Autumn tinctures

SWEET CITRUS SUNSHINE

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Similar to the Shine the Light blend, this creation is about bringing the vibrancy and sunshine of summer into our darker days. I grew lemon verbena for the first time this year and its scent is on its way to becoming my all-time favorite smell ever; I could just float away on its lemony cloud of loveliness. So that’s what I was trying to bottle when I made this blend. It’s that feeling of being on Cloud 9, just drifting along without a care in the world: so calm, so content, spirits soaring. All of these lemony herbs certainly lift the spirits and promote a feeling of well-being while soothing and toning the nervous system. They are also all wonderful digestive herbs, helping relieve abdominal discomfort of all kinds. Plus, they help alleviate fever, are anti-spasmodic and anti-viral. I added a handful of fresh raspberries and sunny flowers for that extra little taste of summer.  I must say, it’s really like summer in a bottle.

Suggested Use:  1-3 dropperfuls one to three times per day, as needed.

Ingredients:
Lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, lime basil, lemon, fresh raspberries, calendula, nasturtium in vodka. 1oz. $13

Autumn Tinctures

Shine the Light Blend

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This blend is inspired by the wonders of St. John’s Wort (some like to call it “St. Joan’s Wort and I recently saw an herbalist label hers as “Solstice Wort”), which is in its full glory on the summer solstice, soaking in all the magic of the sun and the feeling of unlimited potential and abundance in the air.  

I mixed in some lemon balm oxymel; an infusion of lemon balm in raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey, my new favorite way to preserve an herb.  So much yum. Lemon balm is a special nervine that is soothing and calming to the mind as well as the digestive tract.  It is also anti-viral, helping a body stay healthy during cold season.  In magical lore it is said to attract love and its flower essence “develops self-love and strengthens the belief that you are worthy and deserving of love” (from Opening our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs).

And then of course I mixed in some tulsi, aka holy basil.  As we move into the dark time of year, this herb (as is true of all basils) is wonderfully uplifting and comforting.  It helps us maintain a balanced state of mind and a feeling of well-being. It is also antiseptic and anti-viral, keeping the body free of infection.

The rose is added whenever we need a little boost of summer splendor.  Associated with beauty and love in so many cultures in all of time, the rose helps bring that beauty into your heart.  I love that the beach roses here in Rhode Island are also in full bloom on the summer solstice, making this blend really like some sunshine in a bottle.

Suggested Use: 1-3 dropperfuls one to three times per day, as needed.

**St. John’s wort does interact and/or decrease the efficacy of many prescription drugs.  Please look at the drug interactions list if you are taking any pharmaceutical medication**

Ingredients:

St. John’s wort, lemon balm, tulsi, rose in grain alcohol, vodka, water, raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey

Digestive Bitters

Herbal Bitters: Digestion Tonic

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These miraculous herbs offer us the gift of a very under-used and under-appreciated taste.  Bitter is the flavor that is suggested in Chinese medicine when the weather is turning colder at the end of autumn. “Bitter challenges the body, alerting it through taste that a complex food is being ingested,” says the Urban Moonshine website. When the bitter flavor hits the tongue, it signals the body to produce bile and enzymes for digestion, thus making it easier on the body to break down food.  Bitters can help with such digestive complications as acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, gas and cramping.

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Suggested Use:

One to two dropperfuls (30-60 drops) before or after meals.

Ingredients:

burdock root, dandelion leaf and root, chamomile, green apple, fennel seed, ginger in grain alcohol and water

Astragalus

Astragalus

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Astragalus is one of the premier herbal remedies for Lyme disease support.  It enhances immune system function in such a way that it assists the body in getting rid of the Lyme infection.  Stephen Buhner has done extensive research on Lyme treatment and has developed an herbal protocol to address acute Lyme as well as chronic Lyme.  He also suggests using astragalus as a preventative because of its positive effect on the immune system.  He actually recommends taking it every day, all year round if living in a Lyme disease area.  Another important detail is that with chronic Lyme, sometimes astragalus can make symptoms worse. But Buhner notes that sometimes that is not the case. So I recommend avoiding it in cases of chronic Lyme.

Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body deal with symptoms of stress.  Besides being one of the best herbs for building immune system strength, it is also energizing to the entire body, improving athletic endurance. It also promotes circulatory health and stimulates regular metabolism of dietary sugars (often used by diabetics).  Here’s more info than you ever wanted to know about astragalus.

I make my astragalus tincture as a strong water decoction, meaning I boil the fresh or dried root in water.  Water is the best extractor of the active constituents in astragalus. Because it is water soluble and has a mild flavor, astragalus makes a fine addition to food.  You can add astragalus powder to anything: smoothies, grains, soups.  Some folks put the sliced dry root (sometimes called a tongue depressor because of its shape) into their pot of soup, grains, or beans so that the simmering action extracts the medicinal properties.  I also make astragalus ice cubes by making a strong decoction and then freezing it in an ice cube tray. This makes an easy dosing for my family.  I add it to any of our drinks, smoothies or soup.

Suggested Use:

3-4 dropperfuls (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) once daily for prevention. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons a day after a tick bite or when dealing with acute Lyme symptoms. **Not for use in chronic Lyme**

Ingredients:

fresh and dried astragalus root, water, grain alcohol (20% for preservation)

B. Radiant

B. Radiant

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This is a blend of cooling and nourishing herbs, providing extra vitamins and minerals for these active months, helping you shine to your full radiant potential. The spearmint, lemongrass, lemon balm, hibiscus and orange peel give this blend a cool and fruity energy that’s delicious as an iced tea. The raspberry leaf, alfalfa, and red clover are super high in Vitamin C and A, the B Vitamins, iron and calcium. I added just a pinch of freshly dried stevia leaves for a subtle sweetness. Feel free to add honey for a sweet iced tea.

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Suggested Use:

Steep 1 Tbsp. per cup of boiling water for at least 20 minutes with a lid. The longer you steep it, the more minerals will be infused into the water, and I think the taste improves. You can even steep it overnight for the full nutrient value. And try it with cold water as a sun tea!

Ingredients:

spearmint*, raspberry leaves*, lemon balm*, alfalfa, orange peel+, red clover*, hibiscus, stevia*

*grown and harvested in RI with love, +peeled and dried in RI, all organic ingredients

Mint Syrup

Mint and Lemon balm Sweet Summer Syrup

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This syrup turned out even more delicious than I thought it would be.  I spent a lovely day at three different gardens harvesting six different kinds of mint.  It was fascinating how different they all look, smell and taste: from fuzzy, light green apple mint to shiny, dark green/purplish chocolate mint to variegated white and green pineapple mint to a curly leaf spearmint. I was infused with mint!  The cooling properties of mint are strong and easily recognizable: that icy cold feeling of menthol in an altoid or candy cane.  And many know about the common household remedy of a cup of mint tea for indigestion or stomach upset.  I mixed in some lemon balm for its sunny smile that lifts the spirits, as well as its digestive support.  I used half the amount of sugar of a traditional simple syrup, making it lightly sweet and very minty (and also not shelf stable, so keep it in the fridge!).  Enjoy some in sparkling water with ice and a squeeze of lime. It’s divine.

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Five different types of mint!

Suggested Use: 1-3 teaspoons, as often as you want it! **Keep Refrigerated**

Ingredients:

peppermint, chocolate mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, spearmint, lemon balm, fresh organic lemon peel, water, raw organic sugar

Mama Balance

Mama’s Beautiful Balance Tincture

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For all the women out there: whether you are a mother of small children, grown children or no children at all! We all are caregivers in some way and we all have the magical creative force of women, whether we birth children, ideas, art, projects or inspiration.  This blend is intended to bring balance to female hormones and reproductive system whether during menstruation, menopause or post-menopause. It is also a blend for balancing our busy lives, bringing a sense of calm, grounded strength. What follows is specific information about some of the herbs in the blend.  

