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.  Especially now, we all need a little more nourishment and a little more light in our lives.  Coronavirus time has been so demanding in so many ways: all the decisions we have to make to keep ourselves and our communities safe, all the time stuck at home away from our friends and support networks, and possibily even battling the virus itself in all its forms.  Plus, now we have an enormous upsurge of unrest as we once again are confronted with the realities of racism in this country.  Even if you haven’t been to a protest or read much about this pivotal time in our history, I think every person is feeling the heightened energy and intense vibration of this movment.  And if you haven’t engaged yet, I highly recommend starting with self-education by checking out this link. We can all do our part in creating a world of peace, harmony and compassion for every living thing.

With all of this unpredictable shifting and accelerated momentum in our world, we need extra vitamins and minerals to support our movement into our new paradigm. 

Raspberry leaf is in incredible abundance this year, lushiously covering our grape arbor and poking its spiky head in between the planks of my friend’s deck.  Whenever a plant is particularly abundant in your life, it usually means that you can benefit from its healing properties or energetics.  Raspberry leaf is one of the richest sources of iron, supporting a body that is anemic and low energy.  It is also one of the highest herbal sources of niacin as well as manganese, which supports connective tissue health.  Raspeberry leaf is used as a female reproductive tonic, supporting the healthy functioning of the entire genitourinary system. It is a superior herb during pregnancy and its astringency helps with diarrhea, dysentery and excessive menstruation.   

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Red clover is also more abundant this year than I’ve ever seen it.  The patch we pick from at Hidden Meadow Farm in West Greenwich is thickly covered in pink puffs of color, buzzing with pollinators.  This flower and its leaves are also rich in minerals, especially calcium, nitrogen and iron. Something new I learned this year is that it it is helpful in promoting healthy lung health and helping soothe various lung complaints.  It is also wonderful at helping to detox and purify the blood, aiding in all manner of skin conditions.

 

The spearmint, lemongrass, lemon balm, hibiscus and orange peel give this blend a cool and fruity energy that’s delicious as an iced tea.  Plus the hibiscus and orange peel add another important vitamin: Vitamin C!  As for the cooling properties of this tea, it’s pretty well established that mint is cooling. Just think of sucking on a candy cane or a breath mint: with each breath you can feel the cold air in your mouth.  It’s also uplifting, as is lemon balm. They have a cheerful quality that lifts the mood and helps your spirits soar. Plus, those lemon-flavored herbs are all powerful anti-virals that keep your body healthy.

  I added just a pinch of freshly dried stevia leaves for a subtle sweetness. Even folks who don’t like the taste of concentrated stevia do like this 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 and without chemicals

^organic and hand-dried in RI with love          +certified organic

38g of loose leaf tea blend.   $12

 

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

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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.

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Motherwort! (Leonurus cardiaca)

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 leaf and flower* in grain alcohol, filtered water, raw RI honey, vegetable glycerin and love.   

1oz. $14

*grown and harvested in RI with love and without chemicals

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 turns out that many of my CSA members (and some of their family members!) have told me that it’s the only thing that helps them fall asleep and stay asleep all night.  These are people who have been dealing with insomnia for years, have tried many different remedies, medications, and sleep techniques.  And yet these gentle nervines help their body and mind relax enough to drift off to sleep.  With all the stressors in our world and the face pace that has become the new normal, the nervous systems can become overloaded and overwhelmed. It needs nourishment, just like our bodies do, to help keep it in balance and allow it to do its job of helping the mind unwind, relax and ease into sleep.

Chamomile and catnip are very relaxing nervines that promote calm minds and restful sleep.  Skullcap is a mild sedative that really helps the mind shut down and drift off to sleep.  Lemon balm and rose help to lift the spirits and soothe the heart.  Mugwort offers the added bonus of enhancing your dreams and offering energetic protection. (read this sweet post on mugwort.)   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

 

Elderberry Rosehip

Elderberry Rosehip Syrup

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This is the most popular cold and flu remedy in Europe and I hope you will see why!  Elder is an immune system enhancer, but gentle enough to use every day (tho you might want to save it for when folks around you are sick).  It’s also a diaphoretic, helping to induce sweating and reduce fevers. It’s so delicious, you can drizzle it on pancakes or mix it into yogurt or just drink it straight.

The rosehips are full of Vitamin C, as well as other minerals and are a powerful antioxidant. They are a great boost to your immune system when you’re feeling run-down or under the weather.

Suggested Use:

one to two Tablespoons 1-3 times per day.  Keep refrigerated!

Ingredients:

fresh elderberries, rosehips and ginger with cinnamon sticks, water and raw RI honey.

B. Love Tea

B. Love Tea Blend

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This autumn is all about unconditional love.  I’ve created three products that are designed to help lift the heart and wrap you in a big hug, reminding you that you are loved, held and appreciated.  This tea blend highlights one my favorite herbs, Tulsi (aka Holy Basil), which is the great balancer, helping the body adapt to stressors of all kinds. So as your body comes into greater balance, the other herbs help to open and support the heart.  Hawthorn strengthens the physical heart and helps to regulate blood pressure, as well as helping to soothe the emotional heart and bring a sense of open-hearted well-being. Damiana is often thought of as an aphrodisiac, but is also a powerful nervine, helping to soothe symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.  It is really an herb to promote self-love.

So blessings on your dear heart. May you feel held in unconditional love and support.

Ingredients:

tulsi, hawthorn leaf and flower, damiana, cinnamon, violet leaf and flower, rose petals

Tulsi Rose Vinegar

Tulsi Rose Vinegar Heart Tonic

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Busy Bubble on a Tulsi flower

This infused vinegar is perfect for when the weather turns cold and our bodies need extra support to stay healthy in body and spirit.  Tulsi (aka Holy Basil) is an incredible ally during times of stress, helping our body adapt, stay healthy and balanced. Tulsi is also an anti-bacterial, anti-viral immune supportive herb that has range of actions, supporting the lungs and regulating cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

The ruby red sweet and juicy rosehips from our own Rhode Island beaches are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, adding extra immune support.  The hawthorn berries are freshly harvested from a friend’s tree and they, along with the rose petals, make this a lovely heart tonic.  They support the physical and emotional heart, aiding in circulation and regulating blood pressure. Hawthorn even helps the heart recuperate from heart surgery or heart attack, and helps treat heart disease and weakness of the heart muscle. The raw apple cider vinegar has its own health benefits: normalizing blood sugar and cholesterol, aiding in digestion and elimination, and helping manage fatigue. A perfect autumn vinegar.

Suggested Use:

Start with 1 teaspoon per day either straight or mixed into water, juice or tea. Then gradually increase the amount you take each day until you are using 1-2 Tbsp.  My favorite way to use this is as a morning wake-me-up.  As soon as I get out of bed, I mix 1 Tbsp of infused vinegar into a quart of warm water with honey. We call it morning tea, and it is a great way to wake up your belly, hydrate your cells and break your nightly fast. You can also try sprinkling this on stir-fry, stews, salads, beans and grains.

Ingredients:

tulsi, rosehips, rose petals, hawthorn berries in raw organic apple cider vinegar.  All herbs used when fresh and harvested in RI with love.

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