A Little Bit About Aller-Blast… by Rachael Keener, August 27th, 2015

It’s pollen season.  And if that doesn’t sound like good news to you, well, don’t get too disheartened yet. As experienced herbalists are happy to tell you, by supporting a healthy, balanced immune response and a well-functioning liver, it’s possible for everyone to bask in the joys abundant this time of year from a place of clarity and freshness. Our Aller-Blast formula is designed with this in mind and with the added benefit of also including herbs that have traditionally been used to support mucus membrane integrity for healthy eyes, nose, sinus, and respiratory tract. 

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To understand how herbs support us during this season, it is helpful to understand balanced immune function and how it relates to liver function. Every day, a healthy immune system is busy at work identifying any unhelpful trespassers in the bloodstream and responding appropriately to eliminate them. At the same time, a healthy liver is breaking down and removing byproducts of the body’s normal everyday processes (i.e. immune responses) and metabolizing other normal bodily exposures (i.e. dietary and environmental) so that they can leave our body via the bowels. While an underactive immune response leaves one vulnerable, an overactive immune response can create a hot storm of activity that the liver is left to clean up after. This sort of upkeep is part of the liver’s everyday job. Supporting its optimal function therefor helps maintain clean, smooth metabolism. With this process in good working order, metabolites leave the body rather than recirculate in the bloodstream and your immune system is left to function in peace.

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Bringing Aromatics to the Dessert Table photos and writing by rachael keener, august 26th, 2015

THE SIMPLE AND DAINTY CANDIED ROSE PETAL

As a lover of plants, a lover of art, and a total foodie (with a sometimes unfortunate sweet tooth!), making candied rose petals tops my “to make” list in the summer time. The processes is fairly simple, and the result is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the pallet. I can be easily excitable when it comes to this type of thing, it’s true, so I suppose it’s not surprising that making candied flowers and then adorning a homemade dessert with them brings me impressive measures of both exuberance and contentment. I’m also confident that I’m not the only one who’d well up with such joy in the throes of this fanciful yet simple treat, so I’m here to share the process with you.   

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But first, a little culinary context for the use of these dainty, aromatic gems.

In the kitchen, my approach to summer is generally to prepare things simply and let their robust, seasonal flavors speak for themselves. I often accent with a single, fresh herb whose aromatic qualities elevate and inspire the dish. The same technique applies to sweet treats as applies to savory dishes.  Imagine sliced grilled peaches lightly brushed with vanilla or brandy, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and a splash of Thai basil chiffonade:  simple, colorful, and incredibly flavorful!

Candied rose petals are particularly fun as an accent because they are a bit of a novelty, plus their delicate flavor and subtly crisp texture are unique.  Not to mention, rose is rose, an adored and mythic flower whose […]

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A Nuanced Modern Love Potion by Rachael Keener, August 17, 2015

Love potions and aphrodisiac elixirs can be found in nearly every culture throughout time. It makes sense that records of these sexually stimulating formulas have been passed down for thousands of years. We need sex to survive as a species. We’re also sentient creatures; in general we love both love and pleasure for their own sakes. Naturally, as a species that has evolved with the use of plants tied inextricably to our evolution at every step of the way, we have a particular fascination with those plants that are said to induce love and passion.

The term aphrodisiac is an ode to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. As a testament to both the power of this goddess and the potency of a well-crafted aphrodisiac (as well as the rich lure surrounding the subject matter), we can look to the words inscribed on the now famous Cup of Nestor, dated to around 720 BC: “Whoever drinks from this cup, him straightaway the desire of beautiful-crowned Aphrodite will seize.” You see, a good love potion is a force to be reckoned with.

A good love potion is also a nuanced one. It reaches beyond the scope of passion and lust alone. It recognizes that deeply satisfying intimacy requires an open and engaged heart as much as it requires a primed and desirous body. Our Chocolate Love Tonic keeps this in mind. While this sweet and enchanting formula calls on the likes of chocolate, damiana and honey to beckon healthy, playful passion, it is also rounded out by the emotional support of rose and hawthorn.

Rose Chocolate Love

We all […]

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Bitters: An Alternative to Strict Food Elimination by Rachael Keener, August 12, 2015

A healthy digestive tract is key to supporting system-wide health in your body.  Many people already recognize this. In fact, when people eliminate certain foods from their diet, it is often for this very reason. Food elimination is typically adopted by those who are experiencing indications of inflammation somewhere in the body.

What people often don’t realize, is that there are other helpful means for maintaining digestive balance to promote system-wide health. Luckily, they often don’t have to involve drastic measures like cutting out your favorite foods all together for the long term. Taking bitters before meals is an excellent and easy way to promote just this type of digestive maintenance. 

food-elimination

Bitters are the ultimate digestive tonic because they work in so many helpful ways. In this case, bitters support the digestive tract in functioning exactly how it is designed:  to assimilate that which keeps us healthy and to excrete that which might cause us harm or irritation if it entered into wider circulation. When our bitter taste buds are activated, they promote a myriad of digestive secretions such as bile, stomach acid and digestive enzymes whose job is to help us both assimilate and excrete efficiently. The benefits of having this system in good working order are countless and can include a thriving liver and healthy, glowing skin.    

Food elimination can certainly be helpful in certain instances, but as a strict, long term practice it can also be quite taxing of your time, energy and ability to share in good food with friends and family.  It’s nice to know […]

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