Thursday, June 30, 2011

Skinny Dippin' Even Further Into The Role Fats Play!

Hello Everyone!

In the beginning of the week I shared some information concerning fats, why we need them and what they do.Today I am going to go even deeper on how your body uses fat.  In this day and age, where it is standard in fashion to be deathly skinny, I believe it more important then ever, to supply this information to our girls and women. Maybe if they see exactly how not eating fat breaks down Their bodies, they will strive to eat healthier.

So enjoy and have wonderful day/evening!


Your Body and Fats

The word "fat" has been a negative word when used int the context of the Western diet since the late 20th century. This opinion is quite misleading, however. Fats perform a wide range of vital functions in the human body, from maintaining healthy cells to protecting organs. Fat is one of the three required building blocks of the human diet, along with proteins and carbohydrates. Certain fats-the essential fatty acids (or EFAs)-cannot be synthesized by the body, so they need to be a regular part of the diet.

Among their numerous vital functions, consumption of "healthy" essential fatty acids helps to keep hair shiny and nails strong and protects the eyes from disease.

Keep Reading To Find How Your Body Uses Fat In Detail

Maintain Brain Performance~Brain tissue contains a high concentration of fatty acids an is particularly high in essential fatty acids, obtained from sources such as fish and seeds. Keeping up adequate levels of this nutrient is important in maintaining brain function, and is vital to brain development in infants.

Protects Against Eye Disease~Diets higher in omega 3 fatty acids (EFAs), found in foods such as oily fish, including salmon and various nuts, may help to protect against cataracts and diseases of the retina. One EFA actually makes up 60 percent of the structure of the light receptors in the eye. Fat is vital for absorption of vitamin A, needed for healthy eyes.

Prevent Liver Disease~Cholesterol is an important constitution of bile acid, the substance secreted by the liver that breaks down fats in the diet. Essential fats also help to prevent liver disease by protecting liver cells from the effects of alcohol.

Stop Hunger Pains~Fat-free eating does not ensure weight loss. Fat in foods delivers a feeling of satiety, the sense that we've had enough to eat. If there is no fat in a meal, we don't get "full" as quickly and eat more calories.

Speed Up Healing~Essential fatty acids fave an important role in speeding up the body's ability to heal wounds and infections.


Cushion The Organs~Layers of white fat are deposited inside the body, forming a protective  covering for the body's vital organs, such as the heart, liver and kidneys, cushioning them from damage and physical shock.

General Heat~The layer of fat just under the skin's surface protects from temperature extremes; the breakdown of fat also generates heat. Eskimos get about 60 calories from fat.

Hormone Production~Essential fatty acids are proven to help reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause, particularly gamma-linoleic acid, found in evening primrose oil. Essential fats are also converted into prostaglandin, a hormone that regulates many important functions in the body, such as nerve transmissions, heart, liver and kidney function and fluid balance.

Strengthen Nails~Maintaining a good intake of the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in your diet can help to prevent cracked and unhealthy nails.

Waterproofing The Skin~Fats are required for waterproofing the skin's surface. An adequate intake of essential fatty acids can also prevent skin problems such as eczema.

Keep Joints Supple~As you get older and your joints become stiffer, including  a healthy level of essential fatty acids in your diet can help protect against the onset of arthritis and joint pain.

Thin Your Blood~Omega-3 essential fatty acids help to lower the risk of serious illnesses such as a stroke or a heat attack. This is because these fats actually reduce the "stickiness" of the blood.

Prevent Hardened Arteries~Your blood vessels use polyunsaturated  fats to provide the flexibility that allows them to absorb the pressure generated every time your heart beats. Without that flexibility, hardening of the arteries would occur.

The Steps Fat Takes Through Ingestion To Digestion

1. Passage To The Stomach~Food containing fats enters the mouth and passes down the esophagus into the stomach. At this stage, fats are bound together with the alcohol glycerol.

2. Role Of Bile~Bile salts (produced by the liver) mix with the fat droplets, breaking them up into smaller droplets called "micelles", speeding up their digestion.

