New Year’s Resolutions and Radical Self-Care By Aisling Badger, January 3, 2017

new year's self-care

As the year comes to a close, with some relief; and some anxiety about the state of our world in the future, we can turn to some simple routines to nourish ourselves. Sometimes it feels like time is moving too quickly, and the sense of longevity dwindles with the daily checklists and the demanding reality of our jobs, family lives, and social responsibilities. Time seems to speed up and the practice of personal time isn’t high on our lists.  Living in a world that demands every ounce of your energy and attention requires radical self-care, particularly at the New Year and after the holidays.  It builds the foundational blocks for the rest of the year and re-establishes a relationship with our deepest self and a genuine meaning of who we are and what we love.

Self-care not only builds our reserves and keeps our systems healthy and well, but it also de-clutters our mind and allows for more positive thinking to take place.

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to turn inward and refocus on our needs. We will be better people for it. And our world needs strong and fiercely passionate people to be engaged and connected.

We all know what happens with elaborate New Year’s resolutions: they aren’t very lasting, and then we feel worse about letting them slip a week into the new year. Focus on small, tangible habits that will sustain the core of who you are and the changes you’d like to see. Everybody has different wants and needs— a nourishing ritual for […]

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8 Herbs To Have In Your Medicine Cabinet This Fall By Aisling Badger, November 10, 2016

Dried Herbs

It’s the time of year, where more often than not we are turning to our medicine cupboard to support our bodies and our families. An abundance of tea herbs, honey and lemon, fresh herbs like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and garlic are all great to have on hand throughout the winter. A few herbal tinctures also play useful roles and are key ingredients in the medicine cabinet.

elderberryElderberry | Elderberry is an excellent superfood-like ally safe to take in large quantities. With elderberry and plenty of rest, our body’s natural response kicks in–that’s why elderberry syrups and tea have long been used to help support optimal immune function. All these amazing herbs come in handy when our resources are low: elderberry helps our body maintain its normal immune response. Because it’s so much like food, it’s incredibly safe for kids, and happens to taste divine when combined with honey–hence the elderberry syrup! This one is a must have for the kitchen herb cabinet as it’s family-safe.

The flowers of Elder are also quite useful and are used for supporting sinuses and a healthy inflammatory response. While lovely in tea because of its sweet aromatic quality, Elderflower also is great in tincture form and used in combination with other herbs. You can find Elderflower in most of our First Aid formulas because this plant is safe, and supports so many different functions of our body.

Elecampane flowerElecampane | Herbalists rely on Elecampane when it comes to

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Medicinal Mushrooms by Aisling Badger, September 22, 2016

Reishi Mushroom

Fungi are fascinating. The more I get to know them, the more there is to know. They pop up anywhere they want and truly have a life of their own–one which we are only beginning to fully understand. Think about the mycelium–the tiny, intricate threads that weave together to form a reproductive network. Mycelium are fine white threads that behave in ways similar to the neurons of our brain, allowing the mushroom to grow into a living, web-like system that adapts to its environment. The spore of the mushroom is like the seed. It drops from a mature mushroom, then germinates, then meets another compatible spore where the mycelium originates from, and a new mushroom then forms, develops, and drops its spores to complete the cycle. The mycelium is responsible for absorbing nutrients from the surrounding area which aid in the breakdown of material–which some studies have shown includes the breakdown of toxic material such as pesticides. Not only do they play a major role in our health but there may be the potential for environmental use as well. Paul Stamets, the Mushroom guru, describes mycelium as the “the neurological network of nature” that behaves like an “emotional membrane.”   

While I am certainly not a mycologist (someone who studies mushrooms), I know the mushroom world is rich, just like the plant world. There are thousands of species. Many offer food or medicine, and some are highly toxic. It is endless and somewhat mind-blowing. Today, scientists are still uncovering the long history of using medicinal mushrooms in our medicine cabinets. There is a good deal of research on their […]

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Adrenal Balance Guido MasÉ, July 7, 2016

Our two adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. From this perch, they not only have access to a rich blood supply, but are also close to the site of fluid and mineral balance in the body. This makes sense given their role: they participate in the stress response, of course, but are also involved in energy, libido, lean muscle growth, immune response, blood pressure, blood sugar, and water balance. So you can see how the hormones secreted by our adrenal glands have far-ranging effects: from the short-acting jolt of adrenaline to the longer-term influence of cortisol, which modulates metabolism in the liver, reduces our sensitivity to insulin, and suppresses inflammation (and immunity). We think of the adrenal glands as producing stress hormones, and this is true – but while we can perceive the effects of acute stress (heart racing, clammy hands, perhaps some anxiety), it is the more subtle ongoing hormonal activity of the adrenals that ends up having more profound effects on energy, metabolism, sleep, and mood. Unfortunately, this is hard to see until it’s gone: when our adrenal function begins to drop off, we notice fatigue, lack of motivation, metabolic slowdown, sleep disruptions, and more pain.

Running Shoes

It is this last piece that usually serves as a good indicator that our adrenal function is sub-optimal: if we recover more slowly from vigorous exercise, feeling more fatigue – and crucially, more pain – after a big hike, or an extra-long jog, it can often mean that our reserve of adrenal hormones is flagging. This ability to recover and feel ready again is a key piece of the adrenal response, and, as it turns out, to healthy sleep patterns, too. […]

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