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Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekly Herb Column Article Expansion: June 27 Chakras 1 thru 7

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As most of you know, I write a weekly Herbs are Nature's Medicine column (Harlem News - includes the 5 Boroughs of NYC); this Post encompasses an expansion of the last two articles.  You can go here to subscribe or read the weekly articles online:  I've done the past 7 articles on each of the seven chakras.

Hopefully, creating a healthier internal environment has become easier through these articles, and you are becoming comfortable expressing your emotions more and resolving your internal pains that are the seat of disease. Even as I write these articles, I too am learning to heal what I didn't realize has been hiding in my pain; and it ain't easy!

The Seventh Chakra is our final step in the ascension to Universal connection, love, and oneness of humanity. In this chakra we encounter transcendence, belief systems, divinity, and expansion of our vision, as we become more deeply oriented to self-knowledge. Here we learn how to release and let go of attachments, which is what traditionally hold us down. We assimilate with the knowledge we've acquired and turn that into wisdom where we realize our true nature. Here we realize the need to separate our worldly dreams and goals for an introduction to our Soul's journey and purpose on this plane; and yet stay rooted in our first chakra to the Earth.

Here we figure out what the true meaning of our lives are. To realize and embrace the grandeur of the Universe creates a larger context in which to view our own personal existence. Learning how to be in the seventh chakra requires a closer look into our belief systems, as they are the foundation of our reality.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I had promised that in the next article, I would summarize the rise from the root chakra through the Crown.  Here is this/next week's article:  {In my upcoming eBook (INTRO to Herbs are Nature's Medicine) you will find the developmental stages from the womb, that the seven chakras can be consciously shaped and formed as we raise our children through adulthood.}

Summarizing the past articles, you now know that chakras are spinning vortexes of vital energy located throughout the body. They govern various parts of the body, influence specific physiological functions, various aspects of the brain, and directly impact our emotional states and psychic patterns and perceptions.  There are actually 22 chakras throughout the body. The first 7 are accessible in this 3rd dimensional plane; chakras 8 through 15 are in the 4th dimension, and chakras 16 through 22 are accessible in the 5th dimension. The chakras that have the most influence on our health here on Earth are the seven major chakras, which are located in a straight line rising from the base of the spine going up to the top of the head. Each is associated with a major nerve plexus and a major endocrine gland. These spinning energy centers process our subtle vibrational energies and converts them into chemical, hormonal and cellular changes. Chakras themselves literally have unique personalities and functions of their own. Each of the chakras relates to different levels of consciousness, development stages of life, emotions, thoughts, colors, sounds, body functions and much more.

When not balanced, or if the energies are blocked, the basic life force will be slowed down, and the individual may feel listless, tired, out of sorts, or depressed. Not only will physical bodily functions be affected so diseases may manifest, but the thought processes and the mind may also be affected. A negative attitude, fear, doubt, etc. may preoccupy the individual. A constant balance (easily attainable day-to-day) between the chakras promotes health and a sense of well-being.

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KITCHEN HERBS: Parsley, SesemeSeeds, Marjoram, Rosemary, Celery Seeds

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 . . . . . . Regular readers of my weekly herb column know that we have been discussing how to make small changes in our daily habits so that we can receive huge benefits in our health. We can use herbs to raise our spirits, energy and health. Let's not sit on what we have learned, but instead put it all into practice. A place in our homes that is bursting with healing herbs/foods is the kitchen. The mustard on your table and many of the spices on your shelf come from herbs; most of the vegetables in your salad are herbs; and if you have a yard, many of the plants growing there (whether by your or their own design) are also herbs.Continuing with ways to eliminate toxins from our diet and system, this week we will discuss some foods/spices from the kitchen. 
Hang and dry your own herbs right in your kitchen
(Ask me how)
PARSLEY is used generously (works better when added fresh) in green drinks and with other herbs to fight cancer. An enema of parsley-peach pit (or bark or leaf) tea is useful in stimulating the liver's ability to detoxify. Parsley's high 'histine content' helps inhibit the further growth of most cancer cells. Parsley is also good for the eyes, to dissolve kidney and gallstones, indigestion, scalp problems (lice, ringworm, dandruff) and venomous bites, venereal disease and hypertension.
SESAME SEEDS, being rich in Vit. C, E and calcium – powder and add to soups to fight colds and influenza. Improves eyes (prepare tea with Eyebright and use as eyewash); eat with meals to reduce serum cholesterol in the blood which fights obesity. The seed oil is used externally to fight lice, staph infections, and rubbing on recent scars/incisions helps proud flesh from forming. Because of Sesame seeds nutritional content, taken with meals it can strength the spleen (the organ responsible for generating new blood cells).
SWEET MARJORAM, taken as seasoning and in capsules 2X per day lowers cholesterol; taken as a warm tea rids indigestion; infectious childhood diseases (measles, mumps chicken pox and colic); regulates menses (taken 3-4 days in advance); relieves minor headaches and nervous shakes/hand or limb trembling (strong infusion of herb and flowers take one cup 3-4x daily. 

