Natural Beauty Rituals for Spring By Aisling Badger, March 14, 2017

Spring is approaching and it is the perfect time to renew and refresh our best and most beautiful selves. Our beauty rituals and routines offer a luxurious moment of calm, self-love and appreciation. What we use to nourish ourselves internally has as much of an impact as what we use externally. What we eat, where we live, and how we feed our body and soul all play a significant role in how we outwardly represent ourselves. No beauty products can replace how you are feeling on the inside. It shows on the outside when we feel good physically and mentally. Happiness and self-love are beautiful.

Tending to the Internal Garden: What you put on your skin matters, but it’s more important to pay attention to what you are putting in your body. The age old saying, “beauty starts from within” is true in many ways.

beauty red clover nettle
What you put into your body will also determine the health of your skin, hair, and overall physical being. It can be helpful to seek out the advice of a skilled herbalist or do research on your constitution, because often our constitution is optimally paired with specific foods or energetic qualities of plants, and this knowledge can help you work with imbalances. Gaining insight into our individual internal garden allows us to understand better what foods, plants and ingredients work best for us.

Whole foods rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins support your hair and skin. So load your plate with whole grains, leafy greens, root vegetables, berries, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, superfoods like raw cacao, turmeric, maca, and green superfoods like spirulina.

spring rituals nutrient rich tea

Continue reading


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


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


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 […]

Continue reading