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Herbs & Plants

Hibiscus cannabinus

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Botanical Name : Hibiscus cannabinus
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Tribes: Hibisceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Malvales
Genus: Hibiscus
Sectio: Hibiscus sect. Furcaria
Species: Hibiscus cannabinus
Common Names : Kenaf, Brown Indianhemp
Europe:
English: kenaf (Persian origin), Deccan hemp, Java jute…
French: chanvre de Bombay, chanvre du Deccan, chanvre de Guinée, chanvre de Gambo, chanvre de roselle, jute de Java, jute de Siam, kénaf, ketmie à feuilles de chanvre (Belgium), roselle

German: Ambari, Dekkanhanf, Gambohanf, Hanfeibisch, Javajute, Kenaf, Rosellahanf, Roselle, Siamjute
Portuguese: cânhamo rosella, juta-de-java, juta-do-sião, quenafe

Spanish: cáñamo de la India, cáñamo de gambo, cáñamo Rosella, pavona encendida, yute de Java, yute de Siam

Americas:
Brazilian Portuguese: papoula-de-são-francisco, cânhamo-brasileiro, quenafe

Africa:
Afrikaans: stokroos
Egypt & Northern Africa: til, teel, or teal

West Africa: dah, gambo, and rama

Asia
Himachal(Pangolu) fiber known as sunn used to make rope used for beds and to tie cattle and all other possible uses.
India (Manipur): Shougri
India (Bihari): Kudrum
India (Bengal): mesta
India (Marathi): Ambaadi
India (Tamil): pulicha keerai , Palungu
India (Telugu): Gongura, Taag-Ambadi ,  Punti Kura
Iran (Persian): Hanf (guttural H)
Taiwan: ambari

Habitat : Hibiscus cannabinus is probably native to southern Asia, though its exact natural origin is unknown.
Description:
Hibiscus cannabinus is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant (rarely a short-lived perennial) growing to 1.5-3.5 m tall with a woody base. The stems are 1–2 cm diameter, often but not always branched. The leaves are 10–15 cm long, variable in shape, with leaves near the base of the stems being deeply lobed with 3-7 lobes, while leaves near the top of the stem are shallowly lobed or unlobed lanceolate. The flowers are 8–15 cm diameter, white, yellow, or purple; when white or yellow, the centre is still dark purple. The fruit is a capsule 2 cm diameter, containing several seeds.It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile….CLICK  & SEE  THE  PICTURES
Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun[200]. Tolerates most soils but prefers a light sandy soil. Plants are adapted to a wide range of soils and climatic conditions. Kenaf is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 57 to 410cm, an annual temperature range of 11.1 to 27.5°C and a pH in the range of 4.3 to 8.2 (though it prefers neutral to slightly acid). The plant is frost sensitive and damaged by heavy rains with strong winds. Kenaf is widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, where it is grown mainly as a fibre crop but also for its seeds and leaves. It is not very hardy outdoors in Britain, it really requires a frost free climate. It can, however, probably be grown as an annual. A fast-growing plant, it can be harvested in 3 – 4 months from seed. The plant requires temperatures in the range of 15 – 25°c. It succeeds as a crop as far north in N. America as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Plants are daylight sensitive, they remain vegetative and do not flower until the daylength is less than 12.5 hr/day. Two weeks of very cloudy days will induce flowering as daylength approaches 12.5 hr. The plant has a deep-penetrating taproot with deep-seated laterals. Plants, including any varieties, are partially self-fertile.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
Young leaves – cooked. Used as a potherb or added to soups. The leaves have an acid flavour like sorrel. Seed – roasted or ground into a flour and made into a kind of cake. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The yield varies from 2 – 10 tonnes per hectare.

Medicinal Uses:
The juice of the flowers, mixed with sugar and black pepper, is used in the treatment of biliousness with acidity. The seeds are aphrodisiac. They are added to the diet in order to promote weight increase. Externally, they are used as a poultice on pains and bruises. The leaves are purgative. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of coughs. In Ayurvedic medicine, the leaves are used in the treatment of dysentery and bilious, blood and throat disorders. The powdered leaves are applied to Guinea worms in Africa. The peelings from the stems have been used in the treatment of anaemia, fatigue, lassitude, etc

