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(en) European PGA* Conference Newspaper - Bellevue-

Date Tue, 03 Oct 2006 12:01:03 +0200


> The dry toilets of Bellevue
Day 1
I love to go to the toilets; Yes it's a big thing in my life. And my
arrival on the plateau of the 1000 cows is not without consequences
on the acceleration of that pleasure : I've to tell you about the dry
toilets of Bellevue. First of all obviously, it's an alternative to the
massive possibly damaging use of a precious resource ÃÂÂ water.
Secondly, it properly values organic waste, political stance of
transformation ( fertilizer for example) Also it provides a new way of
thinking about cleanliness, the non-odor attitude... [The
ÃÂÂbody-without-organsÃÂÂ ?, look for Antonin Artaud] in
relation to one's own life. And then, here the toilets are build in such
a way that they have become a real place of contemplation, of
meditation, of silence ( which doesn't necessarily means lack of
noises, as peace wouldn't be total absence of of war...), hum. These
toilets are raised up with stunning view of the plateau, the forest,
plant life, greenery, vitality...

Hmm, it makes me so happy, it's almost too much... The abuse of
sigh, of this solitary and life-giving breath offered by the toilets of
Bellevue.

Birth/ pregnancy theme

DAY 2

Report of the ÃÂÂPregnancy/BirthÃÂÂ workshop, animated by
Isabelle and Carole. Sunday morning; on the August 20th Bellevue

We are welcome in the hut by Isabelle and Carole, two persons close
from the DOULAS movements (ÃÂÂÃÂservantÃÂÃÂÂ ancient
greek) and Ama (ÃÂÂÃÂmotherÃÂÃÂÂ). The DOULAS are medical
belongings, unlike mid-wives. We rather are girls, a boy among us.

They are introducing the morning with these strong topics: OVER
MEDICALISATION pregnancy and birth OVER TAKING CARE of
the role of the future mother, then the child Question of the patient
RIGHT (The autonomy of the patient related to health, neglected or
badly informed medical profession...) As an example: Neither
ultrasound or blood tests are compulsory women can also refuse
vaginal touch, systematic and often intrusive Pregnancy declaration
is not compulsory, it is only a formality to obtain, for example child
benefits. The seven compulsory visits can be made by the
mid-wives.

THE CHOICE OF GIVING BIRTH AT HOME:

+Often, the social and medical pressure related to this desire seems
to discourage the parents for their first pregnancy. A pressure that
the radicalism of the choice help to overtake: listen to our desire,
trust oneself. +Allows the non OVERPROTECTION used in
hospitals and clinics: To do not eat, do not go to the toilet... +Allows
to ask oneself the question of the POSITION; the lying down
position (used in clinics and hospitals) is called into question: The sit
down position is by far more natural for the coming out of the baby,
as well as the mother's work. Furthermore, it allows the companion
to accompany the mother's body, to carry it, to touch it... This
position cancels all the 'manipulator' behavior from doctors during
classical child birth. +Allows to be at home, in the middle of its
odors, colors... To sleep together, all three, the mother, the
father,the baby...without nay brutal and useless separation with the
entourage and the birth. To be in private. +Allows to regain the own
taking care of the pregnancy.

THE CHOICE OF GIVING BIRTH AT HOME ENTERS WITHIN
AN APPROACH OF SHARING AND MEETING WITH
ONESELF:

+To take in mind that a child tells us things about our pregnancy
+To inform oneself about the different approach at three, through
'haptonomie' (?) for example: +To take into consideration the
ÃÂÂchild birthÃÂÂ of the placenta. +To take the time for talks, to
tell about its fears, its hopes with the accompanist of this adventure,
but also between her and her companion.

During the morning, two questions are opening toward new
thoughts, such as:

+The accompaniment during ÃÂÂnon assisted birthÃÂÂ, that is to
say that parents are alone during the child-birth. This practical
experience is legal but complicates sometimes the following. As an
example, once, for a birth declaration, the police have been
contacted to pick up the whole family to make sure that everything
was alright.

