Saturday, November 14, 2020

Customized Herbal Horse Blends Coming Soon to Our Etsy Shop!

My herbal presence locally here in Arizona is most known for the customized healing blends I make for horses. While I have been making blends for years, I was only doing it for family and my own herd. When my vet discovered I made blends, she really pushed me into creating more blends to help more horses. It has been an absolute honor.

We have seen incredible success with a few blends that I'll be offering on our Etsy shop for purchase.

I have created the following base blends that are ready to be customized to the healing needs of your equine best friend!

Cushings

EPM

Farrier's Choice

Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammation Buster

Fertility Blend

Arthritis and Joint Support

Cooling Digestive

Respiratory Support

Valley Fever

Immune Booster

Melanoma Care Blend

Liver Support

Thyroid Support

Pituitary Support

Kidney Support

Lymphatic Support

Endurance Blend for Quick Recovery

I am here for your natural horse healing needs.
~Wen

Keep an eye on the Etsy shop: Etsy.com/shop/secretsofsedona 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

6 Supplements for Brain Health, Healing Brain Injury, Preventing Dementia

 

Brain health has become one of my passions after my own acquired brain injury in 2014. I worked extremely hard at my own recovery and my constant research on brain health has me updating my list of research continually. Here are my latest finds:

Huperzine A: This is an active ingredient in TCM, club moss. This ingredient helps neurotransmitters which are extremely important for memory.

Phosphatidyl Serine: This is a nutrient that helps regenerate neurons and help mental capacity. People with dementia taking it, have seen a reverse in their symptoms according to Dr Khalsa who specializes in dementia care. He recommends taking 300 mg a day, broken into 100 mg with each meal, 3 times a day.

Vitamin E: This vitamin shields neurons from free radicals that damage cells and can also help regenerate neurotransmitters.

Coenzyme Q10: This nutrient helps neurons produce energy for proper function. It is also extremely good for the heart!

Ginkgo: This herb maximizes blood flow to the brain and helps protect neurons from free radicals.

DHA: DHA is usually manufactured from algae and is an important building block of fat for brain function. (Do not mistake for DHEA!)

Eating cold water fish will always be a great way to feed your brain health because of the fatty acid compounds that fish have. Hemp oil is a choice for people who are either vegan or allergic to fish. Hemp oil has a great presence of fatty acid chains, only plant based.

If you'd like to learn more about natural healing and herbs, we offer a pick your price natural healing course where you learn how to make your own herbal applications. Price is no objection, come join us! 

Click on the Course tab above to get the details!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Natural Remedies for Allergies

Almost everyone has experienced allergies in one form another, whether it be a scratchy throat to breaking out in hives. This is how I personally deal with allergies:

1. Detoxification Hydrotherapy: Detox baths release toxins from the body and can even prevent allergy attacks on the skin like hives. First, dry brush the skin to remove excess dead skin cells, dirt, and oils.

Next, fill your bathtub with water as hot as you can stand to be in. Use 1 cup of Epsom salts and soak for 15 minutes, then take a warm shower to rinse off all the toxins that were released so you don't reabsorb them. You'll know you are releasing toxins by the itching feeling that you'll experience during the bath. You can feel your body release toxins with proper detoxification hydrotherapy.

2. Skip the sugar: Did you know that refined sugars can increase your allergies? There is a link between hypoglycemia and allergies. When detoxing from sugar, it is important to avoid fruit sugar as well, until your body can release the sugar toxins. Then it is perfectly suitable to add fruit back to your diet. Stick with complex carbs, proteins, and fresh foods.

3. Stinging Nettles: Stinging nettle tea and tincture is a double shot at your allergy flare up. If you want to use dried herbs or capsules, choose freeze dried nettles. Take them for at least 5 days before giving up. Stinging nettles have what is called a loading phase. They slowly and safely deactivate your over reactive immune system.

4. Bromelain and Quercetin: Pineapple has this anti-inflammatory enzyme which makes quercetin more bio-available. This pairing can take up to 3-4 weeks to make an effective dent in your allergy symptoms, so plan accordingly.

5. Massage: Facial massages are a great way to relieve the pressure in your face from allergies. Move your fingers in circular motions across your eyebrows reaching down below the eye, in one big circle.

6. Support Adrenal Function: Did you know that slow adrenal function can bring on allergy symptoms? Supporting adrenals with glandulars and pantothenic acid (a B vitamin) can help boost your adrenals and help adrenal fatigue.

If you would like to learn more about how to heal naturally, we offer a Pick Your Price herb class that will help you understand plants and their processes. Money is no object! Come join us!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Top 10 Mineral Rich Herbs

The numbers listed are based on per ounce of weight. This list of mineral rich herbs is easily used in infusion making, tea, and every day use. I've avoided hard to process herbs to give you an easy way to extract the benefits from each one.

Alfalfa has 255 mg calcium. Alfalfa is water soluble and best used in an infusion method.

Burdock root has 150 mg of magnesium and 4 mg of iron. Burdock is best used in an infusion method.

Cacao has 150 mg of magnesium. We use cacao in our baking, smoothies, and cooking. Rarely do I make a tea with it but it is marvelous when added.

Dandelion leaf has 1200 mg of calcium, 850 mg of potassium and 25 mg of iron. Dandelion leaf makes an incredible tea or pesto for clean eating.

Horsetail has 535 mg of calcium, 125 mg of magnesium, and 2750 mg of silica. If you harvest it locally in the Pac NW, be sure to not touch your eyes after. The silica spreads everywhere. Great for use in any infusion recipe.

Nettle leaves have 825 mg of calcium, 245 mg of magnesium, and 500 mg of potassium. Nettles are one of the rare plants that are both water soluble and alcohol soluble. Uses include infusions, cooking, and tinctures.

Oat Straw has 405 mg of calcium, 340 mg of magnesium, mg of potassium, and 1020 mg of silica. I always use oat straw in my daily infusion along with alfalfa. The two make a comprehensive mineral presence.

Red Clover flowers have 370 mg of calcium, 100 mg of magnesium, and 565 mg or potassium. Red Clover blossoms are also rare in that you can use them in both tinctures and in infusions.

Yellow Dock root has 2 mg of iron but the energy of yellow dock root in your infusion releases stored iron from your body into your bloodstream. Yellow Dock is also both a great decoction plant and I use it in my oils and salves for topical use. Oil brings out the properties beautifully.

Learn more about minerals in herbs and plants?

What You Must Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & More -"Designed to guide readers, who are tired of the countering viewpoints regarding nutrient supplementation, with clear answers as to what vitamins and minerals they should be taking, in what amounts and which are the most effective."

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Things You Need to Know About Phoenix Before Moving

 "You'll love Phoenix," they said. 

There are things here in the Phoenix Valley that are insidious and you'll never find happening anywhere else in the country. If I had known these things before moving here, I would've chosen differently.

1. Hotter Than You Can Comprehend: This summer my wiper blades melted to my windshield. Let that sink in. I had to replace both! This last summer was the hottest on all records with over 100 days over 100 degrees. It frequently hits 110+ and this summer we had a whopping week of 118. Hell. Phoenix summers are literally hell. The air hurts your legs when you walk in it from car to store.

2. You'll replace a windshield at least once a year, if you are lucky. Some people I know replace their glass at least 3-4 times a year. Have glass insurance lined up before you hit state lines. It is no joke. Rocks fly here like you wouldn't believe.

3. Phoenix area has an electrical monopoly. APS is the electrical savior and enemy. You'll hear phrases like (Super Cooling Method) to save you money on your APS bill because this lovely company jacks the prices between 3-8 pm to such ridiculousness that people shut their power off between those hours. Plan on a $350-$900 electric bill in the summer based on your square footage. And you won't be comfortable because no one in Arizona can afford to be comfortable at our electrical rates.

Solar you say? Good luck with that. APS charges you a minimum $100 fee per month to be connected when you go solar. You'll never escape APS when living in the Phoenix Valley.

4. Racism is bred here. So it isn't as bad as The Deep South, like Georgia per say. And the racism isn't against our black African American brothers and sisters. The racism here is all about ANYONE who looks Latino or Mexican. It doesn't matter if you are a 3rd generation Latino, you will be asked to see your ID. Oh--- and good luck getting a job if you don't have a bank account. You simply can't.

You see, Arizona has this weird Verify thing, where they verify who you are by your bank account. You are not a hire-able employee without a bank account. There go the days when kids could get an after school job or make some side money. No.... evidently people here in Phoenix don't know how to verify a Social Security number so they have the banks do it for them.

