Q & A Health Feature: Monticue Connally of Jiridon Apothecary
I’ve known Monticue Connally for years having always been aware of the Hip Hop persona, MontiClevah, that saw him win the International USA Songwriting competition for the Hip Hop Category in 2006, perform with many local bands including Denver’s own, The Flobots, and be featured on various albums with other artists. Behind that persona, though, I felt there was much more to this man than just music. It was in the way he carried himself, spoke of religion and spirituality, and always had healthful tips for the usual ailment we all fall victim to from time to time. So as I sat down to talk with Monticue last week, I realized that yes he’s a genius when it comes to music, but I was oblivious to what he may say is his true gift, being a medicine man.
Alright Monticue, even though we’ve know each other for quite a while, tell me little about yourself. What’s your background?
I grew up in a two parent home with a sister and two brothers. We were always creating music and reading whatever we could get our hands on. I was particularly interested in Holistic healing and African American studies. This interest for my culture was sparked when I found out that my great-great-great grandfather from Africa was forced into slavery and taken to a plantation in Texas. This grandfather begat twins that were sold at birth to two different plantations. One of the twins escaped in the early 1900s and begat a son named Monticue. This man, the man that I was named after, died when I was around five years old. These facts taught me that my ties to both Africa and slavery weren’t as far away as people told me they were.
What in particular, if anything, from that history pushed you into the direction of herbs, natural remedies, and ultimately being a medicine man?
After learning about my great-great grandfather, I began to study the African captives and learned that these people often called “slaves” were experts and healers. They would often keep their ailments hidden from their captors due to the western reliance on bloodletting and forced vomiting as primary methods of care. The Africans on the plantations survived illness with a heavy reliance on herbal remedies. I am from that history. Times haven’t changed much. Many western drugs are poisons that should have never been considered as first resorts to healing. I come from that people that needed to stay rooted in plant knowledge to survive a brutal captivity.
Tell me a little bit more about your background when it comes to natural remedy healing.
As a natural plant mystic, I have an unorthodox knowledge of the nature of plants and I work with them on many levels. Herbs, the spirit world, and alternative healing methods have been a lifelong interest for me due to sensitivities I have to the “other side.”
I also received my community herbalism training through the Artemisia and Rue Western Herbal Medicine and Earth Centered Healing Traditions Herbal program. I also learned through taking up full apprenticeships with local healers and working in various herb shops. My first herb shop job was at Artemisia and Rue under the guidance of Shelley Torgove. I currently work for Ye Olde Magic Shoppe and Artisan’s Apothecary when I’m not selling products, seeing clients, doing readings or teaching classes for my own apothecary, Jiridon Apothecary.
Besides the deep family history, was there anything else that got you interested in this line of work?
I’ve always been into cures. I’d pick up herbal books as a teenager and try to memorize them but my first breakthrough was at the age of 15 when I burned myself at the oven. I read in a vague description of remedies that onion was good for burns. I ran to the cabinet and pulled out the onion powder. I mixed a little water with it and instinctively used the water to turn the powder to an onion paste. I smeared the paste into the burn and within minutes was relieved of all pain. I’ve been using the remedy ever since! I like results and the plants always delivered. It didn’t matter whether I was dealing with depression, a virus, or an evil free floating entity. My salvation always came through the plants.
You mentioned you now have your own apothecary called Jiridon Apothecary. What is the meaning behind the name?
Jiridon is a method of speaking to trees that was practiced by Africans and later African Americans in the Americas. People who practiced Jiridon were also known as tree whisperers. I am this; I’ve been speaking to trees my entire life. They can speak directly to the intuition or throw their voice on to the wind. I sleep with various tree branches above my bed often so that I can speak to the trees on an even deeper level than I can do in the light. It’s very powerful to dream in the presence of of strong trees and healing plants. The medicines from the trees are also very effective in healing the human body, mind, and spirit which ties into my work as an herbalist. This Jiridon practice is the root of my existence and will be my primary focus until the day that I die.
Is it just you at Jiridon?
Actually no. My partner Aishah Muhammad, an amazing jeweler, was creating beautiful necklaces from stones that reminded me of images of Orisha and art from the African diaspora. She called her business “Spiders and Bumblebees.” I really liked her work and told her about my “Bad Vibe” repellent and other herbal products that I’d been selling as part of my own business “Urban Shaman.” We ended up fusing our two businesses into what we know now as Jiridon Apothecary.
