All posts filed under: Body

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Refresh with Garden Herb and Cucumber Water

Cucumber water is one of my all-time favorite summer drinks. Usually, I add lime or pear slices, but I was inspired by the herb garden at Wildcraft Studio School to gather a bunch of tea herbs to my jar. This fresh herb-infused water was lighter than a brewed tea, and the crisp garden cucumber slices were of course refreshing, but they also added an palatable new dimension of texture to a the water. Cucumbers are a little mucilaginous, don’t you think? That’s a technical way of saying slimy. Cucumber water is a tad cloudy, if you look closely. I’m waxing poetic about the every-so-slight slimy/mucilaginous texture of cucumber water because a) I think that is what makes it so refreshing to eat and drink, and b) said texture is what blends so nicely with the flavors of fresh garden herbs. In short, the weight of the cucumber carries the lighter yet more pungent flavors of the herbs. A match made in heaven (or the garden).

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Herbal First Aid: Rose Petal Bandages, My Favorite Burn Solution

If you look through my posts, you’ll see how much I adore Rose Elixir as a tasty, versatile preparation. I use it for blending tinctures to add an exotic flavor and sweetness, as a heart-centered remedy for anxiety, sleep, broken hearts and circulation, spiced and combined with aphrodisiac herbs, and as a burn remedy. Instead of straining my last batch of elixir after 8 weeks like I normally do, I kept it intact because I use the petals directly on burns as bandages. These rose petal bandages are so so so useful; I can’t image living without them. It turns out that I burn myself often. My herb nook has taken up all free space in out tiny kitchen and has long since relegated the toaster oven to the storage unit. I toast things directly on the oven racks and repeatedly stick my bare hands in and if I’m not careful, I get a burn on the top of my right arm of where I brushed the rack above. Yes, I have many a burn …

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Emulsified Body Scrubs

After much time and toil, I finally concocted the my ideal body scrub.

A week or two of tweaking and experimenting with proportions and ingredients led to a body scrub I can get behind. I used to sauna and shed my skin on a regular basis in Minnesota. Where we live now, I have just a few minuet to shower before all the hot water disappears. As you can obviously see, I am suffering an exfoliating deficiency, and this body scrub is my gateway to the land of everyday luxuries.

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The Simplest Herbal Cleanse

Let’s say you are interested in doing some sort of cleanse and would like to add herbs for extra nourishment and support. Where should you start? Well, that is entirely up to you and your needs. One thing I like to to is start general and easy. Simple means rather than specifically focusing on one body system (like the skin or urinary system) to base herbs around, start with alteratives, lymphatics or other herbal categories that are more supportive of the whole body. After a few weeks, perhaps the body systems that need more attention will present themselves (something I heard from Nicholas Schnell). By easy, I mean don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to keep up with taking a plethora of herbs! Why not choose some herbs that are local to your region? Depending on the season, harvest some tender tops of nettle or dandelion roots if you can to add the zest and vital nature of wild foods to your protocol. Easy also means it’s not too complicated to make, like good old-fashioned teas. …

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Supplements & Recipes for Cleansing

I go back and forth about how I feel about supplements (which includes but is not limited to vitamins, fiber, herbal capsules, amino acids, essential fatty acids, ect…). There have been times where they have served my health extremely well, and other times where I felt it had little if any effect. But that’s just my experience. Now I honor supplements almost the same way I do Western biomedicine; as a wonderful offering of modern day technology that we can intentionally choose or occasionally need to take to empower our health or correct a serious imbalance. That being said, there are two supplements I have seen work well with cleansing. The first is a fiber and/or digestive demulcents. I say “and/or” because although they are often combined together and work well as one, considering they act on the same place (the gut) they don’ necessarily need to be. Fiber supplements can do more than simply add more dietary fiber to your diet.  The “bulking” or absorptive quality of fiber can bind to heavy metals, cellular …

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Adjunct Practices for Cleansing

We are more than just our physical bodies. Within each of us is an emotional body, the part of ourselves that interprets the meaning of our life events through feelings and emotions. We also have a spiritual body, which is reflected in our development to our sense of purpose of our lives and how we connect to our highest self. Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true”; a great adage to describes the essence of our spiritual side. Mental health is yet another aspect of our beings. Before we get into the details of cleanses and how herbalism can be used to assist and support the body for that purpose, let’s take some time to think about simple, cheap (often free!) and time honored ways we can add to increase the depth of a cleanse. Below are just a few ideas for you to try. Feel free to add your own practices and listen to the desires and needs of your body. Mental health: Relaxing, uplifting music. Reflection and introspection, through journaling, reading poetry. …

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What is a Cleanse?

