health and wellness

Ritual: Take a deep breath this holiday season

By Heather, Lifestyle Buyer + The Naturalist Contributor

I have come to understand that breath is one our most powerful tools - to soothe, to decompress, to process, to shift. When my full capacity to breathe is deeply compromised, I feel disarmed; my musical career and my role here at the store (great customer service means lots of conversations!) both depend on my lungs being in tip-top shape.

Below is a tea blend, a playlist to listen to while sipping, and a simple ritual to support the hard work your lungs do every day. Many of the herbs in this blend are gently sedating or relaxing, making this a great tea to drink before bed, especially if you find that a cough is keeping you awake at night.

 

Deep Breath Tea Blend

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  • Mullein - an expectorant with an affinity for the upper respiratory system

  • Thyme - Agatha Noveille, Associate Educator at the Herbal Academy writes, thyme “...is useful for acute or chronic respiratory problems including coughs and bronchitis.” Thyme is also a nervine (an herb that aids the nervous system) and has a warming effect.

  • Honey Gardens’ Wild Cherry Bark Honey Syrup - a wonderful, tasty blend of several different herbs that are supportive of respiratory health. The blend includes:

    • Wild Cherry Bark - a bronchodilator (an herb that assists in widening of the bronchi, which opens the airways of the lungs) that can help ease the cough reflex, calm irritation, and assist in healing of the respiratory system. Because it is naturally astringent, it assists the body in drying out mucus.

    • Elecampagne - an expectorant traditionally used to combat coughs, chest mucus, and phlegm

    • Raw honey - besides being delicious, honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic (preventing growth of harmful microorganisms)

Mix equal parts of each herb (I estimate about 2-3 teaspoons of dried leaf per 8 oz of hot water), cover and steep for 10-20 minutes. Strain the herbs and add the Wild Cherry Bark Honey Syrup, stirring to combine, and enjoy your elixir!

 

Ritual: Burning Frankincense Resin

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Steph Zabel, MSc, local herbalist and botanical educator explains the magic of frankincense: “The astringent action of this plant can also help eliminate phlegm and congestion in the lungs. For mucous-y situations that seem to hang around in the respiratory system or sinuses, try frankincense as it will not only help to dry up mucous but will also act as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, making breathing easier.” You can find frankincense resin in our bulk section!

References:

http://www.flowerfolkherbs.com/blog

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com

https://theherbalacademy.com

 

CN Late Autumn TEA Ritual Playlist

 

This blog series — Rituals — is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY YOUR BREAKFAST!

By John, Grocery Buyer and Breakfast Connoisseur

You're heard it since you were a tiny little tyke: "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" It's true! A delicious breakfast can set the mood for your entire day to come, and while some of America may 'run on, we here at Cambridge Naturals prefer things prepared a bit more slowly and with a tad more TLC. With that in mind, here are some great family-friendly breakfast ideas ranging from sweet and sticky to savory and spicy. Enjoy!

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NUTTY, MELTY FAUX-CREPES:

This is one the kids will love! Start with some of our Siete Almond Flour Grain-Free Tortillas. Spread your fillings on one side (think Nutiva Hazelnut Spread, Fior Di Frutta fruit spreads, Once Again Creamy Almond Butter, Organic Living Natural Juice-Infused Strawberries, maybe some banana slices...), fold it over quesadilla/crepe style and pan-fry to golden brown on both sides in a bit of Full Moon Ghee. It doesn't get much easier than that, or more satisfying!

THE KOREAN-STYLE OMELETTE:

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Melt some Full Moon Ghee in your frying pan and beat some of our unbeatable Brookford Farm Eggs in a bowl. Add the eggs, some Chi Kitchen Kimchi, scallions, and shredded Neighborly Farms Sharp Cheddar. Cook 'til fluffy and serve with a liberal squirt of Bushwick Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha. Voila! The perfect breakfast for those who prefer to start their day with a little heat!