ROSEMARY, which is often used to season breads and meats, as a tea is useful for bad breath, coughs, headaches and bronchitis (and asthma: made into a syrup with equal parts mullein and coltsfoot); heart stimulant, gas/indigestion, liver tonic, low blood pressure, menopause, nervousness and poor circulation. Rheumatism, premature balding, dandruff, urinary problems and wounds/sores.

Celery Seeds
CELERY SEED(S) tea sipped slowly will improve appetite, relieve hives and hysteria; will ease insomnia taken one-hour before retiring; eases lung congestion (flavor with a little peppermint), good for nervousness/hyperactivity (with equal parts skullcap), rheumatism (with Damiana). 

Stimulant as strong morning tea. Promotes urination and as an external wash/internal douche will relieve itching rashes/venereal disease.

I implore you to make some small changes in your daily living habits to guaranty better health for you and your family, to rejuvenate, regenerate and revitalize your life, health and well 
being. Suggested reading: Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About, by Kevin Trudeau.

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12 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency

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Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think. In fact, it is so common that The American Journal of Clinical NutritionaI called it a world wide problem which is recognized as a pandemic.  Also a survey in the UK showed that more than half of adults in the UK did not have enough vitamin D, and in the winter and spring about 1 in 6 people have a severe deficiency.
12 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency

What is vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for a good overall health and plays an important role in making sure our muscles, heart, lungs and brain function well. Our body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from supplements, and a very small amount comes from a few foods you eat, such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and in fortified dairy, cereals and grain products.
What makes vitamin D unique compared to other vitamins is that your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight, whereas you need to get other vitamins from the foods you eat.

How long should you spend in the sun to get enough vitamin D?

Finding out how long to stay in the sun in order to produce enough amounts of vitamin D can be very tricky and is different for every person, hence there isn’t one recommendation for everyone. The reason for that is that the amount of time you need to spend in the sun for your skin to make enough vitamin D depends on a number of factors, such as how dark your skin is or how easily you get sunburned, the thickness of the ozone layer, the time of the year and what time of day it is.
It is believed that short daily period of sun exposure without sunscreen (about 10-15 minutes for lighter-skinned people) during the summer months is enough for most people to make enough vitamin D. Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for vitamin D production is between 11am and 3pm. The larger the area of skin that is exposed to sunlight, the more chance there is of making enough vitamin D before you start to burn.

Common causes for lack of vitamin D

  • Limited exposure to sunlight – Some of us live in northern latitudes, wear long clothes, or have a job that is taken place mostly indoors. Also sunscreen inhibits vitamin D production.
  • Dark skin – People with dark skin have higher levels of melanin, and this pigment reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
  • Kidney and liver function – These organs play an important role in converting vitamin D to its active form, so kidney or liver diseases can reduce the ability of these organs to create biologically active form of vitamin D in the body.
  • Strict vegetarian diet – Food sources that contain vitamin D are mostly animal-based, such as fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk and beef liver.
  • Digestive problems – Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease can reduce the ability of the intestines to absorb vitamin D from food.
  • Obesity – Obesity may cause low vitamin D levels. Research suggests that vitamin D may become ‘trapped’ inside fat tissue so less of it is available in our blood circulation.

