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.
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. […]
Staying Healthy With Herbs by Eating Them at Every Meal
Alas, we are headed full steam ahead into summer, the time of bounty! Our local farmers markets and grocery stores are filling out with fresh, seasonal produce—and if we’re lucky to have gardens they are, too. When fresh fruits and veggies abound, it’s easy to include lots of them into our diets and lifestyles—making the warmer months a perfect time to jump-start our health with nutrient dense food. It’s also the time of year to take advantage of fresh herbs, whose delicious and aromatic attributes are not only a flavor boon but a major health boon as well.
To get you inspired for an herb-infused summer, we’re sharing a few of our favorite recipes. Enjoy!
Fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Rose Syrup
1 cup chopped rhubarb
½ cup honey
½ cup cane sugar
½ cup lightly packed fresh rose petals (¼ cup if using dried)
¾ cup strawberries
Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let rest and after 5 minutes has passed, mix again crushing the rhubarb a bit as you mix. Continue this pattern, mixing and crushing every 20 minutes for an hour.
While the rhubarb mixture is sitting, stem the strawberries. Using a blender or mortar and pestle crush the strawberries until well liquified. You are trying to yield a little over ¼ cup of blended strawberries.
At the end of the hour, strain the rhubarb mixture. Add the blended strawberries to the resulting rhubarb liquid and stir well. If sugar granules remain, continue stirring or transfer to a jar and shake until they dissolve.
What makes this syrup […]
After the long Northeast winter and this year’s chilly and hesitant spring, the arrival of the bright, expansive energy of early summer feels like a golden nectar. Schedules soften, we feel a sun-warmed sense of ease, and the season’s fruits and flowers invite us to pause and savor. By summer’s end, we glow with the vibrant energy of the season, and we feel ready to take on whatever lies ahead.
In my work, I am often asked for my thoughts on the most important part of a healthy skincare routine. We all want to know what we can do to look and feel our best, but people are often surprised to hear that one of the very best ways to support healthy skin is get to get plenty of rest and to reduce and mitigate our exposure to stress. As our largest organ, and the gateway between our inner and outer worlds, the skin sends us important messages about finding balance in our overall health. Good rest gives our bodies, skin and spirit a chance to recover from the day, and we both look and feel our best when we give ourselves plenty of restorative downtime and make choices that help us get enough good quality sleep. In the midst of our busy days, time for rest and rejuvenation can so easily be overlooked in favor of seemingly more pressing projects and deadlines, but we can use the feeling of spaciousness that summer offers to help us make room in our lives for self-care rituals and healthy habits that we can carry with us through the rest of the year.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for glowing brightly in the midst of this season and beyond:
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!
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 […]