* +The accompaniment of a pregnancy which would not end up
(here, the abortion is the starting point of the talk):
o o It is counting for nothing! Neither as an essential time
which exists for the woman and man bodies' or as a moment which
sometimes shifts...: o During the abortion, the companion does not
have the right to be present. o During 'datation' ultrasound, we do
ask suggest to explain what has been seen. This approach of non
information is present during the whole preparation of the abortion. o
The anesthetist encourages to a global anesthesia during the
intervention: This way, you won't have any memory of it. o During
all these meetings, you are considered as a patient who has a disease
to resolve, and to resolve quickly. It is all about technicality. o
Abortion at home is forbidden o In a social way, we are lost around
this act. The woman and the man cannot consider what they are
going through only if they are already into an approach of
consciousness of the present time. Only if him and her wish to live
entirely what this fertility evokes to them. It is like if the pregnancy
interruption was not though with a project, a project which modify
often where we are. A pregnancy, even stopped, have to find her
place in her existence, whatever can this existence last: To keep in
mind what is going on, what is here, to tell us what is not.

General Situation and Evolution

ÃÂ oh, it 'S raining, take cover ÃÂ, ÃÂ no, in the end the sun's come
out, let's go to the lake ÃÂ, ÃÂ should we make the party outside?
ÃÂ, ÃÂ no, don't worry, we'll organise to leave for the room in
Villard ÃÂ... there you go, that was the weather.

But, apart from that, we are a good forty or so people living and
sleeping here, a few more maybe when neighbours come by to eat or
attend a workshop, a lot more during the party or in the projection of
the film àAlerte à Babylone ÃÂ. The official language is French,
not one non-french speaking person has turned up, telling us in
advance or not. This was not such a big problem, as the waiting list
was long. And it didn't reduce the diversity of participants, who
came from the countryside and the city, those with an in depth
knowledge of the PGA or those totally ignorant of this political
space, fans of marathon discussions or those looking more for
practical workshops...

Finally, the autonomy found it's place just as much in the discussion
of a text from Foucault on the role of medical power to control
populations, as in the things done for the first time: starting up a
chainsaw, making 50 kilos of bread, making your own toothpaste,
recognising plants. And in the self examination of your genitals, or
the sharing of experiences of being confronted with psychological
suffering. Autonomy is also found in everything that gave ideas or
examples, such as the Zapatista system of healthcare or the material
organisation of Longo MaÃÂ.

This doesn't happen without taking into consideration our limits: the
absence of an alternative to mental hospitals for crisis situations, the
absurdity of looking for autonomy (self production of food or
energy...) when nuclear, genetic or climatic threats are so clear. So
we exchanged some stuff, we improvised, we spoke about a critical
accompanying delegation to the mental hospital, of the necessity of
joining political protests with the construction of alternatives.

There were also some points which raised a little debate, such as the
ways that workshops were facilitated, or the feminisation of the
spoken language, or also the question of whether we have to send
our children to school. Another question was the usefulness and
relevance of taking minutes, making films, taking photos. Is the
important point not to live in the present, be in the place that you
are, without always having to think about what will come out of it,
what traces you are going to leave behind? And what lies behind this
anxiety of not knowing everything that was said in the other
workshops or the other places? Is the essence of a workshop really
recorded in the minutes?

Collective autonomy is also formed by mutual protection, through
ways to communicate non-violently and attention to our bodies
(massages, waking up and falling asleep sweetly, vocal
improvisation).

In the end, everyone spent the week gathering here a piece of
information, there a piece of knowledge. The last thing to do is
decide what could emerge at a collective level. Two perspectives
were drawn out, which were promising as much as they were fragile.
Of building things up locally on one hand, as the participation of
local people in the workshops will encourage us to talk with each
other, constructing projects based on shared political references and
feelings, be they positive or negative. On the other hand,
increasingly concrete discussions were happening around questions
of material production, of collectives both rural and urban, etc. What
will come out of it all? Let's see at the end of the week... or in ten
years.