Vitamin D Deficiency Related Diseases & Conditions

Researchers are still working to fully understand how vitamin D works within our body and how it affects our overall health, but it is believed to be a link between vitamin D deficiency to quite a number of ailments:
1. Osteoporosis – An adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are important for maintaining bone density and strength. A lack of vitamin D causes calcium-depleted bone, which further weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures. You can also read my article about the 4 steps to prevent osteoporosis.
2. Asthma – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to lower lung functions and worse asthma control, especially in children. Vitamin D may improve asthma control by blocking inflammation-causing proteins in the lung, as well as increasing production of another protein which has anti-inflammatory effects. Read the article about natural treatments for asthma, which vitamin D is one of them.
3. Heart health – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
4. Inflammation – It has been found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and type 1 diabetes.
5. Cholesterol – Vitamin D regulates cholesterol levels in the blood: it has been shown that without adequate sun exposure, vitamin D precursors turn to cholesterol instead of vitamin D.
6. Allergies – Studies show that children who had lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have multiple food allergies.
7. Influenza – Some studies showed a link between lack of vitamin D and common respiratory infections, and indicate that people with the lowest vitamin D levels report having significantly more cases of cold and flu than those with higher levels.
8. Depression – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression: receptors for vitamin D are present on many areas of the brain and are involved in numerous brain processes, making it likely that this vitamin might be associated with depression and that vitamin D supplements might play an important role in treating depression.
9. Type-2 Diabetes – Studies have demonstrated correlations between low vitamin D levels and the development of type 2 diabetes. Different studies provide evidence that vitamin D may contribute to glucose tolerance through its effects on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.
10. Oral health – Several recent reports demonstrate a significant association between periodontal health and the intake of vitamin D. Also elderly patients with low vitamin D levels have a higher rate of tooth loss than those with high vitamin D levels.
11. Rheumatoid arthritis – Low vitamin D may play a role in developing rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have found that women who get more vitamin D seem less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis. Also among people who already have rheumatoid arthritis, those with low vitamin D levels tend to have more active symptoms.
12. Cancer – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to cancer: a certain study indicated that more than 75% of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers. However additional research is required to determine whether higher vitamin D levels are related to lower cancer incidence or death rates.

What to do if you have a vitamin D deficiency?

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about the level of vitamin D you get from the sun and your diet. A simple blood test can determine whether or not you have vitamin D deficiency. Your doctor can advise if you need to take a vitamin D supplement. There is no consensus on vitamin D levels required for optimal health, and it differs depending on age and health conditions.


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5 Essential Nutrients You May Be Missing From Your Diet

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Although we live in a culture of abundance and can have almost every food we want, we may suffer nutritional deficiencies that can be harmful to our health. This article will cover the five major vitamins and minerals deficiencies, how to spot them and how to restore your body from what it lacks.
In today’s abundant society we have problems of excess that would compromise our health, for example excessive consumption of salt or excessive consumption of saturated fat, but also in our society there are nutritional deficiencies that almost all of us can have, and we should give attention and treat these deficiencies as soon as possible.

These are the 5 vitamins and minerals whose absence harms our health:

1. Lack of vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps to build red blood cells in our body and nervous system function.
How to identify lack of vitamin B12? This deficiency may lead to a feeling of fatigue, tingling in the feet or tips of the palm fingers and even depression. You can check the lack of this vitamin by doing blood tests.
How to complete the lack in vitamin B12? You can consume it from animal source foods only: meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Vegetarians have to put emphasis on getting this vitamin from eggs, while vegans should consult a doctor and take B12 supplement.

 2. Iron deficiency

Iron is a mineral component of the red blood cells.
How to identify iron deficiency? If we lack iron we may feel anemia, fatigue and dizziness. You can find if you lack iron in a simple blood test.
How to complete iron deficiency? you need to consume animal source foods: meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Unlike vitamin B12, you can get iron also from vegetarian food sources such as beans, soy products, tahini and green vegetables. You can increase its absorption from the food if you combine it with vitamin C, which is present in oranges, tomatoes, peppers and more, for example: a combination of chicken breast with orange juice can help us optimize the absorption of iron from food.
There are some foods that interfere with iron absorption, such as calcium-containing foods like dairy products or foods that contain caffeine found in coffee and tea, so you should eat these foods separately from foods containing iron: If you had fish for lunch, drink coffee two hours after the meal. To read more in this subject click my article How To Increase Iron Levels In Your Blood.

3. Lack of Omega 3

Omega 3 is an unsaturated fatty acid that helps anti-inflammatory processes in the body. It has also been found that this acid helps reduce the risk of heart and blood vessels diseases, as well as reduces depression. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are necessary to our bodies and we need to consume them from food.
How do you identify lack of omega 3? Omega 6 is found in almost all processed foods but Omega 3 is uncommon in the same way, leading to excess consumption of omega-6.
How to complete lack of omega 3? You can received omega-3 from fish oil. There are omega 3 supplements which are a quick solution, but alternatively you can consume two fish dishes per week (especially North Sea fish) as well as consuming walnuts and flax seed daily. For more information you can read my article about the Health Benefits Of Omega 3 Fish Oil.

4. Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is an essential mineral for our body. It has a great importance to proper functioning of the heart and nervous system and preventing muscle contraction. It has also been found a close relationship between lack of magnesium to an increase in blood sugar levels, and therefore it is recommended for diabetics to consume it as part of the sugar balance in their body.
How do you identify magnesium deficiency? The deficiency may arise from little consumption from food, both due to increased physical activity and calcium intake that compete for magnesium absorption into our bodies. You can find here thetop signs that you have magnesium deficiency and what to do about it.
How to complete magnesium deficiency? Magnesium should be consumed mostly through vegetable: beans, soy products, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, almonds, avocados and whole grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice.

5. Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is very important in the absorption of calcium in the body and helps maintaining bone density.
How do you identify vitamin D deficiency? vitamin D deficiency can lead to decreased bone density and affects the function of the thyroid gland, which located in the neck and is responsible for body metabolism. Lack of vitamin D is very common today in the Western world, partly due to the use of sunscreen and less sun exposure that helps make vitamin D into its active form. Other reasons are functional problems of the liver and kidneys that help to make the vitamin obtained from food into its active form in the body. You can check the level of vitamin D in a simple blood test. 

Read more about 12 common diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency in my next Post.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cramp Free Periods, Naturally!

Cramp Free Periods, Naturally!


Uterine cramping is a normal process of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. The uterine muscle, the myometrium, contracts to help dispel the monthly moon blood.
uterus 2
The above picture is a bit detailed but does show you the myometrium.  Above the myometrium is the endometrium.  This is the layer, inside your uterus, that builds up monthly with blood, blood vessels, and tissue.  When an egg is fertilized, this pumped up endometrium is a fine place for the egg to land and implant. No fertilized egg and the built up endometrium must be shed.  This is your menstrual period.
Cramps, ah those nasty, painful cramps. I remember my mom making me tea with whiskey in it.  As a young adult, I changed the recipe a slight bit.  Black tea was swapped out and chamomile tea brought in. I would add a good full dropper of black cohosh tincture into the tea, with a bit of local / raw honey, and sip away. What a fabulous, and tasty, way to calm the pain of the uterine cramps. Herbs to the rescue!
Black cohosh is an antispasmodic to your muscles, nerves, and blood vessels and is a muscle anti-inflammatory. Black Cohosh contains the anti-inflammatory salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin), among several other natural chemical constituents that create the anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Native Americans and traditional community herbalist have used black cohosh, from the beginning of time, to ease female reproductive concerns and aid in labor and delivery.
When American Physicians still practiced plant-based medicine, they administered black cohosh for female reproductive problems, including menstrual cramps and bleeding irregularities, as well as uterine and ovarian pain.
I am offering chamomile and black cohosh as a suggestion to avoid using over the counter and prescriptions drugs that are synthetic.  Nature knows best.
Other aids for menstrual cramps are living a natural lifestyle:
  • Whole food eating: our bodies function best when not polluted by factory made food products and instead nourished by 100% whole foods.  Every organ functions as it should when it is nourished and healthy.
  • Movement: a female who is physically active has less or no problems with menstrual cramping
  • Age: young girls, just starting their moon cycles, are more apt to feel the pain of heavy menstrual cramps.  As we move through adolescence and our bodies develop, hormones balance out, the cramping lessens.  After I had my first son, no more menstrual cramps!
  • Switch from tampons to a menstrual cup.  Many women report far less cramping when they stop using tampons and use pads or a menstrual cup.
  • Take herbs to nourish and balance the female reproductive organs so they function in the way nature intended.
  • Yoga: is an amazing healing tool. Yoga brings body, mind, and soul together and balances all body functions.
  • Acupuncture: this helps balance the flow of healing energy in your body. I can not recommend it enough!
These are good recommendations to get you started on your female healing plan. As you are working towards healing your body and bringing balance back to your physical, emotional, and spiritual self, rely on the chamomile tea and black cohosh to ease the monthly uterine contractions that create painful energy.
If you have natural ways you use to deal with menstrual cramps, share here please.


