Sunshine, endless olive groves, healing salt water, and relaxation are the words that sum up this lifestyle. The way of life in this region encompasses a back-to-the-basics approach with ease and charm. When was the last time you picked oranges directly off the tree and juiced them for breakfast or harvested an olive tree? Many people in this region still walk to the grocery store, gather their own firewood, grow their own kale, and collect eggs from their own organic chickens. These people are the original pioneers who inspired the Farm To Table movement, without even realizing it.Read More
Medicinal mushrooms have a profound healing power, and were used thousands of years ago by the Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese as a means to promote longevity. These beneficial fungi offer a vast range of potentially therapeutic uses including enhancing immunity, improving cardiovascular health, promoting detoxification, boosting mood, improving digestion, stimulating memory, and nourishing the body. What makes these "magic" mushrooms so unique? For one thing, fungi and humans are actually more closely related biologically than fungi and plants! Perhaps that's why they make us feel so good.Read More
It's a $5 billion dollar industry and 1 in every 5 Americans are currently taking at least one supplement or vitamin. The scary part: it's still the wild west! A Canadian study that was published last fall found that 1/3 of the herbal supplements tested did not contain ANY of the main herbal ingredients listed on the label.Read More
Are you confused about where to get your fish oils? Should you just simply eat fish... but what about the heavy metals? Should you just take supplements... but what about the quality control?Read More
Lately my morning smoothie is seriously green but tastes great!
It has everything you need to start the day off right. Lots of protein (including my favorite spirulina), rich in vitamins and grasses, and detoxifying with chlorella.Read More
Magnolia bark (Magnolia officialis) has been shown to lower cortisol, the stress hormone. Increased cortisol occurs from chronic stress and is also associated with weight gainRead More
No, I'm not referring to hallucinogenic mushrooms! I'm talking about the endless benefits of medicinal mushrooms used for healing and optimal living.
Mushrooms are simply marvelous. The sizes, shapes, and colors are beautiful and the health benefits are HUGE!!!Read More
These yellow and black buzzers have a huge job to do in our eco system and they certainly don’t get the appreciation they deserve. Beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and hundreds of other fruits and vegetables depend upon these hard workers for pollination. Not to mention that I haven’t even begun to talk about how they help us too!
Bee Pollen: this is made from honeybees and is actually the food of a young bee. It is a very nourishing food for humans too and it contains protein, amino acids, B vitamins and folic acid. Let’s not forget that just one teaspoon of pollen takes one bee who works 8 hours a day an entire month to collect! The pollen has been shown to increase energy, boost the immune system, reduce histamine levels, and treats infertility.
Royal Jelly: this is made from a secretion of the honey bees that is used to deliver nutrition to larvae and adult queen bees. This jelly has been shown to increase collagen production, treat Graves disease, improve fertility, lower cholesterol, and even fight bacteria.
Honey: this sweet snack naturally contains 18 amino acids, plus small amounts of many vitamins and minerals. It is a great alternative to sugar since it has been shown to increase athletic performance, decrease allergies, moisturizes skin, and has antibacterial properties!
Gymnema sylvestre aka "the sugar destroyer" is a powerful herb that reduces the perception of sweetness inside the mouth and seems to increase the perception of bitterness by neural inhibition. This plant not only makes eating sweet foods undesirable but it also helps to regulate blood glucose levels which will in turn decrease the craving for sweet things. Try it by simply putting a dropperful of the tincture on the tongue and notice that your desire for something sweet has diminished, and if you still try to eat that cookie it will taste like chalk!
Read the full Gymnema sylvestre monograph
Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis ) is certainly not the newest plant on the block but it could be the most popular! This plant has been used for hundreds of years by the Cherokees for its ability to fight infections and stimulate the immune system. By the 1700's this plant was commonly used in both England and America for everything from digestive upsets to respiratory infections.
This plant is considered anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and an astringent. It is used to treat colds because of its ability to soothe irritated mucous membranes while reliving congestion and preventing further symptoms. Goldenseal is often used for detoxification also because it supports glandular functions by increasing bile flow and digestive enzymes.
When most people think about goldenseal they usually think of its high content of berberine which is a constituent that can fight bacteria, fungi, and help to regulate gut bacteria.
Whenever I travel to third-world countries I pack a bottle of goldenseal tincture because it has been proven to be effective against common traveler's ailments like E. coli (traveller's diarrhea), Shigella dysenteriae (shigellosis), salmonella paratyphi (food poisoning), and giardia lamblia (giardiasis).
Always be prepared like a girl scout!
Echinacea is one of the most well-known plants for fighting colds because it is effective for both viruses and bacteria all while stimulating the immune system. This plant is known to combat the common cold and is especially useful for upper respiratory infections. Echinacea is a triple threat not to be messed with... anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and immune stimulating!!!
- Immune simulator
- Skin infections (acne, herpes, and ulcers)
- Sore throats
- Weak immune systems
This is my favorite plant of all time! You might recognize this plant by the other name Siberian Ginseng. My love affair with eleuthero keeps getting stronger when I learn of all the new applications. It is primarily used to combat the effects of stress and to support the immune system and it is gentle enough to be taken for long periods of time.
