A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

Winter is here, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably craving soup! There is nothing better on a chilly evening, wrapped in a blanket with loved ones, than sipping from a bowl of warm, soothing soup. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and cauliflower are gaining popularity in many healthy recipes as they have a plethora of nutritional benefits, are versatile, and are delicious. In this article, we will share the benefits of this healthy and nutritious root and vegetable pairing and offer a recipe for a warming, turmeric cauliflower soup that you can enjoy on cold winter days.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric has been used for centuries as food and as an herb to assist with many imbalances. Its tough, fibrous root (the rhizome) is where its beneficial properties lie and give it its yellow color. Curcuma longa, whose Latin binomial comes from the Arabic name Kurkum, has also been called The Yellow One and Golden Goddess in Sanskrit (Gallant, n.d.).

Besides giving Indian curry its beautiful golden hue, turmeric has been used as a dye in packaged foods such as mustard and chicken broth (Gallant, n.d.). Turmeric can even be used as a natural, plant-based dye for fabrics like silk, cotton, and wool (Kayne, 2016).

Where wellness benefits are concerned, turmeric is most well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties (Gallant, n.d.). Turmeric is in the Zingiberaceae family, which is also home to its cousin ginger (Zingiber officinale). Turmeric is native to India (and a staple in Indian cuisine), but it can also be grown in other warm climates around the world. In ayurvedic herbalism, turmeric is commonly used to balance the doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha (Gallant, n.d.).

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

Benefits and Uses of Turmeric

As mentioned earlier, turmeric is most commonly used to assist the body when inflammation is present. It is believed that turmeric helps to inhibit an inflammatory gene by helping to lower histamine levels, subsequently increasing natural cortisone production by the adrenal glands (Rathaur, Raja, Ramteke, & John, 2012).

It has been found that turmeric can aid in health issues such as osteoarthritis (Kuptniratsaikul, Thanakhumtorn, Chinswangwatanakul, Wattanamongkonsil, & Thamlikitkul, 2009), back pain, and general inflammation (Rathaur et al., 2012), and according to a 2006 study, curcumin is also considered an antioxidant (Khor et al., 2006).

Turmeric can also benefit digestion by assisting the body in producing digestive enzymes that help the body to digest fats, thus supporting liver detoxification (Rathaur et al., 2012). While turmeric has been found safe for many to take in high amounts without side effects (Rathaur et al., 2012), some individuals can be more sensitive to turmeric so it’s best to start at the low end of a suggested dosage and slowly work up from there.

Many studies show that turmeric should be combined with black pepper to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin. Curcumin is a curcuminoid most often researched as turmeric’s primary active compound. The addition of black pepper will aid in the absorption of curcumin in the body and also facilitate the production of digestive enzymes (Shoba, 1998). Traditionally, most recipes with turmeric also include black pepper.

Curcumin is also fat-soluble, meaning that in order to obtain the benefits of the herb you should combine it with a portion of fatty food or substance. This means, if you simply put turmeric in water, you may lose out on curcumin’s benefits (Higdon, Drake, & Delage, 2005). For this reason, coconut milk is used in the recipe below.

It is also believed that turmeric should be heated in order to make the curcuminoids more bioavailable to us (Kurien & Scofield, 2009). This is likely why we most often find turmeric in traditional recipes of soups and curries.

Nutritional Benefits of Cauliflower

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

If you shop in a natural foods store, you may find that a growing number of packaged items are made of cauliflower these days, from pizza crust to mashed “potatoes” to cauliflower “rice.” The list goes on. The use of cauliflower has become very popular in the low-carb diet world as a substitution to grains or legumes making it a fantastic way to increase your vegetable intake. Cauliflower is extremely versatile; I personally enjoy it steamed, raw on a salad, or dipped in hummus. The turmeric cauliflower soup recipe below offers the option to roast and puree the cauliflower, creating a warm, creamy, and delicious soup.

Cauliflower is a wonderful dietary addition as it is widely available and affordable. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients (Elliot, 2017). While it is low in calories, it still packs a punch with its high nutritional value and vitamin content with one serving of cauliflower containing over 75% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C (SELF Nutrition Data, 2018). According to Dr. Joseph Mercola (2014), cauliflower is a great source of vitamin K, protein, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. It is also high in fiber which supports healthy digestion and also aids in the detoxification process in the body (Mercola, 2014).

Cauliflower is rich in choline which plays an important role in brain health and development (Elliot, 2017). Another reason cauliflower is known to be a nutritional powerhouse is that it contains the potent antioxidant sulforaphane. Research shows that sulforaphane may also help to reduce high blood pressure and support overall heart health (Yang et al., 2015).

According to the National Cancer Institute (2012) and Abdull Razis & Noor (2013), cruciferous vegetables contain many unique antioxidants and compounds that may reduce inflammation, help protect against cancer cell growth, and even shrink existing cancer cells.

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

How To Make Turmeric Cauliflower Soup

[recipe_ingredients]

2 heads cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 bunch carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1-1 ½ tablespoons fresh minced ginger (Zingiber officinale)
8-10 cloves of minced garlic (Allium sativum)
1 dried bay leaf (Laurus nobilis)
1 small bunch fresh thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
1 small bunch fresh sage (Salvia officinalis)
2 tablespoons dried ground turmeric (Curcuma longa)
1 teaspoon black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Juice from 2 large lemons
32 ounces of broth (chicken or vegetable)
32 ounce carton of unsweetened coconut milk
1 can full-fat coconut milk
½  cup gluten-free flour (King Arthur’s or Bob’s)
½ cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Cut cauliflower heads into pieces while removing large stems and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast on a sheet pan at 450 degrees F for 25 minutes or until brown.
  • On a separate sheet pan, roast carrots, celery, onion, and garlic with bay leaves, sage, and thyme at 450 degrees F.
  • While vegetables are roasting, sweat ginger (sauteed on low heat) in olive oil.  
  • Combine gluten-free flour to coconut oil to make a roux (thickening base).
  • Slowly add in the stock on low heat while whisking vigorously to make veloute (savory sauce made from a roux and stock).
  • Blend roasted cauliflower, vegetables, and ginger in a blender with coconut milk until extremely smooth.
  • Add lemon, pepper, and salt to taste and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Additional water or milk may be added during this process to maintain the desired thickness.