Other Uses:
Yields a fibre from the stem, a very good jute substitute though it is a bit coarser. The fibre strands, which are 1.5 – 3 metres long, are used for making rope, cordage, canvas, sacking, carpet backing, nets, table cloths etc. For the best quality fibre, the stems should be harvested shortly after the flowers open. The best fibre is at the base of the stems, so hand pulling is often recommended over machine harvesting. Yields of about 1.25 tonnes of fibre per hectare are average, though 2.7 tonnes has been achieved in Cuba. The pulp from the stems has been used in making paper. The seed contains between 18 and 35% of an edible semi-drying oil. It is rather similar to groundnut oil, obtained from Arachis hypogaea. The oil is also used for burning, as a lubricant and in making soap, linoleum, paints and varnishes. The seed yield varies from 2 to 10 tonnes per acre (or is it per hectare). The stems have been used as plant supports for growing runner beans etc. The soot from the stems has been used as a black pigment in dyes. The stem has been used as a base for drilling fire.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenaf
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_cannabinus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+cannabinus

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Herbs & Plants

Mentha citrata

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Botanical Name :Mentha citrata
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Mentha
Species:M. citrata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonym: Mentha odorata.

Common Names: Bergamot mint, Eau-de-cologne Mint, Horsemint, Lemon Mint, Lime Mint, Orange Mint, Pineapple Mint, Su Nanesi, Water Mint, Wild Water Mint, Yerba Buena

Habitat : :Mentha citrata is found in wet places in Staffordshireand Wales, though very rarely, but is often cultivated in gardens.It is found  on the sides of ditches, roadsides etc in S. England.

Description:
Mentha citrata is a perennial herb, growing to a height of about a feet.The whole plant is smooth, dotted with yellow glands and is of a dark green colour, generally tinged with purple, especially the margins of the leaves, which are finelly toothed. There are very conspicuous lines of yellow glands on the purple calyx.It blooms during August to October.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

This Mint has a very pleasant, aromatic, lemon-like odour, somewhat resembling that of the Bergamot Orange, or that of the Oswego Tea (Monarda didyma), also called Bergamot, and its leaves like those of the latter can be employed in pot pourri.

Cultivation & Propagation: A natural hybrid, M. aquatica x M. spicata found in moist soils on the sides of ditches, roadsides etc in S. England.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A very pungent flavour, the leaves of the true eau-de-cologne mint are too aromatic for most tastes, though the cultivar “Basil” has an excellent flavour and makes a very good substitute for basil in pesto. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Mentha citrata or Eau de Cologne mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. The leaves and flowering plant are anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The medicinal uses of this herb are more akin to lavender (Lavandula spp) than the mints. It is used to treat infertility, rapid heartbeat, nervous exhaustion etc. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

A tea made from the fresh or dried leaves has traditionally been used:

*For stomach aches, nausea, parasites and other digestive disorders

*For nerves and sick stomach

*For fevers and headaches.

Other Uses: An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is a source of lavender oil which is used in perfumery. It is also used in oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Formerly used as a strewing herb, the plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this sub-species, it should be noted that, in large quantities, the closely allied M. x piperita vulgaris can cause abortions, especially when used in the form of the extracted essential oil, so it should not be used by pregnant women.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_citrata#Description
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/m/mentha-x-piperita-citrata=eau-de-cologne-mint.php

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Vetiver Grass

Botanical Name :Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms: Vetiveria zizanioides, Phalaris, Anatherum zizanioides,Andropogon odoratus,Andropogon zizanioides.Phalaris zizanioides,Vetiveria zizanioides

Common Name : Vetiver Grass,khus(In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus.)

Habitat :Vetiver Grass is  native to India.Though it originates in India, vetiver grass is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world’s major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Description:
Vetiver Grass  is a perennial evergreen grass of the Poaceae family.The grass has a gregarious habit and grows in bunches.
Vetiver grass can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. It has infrequent blooming time. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2–4 m in depth.  Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost- and fire-resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 120–150 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. The panicles are 15–30 centimeters long and have whorled, 2.5–5.0 centimeters long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

Click to see the pictures..>......(01)..…...(1)...(2).…...(3)

The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can persist deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3–4 m deep within the first year. Vetiver has no stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.

Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive. Vegetatively propagated, almost all vetiver grown worldwide for perfumery, agriculture, and bioengineering has been shown by DNA fingerprinting to be essentially the same nonfertile cultigen (called ‘Sunshine’ in the United States, after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana).

Edible Uses:
Vetiver grass  is  used as a flavoring agent, usually through khus syrup. Khus syrup is made by adding khus essence to sugar, water and citric acid syrup. Khus Essence is a dark green thick syrup made from the roots of khus grass(vetiver grass). It has a woodsy taste and a scent prominent to khus.

click to see

click to see:Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil in a clear glass vial

The syrup is used to flavor milkshakes and yogurt drinks like lassi, but can also be used in ice creams, mixed beverages like Shirley Temples and as a dessert topping. Khus syrup does not need to be refrigerated, although khus flavored products may need to be.

