What’s In My Cup? Tea for Healthy Guts

Lifestyle, What's In My Cup?

We went on a trip to California last weekend and it was so much fun, my cousin was married and I saw the ocean again. When we travel we love to eat and drink the local fare,  but as two dairy free people who eat very little processed food we tend to get very sick for a week or so after we get home. This generally happens because dairy truly exists in almost everything so it’s hard to escape. Instead of lamenting about eating delicious foods I decided to hit the problem head on, so I formed another tea that will help create healthy guts and push anything through that your body may be having trouble digesting. Anyone who has recently indulged a bit too much or isn’t feeling 100% lately will enjoy the uplifting and revitalizing effects of this tea.

DigestiveTea3 copy

Simply Mix Together:

1/2 tsp dried dandelion root

1/2 tsp dried lemon grass

1/4 tsp dried calamus root

1 tsp dried spearmint

Put all of these herbs into your tea ball and put into your favorite mug. Pour 6-8 ounces of boiling water over the tea ball and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the ball after the tea has steeped, the calamus can become overwhelming when steeped too long. While you sit with this tea, swishing around your tea ball, meditate on movement. Not just the movement around you but the movement within you. Think about the kundalini energy of the chakras and inhale the pleasant aromas wafting from your cup. Your mantra for this tea blend is: I eliminate bad, I emanate good. 

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What’s In My Cup? Success & Vitality Tea

Lifestyle, What's In My Cup?

I’m sorry guys, it’s been so long since I shared a cup of tea with you. You see, I’ve been working with the same herbs and haven’t changed anything up in awhile. Most of my herb time is spent researching for Herb Spotlights here on the blog or brewing tea to put in my kombucha. But after spending some time brainstorming what kind of tea blends I’d like to see I decided to put a cup of success together.

There are certain herbs that have an affinity to bring success to those who utilize them correctly and I’ve taken all of the ones that would blend together in a delicious cup of tea and crafted just that. Aside form brewing up success in your life this tea blend will promote relaxation in your system while also bringing relief to a harsh respiratory system. It is also a powerful detoxification tea due to the dried dandelion and angelica roots.

Simply Mix Together:

1 tsp dried lavender

1 tsp dried licorice root

1/2 tsp dandelion

1/2 tsp angelica root

Mix these herbs in a tea ball or muslin bag and steep 10 minutes in boiling water. While steeping ponder on the area of life in which you’re looking for more success. Take in the aromas wafting towards you and be with yourself in a safe, confident place. Resonate with that confidence as you sip your cup and bring yourself back into waking life with the feeling of success, vitality and a confident self. While drinking your cup be with this mantra: I can when I believe. 

Herb Spotlight: Turmeric as a Cure-All

Herb Spotlight

This is one of those magical roots that can literally do anything. I like to drink it before bed in a cup of golden milk tea to induce a heavy slumber. It also does great things for almost every other aspect of the body. It is often used in asian foods and is one of the main elements in giving curry it’s vibrant color. Fun facts, it’s super orange color will dye your cutting board and tupperware which is why it is actually used as a dye in India and Thailand. Buddhist monks traditionally dye their robes with a ground up powder from the bright, beautiful root plant.

Breakdown of Turmeric

Scientific Name: Curcuma longa

Magickal Stats: Elementally Water, Ruled by the Moon

Improves Function Of:

  • Menstrual Cycle Regularity
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Cancer and Tumor Inhibitors
  • Cholesterol Reduction in liver and blood
  • Digestive System
  • Immune System
  • Liver Protectant & Kidney Cleansing

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Slows the progression of neuro-degenerative diseases
  • Angina Pectoris
  • Muscle Pain, Headaches and Strain

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Increase fertility in humans and animals
  • Protection & Good Health

How Does It Work? The chemical that gives turmeric it’s color and healing properties is called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to relieve inflammation in all areas of the body, which is why is helps to relieve pain and any other disease effected by inflammation. This antioxidant is joined by other powerful antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in the system for the other powerfully healthy effects that it may be capable of. When ingesting turmeric, black pepper should be included in the recipe to help your body absorb the Curcumin.

What Do I Do With It? The root plant is commonly ground into a fine powder that is then used to make decoctions for drinking, applying to the skin, enemas or mouthwashes. Check out the Golden Milk tea recipe and drink before bed for aiding insomnia, pain, inflammation and even ringworm. Mix turmeric with honey and sugar for a toxin purging exfoliating scrub. Add to toothpaste for a whitening effect and even put on the scalp with olive oil to fight dandruff the natural way.

Use turmeric to make an enema or mouthwash but be sure not to make this a long term plan for health. Try only once before consulting a doctor or dentist about the issue if symptoms persist.