5. There is no cold water. You think I'm kidding? Nope. No cold water in the summer. All the water is hotter than hell because they don't bury their pipes. Oh--- and that makes for an interesting situation when it hits freezing temps in the winter (which is does, every winter). Pipes burst, outdoor faucets split. It's brilliant.

6. There are air conditioners on the roof. I'm not even kidding. I don't get it. It looks ridiculous and I'm not sure how having an air conditioner on your roof is beneficial in any way.

7. Haboobs. I know, it sounds like something out of a horror story, and it kind of is. A haboob is a massive dust storm. Do Not Drive In Them. If you are caught in a haboob, pull off to the side of the road and wait it out. You must turn off your engine because it'll clog your air filters as fast as you can swallow a big gulp of water. Just wait until you read below and find out what brilliant disease haboobs bring with them.

8. Flooding. It floods here when the monsoon season rolls through. Do Not Cross Flooded Areas. If you stall in the water or need help, it is a huge fine and you'll have to pay for rescue services. Our tax money here goes to things like...... ...... ... 

9. Scorpions. Yes, there are scorpions. Yes, they get in your house. Yes, the yellow bark scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion on earth and yes, we have them. They are extremely common to find in your house, in your yard, in your bedroom, crawling on walls, crawling in showers. Fun. I caught one and named him Larry.

Some people require the anti-venom. I was lucky and didn't. But my leg was a hard as a stale cookie until the venom was absorbed. That was an experience I'd love to forget.

10. Valley Fever. If the scorpions weren't enough to scare the hell out of you, oh just wait. Phoenix valley has its own disease called Valley Fever. You get it from breathing dust. Which we have a ton of here even with No Dust Laws that your neighbors will frequently ignore. Valley Fever creates nodules in your lungs and your animals can get it, too. I've treated people, horses, and dogs for Valley Fever. It is messed up.

There is a pathogen that lives just under the surface of the soil here. When the wind kicks up, and blows dust around, this pathogen lands in your lungs, staying stagnant for years until your immune system is down and then.... BAM. You are sick for months. Yay.

A wrap---- the cell service is terrible. Verizon is the only one that works with a crap here and half the time it doesn't work. Internet is good in town, but as soon as you go 3 miles out of town, internet speeds drop dramatically. It's like they think people out in the hicks don't know how to use a computer. The politics are Tea Party Republican. Gone are the days of John McCain and Jeff Flake, we get loons like Martha McSally who is an embarrassment to society, let alone politics.

The real estate market is inflated here. The wages and the cost of living do not add up. There is a big bubble here and it's about ready to pop like it did back in 2007. People are going to go bankrupt. This is not the time to buy property anywhere in Arizona.

Oh and the most important thing to know, I almost forgot.....

Phoenix is the wonderland of scammers and con artists. You'll get taken, likely within the first year. Then you'll never get taken, again. It's like they know you are a newbie. Everyone here is always on the look out for the next scammer. You thought they originated in Nigeria? No---- Phoenix is the playground for con artists.

Enjoy your stay in The Phoenix Valley!
I'll wave to you on my way out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

8 Supplements to Reduce Insomnia, Lessen Anxiety, Lose Weight, Reduce Inflammation, Help Balance Hormones and more!

 

Losing weight takes a different approach after we turn 40. Our hormones change, our sleep changes, and our metabolism changes along with our sleep. Did you know that how well you sleep determines how much weight you can lose after 40 years old? It's true. Here's why:

Deep sleep regulates hormones and restores the body's ability to manage stress. Cortisol, the body's stress hormone can wreak havoc on weight goals because your body thinks it is in fight mode, so it stores every single thing you eat, regardless of how much exercise or salad eating we partake in.

How well are you sleeping? Did you know that not enough deep sleep can trigger anxiety and cause a rise in the stress hormone, cortisol? Did you know that sleeping deeply will not only help you lose weight but will help your body balance hormones and reduce your overall feelings of anxiety and stress?

Most people operate on shallow sleep because of too much blue light from screens, phones next to their bed, and tv sets in the bedroom. Do you fall asleep with your tv on? This one habit could be preventing you from losing weight! (Not what you expected, I'm sure!)

I found a synergistic blend of supplements that you can buy anywhere, that when used together, will give you the deep sleep your body craves. The first time I took these supplements together, I slept so hard in the first few hours that I woke up at 5 am, ready to conquer the world. I didn't realize what I had stumbled upon.

For the next week, I continued to take these supplements because after losing my fiance, my health was declining fast. Did you know that every 90 days your body does a complete red blood reset? What you eat and drink today effects your red and white blood cells and your immunity in 90 days! Crazy, right?

After the first week of being on this supplement regimen, I noticed that my energy was like what it was when I was a teenager! I felt 16, again! (And I still do, after 6 months of them!)

The secret to taking these, is to take them at night, about an hour before you go to sleep. I crawl into bed and read for an hour before I shut the light off and fall asleep right away. I leave my phone plugged in outside my bedroom, and I unplugged the tv in my bedroom for good. No more blue light screwing up my hormones. Like I don't have enough to worry about?!

I haven't changed my diet. I haven't changed how much I exercise. This blend is literally the only thing I changed. It might just be the missing links for you, too!

Remember, take them at night, together. It'll take you about 2 minutes and might be the best 2 minutes you ever spend on your own self care and well-being. I've linked everything for you. This is my personal supplement regimen. When you purchase from my link, I earn a few cents for sending you there. That is how I can keep this information free for you! Here's the list:

Chelated Magnesium: Magnesium is one of the hardest minerals to utilize, so I take mine in the chelated form to make it more bioavailable. It is super important to your heart health, bone health, and your circulatory system. I take 250 mg.

Melatonin: Just 10 mg of melatonin can help you hit that deep sleep and stay there! Just $7 for 120 days worth of sleeping is worth every penny!

Ashwagandha: One of the world's best adaptogenic herbs, ashwagandha relieves stress and will have you feeling like you can conquer the world. It decreases cortisol, anxiety, and promotes a relaxed state of being. I feel like this plant has given me my energy back like a teenager! I take 150 mg every night.

Hydroxytryptophan: This amino acid (5-HTP) is a natural acid that your body produces. Your body uses it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that sends signals between your nerve cells. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other health problems. I take 100 mg of it every night and I know it is a key ingredient to this blend.

L-Theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid found most commonly in tea leaves and in small amounts in Bay Bolete mushrooms. It can be found in both green and black tea. It's also available in pill or tablet form at many drugstores. Research indicates that L-theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness.

Zinc: Zinc is a vital mineral that your body uses in countless ways. In fact, zinc is the second-most-abundant trace mineral in your body — after iron — and is present in every cell ( 2 ). Zinc is necessary for the activity of over 300 enzymes that aid in metabolism, digestion, nerve function and many other processes.

Arginine: Arginine is a complex amino acid, often found at active site in proteins and enzymes due to its amine-containing side chain. Arginine may prevent or treat heart and circulatory diseases, combat fatigue, and stimulate the immune system.

Lysine: Lysine is a building block for protein. It's an essential amino acid because your body cannot make it, so you need to obtain it from food. It's important for normal growth and muscle turnover and used to form carnitine, a substance found in most cells of your body.

As you can see, none of these supplements are crazy or unheard of. They are building blocks for healthy human life. And when we are missing one of the key components, little things in our health begin to change, which compounds over time into bigger symptoms like anxiety, weight gain, stress overload, colds, flu, and now even the unmentionable virus.

I hope this list does you just as much good as it has done for me. I don't fear getting sick. I know my immune system is locked, loaded, and my metabolism is like it was when I was 16! Even my eyesight returned to what it was when I was young. I seriously hope you give it a try. Give us a report back after you've been on them for a week?

Happy Healing!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pro Organizing Tips for Your Herbal Apothecary

We’ve all seen the romanticized apothecary photos of beautiful glass bottles filled with vibrant herbs and spices. Often as I hone in on the unique tones of color in each jar, I’m reminded of each plant’s complexities, their character, and their purpose. It’s a true gift to have that same feeling when you open your cupboard or medicine cabinet. (And the smell! There is nothing like opening your herbal cabinet to be greeted by the earthy scent of the plant allies that are there to greet you!) But with my busy lifestyle, my collection can sometimes become less than tidy or orderly. What I’ve learned is that keeping this area of my life organized provides me with a sense of peace and allows me to enjoy my herbal practice with more fluidity. It’s also a good way to keep an eye on my herbal inventory. Here are some tips to help you organize your botanical goods and ensure that you are making the most of your herbal allies.