3. Fatty Acids~Meanwhile, the pancreas secretes enzymes that attack the surface of the micelles, breaking the fats down into their component parts of fatty acids and glycerol.

4. Absorption Of Fats~These components are absorbed through the stomach lining and reassembled with a protein coating to make the fat dissolve more easily in water.

5. Role Of Lymph~Too large to pass directly into the blood, the reassembled fat components enter the lymphatic system where they eventually drain into the veins and pass into the bloodstream.

6. Action Of Insulin~Once in the bloodstream the fatty particles are again broken down into fats and fatty acids by the hormone insulin.

7. Storage Of Fat~These molecules can then be absorbed from the bloodstream into the liver cells, muscle cells and fat cells, to be released and used whenever they  are required by the body.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Let The "Experts" Fool You; You Need Fat For Development and Mantenaince!

Merry Monday everyone..

..Fat or no fat? Carbs or no carbs? Sugar or no sugar?

We get many differing answers to these is the skinny on fat; what we need, why we need and how much we need.

The Role Fat Plays On Your Body

Why We Need Dietary Fat~Fat is essential for the healthy development, maintenance and functioning of the body's tissues, including the brain, skin and immune system. In fact, fat makes up 60% of the brain and nervous system. It is also an important energy source.

Fat In Men And Women~Men tend to store fat around the chest, abdomen and buttocks, women tend to carry fat on the breasts, hips, waist and buttocks. However, make and female bodies use fats in the same way and the percentage of fat eaten on a daily basis remains the same.

How Much Fat is Healthy?~The optimum intake of fat for an adult is 30 percent of the total calorie intake, broken down as follows:
  • Saturated Fat-not more than 8-10 percent
  • Monounsaturated Fat-10-12 percent
  • Polyunsaturated Fat-not more than 10 percent, including EFA's

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)~EFAs are a type of polyunsaturated fat, and are grouped into omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acid groups. These fats perform a host of minor, but essential functions in the body, for example maintaining healthy hair and nails.

Dietary EFAs~Because EFAs are unsaturated fats they do their work quickly in the body-but in their raw form they can go rancid quickly. As a result, these fats are commonly removed from processed foods to help extend their shelf life, so it is important to eat the right foods in order to ensure a quantity of good-quality EFAs in our diet.

Essential fatty acids are found in:
  • Nuts
  • Oily fish
  • Olives
  • Avocados

Fat And Vitamins~Fats are needed in the diet for the absorption and mobilization of fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins cannot be used by the body if fat is not included in the diet.

Vitamin D~Is needed to help absorb calcium. Low vitamin D stores may result in bone thinning and can lead to osteoporosis.

Vitamin K~Is required for blood clotting

Vitamin E~Is a vital antioxidant for the immune system

Some vitamins are found in fats and cannot be made by the body

Fat As An Energy Source~Fats are one of the three main components of the diet and of all three are the most efficient, generating almost twice as much energy per gram than either proteins or carbohydrates. Fat also constitutes the body's greatest source of stored energy.

Maintain Blood Sugar Levels~Fats provide calorie bulk to our meals, ensuring an adequate supply of energy for bodily functions and processes, and for release when necessary to maintain constant levels of sugar in the blood.

Omega-3  Fatty Acids

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
 & Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA):

Sources-Fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon

Needed For-EPA produces hormone-like substances that help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and cancer. Western diet is often deficient.

Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA):

Sources-Linseed (flaxseed) oil, soybean and walnut oils

Needed For-ALA is an essential fatty acid found primarily in flaxseeds and flax oil, ALA is helpful for immune system function. The body converts a portion of ALA into two other fatty acids known as EPA and DHA

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Linoleic Acid (LA):

Sources-Corn, margarine and vegetable oils

Needed For-Improves skin and hair. It may also be partially converted to GLA in the body.

Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA):

Sources-High levels in evening primrose oil

Needed For-Production of hormone-like compounds that are anti-inflammatory, dilate blood vessels and reduces blood clotting. Popularly used by women suffering form PMS. Most Western diets are deficient in GLA

Arachidonic Acid (AA):

Sources-Peanut oil and meat

Needed For-Brain growth, constricting blood vessels and blood clotting

Friday, June 24, 2011

Your Guide To Essential Vitamins And Why You Need Them

Merry Friday everyone!

Today we are going to go even deeper into essential vitamins; what sources they come from, what your body needs them for, and any warnings.........


Guide To Essential Vitamins

Vitamin A (retinol & beta carotene)

Sources~Occurs as retinol in animal sources such as
  • Fish Oil
  •  Egg Yolk
...and as beta carotene in:

  • Yellow/Orange veggies and fruit

 Needed For:
  • Night Vision
  • Immune System
  • Healthy Skin
  • Healthy Cell Renewal
  • Antioxidant Action

Warnings~Retinol is toxic in high doses-avoid during pregnancy-(beta carotene is safe)

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-4yrs to 6yrs, about 2500mg increasing to 3300mg by age 7-10
  • Adults-500mcg (retinol equivalents)
  • Pregnancy-Do not exceed 3000mcg retinol or beta carotene

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

  • Wholegrains
  • Peanuts
  • Pork
  • Yeast Extract
  • Bacon
  • Bran Flakes
  • Sunflower Seeds

Needed For:
  • Growth
  • Energy Production
  • Digestion
  • Nervous System
  • Combating Depression


Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-0.5mg-0.9mg suggested
  • Adults-1.2mg-1.4mg
  • Pregnancy-1.4mg suggested

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

  • Almonds
  • Lamb's Liver
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Goat's Milk Cheese
  • Seaweed
  • Liver Pate`

Needed For:
  • Release of energy from protein, fats and carbs
  • Healthy hair, skin, nails and eyes

Warnings~Not toxic, but high doses may cause loss of other B vitamins

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-0.8mg-1.2mg suggested
  • Adults-1.2mg-1.7mg
  • Pregnancy-Extra may be needed, ask your doctor

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Peanut Butter
  • Potatoes
The body can make its own vitamin B3 from the amino acid tryptophan

Needed For:
  • Enhanced brain function
  • Healthy skin
  • Digestive tract
  • Balance of blood sugar and cholesterol

Warnings~Doses over 50mg per day can affect blood pressure and damage the liver

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-5mg-10mg suggested
  • Adults-18mg-20mg
  • Pregnancy-consult with your doctor

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Sources~Extra supplies can be synthesized in the body. Also available from:
  • Pig's Liver
  • Nuts
  • Wheat Germ
  • Pulses (legumes)
  • Eggs

Needed For:
  • Energy Production
  • Fat Metabolism
  • Antistress Hormones
  • Skin, nerves, brain, muscles

Warnings: None

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-3mg-7mg suggested
  • Adults-7mg-10mg
  • Pregnancy-consult doctor

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Sources~The body can synthesize extra supplies of B6. Also found in:
  • Pork
  • WheatGerm
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Cabbage

Needed For:
  • Immune System
  • Cell Renewal
  • Healthy Skin
  • Balancing hormones in women
  • Digestion

Warnings: High doses of vitamin B6 can cause neurological damage

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-0.5mg-1mg suggested
  • Adults-1.6mg-2mg
  • Pregnancy-Extra may be needed; consult doctor

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Sources~Animal sources such as:
  • Oily Fish
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Cheese
  • Seaweed

Needed For:
  • Production of red blood cells
  • Energy
  • Appetite
  • Nervous System (particularly children)

Warnings: None

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-0.3mcg-3mcg
  • Adults-1.5mcg-3mcg
  • Pregnancy-Extra may be needed; consult your doctor

Folic Acid

  • Deep Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Carrots
  • Liver
Intestinal bacteria can also manufacture its own supply

Needed For:
  • Protecting Nervous System of Fetus
  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Preventing Anemia

