Bali Detox, Healing, Herbal Bali, island life, Uncategorized

Bali Detox

So, its been a while that I haven’t been feeling so fabulous – low energy, sniffly , poor digestion. It finally got to the point where I knew I had to take some positive steps and made an appointment with Bali Natural Healing Centre in Canggu http://www.balihealing.org/index.html I had heard really good things about Peggy Marienfeld – a naturopath from Germany who who been in Bali for several years.   She has a really sensible and balanced approach to healing and holistic well being and I warmed to her immediately.

I have always believe in a holistic approach to health but am sensible enough to know that sometimes the western path of medicine is the only way to go holistic v western but at other times – like now, the last thing I want to do is burden my overloaded system with harsh  synthetic drugs. It seems like my stomach needs some TLC not a chemical blitz, and so I am embarking on a detox/cleanse.  Peggy gave me a tincture of cloves, ginger, wormwood and black walnut to help clean out the parasites and my online research confirms that these are all commonly used herbs for parasites. I have to take this for three weeks, and have also stocked up on chlorophyll and probiotics. You see, my aim is removal and regeneration. I want to remove the toxins and parasites, but simultaneously restore the balance to my system. I have also stocked up my fridge with organic greens and am removing all sugar, wheat  and refined/processed food from my diet for the next couple of weeks. detox ingredients in Bali

Quite often I will just eat a salad for lunch and steamed vegetables and rice for dinner, however I know that I will quickly get very bored if this is all I eat for two weeks so I have vowed to be adventurous and to make cooking healthy, tasty and nutritious food  my mission. I started today with bok choy. Yes, I know its good for you – and I try to add it to my diet as often as possible – but really, its not my favourite food, yet there is a big bunch of it in my fridge (alongside some Sri Lankan spinach and some very dark green Kale.) I started thinking about a dish I used to love when I lived in Fiji –  palusani – water spinach cooked in coconut cream and this became the inspiration for my lunch.  At the risk of not sounding at all humble, I have to say it turned out to be divine. And went perfectly with my rice steamed with star anise, cardamom and cinnamon (who says rice is boring?)

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Ingredients: Spinach in coconut milk

  • 2 large bok choy, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • organic salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Steam the vegetables until wilted, then lightly sautee in olive oil.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir until well combined and then simmer about ten minutes
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Herbal Bali

Coconut hair rituals

http://theapplediaries.com/coconut-oil-for-acne/

 

In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as [kalpa vriksha,] meaning “tree which gives all that is necessary for living,” because nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another.

Coconuts are full of things that are great for your skin and body, like vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, natural proteins and fibres. One of the best ways to stay hydrated in the tropics is to drink plenty of coconut water as it is packed with natural electrolytes that replenish and nourish the body. Applying coconut to the body has a similarly hydrating effect. The milk is particularly rich and has been used for centuries to nourish hair and skin and leave it looking smooth and radiant, while coconut oil is a valuable source of vitamin E – an antioxidant which keeps skin soft and helps battle the visible effects of aging.  For a deep conditioning treatment at home, wash your hair, towel dry, then massage two tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil into your hair and scalp – concentrating on the damaged ends.  Cover with a shower cap then wrap in a hot towel and leave for two to three hours, before wash thoroughly (the oil is heavy so you may need to wash a couple of times.)

 

Splurge at Four Seasons

 It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting for a tropical spa treatment than one of the open-air bales at The Spa at Four Seasons, Jimbaran Bay. Opt for a Coconilla ritual, imbued with the exotic aroma of coconut, the scent of vanilla, a salty sea breeze and the gentle lap of waves on the beach.  Freshly grated coconut is blended with thick coconut milk into a rich luxurious body scrub that gently polishes and rehydrates the skin, leaving it incredibly soft and supple. I highly recommend following with a Neem and Coconut Oil Treatment. The deeply relaxing scalp massage stimulates blood circulation, neem rejuvenates hair cells, and the coconut oil nourishes and restores the hair. The effect is astonishing, after this treatment my hair is positively lustrous (and that is not an adjective I could usually use when describing my hair.) Many say that when it comes to hair care, virgin coconut oil is better than any manmade treatment on the market and I tend to agree. Unlike most oils and moisturisers that  just sit on the skin, coconut oil actually penetrates the hair shaft to prevent damage from the inside out. Alison

