Mucosa, host defense, and the role of stress
In our quest to combat disease, modern medicine has developed an array of tools: from antibiotics and other antimicrobials, pharmaceuticals can provide a strong push-back against infection when necessary. Conversely, in cases where the immune system turns its fire against our own bodies (conditions collectively known as “autoimmunity”, for example rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or certain inflammatory bowel diseases), we see the use of steroids, anti-inflammatories, and immunosuppressants. And while in either case these modern interventions can be life-saving, both circumvent our immune systems: antimicrobials purport to take over the job of fighting pathogens, while steroids and immunosuppressive drugs just turn the immune system off.
But our immunity is a sophisticated, subtle learning system that works best when it is fully engaged. In fact, we’re starting to discover that some of the dysregulation in immune function (hypersensitivities, asthma and allergies, for example) might be linked to an overly sheltered, microbe-free environment:
without exposure, without challenge, the immune system fails to learn the language needed to operate effectively in a world full of both microbes and allergens.
To herbalists, the use of drugs that fight infection or suppress the immune response as a first-line intervention seems akin to a parenting philosophy that either does a child’s work for her, or tells the child to be quiet and go to her room. Neither, in the long run, produces healthy, well-adjusted adults.
We strive instead to support our immune system’s own functional processes, much […]
Our liver is a key player in the body’s digestive system and in the body’s ability to detox and cleanse itself naturally. In fact, the liver is one of the hardest-working organs in the body. It works overtime every day to cleanse our system, produce the bile needed to digest fat, balance cholesterol levels, break down our hormones, and store essential vitamins and minerals.
Everything we eat or drink passes through the liver. It filters out whatever we don’t need plus any potential toxins—alcohol, synthetic substances, environmental pollution and processed foods.
Our liver is our tried and true eliminatory organ and is one of the most important functions our body has. Regardless of lifestyle, it’s safe to say we could all use a little added liver support!
Here are four simple, holistic approaches you can take to have a healthy liver:
- Bitters are the natural, everyday solution for gentle liver support. The bitter flavor is what stimulates our body to produce bile—the substance generated by the liver to do its processing. Plus you can focus on certain combinations of bitter herbs that have an affinity to the liver. Our Healthy Liver Bitters were made with this in mind. They support a natural detox while encouraging the healthy production and release of bile. They can also be used as part of your diet to help maintain a healthy blood sugar level and to help maintain cholesterol levels that are already within normal ranges.
Enjoy the liver support bitters offer […]
In the summer, we find balance by eating foods that are bitter (cooling, moist), such as: cucumber, olives, kale, celery, corn, quinoa, and millet.
It is also important to take time to rest, sit in the shade, breathe deeply, and absorb the green color that surrounds us. Chinese Medicine explains that the hotter months are an ideal time to harmonize the heart and small intestine.
What better way to support the heart muscle and cleanse the intestines than to eat more vegetables? Produce provides fiber, antioxidant phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals support a healthy inflammatory response, support the body’s natural detoxification process, and promote longevity.
Try to include these foods and herbs in your summer cooking. They will help you cool down, nourish yourself, and appreciate summer’s vibrant energy.
- Basil– Digestive tonic and aromatic immune support. Contains water-soluble flavonoids, which support the normal growth of healthy white blood cells.
- Cilantro– Supports the secretion of insulin and supports healthy levels of total and LDL cholesterol. Its volatile oils are also useful for immune support.
- Corn– Technically a vegetable, zea mays, corn, is considered a grain because it contains amylose starch, which maximizes corn’s antioxidant value even when it’s dried or ground into flour; high in fiber and B vitamins to promote digestion and maintain balanced blood sugar.
- Millet– Gluten-free grain, alkaline enough to balance body’s pH; nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrate; offers a balance of B vitamins to support digestion and provide consistent energy.
- Peppermint– Stomachic and cooling, it soothes indigestion and colonic muscle spasms with its affinity to smooth muscle tissue. Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, which supports a healthy bronchial passageway and sinus.
- Parsley– Digestive, stomachic, and tonic. […]
With spring and summer, comes inevitable busy-ness. Longer hours of daylight mean more time to savor and enjoy these joyous seasons, and we are usually living life to the fullest. Extra activities like gardening, family vacations and regular backyard BBQs take up much of our free time and we are often left with lingering to-do lists and an abundance of work to catch up on. During these busy seasons, 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.
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.
We asked some of our favorite women in the botanical world to share some of their most radical self care rituals for some summer inspiration.
1. Jovial King
Founder, CEO & Creative Director of Urban Moonshine
I have a monthly New Moon circle with a wonderful group of woman and it’s the cornerstone of my self care ritual. We sit together in circle, listen to each other and share deeply about what’s happening in our lives. It’s self-care for the soul and deeply healing. We do breast massage and yoni steams as a way to love and care for our bodies. It’s powerful being with a group of women who come together to take deeper care of not only their bodies but their spirits, hopes and dreams.