Ready for Spring?

DRINK YOUR SUPER FOOD FOR SUPPORT THIS SEASON

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I barely want to say it in fear of jinxing it, but…the snow has seemed to melt for the last time, days are not so grey, and I don’t have to pile on a million layers before going outside anymore. FINALLY, a glimpse of spring! And I am ready for it! Just like nature prepares to change seasons, so do our physical bodies, making necessary adjustments. As a practicing Foot Reflexologist, I inevitably observe the areas within the body that require additional care. As summer moves to fall and winter to spring, the need for seasonal support shows up year after year like clockwork. This got me thinking…as an herbalist, with 95 bulk herbs on hand; perhaps herbal infusions made specifically for each season would be in order. Hello!!!

Similar to my thinking, it is well known in traditional Chinese medicine that it is important to focus on organ systems by season. With this idea in mind, I began making herbal tea blends targeted to support the organs most vulnerable in the different months of the year. Spring is a time when the liver and gallbladder need support. During winter we tend to be less active and crave warming and usually richer, comforting foods. You know what I’m talking about- that creamy mac and cheese you want to eat while lying in bed, watching a movie? Yup, that’s your body syncing with what is happening around us. The digestive system seems to slow down as we hibernate and require more rest and down time. Everything in nature dies back too. We are not separate from this and can take our queues by following the earth’s rhythm and our natural instincts.

So when we consider springtime, everything is emerging and coming to life. Our bodies want to do that too. The liver, being the organ of focus for spring, performs over 500 functions, many of which include digestion and elimination. One can imagine why it may need some perking up! For this, I like to focus on fresh seasonal foods and herbs to achieve optimum results. Some examples would include leafy greens, asparagus and artichokes. There are many wild weeds that support us as well, like dandelion greens, chickweed and violet leaves. The liver and gallbladder love bitter flavors to get things moving. All that’s needed is a mouthful everyday to perk up and make the cells dance! What would be easier than putting all those helpful herbs together in your favorite cup of tea? In our Spring Herbal Tea, herbs such as red clover blossoms, nettle leaf and burdock root are used, all of which gently cleanse the blood. This allows the liver to become more efficient in doing its job of eliminating toxic overload. Basically, it’s the perfect way to cleanse your body this spring season, by drinking the super foods your body needs most right now.

As spring approached (and I waited..and waited…and waited), I introduced the Spring Blend to my routine by alternating with the Winter Blend a few days a week. I’ve discovered through experience, that drinking the tea 2-3 weeks prior to and throughout the season helps the body to adjust more efficiently. Another huge benefit and maybe most importantly, is that after consuming a blend for 5-6 weeks, a tonic or long lasting effect can be experienced. The uptake of vitamins and minerals that are quickly absorbed by the body, as well as the specific herbs focusing on specific results, makes this a very effective healing choice. This is why I like to think of the herbal infusions as a super food that is economical and enjoyable to consume.

Drinking an herbal blend on a daily basis has become my family’s go-to ritual. You may not see results immediately, but over time, the results are undeniable. You just feel the difference every time. There are even visual differences you can notice in your hair, nails, and skin. Your body will thank you, so give it a try! There’s nothing to lose and only to gain. Enjoy!

Light & Love,

Kimberly

Not Your Average Medicine Chest

Traditional Remedies for Home and Travel

All my life I’ve gathered essential oils for everyday use. Over the years, I developed a habit of carrying them with me in a pouch in case I needed them. This became the inspiration for a kit – 5 essential oils, complete with their descriptions and application instructions, all in one place. Together the oils in this kit are a remedy to more than 50 ailments, a perfect on the go “medicine chest”, ready to come to the rescue.

Also included in the Medicine Chest is a quick reference guide listed in alphabetical order for treating each ailment with the oils. This provides a handy self-help tool for home and travel use. What I love is that the kit includes a few uncommon oils you don’t see everywhere. Those who have experience using essential oils will recognize and appreciate these exceptional blends. At the same time, thanks to the informative and concise reference guide even the inexperienced user will quickly and easily learn more about these remedies. It’s a great way to be introduced to essential oils and to learn how to use them to actually obtain results.


Sneak Peek into the Medicine Chest

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  • Lavender Mailette: for all-purpose use

  • Eucalyptus Radiata: to protect and heal viral and bacterial infections

  • African Sage: an excellent antifungal and antiseptic skin cleanser

  • Helichrysum:  for traumas, bruises, sprains and strains

  • Blend of Ravensara/Thyme Linalool: anti-infectious, immune stimulant, expectorant and anti-viral/bacterial

(We are only scratching the surface, but you get the idea.)