THE ART OF LABELING

One of the cardinal rules of herbalism is that we should always label our herbal preparations and ingredients. Here are some basic things I recommend having on your labels. 

Name of the Herb/Preparation: The name is one of the most important parts of a label. You always want to know what you are taking (or serving others). When labeling preparations, I list all of the ingredients, so I am always conscious and connected to what I’m choosing to use.

Date: This is important as it helps you monitor freshness and sort through older material first. Some people label by the date it was purchased, while others label based on when it was filled/decanted. Whatever method you choose, just be sure you are consistent.

Uses: A great way to learn more about herbs is to study up on them and learn their different uses. I found that it is invaluable to list some common uses of the herb right on the label so that I’m always connected and reminded of its supportive powers. As I’ve gotten more comfortable with their uses, I’ve started adding other fun facts so I can continue to learn and create a deeper connection with the plant. After all, repetition is the key to mastery!

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR APOTHECARY JARS

Your organization style will be heavily influenced by the space you are working in. Sure, those large glass bottles filled with herbs look great on Instagram, but if those create clutter in your workspace, they may not be the best choice for you. Here are some jar choices that I love along with their pros and cons.

Pantry Jars: As its name implies, these make great storage in a pantry or where you have ample space. They are often used for larger volume botanicals, such as bulk teas. I love that these are airtight and keep things very fresh. The downside is that they are a bit bulky and heavy. I don’t find them to be particularly useful for tight kitchen spaces.

Cork Top Bottles: These are preferable for spices or ingredients that you use often, as it's an ideal size that you can refill regularly. The design is beautiful and makes for a visually pleasing display. Due to the wider rim, it helps dispense larger spices like cardamom pods or seeds. They are great in small spaces! The only con is that they don’t travel quite as well, so you may not want to take them on a picnic or camping trip.

Dual Cap Spice Bottles: These are lovely, as you have the dual benefit of the shaker half and the open half of the lid. The design isn’t as unique as the cork tops, but they are great for smaller spaces and offer a secure way to store and transport herbs.

Stacking Spice Jars: These are ideal for those who have more vertical storage space. The stacking spice jars are a great way to stack herbal powders or ingredients you use often. They are made of acrylic, and while glass is always best, this material does make them great travel shakers for outdoor adventures.

Cobalt or Amber Glass Bottles: Generally used for herbal preparations, they come in a variety of glass colors and lid choices. They can be used over and over again, and often you can switch out the lid types.

WHERE TO PUT YOUR APOTHECARY SUPPLIES

The presentation is a large part of your organizing style. You should keep the following in mind when choosing how you will display your herbal allies.

Make it convenient to use: The goal is to ensure you have easy access to your beloved herbs and spices so that you're more likely to use and enjoy them. Some possibilities are shelves, cabinets, pantries, or even kitchen drawers.

Ensure your ingredients are easy to see: You want to quickly get what you need, or see if an unexpected ingredient choice presents itself. Sometimes, inspiration jumps out to you—don’t dampen the magic by hiding ingredients behind all of the other bottles! Adding tiers in your cabinets will help you find what you are looking for.

Maintain Freshness: Herbs store best when they are in a dark, cool, and dry space. If you like to have your everyday ingredients on the counter or out in the open, we recommend you use smaller bottles and refresh the stock more often. You also should not store herbs above the stove or dishwasher as these appliances create moisture and temperature variations, both of which can damage the plant material.


Pro Tips:

While having uniform jars is ideal, sometimes our budgets do not allow us to achieve such organization all at once. You can clean and reuse bottles as you cycle through them.

If you’re having trouble mustering the motivation, print out a picture of your dream apothecary and hang it near your current storage space so you can keep your eye on the prize.

Take on the task in bite size pieces. Start with your first 5 or 10 most used herbs and work your way up. A little progress is better than no progress!

Remember that your apothecary is an expression of your herbal art. It is based on all the aspects that make up your individual practice. Herbalism is a lifestyle, not a phase, so don’t feel pressured to do everything in a particular way or all at once.

Grafting Fruit Trees Easily for Any Beginner



Have you ever wanted to plant a row of fruit trees but didn’t have the money to spend on the trees? Pikawakawaka Valley Homestead walks us through this money saving, homesteading skill with their Guide to Grafting Fruit Trees.

I’m really excited to do this here in Georgia. I hope everyone tries this!

Further Reading:
The Backyard Orchardist
The Holistic Orchard
Growing Fruit Trees
The Fruit Gardener’s Bible

How to Use Vinegar for a Beautiful Garden



I love being self sufficient and learning how to use things in a different way. Bless My Weeds shows us 12 Ways to Use Vinegar in the garden that you may not have tried before!

I am trying #8. Bugs are a constant pest here in the South. Which one are you going to try out?

Learn more about bug control:
Bugs Be Gone
Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden
The Naturally Bug Free Garden
Homemade Repellents

Natural Wasp Repellent: Make A Pomander



Have you ever heard of making a pomander? Normally, people make pomanders with oranges around the holidays for decoration. However, this clever blogger makes pomanders with lemons and limes, which will keep wasps away! (And look gorgeous on the deck or patio!)

Get the scoop here: Pomanders

Learn more about bug control:
Bugs Be Gone
Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden
The Naturally Bug Free Garden
Homemade Repellents

Reduce Stress with These Easy, Simple Tips for Healing and Health



Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month?

Try some of these tips to beat everyday stress?

Oatmeal fights anxiety’s negative effects.
Half an avocado a day should do the trick for any stress.
A handful of walnuts is all you need to tame stress.
Spinach and broccoli improves your body’s response to stress.
Eat blueberries to reduce stress.
Eating dark chocolate lowers stress level hormones. (YAY!!) These are my kryptonite, I apologize for introducing you.
Sip your stress away with water.
One glass of wine per day can reduce stress. (YAY!!)
A glass of warm milk is really calming.
The secret anti-stress ingredient to parsley and oranges is Vitamin C.

My personal favorite stress busters:
Take a calming bath with some Epsom salts and bubbles.
Learn pranayama, a deep breathing technique that helps under all circumstances.
Practice Reiki on a daily basis.
Keep a gratitude journal.

What are your favorite stress busters?

Celebrate Earth Day



Every year, I usually do a plant walk locally to celebrate Earth Day. Teaching local parents and kids about plants is fun for me. Well, anytime I get to talk about plants, I’m having fun.

This year, I haven’t found a spot to do a walk at yet. Since just moving to Southern Georgia, I’m still a bit unfamiliar with all the hot plant spots. (No pun intended, even though it will certainly get Hot later this summer.)

So my Earth Day To Do List is a bit different this year. And I thought I’d share it with you.

The first thing on my To Do list is to watch the rest of Planet Earth II. Did you know there was a new one? There is!! And I’ve seen almost all of it, except the last disc. So far, my favorite part are the bears and the *stripper tree pole* as my daughter so kindly refers to it. In her defense, it does look like the bears are getting all jiggy as they scratch themselves on this one tree. It’s pretty funny. You’ll have to tell me your favorite scene.

Then, I’m going to plant some weeds. Not flowers, not trees (although I may plant a lilac), but weeds. I don’t have a stinging nettle patch here in Georgia and haven’t seen nettles anywhere, so I’m planting some to keep my stock of 3x Stinging Nettle Tincture freshly updated. This will be my favorite (and cheap) Earth Day event. Seeds are only $6 and I can’t wait until I see those little nettles poke up!

Next, more weeds. I just have to get a place ready for them. I’m planting yarrow, calendula, borage, mugwort, wormwood, valerian, St. John’s Wort, chamomile, and comfrey.

So next year, if I haven’t found a natural habitat to do a plant walk, I’ll have created a great space for teaching. (At least begun a space, sigh.)

After I’m wilted and sunburned from planting all day, I’ll take myself into my cozy little house and dig into my new gardening book collection. I just bought these:

The Drunken Botanist: I can’t wait to dig into this and learn some new things about how alcohol is made from varying plants. What a fun read!

Wicked Plants: By the same author as above. This is about plants that have a Bad rap for many reasons. It will be another fun read!

The New Southern Living Garden Book: Now that I live in the South, this is a must have.

Southeast Home Landscaping: Having bought this little piece of property heaven in Georgia, it was a blank canvas upon moving in. Only a few bushes around the house were here. I have been carefully selecting my new plant companions and deciding how I want the layout of my garden spaces to function.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?

Natural Mosquito Control with Plants to Grow Outdoors: Mosquitos Hate These Plants!



There are many plants that you can grow in containers on your deck or patio area to keep mosquitoes at bay. This is what people say anyway. Living in Southern Georgia, the bug fest capital of the world, I’m trying everything to help with the buggy population.