 

4 Tips for a Yoga Beginner

how to, Yoga

People are kind of sick of me sometimes because I am always preaching things to them that have changed my life. I just get so passionate when I find something new that makes me feel good inside and out, when these rituals and practices find me I want to shout out about them on the rooftops. Yoga is most definitely one of those things. But after my 9 years of trying to get people to try out a class I’ve learned that not everyone thrives within the same experience. It kills me that sometimes people are completely turned off by yoga because they didn’t find themselves in the right capacity for their first yoga class ever. I compiled these tips in hopes that a beginner yogi will find their way into their practice with joy and ease.

  • Never, Ever Push Yourself Too Hard

After being a competitive athlete it was really difficult for me to understand that you can’t just push yourself into a final pose in yoga. My sheer willpower isn’t enough to make me Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 7.50.23 PMan advanced yogi, the only way to achieve that is with consistent practice. Being athletic can help but a lot of times in yoga being an athlete can work against you. Mostly because in American athletics we are focused on pushing ourselves all the way to the limits of our comfort levels. Yoga is quite the opposite, you can really hurt yourself if you use this mentality when approaching your practice. Your mind can be pretty loudly telling you to force yourself into a posture as you look around to these strong, bendy yogis around your class, ignore it. Keep working, slow and steady like a turtle. Eventually it will come, but it will take way longer if you pop your MCL or pull your abdominals. Take your time, listen to your body. Confront your instructor with any new sensations during the class to confirm if it is something to be worried about.

  • Go to Many Different Studios

I’ve had countless experiences at different yoga studios, often times 2 studios right down the street from each other are completely different. Don’t go to a studio and buy a month or tons of sessions; try out just one class before committing yourself to a huge payment. It is possible that you might not like the first studio that you try. Before even going in for a class its smart to check out the schedule with a couple of things in mind. First off assess your own level; for the purpose of this article I’m pretty sure that you’re a beginner. So only choose classes that are Level 1 or marked for beginners; this will ensure that you’re not terrified by a class way past your beginner skill level. Next decide the type of class that you’re looking for. Here are a couple of classes that are common in the yoga world, there will also be classes that are simply labelled Beginner Yoga; that is always a good option.

Hatha: This style of yoga focuses on holding poses for around 5 breathes, it combines some movement with focus on deepening into poses.

Ashtanga: Enjoy a fast connection of movements that really ramp up your cardiovascular system, this is a great class for upper body strength.  My arms have never been as in shape as they were when I practiced Ashtanga 4 times per week. Beginners who are quite strong or athletes that needs more movement to stay focused should try this mode of yoga first. Beginner yogis that aren’t naturally athletic might want to steer clear of Ashtanga first thing.

Yin: Oh man, I tell everyone that will listen about Yin yoga classes. My first yin class I was Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.00.43 PM.pnga little bit out of my element but it started a journey that led to soaking up as much yin as possible. Yin is the opposite side (Yang) of the yoga styles that are fast paced and build muscles. Yin helps to repair connective tissue through laying in supported poses (using pillows and blocks) for 3-5 minutes. The muscle can repair itself and the mind can actually take time to purely STOP. This is one of my favorite modes of yoga because those who say they’re too hurt to develop a practice can’t be, they just need to use props and eventually they will find the ability to heal themselves. 

Iyengar: I won’t go too much into the story of Iyengar after my spirited Yin rant but basically BKS Iyengar’s story is amazing and every yogi should know it. This yoga class will feature a vinyasa (faster) movement style using props to assist your body in feeling the pose with out the full expression being unlocked in your body. Use a combination of straps and blocks to truly feel with your body may not allow you to do alone just yet.

  • Develop a Home Practice

I don’t think I went to a real yoga class until after I’d been practicing for more than 6 months. My first yoga experiences were with my living room and Namaste Yoga for FitTV by Kate Potter. Having an understanding of rudimentary poses before going to a class that I paid for made me kind of feel like I was getting the most for my money. Over the years my home practice has developed, I generally don’t use videos anymore. Now with my knowledge from regular classes I just get on my mat and create an entire flow from the feelings and movements that pour from my body. Developing a home practice helps a new yogi to understand the meditation and relaxation within the movements of yoga because there aren’t any distractions around. Check out The Bad Yogi for really great videos to help structure a positive home practice. I’m also a big fan of Kino’s youtube channel for Ashtanga heavy theory and practice.