With such a broad variety of uses, the kit makes an excellent gift to yourself or others. For the best use of the potential that lies within these oils, familiarize yourself with the content cards, so you have a go-to when needed.  It’s really like having your own personal, new and improved medicine chest, with everything you need, at all times….and it fits in your purse. If you run out, the oils can also be refilled upon request as usage varies.

Be empowered and don’t leave home without it!

Light & Love,

Kimberly

“Make Yourself at Home!”

A Travel Ritual That Really Works

 

Whenever I’m traveling and find myself in a hotel room, I make sure to never be without my favorite sprays. While the Essential Protection Spray focuses on clearing airborne pathogens (germs!), our Energetic Clearing Spray will clear and uplift the energy in the room, based on the influence of its blend of essential oils. Because of how frequently hotel rooms are visited, one can imagine the multitude of energies left behind. Energies are alive and they can linger in the corners of rooms, so I like to perform this simple ritual.

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Immediately upon arrival I begin at the entranceway and spray the Essential Protection around the entire parameter of the rooms, including bathroom fixtures for germ clearing. Then I follow the same pathway with the Energetic Clearing Spray. When I finish this process, which doesn’t take long, you can feel the energy in the space lift, and literally feel like it’s your home. When traveling with my family, they comment every time that they cannot believe the difference.

Not everyone is knowingly sensitive to the energies in his or her environment, nonetheless this makes a huge impact on how one feels while traveling. Try it yourself and tell us how it goes!

Light & Love,

Kimberly

Healing is Only a Cup Away

Regarded for thousands of years by Native Americans to be a key to good health, medicinal herbal teas can assist us in a myriad of ways. Whether it’s treating an acute ailment such as the common cold or long-term benefits such as toning and strengthening the organ systems, it’s a gentle yet effective way to boost overall health and well-being. Consider creating a daily ritual of drinking an herbal tea blend. Toronto based herbalist Marcia Dixon supports this idea. “If you drink tea everyday, you can make all sorts of significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.” Herbal teas are rich in nutrients, particularly minerals that are readily absorbed by the body without stressing the digestive system. It’s much like a super food that can heal the body gently because of the uptake of nutrients. “In a lot of ways, we might get more benefit from a good organic tea than from a vitamin pill,” says herbalist Marianne Beacon of Elderberry Herbals in Peterborough, ON. A great benefit of this is that when you consume a particular blend over time, it can strengthen and tone organ systems creating long-lasting benefits. When an herbal blend is targeting a particular outcome and is prepared properly, a medicinal effect can be achieved. It is important to have a proper method of infusion to achieve medicinal effects. After 25 years of formulating and drinking herbal teas, this is the method I value and have found most effective in achieving a potent brew. Youneed a proper steeping vessel like a French press or a tea maker that allows the herbs to steep loose while staying covered. I find it’s essential to cover your brew right away so the volatile oils from the herbs, so valuable toward effectiveness, do not escape into the air. That’s why Dixon says, “otherwise, your room smells nice but you’re not retaining the medicinal properties.” So begin by measuring 1 tbsp. herb per cup of water into the steeping vessel. To fill an average 16 oz. mug it usually ends up to be 2 tbsp. herb for 2 cups water. Pour just boiled water over herbs and cover to steep 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy! The tea will still be nice and hot and the herbs will have had a sufficient time to steep. You might be thinking a loose-leaf tea spares convenience, but when you have this down it’s a snap. Plus you have a high quality drink while getting more value for your buck. You’ll get 2 to 3 times more loose-leaf tea for the value of 1 tea bag. As we approach the cooler months of the year when Mother Nature is dying back and preparing to rest, our bodies seem to need extra support. Drinking a medicinal tea can do just that, while also tasting good. It is a little known fact that certain organ systems are more vulnerable in each season of the year. During the winter months we want to boost our kidneys and bladder by drinking a blend of herbs such as, nettle leaf, alfalfa, chamomile, marshmallow root and oat straw. Stress is also a given during the holiday season, so targeting herbs to tone your nervous system and to keep you calm can be so important and helpful. Some suggestions would be to blend herbs such as lemon balm, chamomile, skullcap, spearmint, lavender and passionflower. Incorporating a tea ritual as part of your day gives you a message to pause, reflect and restore your balance and well-being. It’s an incredible way to nurture and treat your self well with little time spent on the process. Winter Herbal Tea

