Cayenne Medicine & Winter Warmth By Aisling Badger, December 9, 2016

Capsicum annuum is the plant that produces the spicy fruit commonly known as Cayenne Pepper or Chili. It has been used by native cultures as food and medicine for thousands of years, and its use continues to grow in modern culture today. Early evidence suggests its cultivation may have begun in Mexico, but has been used throughout many communities around the world. While it is often used as a culinary spice, most cultures have a history of using cayenne pepper therapeutically as well.

cayenne for medicine

A small fruit, cayenne is often dried and powdered, and it brings a powerful kick that is noticed in even the smallest amounts. Cayenne pepper has gained popularity for cleansing and is used in detoxifying drinks such as the master cleanse, which uses the spice to support the circulatory and digestive systems.

Cayenne’s most profound action is bringing warmth to any formula, dish or beverage. It provides initial spice that lingers on the lips but then spreads heat quickly throughout our body. A healthy dose of cayenne can be felt deep in the stomach, warming and supporting our immune system and digestive tract.

The most well-known active ingredient in cayenne is a components of its pungent oleoresin: capsaicin. The degree of pungency, calculated in heat units of dried Capsicum or the extract, determines its value of potency. Many traditional herbalists believe that cayenne is one of our most useful herbs in the medicine cabinet, not only for the circulatory and immune system but for its ability to bring to life and to wake up a formula. It acts as a […]

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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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Echinacea Medicine By Aisling Badger, October 27, 2016

Echinacea Flower CloseupEchinacea is one of the most well-known herbal medicines today. Its characteristic cone-like flower has graced gardens and medicine cabinets for centuries as a trusted plant in our wellness toolkit.

It is a member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family (commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family) and a hardy perennial flower which is native to North America, although much of what is available out there today is cultivated. The name “Echinacea” comes from the Greek word ekhinos and the Latin prefix echino-, both of which describe something prickly (these words are also the origin of the echinoderm “spiny skin” family of marine animals, which includes starfish and sea urchins.) Echinacea is commonly called purple coneflower, because the rich, bright purple flowers gradually form into a hardened cone.  The most commonly used medicinal varieties are Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia. In the northeast where our growing season is much shorter compared with other temperate places, the plant takes two years to flower and become large and potent enough to harvest for medicinal qualities. With Echinacea, the whole plant can be used, and often the most well-rounded Echinacea tincture is made from the root, leaf, and flower.

The fresh root is slightly sweet and pungent and has a characteristic tingle that lingers on the tongue. The tingling sensation is due to the alkylamides, which are especially concentrated in the roots. This is a good way to determine the quality of your medicine; potent Echinacea is strong and tingly.  

At Urban Moonshine, we feel lucky to get ours from excellent sources. Our Echinacea […]

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The Importance of Rest By Aisling Badger, October 20, 2016

We live in a world where we are always connected and stimulated. Whether it’s the nature of our work, busy social lives, expectations or following our dreams, we are continually excited by the world around us.  The average person spends 75% of their day on screens, and people today are more connected to one another than ever before. Social networking and the rise of technology give us the opportunity to stay fully engaged at all times. But people are also more lonely, distant and unhealthy every year. And unfortunately, it has become common to forgo our need for self-care and rest.

The body craves solitude and downtime. And sleep is essential. It is when we do our best work at keeping ourselves healthy. Sleep is often disregarded as a tool for well-being and its priority on our lists can get lower when something seemingly more important comes along. We know we need it, but are often not getting enough. Sleep allows us to be still and gives our body a chance to rebuild itself physically.  It makes us more capable of being happy and healthy, and supports a better emotional connection to the world.

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Now that fall is here and we are readying ourselves for winter and slowing down, it’s a good time to look at our sleep patterns and see how they can be improved.

 

Why Sleep Is So Important:

  • Healthy Brain Function
    Our brains needs a reset– the studies out there […]

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