Self-reliance Cake!

I totally love this cake! (I’m eating it now). I’ve had it twice now and both times it has made me feel as though my aura was becoming stronger, more grounded and more separate from the world around me, in a good way (better boundaries and personal space). It makes me feel more self-reliant, so I’ve called it the self-reliance cake.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made it with a student’s daughter in mind. She has a cashew allergy. This cake only has macadamia nuts in it, along with some other pretty cool ingredients like slippery elm powder, acai berry powder, Rhodiola tincture, bananas, marigold petals, turmeric, dried pear, frozen and dried banana, dates, and blueberries.

I don’t use slippery elm powder very often, even though I love it lots, because it’s one of those endangered herbs…. at least, it was last time I checked. I might have to get updated! This herb comes from the inner bark of the slippery elm tree and from memory, and in some instances the entire tree gets destroyed to harvest the powder.

Slippery Elm is a mucilaginous herb. Herb high in mucilage content are demulcents. The word ‘demulcent’ describes a herbal action…

Demulcent herbs are soothing. They heal the inside of our digestive linings by covering them in a gooey texture (think of mushed up bananas and yes, bananas are mucilaginous herbs too!).

This gooey texture protects the gut lining from irritants and soothes it so it can recover if it has already been irritated. How do you know if your gut lining is irritated? If you have indigestion, reflux, abdominal bloating, colic (pain in the gut), excessive flatulence, diarrhoea or constipation…. you can probably guarantee that your gut lining is irritated.

The funny thing is, the gut lining (and when we are talking gut lining, we mean the inside surface of the tube that starts inside your mouth and ends with your bum), is connected with the linings of other organs inside your body like the bladder and the lungs. Connected how? Via nerves… and when one nerve end becomes irritated, this irritation travels along the length of the nerve, creating a ‘nerve reflex’ that arcs across to other mucous membranes and makes them feel irritated too.

Another way you can put it is that by using a demulcent to calm the nerve endings in the gut, you can calm the nerve endings in other parts of the body via these reflexes.

I’ve always been fascinated with demulcents, because they work in a mechanical way instead of a biochemical manner.

Other demulcent herbs I use instead of slippery elm include marshmallow, mullien, asparagus and liquorice. Psyllium, fenugreek, irish moss, peaches, aloe vera and dulse are other examples.

I’ve been doing some research and have just learned that all plants contain mucilage to some extent because this is how they store water. Which brings me to another very interesting fact about mucilaginous herbs: they are moistening. This is good therapy if you tend towards having a dry system. In chinese medicine, this is called ‘Yin deficiency’. Tissue irritation is a classic yin deficiency issue. Mucilaginous herbs also tend to be cooling.

Dryness can be that feeling you get in your throat and lungs at the beginning of a cold, it can also be tied in with constipation or a dry, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAirritating and unproductive cough. Or it might be recurrent urinary infections, an over-acid system or stomach.

Dryness can be caused by dry weather, air-conditioning, central heating, airborne pollution, excessive exposure to heat/sun, or over-doing it with sweating or purging treatments (all those detox programs you lot seem so fond of!). It can also be caused by dehydration (eg not drinking enough water), too much spicy food, or fluid loss from diarrhoea, haemorrhage, childbirth, vomiting, fevers, stress or menopause (not enough oestrogen).

One of the things I love about these herbs/foods, is that they regulate our intestinal flora. How good is that!?

Anyway, that’s enough about slippery elm. Lets talk about Rhodiola. This is a very cool herb, but I did make myself sick on it once, by accidentally overdosing. Phew! Seriously weird feeling in my head and lots of nausea. Won’t do that again. It’s pretty high in tannins too (I’m guessing from the taste), and my stomach took a pounding.

Aside from idiotic overdose moments, Rhodiola is a very beautiful OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAherb. I’m going to list the things this herb treats below:

*Chronic endocrine under-functioning (e.g. unhappy and tired-out thyroid, ovaries, adrenals, pancreas etc)

*Chronic fatigue and headaches, weakness, debility/exhaustion, reduced immune strength/resistance.

*Dizziness, forgetfulness, spaciness, depression, sleepiness or insomnia

*Anxiety, palpitations, nerve pains, fibromyalgia, muscle weakness, local paralysis

*Weak bladder, delayed and scanty periods, impotence, frigidity, infertility

Like I said, very cool herb. BUT, like all foods and herbs, it doesn’t agree with everyone. It needs to be avoided or used with great care with people who are highly agitated, such as with the manic phase of bipolar. This is why it’s a good idea to do your research before using herbs, or to check with a pro.