Winter Herbal Tea

So let’s get started toward optimum health, in such an easy and delightful way, by brewing up a favorite herbal tea. We often forget that something so simple and affordable can have great impact on our health. This time honored medicine has been proven powerful over millenniums.   Simply choose a single herb, or blend for your particular needs, and a steeping vessel of choice. Voila, a perfect marriage! Enjoy an ancient medicine way for modern times.   Light & Love, Kimberly

The Secrets of Preserving Basil

Even though we don’t want to be the first to say it, somehow the summer is coming to an end…One of the things we have enjoyed during this hot summer season is our garden. We have been absolutely crazy about our fresh veggies, and are so grateful for all our wonderful crops. But while some things went all too fast (we ate our cherry tomatoes right off the vine in about 5 minutes), there are some that seem to be never-ending. We planted our basil plants around mid-June, and after only a month our backyard is covered in it!

What is better than the aroma of fresh basil? There is nothing like inhaling a fresh handful of it…a smell that invigorates body, mind, and spirit. But what to do with all that basil when your 3-inch seedlings grow into 3-foot bushes? Of course we have spoiled ourselves many times with quite the summer recipe of ripe tomatoes simmered into a sauce with sprinkles of basil…our family’s famous greensauce pesto with gnocchi…the perfect caprese salad, fresh basil julienned on top…mmm.

But no matter how much we ate…it just seemed to keep growing! We figured we needed to come up with a plan. And so, we thought of some of the most satisfying ways to preserve your basil crop. When life gets a little crazy (cause don’t we know, it does!) and you start to get a little overwhelmed and don’t want to waste that great basil in your backyards…here are a couple options we love:

Some Satisfying Ways to Preserve Your Basil

  • Dry it. This is an easy and simple option for your bunches of basil, but obviously it loses some of its vitality. We do think this is a great choice to replace our bottled store-bought dry basil. The easiest method is using a food dehydrator (we use a Sedona dehydrator), but of course not everyone has one of those. No worries, a traditional oven can also be used. Turn your oven on to the lowest possible setting (so the high heat doesn’t damage the essential oils in the basil). Once it’s warm, turn off the oven and place your basil inside on a cookie sheet. Leave the basil in the oven for an hour. Turn the oven back onto the lowest setting for 10-15 minutes. Repeat every hour until the herb is brittle. You can also hang dry bunches of basil, upside-down by the stem in a warm, dry, well-ventilated room for a week or more. Once the basil is brittle to the touch it’s ready.
  • Freeze it. Blanch fresh leaves to destroy enzymes that would normally turn the basil black over time. Then, pack thin layers in plastic bags or containers. This is awesome to use in recipes for a subtle flavor, but don’t expect this to pack the same punch as fresh basil.
  • Make precursor to pesto. Blend 2 cups basil, 1 large clove of garlic and enough olive oil to process together. This can then be refrigerated or frozen in useful-size batches. If storing in the refrigerator, be sure to top the pesto mixture with a ½ inch layer of olive oil to help preserve it. We can’t lie; it’s pretty satisfying to pull one of these out in the middle of the winter! Add some cherry tomatoes and mozzarella for an even bigger treat.

And our latest obsession: BASIL SALT!

We were so excited to recently discover basil salt…it is so, so easy, lasts indefinitely and can be used for so many yummy recipes!

  • Mix ½ cup basil leaves, chopped fine, with 2 tbsp. of kosher salt and store in sealed jar. Voila!
  • For ours we used Redmond Real Salt (Kosher Sea Salt) and made 4 times the recipe (2 cups basil leaves, 8 tbsp. salt) ending up with ½ pint jar.

Anytime you need basil and salt together in a dish, this is the perfect secret ingredient to use for that mouth-watering taste of summer basil. And as if it were still on the plant…open that jar, containing your perfect emerald salt, and there’s that aroma of fresh basil we love!

How do you preserve your summer crops? Tell us about it!

 

Light & Love,

Kimberly

Summer Time Sun Tea

Summer is here, and it is HOT out there. It’s the time to be out in the sun, on the beach or by a pool, tanning away with an ice cold drink in your hand. And what is better than an iced tea? Whether it’s long island or not is your call…

One of my favorite options for an always-delicious glass of iced tea is one that is made by the heat source itself…Grab a hold of the best loose-leaf tea you can find (with all those amazing health benefits included) and join me in making a summer time sun tea.

