All posts filed under: Body

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 …

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 …

Cold and Flu Notes #2 – Personal Favorites

Every herbalist has a few standby cold and flu remedies stocked up for the winter. I have accumulated the following herbs based on my own needs and those closest to me. Your own list will vary based on your individual needs; for instance, milder onion plasters may replace mustard for chest pain and congestion, osha or horehound may replace wild cherry for the types of cough you may have, or slippery elm and licorice may be more soothing to your sore throat than astringent sage. I generally do not have sinus infections, so my list is lacking sinus openers like horseradish and eyebright. Luckily, part of the beauty of herbalism is that plant medicines are not set into strict categories. Rather there are opportunities for overlap; I could employ the essential oil already on my list, eucalyptus, for sinus congestion as a steam, if need be. 1. The homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum is one I always have on hand. Use it for chills, sweats, achey bones, headache, and other flu symptoms. What more can I say? …

Cold and Flu Notes #1

When the first case of influenza was reported in Wisconsin, it made the news. This was over three weeks ago and I don’t remember the details, except that the recipient was an 11 year-old boy. Isn’t it odd that something so common can evoke such dread? Practically everywhere you go, people are talking about it. And if you go the a pharmacy or clinic, people are royally freaking out about it: Cold and Flu Season. I have had my fair share of colds and flus. In fact, you could say more than my fair share. During the 9 months that I was employed as a preschool teacher, I contracted four flus with vomiting and five run-of-the-mill colds (not to mention a never-ending case of pink eye). It was quite the learning-and may I even say spiritual-experience. Every ounce of my body, mind, emotions and spirit was taxed and worn down. Luckily, a friend had the sense to chime in to my incessant “why must I endure being sick all the time” with, “can you imagine …

Introduction to Headache Differentiation

A while back I was talking to a friend who had migraines about six times a year, but came two at a time. She would have one for two days, then within a week she’d come down with another. I felt very sympathetic for her and everyone else who are prone to headaches, and thought to myself, “I’d rather have horrible menstrual cramps then a headache any day”. At least with cramps, you know when they are coming and when they will be done. To be honest, the main reason I’d rather have cramps is because there is something so elusive, so hard to pin down about headaches. Feverfew has been proven to help migraines, but I have known it to not work on some people. Laying down with a wet rag over their eyes help some people, but others feel the headache actually get worse when resting. When I got Lesley Tierra’s Healing with the Herbs of Life I became enamored with her chapter about headaches. Part of the mystery of headaches dissolved as …