The oils of these plants are what bugs find offensive. So if you plant them around, you’ll have to activate their oils by giving them a rub and letting it linger while you are outside. (Oh darn, that means I’ll have to smell like rosemary, lemon balm, and lavender.)

Rosemary

Horsemint

Marigold

Lemon Balm

Ageratum

Citronella

Lemongrass

Grab some seeds and Enjoy making those mosquitoes uncomfortable!

How to Use Coconut Oil for Medicinal Benefits for Healing and Health: Diabetes Alert!



Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil helps maintain proper blood sugar.

It can be a useful tool for any diabetic as it improves the secretion of insulin.

Also improves the metabolism because it is a great source of nutrients for optimal pancreas function.

Coconut oil is an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and an anti-parasitic. This can be an important factor for anyone suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. The fatty acid chain of this incredible substance helps clear toxins making minerals more soluble.

This superfood is also very useful in healing cuts, yeast infections, gum infections and any type of inflammation. It has been said to help heal kidney and pancreas inflammation.

It is an incredible tool for the immune system as it keeps so many different organs working optimally, including the liver.

Coconut oil is a great energy booster. Adding a small bit to a cup of tea, coffee, or other warm beverage is a great way to pick up your energy level. This superfood has been claimed to help many people with weight loss and stabilizing energy throughout the day.

Heart disease can be prevented and healed with coconut oil. It has been said that saturated fats are the problem in heart disease, but that is simply not true according to many physicians. Unsaturated fats are the real issue. According to the FDA, a saturated fat is a solid fat at room temperature. That is the official definition. Saying a fat is bad for you based on its density at room temperature is how the FDA makes saturated fat claims.

There are no classifications of fats based on how they metabolize.

Purchasing

When choosing your product, it can be confusing and disheartening. There are so many different choices and types. Choose a product that is extra virgin, organic, and unrefined. Try to choose one that has no chemicals added or that is made with a heating process.

Hacks to Stop Smoking Naturally with These Simple Changes!



Did you know that there are dietary links in all tobacco users? These tips can help anyone detox from tobacco use.

Have you ever heard that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables cannot stand the taste of tobacco? It is true. Meat, alcohol, and caffeine make tobacco taste better than it actually is. When trying to quit, increasing fruit and vegetable intake will help. By implementing just this one tip, tobacco will no longer taste good. Cravings will be less likely to occur.

Vitamin C is the one substance that can help a smoker detox their blood and body. By increasing the metabolism and white blood cell production, vitamin C carries nicotine right out. Drinking orange juice, eating kiwi, drinking carrot juice, and eating cauliflower are all great ways to kick up the Vitamin C intake.

Did you know that nicotine dehydrates the body? It does. When trying to detox, it is important to increase water intake to help flush kidneys and adrenals. The nicotine from one cigarette stays in the body for 48 hours. One easy choice is to drink coconut water to replenish electrolytes and minerals.

A lot of smokers will mistakenly think they are craving a cigarette when they are just hungry. By increasing fiber intake through fresh fruit and vegetables, this problem is easily solved. Fruit can reduce what are perceived cravings while helping the blood to naturally detox the tobacco.

Broccoli has lung protection built into it. Because broccoli is high in Vitamin B5 and fiber, it is a smart food to have on hand when trying to quit using tobacco products. A simple idea for making a quick broccoli side: Warm up 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet on medium heat. Place your desired amount of broccoli in the skillet and cover for 5-6 minutes. The broccoli will release enough stored water to steam itself. When the broccoli is cooked to your desired texture, squeeze a little lemon over it. Sprinkle some powdered garlic on top and finish seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.

Spinach can make tobacco taste awful. The high folate level in spinach can send your brain signals that tobacco is poison. By eating a daily spinach salad, tobacco use will automatically decrease. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids as spinach can be rough on the kidneys. If kidney function is compromised, folate supplements can be substituted.

Beating Brain Fog Naturally with Herbs for Healing and Health



Brain fog is a common complaint and not something that was heard of just a decade or so ago. Gaining mental clarity only takes a little consciousness. I know it can be hard when you are in a fog, so bookmark this now and it will be much easier to remember when you need it.

Tips on How to Beat Brain Fog Naturally

Breathe in deeply to relieve brain fog. Sometimes we just aren’t getting enough oxygen. If you inhale and exhale quickly (think Lamaze style), you are sending your brain a signal to pay attention. Just this one tip can make a big difference.

Drink more water. Brain fog can be caused by dehydration and urinary tract infections. Drink that water up. And if you suspect an infection, don’t sit on it. Get it taken care of before it becomes a bigger problem.

Increase your Vitamin C. For the same reason as above, vitamin C helps the body stay hydrated and gives our white and red blood cells some nourishment and energy to do their work. My favorite quick pick me up is to squeeze a little lemon or lime in my water. Organic fruit infused water is another great way to increase your Vitamin C intake naturally without supplementation.

Drink some herbal tea. Rosemary, mugwort, stinging nettles, and alfalfa are all great for giving us a boost in nutrients and a zing in our step.

Watch sugar intake. Refined sugars will raise your level of inflammation. Sugars from natural sources like fruits and vegetables will keep your focus and energy steady.

Increase protein intake. Did you know that a protein deficiency can rob you of a positive outlook on life? It is true. The essential amino acids in protein keep your brain functioning at top level.

Find hidden food allergies and sensitivities. A lot of times, brain fog is caused by inflammation. When a person eats foods that they are sensitive to, the body has an immune reaction. Immune reactions cause inflammation. A simple way to find the foods you are sensitive to is to implement an elimination diet.

Try CoQ10 to decrease inflammation. When first trying to reduce inflammation, CoQ10 can be a great asset. It works by supporting mitochondrial function which can naturally decrease inflammation.

How to Make an Herbal Infusion and Herbal Decoction



Did you know there isn’t much difference between an herbal infusion and decoction? One is made of aerial plant material (the infusion) and decoctions are made of root material. Otherwise they are the primarily the same. Both are made just like tea, with boiling water. The secret tip to incredible herbal infusions and decoctions, is to cover them while they steep. Medicinal properties can evaporate into the air while the water is cooling and the plant material is dispersing all of its healing qualities.

Infusion

Herbalists call them infusions, lay people call them tea. Whichever term you prefer is up to you. All herbalists will know what you are talking about. Tea is an actual plant and herbal infusions do not have tea leaves in them, unless they are added for flavor.

An infusion is simple the gathering of herbs, fresh or dry, and pouring hot water (the solvent) over them to create an herbal remedy.

Decoction

Herbalists will call them decoctions, lay people will refer to this medicine as tea as well. Decoctions are made from roots of plants, either fresh or dried. The method is exactly the same as making a regular pot of tea, but the plant material is from underground. Some decoctions will take longer to infuse, requiring a longer steeping period. You’ll know when it is done by the texture of the root. Is it soggy? Can you squeeze liquid from it?

Or you may adjust the flavoring of your decoction by its steeping time.

With both methods, you will need to let your infusion or decoction set up or steep while covered. The steam will trap a lot of the healing properties of the plants, so you want to capture that steam so you drink it up.

How to Make an Herbal Tincture: 4 Easy Steps

A tincture or extract, is simply an alcohol or non-alcohol based liquid medicine using a cold infusion process. Cold infusion means that no heat is applied to making the medicine.

1. To make a tincture, you simply place your clean herbs, roots, spices of choice in a jar.
2. Cover with liquid solvent of choice (listed below)
3. Shake daily until done (which is a minimum of 2 weeks). Recipes and amounts vary depending on the plant and its properties.
4. Strain & bottle.

The solvent draws out the healing properties of the plant and stores them in the solvent molecules.

Tincture Solvent Substances
Vodka

Apple Cider Vinegar

Glycerin

Everclear (very popular)

Or any alcohol that does not have sugar added like rum, etc.

Choose the solvent that works for you. Many herbalists will insist you use a 100 proof alcohol, but this isn’t about being the perfect herbalist. Your medicine is for you. Make your medicine with the solvent that works for you!

When using apple cider vinegar, make sure to not let the vinegar touch any kind of metal, or you will end up the gunkiest, black goo you could ever imagine. It will look like a sci fi experiment gone wrong. When I use apple cider vinegar, I cover the solvent with plastic wrap before adding my lid.

When straining the material out, you’ll want to use cheesecloth or muslin. (No metal strainers!)

Pour into amber glass bottles and enjoy.

Plant Based, Vegan Strawberry Delish Dressing Recipe



This is an amazing dressing to dazzle up your salads with! Now that strawberries are in full season, this one is definitely worth a try. My kids Adore this dressing.

