*Updated: January 29th, 2016*
This article is dedicated to those funky, dry late-winter months, blending into Spring – a time when cold and flu season seems to be over, and yet you find yourself still blowing your nose, over and over.
You might be a bit unsure about whether you are dealing with allergies, or the last cold of the season to kick your butt.
In fact, at this very particular time right now during late Winter/early Spring, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about folks coming down with something: not quite a cold, but not quite something easy to ignore, either.
Think inflamed, stuffy sinuses, allergies, plugged ears, and the vestige of a cough, with some lingering respiratory issues as if they have just overcome a cold. Sometimes there are even swollen lymph nodes, tonsils, and throat symptoms thrown into the mix. Sound familiar?
I have found myself hesitant to just recommend the typical cold and flu herbs in these situations. Immunity is always important to focus on, and the tried-and-true bulls-eye of the practicing herbalist. But what about the best relief, on top of all that, and with the help of herbs used at home – sinus relief?
Neti Pots and Their Virtues
The past couple years, Neti pots have been my constant go-to when I’m in the midst of cold, flu, and allergy troubles. Especially when it takes a while for those immune-stimulating anti-cold herbs to kick in, or an herbal steam just won’t get into the sinuses fast enough – I open up my cupboard, and take my Neti pot off the shelf.
It gets rid of all of the gunk, and quickly. Once I realized I could combine herbs with Neti rinses, I have since chosen this method as a top one in my arsenal for colds and flu fighting.
What’s the low-down on using Neti pots? If you don’t know, Neti pots (also called “nasal lavage”) are little magical-looking genie bottle-type containers you fill with warm water and a bit of salt. You then hold back your head, put the spout in your nostril, breathe through your mouth, and let the water flow through your sinuses – through one nostril, and then out the other. Read more on the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations on how to use the Neti pot here.
Is using a Neti pot safe? Most doctors and health practitioners (including herbalists) dub Neti pots safe and effective, with a few guidelines (that I happen to agree with).
- Good first line of defense against cold symptoms and allergies
- Great for thick, chunky mucus
- Sporadic, non-regular use is best
- Use boiled, distilled, sterilized, and filtered water
- If using tap water, make sure it is filtered through hole sizes 1 micron or smaller, or boiled several minutes then cooled before use
- CLEAN your Neti pot regularly
Why all the concerns? Some studies have shown that regular use of Neti pots may actually increase the chances of sinus infections and bacterial growth. Think about it: adding yet more water to a part of the body that is warm, damp, and dark could end up being the fuel to the fodder that bacteria actually needs to get started.
It’s also apparent that Neti rinses may actually remove the beneficial microbes and the body’s natural immune, organism-fighting agents we need to fight infections and illnesses on our own.
That’s certainly not in the spirit of an herbalist or holistic practitioner, right? We want to be aiding the body’s battle, not hindering it.
As a result, I use Neti pots only in a real pinch – and no longer than about 2 weeks at a time in a daily series. I also make sure that both the water and Neti pot I use is completely sterilized, to avoid adding more bacteria to the fire than before I had even started.
My Experiences with Herbal Neti Pot Rinses
I started my use of the Neti pot with the standard salt rinse, as usual, with strong warm water.
Then one day, it hit me: the Neti rinse could easily use a bit of an herbal twist, particularly after I happened upon an herb shop’s Sinus Care tincture: formulated specifically for the Neti pot!
Since then, I can’t resist adding a supporting herb into the mix each time, depending on the type of sinus issue or cold I’m dealing with.
There are so many varieties of herbs and varieties of herbal actions that would suit a Neti rinse perfectly: vasodilating, bronchiodilating, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial. If you have dry sinuses, you can rinse with moistening herbs; goopy sinuses, and you can turn to more drawing and drying ones. Through my personal explorations with my Neti pot, I’ve found a delightful selection of herbs to include in my rinses – which I will be happily covering in this article.