Warnings: Folic acid supplements can be dangerous if taken with epilepsy medication

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children- 50mcg-150mcg suggested
  • Adults-200mcg
  • Pregnancy-400mcg

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Peppers
  • Kale
  • Red Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Corn

Needed For:
  • Production of Collagen
  • Wound Healing
  • Healthy Skin
  • Immune System
  • Hormone Production

Warnings: Excess can cause diarrhea. High doses reduce effectiveness of contraceptive pill

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-25mg-35mg suggested
  • Adults-40mg-45mg
  • Pregnancy-Higher doses recommended

Vitamin D (calciferol)

  • Sunlight
  • Mackeral
  • Tuna
  • Herring and other oily fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Bran Flakes

Needed For:
  • Retaining calcium for healthy bones and teeth
  • Blood clotting
  • Nervous system
  • Muscles

Warnings: High doses (1250mcg) of the vitamin are potentially toxic-consult your doctor

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-5mcg-10mcg suggested
  • Adults-10mcg
  • Pregnancy-extra may be needed-consult your doctor

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

  •  Vegetable oils such as sunflower and safflower
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sun-dried tomatoes

Needed For:
  • Antioxidant action, protects the cells from damage
  • Preventing blood clots
  • Fertility
  • Healthy skin

Warnings: Can interfere with anticoagulant (blood thinner) medication and insulin

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-0.3mg suggested
  • Adults-3mg-4mg
  • Pregnancy-extra may be needed-consult your doctor

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

  • Leafy vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Liver
Can be produced in the intestines

Needed For:
  • Control of blood clotting
  • Healthy bones and teeth

Warnings: Can interfere with anticoagulant medication

Recommended Daily Allowance:
  • Children-varies with age-consult with your pediatrician
  • Adults-65mcg for women-80mcg for men
  • Pregnancy-65mcg

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your Guide To How Foods Relieve Stress

G'morning everyone....
I have shared with you all a great deal on herbs, flowers, aromatherapy etc...but we cannot forget that what we buy at the supermarket to eat is just as important to our minds, bodies and emotions as herbs and aromatherapy are. So today's post is on foods that help you relieve stress..

(Blogger is not letting me put the rest of the pics in, so this is it for now)

How Foods Relieve Stress

Anti-Stress B Vitamins~Under stress, the adrenal glands are put under strain due to the increase in production of adrenaline. All the B vitamins support the adrenal glands. Good foods to boost levels of B vitamins are:
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Brown Rice
  • Wheatgerm
  • Soya Beans
  • Fish
  • Whole Grains
  • Dairy Products
  • Liver

Vitamin B5~Found in:
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Wholegrains
  • Leafy Vegetables
Vitamin B6~Found in the foods below can lift your mood:
  • Wholegrains
  • Shellfish such as shrimp, mussels, Lobster

Antioxidants: Fight Free Radicals~Antioxidants are needed to fight destructive free radicals. These are produced naturally by the body in times of stress and can cause cell damage, impair mental performance and lead to illness. he following fresh foods are the best source of antioxidants:

Vitamin E:
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds

  • Oysters
  • Seeds
  • Ginger Root
  • Brewers Yeast

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Wholegrains

Vitamin A & Beta Carotene:
  • Fish Oils
  • Egg Yolk
  • Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables

Vitamin C~Is essential for the healthy function of the adrenal gland and is also a potent antioxidant. try to eat extra vitamin C rich foods several times a day during periods of stress/, because the body will use more than normal and vitamin C can't be stored in the body tissue for later use. Vitamin C easily degrades when exposed to air, so if you make fresh juices, drink them right away.

The Best Sources of Vitamin C Are:
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables especially red and black berries
  • Kiwi
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers of any color

Magnesium, Calcium & Potassium~Magnesium and calcium work in partnership and are both depleted during times of stress. An increased intake will help prevent insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, cloudy thinking and irritability. Good sources of Magnesium are:
  • Wheatgerm
  • Nuts
  • Wholegrains

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Dairy products
Calcium has a particularly calming effect.

