Four Recommendations for Aromatic Seed Suppliers

Posted on: March 13th, 2017 by
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Aromatic Seed Suppliers for an Aromatic Garden: Copyright Sharon Falsetto

Aromatic Seed Suppliers for an Aromatic Garden: Copyright Sharon Falsetto

My garden is literally buzzing with the sound of spring today: the birds are chirping, the bees are humming, and the spring flowers are blooming. Summer will not be far behind – and, here in northern Arizona, that means I need to start sowing seeds in the garden next month! This year, I have sourced my aromatic seeds from various trusted resources and in this post, I am sharing my thoughts about them with you.

Floret Flower Farm for Aromatic Flowers

I discovered the magic of Floret Flowers through a mutual Facebook friend, and I have followed their stunning Instagram feed for the past year. I was truly inspired by this family-owned business and the beautiful flowers they grew on their farm in Skagit Valley, Washington.

Last Fall I bought some narcissus, anemone, and tulip bulbs for my garden and they are just starting to push through. So, early this year, I ordered some of their aromatic seed offerings, inlcuding traditional cottage garden flowers such as stock, sweet pea, larkspur, and phlox, in addition to flowering tobacco, nasturtium and sunflower.

Floret seeds are not organically certified – but if you are looking to support a family-owned business and want some truly inspirational, aromatic flowers in your garden, look no further. Browse their Instagram feed for verification and inspiration!

Botanical names are included on seed packet descriptions.

For further information: Floret Flowers.

Botanical Interests® for Aromatic Herbs

Last year, I bought most of my aromatic herbs, flowers, and vegetable seeds from Botanical Interests®, located in Oregon. You may be familiar with this brand of seeds, as I have found them on the seed rack of my local garden center, too.

What I love most about Botanical Interests® is the amount of information contained both on the outside and inside of their seed packets! They are a mini-booklet on the plant itself. With descriptions, tips on sowing, what to expect and when, you can’t go far wrong even as a beginning gardener!

Some seeds are organically certified and some are heirloom seeds, but even those which are not, appear to be of high quality – all seed packets claim to be untreated with no GMOs. You can find all of your popular herbs and more from this company: Marjoram, basil, peppermint, oregano, rosemary, sage…the list goes on and on. I will not list all of the seeds I bought from Botanical Interests® except to say – there were many!

Botanical names are included on seed packet descriptions.

For further information: Botanical Interests®.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for Organic Herbs and Flowers

I discovered Southern Exposure Seed Exchange this year because I was looking to grow sweet potatoes and this was one of the few companies which I could find that offered them. Sweet potatoes aside, this company offers “heirloom and organic seeds from a cooperatively run business.”

I found some old-fashioned cottage garden varieties such as hollyhock, larkspur, and nictionana, in addition to calendula, echinacea, feverfew, and St. Johnswort.

Some botanical names are included on seed packet descriptions, whereas others are not provided.

For further information: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

Strictly Medicinal® Seeds (Formerly Horizon Herbs) for Hard-to-Find Medicinal Herbs

This southern Oregon business is also family-owned and operated and has been operating for many years under the name Horizon Herbs; it recently changed its name to Strictly Medicinal® Seeds.

As well as familiar-sounding herbs, I also discovered some less familiar-sounding herbs, and harder-to-find herbs, with this company. I invested in the following seeds from Strictly Medicinal® Seeds: Mountain arnica, aromatic aster, bergamot (bee balm), borage, cornflower, elecampane, gardenia, helichrysum, clary sage, and stevia.

Many seeds are organic, although you need to read individual descriptions. Botanical names are included on seed packet descriptions.

For further information: Strictly Medicinal® Seeds.

A Healing Garden with Aromatic Flowers and Herbs

These are just my favorite recommended aromatic seed suppliers for this year. I am already investigating others for next year! All of them supply more than just aromatic seeds, but these were the ones I was specifically looking to list in conjunction with this post.

However big or small your garden is, aromatic herbs and flowers can form a part of it, to bring pleasure and healing into your life! To learn more, don’t miss out on my NAHA webinar in April on A Healing Garden in Your Back Yard. See you there!

