The Earth time of year is with us. And it is strong. The Earth element in Chinese medicine is associated with the season of late summer, the time when summer fades away and the turning inward of fall has yet to happen.
I’m putting on my birth doula hat today to share my favorite ways to stay healthy (and sane) during pregnancy. It was incredibly surprising to me that even though I LOVE herbs and have made so many pregnancy-related teas and formulas over the years, I wasn’t really into taking herbs when I myself was pregnant. I felt that creating a healthy foundation was more important, so that I wasn’t in need of taking herbs for medicine. I certainly enjoyed lots of beverage teas, though, to stay hydrated and for the pure fun of it!
It’s probably no surprise that I prefer tea over tinctures. Yet, I often use tinctures for both myself and for others because of their ease of use. There’s no waiting for a pot of tea to brew, nor do you have to take cups of tea to work with you! Tinctures have many benefits beyond these; the alcohol is a perfect medium to extract certain chemical constituents to create a concentrated herbal extract with a fairly long shelf life. Yesterday on the Summer Solstice, I used Chinese herbal formulating principles to create a Harmonizing tincture blend to soothe my acute upset stomach.
When I worked at a co-op in the health and body care section, I noticed that every year around November, bottles and bottles of elderberry products would fly off the shelves. Elderberry has earned a reputation as a cold and flu herb, especially for the dreaded influenza, and rightfully so. It packs a powerful punch of anthocyanadins, helps the immune system do this. Studies have shown that it is effective at reducing the length of the flu by half. Yet like most herbs, elderberry has depth and can be used in many situations.