  • Watercress
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Radish
  • Avocado
Potassium is needed to ward off mental confusion and depression.

Chromium And Slow Releasing Carbs~Following the adrenaline rush brought on by stress, the body suffers an energy slump and needs a boost.

Complex Carbohydrates:
  • Wholegrains
  • Beans
  • Lentils
These foods release energy gradually and aid production of mood-boosting serotonin.

  • Brewers Yeast
  • Wholemeal Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Green Peppers
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
Chromium balances blood sugar levels

Herbal Stress-Busters

Rose Hips~Contain vitamin C and combat stress. They can be taken fresh (2-3 tsp) or dried (1 tsp) in a cup of water.

Valerian~1 tsp of dried valerian root in a cup of hot water once a day (or before bed) will promote relaxation and sleep.

Peppermint~A tbsp of Fresh peppermint leaves in hot water or a tsp of the dried leaves, taken three times a day will relax muscles.

Hops~2-6 tsp of hops a day soothes due to sedative and muscle relaxing qualities.

Oats~Soak oats in hot water or make as porridge to calm frayed nerves.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

!!! "Featured Artist Tuesday" !!!

G'morning All, I am very excited to once again feature a wonderful artisan.

I believe it's beneficial to the artist and the potential customer to know a bit about the person behind the work; the inspiratons, battles and ideas that bring about the unique product made.

So sit back, enjoy your coffee or tea and if you can take a moment after the interview to show some love and visit the artist's shop, that would be much appreciated.

So without futher ado.....I present for your reading pleasure.....

Karen Jones of MoArk Jewelry!

Welcome to my world of OOAK jewelry!   I started a jewelry business, MoArk Jewelry, with my sister 6 years ago.  Our name came from Missouri (Mo) where she lives and Arkansas (Ark) where I live.  We travelled the craft show circuit for a few years; over two years ago I started my online shops.   I couldn’t use our current business name so I ended up with Second Sister at MoArk Jewelry.  The name represents me (second sister of three) and our original jewelry company name! 
I am a retired Occupational Therapist and an active EMT on our volunteer (unpaid!) ambulance service here in Greers Ferry.  My husband and I are avid gardeners and have a home-based garden business which competes with my “jewelry” time!

Jewelry and art have always been important to me.  Over the years, many crafts have been explored by me.  I finally ended up concentrating on oil painting and black and white photography.  That is until my sister introduced me to the wonderful world of beads and the rest is history!  Books, DVD’s, and online videos have been my teachers as there are not many opportunities to attend classes here in rural Arkansas.

Semi-precious gemstones are a favorite of mine and are featured in most of my designs.  Collecting crystals has been my hobby for years and branching out to include gemstones just seemed a natural course of action.  I love the fact that they come from Mother Earth and represent the beauty that is present everywhere.

I make OOAK because I believe that jewelry is an outward manifestation of who we are that we show to the world.  We choose certain pieces based on an inner recognition and a piece that resonates with us.  If we see our jewelry coming and going, its meaning lessens and the sense of ownership lessens also.

The world of jewelry offers so many avenues to explore but I haven’t singled out one that seems to represent me.  My style is eclectic and diversified and I am always looking for new techniques to try.  My next foray into the unknown is designing clay beads and adding metal work into the mix.  My dream is to one day own a kiln and have a bonafide studio in which to work!
My online website is; my shops are and  Drop in and leave me feedback – constructive criticism is always welcome and helps me to advance my skills! 
Karen Jones

Monday, June 20, 2011

Herbs That Compliment Your Zodiac Sign ~Revised~

It has been brought to my attention, that Gemini was missing from this post (Thank you very much!)

After reviewing this post, I am shocked with all that is wrong with it; with said, I am correcting the mistakes and re-posting it.

I am very fortunate that a loyal reader took the time to give me a "head's up"


Herbs That Compliment Your Zodiac Sign

Most of us know what our zodiac sign is, some of us know what our colors are and what stones fit us, but have you have wondered what herb would benefit you best according to your zodiac sign? Well wonder no more my precious reader! Read below to find your personal herbs........