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of green stevia or a Tbsp of maple syrup

¼ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1⅓ cups sliced fresh strawberries

Preparation:
Place vinegar, oil, honey, salt, pepper, and strawberries in a blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

How to Soak Your Cellulite Away with This Herbal Recipe for Your Bath!



Detox cellulite with this herbal soak recipe.

Herbal Soak Recipe to Detox Cellulite


(Great for detoxing cellulite & rejuvenating your immune system)

1 cup of stinging nettle leaf

1 cup of comfrey leaf

1 cup of yerba mate tea leaf

1 cup of horsetail

1 cup of yellow dock root

1 cup of yarrow

Mix together in a bowl until well mixed.

Use a tea strainer, tea bag, or cheesecloth to secure your herbs.

Place 2 Tablespoons (or amount desired) into your bag and use. Store remaining herbs in an airtight bag for regular use.

Boost your detox by moisturizing with coconut oil after your bath.

Basil Limeade Recipe for Cooling Menopausal Relief



1/2 cup of coconut sugar

1 cup of water
4 quartered limes or lemons (I switch between the two often!)
1/4 cup coconut milk
4 cups of cold water
Garnish: basil or mint

Place sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan, and boil Remove from heat and add basil. Then chill in the refrigerator.

When cold, pour the basil sugar water into the blender with the juice of the 4 limes, coconut milk, and 4 cups of the cold water. Blend.

Pour into glasses over crushed ice!
Garnish & enjoy!

7 Health Benefits of Dandelions and How to Use Dandelions for Your Healing and Health



1.) Liver health: the dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale is an incredible detoxifier. It contains potent oils and bitter resins that folk healers and doctors have prescribed for liver health for centuries. It also helps to maintain the proper flow of bile while stimulating the liver – this is the beginning of a positive feedback loop or upward spiral, which promotes proper digestion. This in turn decreases the chance of constipation, thus leading to a lower chance of developing more serious gastrointestinal problems.

2.) Anti-aging: the root and leaves of the dandelion are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and Luteolin, which prevent free radical damage to our cells and DNA. This is believed to substantially slow the aging process.

3.) Good for Bones: Dandelions are a good source of calcium, and probably the richest herbal source of vitamin K, both of which are great for bone health.

4.) Reduces Inflammation: dandelions contain phytonutrients and essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body.

5.) Potential Anti-cancer Effects: dandelions contain active chemical constituents that are currently being studied for their ability to act against cancer cells. Luteolin, mentioned above, “sterilizes” cancer cells and prevents them from reproducing by deactivating key components of the cells when it binds to them.

6.) Memory function: the leaves are rich in choline which is proven to aid in restoring memory.

7.) Weight Loss & Blood Pressure: dandelions are diuretic in nature and by promoting urination, “water weight” can be shed and blood pressure can be lowered.

Learn more about dandelions:

The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook
Dandelion Medicine (One of my most treasured books!)
Dandelion Recipes

How to Use Dandelion as a Liver Cleanse for Optimal Health and Healing Cancer and Stagnant Liver

 Dandelion roots are high in a starchy substance called inulin. Inulin is not digested by humans, but when eaten it passes to the colon where it provides nutrients for healthy gut flora. Many pro-biotic formulas now boast that they also contain pre-biotics like inulin.

With dandelion roots you can avoid pills and let your food be your medicine. Liver Health Herbalists have long relied on the simple dandelion root for improved liver health. Because our livers are involved in many physiological functions, this means that dandelion can be used for a lot of different ailments.

Here are some examples: To support healthy hormone levels (poor liver health is associated with imbalanced hormones).

To address skin inflammation (poor metabolic pathways can lead to inflammatory conditions in the body that can show up as acne, eczema, etc).

To improve digestion (a healthy liver produces bile which is stored and then released from the gallbladder to digest fats).

Numerous studies have shown that dandelion improves liver health in animals.

Cancer Folk herbalists have long used dandelion root to support the health of people who have cancer. Scientists are now looking into this and there are a handful of in vitro studies showing promising results.

Learn more about dandelions:

The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook
Dandelion Medicine (One of my most treasured books!)
Dandelion Recipes

How to Grow Dill for Medicinal Purposes for Healing and Health Benefits



Dill is one of my most favorite herbs to grow. Dill can be a perennial or annual herb, depending on where it is cultivated in the world. This herb is used in almost every continent on the planet in some capacity, and although it is called many different things, it serves similar purposes in much of the world cuisine. It can be used dry as a topping for a number of meals, but it is also used as an ingredient in many meals. For those herbalists that want to grow their own dill, it is important to cultivate this herb in warm to hot summers, with plenty of sunshine.

Dill is easy to grow, you do have to show patience for the tiny, intensely green seedlings to show up. Sow from seed in the early summer, as soon as possible in your area. Dill does not take to transplanting at all. Dill is a graceful, striking plant that grows up to 3 ft in height, with feathery leaves and flat umbels of aromatic yellow flowers, very much like fennel, until you smell it. Just smelling the plant can make your mouth water! It is a hardy annual that will sometimes self seed if left undisturbed, (my favorite way to propagate it). Prefers well drained, slightly acidic soil, and full sun. Plant will reach heights of 3 ft. Harvest seeds when flower heads are mature and starting to brown. Take care in handling to prevent seed loss. Hang in a brown paper bag to catch seeds as they dry, store in airtight canisters.

Dill is great for indigestion, excess gas, insomnia, bone health, diabetes, boosts the immune system, diarrhea, hiccups, arthritis, menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders, oral care, and even cancer.

Grab some Dill seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

How to Grow Medicinal Basil for Healing and Health Indoors and Outdoors



Basil. I am in love with basil. If I could marry this plant, I would. The scent, the way it lingers on your hand after you pick it. It is just intoxicating.

When growing basil Make sure that the soil is moist. Basil plants like moisture. If you live in a hot area, use mulch around the basil plants (the mulch will help keep the soil moist). Make sure to pick the leaves regularly to encourage growth throughout the summer. After 6 weeks, pinch off the center shoot to prevent early flowering. If flowers do grow, just cut them off. If the weather is going to be cold, be sure to harvest your basil beforehand, as the cold weather will destroy your plants.

Basil is great for healing fevers, coughs, sore throats, respiratory issues, kidney stones, heart problems, stress, is kid friendly, too! Basil tea is a great method for all these ailments.

Grab some Basil seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

How to Grow Medicinal Sage Indoors and Outdoors for Healing and Health



Sage is another big favorite of mine. I’m known to always have a sage leaf in my pocket. Whenever I walk by my sage garden, I pick a leaf and play with it. Sage makes me feel so zen-like that not even my ex mother in law will put a damper on my day.

You can certainly start your sage garden from seed (and I have) but it is much easier to start a sage plant from a cutting. When I root a sage cutting, I just use a glass of water until the little root fibers begin to show, then I plant them in moist potting soil to establish their roots. Be sure to water the young plants regularly until they are fully grown so that they don’t dry out. Prune the heavier, woody stems every spring. It’s best to replace the plants every 4 to 5 years to ensure the best quality.

Sage is great for the treatment of night sweats, excessive salivation (as in Parkinson’s disease), profuse perspiration (as in TB), anxiety and depression. Externally, it is used to treat insect bites, skin, throat, mouth and gum infections and vaginal discharge.

Grab some Sage seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

Easy Fermenter Review for Safe, Home Fermenting and Gut Health and Healing



The easy fermenter has been making it’s way through healthy kitchens in lightning bolt speed. I also jumped aboard this trend, because eating fermented foods is extremely important to health. My daughter is recovering from Leaky Gut and this little contraption has helped her feel normal, again.

If fermenting food at home has been a struggle for you, or you wanted to learn how to ferment food at home, this is a great option for you!