How I Use My Neti Pot
*Dosage/Preparation: To each Neti Rinse you prepare, use warm (not hot!) water, and add roughly a teaspoon of salt.
- Neti solution should not be too salty – to taste, the water should be “as salty as your tears.”
- Avoid using tap water. Use filtered, reverse-osmosis, or pre-boiled then cooled water – or bottled and/or distilled water.
- To each solution, add about 10-20 drops tincture, or whatever you are comfortable.
If you aren’t comfortable with tinctures- or, if you don’t have a tincture of any these herbs handy- you can make a tea, decoction, infusion, or tisane of these herbs, but make sure that the plant matter is WELL STRAINED to avoid putting any thing foreign in your sinuses that shouldn’t be there, and could only make matters worse.
Choice Herbs For the Herbal Neti Pot
GINGER (Zingiber officinalis) – Warm and damp, this culinary root is prime for drier sinuses, with or without accompanying dull pressure – and those dealing with lingering viral infection.
Ginger is also one of an exclusive circle of helpful herbs that can stave off a good deal of viral activity, while modern medicine has yet to come up with anything synthetically antiviral to match. This makes Ginger great for colds or viral bugs, soothing what feels like inflammation and a lot of pressure – and, overall, quite a perfect addition to the Neti.
Surprisingly, while you might think Ginger could “burn,” the most potent of my Ginger tinctures haven’t caused a single discomfort (though I’m sure you would have to be careful with a decoction).
You can replace Ginger with native Wild Ginger if you’d prefer, though Wild Ginger is not reputedly anti-viral.
CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla) – Or, along the same lines, Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Sinus headaches/pressure with either drip or dryness could call for either of these two white-flowered, dainty and aromatic herbs, especially if there is sneezing involved. They are both relatively easy to find in herb gardens and herbal sections of food stores.
Sinus allergies are a good target – whether runny or dry, these two plants are known to prevent histamine reaction in a unique way, and a rinse with these is quite gentle. Check out this research on both Feverfew and Chamomile, supporting their uses for allergies.
If you have sinus issues or allergies that often transform into migraines, these could be your buddies especially. A warning to those allergic to Ragweed pollen- avoid these herbs and anything in the Asteraceae family altogether. They will most likely make you feel much, much worse.
RAGWEED (Ambrosia artemisifolia/trifida) – Before you say “What? Why?!!?” Ragweed can be amazing for sinus allergy symptoms, particularly for those who are NOT allergic to its pollen.
Yet for those who are allergic to Ragweed, there is strong supporting research out there nonetheless, revealing that the antidote to the poison might be just a bit of the plant itself. To top it all off, the FDA did approve a drug that contained a bit of Ragweed itself in a pill for allergy relief symptoms due to Ragweed pollen itself in 2014.
Again- if you know you are allergic to Ragweed or other Asterids, it might be wiser to steer clear. For those who aren’t (including myself), a tincture or tea of in-season Ragweed blooms can provide amazing relief, particularly when you feel a histamine reaction going on. I experimented with some tincture last Summer for some dusty-stuff sinus problems, and wow- just, wow.
This is best aimed at allergy-related sinus issues specifically, and less so for cold or viral stuff. If you are the brave sort of Ragweed-allergic, I’ve been told that Ragweed leaf (NOT flower) can be alright and less harmful to Ragweed-sufferers…but that is not a recommendation or suggestion. Experiment at your own risk please.
GOLDENROD (Solidago canadensis + other species) – The dried blossoms of Goldenrod are similar to Chamomile or Feverfew in action, making it best suited to allergies once again – but more so the damp and drippy kind. For whatever magical reason too, this plant has a stronger affinity to pet allergies, and sinus flare-ups that might happen as a result.
Another great thing about it: it’s well-known support of Ragweed allergies in the empirical knowledge of herbalists. Growing right next to Ragweed in the Fall and blooming twice as “showily,” not many folks know that a well-worked herbal cure to Ragweed allergies might be growing just a couple feet away. What more – preliminary studies are showing that Goldenrod has some marked anti-inflammatory activity.