References:

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, an aromatherapist, a budding aromatic gardener, a photographer, a published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business consultant, scent formulator, an aromatherapy school program coordinator, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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The Aromatic Still Room

Posted on: March 6th, 2017 by
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Aromatic Distilling of Plants for Oils: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

Aromatic Distilling of Plants for Oils: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

As I begin work on converting an old workshop on my property into my very own aromatic still room, I began to think about the origins of the still room and how various versions of it have been used back in time. Here is a fun look at aromatic still rooms from the past, and what was involved, before the big reveal on my own still room later this spring!

Ancient Roman Still Rooms

Both the ancient Greeks and Romans were frequent users of natural plant oils and used them for many occasions, including bathing and banquets, as well as for medicinal purposes. In Pompeii, there is much evidence, preserved in the lava of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., to suggest that many herbs and plants were in evident use.

These plants and herbs included many common names such as rose (Rosa x damascena), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). There are written records which show ingredients of some perfumes and oils which were in popular use at that time. Evidence has also been uncovered in the archaeological excavations of Pompeii of perfumery making houses and early forms of “still rooms.”

How Early Perfumes and Plant Medicines Were Made

Early perfumes were made of pure natural ingredients unlike many synthetic brand perfumes today; flower petals, plant seeds and tree bark were all combined with naturally fragrant resins and gums. The process of making perfumes altered over the years; however, early ancient perfumes were simply made and were called unguents.

Unguents were body perfumes and were made by immersing the plant material in a fat or oil base; this process was called enfleurage. Similarly, plant oils used for medicinal purposes were also made this way; today many plant oils are commonly known as essential oils.

The Origins of the European Still Room

The still room became commonplace in the sixteenth century and by the eighteenth century many large European country houses had their own still room. In the still room, aromatic plant material was prepared for cosmetic, medicinal and culinary uses, using the plants, flowers and herbs found on the country estate. The still room was firstly used for the making of remedies for medicinal and hygienic purposes and secondly used to make culinary oils and wines.

Natural Remedies and Oils Made in the Still Room

The still room was also a place to make perfumes, soaps, candles, fragrant waters, home remedies, cosmetics, pot pourri and moth repellents; however, even fragrant perfumes had many beneficial medicinal properties due to the natural plant materials from which they were made. Many medicinal home remedies were made from common herbs and plants such as peppermint (Mentha x piperita), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and rose (Rosa x damascena).

Still Room Aromatic Recipes

In the still room, roses were often used to make flower waters; lavender and other fragrant herbs were used to scent linen and clothes. Myrtle flowers were used to make a skin tonic named Angel Flower Water. It was common to sprinkle scented water on the floors of a house too; lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaves were used as a furniture polish for oak.

The still room was initially attended by a still room maid, then later in time, by the lady of the house herself. The still room was a place for many European aromatic home remedies up until the nineteenth century when synthetically engineered materials emerged.

The Still Room Today

The still room, to my mind, is enjoying a popular comeback recently among artisan distillers, herbalists, plant lovers, and, to some extent, aromatherapists. Although today’s still room may not be as eloquently designed as those of European country houses of the past, the distilling of one’s own aromatic plants and herbs, direct from the garden or countryside, is the same process. And taking plants direct from the garden to the still and distilled into your own aromatic remedy is about as close to nature as it gets!

Learn More About Aromatherapy and Aromatic Plants with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about the study of aromatherapy and the plants used in aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  • Giordano, Carlo, Casale, Angelandrea, Profumi, Ungenti e Acconciature in Pompei Antica (Perfumes, Ungents and Hairstyles in Pompeii) Roma, Italia: Bardi Editore

  • Lawless, Julia 2001 The Aromatherapy Garden London, UK: Kyle Cathie Ltd

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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How Aromas Affect Body and Mind Health

Posted on: February 27th, 2017 by
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Inhaling Aromas Affects Your Health

Inhaling Aromas Affects Your Health

You probably take your sense of smell for granted – but did you know that both your physical and emotional well-being depend on it? Aromas abound in all parts of our lives – some positively and some negatively – but if you were to lose your sense of smell, it may affect your quality of life, in addition to affecting some of your other senses. Here’s a quick look at why you should value your sense of smell.

