Archive | April 19, 2011

Nature’s Insecticides

Nature’s Insecticides

By Hwaa Irfan

As we go into spring at top gear, with summer seeming to knock on the door a bit too hurriedly, one of the habits we might be inclined to re-initiate is that of zapping every life form that crawls and has wings. As we do that we not only compromise our immune systems, but we also prevent our homes being the relaxing place that it can as we take time out from the hustle and bustle of the world outside, we are spending more than we need to. Some of nature’s insect repellents can serve a double purpose, like the herbs we use for cooking, and others are pleasant to the beholder. Growing them in your home in a pot, or on a balcony would just add to the ambience of your home. Here are some natural insect repellents worth considering:


Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) This is not only a natural insecticide disliked by flies and mosquitoes, but used fresh it has more flavour the dried stuff one buys in the supermarket. It goes well with any tomato-based dish, and it contains: calcium, iron, potassium and Vitamin C.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – with bright yellow flowers, Calendula is of the marigold family and left to germinate, they make a great insecticide. The petals were once used in cooking and added to salads, soups, and they also make a great substitute for saffron. Medicinal wise you can’t go wrong, because they are good for upper respiratory tract infections, and is a good anti-inflammatory.

Catnip  (Nepata cataria) does not have beautiful blossoms like Calendula, but it is an effective insecticide, especially when it comes to cockroaches, , ants, aphids, and the flea beetle, and would you believe it rats don’t like it either! It makes a good tea if one has problems sleeping, and it also helps one to relax. Word of caution though, pregnant women, and those who suffer from epilepsy should not consume it!

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium)with its attractive bloom, the Chrysanthemum repels spider mites, ticks, and cabbage worms. As a herb the blossoms can be used dried as a teas being rich in calcium, sodium, folates and Vitamin A.

Spearmint (Mentha viridis) – is popular in cooking, but growing a pot in the home, would allow the smell to life the spirits as it does. The only thing is mice do not like mint at all, even sprinkled on food, so there’s a thought! Equally mint is disliked by aphids and fleas.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – a woody herb that adds a distinct flavour to cooking and is much hated by all bugs! For those in the Southern Hemisphere, rosemary tea helps to take off the chill. It is also good for amenorrhea, exhaustion, poor digestion, poor memory and arthritic aches and pains.

Lemongrass (genus Cymbopogon) – This genus includes citronella which you might see on your supermarket shelves being sold as an insect repellent. It is obviously cheaper to grow a pot in the home.

If you are no so inclined, but would like a natural insect repellent check out the following essential oils that one burn in one’s home in the form of vapour therapy:

Anise Oil

Basil Oil

Bay Oil

Bergamot Oil

Cade Oil

Calendula Oil

Cedarwood Oil

Cinnamon Oil

Citronella Oil

Eucalyptus Oil

Fennel Oil

To Stand With Pride and Compassion

To Stand With Pride and Compassion: The Case of Californian Indians

By Hwaa Irfan

As increasingly more and more people gather the courage to question a status quo that has been impose upon them, yet dishonours them, in the beautiful alcove of Glen Cove, Vellejo in California, a people who have been merged into the backdrop of life defend the continuation of life that threatens to be taken away from them.

It began with a 150 indigenous American Indians and supporters trying to prevent the desecration of a site that is sacred to them. As the meaning of life continues to be devalued today, for many people around the world, death is but a continuation of life not the duality that most people have become accustomed to living in. Some of continue that continuation of life by visiting the graves of our loved ones, so one can imagine the anger one might feel to find out that the graves of one’s loved ones is being dug up to be replaced with some unnecessary building development to scar the beauty of the land, in this case a featured public park with a paved parking lot (diminishing the lands ability to absorb rainwater), with 1000 picnic tables, a public restroom over what is in fact a 3,500 year old burial site.

For the Glen Cove Indians this is the case, for on Glen Cove or Sogorea Te (Ohlone language) as it is referred to in their native language, for hundreds of years lays an ancient burial site they have been defending for over 10 years now. The protestors are in fact not asking for much, just for the ancient burial site to be protected. The peaceful protestors made their presence known at the Vallejo City Hall, and the U.S. Dept. Of Justice responded with a senior representative to talk with the leaders of that community. All seemed to be going well as the leaders asked the DOJ to facilitate a meeting with the company concerned, Greater Vallejo Recreation District, GRVD, in order to reach an agreement.

On April 13th 2011, the Site Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes filed a suit against the City and GRVD on the basis of racial discrimination, for harming indigenous religious and spiritual well-being, and excluding them from the right to participate in the consultation process. Of course, this is disputed despite constantly digging up human remains, and the fact that for thousands of years they have held sacred ceremonies in Glen Cove/Sogorea Te, and is a meeting place for many Californian tribes.  Archaeologists have visited that site since 1907 taking artifacts and remains, which have been stored in the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, U.C Berkeley.

The State Attorney General got involved in order to attend to any civil rights grievances against the company and against Vallejo City. However there is a stalemate over the issue. If the intended feature park was not built, the 15-acred area would remain as it is, with a freshwater stream running through grassland rich with native plants open to the public to enjoy what nature provides. As it is, there is already an abandoned mansion built over graves with shell-mounds aside.

Member of the Hawk Clan, Seneca Nation, 90-year old Grandma Edna Gordon frames the situation as follows:

“I got my dander up, I’m 90 years old, why don’t the people call the President of the United States since it is an emergency. The emergency is them digging up the graves like at Glen Cove in Vallejo, California.

“They’ve taken enough land away from the Indians. Now they’ve got a lot of land on the White side that they took away from the Indians. So why don’t they go to those cemeteries and dig up the graves?

“As Indians we don’t go looking around for White man’s bones and what they had. When they rest we let them rest. And whatever they take with them that’s theirs, that belongs to them. If they wanted YOU to have it, they would have given it to you.

If the United States cannot go by the law, then why should we abide by it?

Now the World has gone down because of these corporations, and WHEN are you going to stop.

When you don’t do right In this world, then the Creator will see that you do.”

I will stand with pride because I am here for the Ancestors.
I will stand with courage because I am here for the Ancestors.
I will stand with strength because I am here for the Ancestors.
I will stand with compassion because I am here for the Ancestors.
I will stand with respect because I am here for the Ancestors.

The indigenous Californians ask:

All who will stand with us in prayer are welcome. If you live near the Bay Area, please consider stopping by for a few hours, or a few days. Your presence will be very appreciated. Directions to Glen Cove can be found here. We will remain on site until an agreement is reached that protects the ancestors.


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