Healing Herbs for Females


Herbs are Healing Whole Foods for Your Reproductive Tract
Herbs are amazing, healing tools because herbs are whole foods.  
Whole foods nourish each and every cell in your body. 
Whole food eating means feeding our bodies the way nature intended.  This means eating foods in their natural state, as close to the perfectly “whole” state in which nature provides them.  This also means following the natural growing seasons and eating more foods that are locally grown and produced, in season. Whole food nutrition is eating in balance, which in turn keeps the body in balance.  Foods grown naturally develop with the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats intended for that particular food.  They contain balanced vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and enzymes. This natural balance for each food ensures that the body can properly utilize the nutrients.
The effects of moving away from our whole food diet and eating a refined, processed, and convenience food diet are very prevalent in our society.  (Ask me for my educational handout titled Whole Food Eating for an easy introduction to healing body cells with whole food nutrition,
One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedents of chemical therapy over nutrition.  It is substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poison over food, in which we are feeding people poisons trying to correct the reactions of starvation.    Dr. Royal Lee
 As a culture, we have created the same scenario with our healing medicines, including those for healing the female body.  We have moved away from whole, natural medicines to the processed, refined, factory made pharmaceuticals that upset balance in the human body.  Just as refined, factory made food products upset the body’s natural balance.
Herbs, whether ingested as a medicinal infusion, taken as a tincture or in any other form of herbal medicine, are whole foods.  The nutrients in the herbs: vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and the nutrients yet to be discovered, are utilized by the body cells to cleanse, nourish, and heal each and every body cell.  Herbs specific for the female reproductive tract are nourishing to the reproductive organ’s cells.
So often we get the message from main stream media and medicine:  Do NOT use herbs as they are potentially dangerous.  This is as crazy as saying that eating beets, apples, or any other natural, whole food is potentially dangerous.
When we eat a beet, an apple, some broccoli, or any whole food, our body digests and absorbs the nutrients in the whole food to nourish our cellular health.  The same process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients happens with herbs.  Herbs are whole food; herbs are healing medicine.
Herbs are plants (leaf, root, stems, bark, berries, seeds), like a beet or an apple, that have nutritional and healing properties with affinities for certain tissues.
Herbs for female health are many and each has its own healing purpose.  Used in combination, they create powerful healing energy in the female body.
Some excellent female healing herbs are:
  • Stinging nettles
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Wild yam
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Motherwort
  • Red clover flower
  • False unicorn root
  • Passion flower
  • Don quai root
  • Wild carrot
  • Ginger
  • Blue and Black cohosh
  • Squaw vine
  • Black haw
  • Yarrow
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mugwort
  • Partridge vine
These herbs balance female hormones, tone and heal the female organs, and add nutrients to every cell in your body.
A simple healing tea I used to make for my roommate, many years ago before I had become a certified herbalist, to ease her menstrual cramps:  chamomile tea with 30 drops of black or blue cohosh tincture.  When she moved into her own apartment, just up the street, she would call me every month and ask me to bring her a jar of this cramp relief tea.
For specifics on which herbs to use for your personal needs, contact an herbalist in your area.  In the Potsdam, NY area?  Give me a shout.
Herbs for healing other organs: (Just to remind you how amazing herbs really are!)
  • Saw palmetto for the prostate
  • Hawthorne berry for the heart
  • Rhubarb root for the colon
  • Milk thistle for the liver
  • Nettle as a general nutritive herb (Yes, I truly love nettles!)
  • Dandelion and burdock root for liver cleansing and nourishment
The list of herbs and the cells / organs they nourish goes on and on.  These are just a very few example of herbs and the cells / organ they have affinities to nourish and promote healing. This healing action happens because the herb adds whole food nutrition to your body cells.  This is the same thing a beet does; feeds your body cells.

Stinging nettles are my favorite herb!  Nettles are a power house of nutrition and healing energy for the whole body.  I add nettles to every combination herbal formula I create. Use nettles in your female healing remedies!
With that said, I recommend you read up on the herb you want to ingest for its nourishing, medicinal abilities.  Learn about the herb and its healing affinities before you make the decision to take it.  Contact your local herbalist for help in choosing the right herb or blend of herbs to add to your whole food dietary plan to promote personal health and healing.
Words from a happy client that demonstrates my point about herbs and whole body healing; that body cells are nourished by ingesting herbs:
Thanks Paula! The herbs you recommended for my peri-menopausal symptoms have really helped! No more migraines, moodiness, or horrible night sweats. After years of challenging health symptoms, I am very happy to be healing with whole foods, including female healing herbs.  Sherry B.
Herbs are whole foods.  Use them wisely for healing your female energy and whole body healing.  Blessings of health, Paula
clover      red rasp
Red clover flower and Red raspberry leave, combined with my favorite herb: Stinging nettles, are the three herbs I recommend for a fertility infusion to drink daily.