Lady’s mantle is the beautiful low-lying perennial with wide, soft, ruffled leaves that collect morning dew and raindrops in perfect jewels. She’s magical just to look at.  Lady’s mantle has a strengthening and astringent effect on the female reproductive system and is an excellent uterine tonic. It helps regulate menstruation and control excessive bleeding.  It also has a toning and firming effect on the breasts, helping with lumpy, swollen, achy or saggy breast tissue.

Blessed thistle helps to increase milk supply in nursing mothers and helps with hormone imbalance. It increases circulation, supplying more oxygen to the brain and thus enhancing memory.

Motherwort is an incredible ally for women in all stages of life: it helps smooth the way for girls going through puberty, helps relieve menstrual cramping and bring on late periods, and helps moderate hormone levels, mood swings and hot flashes associated with menopause.  Motherwort is an emmenagogue and can encourage uterine contractions and labor, so is useful at the end of pregnancy. Magically, motherwort is an herb for protection. Gail Faith Edwards says that it “gives a sense of purpose and joy, an expectation that all will succeed. It brings the gifts of inner growth and trust.”

All together, these herbs bring balance, beauty, and support for the female body. I hope you enjoy it as I have. ❤

Suggested Use: 1-3 dropperfuls, one to three times per day or as needed.

 *not for use during pregnancy*

Ingredients:

lady’s mantle, motherwort, blessed thistle, evening primrose, tulsi, rose, and violet in alcohol, water, raw honey, glycerin and love.   

Long Life Elixir

Long Life Elixir

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This blend is inspired by the lovely Vermont-based herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar. The herbs in this blend are appropriate for any gender, but are specific for the male system.  They offer support to systems and organs that most often suffer imbalance in men: the heart and circulatory system, the liver, the endocrine system and the prostate.  Plus, it tastes a little bit like root beer and is incredibly delicious added to bubbly water.

Hawthorn is one of the best heart and circulatory tonics available, gently stimulating or depressing the heart’s activity as needed. It also strengthens the lining of the blood vessels, clearing plaque build-up that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.  Sarsaparilla and sassafras are cleansing for the entire system, especially the liver and gallbladder, and the former is valued as a sexual tonic, increasing libido and sexual performance.  Saw palmetto is also a sexual tonic for both sexes, plus it’s one of the best tonics to prevent problems of the reproductive organs, tone the prostate gland, reduce inflammation and enlargement. Wild yam is excellent for toning the liver and relieving liver congestion and inflammation. It also (along with saw palmetto and sarsaparilla) provides the building blocks for steroid hormone production, helping tone and build muscles and regulate reproductive system function.  Last but definitely not least, tulsi (aka holy basil) offers us the gift of balance: reducing stress, increasing energy and vitality and promoting longevity. Rosemary writes “the daily use of this herb is believed to help maintain the balance of the chakras and to bring out the goodness, virtue, and joy in humans.” Here’s to a long, balanced, joyful life!

Suggested Use: 1-2 teaspoons, one to three times per day.

Ingredients:

hawthorn berries, sarsaparilla, tulsi, sassafras, saw palmetto, wild yam, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods in vodka with black cherry juice concentrate

Dream Deep

Dream Deep Elixir

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I made this delicious elixir as a nervous system support and relaxing sleep aid.  It has the added bonus of enhancing your dreams and offering energetic protection. (read this sweet post on mugwort.)   Chamomile and catnip are very relaxing nervines that promote calm minds and restful sleep.  Skullcap is a mild sedative that really helps promote sleep. Lemon balm and rose help to lift the spirits and soothe the heart.  All of these herbs help to nourish the nervous system, soothing anxiety, stress, agitation and restlessness. So take some deep breaths and feel your mind relax, your body unwind and your heart melt into a big hug.  Dream well.

Suggested Use:

1-3 dropperfuls as needed. I love to mix a splash (about 1 tsp) into sparkling water.  I also find it effective to use just 1-2 dropperfuls right before bed or if I wake in the night.

Ingredients:

catnip, lemon balm, skullcap, mugwort, chamomile, rose petals in brandy and raw RI honey