Let’s talk about herbal remedies and what it all means in today’s world. What do you see as both the major differences and benefits of herbal remedies as opposed to “Western” medicine?
“Western” medical theory has the tendency to treat the body like a fragmented machine instead of a working whole. We are not robots waiting for someone to forcefully push our health buttons. Our body is made up of great intelligence and decides what is best for it while greatly taking into consideration the way we treat it. The body is a community of body systems that work together to do what’s best for the whole. There is a ton of communication, compromise, and purpose behind each action. You can’t just throw a pill in the body and force a certain response without awful repercussions. These repercussions are often called “side effects”. Herbs used in the proper way are much more graceful in function.
Why do you think the modern world has gotten away from the more natural ways of healing?
The modern world doesn’t respect Earth nor true diversity. It’s reflected in the way women are taught not to be happy but to fit the mold of one slim type woman. People are often taught that there is one perfect god and that all other paths are false; and we are taught to do away with the tales of old in honor of the advancements of science. This is reflected in the medicine. We are discouraged from going back to earth, our source and beseech the aid of the true healers: the various plants. They tell us that we should do away with those dirty and dangerous plants and instead go for the one great pill. The great white savior that will do away with all your ailments if you’d just believe and swallow. This is a terrible mental disease. To think that one should have to turn to science before the thousands of years that support the healthy use of herbs. We have been brainwashed into worshiping the power of brands and plastic. We believe that things that have huge companies backing them can be trusted. We are taught that if medicine is sealed tight in a plastic bottle that it came from heaven. We love the idea of robot love. That robot made a pure thing for us; something that never touched the dirt or a human hand. This is what is killing us. Health is our birthright. There is no reason that money or big companies should keep us away from medicine. We should be able to walk outside and see medicine all over. Instead we are trained to see weeds. Police are trained to see thugs when they look at people of color. They are taught to fear them so they see them as disposable. If they could see them as people, as kindred spirits, they could receive love from those people. If we could see the weeds, the plants as kindred souls with names and purpose, that relationship can grow as well! We should go outside and see the flowers in the weed and hear it speak. We should be able to go down to the local healer and ask for advice from someone that is not tied to big business. We should be able to go to someone that touches plants with his or her hands and understands the language of plants. We have been trained to see the earth as alien and devoid of love when it is in fact the opposite. This earth is here for us.
What do you say to those who are skeptics and might stay away from such methods because they may see it as “hippyish” or “hoodoo?” Do you run into people with such feelings?
When people try the medicine, they are rarely disappointed. The medicine speaks for itself. I don’t have to sell or coerce my clients who are usually people that are fed up with awful side effects of medicines that don’t work. There are times where I’ll run into someone really religious. I’m able to help them to ease into it by bringing up God and how he created the earth. I ask them why He’d create an earth that didn’t give to the people He created? Were Adam and Eve healing themselves with the use of a Walgreens Pharmacy? Probably not! For people that see herbs as dangerous, I let them know several things. First of all they already use herbs to some capacity! Garlic, onion, and many other excellent seasonings are medicinal herbs! I also let them know that herbs are incredibly forgiving and even more safe when working with an experienced practitioner. I’ll also let them know that statistically 1 in 333 people die from properly prescribed western pharmaceuticals. In comparison the number of deaths related to herbs in a year is one in a million. Science knows very little about why certain herbs are so effective and that is because they think you can understand everything by breaking it down and analyzing it’s parts. The plants don’t work that way. The magic behind why the plant works is way too complex for popular science.
To answer the second part of your question, I do on occasion run into people that associate herbs and old cures with hoodoo or witchcraft and that’s fine with me. I let them know that I’m here for them when they are ready. As a Shaman, Reiki Healer and Tarot reader, I can’t really be the one to break the herb or witchcraft stigma! Witches and Shamans were and are often herbalists, too. I’m not too quick to share this part of myself when working with hesitant or fearful types.
As you continue with your work, are you seeing more people finally gravitating to natural ways of healing?