[/recipe_directions]

REFERENCES

Abdull Razis, A.F., & Noor, N.M. (2013). Cruciferous vegetables: Dietary phytochemicals for cancer prevention. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 14(3):1565-70.

Conrozier, T., Mathieu, P., Bonjean, M., Marc, J.F., Renevier, J.L., &  Balblanc, J.C. (2014). A complex of three natural anti-inflammatory agents provides relief of osteoarthritis pain. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 20 Suppl 1:32-7.

Elliot, B. (2017). Top 8 health benefits of cauliflower. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cauliflower

Gallant, L. (n.d.). Turmeric: “The golden goddess.” Retrieved from http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/turmeric

Higdon, J., Drake, V., & Delage, B. (2005). Curcumin. Retrieved from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin

Kayne, J. (2016). DIY: Dyeing with turmeric. Retrieved from https://www.jennikayne.com/ripandtan/dyeing-with-turmeric

Khor, T.O., Keum, Y.S., Lin W., Kim, J.H., Hu, R., Shen, G.,…Kong, A.N. (2006). Combined inhibitory effects of curcumin and phenethyl isothiocyanate on the growth of human PC-3 prostate xenografts in immunodeficient mice. Cancer Research, 66(2):613-21. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-2708

Kuptniratsaikul, V., Thanakhumtorn, S., Chinswangwatanakul, P., Wattanamongkonsil, L., & Thamlikitkul, V. (2009). Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,15(8): 891-897. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0186

Kurien, B.T., & Scofield, R.H. (2009). Oral administration of heat-solubilized curcumin for potentially increasing curcumin bioavailability in experimental animals. The International Journal of Cancer, 125(8): 1992-1993. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijc.24547

Mercola, J. (2014). Top 8 health benefits of cauliflower. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

National Cancer Institute. (2012). Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet

Rathaur, P., Raja, W., Ramteke, P. W., & John, S. A. (2012). Turmeric: The golden spice of life. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 3(8), 1987.

SELF Nutrition Data. (n.d.). Cauliflower, raw nutrition facts and calories. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2390/2

Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., & Srinivas, P.S. (1998). Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med, 64(4): 353–6. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-957450

Yang, B., Xiaolu, W., Song, Z., Chunye, M., Jiuwei, C., & Yang, Z. (2015). Sulforaphane protects against cardiovascular disease via Nrf2 activation. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2015, 407580. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/407580

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving | Herbal Academy | Looking for gift ideas for this holiday season? Check out these 8 DIY herbal face mask recipes that friends and family are sure to love!

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it the desire to create unique and beautiful gifts for loved ones. If you’re a budding herbalist, combining your herbal passion with holiday gift giving is a great way to make recipients feel special while sharing the gifts of herbs at the same time. Creating herbal products that are good for the skin is one way to do just that! This holiday season, why not gift an herbal face mask to loved ones so they can treat themselves to self-care during the busiest season of the year? An herbal face mask can be a memorable and decadent gift.

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving | Herbal Academy | Looking for gift ideas for this holiday season? Check out these 8 DIY herbal face mask recipes that friends and family are sure to love!

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving

The dry portion of these masks can be premixed, packaged up in a pretty jar for gift giving. Include information about the mask and instructions for how to prepare and use!

1. Anti-Acne Three-Herb Clay Mask

This herbal face mask includes a teaspoon each of arnica, calendula, and white willow bark. The willow bark contains salicin that offers up anti-inflammatory properties, and arnica and calendula are soothing and gentle herbs that combat stubborn acne.

Grind the herbs in a coffee grinder until powdered. Sift the powder using a fine mesh sieve, and add a teaspoon each of bentonite clay and French green clay with two teaspoons of zinc oxide. A little aloe vera juice adds hydration or use water instead. Apply to skin and let the mask dry, then rinse off with warm water. Argan oil is a nice moisturizer after the mask.

Get the complete recipe over at Humblebee & Me!

2. Thyme & More for Me Mask

Know anyone who needs more “me time?” Using a face mask requires a little break from business-as-usual! Thyme, lavender, and rosemary combine for this invigorating mask with antimicrobial and astringent properties.

Mix ¼ cup oatmeal with a tablespoon each of dried lavender leaves, rosemary leaves, and thyme leaves in a food processor. Add a small amount of fresh aloe vera gel. Seal the paste in an airtight container.

To use, mix the mask powder with enough water to moisten to a spreadable consistency, apply to face (avoiding eye area), and leave on for 15 minutes for a soothing and invigorating self-care ritual.

Get the complete recipe over at Mind Body Green!

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving | Herbal Academy | Looking for gift ideas for this holiday season? Check out these 8 DIY herbal face mask recipes that friends and family are sure to love!

3. Glow! Honey & Lemon Mask

Who fills the room with light when they enter? Your loved one deserves a honey and lemon mask that will treat them to glowing skin during the holidays.

This natural Ayurvedic herbal face mask has moisturizing and antioxidant properties. Mix a tablespoon of local honey with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply to face, avoiding eye area. Wash away after 15 minutes for glowing skin.

Get the full recipe in this UMA Oils blog post!

4. Hydrating Goddess Mask

You swear your sister is a living goddess, and you want her to treat herself like one. This is a mask you can do with her, perhaps before you pamper her with freshly brewed cup of tea and a pedicure! Whisk together two tablespoons of regular thick yogurt, honey, and a few drops of olive or coconut oil to make a creamy herbal face mask to replenish dry skin. Apply and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

Get the complete recipe over at Rodale’s Organic Life!