Goldenrod flowers have a sweet, astringent, and pleasant flavor that I love adding to herbal allergy blends of any sort. Out of all the possible Neti, sinus and allergy herbs altogether too, Goldenrod stands out as my very favorite- combine this one with Ginger if you’re having a viral cold with a fever, and it could help bring the fever down.
USNEA (Usnea spp.) – Along with Goldenrod, Usnea is one of my favorites for a sinus rinse. Its astringency and anti-microbial action are very highly desirable for the average sinus infection!
Best for damp and runny sinuses only, this lichen contains usnic acids that pack a punch against notorious bacteria including staph and strep (with studies to prove it). While fighting off infection, this plant will also aid in drawing and pulling out the nasty gunk you’re trying to forget, helping airways unclog and clear.
MULLEIN (Verbascum thapsus) – You can never do without Mullein. Whether raspy or goopy, this fuzzy, common plant can be of help – although I do think it stands out best in situations where the sinuses are much drier.
This plant is simple; and in being so, there really isn’t much else more to say about it. It’s a top pick among herbalists for such things having to do with colds, flu, and sinuses.
A tincture of the root may be effective, but a fresh, hot tea of the leaves or flowers (without having reached the boiling point) can help loosen stuff up when your stuffed up, too.
Allergies and colds can be relieved with Mullein as well – and some studies support not only that Mullein’s plant “mucilages” could be what truly relieves sinus inflammation, but also that there are compounds in the plant that have been seen killing viruses on contact.
PLANTAIN (Plantago major) – Like Mullein or Ginger, I like to put Plantain in practically all of my Neti rinses as a feature role of the blend.
This is because Plantain leaf does something special that the remainder of these herbs don’t do as well: Plantain is a “drawing” agent in herbalists’ experience, which can help pull foreign objects out of the sinus while helping neutralize the amount of irritation or goop you have going on.
So if you simply feel like you’ve got “stuff”- any kind of stuff- lodged in your sinuses, Plantain is your go-to remedy. Beyond allergies, colds or normal sinus issues, you could turn to this herb for the weirder stuff: inhaling a bug, food, or something else accidental. Plantain can help you pull that out.
The other great thing about Plantain? You can use it for both wet and dry sinuses. Plantain is both mucilaginous and astringent: it will help draw up and pull out any excess mucus, but at the same time soothe, moisturize, and tonify the soft tissues of the nasal cavities.
Studies are also beginning to support this plant’s use for inflammation, too – even showing that it could have protective capabilities against certain bacteria perilous to the nose and throat, such as strep bacteria and others included!
This article is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, promise, or suggest cure. It’s purpose and intent is to be purely educational.
**Disclaimer** The information in this article is NOT intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. Its intent is to be purely educational; if suffering serious illness, please contact a professional healthcare provider.
Properties: Diaphoretic, Antibiotic, Antiscorbutic, Antidiarrheal, Antiasthmatic, Diuretic, Tonic, Alterative, Antimicrobial, Astringent.
Energetics: Cool, dry, sour, astringent.
Parts Used: Berries/Fruits, Leaves, Bark, Twigs.
When I was a little girl playing in my family’s big sloped garden in Utah, I would spend a lot of time in the little stand of Sumac there. I remember it clearly – and for that I consider Sumac a childhood friend of sorts.
A patch of Sumac is the perfect place for a kid to play and pretend they’re in a different world, completely hidden from an adult’s prying eyes.
As an herbalist and wild food fan, my friendship with Sumac has continued to the present. In a chef’s words, the flavor profile of Sumac is sour and light; in an herbalist’s words, its “energetics” are cool and dry, sour and astringent. Sound similar, right?
That might be because Sumac has been a popular wild food, culinary spice, and folk medicine for hundreds of years among many cultures. When a single herb crosses over into all these categories, then you really know it’s a good food and herb.
