Sunday, January 12, 2020

Simplicity. Staying with the simple cravings, utilizing every last energetic and therapeutic bit of single herbs, and keeping my January mugs a little more effortless.

For your January mugs this month, I’ll share a pot of rose + spearmint tea. Sweet and bright. Floral and delicate. Aromatic and feminine.

Per mug, I use about 4 rose buds and 1/2 teaspoon spearmint leaves (and if I’m feeling a little stressed, I’ll add a dash or chamomile flowers). Steep in hot water for 8 minutes, Strain and enjoy. Adjust the herbs to your taste. Savor the aroma, too. It fills the whole room…

You can source rose buds and spearmint from your local health food store (if you’re lucky), or find them via Mountain Rose Herbs, and Starwest Botanicals,

Read More: Hearty Hobbit Omelettes 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” – W. Whitman

I am a strong believer that happiness and joy are our soul’s default. The farther we stray from that which brings us joy and peace, the more our body protests. And the opposite of joy and happiness is stress and discomfort. Those constant daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal situations we find ourselves in that take us farther from the balance of happiness. We find this often in the holiday season, so contrary to what this time should be. A time of peace, now, with those whom we are grateful to share space. But nonetheless, we find ourselves bombarded with stress during this last month of the year. December, the time of gathering. The time of so much potential joy. We allow stress to enter through unsuspecting portals. But keeping our herbal allies close, especially those to help us simmer down, can make all the difference in how we build resilience to stress over time.

Herbal Allies for Holiday Resilience

Stress is by far the biggest issue afflicting folks of every age – and I am no exception. But what I have found personally and through the clients I’ve worked with over the years, is that when we address multiple body systems synergistically, our resilience to the occasional stressful situation that we find ourselves in, improves tremendously from a long term perspective. That’s why I love finding herbal formulas that come from this very perspective, like Simmer Down Tonic from Urban Moonshine. It’s not just a quick fix. It’s long-term resiliency in a bottle, combining herbal adaptogens and nervines together.

Adaptogens are a class of herbs that increase the body’s nonspecific resistance to stress, and improve the body’s resilience to internal and external stressors. Overall, these herbs support the body by supporting our response to stress to be more adaptable, and not reach a point of physiological collapse (i.e, when symptoms or illness arise). Adaptogens work primarily on the adrenal glands, and I often think of adaptogens as our herbs of true vitality, increasing our capacity to tolerate environmental, physical, and biological stress.

Nerviness are a class of herbs that support the nervous systems – including the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the enteric nervous system (in the gut).  With continued use, nervines can strengthen and support nervous system function and ease the occasional anxiety and tension that we often hold in our nervous system. These are our most soothing and calming herbs, gently relaxing, but strengthening, too.

Adaptogens + Nerviness supports your body not only for the stressors in front of you, but for the stressors that have yet to come. 

Read More: Herbal Allies for Emotional Resilience 

The Synergy of Herbal Nervines + Adaptogens

When we blend the qualities of herbs together, their actions can really, really shine. Herbs are gloriously successful at gently supporting multiple body systems at once, thus resulting in a gradual, and successful shift in easing symptoms, while being otherwise innocuous, and not influencing normal body functions more than required.

For soothing nervousness, stress, and irritability, Nerviness + Adaptogens = a winning calm down formula.

Simmer Down Tonic combines Ashwagandha + Tulsi, two time honored herbal adaptogens, with the soothing and calming qualities of tonic nervines milky oat tops and skullcap. The blend of these herbs support our nervous system to promote a mellow mood, encourage more restful sleep, and keeps the effects of daily or long term stress from weighing you down*. Simmer Down Tonic is not a depressant, either. You can take it any time of day, as it is not sedating. Just 1 teaspoon straight in your month, or mixed with some water up to two times a day is all you need.

The blend of building and strengthening ashwagandha and tulsi + the calming effects of milky oats and skullcap are not magical remedies for the symptoms of stress. They are deeply nourishing tonics to adapt our body in a way that allows us to be more flexible, resilient, and physiologically empowered to tolerate the effects of occasional stress. * Simmer Down Tonic is a “best friend formula” – one that’s in it with you for the long haul. It’s one I keep with me almost everywhere I go, especially while traveling.

Read More: 5 Ways I Use Herbal Bitters Everyday

Stress Support for the Holiday’s

Prioritize Sleep. Sleep is your body’s number 1 remedy for regenerative stress support. Without adequate sleep (at least 7 hours), the cumulative effects of stress can be felt more acutely, and our mental, physical, and emotional function declines. Do your very best to prioritize your sleep routine no matter where you are. For extra sleep support, travel with Hit the Hay to help you relax before bed, and ease into restful sleep.*

Support your digestion. The holiday months are often a season of indulgence, and our plates are literally and figuratively full. With a constant array of sweet, savory and abundant foods all around us, remember to support your extremely over-worked and somewhat struggling digestion! Herbal bitters are a great way to do this, with just a dropper-full before meals to support your digestion before any meal.* Supporting your digestion is a big, big way we can support our entire wellbeing, as so many of our health issues start in the gastrointestinal tract.