The Connection Between Smell and Taste

Olfaction, otherwise known as the sense of smell, is the only sense with a direct link to the brain. The sense of smell is connected to the sense of taste. The nose is capable of detecting a lot more smells than the ear can in sounds; and the nose is also capable of detecting over 10,000 different types of smells.1 Up to 90% of what you taste is actually smell.2 If you have a dog, you will know that a dog is capable of detecting a lot more smells than a human can – and its nose is highly stimulated a lot of the time! My dog uses his tongue a lot of the time when “sniffing” out aromas, positive confirmation that smell and taste are connected in his world.

How Aromas Enter Your Nose

Simply put, your nose inhales a specific smell, chemically converts it and then passes that information to your brain. Electrochemical messages are sent to the appropriate part of the brain, triggering the release of neuro-chemicals and causing subsequent effects. Of course, the whole process is a lot more complex than it sounds – but offset that against the fact that it happens in a matter of seconds and you can see what an amazing process it is!

The Importance of Smell

Your sense of smell allows you to identify the fragrance of a flower or an aroma of your favorite food; certain smells trigger memories of a specific, time, place or person – both positive and negative experiences. Your sense of smell can also help you to identify danger; for example, fire. A loss of your sense of smell can alter your perception of taste. Losing your sense of smell has a significant impact on your life.

Causes of Smell Disorders

Some people lose their sense of smell, either permanently or temporarily. Smell disorders can be caused by a number of factors which include the following:

  • respiratory infections

  • dental problems

  • medications

  • nervous system disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease

  • polyps in nasal cavities

  • head injuries (frontal lobe)

  • hormonal imbalances

  • solvent and insecticide exposure

  • aging.3

Scent and Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy aims to improve your well-being by using, primarily, your sense of smell. Although aromatherapy works in a couple of ways, the quickest way in which essential oils access the body is through inhalation of the nose. Hence: Aroma-therapy.

Inhalation is also one of the most effective ways to treat emotional problems in aromatherapy.4 This is probably why many people associate the practice of aromatherapy with the treatment of stress, depression, and anxiety. Although the scope of aromatherapy practice is much wider than this, it is true that many essential oils are suitable for relieving the symptoms associated with emotional problems, specifically through inhalation. Aromatherapy diffusers, personal inhalers, and roll-on aromatherapy applicators can be used in effectively in these situations. Some of the essential oils that are used to assist with emotional health issues include:

  • lavender

  • rose

  • neroli

  • bergamot

  • clary sage

  • frankincense

  • geranium

  • juniper

  • patchouli

  • vetiver

  • sweet orange

  • ylang ylang.

Smell, Aromas, and Your Health

As an aromatherapist, I am well aware of the power that scent has on my own health. In fact, since I started working with essential oils over a decade ago, my own sense of smell has become more acutely aware of the difference between “good” smells and “bad” smells. And I am not just talking about the difference between natural scents such as rose and horse manure! Exposure to synthetic fragrances and highly chemicalized products often induces nausea and headaches in me, to the point that I can not be in the same space as women who wear synthetic, commercial perfumes, or homes which use highly toxic household cleaning products.

Our sense of smell enhances our well-being and alerts us to the dangers in the environment around us, although many of us have “forgotten” the dangers to be found in modern-day, synthetic brands. Don’t take your sense of smell for granted and use it more effectively for your health!

Next time that you inhale the aroma of a rose in your garden, stop and consider for a moment what your world might be like without one of your greatest senses…

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about enhancing your health with aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  1. Davis, Patricia, 1999, Aromatherapy: An A-Z, UK: Vermilion

  2. Clarke, Sue, 2008, Essential Chemistry for Aromatherapy, UK: Churchill Livingstone

  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website, Smell Disorders, accessed February 27, 2017

  4. Price, Shirley, Price, Len, 2012, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, UK: Churchill Livingstone

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist and, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Basic Oils for Aromatherapy: Jojoba

Posted on: February 20th, 2017 by
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Jojoba for Aromatherapy and Skin Care

Jojoba for Aromatherapy and Skin Care

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C K Schneider) is perhaps one of the most popular, and basic, carrier oil bases used in aromatherapy. It has an indefinite shelf life, no aroma, and it easily blends with other carrier oils, essential oils, and bases for aromatic skin care. Jojoba is also a favorite of the botanical perfumer. Here is a quick look at the origins of jojoba, its chemical make-up, and some of its uses for aromatherapy.

Botanical Profile of Jojoba

The jojoba plant is a member of the Buxaceae plant family. It is native to the deserts of Arizona, north-west Mexico, and southern California.

