Workshop – Holidays: Wild Healing Plants

"A Closer Link with Nature"

In the green mountains of  mid-north Portugal
Where streams of pure waters are freely flowing
And the air is naturally perfumed and clean
Hike into the mountains and valleys, meet the wild plants in their chosen habitat
and learn about some of their qualities and folk uses. 

Gather your own medicinal and culinary herbs; make your own extracts, medicated oils, herbal pillow,
magic amulet. 
Discover the benefits of a water massage under the cascade.
Embrace with the Nature

Program (7 days)

- 1st day - arrival
most probably in the afternoon, making acquaintance with group and surroundings, finding your spot, etc. Welcome meeting, outline of the workshop. Evening meal in the kitchen, using as much as possible local products,local wine, mineral water and herbs tea.
After dinner: sky watch. There seem to be more stars than elsewhere due to altitude, clean air and geography of Portugal.

- 2nd day 
Break-fast in the garden, or indoors, depending on the weather.
- Meet the closest “neigh
bors”: herbs growing on old walls around the house and along the path through the surrounding forest; collect samples of identified species to dry for later use.
- Stop for a drink by the freshest spring water of the area.
- A dive in the river,
depending on the season
- Lunch in the house/garden: mama´ soup, local bread from wood oven, fresh goat cheese from the highest village, salads from neighbors gardens, etc, 
- Afternoon: walk the “Alley of the Hugs” very ancient and narrow way towards the upper side of the village in the direction of the flank of mountain Safra where we find and collect different interesting species, depending of the season (Cestinela tridentate, Bacharis trimera, Caluna vulgaris, Rubus vilosus, oa.)
- On the way we can “water massage”, under the cascade.
- Back home: discuss drying methods, organizing articles collected
- Dinner.

- 3rd day 

Up the mountain to Santo António da Neve (Saint Antony of the Snow, 15 century chapel) where, in the past, snow was collected and kept in snow pits (still there) for royal summer refreshment. Here we collect some good species for medicated oils such as: anthemis n., hypericum p., caluna v., crataegus; 
- Discussions of top subjects on top of the mountain under the old cedar trees; lunch catered on location, while enjoying a great panoramic view at 1200m of altitude. Along the mountain-crest are several places/hill-tops, each with its herbs and breath taking views and fresh water springs of varied mineral qualities. Back home: care for notes and articles collected.
- Out for dinner to the next village for evening regional meal specially prepared for the group by Dona Emília. 
-  Work on notes

-  4th day
trip (1 hour drive) to ancient mountain, historic and pre-historic site, power-place where wild lavender, rock rose and other species grow (specially for our herbal pillows) among amazing rock formations. Pic-nic lunch on a magic spot, next to the ancient circular fortress, legendary town of Sortelha (magic ring), and Terreiro das Bruxas (terrace of the witches); the perfect setting to consider the magic use of plants.
Back home, dinner at Lusitana´s patio.
Continuation of homework.

- 5thday -
Walk the ancient road over the small roman bridge to Coentral, rest by the old fountain, continuing with hike along Ribeira do Quelhas towards one source of the river.
-    exploring the river bed and riverbanks: authentic bio-tops where rare species of plants and insects are to be found; also natural pools where one can have healthy and refreshing dives followed by some considerations over the surrounding embracing nature;

- 6th dayHome pharmacy: preparation/production of medicinal oils, extracts, and syrups. Discussions: work on notes; With pauses to dive in the river pool, walk under the oaks or just stretch your gaze looking out into the valley.

- 7th day
– Herbal magic and aromatic healing:
herb cushions/pillows, herbal compresses; smoke healing – smudging,         herbal incense,  herb bundles - amulets, etc. 
after dinner - packing

- 8th day departure
probably early in the morning  (if with public transport) 


In principle everyday:
-  we have specially prepared meals, in the house or garden, or catered on location;
sometimes we prepare the meals ourselves to experience cooking with herbs

- we visit the habitat of different species over different areas of the mountains and riverbeds; 
this involves some walking/hiking

-  have small lectures, take notes in the house and on location; eventually
make sketches or photos of species

-  have practical exercises.

The daily program will be discussed every morning and adapted depending on
season conditions of weather and others.