5. Golden Cream Mask

Know someone who has issues with acne or inflammation? This golden cream herbal face mask offers up a royal treatment centered around turmeric, yogurt, and honey.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory filled with antioxidants, while yogurt hydrates the skin. Honey provides nourishment and tones pores. Mix a tablespoon of turmeric with a tablespoon of honey. Then, add yogurt until a paste forms. Apply and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

Get the full recipe in this Tea Garden blog post!

6. Skin Detox Mask

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving | Herbal Academy | Looking for gift ideas for this holiday season? Check out these 8 DIY herbal face mask recipes that friends and family are sure to love!

Have a shy friend who wants clearer skin and could use a stress-free detox? Make a skin detox herbal face mask by combining witch hazel, whole milk yogurt, turmeric, and activated charcoal. This mask buffs off the toxins and dead skin, especially in the dry winter. The activated charcoal absorbs toxins, while the yogurt hydrates and the turmeric gives a healthy glow and provides antioxidants to the skin. Witch hazel is an affordable, natural toner with astringent properties, that can reduce skin puffiness and lighten skin proteins (Top 10 uses, n.d.). Over application of witch hazel alone can make the skin very dry, but the yogurt will balance out the drying, detoxing ingredients.

You need a ½ teaspoon of each ingredient for one mask. Mix the activated charcoal, turmeric, and yogurt first, before slowly adding in the witch hazel. Apply and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

Get the complete recipe over at Scratch Mommy!

7. Lemon and Light Mask

Is your mom sensitive about dark spots or old scars? This lemony mask will help soothe skin and lighten spots.

Combine two tablespoons of raw honey with ½ tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply to skin and leave on for at least 20 minutes so the lemon juice can exfoliate the skin. The honey will moisturize and soothe skin as well. To remove, rinse with warm water.

Get the complete recipe on Living The Nourished Life!

8. Nutmeg Exfoliating Mask

Nutmeg is more than as a spice in holiday pie and cookies—it also has calming antibacterial properties best for sensitive skin and is a gentle exfoliant.

Make a nutmeg face mask by combining 1/2 tablespoon of ground nutmeg with a tablespoon of whole milk. Apply to skin and leave on for up to 10 minutes to soothe healing and sensitive skin before rinsing with warm water.

Get the complete recipe on New Beauty!

These recipes may be whipped up on the spot for an impromptu spa treatment or pre-package the dry portion and offer that as gifts; the wet ones need to be used immediately. Increase the ingredients ratio for a bigger size and surprise. A few drops of vitamin E oil can also provide additional antioxidants to the recipes as well.

During the holidays, surprise a loved one with a gift for self-care. Handmade herbal face masks make for a sweet gift that will make the recipient glow!

8 DIY Herbal Face Mask Recipes for Holiday Gift Giving | Herbal Academy | Looking for gift ideas for this holiday season? Check out these 8 DIY herbal face mask recipes that friends and family are sure to love!

REFERENCES

Top 10 uses for witch hazel. (n.d.). [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/supplements-remedies/top-10-uses-for-witch-hazel/

How To Nip Holiday Stress In The Bud

How To Nip Holiday Stress In The Bud | Herbal Academy | Are you taking time for self-care during this busy time of year? Here are some tips to help you nip holiday stress in the bud, including a recipe!

The holiday season is a double-edged sword—festive and heartwarming on the one hand, a mad dash of colossal proportions on the other. We tell ourselves that all the work is worth the effort, but when we’re left exhausted and crabby, holiday spirit is about the furthest thing from our minds (and hearts). How do we make holiday celebrations happen and maintain a sense of well-being that allows us to enjoy both the preparation process and the end result?

It Takes A Village (Of Holistic Approaches)

There is no magic pill, sadly, but maybe that’s for the better—because taking something that allows us to just push through the stress and overwhelm isn’t in our best interest, anyway. Just like the other eleven months of the year, the key to wellness during the holidays is daily self-care. There really are no shortcuts! But taking the longer way makes the trip more lovely by far.

Here are some questions to ask yourself, and perhaps some areas to improve.

Are you:

  • Getting good sleep? Take a relaxing bath, turn off the screens, and sip a gentle bedtime tea to ease you into a good night’s sleep.
  • Eating wholesome foods and plenty of vegetables and fruits?
  • Tending to your friendly gut biome with fermented foods, prebiotics, and probiotics?
  • Getting daily exercise, a dose of sunshine, and some fresh air?
  • Taking 5 minutes to do a simple breathing exercise?
  • Sipping a nervine herb tea to support the nervous system during the day?
  • Using aromatherapy to soothe away tension?
  • Connecting with loved ones over a meal or an activity?

How To Nip Holiday Stress In The Bud | Herbal Academy | Are you taking time for self-care during this busy time of year? Here are some tips to help you nip holiday stress in the bud, including a yummy recipe!

Taking time for self care is one of the most valuable things you can do to temper the effects of stress on your emotional and physical well-being during the any time of the year! Here are some more ideas for reducing holiday stress.

Herbs For Holiday Stress

We talk about three helpful categories of herbs in our Holistic Self-Care for Stress Management Course: nervines, adaptogens, and sedatives. Nervines nourish and calm the nervous system, adaptogens bolster our body’s ability to be resilient and respond to stress in a measured way, and sedatives take the nervous system down a notch, helping to ease anxiety and overwhelm. There are various ways to incorporate these herbs into a self-care routine, and my favorites are a calming herbal tea blend for daytime and, in a nod to the food-as-medicine credo, these delicious cherry adaptogen bites.

 

Cherry Adaptogen Bites

How To Nip Holiday Stress In The Bud | Herbal Academy | Are you taking time for self-care during this busy time of year? Here are some tips to help you nip holiday stress in the bud, including a yummy recipe!

These tasty bites are a delicious way to incorporate adaptogenic herbs into the food you eat. Holy basil has a strong flavor so feel free to reduce the amount if preferred, although it does mellow as the bites meld in the refrigerator.  