The jojoba plant is a perennial shrub which does not require a lot of moisture or water to survive; it has a deep root system and thick leaves which absorb minimum sunlight due to the angle at which it grows. The waxy leaves of the jojoba plant are typical of a desert plant which primarily aims to cut water loss in order to survive in the desert heat.

The jojoba plant can grow up to six feet in height and lives for a long time; however, it grows slowly and it is slow to reach maturity. The jojoba plant has the ability to be of either sex, male or female; it is only the female jojoba plant which is capable of producing seeds and this does not happen until the fifth year of growth. The seeds of the jojoba plant resemble coffee beans.

Native American Use of Jojoba

Native tribes of the south-western United States and north-west Mexico were familiar with the jojoba plant and used it in several ways:

  • jojoba seeds produced an oil which was used in skin and hair care to protect against the desert sun.

  • The oil from the jojoba seeds was also used to treat general aches and pains, skin irritations and burns

  • The jojoba seeds were chewed as a dietary supplement, too.

Other uses of the jojoba plant may have included use as a medicine and the making of a coffee-like drink; it was also used to treat colds, sore throats and indigestion. Like many native plants of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico, jojoba was a useful and versatile plant to native people.

Jojoba as an Oil

The jojoba plant produces a substance which is more reminiscent of wax than oil. Although it is commonly referred to as jojoba oil, some aromatherapists refer to it simply as jojoba or jojoba wax; whatever you call it, it is all the same product. A point to note on pronunciation: Ho-ho-ba.

The seeds of the jojoba plant are crushed to obtain jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is commonly used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy for essential oils, although it does possess therapeutic properties of its own; it maintains a long shelf life and its chemical make-up changes little even in extreme temperatures of hot or cold. If it becomes solid, leave it standing at room temperature, and you will notice it change back to liquid form naturally as it warms up.

Chemical constituents of jojoba include saturated fatty acids (palmitic acid, stearic acid, and arachidic acid), monosaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, palmitoleic acid), polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid, linolenic acid), and some fatty alcohol (docosanol, elcosanol, tetracosanol, octadecanol).1 It is one of the most stable and easily absorbed oils.2

Aromatherapy Use of Jojoba

Today, jojoba is popular in the hair and skin care industry, particularly in the United States. Therapeutically speaking, jojoba oil is useful in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, sun burn, skin care and in arthritis and rheumatism (due to the anti-inflammatory action of myristic acid in its make-up).1

Jojoba is used as a base oil for skin care and massage oils, as an ingredient in lotions, creams, and balms, as a natural perfume base (either as a roll-on or as part of a solid perfume base), and it is great to use with all age groups.

My motto, as an aromatherapist, is (when deciding which carrier oil to use), “If in doubt, use jojoba!”

Learn More About Aromatherapy Blends with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about making quality aromatherapy blends and products, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  1. Price, Len 1999 Carrier Oils For Aromatherapy and Massage UK: Riverhead

  2. The International Jojoba Export Council website, accessed February 20, 2017.

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist and, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Visionary Scents(TM) from the Garden: Aromatic Note Cards

Posted on: February 13th, 2017 by
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Aromatic Note Cards by Sharon Falsetto: All Rights Reserved

Aromatic Note Cards by Sharon Falsetto: All Rights Reserved

Over the past year, I have been sharing photos of my aromatic garden on Instagram. Finally, with a little bit of nudging from family and friends, I went ahead with professionally printing a selection of photos onto note cards. These note cards of my aromatic garden are now available for purchase from both my Etsy store and from my own website!

About the Aromatic Note Cards

This first collection of aromatic note cards, entitled Visionary ScentsTM from the Garden, showcase twelve aromatic and medicinal plants commonly found in an aromatic or herbal garden. Two of the designs are actually taken on trips outside of my garden, but still depict the common theme.

Aromatic plants and flowers included in this particular photographic collection include:

  • lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • coneflower (Echinancea spp.)
  • sunflower (Helianthius annuus)
  • viola
  • cornflower (Centaura cyanus)
  • bee on flowering mint
  • geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • German chamomile (Matricaria recutica)
  • rose (Rosa rugosa)
  • flower in a winter garden.

Each aromatic note card has a small description on the back of the card which includes:

  • Botanical name (if appropriate)
  • Botanical family (if appropriate)
  • A fact about the plant.