People are going through a time where they are slowly finding value in rawness. They want the raw cure. They don’t want things doctored up and bleached by men. They don’t want “chemicals” or fragmented cures. They want something whole, something with color, culture and taste!
Why do you believe there is a connection between herbs and their healing nature within the human body?
I believe that plants are the intermediary between man and complete health. They are “the reminders.” When the body is forced to begin a cycle that isn’t sustainable, the herbs come into the body and say, “Hey body, do you remember when we used to do things in this more balanced way?” The body remembers the herbs and says “I think I do remember.” Every dosage is like another knock on the knock. Eventually the herbs ask the same question, “Do you remember when we used to do things in this more balanced way? And the body says, “I do. I remember.” That is when the client is cured of the disease. These plants aren’t like the pills. The medicinal herbs, the plants with high affinity for humans followed us throughout history and evolved alongside of us. The pills aren’t gentle, they don’t ask the body if it remembers. The pills force the body to do things that it doesn’t understand. Since the body can’t understand, it becomes reliant on the pill to force. These herbs are masters of their environments and carry great wisdom for our bodies. They go into the body and begin to spread the good news. Osha is one of the masters of the high places. It grows 10,000 feet high in a dry climate in thin air. Guess what could help the mountain jogger feeling fatigued due to the thin air? Osha root! Chewing on that root teaches the lungs how they should respond to thin air! The qualities and lessons of the the plant become one with the human body in a way that brings peace.
Do certain herbs help only certain ailments?
Herbs usually affect many body systems at once. That means that one herb can be lung strengthening, high mineral, and antihistaminic at the same time. This can be confusing for beginners because some sources don’t give much explanation. I used to read the vague books and be boggled that one herb popped up under so many ailments. It makes you start to think that any herb will due if they are just going to all have a million uses. The problem is that books that are like this don’t explain the underlying “why” or the fact that there are varying strengths and times when you would choose one herb over another. For example when an herb is placed with “cough” in a text, that is not enough information to produce satisfactory results. The healer needs to know when the cough started, what caused the cough and if the cough is “wet” or “dry” to name a few details needed. Herbs are often super effective in combinations with supporting herbs that can really help drive the purpose of the primary herb. Effective herbalism doesn’t focus on placing one herb to a specific ailment. Effective herbalism focuses on gearing teams of herbs to help create a condition where the body can heal on its own.
You’ve thrown a lot of knowledge at me today. Do you host any classes or workshops for people who are interested to learn more?
Yes! I host a wide range of classes that range from Herbal Basics to Male Herbs to classes on Blessing and Banishing. I’m also known for taking large groups on long walks where we stop at each medicinal herb along the way. In February I am usually invited to teach a Medicines of the African American captives course at one of the local Denver libraries. We usually announce the locations, dates and times of classes on our website or on the Jiridon Apothecary Facebook page.
Where can people buy your products or request you help?
For Herbal Consultations, House Blessings, Tarot Readings, teas or jewelry, we can be reached either on our Facebook page, JiridonApothecary.com or we can be emailed at JiridonApothecary@gmail.com
The holiday season of pies, cookies, and those little tasty chocolates is over folks and chances are you’ve set a goal to be more active and lose weight in 2018, right? In fact, I saw a few of you at the gym today; some with a confused look when walking around all the equipment, some with a halfhearted effort with the weights or on the treadmill, and some digging right in like they were a regular gym rat the whole time. Well in the last ten years of being in one gym or another as a personal trainer or just training myself, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go within two weeks of that New Year’s resolution they set. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. I guarantee it. Just be smart about your goals and how you go about achieving them.
ARE YOU READY? If you have major health issues it’s important to speak with your doctor before starting a training program. If ‘Doc’ gives you the go ahead, that’s the first step. Next is make sure you are ready. And by that I mean mentally. It’s not always easy stepping into the gym, hitting the track, or even going out on nightly walks at first. Be motivated. Be confident.
WHAT’S THE PLAN? It’s really important to make yourself a plan that’s easy to follow and manageable with your daily schedule. How much time do you have during the day/week for a workout.? I recommend 20-30 minutes. What days are best for you? Choose days that you know will work and that can be routine during the week. And finally, what type of exercise are you looking for? Cycling, walking, weightlifting, swimming, or jogging? You can mix and match but do what you’re comfortable with.