Coconilla Ritual at The Spa at Four Seasons, Jimbaran Bay +62 361 701010

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Herbal Bali

A walk in the rice fields

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Bali Herbal Walks

I drive up to Ubud early in the morning, dark ominous clouds hang over the hills creating a moody backdrop. I hope the rain will hold off for the next few hours as I have signed up for a herbal walk, and trudging through rice fields in torrential rain isn’t quite what I have in mind. I meet my guide, Westi, a wise and gentle soul with an innate knowledge of all things herbal. He and his wife Lilir have been leading guests on walks through the ravines and rice fields of Ubud for twelve years. Their extensive knowledge of herbalism gained from their families, working in the field, and from years of studying with traditional healers.

The use of natural medicines, known as Usada, is a strong custom in Bali, as traditionally the only medicines that people had access to were those provided by nature. Most Balinese have some knowledge of natural cures and many families keep an apotek hidup (living drugstore), a small garden of herbs with medicinal properties in their yard. The edges of Bali’s fertile rice fields also host a plethora of herbs, fruit and trees that have therapeutic and health enhancing properties.

We head down a walled path way that edges along a steep ravine. Westi points out a magnolia tree, its leaves can be steeped in hot water and the resulting brew creates calm and balance. He adds that many Balinese women can’t afford perfume, instead enjoy the scent of fresh cut flowers such as magnolia, tied into their hair.

We wander through dense foliage, thick with trees, shrubs, and fernery that grows with untamed abandon. He tells me that unlike the heavily landscaped gardens that are popular in the island’s holiday resorts, a traditional Balinese garden is more wild and artistic. We come to a ylang ylang tree, with a solid trunk leading to a mass of leaves high above. He says the Japanese use it as ‘honeymoon oil’ which I guess makes it an aphrodisiac. Here in Bali, the flowers are considered holy and are used in offerings, but, “You have to be feeling strong to climb,” he says, “because it’s a tall tree and if you fall off, it’s all over.” Nearby, an avocado tree is sprouting with tiny green fruit; when ripe these can be used as a natural colouring and women blend the creamy flesh into a body mask which is highly moisturizing.

The path winds around the river and leads us up a gentle slope. We pass back yards where women are busy preparing morning offerings. Roosters crow, dogs bark and the air is fragrant with frangipani.

We find the dark red Indian long pepper growing on a climbing vine that clings to a stone wall. It is hard and shriveled and, as I discover when I taste a tiny sliver, very very hot. “The heat creates power,” Westi says, and is chewed by men as an aphrodisiac. I ask if women can chew it too, and he replies, “Yes, women are more equal now.” It is also one of the ingredients in boreh, a traditional body mask that relaxes the muscles and helps prevent rheumatism.

We head into a more open area, resplendent with the verdant green rice fields (sawahs) that Bali is so famous for. As with so much in Bali, the growing of rice is approached with an artist’s eye; just because something is practical, doesn’t mean that it can not also be beautiful. Palms line the path, butterflies flitter by and the sound of trickling water is ever present. We come across a couple of water snakes but they are timid and quickly slither away.  Westi points out the Balinese rice crops which are tall and stately and tells me that this is the best quality rice, as it is high in vitamins and nutrients, but only yields two crops a year. Nearby we see the Philippine variety which is more common, it is shorter, thicker and less aesthetic, but produces three crops a year and needs less attention.

