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Healing Herbs for Summertime

(Photo of Calendula & Yarrow and infused oil)

The sun seems to finally be out for good here in Indiana. We experienced a large amount of rainfall up until this point and while our gardens are thriving…so are the weeds and bugs! It’s time that we start thinking about sunscreens, bug sprays, and first aid as we go on our adventures.

Just like anything these days, it’s important to be a conscious consumer and evaluate the products we use in and on our bodies. The bath & beauty industry is not regulated to keep you safe from toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, lead, and parabens. With products so chemically laden, we ought to look for natural alternatives that are not just safe but effective.

I’ll dive into my top herbal home remedies for common summertime needs.

CALENDULA

Bright and sunny calendula flowers are easy to grow and obtain. They are fabulous for healing all sorts of itchy, red, swollen, infected, and irritated tissue. Think of calendula as the all-purpose-skin-healer. Many products now contain calendula as a soothing healer for wounds and burns or eczema and psoriasis. If you have the dried flowers, they can easily be extracted in some olive oil to use topically. Lightly pulse grind the flowers and fill a small jar 1/2 full, then fill with olive oil and set in a cabinet to be shaken daily and pressed out a few weeks later.

YARROW

This is another incredible wound healer we use topically from irritated skin to oozing and bleeding wounds. Yarrows claim to fame comes from it’s ability to stop even the heaviest bleeds (yes, even menstrual if taken internally). It is often seen growing wild and in a pinch makes the perfect ally. You can chew up the fresh leaves and place it right on a wound or gash and watch the magic unfold immediately.

GREEN TEA

Green tea is highly regarded for it’s powerful antioxidant abilities internally, but did you know you can use it externally as well? Green tea will reverse the oxidative damage done by the sun and thus makes a great tea for a medicated bath or liniment in a pinch. This is important as skin cancer is the most common form. To make a liniment, brew a strong tea (several tea bags or 1/4 cup loose leaf) in 16 oz water. Then dip a flannel or thin cloth, wring out the excess liquid, and place over affected area. Repeat every 5-10 minutes.

PLANTAIN

No, not the fruit we eat, but the inconspicuous weed in your grass! You may have never noticed these until now. Plantain leaves are a cooling and soothing demulcent. The juicy leaves will not only heal wounds, soothe burns, but remove bee stings and other matter from the body! It has a drawing action to pull out the toxins from bug bites or stings in addition to the inflammation-modulating gel. Another plant you can create a spit poultice out of in a moments notice.

I hope you enjoyed this informative piece about common herbal remedies for summer. If you need help sourcing clean products, write me an e-mail: taylorsherbals@gmail.com. I am passionate about using clean products. They are not just toxic for the earth- they are toxic to you!

I also make and sell products like my Healing Salve that features some of these herbs and more. Soon I will open an online shop for you to peruse these items. For now, reach out and see what I am offering.

Have a great, adventure-filled summer.

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Herbal Consultation Promotions for 2019

Do you have health concerns or goals you’d like to address in 2019? Are you looking to support your health from a holistic perspective? Are you new to natural medicine and wanting to work with someone trained and experienced?

Let me help you!

As a trained herbalist I can assist you in achieving your health goals. Herbal medicine seeks to understand the root cause of disease and utilizes phytotherapy to correct underlying imbalances. My work is to help you become more in tune with your body’s’ needs, increasing your understanding and belief that your body can heal itself while providing you with effective remedies to support your overall health. Look to my “Meet the Herbalist” tab to learn more about my training.

The healing capacity of herbs is infinite.

It’s not uncommon for me to explain what I do as an herbalist and then minutes or days later that same person asks me “does that mean you can help me with xyz…?”. It takes a minute to understand that I serve as an alternative health practitioner that specializes in phytotherapy. I understand this all may be new to you, and ingesting the new concept that herbs heal and herbalists are real can be overwhelming.. so let me simplify it for you.

What kinds of things can an herbalist help you with?

Emotional wellness
Pain & inflammation
Hormone balance
Nutrient deficiencies
Allergies & immune support
Sleep disturbances
Digestive distress
Blood sugar regulation
Problematic skin conditions
Pregnancy support and preparing for birth & all your motherhood needs
Recovering from injury, surgery, or workouts
Weight loss
…and much more

Although I urge all clients to be working with a doctor, you do not have to have a chronic disease diagnosis to benefit from herbs. A common example of this is the improvement of PMS-symptoms such as pain, cramping, and other irregularities that accompany most women’s menstrual cycles. Commonly experienced does not equate to normal, and herbs can offer so much support to symptoms we’re often told are “just part of being a woman”.