TAKE YOUR TIME. Your desire to be healthy should last the rest of your life so it’s important to think of your fitness goals as long term rather than short term. So don’t go into beast mode right away because you’re either going to burn yourself out or get an injury. Try this. Start with three days a week, low-to-moderate intensity workouts that includes a good pace walk and some low weight strength training. (For advice, find a personal trainer at the gym or look for more tips over the course of this health series.)
GOT A FRIEND? Music definitely helps a workout but it’s also nice to have someone around with the same goals, someone there to lean on for support, and someone to push you a little further when you need it. Put a workout plan together with a partner, stick to it, and motivate each other as you push toward your goals.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. Goals are important but when you set them, start with a solid foundation, move forward slowly, and be realistic. Don’t try to lose 40 pounds in a month. Aim for five to ten pounds. Don’t go out and run two miles on the first day. Walk for 20-30 minutes three times a week for a month and eventually build up to a point you feel comfortable jogging a 1/2 or full mile. Just be honest with yourself and put in the effort and I guarantee you’ll be on your way to a new you in 2018.
Here are the things you can do in and around Denver this week.
Celebrate Hispanic Culture at the last week of National Hispanic Heritage Month
This is an annual celebration of culture, history, and many contributions of the Hispanic community to what the United States of America is today. It is in its last week so it’s your last chance to join in this year.
SEP 15 – OCT 15, 2017
Watch Dinosaurs Live at Dinos! After Dark
What’s better than watching dinosaurs? Watching dinosaurs actually move. What’s even better? Watching them at night. The Denver Zoo brings their Dinos Live act to a next level with Dinos! After Dark. Get to experience the Zoo’s animatronic dinosaurs come to life along with illuminated sculptures made from pumpkins. Perfect for Halloween.
OCT 5 – OCT 28, 2017
2300 Steele St., Denver, CO 80205
Catch Imagine Dragons
Catch Imagine Dragons at the Pepsi Center this Saturday. I don’t think I need to say more.
OCT 14, 2017
1000 Chopper Cir., Denver, CO 80204
MmmmBop with Hanson
Oh, you know you want to sign along!!! It’s the 25th anniversary of Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere album and you can celebrate this milestone with the band itself, all grown up.
Summit Music Hall
OCT 14, 2017
1902 Blake St., Denver, CO 80202
Run, Rock ‘n’ Roll
Rock ‘n’ Roll bands along a marathon course? I am so in. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is an annual event that has been happening since 1998 and every year, more and more people are joining the fray. Best part is that the event has raised more than $310 million for participating charities. So, marathon, bands, and charity. What else do you need?
OCT 14-15, 2017
Broadway Ave. & Colfax, Denver, CO 80202
FOLLOW A HIGH-PROTEIN, LOWER-CARB DIET
Your diet is essential in building a lean physique. It is important to consume 4- to-6 small meals per day; this helps to speed up your metabolism at an incredibly rapid rate. Eating smaller meals more often will help you avoid overeating and will curb hunger. Along with eating frequent, smaller meals, you should consume your carbohydrates first thing in the morning to give you energy through the day.
FOLLOW A CONSISTENT WEIGHT-TRAINING AND CARDIO REGIMEN
This will allow you to burn fat through the day. Weight training helps you to burn calories after the workout and throughout the day while cardio burns calories during the workout. A combination of cardio and weight training will give you the optimal fat burning rate you need to stay lean.
DRINK A LOT OF WATER
If you’re completely hydrated, your fat-burning rate will be optimum. To speed up your metabolism, drink at least 8 large glasses of water per day. Remember the less water you drink, the slower your metabolism will be; the more water you drink, the faster your metabolism will be.
MODIFY YOUR AB ROUTINE
There isn’t a specific abs routine that will work better than all others, but changing your abs routine will maximize the results. Some of the common ab moves like crunches, old-fashioned sit-ups, hanging leg raises, broom twists and sprinting, are great for building abdominal muscle. It’s important to remember that your abs will show the most development through change and confusion as opposed to stagnation.
A healthy breakfast is the most important meal for a reason – it jump starts your metabolism for the entire day. Not just any breakfast, though. Unless you want a muffin top, skip the muffins and opt for protein, healthy fats, and complex
carbohydrates. Emphasis on the protein. You can’t go wrong with eggs.