.............The following herbs have been chosen to medicinally help your astrological Karma; they have been chosen for your particular sign by function, color, sharpness, and sometimes even taste.

Aries (March 21-April 9)
Symbol: Ram
Element: Fire
Ruling Planet: Mars
Characteristics: Aries are leaders who speak directly and don't like being told what to do. They are rarely shy away from a challenge. Known for their energy, drive, and in some instances, impulsiveness, they sometimes lack the follow-through to see their projects to the end. Aries never hold a grudge but tend to have sharp tempers. They're attracted to those who play hard to get, because they enjoy the challenge and the chase.

Herbs: By virtue of Mars, their ruling planet, Aries tend to get over-heated and need a bit of cooling. Aries would prefer a double cappuccino, but they're better served by calming teas containing rose petals, hops and yucca. Mars rules the immune system, which makes these herbs even more appropriate. Though it's "heated", basil helps keep Aries in good health with its antibiotic properties.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
Symbol: Bull
Element: Earth
Ruling Planet: Venus
Characteristics: Easy-going,, patient, and determined, Taurus are known for their placid demeanor and seldom show anger or displeasure unless they've been unduly provoked. They like consistency, familiarity, and usually move cautiously. Taurus sometimes have an extreme affinity for money and material things, tending to overindulge. They can put on weight due to their disdain for exercise. Taurus people bring dependability and affection to their relationships.

Herbs: Their propensity for "grazing" and putting on pounds can leas Taurus to pancreas-related troubles. Stevia, dandelion, alfalfa, lamb's quarter and clovers serve them best.

Gemini (Mary 21-June 21)
Symbol: Twins
Element: Air
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Characteristics: Geminis love to talk. They're very curious, have quick minds, and often over-analyze and over-think situations. Always out-going, Geminis have wit and charm that attracts people easily. Because they tend to get bored quickly, Geminis thrive on constant excitement an stimulation. They're attracted to interesting, communicative people.

Herbs: Gemini personalities are prone to stress-related digestive problems and benefit from herbs such as fennel, cumin, mint, catnip, and oregano. This sign also needs licorice to balance and nourish arsenals. Daisy flower essence is very helpful to Geminis who wish to actualize their creative ideas.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)
Symbol: Crab
Element: Water
Ruling Planet: Moon
Characteristics: Cancers don't deal well with rejection and are protective of their feelings. Extremely family oriented, they're at their best when in the company o loved ones. They sometimes get caught up in feelings and reminders of the past and have trouble moving on. caner individuals love to curl up with  good book rather that attend a party. They're most comfortable with a partner who's devoted and demonstrative.

Herbs: Cancers tend to suffer from depleted energy an are prone to illnesses like stomach flu. Often overly fatigued, they benefit from the stimulant properties of cocoa. Blue vervain, lettuces, cleavers, lavender and woodruff are also very beneficial to Cancer personalities.

Leo (July 23-August 22)
Symbol: Lion
Element: Fire
Ruling Planet: Sun
Characteristics: Leos enjoy being the center of attention, and their confidence can sometimes err on the side of arrogance. They're charming, outgoing, and love to show off. Leos easily make friends and look for partners who shower them with attentions, which feeds their romantic nature. Leos tend to take everything to heart, and they like a good measure of control.
Herbs:Leo's love the sun, and St.john's wort is very good for "sun" people. The herb also helps Leos in the rare instances they suffer from depression. Hawthorne, calendula, chamomile, sunflower and daisy also serve Leos well.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sept 22)
Element: Earth
Ruling Planet: Mercury
Characteristics: Often perfectionists, Virgos are hard, conscientious, self-critical, and modest by nature They prefer staying behind the scenes when it comes to work. Virgos often want to "fix" their loved ones, which can make them critical of others. Not always physically demonstrative with their partners, Virgos show their love instead with nice gestures.
Herbs: Because they end to worry, Virgos are prone to stress-related illnesses, including digestive problems. These benefit greatly from herbs such as dill, catnip, minto and crabapple essence.