Cherry Adaptogen Bites

[recipe_ingredients]

¼ cup hemp seeds
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon ashwagandha root powder
1 tablespoon eleuthero root powder
1 tablespoon holy basil leaf powder
1 tablespoon cacao powder (optional)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
7 dates
⅓ cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon maple syrup

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Add seeds, nuts, and herbs to food processor fitted with a metal blade and blend into fine pieces.
  • Add dates, cherries, and maple syrup and blend until well combined.
  • Roll into ½-inch bites (makes 24). Enjoy 5 bites per day.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (if they last that long!)

[/recipe_directions]

Incorporating a holistic approach into your herbal toolkit will help support you on multiple levels—mind, body, and spirit. You’ll be more able to weather the holiday storm and settle in hearthside, enjoying the beauty and joy that December can bring.  

How To Nip Holiday Stress In The Bud | Herbal Academy |Are you taking time for self-care during this busy time of year? Here are some tips to help you nip holiday stress in the bud, including a recipe!

Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season

Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season | Herbal Academy |Have you thought about what you will do to support your body's health this winter? Here are some tips for staying healthy this cold and flu season!

As cold weather arrives, cold and flu virus infections begin to increase in number. Have you thought about what you will do to support your body during cold and flu season? Will you get a flu shot? Will you incorporate herbs into your daily health regimen?  

Cold and flu viruses are infections spread by mucus droplets in the air, on doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails; anything the droplets land on is a potential infection spreader!  

History of the “Flu”

In a typical year, the flu virus (influenza) goes around the world once a season. During the 1918 pandemic, however, it is believed that it spread around the world three times, changing and getting stronger each time (Latson, 2015). The 1918 pandemic caused between 20-50 million deaths worldwide (History.com, 2010). In an average year, tens of thousands of people die from the flu in the United States (NPR, 2010).

Are You At Risk?

Persons most at risk for influenza infections are those over the age of 65, children and babies, those in poor health or who have chronic health conditions or suppressed immune systems, those who are obese, pregnant women, those living in close living quarters (CDC, 2016), or those with poor nutrition.

Preventative Measures for the Cold and Flu Virus

Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season | Herbal Academy |Have you thought about what you will do to support your body's health this winter? Here are some tips for staying healthy this cold and flu season!

There are many ways you can work to prevent catching a virus during cold and flu season. While some of these do involve the usage of herbs, other practices such as good hygiene, good nutrition, lifestyle considerations, and sleep habits can make a big difference as well.  

Good Hygiene:

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap.
  • Avoid crowds, pens and pencils in public places, and shopping carts. (Cold and flu season is a good time to start carrying your own pen.)
  • Don’t touch your face. Viruses enter the body thru mucous membranes, so keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes. A Berkeley study showed the typical hand to face connection is made an average of 16 times per hour (Nicas & Best, 2008)!

Healthy Diet:

  • Eliminate sugar. Sugar can suppress your immune system for hours after ingestion.
  • Take probiotics to support a healthy immune system.
  • Eat nutritious, unprocessed foods.

Lifestyle Considerations:

  • Exercise.
  • Spend time in the sun or invest in a full spectrum light bulb and place it where you usually sit in the house.
  • Get fresh air.
  • Stay warm (75-85 degrees).
  • Stay in a good mood and laugh often. It is generally believed that hobbies help reduce stress and thereby, helping one maintain health. It has been suggested that people with strong support systems, hobbies, and things to look forward to don’t get sick as often as those who are depressed and stay indoors.
  • Reduce your stress. Stress can compromise your immune system. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, breathing exercises and meditation can be helpful tools. If you have trouble with meditation, try a CD with guided meditations.
  • Get plenty of rest, especially during cold and flu season.
  • My grandmother always said to gargle with 1 teaspoon of salt in some warm water as the “bugs” (viruses) generally don’t like salt.

Supplements:

  • It is a good idea to have your vitamin levels checked. Much research on vitamin D is currently underway and shows vitamin D is high on the list for helping the immune system (Smith, 2008). Generally, 10 minutes of exposure to a moderate amount of skin to the midday sun will suffice. Those in the northern latitudes know this is nearly impossible during winter so supplementation may be necessary.  
  • While you’re checking with your healthcare professional about vitamin D, ask them about vitamin C. Vitamin C is important as an immune system builder (Smith, 2008).

Herbs:

  • Stay hydrated. Drink lots of warm drinks. Nutritious teas are helpful here as are spicy chai teas.

Is It A Cold Or The Flu?

Symptoms

COLD

FLU

Headache Rare Common
Fever Rare Usual. Can last 3-4 days
Aches, pains Slight Usual, often severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Usual. Can last 2-3 weeks
Stuffy nose, sneezing Common Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Cough Mild to moderate hacking cough Common, can become severe

Above information sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017).

Herbs to Support the Body During Cold and Flu Season

Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season | Herbal Academy |Have you thought about what you will do to support your body's health this winter? Here are some tips for staying healthy this cold and flu season!

Herbs can help to support the body in a few ways during cold and flu season. First, they can help to strengthen the immune system so it can better defend the body against these viruses, either keeping you from becoming infected or overcoming the infection quicker and with fewer symptoms.

Next, they can help support the body as it deals with common symptoms like cough, fevers, and congestion that often accompany a viral infection.

Lastly, they can help build and strengthen the body, helping in recovery and convalescence after an infection.

Here are just a few ideas for herbs and herbal preparations that can be used.

Astragalus Root

This is a Chinese herb that has been used for thousands of years. Many folks put astragalus in their soups and stews during the cold and flu season to boost their immune systems. It comes in slices that are woody and fibrous (so need to be removed from soups and stews before eating, like a bay leaf) or powder form. Astragalus is contraindicated during the acute phase of an infection, but can be used as general immune support before or after acute illness.

Garlic

Garlic is a well-known antimicrobial herb. It can be enjoyed in cooked dishes, chopped and eaten fresh, infused in honey (making it an easier preparation for some to swallow), or infused in vinegar. To maximize garlic’s benefits, chop or crush and let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the enzymatic reaction that produces its active constituent, allicin, to occur.