Spring is a supreme time to lighten from the heaviness that lingers from winter. Whether it is from our rich, comforting diet, the stagnant air of having the windows shut for months, or the weight of our upcoming plans we dreamed up during the long nights of winter, we often have the desire, or need, to gear up for the outward expression of summer. An excellent way to usher in a new phase is to do some form of intentional cleanse. A cleanse is simply a way to support the body’s natural detoxification with a specified diet for a designated length of time. The specified diet is up to you and your goals, but here are few common cleansing diets: Whole foods. A diet that emphasizes fruits, veggies (at least 5 servings), slow-cooked whole grains, legumes, small amounts of dairy and animal protein, if you partake, and lots of water and herbal teas. Fast food, fried foods, junk food, sweets, processed foods and drinks, stimulants and intoxicants are left out. Even if you are a …

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Food as Medicine

I am still in a food as medicine kick. Currently, I don’t see any other way to look at either food or medicine…they are interconnected! Food at its simplest nurtures your body and cells, provides the energy needed to meet life’s demands, positively contributes to the whole being, and supports a balanced state of mind. Is that too much to ask of our medicine, too? Give thanks. The first layer of using food as medicine is simply giving thanks for the food and the enjoyment of eating. I thank the food for giving its’ life for nourishing me. None of that “I shouldn’t be eating this” BS. If you are eating something, enjoy it, don’t deny it! I never understood why people say this. Go ahead, say, “this is the best latte, I am so glad I drank it.” Giving thanks for our meals transforms food from things we consume three times a day to an honored life-giving force. Blessings and thanks for the food that nourishes: Blessings for the flower, blessing for the shoot, …

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Dream Messages from the Body

How many times have you had a dream that was related to  your health? Sometimes the dream images are literal; other times they are far-fetched but make clear sense in hindsight. Our intuitive guidance system regularly uses dreams to helps us deal with issues of our mundane, emotional and spiritual lives, but they also can help us with healing our bodies. After all, our bodies and mind/emotions can hardly be separated. Prodromal dreams are dreams that predict illness, whether it be a specific illness (thyroid problems, cancer, ulcers) or general areas where we are experiencing pain, discomfort, or are vulnerable to becoming sick. My whole mouth was sore and tender. I touched my cheek and went over to the mirror, where I saw a miniature conifer tree growing out from the root of one of my teeth. What would you guess the meaning to be? Luckily it wasn’t a root canal waiting to be had. I had a sunflower seed shard wedged under my gums, causing some tenderness and pain. The examples go on and …

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Defunk with Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinses

Vinegar is acidic and a little drying, which makes it a great astringent. Apple cider vinegar is often the vinegar of choice for herbal body care, as its fermented goodness is full of life and enzymes. Sage-steeped apple cider vinegar (doubly astringent!) is a wonderfully toning deodorant splash or spray. The hair cuticle is like a bunch of overlapping scales. According to a cosmetologist friend, alkaline hair products cause the cuticle of the hair to be coated, which makes cuticle stand up and feel think, coarse, or sticky. Because of this, hair products are slightly acidic to keep the hair smooth. Some years ago I switched to natural and organic shampoos and conditioners, about the last time I cut my hair really short. As it grew, I expected my hair to be healthier than ever, with the positive diet changes I had made, decreased washing (daily washing can strip hair of its natural, protective oils) and of course the use of natural shampoos. As time went on, it was clear that my hair was not …

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Where’s the Iron?

Ruth Trickey’s Woman, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle is one of my favorite books. I am always reading this book in hopes that eventually it will all sink in! What drew me to it currently is the sneaking suspicion that I am iron-deficient. For many months, I have been experiencing bouts of dizziness, tiredness, and my legs sometimes become very tired after just a little exertion. Once I asked myself, “am I experiencing anemia?” I have had regular dreams in which I am hemorrhaging blood in someway or another.  Last year I had a blood test in which I had 11 grams/dL, while the normal range is 12 – 16 grams/dL for women, after which I made efforts to increase my iron intake…but I feel my efforts were not sufficient. Why would someone be low on iron? Take a look at the graph on this page for risk factors. “Iron requirements for women are around 80 per cent higher than for men because of menstruation and child-bearing. It is estimated that iron deficiency is the …