Summer Solstice and the Secret Language of Herbs

Just as flowers have meanings beyond their use and beauty, herbs too have a language all their own. These meanings are often derived from their traditional healing applications or their reputed magical powers, but others are a mystery as to why their meaning is what it is in the language of the botanical world. Since herbs have always been such an important part of Summer Solstice, I thought I’d share a bit of the herbal ‘secret language’ that at one time everyone knew as well as they knew a red roses means romantic love. Of course their are differences around the world, but here’s a snippet of European herbal lore:

Happy Solstice everyone!

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Digestive System Herbs and Other Helpers

If you have been diagnosed with a digestive disorder such as IBS or multiple food intolerances, or even if you just have occasional digestive issues, you might feel overwhelmed by the sudden need to rethink every little thing you eat. Especially with food intolerances when you are given a list of foods that you have to avoid for an indefinite period and almost always it’s the foods you eat the most often that are the foods included on the list. Even with digestive issues such as colitis, constipation, or IBS, there are often foods that are best avoided, and although there are prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs to help with immediate issues, there are not a lot of medicines to help build your system back up. That’s where the herbs and natural supplements come in. They are slower acting, but that is because they are building your system up to be healthier, stronger, and more capable of doing the work intended for it. Food intolerances are often blamed on modern farming practices and while that may play a role (looking at you, Monsanto), if that were the whole picture, then we would all have the same food intolerances. So although avoiding trigger foods is the first step in healing, the next step needs to be supporting the digestive system from top to bottom in order to produce faster healing and longer-lasting results.

If you only take one supplement for your digestive system, take a probiotic, and take the highest potency one you can find. You can consult your doctor/naturopath/pharmacist on your dosing b/c in general the bottle will low-ball what you should take. If in doubt, always start with the absolute minimum, then build up slowly. You should switch brands often to get the most variety in your gut ecosystem, although if you find one that works especially well for you, keep returning back to it every other time. If you see a Gastro-enterologist, you can ask him/her for their recommendation for a probiotic and they might have a prescription strength one that is right for you.

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is critical to repairing the intestines, especially when it comes to issues of ‘leaky gut’. There are plenty of powders out there designed for intestinal healing, and the one ingredient they all have in common is glutamine. You can also buy L-glutamine separately and put it into smoothies or whatever sounds good to you. A couple of reputable brands’ L-glutamine products are: Enteromend by Thorne Research,  IntestiNew by Renew Life, and G.I. Integrity by Pure Encapsulations.

Kombucha is everywhere right now and in a variety of flavors, so hopefully you can find one that suits your tastes because Kombucha is excellent for your digestive system. When I started researching Kombucha I kept running into the story that former President Reagan drank it while battling stomach cancer. Now these stories never say that he won solely because of the probiotic drink, but they do point out that he won that battle and died of something else entirely, many years later.

As for herbs, I am going to share a very thorough article by one of my very own herbal masters who was the head of the herbal studies program that I went through to get my herbalist certificate, and I also was his intern for a few months while pregnant with my firstborn. The article is in Mother Earth Living and is called 30 Digestive Herbs. Don’t be surprised when you see turmeric there.

One last thing, candida very well might be an issue if you have food intolerances or other chronic digestive disorders. Candida gets out of whack when we take antibiotics, and often we have no idea until it is so systemic it results in a yeast infection or jock itch. Your doctor/naturopath can test you for candida, or if you already know it is out of balance in your body, there are candida cleanses you can find at your local health food store or online.

 

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Coloring Hair with Henna + other Herbs

Choosing to go the all natural route in regards to your hair is often the biggest leap of all because it is a commitment. Shelves are full of all natural skin care and makeup options that are attractive, shiny, and easy to use, but hair is a bit more involved and henna has an undeserved bad rap. This is a quick video to help  you decide if you are ready to take the leap into all natural hair coloring… or not.

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Herbal Powder Digestive Blend

This blend is specific to the digestive system, is anti-inflammatory, and also chock-full of antioxidants. You could make it more anti-inflammatory by adding turmeric and/or black pepper. You could make it more healing for the digestive system by adding the protein glutamine to the mix, and also turmeric would be a healthy addition for the digestive system as well. This video is shorter, as promised.