PANCAKES TWO WAYS:

Who doesn't love a nice stack of pancakes? I love them so much I couldn't decide on just one recipe suggestion, so you lucky folks get two!

First up, soak some goji berries overnight in water (or dare I suggest simple syrup?). Prepare some batter with our Bob's Red Mill Paleo Pancake Mix (I hear it's best prepared with Brookford Farm Eggs and Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil), add the berries, and break in some wafers of our Sunfood Cacao Paste. Cook 'em up and you've scrumptious Paleo Goji Cacao pancakes!

Mmmm pancakes. Photo via Paleo Newbie.

Mmmm pancakes. Photo via Paleo Newbie.

Or for a very decadent sweet-spicy-nutty-tart explosion of flavors, begin with our Mu Mu Magic Organic Cranberry Date Pancake Mix (oddly enough, this kind is best prepared with Brookford Farm Eggs and Nutiva Coconut Oil as well!). Chop up some Will & Rose's Pecans into that batter. Cook 'em up and slather them in Benito's Habanero-Infused Maple Syrup and Organic Valley European-style cultured butter. Cranberry and Habanero go fantastic together, believe it or not! Try it and you'll be convinced in no time!

So there you have it. Put down that prepackaged bar, accept that your local bagel place won't miss you if you skip just one day, and sit down with a nice, homemade breakfast. Treat yourself! You deserve it!

Monthly Muse: Cam + Al of Vital Fit

By Mary, The Naturalist Contributor & CN Body Care Buyer

When it comes to working out, I’m more of a yogi and occasional (rare) runner. I rely on busy days running around the shop and climbing up the mountainous Porter Square stairs to keep my body active and healthy. But with warmer temperatures arriving, a slightly more revealing wardrobe becomes more of a necessity than a statement and I find myself, like many, spending extra time squeezing in ab work and extra squats to the beat of a Beyonce song wherever I can. My muscles are feeling and responding to that extra attention in a way that isn’t exactly comfortable, or motivating.

Soreness and inflammation are to be expected from any workout, even seasoned athletes and runners training for a new marathon are bound to run into discomfort when pushing their bodies to the extreme. Some supplement with ibuprofen for pain relief which is problematic when used to excess, while others focus on post-workout recovery supplements like BCAAs that may not necessarily target the root cause of the discomfort. But local entrepreneurs Cam and Al of Vital Fit offer something much simpler, more effective, and more approachable than anything else I’ve encountered.

Tart cherries are packed to the brim with anthocyanins, giving them their strong antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory effect, in a bioavailable form (meaning our bodies can recognize and use it instantly). The tart cherry formula that Vital Fit offers in capsule form means you get all these benefits without the calories and inconvenience of drinking a bunch of juice.

You’ve probably seen Cam & Al demonstrating their product in store every week, and below they share their story. Learn more about how tart cherry works and why Vital Fit could help you while training for that marathon or pushing through to that next Soul Cycle class.

Do either of you have personal experience in the fitness realm looking for good workout recovery supplementation that led you to this tart cherry formula?

I first started getting into fitness my freshman year of college.  At the time, I was just going with my friends.  We’d go to the gym every day but rarely took the time to truly understand what we were doing—how our bodies responded to each workout.  Of course, that also meant we didn’t really pay much attention to recovery either.

For a long time, recovery meant drinking a protein shake and branch chain amino acids (BCAAs). Granted, I didn’t start really taking recovery serious until a few years later, I always wondered why protein and BCAAs never truly helped me feel less sore.  There were also plenty of days where I didn’t feel like drinking heavy shake or taking a handful supplements right after my workout to help me recover.

Fast forward to July 2016, Alfred and I were playing a game of 3 on 3 at the basketball court around the corner from our house.  At one point I went for the ball and immediately felt a shooting pain in my back down through my leg—at the ripe age of 24, I’d herniated a disc.  All of a sudden, I couldn’t lift weights anymore, I couldn’t run on the treadmill, I could hardly stand up without wincing.  Protein shakes and BCAAs certainly weren’t going to help me recover—neither were the handfuls of ibuprofen I was taking every day.