A huge lover of Sumac, I will sometimes try to talk about how awesome this plant really is for you, healing-wise and nutritionally. Most of the time I’ll get a glazed, unknowing, fairly uninterested look.
One response I got was: “Oh, you mean those long, branching, pokey things you see along the highway, with the fiery berries?” Yes, those.
Sumac’s Healing and Nutritional Properties
For starters, the species of Sumac I’m most familiar with is a robust Midwestern version: Smooth Sumac, scientific name Rhus glabra.
There aren’t many tinctures, capsules, or supplements of Sumac available for you to try at your local natural foods store. Thus hardly anybody knows what to say about it, even the majority of herbalists. But Sumac deserves its own attention outside the mainstream – and I just love an underdog.
If you want to go out there and get to know this plant and its exceptional qualities, it will require a hike or a short walk rather than a trip to the whole foods store. Though you can find “culinary” Sumac, a sour, burgundy-red powder and popular Middle Eastern spice at some local shops. Experiment with that, if you like, though its effects and health properties are not something I’m familiar with.
Otherwise, you can walk up to this plant and with your fingers or a knife, and gently snap off or cut away the clusters of soft, red berries…respectfully, of course.
- High in Vitamin C for immunity
- Antioxidants for cellular protection
- Gallic acids – potent antimicrobials
Not only does Sumac contain ample Vitamin C and Antioxidants like its contemporaries Hibiscus, Rose, and Raspberry – it also hosts powerful Gallic Acids that make it a worthy opponent for bacteria, fungus, even viruses alike.
Yes, there are studies to prove it: “…of 100 medicinal plants screened for antibiotic activity, [Rhus glabra] was most active, attributed to content of gallic acid, 4-methoxygallic acid, and methyl gallate. Alcoholic extracts had the strongest activity.” (Foster, Duke; Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, p. 281).
Another study demonstrated Smooth Sumac’s (tincture of the berry) efficacy against certain strains of bacteria, including Staph, E. Coli, Salmonella, and the much-feared yeast Candida. The Middle Eastern species of Sumac, Rhus coriara, was able to destroy Streptococcus bacteria, the cause for Strep Throat. (1)
More Healing Facts About Sumac:
- Sumac’s berries showed anti-diabetic, hypoglycemic activity
- Abilities to help lower cholesterol, while boosting good cholesterol
- Could prevent hardening of the arteries (2)
Studies aren’t needed to support this one, but powdered Sumac (or whole berries) make an excellent cooling beverage when mixed with some lemon, classically called “Sumac-Ade.” Plus, the powdered berry from its roots as a Middle Eastern culinary spice, is an excellent food pairing with grilled fish or chicken!
I will stop and say here that yes, Sumac-Ade is quite delicious. But if you want a potent healing infusion of Sumac berries, simply cold-steeping to get only the pleasantly sour aspect will produce a weak and hardly effective tea. That’s right…you’ve got to boil it or at the very least heat it in some way, until the water is a darker, vivid yellowish-red color.
Don’t worry, it will still be plenty sour, though it will also have an earthy, bitter taste that might repel most people – unless you’re one of those people who knows, of course, that bitterness means the “medicine is working.”
Traditional Healing Uses of Sumac:
- Opens the pores, promoting sweating and elimination – fever-supporting
- Strengthens the kidneys
- Relieves and prevents diarrhea
- Fights colds, flus, and infection of the mouth and digestive tract
Interestingly, traditional and folk use seemed to emphasize its affinity to mouth infections specifically. It’s fun for me to say that my experiences lined up with that, too.
My Experiences With Sumac
Four years ago, a case of strep throat hit me in late November 2012. With no health insurance, being at least 30 miles away from a clinic and practically penniless, I rummaged my plant resources.
I didn’t have ideal strep-fighting herbs with me at the time, such as Usnea (Usnea spp.) or Red Root/New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus), so I set about trying to, somewhat creatively, figure out how I could kick the illness. Even then, take it from me though: if you can get access to healthcare to take care of your strep…DO IT!
