August 25, 2008

Back to School? Already!?

Hi Everyone,

Well, I can't believe how fast the summer has passed me by. I've been busy harvesting herbs, picking wild blueberries, making pesto to preserve my basil for the winter and September is only 1 week away! Where on earth did the summer go?

Fall is actually my favorite season. I love the smell of wood stoves being cranked up on the chilly nights, football season, the extraordinarily beautiful colors of the woods where we live and warm, apple cider with cloves, cinnamon and a little orange peel. But alas, when the kiddos go back to school, it seems everyone I know ends up sick.

Children are back inside classrooms instead of being out in the sunshine and fresh air. They are breathing recycled air, being exposed to others with all sorts of maladies and, if they haven't eaten particularly well during the summer, dealing with compromised immune systems that cannot fight off the buggies that will come.

There are several things to do, starting with making sure their diets are as healthy as they can be. Try to eliminate as much sugar as you can. There is scientific research that tells us sugar depletes the effectiveness of our immune systems, yet our children consume more of it than any other nation. This, plus a lack of exercise is contributing to the almost epidemic levels of childhood obesity and childhood diabetes. These are not experienced at our levels any place else in the world and study after study attribute it to our diets and sedentary lifestyle.

Luckily, there are plenty of fall/winter sports your children can become involved with, so encourage them to get out there and exercise. Your local YWCA/YMCA have some wonderful programs for children, so check those out as well.

Lots of healthy green vegetables, fresh fruits while you can still get them - avoid the juices, lean meats, no fried foods and plenty of sleep every night are essential to keep your little ones happy and healthy.

OK, so where do the herbs come in? Well, echinacea and goldenseal have been the "go to" standard for centuries for the immune system. I don't personally suggest goldenseal for children as it is stronger and pretty bitter to the taste. Also, go for glycerites instead of alcohol based tinctures. They taste sweet, so the little ones will take them. Here's my short list of the herbs that will help with the upcoming cold and flu season and to build up those little immune systems:

  • Elderberry
  • Valerian
  • Echinacea
  • Chamomile
  • California Poppy
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Catnip
  • Skullcap

Now the herbalists among you may have noticed several herbs in there with sedative properties. Absolutely! I think they are very important to help the children get the critical sleep they need, from 8 - 10 hours per night. Try giving your little bunnies some chamomile or lemon balm tea with honey one hour before bed. I have also had great success with my customers who have children with ADD or ADHD with these formulas.

Or, you can get the glycerites from me at in the Apothecary. These are listed under the Herbal Elixirs section. I also have a "Baby Bunny Tonic" for babies and pre-schoolers to help with colic, diarrhea, colds, flu, coughs, upset tummies, teething, irritability and sleeplessness.

So bundle up, get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and have a wonderful start to the school year!

Until next time!!


August 6, 2008

Foods for Healing

In addition to the myriad of herbs available to help make our lives more pleasant and healthy, there are many foods that can help us achieve that balance of wellness and health in our bodies.

I've attached a link to a beautiful little video put out by The School of Natural Healing, a wonderful school established by Dr. Christopher. This article has been floating around the internet, but I wanted to offer the video to all my readers. Here's the link:

One of the easiest/hardest things we can do for our continued longevity and health is to eat a good diet. It's easy because you don't need a lot of complex machinery, it's readily available and it's fairly inexpensive. It's hard because our lives are so hectic, almost everything pre-packaged is full of harmful preservatives and chemicals and frankly, cooking from scratch is time-consuming.

But the benefits are far-reaching. It is amazing in my practice when I consult with clients. The first thing we address is diet. All recommendations start with dietary recommendations. After several weeks of doing little things like switching from white flour to whole wheat, stone ground flour, substituting honey for sugar, making the switch to decaf coffee etc., there is an amazing Ah HA! experience that everyone goes through. Who would have thought that something so simple would make such dramatic results. But it does and I've seen it time and time again in every sort of malady.

Here's a list of my dietary "Seven Deadly Sins":

  • white flour
  • sugar
  • artificial sweeteners
  • fried foods
  • pre-packaged foods
  • artificial preservatives
  • caffeine

All of these play havoc with the endocrine system. This affects the hormones as well as the immunity. Making simple substitutions will make a world of difference in your health and energy levels. Not to mention slow those kids down who are on a constant "sugar high".

Try more fresh fruits, fresh veggies, lean, hormone free meats, whole grains, pure dairy and pure water in your diet. Easy to do, hard to get started, but oh so worth it!

Valere! (Be Well!)