I will teach you…

…how and when to reach for herbs for daily health concerns.
…what herbs are appropriate for YOUR unique constitution and symptoms.
…where to find high-quality herbs and supplements.
…about the forms of herbal medicine and how to take herbs safely and effectively

My private-consultations are very educational. We will talk extensively about your health history and what you envision as your most vital self. I will create a unique herbal plan to support your visions and provide you with additional nutritional support and resources as necessary. I have extensive training and experience in herbal medicine making and often prepare remedies and formulations for my clients. If I do not what you need on hand, I will provide you with the resources to acquire it.

Are you ready to explore what herbal medicine has to offer?
For all of January I am offering two options to kick-off your wellness goals:

  • $20 off your initial Herbal Wellness Visit of $100
    OR….
  • 3 months of herbal health coaching that includes-
    • One 60-minute consult a month & endless email follow-up support
    • 20% OFF all remedies purchased through me during your program
    • This package is an estimated savings of over $450 for only $220 and if purchased by January 31st, 2019 can be started any month during 2019.

Distance consultations are always available.

To get started, please send an e-mail to taylorsherbals@gmail.com and let me know you saw this article to receive the discount and set up your appointments.

Many plant blessings to you in 2019.

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Favorite Remedies for Wintertime Mood Support

(Pictured above are fresh St. John’s Wort flowers I helped harvest in herbalist Margi Flints’ garden)

If you’re anything like me, you feel the effects of diminished sun exposure in the wintertime. Winter blues would creep in slowly around October long before I left Indiana and moved to Seattle- but it wasn’t until I was immersed in such darkness that I realized the impact the sun has on me. I believe that we all can use a little extra support through this season, so here are my tips to brighten your days.

Herbal mood up-lifters:

St. John’s Wort, holy basil, licorice, albizia, lemon balm, rose and damiana.

While there are so many more herbs that support mood, these have proven to be my favorite for myself and in my practice.  This would actually make a nice tea blend, but you may choose any to work with after becoming well acquainted. Herbs are like friends, we love them all but some we have more in common with. Some key differentiating descriptions are below.

  • St. John’s Wort
    • Effective anti-depressant, anxiolytic, anti-viral (notably with herpes-family viruses), nerve restorative & pain relief
    • Look for the fresh plant tincture, as this is the most active form. Please note that St. John’s Wort does interact with many drugs. If in doubt, ask your doctor.
  • Holy Basil
    • Supports resiliency in the face of stress. Diminishes effects of stress on the body. Chronic stress recovery. Situational depression. Blood sugar balance.
  • Licorice
    • For those of you who cannot wake up in the morning to save your life, try a dose of licorice tea or tincture upon waking and watch those energy levels rise & stabilize.
  • Albizia
    • The tree of collective happiness lifts grief and heartache. Helpful in insomnia. By far the most enchanting of the anti-depressant herbs.
  • Lemon balm
    • Bright and full of sunshine with a mild citrus taste, lemon balm is said to ‘gladden the heart’. Anxiety, nervous palpitations, nervous stomach. 
  • Rose
    • Another herb that tends to the emotional heart, rose softens our hearts during grief. It is also supportive for self-love and why I include it in nearly all self-care rituals.
  • Damiana
    • Traditionally noted for its aphrodisiac qualities, it does this by affecting our mood. For those of us that need to be grounded and reminded of the pleasures in life. Oxytocic.

Aromatherapy:

A happy accident lead me to this energetic combo- grapefruit & rosemary essential oils. I place a few drops of each on the ledges of my tub while showering to inhale the steam in the morning. Grapefruit’s citrusy-sunshine will undoubtedly make you smile. Rosemary is great at getting the blood moving, particularly to the brain and extremities. A real pep in your step.

Happy Lamps:

I have recently invested in a Happy Lamp from Verilux and have noticed a significant shift in my mood & energy in just a week of use. If I use it while I am working, I seem to work longer without tiring out so easily. These are great to turn on when you wake up to soak up the benefits while you get ready for your day. The light stimulates your gland the same way the rising sun would and subsequently resets your circadian rhythm. This triggers appropriately timed release of melatonin and boosts serotonin.