Echinacea

Echinacea is one of the most widely used and researched herb in the world! It is a North American native and has been used for many purposes, both internally and topically. If you want to grow echinacea in your garden, be sure you purchase a non-hybrid plant. Echinacea angustifolia or E. purpura are the most commonly used. Current flu research may indicate that Echinacea may help to shorten the duration and severity of the flu if used early (University of Maryland, n.d.). Echinacea can be taken as a tea or tincture.

Elderberry

Research from both Israel and the UK has shown that using elderberry when the virus first strikes may reduce the duration and severity of the bird flu virus. In a study of 60 patients suffering from influenza-like symptoms, elderberry syrup relieved symptoms four days earlier than a placebo syrup (Zakay-Rones et al., 2004), and an in vitro study has shown a standardized elderberry extract (Sambucol) inhibits replication of Influenza A and B (Zakay-Rones et al., 1995). You can find Sambucol over-the-counter at most stores now. The more recent UK study found it was most effective against the flu when used correctly–within 48 hours from onset (American Botanical Council, 2004).

Herbal Recipes for Cold and Flu

Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season | Herbal Academy |Have you thought about what you will do to support your body's health this winter? Here are some tips for staying healthy this cold and flu season!

Lemon, ginger, and honey tea is a favorite. Lemon is a citrus fruit and provides vitamin C. Honey will coat the throat, and ginger is a warming herb and good for nausea. Add a few slices of ginger and a slice of lemon to a mug and add boiling water. Let it sit, covered, for 20-30 minutes, add honey, and drink. (Ginger root and lemon can be sliced in pieces and frozen so they are available when you need them.)

A traditional tea formula for the flu includes equal parts elder flower, yarrow, and peppermint. Some people add rose hips for the vitamin C boost. The elder flowers and yarrow act as a diaphoretic to warm the body and promote sweating to help evict the unwanted virus from the body.

Here are some other helpful herbal recipes to utilize during cold and flu season:

Here’s a video with a recipe for Immunity Tonic Broth that can be enjoyed frequently during cold and flu season as well.

 

Immunity Tonic Broth

[recipe_ingredients]

4 ounces freshly sliced shitake mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 ounces ginger, grated (Zingiber officinale)
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped (Petroselinum crispum)
4 tablespoons dried astragalus root (Astragalus spp.)
4 quarts water
6 tablespoons dried calendula flower (Calendula officinalis)
4 tablespoons dried nettle leaf (Urtica dioica)
2 tablespoons dried dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • First, wash and chop all fresh ingredients. Next, tie dried astragalus root in a piece of unbleached cloth or muslin bag.
  • Place all ingredients into a saucepan along with water. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Season with sea salt and garnish with extra parsley. Enjoy!

[/recipe_directions]

What To Do If You Get The Flu

The flu virus often has a quick onset. If you feel awful about six hours after you felt ok, there’s a good chance you have the flu.

Go to bed, and stay in bed. Give your body every chance to fight this virus. Don’t be stoic and go to work. Instead, do everyone a favor and don’t expose them! During the 1918 pandemic, it was believed that people who stayed at home and rested survived in higher numbers than those who did not. The general rule our grandparents used was one day of rest for each day you have a fever. Four days of fever plus four days to recover equals 8 days of rest total. Not giving your body a chance to rest and recover leaves you susceptible to secondary infections, which can be more severe.

Diffusing essential oils can help release antimicrobial constituents into the air and support the body’s physiological response. Using lavender essential oil can also help you relax.

The old adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” applies. When your body is doing battle with a virus, it doesn’t need its resources diverted for heavy duty digestion. There is a reason you’re not hungry when you are sick. However, if you do eat, keep it nutritious and light. Now is the perfect time for bone broth.

Stay hydrated, especially during the fever stage.

Keep your electrolytes up. It may be wise to keep Gatorade or Pedialyte on hand. A homemade version can be made with 4 ounces of water, one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of sea salt.

Foot soaks are an old remedy used for most everything. A warm foot soak using mint or ginger followed by putting on socks and going to be bed may be beneficial. Adding marbles in the foot soak basin to rub your feet on may be beneficial as this massage will hit upon the reflexology points.

Post-Flu Follow-Up Care

Once your fever is gone, there are some things you can do to aid the body during the recovery period.  

Wash all your bedding in hot water and changing your toothbrush to prevent reinfection. Eat nutritious, easily digested foods such as broths, scrambled eggs, and chicken soups, and avoid sugar and dairy until you are fully recovered.

If you suspect a secondary infection, consult a healthcare professional immediately. Secondary infections can be as or more dangerous than the flu itself.

Unfortunately, colds and flu are a fact of life. Making some simple lifestyle changes that include a diet of healthy foods and teas, avoiding processed foods, getting enough sleep, and enjoying life may all help boost our immune systems and possibly prevent or minimize the effects of the flu or a cold.

Tips For Staying Healthy This Cold And Flu Season | Herbal Academy |Have you thought about what you will do to support your body's health this winter? Here are some tips for staying healthy this cold and flu season!

REFERENCES

American Botanical Council. (2004). The ABC clinical guide to elderberry. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/press/files/elderberry-scr.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). People at high risk of developing flu–related complications. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Flu symptoms and complications. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm

History.com. (2010). 1918 flu pandemic. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/1918-flu-pandemic

Latson, J. (2015). What made the Spanish flu so deadly? [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://time.com/3731745/Spanish-flu-history/

Mercola, J. (2012). Link between sleep deprivation and immune function. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/04/immune-system-and-sleep-deprivation.aspx

NPR. (2010). How many people die from the flu each year? [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2010/08/26/129456941/annual-flu-death-average-fluctuates-depending-on-how-you-slice-it

Nicas, M., & Best, D. (2008). A study quantifying the hand-to-face contact rate and its potential application to predicting respiratory tract infection. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 5(6), 347-352. doi:10.1080/15459620802003896

Smith, P. (2008). What you must know about vitamins, minerals, herbs & more: Choosing the Nutrients That Are Right for You. Garden City Park, NY: Square One.