Accommodation and assistance
We have three houses in a small village nested in the mountains Serra da Lousã, 220km north of Lisbon, 55km south-east of Coimbra. A small river of pure clear water by the door, where we can swim at several places
The houses are of old rural architecture with thick stone walls, restored in recent years, simple and functional with a certain comfort, surrounded by nature: all three houses have tab water that comes from pure springs in the surrounding mountains, one of them has a spring in the garden. The rooms have good beds, we share 4 bathrooms two of them with tub bath, the other two with shower. Across the bridge over the river, some meters from the  house, starts the forest composed of old oaks and chestnuts but also pines and eucalyptus, creating a quality of air quite unique. 
Along the river down the valley and up the mountain are several picturesque villages and we have a charming small town at 5 km distance, Castanheira de Pera, with some modern necessities: post office, banks, Internet, shops,   café, market, etc. and a spectacular swimming pool with waves, build in the river.
In the village, with few inhabitants, at 900m high protected by the mountain, we have a feeling of out of time and out of the world, at least the urban world most of us know: here we are in intimate relation with nature, participating more fully in all its manifestations; the lovely valley carved and fed by our river, lies ahead as we look from the veranda, tapestry of orchards rich in color green; birds, cascading water, constant song of nature on a back ground of silence.
At night the amazing clear sky seems closer, the stars brighter, the moon bigger airplanes!
No shops either; the baker comes klaxoning every morning with fresh bread, we are assisted by a local lady who helps with shopping, house holding and transport to the more distant locations, and D. Lusitana who will do most of the cooking.

Other Workshops

Worksop “Florais da Amazónia”   Amazonian Flower Remmedies  
Elemental Therapy - Weekend  workshop  in Amsterdam or Portugal

Elemental Therapy - the balancing of health through the elements
Studying the subtle life of plants and people. The Elementals of plants, the human Elemental.

As the name says, Elementals are composed of elements: earth, fire, water, air. Every plant is the manifestation of an Elemental and has its properties.
So we have water spirits like nereids, seanynfs, undines, that live in water plants. Sylfs, sylfids, elfs are creatures swaying in the air and living in plants of that element; while the earthy gnomes sit on /live in muchrooms and trees. Alöe Vera is the expression of a fire elemental, salamander ignea.

The human Elemental is the combination of elements of an individual, like a blue print that “projects” that individual´s existence. In the process, going from the subtle to the denser untill the physical body is manifested, the individual grows ever more separated from the original blue print. 
The subtle power of the flower remedies, the vibration of the flowers, can reconnect us with our elemental being, which in essence is healthy and  influence us towards health and well being. 
Elemental therapy is the balancing of health through the elements: if one misses or has in excess certain element (check the horoscope) that can be a sign/source of some imbalance in the physical or mental health; In the therapy of Florais, flower remedies, we take the remedies of the flowers from those elements that we lack.
A journey into the primeval forest, it´s variety of trees and plants and the correspondent realms
Plant Realms –  studying the many layers of life in the rain forest: Big Treas, (sometimes 100m high), Cipós (climbers, vines, lianas ), Bushes an underbushes, Epífetas (living entirelly on air, needing only a branch of another plant to hang from), Grasses  and herbs living close to the gound

Description, qualities, patterns of behavior; channeled messages from the Elementals of the Flowers
The Flowers: from the Virgin Forest: Big Treas,  Cipós , Bushes an underbushes, Epífetas
Capoeira (new wild plants growing on those areas that once were cleared by people; they are small treas, climbers, grasses), Fungus. (actually no flower, not even plant but but very important in our environment as decomposers, recyclers and in processes of transformation) From cultivated plants: Medicinal , Garden, Fruit-Treas,   
How to integrate the messages - practical use of the remedies – positive and negative health pattern


Of about 2 hours: brief introduction of Elemental Therapy; brief history of the Florais da Amazonia; the flowers and their messages; make a personal “bouquet”


Florais da Amazónia - Amazonia Flowers remedies
Assessing the Elemental Beeing of the consultant.
Finding the match with the flowers´ Elementals.
A consult with Florais da Amazónia is also a journy into the primeval forest, it´s variety of trees and plants and their correpondent realms.
The first consult takes about one our.

Bach Flower Remedies

The poetical and spiritual approach of Dr. Bach to healing and the Nature.   
The first consult takes about one our to evaluate the condition of the consultant and to find in the remedies that best fits the condition

 Healing, Relaxing, Vitalizing

(Massage and Aromatherapy)

Aromatherapy can treat and prevent diseases because of known studies as to the influence of aroma on the brain. Moreover, the antiseptic, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of oils in the control of infections are also important. Essential oils work in a number of positive ways. They activate the limbic system and emotional centres of the brain. When they’re applied to the skin, they activate receptors and kill microbes and fungi. They are said to stimulate the immune system when applied internally.
Essential oils can be used to treat illnesses such as depression, stress, arthritis, back and muscle aches, colds, migraines, asthma, sinus problems, insomnia, skin disorders, and indigestion, among others.

Aroma massage covers a wide range of healing effects and is the ideal way of receiving aromatherapy.
What actually happens:
After assessing the individual’s condition, a blend of Essential Oils of aromatherapy and Carrier Oils is composed accordingly; the skin and muscles are heated by means of friction and rubbing, facilitating thus a deeper absorption of the healing oils. The oils are then carefully massaged into the body, with attention for any irregularities, energy blockages, knots and painful spots. Depth and strength is used  where required, along with breathing instructions. Hot or cold herbal-compresses and wraps are often
complementary. Duration 90 minutes.