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22)
Symbol: Scales
Element: Air
Ruling Planet: Venus
Characteristics: Libras are very sensitive to their surroundings. They need harmony and balance, functioning poorly in disorder and chaos. Libras don't like confrontation and often keep their thoughts to themselves n order to avoid conflict. They may go so far as to say what they think people want to hear. Libras need a romantic partner with good manners and impeccable taste.
Herbs: Libras have a tendency toward fearfulness, which sunflowers can ameliorate. This sign also has a propensity for urinary tract infections, which horsetail and cornsilk treat well. All flowers are wonderful for Libras.

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Symbol: Scorpion
Element: Water
Ruling Planet: Pluto
Characteristics: Scorpios are possessive by nature. Although they're very good at getting others to confide in them, Scorpios keep their own secrets to themselves. They're determined and give 100 percent to whatever they do. Much of their energy is spent on the pursuit of sex and power. They need a partner who equals them in passion and strength. They expect complete loyalty and devotion form their partner, while often being critical and demanding of that person. Scorpios tend to hold resentment; at times they find it hard to move on.
Herbs: Willow eases the sting of resentment and chicory helps with possessiveness. Peony and ocotillia can help Scorpios with several blood diseases, sexual problems, and infections. Basil is also good for the Scorpio personality, which tends to overheat

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)
Symbol: Archer
Element: Fire
Ruling Planet: Jupiter
Characteristics: Sagittarians love to interact with others and are very enthusiastic people. Because of their bluntness, they often "tell it like it is." Sagittarians must have partners who respect their freedom and are as adventurous and fun-loving as they tend to be.

Herbs:Sagittarians can eat and drink too much. As such, they need help metabolizing their liver function. Turmeric, berberis root, and goldenseal work well. Sagittarians also benefit from the liver strengthening effects of milk thistle.

Capricorn (Dec 22 -Jan 19)
Symbol: Goat
Element: Earth
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Characteristics: Capricorns are generally aloof, detached and sometimes have difficulty opening up or confiding in others. They tend to choose friends and partners based on status or material wealth rather than compatibility. If someone finally does break through their wall, they become devoted and loyal. They tend to gravitate toward people who are goal-oriented, mature and ambitious. They have a serious, cautious nature and dedicate quite a bit of energy to their careers.
Herbs: Capricorns are ruled by Saturn, so their health issues tend to affect the skeleton and skin. Comfrey and chaparral are very beneficial for skin and bone support.

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18)
Symbol: Water bearer
Element: Air
Ruling Planet: Uranus
Characteristics: As the rebellious group of the Zodiac, Aquarians often draw attention to themselves with their eccentric behavior and speech.Their interest in humanity is incomparable, and fairness, equality and freedom are strong character traits. Aquarians are often detached and aloof, and feel most in their element when relating to others on a mental level. Aquarians choose partners who equal them in intellectual ability and who will afford them the freedom and space they require.

Herbs: Due to their high-strung personalities, Aquarians benefit from calming herbs such as kava, valerian, sage and purslane. Chlorophyll, with its abundance of trace minerals, is also important for maintaining their nervous systems.

Pisces ( Feb 19-March 20)
Symbol: Fish
Element: Water
Ruling Planet: Neptune
Characteristics: Pisces often fail to see reality, tending to live in their dreams instead. Although they may lack self-confidence at times, they're very receptive and can sense the feelings of others near them. This attribute gives them a  reputation for being the "psychic sponges " of the Zodiac and tends to make them moody. The Pisces individual attracts partners who are romantic, sensitive and gentle which complements their kind-hearted, tolerant nature.
Herbs: Pisces tend to self-medicate, and have found success with calming herbs like wild lettuce, sea-weed and clematis, which counter-act their spacey nature. Oat flower essence also helps them focus.