Cards are 5.5” x 4” and printed on premium, glossy white card. Both the back of the card, and the inside of the card, have a blue border, but the inside of the card is left blank for your own message.

Ideas for Using Aromatic Note Cards

Sending a note card may have gone “out of fashion” with the internet age, but receiving such a card is a thoughful and beautiful gift to receive! Use note cards to:

  • send a love note
  • send a thank you note
  • send a birthday greeting
  • send a get well message
  • send a “just because” or “thinking of you” message
  • send a seasonal wish.

For an added touch, scent your card with a fragrant spray, include a pressed flower from your garden, or send along a herbal sachet with your greeting!

Each card is my exclusive design and you will not find these cards mass-printed or mass-marketed anywhere else!

Treat yourself or a loved one today – and put a little piece of aromatic love in the mail!

To purchase, visit the Sedona Aromatherapie website or, if you live outside of the United States, visit my Etsy store.

And thank you! From my aromatic garden to you!

About Sharon Falsetto:

Sharon Falsetto is a UK-certified clinical aromatherapist and she is the founder of the Sedona Aromatherapie home-study Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program. Sharon is the chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, NAHA Regional Director (AZ) and author of Authentic Aromatherapy. She tends her own aromatherapy garden in Sedona, Arizona which is situated on a one acre homestead. She is in the process of opening her own distillation room in 2017.

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Three Simple Sandalwood Aromatherapy Blends

Posted on: February 6th, 2017 by
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Sandalwood Aromatherapy Blends Can Be Used for Meditation

Sandalwood Aromatherapy Blends Can Be Used for Meditation

There are various species of sandalwood to consider when deciding to use this particular essential oil for your aromatherapy blends. Research extensively on the status of each sandalwood species and choose accordingly. For the purpose of this article, you can substitute any species of sandalwood essential oil where sandalwood essential oil is stated in the blend; just bear in mind that the aroma may vary slightly.

Sandalwood Facial Oil for Mature Skin

Mature skin may benefit from the daily application of a facial oil, after cleansing. Sandalwood seed oil is a good choice for this type of product. To enhance the benefits of sandalwood seed oil, add the following essential oils, specifically chosen to help with mature skin. I usually advise just a 1% dilution rate (as specified below) for use of essential oils on the face:

  • 1 oz sandalwood seed (Santalum spicatum) CO2 oil

  • 2 drops sandalwood essential oil

  • 1 drop rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil

  • 3 drops frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Blend together the sandalwood seed carrier oil and the essential oils in a 1 oz spray bottle.

  • Spray a small amount onto hands, after cleansing, and rub lightly over the face and neck area. Avoid getting into eyes and mucous membranes.

  • Stop using immediately, if there is an allergic reaction.

Sandalwood Aura Hydrosol Spray

Sandalwood hydrosol is a great aroma for “opening the chakras” and enhancing spirtual practices and body work such as yoga. Combine it with frankincense hydrosol to ground, breathe, and slow down. Finally add neroli hydrosol for an uplifting, yet calming, note. Always try to use eco-harvested1 or sustainable/ethically grown sandalwood where possible:

  • 1 oz sandalwood hydrosol

  • 0.5 oz frankincense (Boswellia sacra) hydrosol

  • 0.5 oz neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara (flos)) hydrosol

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a 2 oz spray bottle. Shake well.

  • Spray a small amount around yourself as needed.

Sandalwood Body Cream

A luxurious body cream should include sandalwood! Not only is it great for skincare, it helps to ease depression, anxiety, and stress-related conditions. Apply after a warming bath for a good night’s rest:

  • 4 oz cream base (infused with sandalwood seed oil if you make your own base recipe. You can find a good, basic lotion and cream recipe in my book Authentic Aromatherapy, or in the Basic Butters. Balms, Creams, and Lotions course).

  • 8 drops sandalwood essential oil

  • 12 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

  • 12 drops petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara (fol)) essential oil

  • 4 drops patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine the cream base with the essential oils in a 4 oz jar.

  • Apply as needed.

Learn More About Aromatherapy Blends with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about making quality aromatherapy blends and products, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  1. Floracopeia website, Sandalwood Hydrosol, accessed February 6, 2017

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist and, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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