I must admit that I am a little biased when it comes to this plant since it totally changed my life when I started to take it... my energy increased, mental clarity improved, and I felt that my endurance was even getting better. It has been proven to increase mental cognition, improve coordination and reflexes, increase metabolism, and improve your body's response to stress.
It can be used to treat:
- Chronic stress
- Adrenal support
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Low immune system
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Building endurance
Aloe Vera is a very versatile plant since its different parts are able to treat many aliments of the body both internally and externally. For thousands of years aloe has been used to soothe inflamed skin, treat burns and wounds, and heal skin infections.
This succulent has always been known for treating skin conditions topically but those meaty leaves can also help internally. Aloe contains many vitamins such as A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. and B12. There are also 20 minerals found in aloe which include: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Something even new to me is that it is considered an adaptogen which helps to boost the body’s natural ability to adapt to external changes and to resist illness. When the gel is ingested it aids in detoxification by absorbing toxins along the intestinal tract and the latex is a powerful laxative. I can't wait to cut off a leaf of my plant today and add it to my smoothie!
Vitamin D is very important for many of our bodies functions and it's actually considered a hormone. A recent study reported that 36% of adults are actually deficient in the United States! We can get it naturally by spending 10 to 15 minutes in sunshine three times weekly with it shining on the skin of your face, arms, back, or legs (without sunscreen). Many people who are further away from the equator might have to supplement with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) during the winter months to keep levels optimal.
Benefits of Vitamin D
- Helps to maintain calcium balance
- Boosts immunity
- Plays a role in insulin secretion
- Deficiency is linked to many diseases (cancer, MS, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases)
- Could improve mental sharpness
- Has chemoprotective effects
It's the perfect excuse to go outside and enjoy the sun today!
Hawthorn (Crategus laevigata) is great for heart health. It is considered a cardiovascular tonic which means it actually strengthens the normal function and structure of the cardiovascular system! It is also a hypotensive (decreases blood pressure), a mild hypolipidemic (decreases cholesterol), and also an antioxidant.
From an energetic standpoint the essence is thought to clear the mind of negative thoughts and mental confusion. It also give patience and offers stillness.
Hawthorn can be helpful in:
- Congestive heart failure
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Angina (chest pain)
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) mushrooms are known for their vibrant colors and their endless health benefits. Turkey tail is one of the most widely researched (My school, Bastyr is currently running a study!) and used mushrooms in the world. This fungi shows much promise for immune support!
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is especially important for regulating moods and also helps to prevent mental fatigue. This water soluble vitamin plays a key role in producing serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and dopamine in the brain. Vitamin B 6 supports the body in making hemoglobin which carries energy boosting oxygen to the brain which could also improve memory.
- Maintains healthy brain function
- Key role in synthesizing antibodies needed to fight disease
- Maintains normal nerve function
- Supports neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin
- Aids in forming red blood cells
Food Sources Include:
- Cereal grains
- Vegetables (Carrots, Spinach, Peas, Potatoes)
Tea tree (Malaleuca alternifolia) essential oil is a strong antibacterial and antimicrobial agent that has been used by Aborigine tribes for thousands of years. When applied externally it is used to fight fungus, bacteria,and viruses, but it's most impressive part is that it can effectively fight a number of infections that are resistant to some antibiotic medications! Clearly nature knows what it's doing.
Here are some of the common conditions that tea tree essential oil can treat:
- Tinea infections (including ringworm)
- Fungal infections
- Head lice
Vitex (Chasteberry) is a wonderful woman's plant because it works on normalizing progesterone levels in the body through the endocrine system. Progesterone is a female sex hormone that can sometimes be unbalanced causing symptoms like PMS and acne when estrogen levels are too high. Clinical research has shown that vitex can start correcting imbalances as soon as 10 days but, to see a full benefit it usually takes about 3 months to rebalance the body.
Vitex can be useful in:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful period)
- Eases the discontinuation process of oral contraceptives
- Irregular menstruation
The coolest part about Glutathione (pronounced gloota-thigh-own) is that it is produced naturally in our body all the time! It is the combination of 3 amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamine with a SH (sulfur) group that enables this molecule to be able to bind to free radicals and toxins.
Why we love glutathione:
- It recycles antioxidants
- Fights infections
- Critical component of the detoxification system
- Decreases recovery time
- Increase immunity
- Brain health
- Antiaging benefits
In a "normal" body glutathione is recycled, but when the toxic load becomes too much to handle that is when the body can get into some trouble. When the body becomes overwhelmed with oxidative stress from too many toxins and free radicals it becomes vulnerable to infections, chronic illness, and cancer. There are so many great foods to eat that boost our own personal reserves of this antioxidant.
Some foods that are rich in Glutathione:
- Brussels sprouts
- Fish oil
In supplement form N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a amino acid is the precursor to glutathione and consequently stimulates synthesis in the body.