Medicinal Uses:
Vetiver grass has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.Old Tamil literature mentions the use of vetiver for medical purposes.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many different purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics and aromatherapy. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

click to see

Soil and water conservation:
Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, it does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 m, which is deeper than some tree roots. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies, and protects soil from sheet erosion. The roots bind to the soil, therefore it can not dislodge. Vetiver has also been used to stabilize railway cuttings/embankments in geologically challenging situations in an attempt to prevent mudslides and rockfalls, the Konkan railway in Western India being an example. The plant also penetrates and loosens compacted soils.

Runoff mitigation and water conservation:
The close-growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. It slows water’s flow velocity and thus increases the amount absorbed by the soil (infiltration). It can withstand a flow velocity up to 5 metres per second (16 ft/s).

Vetiver mulch increases water infiltration and reduces evaporation, thus protects soil moisture under hot and dry conditions. The mulch also protects against splash erosion.

Crop protection:
Vetiver can be used for crop protection. It attracts pests, such as the stem borer (Chilo partellus), which lay their eggs preferably on vetiver. Due to the hairy architecture of vetiver, the larvae can not move on the leaves, fall to the ground and die.

As a mulch, vetiver is used for weed control in coffee, cocoa and tea plantations. It builds a barrier in the form of a thick mat. When the mulch breaks down, soil organic matter is built up and additional nutrients for crops become available.

Animal feed:
The leaves of vetiver are a useful byproduct to feed cattle, goats, sheep and horses. The nutritional content depends on season, growth stage and soil fertility. Under most climates, nutritional values and yields are best if vetiver is cut every 1–3 months.

In-house uses;
In the Indian Subcontinent, khus (vetiver roots) is often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers. When cool water runs for months over wood shavings in evaporative cooler padding, they tend to accumulate algae, bacteria and other microorganisms. This causes the cooler to emit a fishy or seaweed smell into the house. Vetiver root padding counteracts this smell. A cheaper alternative is to add vetiver cooler perfume or even pure khus attar to the tank. Another advantage is that they do not catch fire as easily as dry wood shavings.

Mats made by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes or cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically; they cool the passing air, as well as emitting a refreshing aroma.[citation needed]

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps a household’s drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends distinctive flavor and aroma to the water. Khus-scented syrups are also sold.

Fuel cleaning:
A recent study found the plant is capable of growing in fuel-contaminated soil. In addition, the study discovered the plant is also able to clean the soil, so in the end, it is almost fuel-free.

Vetiver grass is used as roof thatch (it lasts longer than other materials), mud brick-making for housing construction (such bricks have lower thermal conductivity), strings and ropes and ornamentals (for the light purple flowers).

Garlands made of vettiver grass is used to adorn The dancing god nataraja in the Hindu temples.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysopogon_zizanioides
http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=3690
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/83630/

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Herbs & Plants

Hog Weed

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Scientific Name: Boerhaavia diffusa Linn.
Family: Nyctaginaceae

Synonyms: . B. repens; B. repens var. diffusa

Family Name: Hog weed, Horse Purslane

Common Indian Names
Gujarati: Dholia-saturdo, Moto-satoda.
Hindi: Snathikari
Canarese: Kommegida
Marathi: Tambadivasu
Sanskrit: Punarnava, Raktakanda, Shothaghni, Varshabhu
Bengali: Punurnava
Tamil: Mukaratee-Kirei
Telugu: Punernava

Habitat: Hog weed is indigenous to India. It grows wild all over the country as a common creeping weed and is specially abundant during the rains. It grows as common weed.

Useful Parts: Root, leaves and seeds.

Description;
Hog weed is a creeping and spreading perennial herb, with a stout root-stock and many erect or spreading branches. It grows upto 2 metres in length. The leaves of the plant are simple, broad, somewhat rough, thick and brittle. The flowers are pink or red in color. The fruits are oval in shape, dull-green or brownish in color and about the size of caraway bean.

click to see……………>…..…(01)….……..…(1)..………….…(2)..……

The plant contains a crystalline acid known as boerhavic acid, potassium nitrate and a brown mass consisting of tannins, phlobaphenes and reducing sugars. The active principle of hog weed is the alkaloid punarnavine. The drug contains large quantities of potassium salts, which accounts for its diuretic properties.

Chemical Constituents: Hog Weed contains b-Sitosterol, a-2-sitosterol, palmitic acid, ester of b-sitosterol, tetracosanoic, hexacosonoic, stearic, arachidic acid, urosilic acid, Hentriacontane, b-Ecdysone, triacontanol etc.