Tart cherry became my go to for recovery. I was not only recovering faster; I was moving better during each workout.

I asked my parents, who run a preventive health medicine practice in New York, if they had any ideas of what I could take to help me with the pain, besides ibuprofen, while I recovered.  That was the first time I heard of tart cherries and their benefits.  I started drinking 8 oz of juice in the morning and couldn’t believe how well it was working—of course, I still experienced discomfort, but my ability to get up and move around improved ten-fold.  There was a while where I thought I might not be able to get back into my routine again, but the tart cherry gave me some reassurance that that wouldn’t be the case.

The only downside to the juice was its sugar and calorie content, which we found was an issue for the fitness community we initially tested the juice with too.  Of course, we solved that issue a few months later with an extract made from dehydrated tart cherry skins, a sugar, and calorie-free alternative.

When I was finally able to start working out again, I completely changed my approach to make sure I wouldn’t hurt myself again.  Rather than lifting weights and running on a treadmill, I started using my own body weight and circuit training—staples of a functional fitness routine.  While I felt stronger and more balanced than ever, I was also much more sore on a day to day basis.  Tart cherry became my go to for recovery.  I was not only recovering faster; I was moving better during each workout.

The tart cherry content in Vital Fit is a potent anti-inflammatory, how does it differ from other inflammation support supplements?

We’ve been trying to perfect our answer to this question for months now.  We were recently demoing our product, here at Cambridge Naturals, when I think we finally nailed it.  In short, tart cherries have a super high anti-inflammatory profile that’s easier for our bodies to process than something like turmeric and has way fewer side effects than something like ibuprofen—well actually no side effects.

What’s especially great about our tart cherry extract is that it’s made from dehydrated tart cherry skins, not the whole cherry.  Like most other fruits, the skin is the most nutrient dense part of each cherry.  This means each capsule delivers a lot more antioxidants and a much greater anti-inflammatory effect per serving, than other products on the market.  In fact, a single capsule (480 mg), one serving, is the equivalent of 17oz of tart cherry juice.  However, because we’re only using the dehydrated skins, each serving is calorie and sugar free.  To put that in perspective, the average 8oz serving of tart cherry juice has roughly 134 calories and 24 grams of sugar. Compared to other tart cherry supplements on the market, a lot come in tablet form, which typically means they’re made with fillers and for those that are also in powder form, they generally use the whole cherry so you’re taking more and getting less.

From a recovery point of view, the extract in our capsules is the only tart cherry extract on the market clinically studied.  Researchers at Texas A&M studied the extract’s effect on inflammation and muscle soreness with endurance trained athletes.  The athletes took one capsule a day for ten days before completing a ½ marathon endurance challenge.  Results revealed the athlete’s inflammatory markers were down by 47%, their perceived muscle soreness was down by 34%, and their run times improved by 13% because of the cherry’s ability to combat inflammation and oxidative stress so efficiently.

Who knew these little fruits packed such a punch?!

Who knew these little fruits packed such a punch?!

The last cool feature we want to mention about our tart cherry product is its versatility.  For those who don’t like swallowing pills, you can open up the capsule and mix it into water, tea, or recovery drink.  We’ve been experimenting with the powder ourselves, a few weeks ago we handed out tart cherry spritzers made from seltzer, our tart cherry extract, and a dash of cranberry juice—based on the response, we’d say they came out pretty good.

We could see business owners and members of the fitness community who were initially very skeptical put their guards down and open up to us. It was incredibly rewarding to earn their trust and eventually the chance to earn their business.

What are some of the highlights of being young entrepreneurs in this field? Did you imagine a grad school project taking off the way this has so far?

