Sian has lived at Sachaqa for almost two months. At first it felt like she stepped out of a children story book, right into our garden. Her recipes for Medicinal plants grown organically in any garden – can inspire us all to live a more sustainable and chemical free lifestyle. It is important for us all to learn how to grow our own medicine, learn how to preserve and intensify their medicinal properties.
Thank you Sian for being one on your own. See you in another garden one day. Or if the wind blows you back to Sachaqa we would love to sample some more of your healing, medicinal recipes.
Trina Lerner Brammah
Interview with Sian Luxford –
Can you tell me a little about yourself, background, education etc?
I was born in the UK, but always felt my heart called to the Amazon Rainforest.
I studied – BA Surface Design at University of Arts London. During my studies is when I first visited Peru. I felt called back, inspired by my work and returned. Peru was the inspiration behind the creation of Herbal Designs – which were printed on fabric and wallpaper.
The patterns of my artwork are a reflection of the symbiotic relationship between the plant world and me.
Why do you feel so connected to plants?
As I matured, I began to understand plants as people and feel the frequency that lies within them. This feeling runs through me and connects me to my own inner nature, as well as outer nature. When I was little I used to grind up flowers into pots and give them to sick relatives, hide in the ‘Garden Centre’ pretending it’s a jungle. It’s always been an instinctual thing for me. Somehow plants have become entwined into everything I do – from the way I cook (see below for recipes,) the way I treat illness, to the designs that flow out of my hands.
What was you’re feeling about the Amazon Rainforest?
It took time for me to re-calibrate to the rhythm of the rainforest as well as to the orchestra of different insects that surround Sachaqa. I see these sounds as a constant vibration that has the potential to heal – whether you let it in or not. Each day peeled back a layer and it was out of my control. The Amazon wants us to heal and I’m grateful for that.
Edible pomarosa flower
What artwork have you been working on at Sachaqa?
My artwork ‘Herbal Designs’ are a combination of herbal medicine and botanical pattern. This is formed by replicating the remedies as a design. I designed 3 prototypes at Sachaqa for screen printing in the UK – on a collection of wallpapers and silk textiles. I will experiment dying with some natural dyes, bought at the Pisac market in Cusco.
I’ve created a set of Amazonian tinctures from local plants, which remain at the center. Please try them if you are visiting Sachaqa (see below for a list of plant tinctures and their healing properties.)
What are you influences – inspiration for your art?
Timerous Beasties – a Glasgow company who make plant and nature inspired, wallpaper, curtains, cushions etc. – http://www.timorousbeasties.com
Margaret Ursula Mee – who was a British botanical artist who specialized in plants from the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. – http://www.botanicalartandartists.com/about-margaret-mee.html
A Rum Fellow – London based design studio dedicated to artisan textiles & creating statement interior pieces. http://www.arumfellow.com
The Shipibo-Conibo – indigenous people who live along the Ucayali River in the Amazon. Shamanistic songs have inspired artistic tradition and decorative designs found in their clothing, pottery, tools and textiles.
Besides plants, most of my inspiration comes from within, it’s important that the space I’m working in is clear and cleansed. Music can be a tool to awaken the patterns too… I listen to Nessi Gomez, Daemonia Nymphe, etc. If I’m working with a specific herbal extract, I’ll make a tea infusion and then sit quietly for a while before I begin, taking note of any sudden thoughts/visions.
What are your plans for the future?
My thoughts for the future are to continue learning about Herbal Medicine and continue travelling between England & South America… Learning, Cherishing and Growing.
Top 3 words to describe Sachaqa experience?
#Cocoon #metamorphosis #emergence
Sian Luxford’s website – http://sianluxford.format.com/2921486-side-projects
Sian’s Recipes –
What is the recipe for a plant tincture?
Firstly pick your chosen plant on a full moon as this is when their healing properties are most potent. Fill an amber coloured jar with 2/3 of the herb, then pour in organic vodka to the top. At Sachaqa Daniel and I experimented with 100% raw sugar cane extract as the solvent. Next, label jar with name of plant and date. Think of an intention you’d like to put into the medicine, feel it, and then blow it in. Leave the tincture in a dark place for 7 weeks. Swishing it around once a day. This enables an effective extraction of the essence.
Tinctures I have experimented with from the Sachaqa garden. Please feel free to try them when you visit Sachaqa.
Malva leaves: anti-inflammatory/ lifts catarrh and phlegm/respiratory system/ gastritis/stomach infections/mild laxative
Coca leaves: altitude sickness/ headaches/ nausea/ mild anti-depressant/ fatigue/asthma/cognitive function.
Nettle leaves: anti-histamine/allergies/ astringent/ PMS/ urinary tract infection/ detoxing and cleaning/iron booster/decongestant/anti-rheumatic/vitamin K/ alkalising.
Oregano leaves: anti- oxidant/ anti-fungal/ anti-bacterial/ colds/ bronchitis/ dandruff/intestinal parasites/ gastritis.
Santa Maria leaves: anti-viral/ diuretic/ rubbed on body to repel ticks/ conjunctivitis/ syphilis/ juice can be used as ear drops for ear ache.
Verbena leaves: digestion/ flatulence/ stomach cramps/ mild tonic for nervous system/ lifting spirits and mild depression/ anti- septic.
Doseage: Use Clarke’s Formula or Titrate Dosing.
Also I’m legally bound to say I’m not a doctor or pharmacist so what you read cannot be used as clinical medical advice, it’s from years of experience.
How do you make essential oils?
Pick herb on full moon and place in a saucepan filled with distiller water. (Ration 1:2) boil on low heat for 24 hours then leave for 7 days. Each day, blow in an intention. After one week collect the top layer of oil and pour into small amber jar. Cover with a piece of cloth and let it sit for a week to evaporate any excess water. Use within 12 months.
Health benefits: helps with PMS, cramps, poly cystic ovary syndrome, relaxant, a broken heart, general healing.
- 1 cup strawberries
- 2cups raspberries
- 1cup cherries
- 2 apples
- 175g organic butter
- 120g spelt flower
- 100g unrefined sugar or 7tbs honey
- 1 egg
- 7 cloves
- 2 handfuls lavender
- Half tspn nutmeg
- Half tspn cinnamon
- Pinch mixed spice
Preheat oven to gas mark 4
1) Chop all the fruit and place in medium sized saucepan. Sprinkle in half of the spices and flowers. Add 1 cup of distilled water and simmer on low heat until the mixture is mushy.
2) Add spelt flower, butter and sugar into a glass bowl and rub between your fingers until you have a crumbly texture. (Be mindful of your thoughts whilst doing this as it all adds to the pudding.) If you have chosen to use honey instead if sugar pour it in gradually whilst making the crumble don’t worry if it clumps together.
3) Add in the remaining spices and flowers.
4) Grease a large ovenproof dish and poor in your fruit mixture including the sauce. Followed by the crumble.
5) Place in oven for 20 mins
6) Remove from oven, eat & love!
Mayan medicinal cacao
Health benefits: Helps with anxiety, depression, menstrual cramps, magnesium deficiency. Also grounding and heart opening.
- 1 bar raw organic cacao
- Organic chancaca/honey
- Coconut milk 400g
- 1tsp nutmeg
- Pinch red chilli
1) Finely chop your cacao
2) Add cacao, milk and spices to pan
3) Bring to heat and simmer without letting it boil.
4) Stir the mixture for the entire 15-20 minutes, 7 times in each direction. You’ll naturally reach a meditative state.
5) Add honey to taste – Enjoy