Healing Power and Curative Properties
The herb has been used in indigenous medicine from time immemorial. It is laxative and produces a cooling sensation. In large doses it induces vomiting. Medicinally, the most important part of the herb is the root. It has a bitter and nauseous taste. It is beneficial in the treatment of several common ailments.

Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, Hog Weed is bitter, cooling, astringent to bowels, useful in biliousness, blood impurities, leucorrhoea, anaemia, inflammations, heart diseases, asthma, alternatives etc. The leaves are useful in dyspepsia, tumours, spleen enlargement, abdominal pains. According to Unani system of medicine, the leaves are appetizer, alexiteric, useful in opthalmia, in joint pains. Seeds are tonic expectorant, carminative, useful in lumbago, scabies. The seeds are considered as promising blood purifier.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: In many parts of India, different parts of Hog Weed are used as folk medicine.

Ayurveda Properties: Punarnavastaka, Punaravataila, Punarnavaleha etc.
Hog Weed or Boerhaavia diffusa extract curbs experimental melanoma metastasis
Chemical Examination of Punar-nava or Boerhaavia diffusa Linn. Proc Acad

Punarnava Boerhaavia diffusa – Pure Herbal :: Shopeastwest

Uses In Different Diseases:

Dropsy

Hog weed increases the secretion and discharge of urine. It is effective in the treatment of dropsy, a disease marked by an excessive collection of a watery fluid in the tissues and cavities or natural hollows of the body. The fresh boiled herb should be given in the treatment of this disease. A liquid extract of the fresh or dry plant can also be given in doses of 4 to 16 grams.

.Ascities

The herb is useful in the treatment of ascites, a disease characterized by accumulation of fluid inside the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen. Much more powerful effect on certain types of ascites that is, those caused due to the cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis-than some of the other important diuretics known. The herb can be administered m the same manner as for dropsy.

.Stomach Disorders

The drug is useful in strengthening the stomach and promoting its action. It is beneficial in the treatment of several stomach disorders, particularly intestinal colic. A powder of the root is given in doses of 5 grams thrice a day. It is also useful in killing or expelling intestinal worms.

Asthma

Hog weed promotes the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. It is, therefore, beneficial in the treatment of asthma. A powder of the root can be taken in small doses three times a day.

Fevers

Hog weed is beneficial in the treatment of fevers. It brings down temperature by inducing copious perspiration.

Other Diseases

The root of the plant is useful in the treatment of several diseases — particularly of the kidney and heart — as well as gonorrhea. It is also valuable in oedema, anemia, cough, pleurisy, nervous weakness, constipation and paralysis..

Skin Diseases

The root of the plant is a~ effective remedy for several skin diseases. A paste of the root can be applied beneficially as a dressing for oedematous swellings. A hot poultice of the root can be applied with gratifying results to ulcers, abscesses and similar skin diseases. It is also used for extracting guinea-worms. Charaka, the great physician of ancient India, used it in the form of ointment in leprosy and other skin diseases.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Source : http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/CropFactSheets/punanrnava.html and Herbs That Heal

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Positive thinking

The Art Of Focus

Energy Protection :
Many of us are sensitive to energy, so we make our homes a sanctuary and only leave when we have fully prepared ourselves. We may use gemstones, essential oil, or talismans, or perhaps we call on our angels or surround ourselves in a bubble of light. But we should be conscious of what we are seeking to accomplish. It is important to remember that if we want to shield ourselves, we might inadvertently keep out the good that is coming our way. All of our tools can be helpful if we use them wisely and keep ourselves engaged in all the world has to offer.

If we instead seek to filter distractions, than we can be like prospectors panning for gold. We learn to filter when we are children as we learn about the world around us. At first every leaf on the ground is a reason to stop and investigate. But as we learn where to focus our attention, the rest becomes background. We don’t cut ourselves off from the world, we merely shift our focus.

As humans, we don’t always know what is good for us. Sometimes what appears to be a negative situation contains a gem of wisdom that leads to our highest growth. Rather than focusing our thoughts on what we want to keep out of our experience, we may want to turn the light of our attention to the good we’d like to create while leaving room for something better. By doing this, we allow space for the wisdom of the universe to work its magic on our behalf. If we trust the universe, we know that good is present even if it doesn’t look good on the surface. When we shift our focus this way, we actually attract those things into our lives, and the rest falls away without the effort of filtering. By practicing the art of focus, we invest our attention and energy into making our lives a positive experience.

Source:Daily Om