*** LoÃÂc

The political issues of psychological suffering

***

Global People Action Conference, August 2006, Bellevue,
Limousin, France Psychological suffering workshops Non
exhaustive Report

***

Psychological suffering workshops were animated by Alain Riesen,
ergotherapist working at the moment in Geneva in an alternative
structure of care psychologically suffering (Arcade 84). This is a
living place, of care and activity opened on the city and its
inhabitant-e-s, proposing restaurant, photography studio, computer
lab, writing lab, etc. Alain Riesen possesses an experience in
hospital milieux and psychiatric outpatients facilities.

We approached a number of themes during those workshops,
notably sharing our experiences. This report is far from being
exhaustive, but it presents a certain number of courses to better
approach psychological suffering.

***

Plan

I Presentation by Alain Riesen

* 1/ A few references on the political context in Switzerland 2/
Clinical and mental health politics 3/ Resistances and struggles of
patient-e-s

II Questions/reponses

* 1/ Efficiency of antipsychiatric alternatives 2/ Secondary effects
of neuroleptics 3/ Why therapeutic communities are not developed 4/
Understanding psychiatric crisis 5/ Pathways to ÃÂ healing ÃÂ 6/
prEvention 7/ Environement 8/ Relationship to addiction

III A few bibliographic references

* 1/ On the critique of psychiatric 2/ On antipsychiatry 3/ On the
struggles of patients 4/ On the critique of work/ health relationships
5/ On the structures of which Alain Riesen participates

***

I PRESENTATION BY ALAIN RIESEN

***

1/ A few references on the context in Switzerland

Two ideological tendencies are more and more dominant in
Switzerland and influencing the politics of public health : populism
and neoliberalism. Populism designates a political force similar to
the national front in France. It represent 15 to 20 % of the electorat
and colors national politics.One of its technics of seizing power
consists in stigmatising certain categories of the population.
Strangers and disenfranchised populations are the examples
denounced as sonstituing the causes of swiss problems. Since last
years, people living with psychiatric disorders are also being
stigmatised, considered as ÃÂ responsible ÃÂ for budget crisis and
social crisis factors. All the social, political, human dimension of
psychological suffering is born. Simultaniously, neoliberalism puts
into question the social politic of the state. It's a matter of conditions/
frame of work, notably social security means and the protection of
workers. Those rights, acquired by social struggles, are considered
by Capital as an obstacle to profit and competition. So the tendency
is for lower taxes and an extension of the market: The Privatisation
of social services and the diminishment of health and education
budgets.

2/ Clinical and mental health politics

In the 18th Century there was a profound transformation of the
perception of mental health. We can consider the French revolution
of 1789 as a key turning point in this evolution. Before that people
presenting psychological troubles were considered to be ÃÂ posessed
by demons ÃÂ. They were generally confined, for the evil to be
excorcised. From 1789 a tentative explanation was developed to
understand psychological troubles in a more rational medical way.
The ÃÂ posessed ÃÂ became patients. Hospitals for the alienated
were created.

* However patients were generally considered as incurable,
irresponsable, or even dangerous. Interventionist techniques were :
confined, restraint jackets, and slowly progressing to medicative
techniques. The discovery of antidepressants and neuroleptics int he
20th Century introduced a change of the institutional mechanism.
Letting more efficient psycological crisis management. Little by
little, hospitals opened themselves to teh outside (for example, bars
were removed from room windows.) But a lot of people spent
decades, or even their whole lives in hospital; a totalitarian
institution in the way it doesnt only take charge of the psychological
aspects of a person, but his whole life.

Concerning the classification of psychological troubles the dominant
model which has become prevalent throughout the West is the
model called Bio-psycho-social. It classifies the psychological
troubles into three groups :

The troubles of thought (schtzophrenia, psychosis...). Those are the
most grave ailments, which affects ones capacity to think freely, with
a certain logic. They modify a person's identity sometimes brutally.
They're generally accompanied by visual hallucinations, smells,
sounds, experienced as the person's reality, but not percieved by
those around them. This can go until delirium, like persection
delirium, omnipotent delirium, etc.Those are extremely intense
interior experiences. Unimaginable to the common sense. Those
effects are near to those of LSD and other psychotropics.