University of Maryland Medical Center. (n.d.). Echinacea. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/echinacea

Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T., & Wadstein, J. (2004). Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. Journal Internal Medical Research, 32, 132-140

Zakay-Rones, Z., Varsano, N., Zlotnik, M., Manor, O., Regev, L., Schlesinger, M. (1995). Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract during an outbreak of influenza B panama. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1, 361-369.

Three Herbs to Support Digestion After a Long Winter

Three Herbs To Support Digestion After A Long Winter | Herbal Academy | Is your body in need of a jump start after a long winter? Here are three herbs to support digestion and give your body the help it needs!

Human beings are part of the natural environment. We pass through the same natural and seasonal cycles that affect other living beingsanimals, plants, and ecosystems. This is reflected in traditional healing systems the world over. Western herbalism has a long history of practices and remedies that are determined by the season, and older systems like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also consider seasonal cycles to be important. These systems reflect the idea that the microcosm (in this case, the human being) is a representation of the macrocosm (the natural world), even in tropical locations that don’t experience the same change of seasons as in temperate climates.

The Season of Winter

Winter is a season of cold, dampness, and darkness. It is the time of year that most animals (including human beings) slow down, go within, and reserve our resources. For people who evolved in temperate climates, the metabolism and digestive process may naturally slow down so that we can store fat (and energy). This is one way humans survived through harsh seasons, when less food was available.

One result of this evolutionary process is that we may find our bodies (especially our digestive processes) in need of a “jump start” once the snow begins to thaw, the days become longer, and we are ready to emerge into spring. Herbalists have observed this phenomenon for ages, and have documented quite a bit about the energetics at work, as well as ways to maintain physiological balance as we move from winter in the spring.

The Season of Spring

In TCM, spring is represented by the energy of wood—this is the energy that is reflected by the function of the Liver and Gallbladder. Obviously, these organs affect the wellness and function of our digestive systems all year long, but according to TCM, it is in the spring that they really kick into gear and are most active. In the spring, people with chronic digestive issues may experience more imbalance (Pitchford, 2002).

This wisdom is in wonderful accordance with Western herbal practice, where we have traditionally turned to the first (often bitter) herbs of spring to detoxify the body and energize the digestive system after months of eating heavier foods (Bellebuono, 2012). For example, in the Southern US where I live, “poke salat” (the cooked young leaves of the potent Phytolacca americana, potentially toxic if not prepared carefully) was once a popular way to detoxify the body and stimulate the liver in early spring; dandelion greens continue to be popular as a spring bitter. In fact, I generally suggest more food-like herbs to stimulate healthy digestion as we move from winter to spring.

There are many herbs that can support us in making this transition from winter to spring, but today, I’d like to share just a few of my favorite herbs to support digestion during this time of the year.

Three Herbs To Support Digestion After A Long Winter | Herbal Academy | Is your body in need of a jump start after a long winter? Here are three herbs to support digestion and give your body the help it needs!

Three Herbs to Support Digestion After a Long Winter

Bitter Orange

There are actually two types of oranges that are used in Western herbalism—bitter (Citrus aurantium) and sweet (Citrus dulcis). The fresh or dried outer peel of both these fruits (not the white inner peel) has a long tradition of use. A look at historic texts and pharmacopoeias will show that until very recently, bitter orange in particular has primarily been considered a digestive aid. Its warmth and its moving, aromatic qualities make it a lovely carminative used to stimulate appetite and ease digestion. Bitter orange also acts on the liver and gallbladder as a bitter tonic and mild choleretic, helping the body to metabolize the heavier and fattier foods consumed during a long, cold winter (Mars, 2009).

Interestingly, modern research on orange peel has focused less on digestive support and more on the actions of a constituent called synephrine. This alkaloid shares a chemical and functional similarity to epinephrine—also known as adrenaline. For this reason, the isolated chemical has been marketed toward those seeking weight loss, especially as the safety of other herbs used to boost metabolism (such as Ephedra) has come into question (Ulbricht, 2010). Within the “whole plant” context of orange peel (which also contains essential oils and flavonoids, among other phytochemicals), synephrine provides a gentle, stimulating push to the digestive and metabolic systems that is appropriate for the season.

Like its relative grapefruit, bitter orange has some potential for interaction with drugs metabolized through the CYP450 enzyme system, so caution should be used for those taking such medications.

Orange is also the single source of two important oils used in aromatherapy: neroli (distilled from the flowers of C. aurantium) and bergamot (distilled from the fruit of C. bergamia), which are widely used to act on the nervous and digestive systems (Ulbricht, 2010). It also makes an incredible marmalade. One of my favorite teachers, James Snow, describes it as an herb that ushers in the qualities of joy and communication. I find orange peel to be a great companion for our emergence from the cold darkness of winter into the warmth and light of spring.

Three Herbs To Support Digestion After A Long Winter | Herbal Academy | Is your body in need of a jump start after a long winter? Here are three herbs to support digestion and give your body the help it needs!

Mugwort

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has an wide range of uses. Historically, herbalists have found the aerial parts of the plant helpful to support people suffering from everything from stalled menses to palsy, and fever to jaundice (Grieve, 1931). Growing in abundant stands in many areas, it has qualities that make it a wonderful herb to support post-winter digestion.

Mugwort is a choleretic, cholagogue, and slightly aromatic bitter tonic that also is warm and moving to a sluggish or congested gastrointestinal tract (Wood, 2008). In its cottony, dried leaf form, mugwort is also known in TCM as moxa, and is burned by acupuncturists over meridian points to stimulate the movement of qi.