One of the most rewarding things for us has been seeing people’s response to us and our product over time.  In the beginning, everyone had their guard up.  We were just starting out, two kids’ fresh out of grad school with a lot of ideas and no track record to back them up.  While some people were willing to listen to us, there were many more who weren’t—at least not yet.  We understood why, we’d be skeptical too if we were business owners and two guys they’d never seen before said: “Hi, we’re starting a supplement company, want to do business with us?”  That realization forced to us to leave our comfort zone, start meeting people, and begin building relationships with people all throughout Boston’s health, wellness, and fitness scene—from the ground up.  As our network grew, we could show people our intent and explain our vision.  Over the course of a few months, we could see business owners and members of the fitness community who were initially very skeptical put their guards down and open up to us.  It was incredibly rewarding to earn their trust and eventually the chance to earn their business.

We had no idea that this grad school project would turn into a full-time job.  The initial idea was very different and admittedly not so good.  However, after a few months of tweaking and fine tuning the concept it got to a point where we thought the idea “had some legs.”  About halfway through our last semester we looked at each other and said, “Let’s run with it, we can make it work.”

What can we look forward to in Vital Fit’s future? Are you crafting any other products you can tell us about?

We're working on products two and three right now.  We’re almost finished fine-tuning our protein product.  It’s a plant-based protein made from organic cold-pressed pumpkin seeds.  It tastes better than any plant-protein we’ve ever had and is super easy on the stomach.  We’ve also added ten essential vitamins and minerals that are typically missing from a modern diet and a full serving of BCAA’s.  It’s a balanced meal replacement and a functional recovery drink.  It’s 134 calories and gluten, grain, sugar, wheat, soy, and dairy free—we’re very excited to release it.  The second product we’re working on is a beetroot based nitric oxide booster to help combat oxidative stress and increase blood flow.  It’s the perfect way to prepare for your next run, class, or workout.

Lastly, what are your top 3 Cambridge Naturals products you can’t leave the store without?

An arm full of Runa Teas, a hand full of Elemental Superfood Seed bars and Zen’s Zen Calm.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Cam and Al! To keep updated on new products and demos, follow them on instagram @vitalfitnutrition


This blog post is for general health information only. This web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

Final Exams Survival Guide

By Jenn, CN Customer Service Specialist & Industrial Design Major

Finals are a difficult time for students. You want to be able to eat well, get some sleep, see all your friends before you depart for the summer, and of course pass your exams! It can seem overwhelming, but here are a few tips that have gotten me through the end of the semester for the last four years.

Photo via textbooksandtea

Photo via textbooksandtea

1. Stay Fed

This can seem like a difficult task, like, who has time to cook? And those take-out charges seem to add up so quickly, but there are a few foods I love that can be quick, filling, and nutritious. I love the single serve nut butters from Once Again - they can fit in my bag and can be spread on crackers, bread or just directly into your mouth (seriously, I've done this many times). Food bars can be a saving grace as they are great on the go and will help you get to your next meal without a massive blood sugar crash. In particular, I love Macro Bars from GoMacro. They have a huge range of flavors and a lot of them are protein-packed, along with being extremely tasty. All of my non-veg friends swear by the Bulletproof Collagen Bars, as they are full of healthy fats from MCT oil and loaded with protein rich collagen (also, they taste pretty delicious, or so I've heard). Our Cambridge Naturals™ nuts, sourced from Tierra Farms, are the perfect munching companion for your late night study sessions - all organic and all filling. We also recently started carrying Yuso, a cute and filling Japanese inspired snack full of rice and a savory filling all wrapped up in seaweed! Perfect for when you're sick of bars and nuts!

2. Stay Hydrated

A lot of people forget to drink water when they're busy but, staying hydrated is extremely important all the time, not just during finals! We have a great selection of reusable water bottles from Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask, along with carrying a diverse selection of bottled water and coconut water, you really have no excuse but to stay hydrated.

3. Stay Focused

Working in a health food store I’ve been able to learn a lot about different types of supplements and what they do. And we carry some great supplemental study companions, My go to is Host Defence MYCO Brain, it’s a wonderful blend of herbs and mushrooms to help keep me focused. Theanine is a great ally during finals it helps to keep you calm and focused. Theanine is derived from green tea and can provide a nice steady dose of energy!