The troubles of mood (depression, bi-polar...). Those are longterm
modifications of mood (loss of desire, appetite, sadness...). Those
depressions can be reactional (after a death or an accident...) or
endogeonous (persistant depression, impossible to find its cause).
The troubles of emotion (nervosis, phobias, obsessive compulsive
troubles...). Those are uncontrolled reactions of fear or anger when
facing a certain situation. We are all subjects of nervosis to some
degree.

The causes of the troubles are extremely difficult to establish. The
diagnostic is very complex and lengthy. One advice: avoid hasty
judgement on persons experiencing psychological troubles, most of
the time we are mistaken! In the case of thought troubles we dont
always know scientifically why a certain percentage of the population
in all civilisations seems to develop these types of trouble
(approximately 1% of the population). We only have hypothesis like:

Genetics : we would have according to our genes the predispositions
for troubles of thought. It's a well funded major direction of
neuroscience research. Environtmental context: Familial,
professional, or social conditions can play a rÃÂle as ÃÂ stresser ÃÂ,
catalysing the troubles. For instance for young adults psychotropics,
or faraway travels (loà ss of references, intense experiences) can
play the rÃÂle of catalyser.

But we must insist on the fact that those are only hypotheses, there
is no scientific certitude So beware of prejudgments!

Corncering the contemporary classical institutional mechanism;
without going into too much detail the mental heath services are
organized by geographical sectors, regrouping sector a certain
quantity of population (100 000 persons for instance). Each sector
regroups a dispostive emergeny room, day center, therapy center,
short-term hospitalisation, and general practice, etc...

Concerning intervention techniques, there also, without going in the
details, we must note that they are plural : medication ( for instance
neuroleptiques cut the delirium acting on the nervous system, but do
not resolve the causes or the delirium), the psychotherapeutic
approach (improving the comprehension and the psychic
functionning), the cognitivo-comportemental approach (modifying
the comportement of the patient to act on the trouble), the
psycho-educative approach ( for example helping the patient to
identify what catalyses the psychological troubles, in order to prevent
the crisis).

3/ Patients resistances and struggles

The year 1968 gave place to a radical critique of psychiatric
institutions which has notably been fed by the work of Michel
Foucault, Erwing Goffman or Robert Castel (see the bibliography
below). This contestion had an eminamently political character,
because it assimilated psychiatric care to social repression, the
asylum and carceral dimensions.

* Their critiques were concretised through a collection of the
experienced alternatives. For example in France; the institutional
psychothÃÂrapy (Tosquelles, 1984) tries to promote the
developpement of the relational therapies as essential to give back
the parole to the patients. The institutional dispositive is thus
concieved as a space of care, and no longer as a confinement or
control of the patients. In England (Barnes and Berke, 1973),
therapeutic communities receive the patients in psychiatric crisis by
limiting the use of physical restraint and medication. It's about not
bridle the expression of the patients, but create living spaces where
the person can live, go through his whole delirium, his own history
of insanity, to ÃÂ recover ÃÂ. In Switzerland, the therapeutic
community (Soteria, Berne) has been created in complementarity of
the classical institutional dispositive. Entering in emergency hospital,
the person in crisis can choose between a classical internment
(confinement, injection, quick exit of the crisis) or a dispositive
relationally intensive : therapeutic community without medication,
or with little medication, in calm surroundings where the person is
alone but protected 24/7 by a nursing personnel. For the person, this
dispositve is more difficult, longer, but it lets him/her understand
why she/he lives this delirium. This let the patient reappropriate
himself the way of managing crisis. In Italy, the closing of the
psychiatric hospitals (Basaglia, 1970) to the benefit of the
socio-sanitary facilities present on the territory and the general
hospital has prefigured the important developement of the
intermediary structures in Europe : homes, protected apartments,
accompanied individual apartments, care services and assistance at
home, social and solidary companies, services for the promotion of
the rights of the patients, creation of patients groups, spaces for
professional training and for specialised job placement, meeting
places and places of artistic creation, leisure organisations and
community cultural spaces. All those realisations have a common
denominator : the struggle against discrimination and exclusion of
people suffering from psychic troubles.