HERBS ARE NATURE'S MEDICINE . . . and taking herbs for various WOMEN'S LIFE CYCLES are very important to creating a balanced and harmonious lifestyle. Because our bodies go through such profound changes during menses, pregnancy/childbirth and menopause, the comfort and ease of our life cycles (especially pregnancy and labor) can be facilitated with herbs specifically suited for the woman's feminine essence.


Herbs are amazing, healing tools because herbs 
are whole foods.  Whole foods nourish each 
and every cell in your body. 

Every woman should drink 1-3 cups of red raspberry tea daily. It is a specific tonic herb for the entire reproductive system, regardless of our age (after the onset of the menses).  Following are herbal Suggestions for various stages (pre and post) of Pregnancy/ childbirth.  To alleviate symptoms of jaundice, anemia, constipation and toxemia: alfalfa and red raspberry leaves.
Red Raspberry

To reduce acidity and help with iron assimilation: borage, nettle and clover leaves. As a general tonic: comfrey.

To tone uterine muscles: red raspberry, apple peels, mint, blackberry and peach leaves (also reduces morning sickness).

To aid during childbirth: basil, lavender, nutmeg, red raspberry; squaw vine (taken during last two weeks).

To expel the placenta: chammomile, angelica root, pennyroyal, basil. Afterbirth, to restore the blood: alfalfa, comfrey; to heal placenta site: comfrey, plantain; to stop excess bleeding: yarrow, shepherd's purse, nettle.

Blue Cohosh
Other birthing herbs: blue cohosh, lobelia, squaw vine, sassafras.

Breastfeeding: bayberry, milkwort, chammomile, fennel, hops, blessed thistle, lavender. To increase milk production: fennel seeds, alfalfa, borage, anise/star anise seeds.  To decrease milk: mugwort, sage, mullein, comfrey – for sore breasts use these as a leaf compress or tea. 

Golden Seal
For vaginitis or yeast infection, use Golden Seal, chamomile, sage, comfrey: these may also be taken together. For severe conditions drink 1 cup 1-3 times per day, otherwise one cup every other day. 

As a mild, general tonic to soothe the nerves during menses: clover, chamomile, valerian root and mugwort. 

Parsley can be taken to increase menstrual flow (and also to relieve cramps) along with tansy and true unicorn root.

To decrease the menstrual flow: cranesbill, white pine bark, yarrow, white oak bark, juniper berries, bay leaves, black cohosh, skullcap, rue and pennyroyal. 
Penny Royal
Do not take cohoshes (blue and black), pennyroyal or tansy in excess and avoid pennyroyal and rue during pregnancy as they may cause miscarriage. 

Also avoid juniper berries and parsley with kidney problems or inflammation. 

Blessed Thistle
A general tonic for menopause: Blessed thistle, mugwort, rye, sage; to soothe the nerves: hops, valerian root, chamomile and lemon balm; to relieve menopausal symptoms: wild yam, fenugreek, gotu kola, licorice root and sarsaparilla. For best results make a tea combining one herb from each of these groups with an herb high in minerals (dandelion, alfalfa or borage).

AVOID DURING PREGNANCY: tansy, pennyroyal, rue, angelica.

Always look up the herbs for further explanations of each herb and their specific uses.

Suggested reading: The Way of Herbs, by Michael Tierra.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


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Herb remedies to relieve tensions and stress help promote natural sleep, while others help repair the nervous system. One formula/herb may work for some and not others. If one doesn't work, try another. 
Junk food, caffeine, salt and sugary foods also heighten stress and tension, you need to reduce/eliminate these to aid the body's recovery. Eating late at night can be the source of discomforts, nightmares, restless sleep (insomniacs should cut down on salt) and resulting stress.