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Sharing Reputable Herb Companies

Below is an article about four trusted places to get bulk herbs which is timely since I was just talking about Mountain Rose Herbs and of course they are one of the four. I also used to work in the health food industry and can tell you that Frontier is where every health food store I worked with got their bulk herbs. I’d also like to give a shout out to Gaia Herbs for their herbal supplements which are thoughtfully formulated and extremely effective, Herb Pharm for it’s tinctures and supplements too, and while we’re at it, Rainbow Light is my favorite vitamin/mineral company because of their intelligent and holistic formulations. Also, a rule of thumb I learned in the natural foods industry is that when you are using a new natural product, you want to give it about two months time to see a difference, and it’s also a good idea to start with less than the recommended dosage and work up to it as your digestive system allows. This is especially true with herbs because they have fiber and depending on how used to fiber your particular system is used to, your body might react unfavorably to a sudden large increase in daily fiber consumption, but it will acclimate to it if you give yourself time. It’s best to work with a naturopath or a clinical herbalist when starting something new so they can advise on dosing, which very well might end up being more than on the packaging, but if that isn’t an option than at the very least stick to reputable companies and do thorough research.

Consider these conscious companies when shopping for herbal ingredients. Many of us like to take our health into our own hands and create our own herbal remedies such as tinctures, teas, salves, and oils. Of course, growing our own herbs is the absolute best way to get the freshest possible ingredients. But there are many […]

via 4 Bulk Herb Wholesalers You Can Trust — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

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Herbal Powders

OK, I’m trying something new which is why I’ve been rather quiet here the past couple of weeks. I’ve felt compelled to share with you in a different way but it feels pretty awkward because I don’t even like pictures of myself, much less hearing me ramble on while looking at myself, and yet…I did it anyway. I have a driving motivation of health for all people and all the planet. I think the two things go hand in hand and herbs are a fundamental part of each. Sure, you can be a healthy person without herbs, but they sure can help in achieving optimal health and well-being at a sustainable rate and give a bit of cushion for those times when your body needs a little extra support or forgiveness for excesses or missing nutrients. Below is a video (way too long, I know, but it’s my first one and it took me ages to get a full take and next time it’ll be way shorter, promise) about using herbal blend powders in your daily life. If fairy dust is real, I’d bet my dog that it’s made out of herbs.  (Sorry Bailey, but it’s true.)

I’m also working on a power point to condense this info since I seem to ramble when it comes to just talking on my own. Stay tuned.

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Anti-Anxiety Perfume Oil

anti-anxiety perfume oil

Most of the time when I make perfume oils it’s all about the scent. This is different though, this one is all about the emotional benefits with my essential oil picks based solely on their traditionally recognized benefits for reducing anxiety and stress. I chose sunflower oil for the base because it hardly has any scent of its own so it carries the e.o. scents quite well. The essential oils I’m using are Neroli, known to decrease nervous tension and apprehension, so much so that Neroli blossoms used to frequently be placed in wedding bouquets, Clary Sage which is a happy scent, sometimes even described as euphoric and elation-promoting, and Lavender which is a relaxing scent. To make the blend, simply add the base oil (I use a funnel to reduce spillage) to the clean, empty bottle of choice. In the picture I have a clear, 1/3 oz. bottle, but I actually ended up using a dark amber bottle instead because dark-colored glass helps the essential oils stay fresh longer. In a 1/3 oz bottle I’d add about 12 drops of essential oils total, and in a 1/2 oz bottle size I’d add 15-18 drops total. For this blend none of the oils are exceptionally strong so I decided to add equal amounts to the base oil, so 4 drops of each oil went into the bottle. Always cap your blends right away and shake them, or better yet, roll them in your hands to mix the ingredients together. The blend is then ready to use but it will deepen and change a bit over a month’s time. Keep it out of direct light and heat for best results, and then use on pulse points to reduce nervousness and stress. Always remember to shake the bottle before using to make sure the essential oils are well mixed. This is so easy that even the most stressed out person can manage to do this without so much as a toddler sized tantrum or clenched jaw. Don’t forget to write down your personal blend formula for future reference, and also to label the bottle accordingly. I labeled mine ‘breathe’ so I remember to check on the quality of my breathing when I’m reaching for a stress-reducing scent. A mantra I learned a long time ago comes in handy at those moments: Breathe in the future, breathe out the past. The sweet spot is in-between the breath in and breath out which can only be recognized as the present. Let me know what your favorite stress-reducing techniques are. I’d love to hear them!

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