Oct 26, 2013

Autumn Community Supported Herbalism Share / / Remedy Guide

Autumn CSH Share 2013 Remedy Guide:

>>Elderberry Elixir: A combination of elderberries, rosehips, asian pear, brandy, cinnamon and honey. This Elixir single handedly kept us from getting sick last Autumn and Winter. The immune support that you get from elderberries is unparalleled. Extra Vitamin C is provided from the rosehips, and asian pear soothes any cough that might pop up. Cinnamon gets it all circulating and helps warm the body. Take a tablespoon as needed, to avoid catching a cold or flu. We have also been known to add this Elixir to hot toddies on the right occasion.

>>>Fire Cider: A fiery immune and circulatory system support! Start the day off right with a boost of energy from this combination of apple cider vinegar, ginger, onions, garlic, horseradish and a blend of other spicy herbs. The apple cider vinegar is always an ally to make our bodies a healthier alkaline environment. We bury the jars of fire cider in the earth for about a month before straining and bottling so they are extra potent! You can take shots of this straight, dilute it with some honey or use it as a salad dressing. Shake well and refrigerate after opening to better preserve.

>>>Hyssop & Yarrow Tea: A blend of tasty and medicinal herbs to take when you feel a fever coming on, or the beginnings of a cold or flu. Perfect to take between getting out of a hot bath and getting under the covers. Elderflower is well known for helping to promote sweat and for opening the pores to bring that fever down. We added some calendula petals for pure sunshine and to help you remember the warm months of summer. Great tea to take at first signs of a fever, one cup, three times a day will do during these times.

>>>Elecampane Honey: This is such a special honey. The deep earthy taste of Elecampane root mixed with local Willamette Valley honey is amazingly delicious. It's also extremely effective at helping to clear up respiratory and bronchial ailments, especially those that are productive with mucus. You can eat the honey straight from the spoon or mix it into an herbal tea or hot water.

>>>Queen Anne's Lace & Black Tourmaline Flower Essence: Autumn is a time of year where the veils between the worlds are thin. This essence will help you to open up into the further reaches of your psyche and intuitive self. Queen Anne's Lace supports your innate psychic capabilities, while Tourmaline gives you firm, grounded boundaries on this journey. We made the Tourmaline Essence under the Perseid Meteor Shower for some extra celestial power. Flower essences are versatile in their use; you can put a few drops directly on your tongue, add a few drops to a glass of water or add a half dropper or so to a spritzer bottle for a room spray. Set your intentions before taking.

>>>Mountain Salt Soak: The air has a chill and it’s time to get back into that bathtub of yours! Let the grounding and protective properties of Juniper, Myrrh and Rosemary transport you to those expansive moments you've had looking out over a mountainous vista. A combination of revitalizing salts and pure essential oils help relax the muscles and the mind. Each jar will provide 2-3 baths, depending on how strong and fragrant you like your bath to be.

>>>Mullein & Thyme Extract: This is our extract to honor the properties of Metal in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the health of your lungs. This herbal extract will help you muster through all the challenges your lungs face in Autumn. It is very effective, especially for back to school coughs and sore throats. We used the beautiful silvery leaves of mullein which have traditionally been used to help tonify the lungs. Thyme is utilized for it’s aromatic and antibacterial properties. This tasty extract can be used daily at 15-30 drops three times a day, can dilute in water or tea if you prefer.

>>>Mountain Soap: Long used for its protective & detoxifying qualities, juniper is blended with rosemary and fennel in this handsome soap. Activated charcoal and crushed walnut husks are added to further purge the body of impurities and wash away dirt and oils, while toning the skin. Keep soap dry between each use to help it last as long as possible.

>>>Astragalus Bundles: Astragalus Root is a superb tonic for your immune system, and an easy way to get it into your diet is to throw a few sticks into your soups, stocks, rice water, etc. when you are beginning to cook your warming foods for Autumn. Add Astragalus at the same time that you are adding your stock to ensure that its properties are drawn out. The flavor is mildly sweet so doesn’t really affect the dish being made. (These are in the second round of shares).