The Easy Fermenter

Here are their claims and my feedback is in italics and bold:
★MOLD FREE FERMENTS – EVERY TIME – Our water less airlock valve technology lets carbon escape. But also makes sure zero oxygen can enter. So no exploding jars that need burping. And most importantly – no mold. We have even included a extractor pump to suck out the oxygen during the later stages of your ferments. All this without having to deal with those clunky 3 piece water filled airlocks. (I found this to be absolutely true! Usually with other batches, I would have at least half the batch mold. This alone made the purchase worth it for me!)
★BUILT IN DATE TRACKER – One of the challenges with fermenting is getting the timing right. Too soon, your batch is salty and raw. Too long it’s sour and not eatable. Our date setter keeps track when your ferment started so you always know when it’s almost complete. Perfect tasting batches every time. (This is a nice feature!)
★INTEGRATED EASY RELEASE TAB – There are few things as frustrating as those jars that just won’t open. You waited patiently for 30 days for your batch of sauerkraut to finish, only to be held hostage by a lid that’s jammed. So we incorporated an easy twist tab into the Easy Fermenter. This ensures you have all the leverage to open those hard to crack jars. We think you are going to love it. (This is a real thing! This is one of the biggest frustrations with fermenting food at home. The easy fermenter is easy to open.)
★THE LOW PROFILE LETS YOU FERMENT OUT OF THE WAY – We love fermenting. But we don’t always love having our ferments on our countertop. Our lids are a fraction of the size of those clunky three piece airlocks. This means we can store our jars almost anywhere a mason jar can fit. Getting those 30 day ferments out of the way. (This is a nice benefit!)
★WE WILL HELP YOU FERMENT – For a limited time you get a FREE membership to The Fermenting Club. This includes 1) 30 page getting started guide 2) Fermenting recipe e-cookbook 3)And access to our ask the experts forum where you can get any fermenting question answered by our team of pros ?100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE – Kits includes 3 Wide Mouth lids(Wide Mouth Jar Not Included) and Vacuum Pump Included – All Components BPA Free and Food Safe (I personally did not need this but this is a great option for people who are new to fermenting!)

I give the Easy Fermenter 4 out of 4 stars:
**** It’s Affordable!
**** It does what it claims to do!
**** It enriches my family life.
**** It is easy for anyone to access.

Grab your Easy Fermenter today!

How to Grow Medicinal Lavender for Natural Remedies and Home Healing Health



Lavender has become so popular with essential oils, but did you know that growing your own lavender can be just as calming as using the oil itself?

Lavender loves lime, loose soil, excellent drainage, and sun, and it can be planted in the spring after the weather has warmed. (I’ve grown it from seed without a lot of fuss; it blooms by the third year.) In areas of the country that have acid soil, lavender-loving gardeners may have to make some adjustments, beginning with a simple pH test. To provide the near-neutral soil that lavender needs a little limestone and composting. (Or grow it in pots!)

A number of studies have reported that lavender essential oil may be beneficial in a variety of conditions, including insomnia, alopecia (hair loss), anxiety, stress, and postoperative pain. However, most of these studies have been small. Lavender is also being studied for antibacterial and antiviral properties. Lavender oil is often used in other forms of integrative medicine, such as massage and acupuncture.

Grab some Lavender seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

Growing Mint for Medicinal Health Benefits Indoors and Outdoors



Mint is quite the invasive little plant if you just plop it in your garden. It will take over everything and be sprouting up between your toes when you aren’t looking. To avoid this, keep mint planted in pots, whiskey barrels, or create a barrier so that the tiny roots hang out where they are supposed to. Those crawling roots will have you pulling out your hair if you don’t.

As mint flowers, cut for bouquets, use in tea, or do something clever with them, because all those little seeds will be everywhere. Mint is very prolific and will grow under almost any condition.

Mint has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food. Mint is great for allergies, breast feeding, colds, indigestion, IBS, pain relief, mouth ulcers, and stomach ulcers.

Grab some Mint seeds here and sprinkle them in a container. You’ll need to keep their invasive little roots away from freeloading in your garden, or you’ll be growing nothing but mint in a year or two.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

Learn to Use Lemon Balm and Grow it to Treat Your Anxiety and PTSD



Lemon balm is a plant my family pets like a kitten. We should name our lemon balm plants because we are always walking by and petting them, releasing the lemony aroma that makes everyone just happy. Lemon balm is a like a plant of sunshine.

Lemon balm should be grown a lot like mint. Keep those roots in pots, barrels, or have a deep barrier. They do well in either full sun or partial. I have lemon balm in several different places scattered around my little homestead. They are happy little plants almost everywhere.

Lemon balm is great for anxiety, relaxing, stress, and headaches. Because it is also cooling, it makes a great addition to your iced tea on summer afternoons.

I like to triple this tincture, meaning I make the tincture 3 times with the same liquid. This formula has been a lifesaver for panic attacks, anxiety, and overly stressful days when the world just will not cooperate.

Grab some Lemon Balm seeds here and keep them in containers also. Cut the flowers and keep them from going to seed or they will be everywhere, like all the other mint family plants.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

How to Use Fresh Stevia as a Sugar Replacement for Better Health and Diabetes



Brewing the fresh or dried stevia leaf with herbal teas results in less of a bitter aftertaste. The liquid or powdered extracts are more convenient, but may lack some of the health benefits of the whole leaf. Stevia does not caramelize like sugar, which limits its use in baking.

Do not fall for the overly processed kind of stevia you can purchase in your grocery store. That stevia has no medicinal benefit whatsoever. You can make your own extracts with the tincture method by either using fresh leaves or dried leaves that you can purchase online.

Dried Leaf Stevia Source
Stevia Seeds

I highly recommend growing some for yourself. I think you’ll find that growing stevia is easy and the sprigs make great additions for your Southern Sweet Tea (without the sugar load).

Grow Oregano Indoors for an All Winter Long Bacterial Infection and Virus Relief



Oregano should also be grown in pots or have a root barrier. Treat it exactly like mint or lemon balm.

Inhibiting the growth of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus, which may cause respiratory infections. It may also fight multi-drug resistant bacteria. There is even a study that proved oregano effective against MRSA.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs), because it inhibits the growth of E. Coli, Proteus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacteria that may cause UTIs.

Yeast infections, including those that are resistant to the commonly used drug Diflucan.

Parasitic infections. Oregano oil has been shown to be more effective against the parasitic amoeba Giardia than the drug tinidazol.

Food-borne illness. Many food-borne pathogens, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. Coli, and Shigella dysenteria are inhibited by oregano oil. Not only may adding the oil to foods help to kill such bacteria, but using the oil if you have food poisoning may help to alleviate your symptoms.

Topically for athlete’s foot or nail fungus. Try soaking your feet in a basin of water with a few teaspoons of oil, or rubbing the diluted oil (1 drop of oil in a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil) on your nails/skin.

Inhaled to treat sinus infections or colds. Simply put a few drops of oregano oil in a pot of steaming water. Carefully inhale the steam, being careful not to get burned.

Under your tongue to help treat infections or parasites.

Grab some oregano seeds here and be sure to keep the roots contained. Oregano makes a great container garden plant.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

The Benefits of Parsley and How to Grow it for Healing Purposes



Parsley is such an underappreciated herb! It’s always used as garnish, but parsley packs a huge punch in the remedy department.

Parsley is a biennial, but is grown as an annual in areas with harsh winters. It is good to start new plants from seed each year in any case, and not depend on the second year growth for all your needs. Germination is slow, but can be hastened by soaking the seeds for 24 hours before sowing. Give your plants plenty of sun, and frequent water, don’t let them dry out.

Parsley is a great tonic for wellbeing. It is such a huge source of Vitamin C, it makes parsley a rockstar. Great for your heart, arthritis, and any kind of inflammation of any kind. Parsley tea has been said to be great for weight loss and the kidneys, acting as a diuretic.

Grab some Parsley seeds here and sprinkle them among your garden beds and flower beds. They make great flower and rose companions.

Grow an Indoor Garden!

3 Herbal Teas for Great Skin and Glowing Complexion



For each recipe, use equal parts and steep for 8-9 minutes.

I like to use a french press or infuser pot to make teas from loose herbs. 

Youthful Skin Tea for Oily Skin

For oily skin, use the following cleansing and cooling herbs.

Lemon balm
Yarrow
Burdock root
Hibicus
Tulsi

Youthful Skin Tea for Dry Skin

For dry skin externally, add juicy herbs to help support the skin.

Marshmallow root
Alfalfa
Vervain
Rosehips
Ashwagandha


Youthful Skin Tea for Combination Skin

For combination skin, focus on nutrients and minerals to feed the skin.

Dandelion root
Nettle leaf
Burdock root
Chamomile
Schizandra

40 Plants and Herbs that Could Be Dangerous! Check your Contraindications When Using These 40 Herbs

It is the common mis-belief that just because a plant or herb is natural, that it is safe. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Each herb has contraindications and warnings associated with it. Browse this list and understand that not every herb is safe for everyone. If you want to use herbal remedies, enroll in a course that teaches you the synergy and contraindications of herbs. We offer a pick your price certification course starting at just $9.99!!