Herbal teas to relieve stress can include:

Catnip (relieves 'congestion' of emotional tensions).  Cats get frisky when they eat this plant, yet humans find it relaxing.  The leaves and flowering tops are strongly antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, slightly emmenagogue, refrigerant, sedative, slightly stimulant, stomachic and tonic.  Catnip has a long history of use in alternative medicine, being employed especially in treating disorders of the digestive system and, as it stimulates sweating, it is useful in reducing fevers.  The fresh juice is used as an emmenagogue (to promote menstruation). Mild catnip tea  is used to relieve colic in babies, restlessness and nervousness, and is very useful as a mild nervine for children.  Stronger tea relieves fevers due to colds and flu as well as calming the stomach and preventing nauseau and diarrhea.  The fresh young shoots are good in spring salads and rubbed into meat for flavor.  Applied externally or added to the bath it is good for skin irritations.  Catnip oil is great for aroma therapy.  A strong infusion can be used to repel fleas from carpets or the fur of animals.  An extract from the leaves (called Nepatalactaone) has herbicidal and insect repelant properties.

Hops (used in pillows to treat insomnia), are perhaps best known for their use as a bitter agent in brewing beer.  But hops are also a nerve sedative and hormonal agent.  Because they promote stomach secretions, bitter herbs are good digestive tonics. The bitter principles in hops are particularly useful for indigestion aggravated by stress or insufficient stomach acid and for gassiness and sour burping.  Research has shown that hops also may help the body metabolize natural toxins, such as those produced by bacteria.

Hops contain plant estrogens; its estrogenic constituents make it useful in treating menopausal complaints, such as insomnia and hot flashes.  You may also use hops for anxiety and nervous complaints or for indigestion and cramps resulting from anxiety.  Use the tincture or tea before bed to relieve insomnia.

Blue Vervain leaves and roots (good for nervous conditions and headaches), are a valuable alternative medicine used as an antidiarrheal, analgesic, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, astringent, diaphoretc, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vermifuge, and vulnerary.  It is useful in intermittent fevers, ulcers, pleurisy, scrofula, gravel, easing pain in the bowels and expelling worms.  A very strong infusion is emetic (induces vomiting). As a poultice it is good in headache and rheumatism.  An infusion of the plant is a good galactagogue (increases breast milk) and used for female obstructions, after-pains and also taken as a female tonic.  The infusion is used to help pass kidney stones and for infections of the bladder.

Eleuthero (Ginseng relative exceptional for treating insomnia), is a medicinal herb that offers a wide range of health benefits.  Although it is also referred to as "Siberian ginseng," eleuthero does not belong to the same family as "true" ginseng, which includes Korean and Asian and American ginseng.

Eleuthero also falls into the category of herbal adaptogens, whose healing energy boosts one's resistance to stress.  Students stressed by exams often take this herb, as it also promotes mental resilience and jogs the memory. It helps reduce the effects of physical stress on individuals overworked, subject to heavy physical activity to the point of debilitation and physical exhaustion - Eleuthero addresses impotence, rejuvenates, enhances endurance and strengthens the body.  It aids in convalescence by strongly stimulating the immune resistance; fight infection by drinking eleuthero tonic regularly as well as maintaining general health and mental well being.

Rosemary herb parts (soothes/relieves nervous insomnia, mental fatigue and simple or congestive headaches), whether fresh or dried, are a rich source of minerals like potassium (an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure), calcium, iron, magnesium.  Fresh Rosemary leaves are a good source of antioxidant vitamins; Vitamin C containing about 22mg per 100g, about 30% of RDA.  The vitamin is required for the collagen synthesis in the body.  Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.  The essence of rosemary can be taken in the form of an infusion, a wine, a tea or as a spirit. The aromatic herb can also be used for a bath - it is extremely stimulating and a bath with the essence of rosemary late evening may prevent one from sleeping in the night.  The leaves contain stomachic properties (aids digestion), and is often used as hair tonic (with regular use prevents baldness).

Fu Ling
Anise Seeds

Mugwort: an excellent nervine for uncontrollable shaking, insomnia); Marjoram: relieves headache/insomnia); Anise: (½tsp in cup of warm milk, let stand for 5min then strain) at bedtime prevents insomnia and nightmares; Skullcap: excellent for all nerve disorders; Valerian: calming and sedating for emotional disturbances and pain; (Red) Fu Ling: best for nervous and restless conditions - treats hyperactivity in children; and one of my personal favorites Bupleurum: renown for treating stress-related ailments, restores balance, helps adrenals adapt to stress and strengthens liver, stomach and intestines so you feel more able to cope with tensions, thus relaxing the nerves and conserving energy so you live and sleep more comfortably.

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