Mugwort is a good choice to support fat metabolism as the body moves away from the seasonal tendency to store lipids. The late herbalist Michael Moore may well have described its usefulness best in his Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West: “If you wake up in the morning with a grey sheet over your psyche, your head hurts in the front, your mouth tastes like a three-day old Greek salad, your hemorrhoids are aching, and you crave things like pizza, potato chips, or fry bread take the infusion once at night for a couple of weeks” (Moore, cited by Shepherd, 2014). You’ll not want to overdo it, however, because large amounts of mugwort can induce nausea and vomiting (Grieve, 1931).

Three Herbs To Support Digestion After A Long Winter | Herbal Academy | Is your body in need of a jump start after a long winter? Here are three herbs to support digestion and give your body the help it needs!

Artichoke

The leaves of the globe artichoke, Cynara scolymus, have a very different quality than that of the aromatic herbs mentioned so far. While it’s actually pretty similar to mugwort in its effect on the body, artichoke is cooling rather than warming, and moderately dry in its energetics. In Western herbalism, it was traditionally used when digestion was slow or painful or when gentle laxative action (a characteristic feature of springtime purges) was called for (Phillips & Foy, 1990).

A relative of milk thistle, artichoke also has an affinity for the liver. It is not only choleretic and hepatoprotective, but also is hepatoregenerative, which means that it can help restore both function and tissue. Artichoke is also supportive of digestion because it is a bitter tonic, cholagogue, aperient, and one of relatively few cooling carminative herbs. There is also evidence that artichoke lowers blood cholesterol levels (Mills & Bone, 2005). Combined with aromatic and warming carminatives, artichoke makes an excellent spring digestive tonic.

Making The Transition

As you begin to emerge from your winter hibernation, take note of the herbs that are beginning to emerge from the warming earth as well. Many of them may well be helpful to help get your digestive juices flowing, support and strengthen your liver function, and help you transition joyfully into spring.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out at your local farmers market or supermarket. Mugwort soba noodles aren’t difficult to find at health food stores, and even if you can’t find bitter oranges, a little orange zest added to tea or fruit salad is an easy way to incorporate plants that help give the digestive system a boost after the winter.

We’ve made it through another winter. Here’s to a happy, healthful spring!

Three Herbs To Support Digestion After A Long Winter | Herbal Academy | Is your body in need of a jump start after a long winter? Here are three herbs to support digestion and give your body the help it needs!

REFERENCES

Bellebuono, H. (2012). The essential herbal for natural health. Boston, MA: Roost Books.

Grieve, M. (1931). A modern herbal, vol. 2. New York, NY: Dover Publications.

Mars, B. (2009). Healing herbal teas: A complete guide to making delicious, healthful beverages. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

Mills, S. and Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.

Shepherd, J. (2014). California mugwort dreamin’ & herbal recipes. Retrieved from https://allthingsherbaldotorg.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/california-mugwort-dreamin-herbal-recipes/.

Phillips, R. and Foy, N. (1990). The Random House book of herbs. New York, NY: Random House.

Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Ulbricht, C. E. (2010). Natural Standard herb & supplement guide: A evidence-based reference. Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier.

Wood, M. (2008). The Earthwise herbal, volume 1: A complete guide to old world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

A Simple Solution for Finding Your Way Through Winter

A Simple Solution For Finding Your Way Through Winter | Herbal Academy | If winter is a time of year that you dread, here's a simple solution for finding your way through winter!

Winter is often a time of year that people dread. It’s filled with long nights, cold weather, and the pressure to feel connected to others during the holidays.

This combination can put many of us through the emotional ringer, especially if we feel that we lack enough meaningful relationships in our lives. But while wintertime may feature an abundance of physical darkness, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a source of emotional darkness as well.

A Time For Reflection

Consider the powerful, radiant energy of the sun. It creates not just warmth but energy. We have even begun to harness it to power our homes. The longer days of summer provide us with many opportunities to enjoy active experiences, like recreation and outdoor labor, for longer portions of the day.

But if solar energy fosters productivity, the dark energy surrounding the moon fosters its counterpart: reflection.

The reflective nature of this darker time of year is evident in the abundance of traditions that center on the winter solstice or days proximate to it. Everything from the Yuletide to the Persian tradition of Yalda takes place at this time of year, signifying a variety of commitments to living a life of purpose—one that favors living in light instead of in darkness.

But, given the abundance of darkness during the winter, we are presented with a daily reminder of how we stand to benefit from finding that light within.

On Finding Your Way Through Winter

So how do we make our way through this time of year?

The solution is simple: look at the coming winter as an opportunity to reflect on your purpose and set intentions.

Some examples of intentions are:

  • to change jobs or otherwise transition in your professional life,
  • to adopt a healthier lifestyle,
  • to attract certain relationships,
  • or embrace a hobby or other activity that you’ve been putting off.

Making changes in any of these ways will benefit from reflection—from acting from a centered place (“It may be time for a change in my career”) as opposed to an emotional one (“I can’t stand my job and I have to leave regardless of what happens next”).

This is why it’s important to cultivate the reflective powers of the months to come instead of waiting until the new year to make changes like so many of us often do. This reflective time is perhaps why so many traditions celebrate holidays in the dark days leading up to the new year, for that is when this special energy is the most powerful.

Given this, spend the remaining months of the year considering transitions you may be willing to embrace and resolve to act on at least one of them by the winter solstice.

Rather than dread the cold winter months, look at it as nature’s way of reminding you to consider your life and encouraging you to find what you deserve: to live a life of fulfillment and purpose.

A Simple Solution For Finding Your Way Through Winter | Herbal Academy | If winter is a time of year that you dread, here's a simple solution for finding your way through winter!

Reflecting Through Meditation and Dreams

Meditation

Meditating can be very useful to reflect back on your year as well as to identify your priorities in life and visualize what you want your future to look like.

Meditation can have several different purposes. Not only can it help you to focus better, but it can help you to relax, to sit still for longer periods of time, and to be mindful of what’s going on in your mind and around you in the world.

Meditation is something that must be practiced, and the more you do it, the better you’re able to focus.