>>>Mugwort Bundles: Hand harvested and dried, these tiny bundles of mugwort are potent when added to your bath, or placed under your pillow at night. Mugwort has long been known for inspiring vivid and prophetic dreams. Autumn is a prime time for traveling between the waking and sleeping worlds to gain further insight. When you are done with your bundle return the leaves to the earth by offering them to a tree or shrub at their base, or compost them. (These are in the first set of shares).

Oct 24, 2013

Fresh Apple Peel & Rosehip Tea

My friend Page shared this recipe with me on a rainy night last fall. It is delicious and a wonderful way to utilize leftover apple peels from making pies and crisps. I like to use a dark red apple variety so the tea becomes rose colored, but you can use whatever you have on hand, organic of course. Rosehips are a great source of vitamin C, which we can't seem to get enough of this time of year.

Apple peels from about 5 apples
1/2 cup rosehips
Handful of spearmint (a bit less if dried)
4 cups water

Simmer apple peels and rosehips in water for about 10 minutes and mash occasionally to help release juices. Take off heat and toss in the spearmint. Cover & let steep for 5 minutes. Add honey if you like but the apples make this tea naturally sweet. I like to enjoy this tea hot, in a cozy spot, with warm blanket and good book.

Oct 16, 2013

Autumn Notes

Autumn Notes // Portland Apothecary // 2013

Associations with Autumn in Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Element// Metal       Organ//Lungs        Color// White         Direction//West          Emotion//Grief

The air has a slight chill to it and the sun is hitting the earth at a slightly different angle with it’s astonishing golden light. The spiders are spinning their webs and the winter squashes are ripe on the vine. The yang energy of Summer is beginning to give way to the approaching yin energy of Winter. All of these reminders indicate that we are leaving the warmth of Summer and moving into a time of longer nights and cooler weather. As the leaves change color and we bring in the harvest and bounty of summer, it’s also important to focus on some preventative health measures to ensure that you are fortified and ready to face the oncoming Autumn & Winter months. We give careful consideration to the physical and emotional demands of the season both in curating and making your Autumn CSH Shares.

Transitions between the seasons can be a little tricky. Our bodies and minds have to adjust to the changing light, temperature and pace. The primary organ associated with Autumn in Chinese Medicine are the Lung, and we all know this season can be full of respiratory colds and flus. Here are some suggestions and associations that can help us avoid being susceptible:

>>>Cover up. Dress in layers so you can easily keep warm, and in particular wear a scarf. All the acupuncture points on the back of the neck are named after wind. In TCM it is a commonly held belief that disease travels on the wind so it is best to keep those wind points on the back of the neck covered up against the elements. Might sound odd, but we’re telling you, it’s truly preventative.

>>>Start primarily eating warm foods again. It’s time to keep the core of your body warm, so begin to think about your eating habits, and cooking methods.  Start to roast and slow cook your foods again. Braising and baking are all methods appropriate for the season. If you are still eating raw foods, be sure to add warming spices like ginger, chilies and garlic to them.

>>>Mind your skin. It’s our largest organ and a major pathway for detoxification! Dry skin can be a problem with the weather change, so pay attention to your moisturizers. Use shea, coconut butter  and other natural oil based moisturizers when possible and avoid products containing chemical parabens. Also stimulate your lymphatic system with some dry skin brushing before hopping in the shower. To dry brush simply use a dry soft, natural bristle shower brush and briskly brush your skin towards your heart.

>>>Focus on your breath. Set aside some time to take some deep belly breaths. This will ensure increased oxygen flow to your body, which in turn helps sustain energy and the ability to focus. We’re moving into darker days and deep focused breathing can help you adjust to, and benefit from, the natural inclination to turn inward.

>>>Nurture Community. As Autumn progresses and Winter nears, we have less daylight and spend more hours in the dark of night, or under grey skies. Keep in mind the Lungs are associated with grief and while a good cry to your favorite song is healthy, you don’t want to get stuck there. Make friend dates, have a cup of tea on the porch bundled in a blanket, find a good book series to read, plan a dinner with people you love or gear up and take a hike through the forest…you get the picture, involve yourself.