BE COGNIZANT OF THE FREQUENCY OF YOUR ABS TRAINING
It is important to train your abs at least three times per week for a beginner and intermediate fitness enthusiast. For the advanced gym guru, train your abs about every other day to build them properly.
DON’T GET SMACKED BY SUGAR, STARCH, AND SALT
Also, stay away from foods that are high in unhealthy fat and high in carbs. All of these things can
contribute to a high amount of fat gain and prevent your abs from coming out of hibernation. It is okay to consume sugar, salt or starch – just make sure it’s within moderation.
IMPLEMENT A VARIETY OF CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISES
Cardio helps you lose fat. There is a variety of different cardiovascular exercises you can implement. Long distance running, sprinting, swimming, climbing stairs, cycling, elliptical, treadmill, etc. Bonus: They all work your abs to varying degrees and will, therefore, help you get definition.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
If you believe you can do it, you will do everything necessary in your power to attain that goal. Your mind will help guide your fitness goals and if that goal is to attain great abs, then, provided you do the necessary work, it will happen for you.
CHOOSE VARIETY OVER REPS
Mix up your ab-toning moves each workout, and change your routine every three to four weeks. Alternating your workout is more important than cranking out 1000 crunches every day. Perform 15 to 20 reps of each exercise, then move one. Implement at least 3-or-4 different abs exercises every other day. Your rest for each set should be about 30-to-45 seconds. You’ll really feel the burn with this minimal rest. If not, you aren’t working the exercise properly. Muscle grows when you apply a shock to that body-part. The only way to do that is to push through the temporary burn of that particular exercise.
FORGET THE LOWER VS UPPER ABS IDEA
It’s all one sheath of muscle: the rectus abdomen us. If you feel the upper abs working, it doesn’t mean the lower abs aren’t engaged, where you feel it depends on the move’s anchor point. For example, leg lifts engage more of the lower section since your upper body is against the floor. To truly tone, try a mix of ab-sculpting moves that vary positions.
ENGAGE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR
To target your abs more effectively, strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles. These muscles assist your deepest abs in doing exercises correctly. Actively engage them by gently pulling your belly button toward your back. Place one hand on your abdomen; if you feel your stomach pushing out while you do sit-ups, you’re pushing the pelvis down rather than pulling muscles up and in, cheating your abs of the full workout. Keep muscles contracted when working abs.
Summer time has finally arrived, the sun is shining, pools are open and there you are. Are you summer time fine? Or have you decided to wait until next year to get the body and energy you deserve. It’s never too late to achieve the weight loss or muscle gain goal you desire.
Start with an improved healthy lifestyle and “can do” attitude. Sculpting the body and changing eating habits have to do with constructive mentality reinforcement. In other words a healthy lifestyle is easier done than expected.
Think of it this way,
- You can sit on the couch for 30min and watch television or you can run on the treadmill for 30min while watching television.
- While grocery shopping you could buy donuts and candy or you could buy sweet watermelon and strawberries.
An effective healthy lifestyle change is a day by day process and first starts with the commitment to change for nobody, but you! You are the master of your abilities and you have the power to reconstruct the way you live, eat, think, feel, and look.
“Motivation plus habit equals success.”
As a HerbaLife wellness coach and fitness instructor I have heard every story as to why it seems impossible. However, I have experienced more success stories than failures when it comes to making the impossible possible practicing these 3 tips.
- Doing cardio or weight lifting 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.
Implementing this is all you need to get a jump start on your summer time fine body.
Don’t forget to include the following in your diet:
- Lean meats
- Substance shakes or tablets (Check out Herbalife for shakes that will keep you feeling revived, refreshed, and energized.)
Slowly but surely you will start to see results, but stay steady and strong in your lifestyle change and weight goal.
“Let who you see in the mirror, and who you want to see in the mirror, be your biggest inspiration.”
The perfect abdominal Workout
Do 4 sets of 15 on each exercise with no rest until done with all seven exercises. And rest 60 sec and repeat for three rounds. If you what to step it up do 4 sets of 25-30 if what to go hard… Remember if you what to see them six or eight pack abs your nutrition has to on point and eat clean and have fun.[/tps_header]