Crush your exams like Hermione Granger. Photo via Pinterest.

Crush your exams like Hermione Granger. Photo via Pinterest.

4. Stay Awake

We have lots of things to help you stay awake for those long study sessions! For the coffee lovers out there, we carry some great coffee brands including Counter Culture and Tandem! If you're not super into coffee, we also carry dozens of teas to get you through. I love the MEM Tea Earl Grey - local and caffeinated, what more could one ask for? And if you're not into warm beverages, we carry great cold brew from Commonwealth Coffee. The hops one is my favorite. We also carry Runa Ready To Drink Guayusa beverages, if you're just not feeling the coffee but still need the burst of energy! And for those times when you just want to look awake we have Vapor Beauty Halo Illuminator for the dark circles under your eyes!

5.  Stay Alive

We all know that during finals it's good to hang out with friends and blow off a little steam, but if you have an 8am exam the next day, having a few drinks can sometimes cause more harm than good! Luckily there is a solution - two in fact. Take Party Smart from Himalaya before heading out, or a Hangover Helper Gummy from Nature's Dynamics when you get home to help ease you into the next day.

Come into Cambridge Naturals and let us help you get everything you need to survive the end of the semester!

Nutrigenetics in a Nutshell

By Miles, CN Supplements Buyer

Every wondered how your genes can play a role in things like metabolism, bone health, inflammation, and food sensitivity? Our resident experimental science aficionado, Miles breaks down the basics behind genetic testing and how it can help you understand your body!

And, from today (April 24th) through May 1st 2017, we're running an instagram giveaway with Nordic Naturals - win a bottle of Omega Memory with Curcumin and a bottle of Vitamin D3 Gummies, along with the Bliss Kit from local Orig3n! For more details visit our Instagram.

What’s a Gene again?

As you may remember from high school biology, our cells contain bundles of information otherwise known as genes. Your genes were passed down to you from your parents, and help to determine everything from the color of your hair to how your metabolism operates, among much else. DNA is a long double helix with repeating molecules of nucleotides that make up your genetic code.

In order to be expressed, your genetic code of DNA is read and converted into proteins in a process known as transcription and translation. Again, these proteins are what define your unique characteristics – they can be enzymes that help create neurotransmitters like serotonin, or the collagen in your skin.

Mutations in our genes can occur. Most of the time, these mutations do not make too big of a difference in terms of how our biology operates. A common type of mutation is known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), which occurs when one of the base pairs in DNA gets changed around. This may result in decreased activity of the enzyme/protein for which the gene encodes, so sometimes SNP’s lead to disease states.

What does all of this mean for us at Cambridge Naturals? Many supplements interact with our DNA or how our genes are expressed. Turmeric supplements, for example, may work in part by turning off certain genes that lead to heightened inflammation. To support your selection of supplements, we’ve actually started selling DNA genetic test kits.*

 

Why would I want to test my genes?

Sometimes when I help somebody choose supplements, I add the caveat, “we all respond to supplements in a bit of a different way.” There are numerous factors that alter how supplements may work in our bodies, ranging from nutrition, digestive health, and metabolism--all the way to psychosocial variables. A key part of this paradigm, however, is our genetics. Our DNA governs the way we metabolize and absorb certain types of nutrients. Hence, based on our DNA, some specific types of supplements might work better for our bodies than others.

The concept of optimizing your health with supplements targeted to your DNA is an emerging area of focus called Nutrigenetics, and it’s a key component in the type of complementary and alternative medicine practice called Functional Medicine.

With Orig3n Life Profile genetic test kits, your genetic information is collected from a cheek swab sample and analyzed for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP’s.) It can be cost prohibitive to analyze your entire genome, so only certain genes related to specific areas of wellness are analyzed.

