accompanying topical salve and tincture. A good therapeutic liniment is effective for the following types of conditions:

  • Sore and inflamed joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Alleviation of the discomfort of arthritis, bursitis, and rheumatism
  • Circulation problems (increases blood circulation in affected area)
  • Sprains, strains, and bruises
  • Injuries or discomforts from sports, gardening, work, or recreational activities associated with the above symptoms
  • Other conditions that may benefit from short-term relief

Liniments are one of the oldest known natural medicinal interventions, fully using the therapeutic qualities of certain plants. They have been used for thousands of years, applied externally on humans and animals alike. Horse trainers use liniments extensively to relieve leg strains and injuries unique to horses. Athletes and sports enthusiasts often find quick relief by using a liniment. (For example, rub in a liniment briskly before and after your morning or afternoon run or strenuous workout). Similarly, people suffering from arthritis or bursitis greatly benefit from the short-term relief that a liniment provides.

Although liniments are not designed to provide long-term relief from chronic pain or discomfort, they work especially well when combined with herbal salves and/or tinctures, which are more lasting over time in their healing effects. We discuss this healing strategy thoroughly below. Massage will also enhance the effects of a liniment. Continue reading

Solomon’s Seal Tea: Healing Benefits

The wildcrafted root of the herb Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum or multiflorum) is widely known and used in tincture form (internally) or as a salve (externally). However, when prepared as a tea (i.e. herbal infusion) Solomon’s Seal root has unique healing benefits, as compared to tincture or salve.

The information available on the Internet about using Solomon’s Seal as a tea is not entirely accurate, especially suggested dosage amounts. The purpose of this article is to clarify the potential healing benefits of Solomon’s Seal tea for certain health issues, including its proper preparation and dosage.

Tincture or Tea?

First, it is important to clarify when the tea can offer superior healing and when it is more advantageous to use Solomon’s Seal as a tincture or salve. In some cases, the tincture and tea are interchangeable. If for some reason you cannot consume alcohol-based tinctures, than by all means try the tea. It has a mild, slightly sweet, nutty taste and is cooling and moistening to the body.

Solomon’s Seal tea, in particular, makes the best use of the plant’s excellent demulcent qualities (also referred to as mucilaginous or muco-protective). Mucilage is a polysaccharide substance obtained from the roots or seeds of a plant. A mucilaginous or demulcent herb is viscous and gelatinous, and thus protective and soothing to the mucus membranes and other irritated or inflamed internal tissues of the body. Continue reading

How Flower Essences Enhance Physical and Emotional Healing

Why should you consider the use of Flower Essences in your healing strategies? It’s common to focus on the physical aspects of healing because our body may be in pain and we want to make that pain go away. However, it’s equally important to pay close attention to the ever-present emotional aspects of any illness or condition. By better understanding and addressing the emotional component (alongside the physical), we can enhance and speed our physical healing.

Flower Essences are an excellent tool for blending emotional and physical healing. In a gentle yet profound way, flower essences get to the root of one’s deep emotions and bring them to the surface to be looked at. These buried, previously unacknowledged, or unresolved feelings may be part of the original cause of our current physical complaints. If we only focus on a physical cure or relief, we may be doing ourselves a disservice. What ails the body may not be fully healed unless or until we closely examine the underlying feelings. A practitioner once said to me, “Flower Essences are the most inexpensive form of therapy.” She may be right. While some people may choose to go to a counselor or psychologist to work through tough emotional places, Flower Essences are a tool we can use independently or concurrent with counseling, therapy or physical rehabilitation, as we choose. Continue reading

Treating Dance Injuries of the Foot & Ankle with Solomon’s Seal

There are a number of common dance injuries, but they can be categorized into five basic groups: injuries of the foot/ankle, knee, hamstring, hip, and back. In this article, I will discuss injuries of the foot and ankle. According to Podiatry Today (http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/3468), approximately 50% of the dance injuries are foot and ankle injuries, and most of these are due to overuse, as opposed to traumatic causes. This is because of the many repetitive movements in dance and the long hours spent in class and/or rehearsals.dancer Ankle and foot injuries require immediate and ongoing attention, and continuing to dance with such injuries is not advised. Treatment typically includes the use of ice, rest, compression and elevation (RICE), and possibly immobilization. In some cases, daily stretching and an anti-inflammatory may also be prescribed. In more severe cases, steroids and even surgery may be recommended and extensive rehabilitation required.

Benefits of Solomon’s Seal Herbal Tincture & Salve

There is, however, an additional intervention that can prove most effective with acute or chronic ankle and foot injuries, or even be used preventively. Solomon’s Seal is an herb long known for its ability to strengthen, lubricate, and nourish tendons, ligaments, attachments and joints, tightening them if they are too loose and loosening them if they are too tight. Keep in mind that ligaments are tissues that connect bones to other bones, while a tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that most often connects muscle to bone. Healthy tendons and ligaments are able to withstand tension, but if they are too tight or too loose, injuries can result. Continue reading