If you need support beyond this or still don’t know where to start, please reach out for a consultation. I love to work closely with an individuals unique needs and lifestyle to create a plan that works best for you. If you have questions about where to get high-quality herbs, please send me an e-mail: taylorsherbals@gmail.com.

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Herbal Thanksgiving: ‘Root’beer & Hawthorn- Cranberry Sauce

What better way to start a blog than to offer recipes for the holidays! Kitchen herbalism is where I shine- marrying food & herbal medicine with simplicity. Thanksgiving is days away and I’ll be cooking up these herbal concoctions to share with family. I’m always amused by sharing creations like these with people who have never experienced herbs. Watching the magic unfold as they sip on herbal root beer or munch on a damiana truffle…. Oh what fun!

These recipes were conjured up in my mind with the understanding that many heart attacks, especially fatal ones, occur during the holidays. My spin on these is to encourage healthy digestion from over-indulging and support cardiovascular health without asking you to take anything away from your normal holiday routines- that’s an article for another day.

Please enjoy these herbal recipes! And if you don’t know where to find these herbs… track down your local herb shops. In Indianapolis, my go-to herb shop is Good Earth in Broad Ripple.

Rootbeer Digestive Aid Syrup:

Rooted in herbal history is the beloved root beer syrup. With flavors so strong, it’s hard to mess this recipe up! So take mine and make it your own. Many will add orange zest, cinnamon, wintergreen, peppermint and more. To drink this as a soda, just add it to carbonated water. 

Herbs aren’t meant to be used only during illness but rather as daily inclusions to enhance vitality. The recipe below was created to support digestion during holiday feasts. Sassafras and sarsaparilla are what we call alteratives- in this case they support detoxification of toxins and wastes. The addition of burdock and anise seed supports mobilization and better utilization of fats and proteins while ginger ignites the digestive fire and reduces bloating & indigestion. When taken before a meal, these herbs get the digestive processes ready for action so you can get the most out of your food…and eliminate the rest.

Makes 3 cups of syrup

Ingredients:

1 oz Sassafras root

1 oz Sarsaparilla root

½ oz Anise seed

½ oz Burdock root

1 T Ginger root

3 cups sugar or raw honey

6 cups water

Carbonated water

Mesh strainer or other filter like mesh cloth

Pour the cold water into a pot before placing all herbs in. Stir it up & bring to a boil before reducing heat to a low rolling simmer. You can either mark the water line on a chopstick (or other utensil) or eyeball it’s evaporation so that it is reduced by half. Keep the lid cracked while decocting these herbs as this will help to keep some of the medicinal volatile oils from  evaporating off. Strain herbs out and press with a spoon to get out all that medicinal goodness! Place back in the pot and add sugar, stirring to incorporate. If using raw honey, allow the tea to cool before mixing so that you may preserve its’ enzymes and other heat sensitive medicinal benefits. Bottle it & store in the fridge! This ratio of sweetener to tea is 1:1 and is therefore not shelf stable (you’ll need a 2:1 for that!) but will keep in the fridge for a few weeks… though I’m sure you’ll find yourself guzzling this up sooner. All you’ll need is 2-4 tablespoons of syrup per cup of carbonated water!

Cranberries are already a plethora of antioxidants and are of great benefit to the urinary tract, but what if we amped it up with some heart healing herbs? Hawthorn berries are gems of the herbal world by being a protective cardiovascular tonic. One way it does this is by enhancing the muscle cells within the heart to have more energy and better utilization of it! A super food for your heart to include daily. Hawthorn berries and rose hips lend well to so many recipes that you can easily find ways to incorporate them. Here’s one fabulous way to use them this Thanksgiving.

Makes: 3 cups

Ingredients:

12 oz cranberries

2 oz hawthorn berries

1 oz rose hips

¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 ½ cup water

¾ cup honey or sugar

Begin by adding the water to a pot and decocting the hawthorn berries & rose hips for 20 minutes with a low rolling simmer. Mash the berries once they are soft enough to ensure proper extraction while decocting. Strain the herbs & press out with a spoon. Return the liquid to the pot and if using sugar, add this now to melt it. Then add the cranberries and allow to simmer until they ‘pop’ around 10 minutes. You can mash them at this point to give it a more even consistency. Allow to cool before mixing in honey and scooping into a jar.