Simmer Down vs. Joy Tonic by Rachael Keener, May 24th, 2016

Joy Tonic vs. Simmer Down

The Mood and Stress Support You Need

When it comes to mood support, herbs are a reliable place to turn. From aromatic nervines to adaptogens to nervous system restoratives, herbal extracts have an impressive track record in both traditional use and modern scientific studies for supporting mental and emotional well-being. While the nature of our moods and how we feel in everyday ups and downs varies, the nature of herbs available for mood support varies as well. To this end, we have more than one formula here at Urban Moonshine for helping maintain good mental and emotional health–so that you can find the right herbal match at the right time. Joy Tonic was our original mood support formula, followed by our newly released Simmer Down Tonic. If you’d like to know more about the difference between the two, read on!


Urban Moonshine Organic Simmer Down Tonic for Nervous System Support

Simmer Down Tonic s a dynamic formula made of some of the world’s most trusted herbs. What sets it apart from Joy Tonic is that it contains herbs that support adrenal as well as nervous system health. Our adrenals are what regulate our response to stress–and in today’s world most of us could use a little added support in this area. The adrenal herbs (also known as adaptogens) in this formula include ashwagandha and tulsi–both world-renowned and longtime favorites of herbalists. These adaptogens are all about protecting your body from the long term effects of stress and supporting healthy stress management.

Simmer Down Tonic also includes two […]

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When Life Gives You Medicine Bottles, Make Bouquets by rachael keener, May 20th, 2016

Wondering what to do with your old Urban Moonshine bottles? One of our favorite uses is to turn them into vases! They make a perfect, charming vessel for small flowers–especially the ones that we don’t often think of turning into bouquets. Larger bottles are suited for larger flowers, of course, but part of what makes this style of flower arrangement so endearing is the fairy-like whimsy of a tiny bouquet.    


While I find uses for my miniature flower arrangements whenever the botanical world outside is in bloom, I especially adore capturing spring’s first flash of color in an itty-bitty medicine bottle vase. There’s no joy quite like noticing new life burst into being after a long, dark winter–so I’m always inspired to soak up every last drop of floral inspiration. Plus, many of the first plants to flower are low-growing (therefor small), making them perfect for the job.


There are more obvious garden cultivars to choose from–like grape hyacinths, pansies, and glory of the snow, which are all quite lovely. But then there are the wildflowers, and even the plants we don’t often pay attention to or just write off as weeds. The list of these is never ending and, of course, varies depending on where you live. Cruising your backyard, local parks, or forest trails for what’s in flower is a great way to tune into nature and increase your appreciation of plant life.  (But do be mindful not to pluck endangered species like trillium and bloodroot!).  


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An Herbalist’s Guide to a Healthy Spring by Rachael Keener, May 18th, 2016

Spring is a time of bursting forth. If you made the best of winter, then you hovered quietly and with introspection refining your truest wants and needs; your deepest purpose. You took care to concentrate your energy, knowing that when the days grew longer and the air grew warmer, you’d need to have something left in storage to make your grand entrance into spring. Just like a tiny seed in waiting—wrapped in cool, subterranean darkness–you prepared for the moment of manifestation. And now, with your face to the sun, it’s time for action. Think of yourself as a seedling right now. Filled with so much hope, potential and purpose, but still a little fragile.

Despite the inspiration of spring, it’s important to remember that our bodies need a little extra TLC to weather the dramatic transition. Set yourself up for sustained energy by being gentle on your body and incorporating nourishing and supportive herbs into your self-care routine (which now, more than ever, is important!). Like a seedling invests its first burst of spring energy into building a strong root system–the necessary foundation from which it will grow and fruit all season, so do I.

I dig the nutritive roots of dandelion and burdock—simmering them as a tea or adding them to soups and spring’s first salads, and tincturing some for future use. I reach for turmeric and solomon’s seal root to support my joints, which are always a little more vulnerable this time of year when I start being more active. I also find every wild, edible green imaginable and adorn almost all of my meals with their spritely, nutrient-dense deliciousness.

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Update from Tanzania by guido masé, may 11th, 2016

I am writing from rural Tanzania, on the edge of the Serengeti, sitting at a small desk in a corner of the Wasso district hospital, surrounded by roots, powders, and eucalyptus leaves. We are working alongside hospital staff, helping to treat wounds and burns and provide supportive treatment to patients we meet on morning rounds with the physicians here. The integrative herbal medicine program is becoming well-established: honey, Usnea, and Opuntia have been in constant use here for over a year now, replacing antibiotic creams and expensive silver cream. On inpatient wards, our interventions consist primarily of hot ginger compress applications, herbal steams, nutritive juices (lots of nettle leaf smoothies) and anti-inflammatory tea (made with tulsi, ginger, and perhaps Carissa edulis leaves). 

Since we are working on building a sustainable herbal medicine program, we have avoided bringing herbs from home, or using difficult-to-find plants. We have also done our best to keep things simple. Rather than creating a reliance on Western herbs, complex preparations, or rare botanicals, we want to help establish some basic, effective, and long-term additions to the routine here. It is only this way that herbal medicine will truly become an ongoing part of hospital work – driven by the knowledge of local healers, and embraced by staff (most of whom are enthusiastic about learning simple techniques to help patients – and themselves).

 During this process, I am also exploring the interesting ways traditional medicine fits in to the culture. There are the ever-present issues we see all around the world: the old apprenticeship-based model of learning is breaking down. There is a splitting of allegiance between those who would turn to […]

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