Move your body, everyday. Movement and daily exercise is one of the most effective things we can do to combat and reduce daily stress, support blood pressure levels, improve immune function, and enhance our sleep. Even while traveling or visiting family, take 30 minutes every day to go for a long walk, or practice a daily yoga routine.

Think ahead, and prepare. Are you anticipating any stressful, or uncomfortable situations over the holidays? Rather than simmer in over-thinking these future scenarios, journal it out, and even pack a few things that will help your body adapt to these situations (like Simmer Down Tonic).* Start taking this formula days, even weeks, before traveling and entering these situations for best support.

Mindful daily practices. Taking long, deep breaths. Being mindful with your words. Giving a long, joyful hug. Sleeping in a little longer. Listening deeply. Being outside. Eating more slowly. Being thankful for all that’s around you. These mindful daily practices add up to a less stress-filled, slower day. And your body can feel that, and appreciates that.

I hope this December, whatever experiences this month brings for you will shift you closer to the emotional alignment of joy and happiness. And when stress presents (because I know, it’ hard to escape), have your herbal allies ready. Every dose can bring you closer to a calmer final month of the year, and the entrance of a peaceful Winter season.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Friday, December 13, 2019

As I’ve settled into my thirties, I have noticeably shifted my focus to a more individualized, holistic, 100% organic, non-toxic skin care regimen. As my skin changed over the years, so did my alertness to the beauty industry, and how under regulated and full of questionable ingredients it all is. (My friend Renee sums it up nicely, here). Aligning my body care products to be entirely non-toxic was nothing short of a new practice in paying attention. Reading up on products, companies, ingredients, and essentially just taking more time in making my decisions. What was more important to me? A quick and easy purchase? Or a sustainable approach to not only my long term skin health, but supporting products and makers that I was entirely on board with their practices, sourcing and ethical production. Oh, and secondary to all of that was my actual skin.

In the winter months, my skin is extremely dry. I’m fair skinned, freckled, and redness shows up easily. Winter is also the time when I take a few extra steps on my facial routine to ensure lots and lots of hydration. Not surprisingly, I circled back around to my motto for almost all things body-care:

Simple is always best.

Read More: Holistic Skin Care for Sensitive Fair Folks

Mountain Rose Herbs is honestly one of the very first places I go to find simple, pure, effective and sustainably sourced body care products. Never one to settle for a product I could make myself, I love curating single ingredient products from Mountain Rose Herbs, and combining them myself to create the perfect formula, just for me. The number one thing that I’ve found works for dry, sensitive skin is water based facial products. Creams, gels, masks or moisturizers that are water based just always made my skin feel it’s best. And for truly my entire life as a red head, I always gravitated towards aloe vera gel. This is a product I curated first as a base to anything I’m putting on my skin – face especially. I love Mountain Rose Herbs aloe vera gel because it’s completely alcohol free (why WHY is there ever alcohol put in aloe products is beyond me.). Soothing, hydrating and reducing redness are the main attributes that I love about aloe.

Next, I found that rosehip seed oil provided the oil base that nourishes my deeply dry skin, and matches gloriously to sensitive skin. Rosehip seed oil is considered a “dry” oil, meaning that it soaks into the skin easily and immediately, leaving nothing but smooth, hydrated skin behind with no greasiness. It’s also rich in essential fatty acids, adding to it’s topically nourishing quality. I just love this stuff.

And as a little extra, I use hydrosol’s seasonally. Right now I’ve been really enjoying the Douglas fir hydrosol and it’s wintery forest aroma. Hydrosols are lovely to use before applying creams or lotions to enhance hydration and absorption. And in the summer months, I so rely on these as a cooling, hydrating spritz on the extra humid days.

Read More: Botanical Infused Hair Oil for Long Strong Locks 

In my bathroom cupboards and shelves, I often have little glass bottles to store oils and things. My favorites are these little cork top bottles. I’m just a fan of having a dozen unmarked, magical bottles all over my house that you have to uncork and smell to figure out what it is. Sensory experiences, you know?

So, let’s put it all together. Every evening, here is my super simple winter skin nourishment routine after I wash my face, applied to clean skin:

2 sprays Douglas fir hydrosol on my face, patted in gently.

1 pump aloe vera gel + about 1/2 teaspoon Rosehip seed oil (equal parts of each). Blend together in the palm of my hand and applied generously all over my face in circular motions.

Done.

I’ve been doing this simple winter skin care ritual for 2 years now, and boy has it made a difference. And – fun fact – you can use this aloe + rosehip combination all over your body, too.

For you: Start paying attention to what’s in your body care products. Do you recognize the ingredients? Do you know where they came from? Were the tested on animals? How were the ingredients sourced? Yes, it’s a lot to educate yourself on, but there’s help! Check out the Environmental Working Group for a super easy way to check out individual ingredients for safety. Call the companies. Ask questions. And if you’re wanting to try some simple ingredients, ethically sourced and beautifully crafted formulas and not break the bank, try Mountain Rose Herbs first.

Read More: Simple Nourishing Body Oil