  • Don’t Give Up, Yoga is a Daily Practice

I’ve been practicing for almost 10 years on and off, there were full years where I wouldn’t get on my mat. I’m sure that it goes with out saying that those yoga-less years were often the ones where I was going through painful, existential crises where I just wasn’t myself. I joined Instagram’s thriving yoga community and started to notice that yogis that had practiced only 2 years were able to accomplish poses that were just so beyond me. I started to get down on myself, to feel less than while I lurked around different photos comparing myself. It’s often these times where I quit things, where I give up because it’s easier than putting in the actual work to step up my game and rise above self pity. This time I decided that I wasn’t going to sabotage myself like that, that instead I would be inspired by these Insta-Yogis to dedicate my knowledge to the mat. Now I practice every day for AT LEAST 20 minutes and I’m unlocking arm balances and binds that were just impossible to me before. I share this portion of my egotistical comparing competitive mind because yoga isn’t something that people are just good at.

Yoga is a journey where you slowly release the light in your spirit through mastery of poses, calmness of the mind and growth in the soul. Everyone starts somewhere, don’t get discouraged just be inspired to continue.

RESOURCES These are a few of my favorite studios in the couple of places that I’ve visited.

Flagstaff, Arizona: Northern Arizona Yoga Center

Dana Point, CA: I Heart Yoga in the Park

San Francisco, CA: Yoga to the People

Herb Spotlight: Oregano

Herb Spotlight

I have been reaching out to friends to see what kind of herbs have been speaking to them for my herb spotlight, and one of my favorite humans suggested that I look into oregano. I’m glad that I did because it turns out that oregano can do MANY healing things and even be used to make an alternative cleaning agent for the home. That is why I found it surprising that oregano was listed in only one of my herb manuals.

Oregano is native to the mediterranean and central Asia, the word is derived from ‘Oros’ and “Ganos’ meaning Mountain Joy. The plant is a part of the mint family and was revered as a symbol of happiness in ancient times. It is a strong antiseptic, anti viral, anti microbial and anti fungal. It can be used to clean out infection in the body as well as the scum off of your counters at home. It is a magical cure all that we simply use to season our marinara sauce. Let’s take a deeper look at oregano.

Breakdown of Oregano

Scientific Name: Origanum Vulgare

Parts Used: Dried Leaf, Dried Flowering Herb

Magickal Stats: Air Element, Ruled by Venus and Aphrodite

Improves Function of: 

  • Respiratory System
  • Immune System
  • Circulatory System

Aides in Relieving Symptoms of:

  • UTI
  • Respiratory Infection
  • Yeast Infection
  • Parasitic Infection
  • MRSA Infection
  • Rashes and Bug Bites
  • Sore Throat
  • Cold Sores, Dandruff and Skin Conditions
  • Muscle and Joint Pain

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Protection
  • Letting Go of a Loved One
  • Health
  • Luck
  • Happiness
  • Deepening Existing Love

How Does It Work?

This deeply cleansing herb is very high in amazing vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, C, E, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, Boron and Niacin. As far as the phenols go, Oregano contains thymol which boosts the immune system and blocks toxins in turn helping prevent tissue damage. The phenol carvacrol is effective against bacterial infection.

Terpenes are oils emitted by the plant in their flowering stages, they are also extracted as essential oils for healing purposes. Oregano contains rosmarinic acid which helps free radical and cancer prevention. Naringen inhibits growth of cancer cells and beta-caryophyllin which inhibits inflammation. All of these agents combine to create a highly effective anti-microbial for all around body cleansing and protection.

What Do I Do With It?

Before utilizing this herb at all for healing purposes do a spot test on your hand so check if you have any bad reaction. Some can experience stomach upset when ingesting so ti is good to dilute your oils.

Extracted Oil

Dilute with water, oil, lemon and vinegar to make an all natural cleaner for your home. Also soak feet in diluted oil to clear nail or foot fungus. Dilute with coconut oil or another carrier oil and place under tongue, hold and then spit out. Repeat this 4 times a day for the most stimulation to the circulatory system. You can also place oil into pot of boiling water and inhale steam to alleviate any cold or sinus issue.

Dried Leaves

A laurel of the leaves can be worn around the head during sleep to promote psychic dreams. Also place a laurel on the grave of the recently deceased to bless their journey to the afterlife. Wreaths can crown the heads of a newly hand fasted or married couple to ensure their happiness.

Herb Spotlight: Hibiscus

Herb Spotlight

Hibiscus creates the most perfect tart flavoring for iced teas and even sorbets, and it also does some other wonderful things aside from tickle the senses. The flower, root and seed can all be used in decoctions, tinctures and even cleansers for your skin. The Hibiscus flower comes in thousands of species that thrive in warm or warm-temperate climates. It is often found in Asian countries.