Orig3n Life Profile kits are not diagnostic tests and cannot be used for the diagnosis of disease. Nowhere in your results will it tell you that you are deficient in any vitamin. Instead, the words: “adapt, normal, or gifted” are used to discuss genetic activity. For example, if someone has a mutation in a gene linked to Vitamin D metabolism that is statistically associated with lower Vitamin D levels, the test results imply that he or she might need to “Adapt” based on their result. It doesn’t, however, tell you what your Vitamin D levels are! Nonetheless, when we find out more about the SNP’s in our genome we can make actionable conscious decisions to optimize our health.

 

Orig3n Life Profile – An Overview of Kits

Orig3n Life Profile has five different genetic test kits available to us. They are as follows.

Superhero – The “beginner” genetic test kit. Only analyzes for three genes related to muscle speed, strength and IQ.

Fuel - Analyzes for SNPs in genes that contribute to food sensitivity, vitamin absorption, sugar craving and fat metabolism.

Bliss – Analyzes genes related to mood and behavior imbalances. Think: neurotransmitter receptors and related enzymes.

Aura – Skin health genes! Think collagen, hydration, and antioxidant genes that protect us from the sun’s rays.

Fitcode – Analyzes genes linked to fitness, endurance, VO2 max and recovery, among others.

Come in and ask any one of us about the Orig3n kits that are newly available to you!

*These kits are non-diagnostic, do not require blood samples, and are not meant to be used to diagnose any disease nor prescribe any treatments.

CODONOPSIS (Campanulaceae Family): "Poor Man's Ginseng"

By Steph Zabel,
Herbalist, Ethnobotanist and Educator

Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula) is a sweet, nourishing root that comes to us from China where it is known as Dang Shen. You may also hear it called “Poor Man’s Ginseng” as it is often used as a substitute for the rarer, more expensive true ginseng, to which it has similar properties.

This plant is native to East Asia where it can be found growing wild, but it is also commonly cultivated for medicinal use. Once the roots are three years old, they are harvested. In Asia they are not only used for their healing properties, but also as a food; the tasty roots are used as in ingredient in soups and other dishes.

Codonopsis is becoming increasingly popular in western herbalism, where it is considered to be an adaptogenic herb. An adaptogen is a plant that helps an individual be more resistant to stress and also supports the adrenal and immune systems. In Traditional Chinese medicine it is known as a yin tonic, because it supports and nourishes the yin energy of the body through its sweet, cooling and moistening properties.

Photo by Doronenko via WikiCommons

Photo by Doronenko via WikiCommons

As mentioned above this nourishing root is often used as a replacement for ginseng as a chi tonic — it gently increases one’s innate energy. It can be particularly healing for the spleen, blood, lungs, stomach and pancreas. Traditionally used for low energy, poor appetite, and debility after illness, codonopsis helps increase resistance to stress and builds strength in the body. It is often used in herbal blends for anyone who is low-energy and depleted, such as in cases of long-term disease, substantial blood loss, or after childbirth.

It is a wonderful remedy for anemic people to help them build up and nourish their blood. Research has shown that it increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels, and lowers the blood pressure. If someone is showing signs of paleness, dizziness, fatigue and constant low-energy, think of supplementing with codonopsis root.

Photo by Badagnani via WikiCommons

Photo by Badagnani via WikiCommons

In Asia it is traditionally used for asthma, shortness of breath and deficiency in the lungs.  As an immune tonic it is also excellent for people who tend to come down with every cold that goes around, and especially for issues that settle in the lungs. Codonopsis is an expectorant herb that can help to expel excess mucous, while also having the amazing ability to also soothe irritated mucous membranes.

Finally, codonopsis can be a wonderful herb for children, who may naturally be drawn to its sweet and grounding taste.  As a nourishing tonic herb, it is safe for people of all ages and constitutions to use.

HOW TO USE:

Add a few pieces of the root into the pot while cooking rice, or into soups/broths. The dried or fresh root can also be nibbled on its own.

To make a decoction, add 1 tbsp. of the dried root to 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, then strain and drink.

Photo by Steph Zabel

Photo by Steph Zabel

RECIPE: Sweet Root & Berry Tea

This is a perfectly nourishing, grounding and earthy-sweet tea. I hope this simple trio of berries and roots will warm your heart and spirit over the winter months.

