Science Update: Whole Plants Versus Pills By Guido Masé, February 16, 2017

Whole Plants Versus Pills: The Cases of Curcumin and Quercetin

Herbalists, though we’ve been known to use isolated constituents from plants, often prefer traditional, whole-plant preparations like teas, tinctures, or powders. These “crude” extracts, we often claim, may appear to be less concentrated but are actually more effective than isolated molecules when given by mouth to a living, breathing human being. But is there any evidence to support this claim? If a certain constituent has therapeutic activity, it seems counterintuitive that refining and concentrating it might somehow make it less effective.
The issue, in the end, is one of bioavailability: the ability of medicinal chemicals to reach the target areas in the human body where they can exert their effects. It does us little good to take high doses of molecules that never reach tissue at appreciable concentrations. This, of course, is one of the problems with petri dish research: a given chemical may have an effect on neurons in a lab, but that’s far from a guarantee that it will enter our bloodstream, leave the liver unchanged, cross our blood-brain-barrier, and have the same effects on neurons in our central nervous system.

turmeric whole plants versus pills
One of the most famous, and researched, examples comes to us from the traditional Indian spice turmeric (ground rhizome of Curcuma longa). Curcumin and its molecular relatives the curcuminoids are polyphenolic pungent chemicals found in turmeric. They have attracted substantial attention, especially over the last decade, as potential medicinal compounds. But as a recent review article discovered,1 this rarely translates […]

Continue reading


Love, Self-Love and a Valentine’s Day DIY Recipe by Aisling Badger, February 8, 2017

As Valentine’s Day approaches, there are those who feel the pressure of buying expensive gifts to show their love, those who shy away from it altogether and those who dread it because they aren’t in a relationship. We are also at a pivotal time in our country where love is being questioned on all fronts, our hearts are heavy with the state of the world, and the idea of self-care and heart nourishment is of utmost importance. Rather than hate on the day, why not reclaim it to be something we want it to be?

self-love valentine's day ingredients cacao rose

There’s plenty of hate in the world so why not make Valentine’s Day an opportunity to spread love, whether with one Valentine or a whole community of people dear to your heart?

Whoever you choose to share this particular day with, let’s remember that strong, open hearts and the ability to be kind are the most important during these trying times.

One of our favorite ways to weave in the magic of plant medicine at this time of year is through the use of aphrodisiacs. Aphrodisiac plants, named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sensuality, are plants that are almost always in our medicine cabinets, as they are some of the most widely used.

Aphrodisiacs are herbs and foods that support calm in the body and awaken our senses. They quiet mind chatter, support the nerves and soothe tension in the body.

aphrodisiacs ingredients for valentine's day recipe

They nourish our nervous system and reproductive […]

Continue reading


Dreaming Herbs for Winter Slumber By Aisling Badger, January 26, 2017

January is one of the darkest times in Vermont. We are mid-winter, leaving the land gray, often icy and barren, reminding us that we are far from spring.

It’s the perfect time to focus on our dreams and rebuild our vital energy through sleep.  Dreaming is often overlooked as a powerful way to answer questions, gain insight or process feelings.

dreaming herbs winter Urban Moonshine

Herbs can be an excellent ally to support dream potential as many of them allow us to get in touch with our imagination and intuition. Most of our favorite dream herbs soothe occasional anxiety and tension, allowing us to enter a deeply relaxed state.

One of the most compelling aspects of dreaming is that we can tap into our subconscious.

A few herbs to support dreaming potential:

dreaming herbs mugwort passionflower urban moonshine

Mugwort is a plant that herbalists have turned to for centuries as a tool for magic and dream work in many different countries. Known to support our ability to tap into the fantasy world, both in sleep and in shamanic trance work, mugwort was called upon in ancient times to help a person to visualize life dreams and desires.  It is also a symbol of protection and is burned as an incense or smudge stick in ceremonies.

As an aromatic plant, it supports a healthy nervous system gently soothing tension and stress.

 

Passionflower supports the nervous system in unwinding when you are feeling wound up from occasional anxiety.  Being in a state of relaxation, allows for the dream work […]

Continue reading


DIY Golden Milk with Immune-Supporting Herbs by Aisling Badger, January 19, 2017

Golden Milk, or Turmeric Milk is a traditional Indian and Ayurvedic beverage that is typically drunk before bed and has recently gained popularity in the wellness world due to its healing and rich nutritional qualities.  While we enjoy the ritual of drinking warm beverages as we wind down in the evenings, this recipe is great during the day as well, as it is rich in warming, circulatory, and immune system tonics which are important in the long cold winter months.

We have taken the traditional recipe of Golden Milk and added in a few of our favorite immune supporting herbs like ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and astragalus, making this drink a powerful immune tonic.

golden-milk-immune-herbs

Turmeric is a rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant and has a shockingly bright golden orange color. Turmeric is what gives the color to curry powder, and has been a traditional medicine and food of native Indian cultures for thousands of years.  Its flavor is the perfect combination of earthy bitterness and spicy sweetness and combines well with a sweetener like honey. It is high in essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs to stay in optimal health. Most of its compounds are fat soluble, so combining some fat into the mixture will help the body easily absorb those vital nutrients.

Astragalus is one of our best adaptogens, meaning it helps support the body during times of physical, mental, or emotional stress. It is also an excellent tonic for supporting our vital, resilient immune system. In China and among herbalists throughout the world, this plant is utilized as one of the best […]

Continue reading