We want everyone to be safe, happy, and of course healthy. This list is to educate you, not scare you. If you find that you use one of these herbs on a regular basis, ask your herbalist to help you find a plant remedy that is more suitable for your needs. If you are the DIY’er, check my list of recommended reading after the list.

Aconite: Heart palpitations and arrhythmias, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, respiratory system paralysis, death.
Aloe Vera: abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents
Areca Nut (Betel Nut): deterioration of psychosis in patients with preexisting psychiatric disorders”; known carcinogen contributing to cancer of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and stomach when chewed.
Bitter Orange: ‘Fainting, arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke, death.
Broom: Uterotonic properties, nausea vomiting, and diarrhea, contraindicated for pregnancy and breast feeding
Buckthorn Bark and Berry: abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents
Cascara Sagrada Bark: “abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents
Chaparral: Liver damage, kidney problems, Hypotension in cancer patients
Coltsfoot: Liver damage, cancer
Comfrey: Liver damage and cancer
Country Mallow: Heart attack, heart arrhythmia, stroke, death
Dan Shen: Potentiates warfarin activity, leading to excessive anticoagulation and bleeding
Dong Quai: May induce uterine contractions; contraindicated when pregnant or nursing
European Mistletoe: Toxic to cardio and central nervous systems, gastrointestinal bleeding
Ephedra: Agitation and palpitations, “hypertension, irregular heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, tremors and seizures, paranoid psychoses, heart attacks, strokes, and death”, kidney stones
Germander: Liver damage
Ginger: May alter bleeding time
Gingko: Bleeding
American Ginseng: Hypertensive and chronotropic activities, may increase digoxin levels”, diarrhea, itching, insomnia, headaches, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, hypertension or hypotension, breast tenderness, vaginal bleeding. Very rarely Stevens–Johnson syndrome, liver damage, severe allergy has been reported. May lower blood sugar excessively in combination with diabetes medication. Contains a chemical linked to possible birth defects. May worsen hormone sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Insomnia.
Goldenseal: Uterotonic
Greater Celandine: Liver damage
Guarana: Agitation and insomnia
Guar Gum: Obstruction of gastrointestinal tract
Gugulipid (myrrh and guggal): Headache, nausea, hiccups, diminished efficacy of other cardiovascular drugs including diltiazem and propranolol.
Hawthorn: Potentiates digitalis activity, increases coronary dilation effects of theophylline, caffeine, papaverine, sodium nitrate, adenosine and epinephrine, increase barbiturate-induced sleeping times.
Horse Chestnut: Liver toxicity, allergic reaction, anaphylaxis
Kava: Potentates CNS sedatives, chronic use might cause a reversible dry skin condition
Khat: Chronic liver dysfunction
Licorice Root: Hypokalemia, hypertension, arrhythmias, edema
Lobelia: Toxicity, rapid heartbeat, hypotension, coma, death
Milk Thistle: Mild laxative, allergy
Pennyroyal: Liver damage
Peony: May slow clotting; contraindicated for people with bleeding disorders and before and after surgery. May induce uterine contractions; contraindicated when pregnant or nursing.
Safrole (sassafras): Liver damage
Saw Palmetto: “rare and mild gastrointestinal upset, headaches, diarrhea, gynecomastia, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, ventricular rupture and death in one patient.
Senna: “abdominal pain, diarrhea, potentially carcinogenic, with others can potentiate cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmic agents”, liver damage.
St. John’s Wort: Photosensitization, GI disturbances, “allergic reactions, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, dry mouth
Valerian: “drowsiness, GI upset, headache, palpitations, insomnia”, oversedation, overstimulation
Vasambu: Vomiting and nausea
Yohimbe: rapid heart rate, hypertension, hypotension, heart problems, death

My Recommended Reading List:
The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety
The Way of Herbs
Botanical Safety Handbook

Fire Cider Recipe That Boosts Immunity and Clears up Mucus



This is a traditional herbal remedy used for colds and flu. I always make my fire cider ahead of time to have it one hand, because it takes a bit to set up. Use it as a preventative and double it up if a virus does latch on.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of grated ginger root
1/2 cup of grated horseradish
1 onion, chopped and diced
10 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
2 cayenne peppers, chopped (or 4 Tablespoons of dried cayenne)
1 lemon (chopped, peel and all)
1 orange (chopped, peel and all)
Springs of fresh rosemary (or 3 Tablespoons dried)
1 inch of fresh turmeric chopped (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw Honey

Prepare all of the ingredients and add them to a quart sized jar. Cover the ingredients with apple cider vinegar. (Metal and vinegar do not mix, so cover your metal components with a plastic wrap or parchment, or just use BPA free plastic lids.) Shake daily for a minimum of 2 weeks. I personally like to let mine go for 3-4 weeks.

Use cheesecloth to strain. Sweeten your liquid with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw honey. Store, and enjoy!

28 Easy Beginner Vegan or Plant Based Eating Recipes that Even Your Grandma Will Love



Transitioning into vegan eating, or even cutting back on meat consumption can be overwhelming. How much hummus can a person really eat before they feel like ho-hum?

This collection of recipes will have your mouth watering regardless of what you are in the mood for. Mexican? We have you covered. Italian? Oh yes! Asian? Absolutely! I personally qualified each of these websites and recipes. Some recipes are not vegan as they stand, however I’ll give you the tips on how to make them vegan.

I hope this compilation of recipes makes that thought (What am I going to eat?), diffuse into the past. Follow us on Pinterest for more ideas, too!

#1. Chopped Greek Salad (minus the feta). I adore Greek food. The flavors pop, the textures meld wonderfully, and this recipe is one I make frequently without the feta. If you want, you can add some tofu crumbles and squirt some lemon or lime on top for that same feta flavor.

#2. Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos: Completely vegan and will get you through your worst Mexican food craving like a vegan pro!

#3. Dandelion Pesto: This one is my recipe. You can always switch out the dandelion greens for your favorite greens and enjoy the Italian flavors.

#4. Dandelion Greens Salad: With a kick of seaweed, this has an amazing Asian flavor with fresh ingredients. If dandelions are out of season, try using kale, spinach, or your favorite greens.

#5. Mexican Cauliflower Rice: You can purchase cauliflower rice in Trader Joe’s for little to nothing and skip the making rice step. This is easy to put together and will certainly be a staple you’ll frequent.

#6. Mushroom & Greens Saute Over Pasta: I love my dandelion greens! They aren’t just free, they are incredible for your health. Remember you can use any kind of greens you prefer.

#7. Vegan Basil Pesto Over Pasta: If you are a frequent reader, you know if basil were single, I’d be locked down in basil marriage. This recipe took me years to perfect and it will not disappoint the pesto curmudgeons.

#8. One Pot Vegan Fettuccine: (This site has a lot of annoying ads, but this recipe is worth having to click them off your screen.) When you need a heavy carb load, this is perfect!

#9. Crockpot Mexican Quinoa Tacos: (A word of wisdom about quinoa: RINSE IT HARD.) I have so many people saying they don’t like quinoa because of the acid taste. That taste is from improper rinsing. If you are unsure about how much to rinse it, soak it, and then rinse it. That will dispose of the hard saponins that cover the quinoa seed. I love to make this with red quinoa.

#10. Vegan Breakfast Bowl: Oh yum. Oh—- just yum. (Again, rinse your quinoa!)

#11. Buffalo Chickpea Pizza: You will not miss the chicken. I had this in the restaurant. This is completely amazing. It will take some time to put the sauces together, but oh is it worth it. Did you know you can purchase chickpeas without the skins?

#12. Orange No-Chicken Over Rice: Love orange chicken? You are going to Adore this recipe! Served with rice, this is one of those rare perfect combos. You’ll never miss the chicken!

#13. Pho Soup: I still think the best Pho restaurant I’ve been to is in Seattle called Pho-King. Haha (a little Pho humor). But really, it’s a place. Pho is easily made vegan. Check out this version and grab your rice noodles here.

#14. Vegan Lasagna Soup: (This is another annoying ad site, but the concept of lasagna soup needed to be included in this ultimate list!) I haven’t made this one yet, but I will this fall/winter.

#15. Baked Black Bean & Sweet Potato Flautas: Switch out the cheeses for a vegan substitute and you have a vegan winner! I prefer the Go-Veggie brand of coconut cheeses, both cream cheese and all their shredded options. Grab your black beans here.

#16. Pulled BBQ Carrot Sammies: You may be thinking— wait, what? But I’m serious, you will feel the texture difference in your mouth however your taste buds will be happily impressed. I use this Vegan Organic BBQ sauce.

#17. Vegan Broccoli Salad: I live off of my own version of this. It is a staple and I’m never without it. It is so filling that you won’t need much. I also use dried cranberries in mine.