Concerning the patients struggles, we must note in Switzerland the
creation of collectives of persons living or having lived with psychic
troubles (association ÃÂ the Experience ÃÂ, association ATB,
association of ÃÂ voice hearers ÃÂ, association ÃÂ without voice
ÃÂ). Generally acting from within the classical institutions, these
associations try to reform the psychiatric dispositives, to make
autoritarian practices, physical and symbolical abuse of patients
disappear. A lot of demands concern too the identity of the suffering
person : exit the representation of the sick/ sane person to recognise
the singularity of one's experience, politically participate in decisions
concerning them, develop autonomy and mutual support, develop
knowledge of their own psychic troubles.

***

II QUESTIONS / ANSWER

1/ What is the efficiency of the antipsychiatric experiences in relation
to the ÃÂ classical dispositve ÃÂ ?

Comparative scientific studies don't exist. Epidemiological studies
cost very much : one has to study meticulously hundreds of files over
a long period of time (at least 10 years). It exists at least one study
realised in Lausanne on the ÃÂ efficiency ÃÂ of the classical
psychiatric disposive concerning schizophrenia ( trouble of th
thought). Approximatively; this study shows that, over the long
term, a third of the patients recover or clearly improve his situation, a
third stabilise his state at a given moment, a third see his troubles
getting worst, whichever therapeutic method is persued.

2/ What are the secondary effects of neuroleptics ?

The ÃÂ first generation ÃÂ of neuroleptics had strong side effects :
shaking ( sometimes uncontrolable), dry mouth. The ÃÂ second
generation ÃÂ of neuroleptics have a lot less secondary effects. The
neuroleptics, to stop psychiatric crisis, intervene on the fantasmatic
thought production, on the imaginary. Some patients live very badly
this impression of an ÃÂ emotional no man's land ÃÂ, and ask to
stop their treatment for that reason. The neuroleptics have effects on
communication and socialisation : slowing down of thought, trouble
with concentration, loss of memory, difficulties planning one's life
and making choices. It can be important, to observe the progress of
the troubles of thought, to create ÃÂ therapeutic windows ÃÂ. It
concerns the progressive diminuation of the treatment, under
medical control, to observe the progress of the patient. Let's remind
to beware that treatment modification must be done by a medical
crew. The most important is to never stop a treatment abruptly,
because of the risks involved. In some cases, the treatment can last
all life.

3/ Why aren't the therapeutic community experiences generalised ?

Several hypothesis can be avanced. The ideological difficulties : the
primacy, through the health professionals, of classical approaches,
oriented notably in direction of neurosciences, at the expense of the
relational approaches. The economic difficulties : for a given patient,
the therapeutic community costs more than a psychiatric hospital,
because it needs a more important medical crew. Social difficulties :
the emotional burden is very heavy to carry for the therapeutic crew,
it requires deep changes in one's own life, and creates fears, fears of
being swallowed up after supporting the patient so long and so
closely.

4/ How to get through crisis ?

We have the duty of care toward a person who can commit
self-harm under the effect of psychic troubles. This situation is most
of the times delicate, because the person in delirium can refuse any
treatment as long as she/he is not convinced, deeply, of the reality of
her/his delirium. It's however important that the person find
her/himself in a protected place. If the person is already followed by a
psychiatrist, she/he must be directly contacted. The pick-up charge
by a intitution allows to stop the crisis, avoid the point of non-return,
calm the situation, and begin a relation with the therapist.

5/ What are the healing paths ?

To develop communication, to break up isolation, to support the
suffering person in building a positive self-image . It can occur
through physical, artistic expression, writing, etc., but also by the
feeling of being useful in a living community, in a social group
which happens through work or other activities. It' a a matter of
recover a sense to life. It's also important that the person, with the
help of a professional, can work on the understanding of their
extraordinary circumstances (crisis, troubles...) that she/he live.

