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

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

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.

summer herbal tea blend, jar, loose-leaf tea

 

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!
herbal tea, loose leaf tea, tea blend, jar, water, brew, sun tea, summer

(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:

herbal tea, loose leaf tea, tea blend, jar, water, brew, sun tea, summer

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

herbal tea, loose leaf tea, tea blend, jar, water, brew, sun tea, summer      herbal tea, loose leaf tea, tea blend, jar, water, brew, sun tea, summer                          herbal tea, loose leaf tea, tea blend, jar, water, brew, sun tea, summer

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!

herbal tea, loose leaf tea, tea blend, jar, water, brew, sun tea, summer

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.

Does Loose-Leaf Tea Top Tea Bags for Flavor & Health Benefits?

At first thought, a tea bag spells convenience. Oh yes, one may say that they don’t have enough time to make a proper herbal infusion. Or, the thought may not have even crossed your mind. Allow me, an herbalist (who has made and drank many herbal tea formulas), to share my 25 plus years experience on this topic.

Bodum Travel PressIf you enjoy herbal infusions as much as I do, you may as well go all the way and soak it loose! A proper steeping vessel, such as a French Press, makes it super easy and much more beneficial for your health. You simply measure 2 tbsp. of your loose leaf blend of choice into the press, and pour 16oz. of just boiled water over the herbs. Cover and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes. Decant by pressing the herbs to the bottom and pouring into your favorite mug or to go cup. There you have it, a brew chocked full of readily available vitamins and minerals, plus full bodied flavor.

When you consume herbal teas this way, 4 to 5 times weekly for 6 to 8 weeks, you will experience a tonifying effect to the organ systems of the body. It works much like super nutritious food would, yet without taxing the digestive system, as the nutrients are readily absorbed into the blood stream. So easy and so satisfying! In our house, we love the ritual of nourishing and nurturing ourselves in this way. At the moment, our daughter enjoys a blend to keep her acne prone skin at bay. I’m enjoying and benefiting from herbs blended to ease menopausal changes, and my husband is toning the organs (lungs and large intestines) most vulnerable in the autumn season.

Winter Herbal Tea Blend

These herbs are hand picked from the optimum part of the plant for flavor and health benefits and cannot be properly brewed in a tea bag.

Oh yes, I got so excited about sharing my brewing preference that I nearly forgot about the good old tea bag. Well, typically tea bags contain herbs whereby the leaves are crushed, so the freshness and quality can be compromised. As soon as you breakdown the cell wall of a plant to that degree, you lose volatile oils and nutrients. Plus, the amount of herbs in a typical tea bag is a tablespoon if you’re lucky. By the time you fill your mug with water and the steam escapes with whatever volatile oils are left, you end up with a weak cup of tea.

Calming Tea in Tin

This could mean you need 2 tea bags for a decent cup of tea, and it ends up being an inferior quality brew, plus less cost effective.

Now, there are exceptions for having a decent cup of tea bag tea. Examples of herbs that loan themselves to this method, would be the mint family such as, peppermint, spearmint and catnip. Chamomile and lemon balm also give their energies easily to this use.

In summary, you get the most for your buck and body with a loose leaf herbal infusion. Once you get used to doing it this way, plus have what you need for convenient brewing purposes, you will not look back! I would not be without an on going favorite brew for anything. This, for my family and me, has been a powerful health enhancing ritual that I would not trade for any other. Give it a try, and you too may feel the benefits and get hooked!

Happy Brewing!

Kimberly

A Daily Cup of Herbal Tea for Health and Wellness

If you could pick one thing to do every day to enhance your overall health and sense of wellbeing over time, a cup of quality herbal tea should be at the top of your list. Herbal teas are a highly effective, inexpensive (and super easy) way to boost your immune system.

Here’s how they work:

  • Herbal teas are rich in minerals we don’t get readily from our food. And unlike other foods that are a strain on the digestive system, the nutrients from teas are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and put to use by the body.
  • They’re also cleansing. The herbs in the teas work to renew and clean the blood and organ systems of the body, gently and effectively.
  • Herbal teas pack a big punch over time, and it doesn’t take long to notice the difference. My husband and I drink a brew a day. We just recently switched back to our Autumn blend, and we could feel it really start to affect us after just a couple of weeks.
  • Keep it simple.

It’s funny…we all think that life is somehow going to get easier someday. When we cross that next something off our to-list, then we’ll have time to relax, treat ourselves to a little R&R, and start making healthier choices. But I’ve found that the finish line keeps moving forward. Such is the reality of modern-day life – a juggling act of work, family and friends.

So in my quest for balance, I try to make things easy for myself. I find simple, enjoyable ways to bring the right things into my life every day.

That’s why I’m so passionate about herbal tea. I know it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in my life.A mug of herbal tea is my daily ritual. Cradling it in my hands while I sit at my desk or take a moment to watch the world wake up outside my kitchen window… If I don’t do anything else for myself today, I know I’ve done something good.

A few tips to keep in mind when thinking about tea:

  • Loose herbal tea contains more nutrients and healing properties than tea bags. Tea bags have a teaspoon of herbs, compared to the tablespoon of loose herbs I recommend for an 8-ounce mug. Plus, the herbs in tea bags are crushed and macerated so they lose their properties.
  • Tea bags may seem more convenient, but you’ll be amazed at how simple it really is to make a cup of delicious, nutritious tea with loose herbs. Measure 1 tablespoon of loose herbs per cup of water into a jar or covered container (a French Press also works great). Pour boiling water over herbs and cover to steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain and enjoy!
  • The steeping time (of 10-15 minutes for loose herbal tea blends) is important because this is how long it takes for the volatile oils found in many herbs to disperse into the water.

 

Light & Love,

Kimberly