#18. Portobello Vegan Beef-Less Stew: Those chilly nights need this!

#19. Grilled Zucchini Hummus Wrap: My favorite flavors, in a wrap (minus the cheese). When I make my version of this, I use guacamole as my cheese with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast for the cheese flavor.

#20. Spicy Black Bean Burgers: You know, burgers were my favorite food before going vegan. This recipe will launch you into your past. Never miss burgers again. Black beans are such a huge staple for the vegan kitchen.

#21. Vegan Mac & Cheese: The ultimate comfort food, vegan style. I like to use this artichoke inulin pasta. It isn’t gluten free, but it digests like it is for those who can have gluten but don’t care for that heavy feeling.

#22. Vegan Hawaiian BBQ Pizza: Throw a little Hawaii in your cuisine. Hawaii has such a broad spectrum of flavors going on at once, you are sure to love this!

#23. Chickpea No-Tuna Salad Sammies: So I have to tell you, I saw this and said to myself: I can’t believe I didn’t think of this! It’s delicious.

#24. Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf: I was never a big meatloaf fan, even when I was eating meat. But I am a Huge chickpea meatloaf fan! This is one to take to any kind of event with meat eaters. They will want the recipe!

#25. Quinoa Chili: (RINSE YOUR QUINOA!) And then enjoy!!

#26. Zucchini Fritters: Oh I love zucchini fritters!! My kids fight over these. Your kids will love them, too!

#27. Vegan Sloppy Joes: There are so many versions that you can make with this recipe. Use the beans that you love, or mix it up and use a blend.

And my last share is my one secret weapon to making every salad, taste amazing. I don’t care if it’s broccoli, kale, ice berg, or chard, this recipe is awesome-sauce. Literally.

#28. Strawberry Dressing: This is my recipe and my treasure. I always keep strawberries on hand to make every couple of days. My son who swears he hates most vegetables or anything *green* will douse his veggies in this dressing and then say: Well, it isn’t green anymore. *Mom wins*.

Want More? Grab a copy of my book Plant Based Eating Made Simple!



Sugar Scrub Recipe



DIY Coconut Lime Body Exfoliating Sugar Scrub Recipe

3 Simple Ingredients
Coconut Oil- soothes and protects the skin leaving it soft and supple. It is abundant in fatty acids and great for all skin types. I use virgin, unrefined.
Lime Essential Oil– Its crisp aroma is uplifting, refreshing and cleansing to the body and mind.
Pure Cane Sugar- Exfoliates dead skin cells revealing the healthy glowing skin.

Recipe:

In a bowl mix the following. Store in a BPA FREE Plastic container
½ cup Pure Cane Sugar
1/4-1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
15 drops Lime Essential Oil

Note: This recipe is meant to be used on the body, not the face. Add more coconut oil as needed, to the consistency you desire. Remember, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Blend ingredients well with a small spatula or soon. It will be a thicker, creamier consistency, which is different then most scrubs made with a liquid carrier oil. This is what makes it unique!

If you want a facial scrub, just use a fractionated coconut oil in replacement of the solid virgin coconut oil. I use this kind.

Homemade Cough Drop Recipe



Germ Fighter Cough Drops

Germ Fighter Oil is a powerful way to knock out germs. Make these homemade lozenges to have on hand for the first sign of a virus.

Ingredients:

1 cup of honey
1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil
6 drops of Plant Therapy Germ Fighter oil

Instructions

Pour the honey and coconut oil into a pan and bring it a boil gently.

Reduce heat to medium and keep boiling until it reaches 300 degrees with a candy thermometer. I added the coconut oil to help it not boil over. DO NOT BURN!

Once cooked remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Add in the essential oils.

Drop in small serving size circles onto parchment paper. You can use a turkey baster to get uniform size drops. (Or I have used the tiny sizes Ice Cube Trays for uniformity.)

Let it cool and harden.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A New Season: Kindness

 2020 sure has been a year. It is certainly I year I won't ever forget.

The day after my book Heal was released (3/20/2020), my fiance, Michael passed away from a heart attack and heart defect. His aorta tore while we were in Costco, shopping for the grandkids, and he came out of the dairy section clutching his chest. He passed away hours later.

I lost the love of my life in moments.
I lost my home a month later because we were 2 weeks from our wedding date. His only son took everything, including some of my belongings and my kids' belongings.

I know I'm not alone. 2020 has been unkind to many people across the globe.

Starting over is scary. Starting over in the middle of a worldwide pandemic leaves me without words of how to describe what the past 6 months have been like.

All is beginning to even out and things are coming back to normal. I have some certificates to get out. Thank you all so much for being patient while I find my feet in the tragedy my life succumbed to this past year. Some people couldn't find their patience and for those people, I hope kindness and forgiveness comes to them easier than what they allow themselves to gift others.

My message for you all: find kindness in your daily life. There is so much loss and devastation in our world right now. Find forgiveness, and make kindness your source to draw from in the coming months. I have a feeling we are far from anything being stable, for quite some time yet to come.

Here's to you Michael.
May you rest, peacefully, and may my grief of losing you not swallow me whole. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Herbal Learning Books, Personal Library Recommendations

This list is for all the DIYers that love to learn about herbs on their own. If you love to use herbs for your own healing and family ailments, this list of books is exactly what you are looking for! I will keep adding to the list as I remember other great books to add. If you have a book to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Best Herb Books Ever

Medical Herbalism: Out of all the books that you will come across, this is THE book to have and know.

Herbal Antibiotics: Make sure to not mistake for it's illusory competitor by the same title. You want the book by Stephan Buhner not Mary Jones.

Making Tinctures, Beyond the Folk Method: This book is for serious tincture makers who want the most out of their medicine. 

The Secret Life of Plants: Be ready to have your entire world view change after reading this book about how plants are reactive to our emotions and intentions!

Braiding Sweetgrass: Learn how to see and use plants as Native Americans view and used them throughout history.

Native American Medicine Plants: See what plants natives used and which ones are considered to be toxic in today's view. Very interesting.

Native American Ethnobotany: I find this author to be one of my greatest influences when it comes to how to use herbs and plants. Instead of lacing his books with political opinions, he keeps them straight and to the point. This is a gem of a book.

Southwest Medicinal Plants: For those that reside in the southwest part of the USA, this is a great guide to what plants to use that grow locally.

Botany in a Day: Learn how to classify the plants and identify what is growing around you.

Ayurveda: Beginner's Guide: Herbalism and natural healing concepts are not complete without understanding Ayurvedic principles.

The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants: If you want to make medicine from plants growing around you or learn to forage for plants, this is the book that will help you do it safely and effectively.



Healing Wise: (Wise Woman Herbal) by Susan Weed. Susan is probably one of the biggest influences on my own herbal roots besides my Grandmother. Her books are written in a lovely manner, as if you were sitting next to her. The information in every book she’s ever written is just spot on. Anything by her is a lovely addition to your herbal library.

Fermentation for Beginners by Drake Press. You may be asking yourself why this is here since it’s not an herb book, but you must understand: Total health begins in the gut. Until you know how to ferment your own foods and reach proper gut health levels, you’ll never have total health.

Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism by Donald Yance. Adaptogens are the magic herbs that are still not fully understood. Knowing and utilizing two or three adaptogenic herbs in your regimen can add incredible health and healing.


A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions by Alan Gaby. This is probably the book I have used the most. I always double check contraindications before I recommend or even mention an herb to someone in my family or a client. This needs to be in every library. People who teach herbs NEED to teach contraindications or they shouldn’t be teaching. It is irresponsible to leave out such important information.

A Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Christopher Hobbs. If foraging is something you want to add to your herbal skills, then this is the book you’ll wear out. Take it with you on hikes and identify all the medicine around you. (Here’s the Eastern and Central Version)

Herbal Antivirals by Stephan Buhner. I bought this one simply because there aren’t many books based on antivirals. In fact, most people believe there is nothing we can do for viruses, except let them run their course. I’m telling you, that is simply not the case. Get familiar with a few anti-virals (even coconut oil is one), and you’ll have a powerful apothecary.

The Earthwise Herbal Volumes I and II by Matthew Wood. Matthew Wood is an old friend to my library. I have seen him lecture. Every book he has written is a treasure but these two stand out as the best.

Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra. There is no doubt that Michael and Leslie Tierra are herbal masters (if there were such a thing). They have both dedicated their lives to teaching herbs and this book is a wonderful, wonderful text on energetics of plants. If you ever wonder why plants do what they do, this is the book for you.