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What you’ll need:

– Loose-leaf herbal tea
– 2 glass recipients (jars work really well)
– Water

 

A larger jar can be used for a family sized sun tea, or to drink over a couple of days.

How to make your Sun Tea:

  1. To begin, decide on how much tea you would like to make. For each cup of water, you will need about a tablespoon of tea. This time I decided to use a 4-cup jar, so 4 tablespoons of tea – I chose our Summer Herbal Tea Blend.
  2. Fill your recipient with water according to your measurements.
  3. Mix in the tea leaves and herbs.
  4. Place in a sunny area and let it brew!
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(I usually prefer heaping tablespoons)

Since it is a sun tea, make sure you choose a sunny day for your brewing. Ideally you should leave the jar of tea in the sun for between 2-3 hours, depending on how strong you like your tea and the time of day it is, but there is no perfect timing. You can leave your jar out before going to work and have it ready when you come back and are ready to relax. I love to leave it out while I tan on these hot summer days…nothing better than a nice cold glass of this stuff!

After 3 hours, here is a before and after of our tea:

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  1. Once the tea is brewed to your liking, strain the tea into your second recipient.

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6.  If you like your tea sweet, now is the time to add honey, while the tea is still warm from the sun. (Plus, this way you don’t jeopardize the beneficial qualities of the honey with water that is too hot.

7. Refrigerate your sun tea to cool, or for those impatient souls, add ice!

8. And that’s it! You’re ready to fight off the heat. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

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So this is our summer sun tea, but I also love making a moon tea with fresh lemon balm. Same idea, but left under the full moon overnight. The next full moon is on July 12th, so maybe I’ll show you how to make that one soon!

 

Light & Love,

Kimberly

Why Nettle Works as a Treatment for Seasonal Allergies

Nettle (Urtica Dioica) has been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms, particularly hayfever which is the most common allergy problem. It contains biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. Dr. Andrew Wiel M.D. author of Natural Health/ Natural Medicine says he knows of nothing more effective than nettle for allergy relief. And his statement is backed up by studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Stinging Nettle really does sting, until heated.

Decongestants, antihistamines, allergy shots and even prescription medications such as Allegra and Claritin treat only the symptoms of allergies and tend to lose effectiveness over a period of time. They can also cause drowsiness, dry sinuses, insomnia and high blood pressure. Nettle has none of these side effects. It can be used on a regular basis and has an impressive number of other benefits most notably as a treatment for prostate enlargement.

Nettle’s aerial parts may reduce the amount of histamine that is produced by the body in response to an allergen. An allergen is a substance such as pollen that may provoke an exaggerated immune response in individuals who are sensitive to it. Through this potential action, the aerial parts of nettle may help to reduce allergy symptoms. Results from one human study are promising, but more research is needed to be conclusive.

Spring Herbnal Blend

This herb should be used for a minimum of 30 days for full effects.*  The Nettle in our Spring Herbal Blend is organically grown.

Nettle Herb Notes

Latin Names: Uritca dioica, Uritca galeopsifolia

Common Names: Nettle, Big String Nettle, Common Nettle, Stinging Nettle, Gerrais, Isirgan, Kazink, Nabat Al Nar, Ortiga, Grande Ortie, Ortie, Urtiga, Chichicaste, Brennessel, Gross d?Ortie, Racine d?Ortie, Grote Brandnetel, Ortiga Mayor, Devils Leaf

Properties: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-anaphylactic,anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, anti-convulsant, anti-dandruff, anti-histamine, astringent, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, hemostatic, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, galactagogue, immunomodulator, prostate tonic, stimulating tonic

Indicated for: Seasonal allergies, arthritis, bronchitis, bursitis, gingivitis, laryngitis, prostatitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, tendinitis, BPH, rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions. High blood pressure, hair loss, anaemia, excessive menstruation, hemorrhoids, eczema, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, hemorrhoids. Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, bladder infections, hives, kidney stones, multiple sclerosis, PMS, prostate enlargement and sciatica

Side Effects: Nettle may lower blood pressure and heart rate. It may also lower blood sugar. Whilst this may be beneficial, if you are on a set dosage of diabetic medication you may find your blood sugar ends up too low with the combined effect of both your medication AND nettle lowering blood sugar.*

Thanks to herbwisdom.com
*Information on this website is based on research from the internet, books, articles and studies and/or companies selling herbs online. Statements in this website have not necessarily been evaluated and should not be considered as medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. for diagnosis or treatment consult your physician.