alternative medicine · health · Herbs

Local Herbalists

This week while looking at Whole Foods’ tincture selection, I saw they carry (in our local store, all WFs are differently stocked) The Herbalist brand tinctures. The Herbalist is a store I used to visit in Seattle but haven’t gone to in years so I was happily surprised to see their herbal products because it’s always fun to support a local business, plus the blends are unique and very well thought-out. These could have been there a while, I actually don’t buy many supplements at Whole Foods, but it is great to see such a big store stock locally made items so now I’ll have to peruse their supplement aisles more often. I encourage everyone to look into their local herbalists and such because you might be surprised at what can be found in your very own community. It is grounding when you realize your neighbors may be the ones blending up brews of all kinds, and knowing it doesn’t come from some mysterious, far away place and somehow ends up on a shelf near you.

I bought an immune booster called Astragalus Plus because by this time of year I feel depleted. This winter has been especially hard for various reasons, and it hasn’t helped that it’s the rainiest winter season on record here in the Seattle area. It’s been grey, wet, muddy, and harsh. Spring is awfully close though and I’m hoping this immune booster will push me through these last few weeks while we transition to longer days and blossoming trees, and maybe even keep allergies at bay while that happens.


This blend features an array of immune boosters plus cayenne to help those lovely herbs circulate throughout the body. I specifically wanted my immune booster to be made predominantly with astragalus (instead of echinacea or oregon grape for example) because astragalus is also an adrenal tonic and help with stress is always appreciated.

If you don’t know where to start looking for your own local herbalists, you can start by checking out the American Herbalists Guild website. You will find an array of resources there, including how to find an AHG member herbalist in your area. Note these are herbalists that focus on being clinical herbalists. There are others who focus on making herbal products and medicines, and others who focus on growing or gathering the herbs. Those that focus on gathering herbs are also known as wildcrafters, while those that grow theirs are gardeners or farmers, depending on scale.

What are your local treasures, herbal or otherwise?


ecology · gardening · global climate change

Summer part 2

This has been the hottest, driest summer I have ever seen in western Washington. We are in a drought, another first for as long as I’ve lived here, and the ‘evergreen state’ is starting to look like its cousin to the south, much further south, like southern California without the sandy beaches. In a region where A/C is not the norm it has made for a very difficult season to get excited about making dinner as that is when it is generally hottest and the sun streams into our large front windows from about 2-7:00 in the evenings just in case we forgot that it was shining, yet again, in the city known for cloud-cover and rain. It is truly strange to see so much straw-colored grass where there has always been green. It’s playing tricks on my eyes and I have to remind myself that this is indeed, the greater Seattle area. This displaced feeling comes over me most often when at the off-leash area of Marymoor park and I find myself pulling out my phone camera to document the change in climate because, Toto, we’re right where we’ve always been, it’s the earth that is changing. This chamomile is thriving though:


There were actually clouds this day, but not many people. The boys thought the park looked ‘desolate’.

Marymoor park

One word~ dry.


I’m curious if this trend will continue, and if so what it means for our parks and botanical gardens. Apparently the big botanical gardens are already contending with global climate change and having to rethink their gardens. I’m not surprised.

gf foods · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant

Gluten Free on the Eastside

Fremont Troll
Fremont Troll (Photo credit: jcolman)

The other day my friend told me about a vegetarian Thai restaurant she and her husband had found in Bellevue that had a lot of gluten-free options which were clearly marked, and many vegan items too. I looked up the place and it was the same restaurant I used to go to in Seattle when I was still at UW and I was so excited I talked my husband into ordering take-out that very evening and drove through a blinding rain to pick it up. When I was at UW we English teachers would usually celebrate the end of the quarter at Araya’s Place, and meat eaters loved it just as much as the vegetarians in the group even though it is strictly flesh-free. The freshness of the produce plus the enlightened awareness of food intolerances makes the place truly a stand out in a world of Thai places on every other block. I had no idea that they had opened up shop in Bellevue, and apparently they have only been here on the Eastside since May 2012. The best thing is, long ago our favorite noodle soup place closed in Fremont, and we have been in search of one ever since. Araya’s soup, finally, ended our search, and it isn’t as far as Fremont. (Though we love Fremont, we usually stay on our side of the bridge.) Another reason we no longer have to go to Fremont, is Flying Apron opened up shop in Redmond~ though that was a good two years ago I think, or maybe even more, I still feel incredibly lucky whenever I go there. For my son’s recent birthday I ordered a cake from there and it surpassed all expectations. It was chocolate cake with vanilla icing, completely gluten, dairy and egg free, and oh my gosh, I don’t know if it’s because I so rarely eat cake, but I thought it the best dessert I’d ever put into my mouth. The rest of the family seemed very impressed too and there wasn’t much left on the plates afterward so I can assume their smiles and thumbs-ups were due to full, happy mouths. So, I guess we’ll only be heading to Fremont when we need our troll fix, since the Eastside now has our soup and baked goods covered, because no one can replicate the troll. Ever.