6/ What are the possibilities for the prevention of psychological
suffering for the person's kin ?

A few paths : gathering information on the psychological troubles,
especially via the internet ; researching potential treatment facilities,
in order to find a treatment that fits the suffering person, where the
person can live with different people than the usual surrounding,
make concrete activities, do not stay alone ; talk of the situation with
a suffering person ; try to identify the signs that lead to crisis ; search
for complementarity between institutions, professionals, and the
support of family and friends.

7/ How to improve the relations between the suffering person and
their community ?

Often, the community tries to play a rÃÂle. Each person is at the
same time family, friend, therapist, assistant, social assistant, cop,
attendant, etc. This leads to very difficult situations to live in ! It's
important to find own's proper place, thanks to the care of the
medical crew. In any case, the support community does not escape
from the malaise, from the culpability, from the understanding. One
should however feel afraid to express his feelings, to be honest with
the suffering person. The worst is when the person feels
permanently observed, scrutinised, watched for any signs of their
condition worsening. Beware also of the self-fullfilling prophecy of
repeating that a person is going to fall again in crisis, or to behave as
if, it increases the risk of falling.

8/ The psychological suffering can be accompanied with addictions
(alcholism; etc). How to help the person that wishes to stop using
drugs.

Very often, the reactions of the community and the society in
relation to defeat are negative : reproachment, mockery, fatalism,
etc. However, it's the exact opposite. Studies show that it needs
several tries, and so several failures, to succeed to come out of
addiction. The more the person attempts, the better are the chances
of success. Here's why one doesn't have to take responsability, but
in contrary congratulate the persons who attempt brake their
addiction, because soon or later they'll succeed.

***

III A FEW BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

1/ On the critique of the psychiatric order

- L'ordre psychiatrique, R. Castel, Minuit, 1976 - Les
mÃÂtamorphoses de la question sociale, R. Castel, Fayard, 1995 -
Histoire de la folie, M. Foucault, Gallimard, 1977 - Asiles, E.
Goffman, Minuit, 1968

2/ On antipsychiatry

* Italian expÃÂrience

- L'institution en nÃÂgation, F. Basaglia, Seuil, 1970 - La
majoritÃÂ dÃÂviante, F. Basaglia, 10/18, 1976 French
expÃÂrience - GuÃÂrir la vie, R. Gentis, Maspero, 1971 - Eloge de
la psychiatrie, F. Jeanson, Seuil, 1979 - Education et
psychothÃÂrapie institutionnelle, F. Tosquelles, Matrice, 1984
English expÃÂrience - Un voyage à travers la folie, M. Barnes et J.
Berke, Fayard, 1973

3/ On the patients struggles

- Plaquette de l'association des personnes atteintes de troubles
bi-polaires et de dÃÂpression (ATB), GenÃÂve, 2004 - Troubles
psychiques, carnet d'adresses genevois, brochure du Grepsy, Groupe
de rÃÂflexion et d'ÃÂchange en santÃÂ psychique, GenÃÂve, 2003
(Pro Mente sana, 40 rue des Vollandes, 1207 GenÃÂve) - Plaquette
d'information de l'association L'expÃÂrience, GenÃÂve, 2004 -
Plaquette de prÃÂsentation du psy-trialogue, GenÃÂve, 2005 (Pro
Mente sana...) - Revendication des usagers de la psychiatrie et du
rÃÂseau d'aide aux personnes en difficultÃÂs psychiques, J-D
Michel, GenÃÂve, 2001 ((Pro Mente sana...) - Plaquette de
prÃÂsentation du RÃÂseau d'entraide des entendeurs de voix,
GenÃÂve, 2005

4/ On the critique of the relation between work and health

- Souffrance en France, C. Dejours, Seuil, 1998 - Le facteur humain,
C. Dejours, PUF, 1995

5/ On the structure with which participates Alain Riesen

- Classeur systÃÂme qualitÃÂ, Arcade 84, 2004 - Pour ne pas perdre
sa vie à la gagner, brochure du Collectif travail, santàet
mondialisation, 2002