The following steps are a combination of meditation styles. This is great for beginners who want to use meditation to help them be still and just be present for a little while.

  1. To start, find a quiet place, get into a comfortable sitting position, and close your eyes.
  2. Begin by focusing on different parts of your body, starting at your head and working your way to your feet, relaxing the muscles in each body part as you go.
  3. Next, focus on your breathing. Inhale slowly. Your abdomen should slowly expand. Now, slowly let your breathe out. This is very controlled. Not too fast and not too slow. You should not feel tired or dizzy from this either. And remember, these should be normal breaths, not deep breaths.
  4. Now, as you breathe regularly, let your mind wander from thought to thought. Don’t try to figure out or question what you’re thinking. Just let your thoughts flow.
  5. After 5 minutes or so, you can open your eyes.

Once you’re done meditating, think about how you felt and the thoughts that came and went. This is the time to reflect on those thoughts and to try to make sense of them. It can also help to write things down in a journal so you can track your progress or see correlations between thoughts and feelings.

Keep in mind that the more you practice meditation, the easier it becomes and the longer you can stay focused, the more mindful you will be of your thought patterns.

Dreams

Another way to reflect on the past year is by paying attention to your dreams and trying to figure out if there is any meaning behind them.

Our dreams can tell us many things about ourselves so it can be a good idea to keep a dream journal by your bed. When you wake, write down anything you can remember about your dreams, and don’t forget the date. Later, once you’re fully awake, you can look up different meanings of dreams and see if it triggers anything for you. There are many resources that can help you figure out the meaning of your dreams, from books, to blogs, to psychologists who specialize in this area.

If you don’t dream, or you don’t remember your dreams, try making this Mugwort Dream Pillow adapted from herbalist Judith Berger’s Herbal Rituals book.

Mugwort is thought to enhance dreams, making them more vivid or lucid. Although there are no scientific studies of mugwort and its effects on dreams, it is a long-used folk remedy for this purpose.

Mugwort Dream Pillow

[recipe_ingredients]

  • 4 tablespoons mugwort leaves
  • 1 tablespoons hops flowers
  • 1 tablespoons lavender blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon mint leaves
  • 1-2 cups flax seeds
  • muslin cloth

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Cut two rectangular pieces of muslin cloth (7 inches x 4 1/2 inches) and sew three sides together. Flip material right side out.
  2. Combine herbs and seeds. Mix well and fill bag 3/4 full.
  3. Close the open edges of the bag then fold the bag over 2-3 times (1/2 inch for each fold) to encase the raw edges. Sew this closed.

To Use:

  • Cover your eyes with the bag while you rest.
  • Place the bag under your pillow when you sleep.
  • Heat the bag lightly in the microwave and breath in the deep scents of the herbs before going to bed.

[/recipe_directions]

Where Will This Winter Take You?

So instead of dreading the long, cold, dark winter, why not think about this time of the year in a positive way.

Instead of feeling trapped and stuck, think of it as a time to look inward… to cozy up with yourself and reflect on the past year.

Instead of feeling cold and lonely, take some time to practice self-care and to connect with 1 or 2 people in a more meaningful way.

Instead of feeling impatient, tell yourself that this is a time of rest and rejuvenation… a time to center yourself for transitions to come.

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And don’t forget, if you have questions about reflection, self-care, or using herbs during the winter months, stop by our Facebook page and leave your questions there!

3 Delightful Herbal Holiday Cookie Recipes

Remember the simple joys of life and gather in the kitchen this holiday season to whip up a batch or two of cookies! A homemade holiday cookie is much beloved treat. Personally, I find it hard to say which I like better—baking favorite holiday cookies or eating them with friends and family! These delicious herbal holiday cookie recipes bring a tasty, unique herbal twist to this cherished holiday tradition.

Continue reading “3 Delightful Herbal Holiday Cookie Recipes”

How To Make Fragrant Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments: A Child’s Holiday Craft

At our house, you will often find us gathered around the table during the holiday season enjoying craft time together. We love crafting with herb! And I find that working with botanicals in this way really helps children get acquainted with herbs and often helps form a lasting relationship. These cinnamon applesauce ornaments are an especially fragrant and delightful project to make with even the youngest preschool-aged children.

Once completed, hang your fragrant creations around your home or on a tree and enjoy the amazing scent they impart. You can also give away these cinnamon applesauce ornaments as simple child-made gifts to grandparents and teachers alike. Your children will delight in having a hand in making decorations for your home and presents for loved ones!

Continue reading “How To Make Fragrant Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments: A Child’s Holiday Craft”

Wintertime Herbal Infused Whipped Body Butter Recipe

‘Tis the season for cold and dry winter weather, which also is synonymous, in our world, with dry cracked hands and feet. My husband has worked for a prominent coffee company for as long as we have been married, and every winter his hands take a huge beating because of all of the numerous hand-washings he has to do each work day. Last year, he was desperate for some relief so I went to my drawing board. I decided to combine the idea of my really awesome calendula infused owie salve with my favorite base body butter recipe, and this herbal infused whipped body butter recipe was created!

Continue reading “Wintertime Herbal Infused Whipped Body Butter Recipe”

Find It and Grind It: The Medicinal Power of Common Kitchen Spices

‘Tis the season for heavier eating in New England. Roasts, root veggies, soups, and stews take center stage in keeping us warm for the cold months ahead. But it’s during the holiday months in particular our natural instinct to “pack it on” can go array and leave us feeling bloated, constipated, and foggy in head.  

Ayurvedic medicine uses a pantheon of botanical remedies in healing and a large part of its daily practice takes place right in your kitchen. Whether it’s a root, a fruit, a seed, or a leaf, Ayurveda has a use for it. Actually, Ayurveda probably has a few uses for it! Cook your veggies, grains, legumes, or meat with any combination of these and stoke your agni (digestive fire). Here are my five “top guns” in my spice rack and why you should have them too.  Continue reading “Find It and Grind It: The Medicinal Power of Common Kitchen Spices”