Blend together:

3 Tblsp. codonopsis root
4 Tblsp. hawthorn berries (link to hawthorn article)
1 Tblsp. burdock root (link to burdock article)

Once blended, this will make enough for 3-4 servings.

To make a single serving, place 2 heaping tablespoons of this mixture in 1.5 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink.

REFERENCES:

Living Naturally
ITM Online

NIH.gov

Steph Zabel, MSc, is an herbalist and educator who helps urban dwellers connect with the plant world.  She teaches herbal classes, is available for individual wellness consultations, and is also the founder of HERBSTALK, Boston’s community herbal conference.  Learn more about her work at: www.flowerfolkherbs.com and www.herbstalk.org.


This blog series — Herbs and Botanicals— is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

It will be cold. It will be gloomy. It will be RESTORATIVE.

By Bex, Supplements Buyer & The Naturalist Contributor

Over the past several weeks, we've heard so many of our customers describe feeling inundated with physical, emotional, or political toxicity. The state of the world can take a deep toll on one's body and mind - immune health, stress response, sleep, you name it. While you're preparing to take meaningful action to clean up our planet and our society, it's also so important to also 'clean house' on a personal level and prepare yourself for dark times ahead.

Now, I’m not being fatalistic here, talking about dark times... rather, we’re shifting into the barren, frigged, overcast months when some lucky animals get to hibernate. It will be cold. It will be gloomy. It will be RESTORATIVE. Remember that, ok? While it's so tempting to linger in our beds, we suggest taking action and choosing to feel better! Healthy bodies, healthy minds = can't lose. So, what are some of our favorite self-care tips for tough times?

SNOWBALL FIGHTS! (Just kidding, sort of… actually, running through snowy woods is one of my favorite winter remedies.)

The real answer though: bid good riddance to toxicity! Purify, detoxify, rejuvenate and usher in the most life affirming foods, supplements, lifestyle and body care products. If the word detox conjures up gnarly images of cold-pressed veggie juices that make you shiver at this time of year, don’t fret. There are plenty of warming ways to fuel the body and release all that toxic gunk (think: nourishing soups and teas.) In the next few blog posts, we’ll share some ideas with you on how to purify your phenomenal vessel from the inside out and the outside in, but for now, here are some quick and simple ways to get started!

A pot of Pu-erh tea - one of our favorite restorative rituals. Photo via Rishi Tea.

A pot of Pu-erh tea - one of our favorite restorative rituals. Photo via Rishi Tea.

FIVE EASY WAYS TO JUMPSTART MENTAL, EMOTIONAL & PHYSICAL DETOX

  1. To start (and this one won’t cost you any money,) we encourage you to take three slow deep breaths every time it is all feeling like too much. Just three mindful inhalations and exhalations. See how good that feels?

  2. Make yourself a pot of tea and DRINK IT slowly. Here are some tea suggestions from a few of our brew-loving staff members: Caleb, Rishi Pu-erh; Brenden, Guayusa tea; Jess, Organic India Tulsi tea; Caitlin, Traditional Medicinals Nettle tea with 1tbsp South River Dandelion, Leek Miso; Vicki, Mugwort tea from the bulk section; Bex (that’s me!) Four Sigmatic Reishi Tea. Stop in and ask us why we love these particular teas and brews!

  3. For a little something more, gift yourself one of the beautiful journals or notebooks from our lifestyle department and write down all the toxic, difficult feelings and actions you want to release this season. Then make a list of the nourishing feelings and actions you want to invite into your life, and the steps you can take to help manifest those dreams.

  4. Next level: Pick up a bottle of Cleanse and Fortify by Maine Medicinals, a surprisingly tasty tonic that “supports the gentle elimination of toxins.” With cleansing and restorative herbs as well as adaptogenic balancing herbs, this is a pleasant way to ease into detox.

  5. Keep reading the blog for ideas on how to filter out the crud and replace it with things that support your well being. We're here for you!