* === A foray in search of medicine herbs with Thierry
ThÃÂvenin ===

Bellevue, PGA, August 2006 www.herbesdevie.com

There are nearly 6000 species of plants in France, of which about
1800 grow in Limousin. Take a guide to local flora with you. A good
one on local and wild plants is Pierre Lieutaghi : The book of useful
plants, shrubs and trees, Ed Actes Sud. Plants tell the story of the
past and the present of a given place. They are a response to the
specific needs and limitations of soils and places. The functions they
perform for the earth are often very similiar to those that they
perform for us as medicines and remedies. They have a long lasting
impact, for example, gorse is a sign of a forest or woodland that has
been overgrazed, and you can still see this 50 years later.

* Often the botanical names of plants in specialist books are
preceded by L. -

this signifies that it was originally identified by Linnaeus (18 th
century, Swedish, generally considered the 'father' of botanical
classification).

* You don't use any plants all the time, every day. If you think of
plants having

a lifecycle, that we can follow in knowing when to use them ( for
example, you can make a remedy from birch sap, while the sap is
rising, 2-3 weeks, not longer.) A few guidelines and rules for picking
and harvesting: pick the part of the plant that contains the most vital
energy (flowers when the plant is flowering, fruit and no more of the
leaves when it is producing fruit) Be aware of and respect the natural
form and shape of a plant (the particular bush forms of lavendar,
heather, thyme, savory). Ask permission from, and thank the plant
for what you take. Never, ever pick everything ; always leave at least
a quarter for reproduction. Go back the next year to see how your
harvest affected the plant, and learn from this. Never harvest from
the side of the road, or from places near wastewater drainage, where
normally you find plants that perform bioremediation, and
accumulate toxins. Harvest from places where that type of plant is
present in great numbers, don't harvest from a plant on it's
own.<<take plants from the place where they are florishing, or they
are present in a great number, >> The best quality can be harvested
at the beginning of flowering, the most potent energy corresponds to
the period when there is always pollen. Never pick a plant unless you
need it. Different ways to use and prepare plants: simple remedies:
chew the plant, swallow or extract the essence in a tisane: put in
cold water and heat just to a simmer or when it begins to boil. Take
it off the heat, and leave to infuse for 10 mins, covered. Strain and
serve. Don't use a metal pan; enamel, earthenware or glass is better.
Don't boil any mucilagenous (very sticky sap, for ex comfrey) plant,
as this is destroyed above 80ÃÂ degrees C. If you make an infusion at
a lower temperature, you can leave it to infuse for longer(30mn, 1
hour). A specifc case; Meadowsweet: don't heat above 70ÃÂC. To
make decoctions, preparations for inhaling, tinctures: maceration of
plants in alcohol ( between 70ÃÂ and 90ÃÂ) - fill the container with
the plant material, cover with alcohol, seal and leave to infuse for
one month, shaking every day, then filter and store in a dark place.
You can put glass marbles into the jar when making a tincture to
avoid oxidisation. In oil, you macerate in sunlight; leave the plants in
oil in the sunlight all summer long, without sealing the jar tightly.
Filter at the end of the summer, and store sealed in a dark place. For
fumigation; burn twigs or branches. Dosage: a pinch(between thumb
and first two fingers - the pinch will be more or less generous
depending on the age and the size of person. Use more of a fresh
plant than a dried one. Be careful not to exceed the dosage, as this
often gives the inverse of the desired effect. Quick lexicon:
Antiseptic, destroys or halts the development of microbes.Stamen,
the part of the flower that carries pollen. Antifebrile/ an aid to
lowering a temperature, a fever. Hepatotoxic, damaging to the liver.
Hemostatic, stops haemorrhages. Mucilage : viscous substance with
a soothing and laxative action : good for inflamations, bronchial
problems and constipation.Photosensitivity: a reaction to light. Sepal,
parts of the plant that protect the flower bud, which open upon
flowering. Vulnerary, that which dresses wounds.
==========================
* PGA is an antiauthoritarian anticapitalist direct action network
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