Breakdown of Hibiscus 

Scientific Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ; Hibisceaetribe of the family Malvaceae [aka: rose mallow shoeblackplant, Chinese hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus]

Parts Used: flower, stem and sap

Magical Stats: Water Element, Ruled by Venus

Improves Function of the:

  • bowels
  • cardiovascular system
  • intestines
  • antioxidants

Aides in relieving symptoms of:

  • high cholesterol
  • uterine cramps
  • high blood pressure
  • menopause
  • diabetes

Assists spiritually with:

  • Connecting to the divine feminine
  • Worshipping Kali or Devi
  • Petition for mercy
  • Add beauty to and uplift your life

How Does It Work?

Hibiscus is believed to be an astringent. Mucilage found in the roots soothe the mucous membranes that line our respiratory and digestive tracts.  Anthocyanocides are astringent and anti-inflammatory. Lastly, I-hydroxy-acids work on the horny layer of the skin when applied topically, creating a more cohesive layer which results in  more elastic and moisturized skin and richer hair.

What Do I Do With It?

Hibiscus Flower

A decoction can be created from the flower of the rosa-sinensis. Hibiscus has a tart, delicious taste that is truly unique to it; home brewed tea is delicious when cold or hot. The tea will help to regulate blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugars. The tea holds a large quantity of antioxidants and can help regulate your system. With regulated blood pressure you may experience a balanced body temperature. You can experience help with muscle spasm and relieve other pain as well. Tea will also function as a mild laxative and diuretic.

Hibiscus flower is also used topically to shine shoes. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great addition to skin care issues, helping acne and other skin problems. It is also used in shampoo to fortify locks and make them more thick, and lustrous. Boil the flower in oil with other chosen spices to make a medicated hair oil. Or grind the flowers and leaves in the fine paste with some water until it is a lathery paste. That will create a shampoo plus conditioner.

Hibiscus Roots

In Ayurvedic medicine the root of the Hibiscus plant can be used to stop hair loss, dandruff or greying. Ayurveda even recommends it to cure coughs. Creating a tincture out of the roots can help to spark up your digestive and respiratory tracts.

Hibiscus Seeds

Ancient Asian medicine recommends using the seeds of the flower to curb menstrual cramps and spasms. Create a decoction from the seed and drink it.

Hibiscus in Magic

The flower is used in incense to add beauty ultimately helping the practitioner by uplifting them. The flower is also used to petition for mercy. Essential oil is perfect for infusions that will connect you to the divine feminine. It is sacred to the goddess Kali in all of her guises.

WARNING: As always, if you are currently under the care of a doctor do not follow these instructions without consulting your physician.

What’s In My Cup?

Recipes, What's In My Cup?

Tea!! Playing with herbs in nightly tea is a wonderful tradition because you can pay attention to your medicinal needs that day. I am having a couple of naggy issues at the moment with my health.

I quit smoking cigarettes about 5 weeks ago and my throat has been really suffering, I believe it’s a healing crisis but the crisis is real. My mood has also been extremely messed, I’m constantly hard on myself and in turn on the ones around me. I snap at people and have a very short temper right now. Today’s mixture combines these two needs, and is dang tasty!

This Specific Blend Will Aid In:

  • Anxiety and Depression Relief
  • Uplifting and refreshing
  • Expectorant
  • Throat soothing

Simply Mix Together:

1 tsp Chamomile

1/2 tsp Licorice Root

1 tsp Spearmint

1 tsp Kava

Boil 6 oz water, pour over herbs in tea ball or bag. Let steep for 5-15 minutes or until you have acquired the desired decoction. I really appreciated the mellowing effects with a tinge of the uplifting quality of Spearmint. Although I used this as a night time tea, the Spearmint felt necessary for its amazing ability to draw happiness in to the one who blesses it. The licorice will not only help the throat soothe but it also works as an anti-inflammatory, specifically in the liver. Get a little detox along with the other great healing that will take place.

These herbs work together nicely to get me exactly where I needed to be: happy, healthy and with some soothing throat qualities.

Hold your cup as you let the tea’s aroma seep into your senses and meditate on the mantra: My Best Is Wonderful

Herb Spotlight: Dandelion

Herb Spotlight

I have been studying herbs for awhile now and have finally begun to play around with them in their different forms. Dandelion is extremely interesting to me because as a child I was always drawn to these golden wish bearing flowers sprouting all over the suburbs. I remember being told that they were weeds and having that create an entire thought spiral in my squishy little impressionable mind, that if something considered a weed or a nuisance to most could be so profoundly beautiful to me. Just another childhood lesson in compassion I suppose.