I have never really given the rice paddies much thought beyond admiring them, taking numerous photos and regularly tucking into nasi goring. I learn that all farmers must be part of a rice co op a system known as Subak. There are 200 Subaks in Bali, seven of which are in Ubud. The one we are walking through is called Juwukmanis (Sweet orange organization of rice fields.) Water is set into irrigation channels to which everyone has equal access and although fields are individually owned, all members work together for the prosperity of all.

A few farmers are at work in the fields and a man in a rattan hat walks by with a stick over his shoulder laden with bushels of rice that have just been harvested.  A couple of small fires are burning which Westi tells me is sometimes necessary to rejuvenate the soil, the farmers decide what is needed. Natural insecticide is provided by a gaggle of ducks that are busy pecking away.

Small temples are scattered over the fields, and offerings are made to ensure good harvests.I notice a doll like figure dangling from a large bamboo stick and Westi tells me that this is a representation of the Rice Goddess Dewi Sri. It has been made from harvested rice husks, and is an offering of thanks to Ibu Purtiwi (earth mother.) He adds that after the rice has been planted, it is deemed  pregnant, and in the early growing stage, offerings such as sour fruit, which control nausea, are made to the rice goddess to prevent morning sickness.

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Although Balinese practice Hinduism, the more ancient practice of Animism imbues much of the spiritual side of life. The earth is considered female and the sky is male – when the two meet, as in human relationships, there is power. The wet season is considered particularly powerful as the continual rain from the sky pounds the earth nurturing everything that grows with in it.  Nature’s bounty is powerful, because it has been created by the union of earth and sky. The reason that there are so many problems in Denpasar he explains, is that there is too much cement and the gods are angry because the sky and earth never meet, there is a block.

“When we eat, we absorb the character of the food,” he tells me. “Holy men eat only duck which is a symbol of wisdom, roosters are no good to eat because they like fighting.” I ask about ritualistic animal sacrifice and he tells me that, “Whatever we need, we offer the gods, blood sacrifice symbolizes fertility and may be necessary to ensure a good harvest.” But before killing an animal a ceremony is held to bless it, so that the animal will come back to a better and higher life.

We come to the temple compound of the Subak, it is late morning and the clouds have dispersed revealing the sun in all its scorching glory. We sit in the shade, enjoying the rest and the peaceful rural scene that surrounds us. A farmer brings me a fresh coconut to drink, skillfully opening it with a long curved knife.

We continue on our way, stopping to crush Citronella leaves which release a strong aroma that repels mosquitoes. We inhale the scent of Melaleuka leaves which are also used as an insect repellant, and pick stalks of lemongrass which are good for colds.Outside a temple Westi points out a tiny little plant not much bigger than my hand, it’s a banyan, one of the most sacred of all trees, it seems hard to imagine that this scrawny  little thing will one day be a magnificent sprawling mass of branches and vines.

Westi and Lilir are both keen to revive and preserve the natural heritage of herbalism, for the sake of the young generation of Balinese, and for the tourists who flock to the island. With the help of Melanie Templar from the UK, they established Utama Spice in 1997 which produces a range of high quality herbal beauty products, including lotions, oils and soaps. Westi tells me that some of their clients were interested to know more about the natural substances they used, which gave them the idea of taking guests on  guided walks. He says that there goal is sustainable tourism “You must have an income, but it should be a positive income, whereby you also look after the environment and share ancient knowledge.”

I meet Lilir back at their little shop on Sweta street in Ubud, she is tiny in stature, but big in spirit, and bubbles with enthusiasm. She tells me that her family had strong healing traditions and the brood of 11meant that there was no money for doctors, instead all ills were cured by trips to the living drugstore – the family garden.It has been a pleasure to meet this couple who are so passionate and dedicated, and I feel like I have learned more in these few hours than I have in years of living on the island. Lilir invites me to come another time and sample her special tumeric tonic and to join one of her Jamu classes, but that’s another trip, another story.

Book one day in advance.

www.baliherbalwalk.com

info@baliherbalwalk.com