I felt like this would be the best for my very first herbalicious spotlight as it comes in so many different forms that are all incredibly healing.

Breakdown of the Dandelion

Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale; Asteraceae Daisy Family [aka: blowball, lion’s mane]

Parts Used: Leaves, roots, flowers, seeds and sap.

Magical Stats: Air Element, Ruled by Jupiter

Improves the function of the :

  • liver
  • gallbladder
  • urinary system
  • kidney
  • digestive system

Aids in relieving symptoms of:

  • Acne
  • Warts & Corns
  • Hypochondria
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Rheumatism
  • Gout

Assists Spiritually With:

  • Deliver thoughts to loved ones (blow to make wishes)
  • Bring about psychic impressions and dreams.
  • Increase financial success.

How Does the Herb Work?

The chemicals in the plant cause the gallbladder to contract which releases bile. This stimulates the liver to create more bile, clearing out impurities from the entire endocrine system. Also clears out mucus from digestive tract with increased functionality, improving digestive function.

Most diuretics that do the same medical work as the dandelion will deplete the potassium in your system. Dandelion in all of it’s forms will increase your potassium levels, continuing to help your body learn how to operate with a higher functioning gallbladder.

What Do I Do With It?

Dandelion Root:

My first experience with dandelion outside of beautiful little dandy-flower balls was with bulk dried herbs. I have made both tinctures and hot steep teas with the little nugget of earthy deliciousness. Tinctures are a pretty large cure-all; as always hitting all medicinal bases of the plant. [Dosing: 30-40 drops, 2 to 4 times a day expect results after several weeks]

The root can be used as a caffeine free coffee substitute; grind the dried, roasted roots and mix with cardamom or cinnamon for some extra flavor.

Hot dandelion root tea can help promote liver health aiding specifically in hypochondria, insomnia, rheumatism and gout. Ancient Gypsy remedy for jaundice was to fast for three days, drinking the dandelion root tea in the AM, fast 4 more days with out tea, then 3 more days with dandelion tea in the AM.

Dandelion Sap:

Ancient remedy for warts included in both colonial medicine and Gyspy lore utilizes the sap from a dandelion stem. It has been said to cure freckles, acne, warts and other skin ailments.

Dandelion Greens:

I like to just eat my dandelion greens but they are quite bitter for most, this bitterness is how they work their magic! You can also juice them for the benefits with out as much of the flavor. You can also make tea from these greens.

Greens will help you detoxify the blood and lymph which increases help with kidney and bowel function, depleting fluid retention and urinary problems. It has also been shown to increase shortness of breath in the elderly.

Dandelion Magic:

To acquire opportunities or accomplishments in your fiscal realm put dandelion in your herbal amulet. If you want to send wishes to your loved ones think hard on your thoughts and blow the seeds of a dandelion flower into the wind. Brew a dandelion leaf or root tea before bed to encourage psychic thoughts or dreams.

WARNINGS:

If pregnant consult a doctor before using dandelion for your issues. May create colic in cases of gallstones or obstructions of bile ducts or intestines.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Pour Hot Water Over Them!

Herbalism, What's In My Cup?

WARNING: This post will talk about pooping, something about which I am not shy.

A frequent question I pose to my doctors is: How can I be more regular? It is important to go when necessary, if there are blockages or digestive issues within your system it can really muss up your day. Being backed up can make you feel sick to your stomach, bloated and downright ornery.

I visited a naturopath to assess my medical cannabis needs and my overall health back in January. When I posed my usual iuquestion on how to be more regular her answer was simple. Before you eat anything in the morning pour hot water over some lemon slices and drink up!

After doing some research here are some stunning facts about drinking hot lemon water:

  • cleanses the liver
  • help bowels eliminate easily and naturally
  • raise your pH, keep it alkaline
  • help lower blood pressure
  • get more magnesium, calcium and potassium

Now of course it took me two months to actually follow through with this health regimen. I already skip oil pulling every morning and at the time was also skipping yoga. (I’m an all or nothing type of gal ;D) I sit here now, drinking hot lemon water with a completely healthy digestive tract. You see every morning at about a half of a cup through your lemon morning regimen you will expel every bit of waste from your bowels. It is one of the most freeing morning habits I have ever acquired.

It wasn’t since high school that I could claim a morning, noon and night BM. Well kids, with the help of lemon water I am digesting like a champion. If you have absolutely any issue with being regular try lemon water. Before probiotics that cost tons of money just simply buy a bag of lemons. It is too easy not to try.

I have been experimenting, this morning I had a chamomile mixture thrown in and most days I will add a tablespoon of local honey to help me fight the horrible allergy season.