Strep can be dangerous. I do not recommend going this route, as this was an option I faced in the desperation of wintertime poverty deep in rural Iowa.
For the first two days using various other herbs in teas, I didn’t see a whole lot of improvement. I then opted also for Smooth Sumac tincture added into the mixture I was using. I went out on a bit of a limb relying on this herb – though I had stumbled upon its anti-microbial research, and was intrigued.
I took the tincture internally, three times a day. But a gargle of Sumac tincture in water at least three times a day – allowing direct contact on my swollen, infected throat – was what I believe the biggest impact on Strep. I was a combination of surprised and pleased: every time I gargled with Sumac, there were very observable results day-to-day, and the infection progressively withdrew!
I did this for about a week, eventually chucking all the other herbs and mostly just relying on the Smooth Sumac. In spite of not having found any information or research yet on Sumac fighting Strep throat bacteria specifically, the infection hit the road.
From that time forward, I decided I really appreciated the stuff. I would be fated to make more if it, and I started to put it in almost everything (cause it tastes delicious, too)!
The experiences continued. In the next winter of 2013, after getting four wisdom teeth yanked out of my face, Sumac was my go-to remedy. I even preferred it over the prescription antibiotic mouth-rinse the dentists gave me afterward, and it still sits unused on my shelf even today.
Needless to say, I avoided the common post-surgery “dry-socket” problem. When one of the clots broke, it took a single swishing-session of Sumac tincture to stop the bleeding. The next gargle, I was amazed to feel that the hole had somehow pinched together and clotted, back on track to closing itself up.
Other’s Experiences With Sumac
Not long afterward, a co-worker of mine at the time approached me with an abscessed tooth.
He fretted because it had been abscessed for a while. He didn’t just want to go to a doctor, pay the money, and get it taken care of, with antibiotics and penicillin and the like. The tooth had been hurting him the last few days, and it frightened him that it was getting infected.
Without thinking it would really take care of the problem – maybe just help it, a bit – I said “Hey, try Sumac tincture. It seemed to get rid of my strep throat.” It was an easy sell, considering my co-worker’s enthusiasm for herbal remedies.
Less than a week later, he came to me saying not only had the pain and infection gone, but the tooth was no longer abscessed! He seemed as shocked and awed as I was, but definitely happy.
Sumac: History, Information, Background, and Tradition
There are many different species of Sumac, all belonging to the genus Rhus.
There are other species of Sumac in Iowa. One other, Staghorn Sumac, (Rhus typhina) is also native to Iowa. Its range clings closely to the banks of the Upper Mississippi region and the Driftless region of the state, then spreads north and eastward.
Poison Sumac (Rhus toxicodendron) is quite similar looking to other sumacs, with white instead of red berries. However, it is incredibly uncommon in Iowa; the only place where you might stumble upon it would be on the banks of the Mississippi. Just make sure the Sumac you are harvesting has berries, and that they are definitely not white (not much of a challenge).
Like its namesake, Sumac is typically seen growing gingerly at the forest’s edge, in the shadows of clearings on the paths where deer are known to frequent. According to herbalist Matthew Wood, Sumac is a Deer Medicine.
Deer Medicine is a categorization of certain types of herbs originating from American Indian Medicine practices, though I couldn’t tell you which exact people or nations. Deer Medicines, as Wood puts them, are meant to be “juicy and beautiful, and plants that attract deer.”
I have seen many a deer hiding among stands of Sumac, blending right in with its graceful branches and jagged foliage. It is, indeed, the perfect haven for deer to hide.
Being an important part of herbal healing of past and future tradition, Sumac in my mind perfectly reflects and represents itself as a symbol of Iowa herbalism- a state and region where the deer themselves are incredibly prolific.
There is an incredible amount of knowledge going way, way back on the many uses of Sumacs, also spelled “sumach”; both from the acumen of historical texts and the rich lore of old traditional cultures, in North America, Europe, and Africa.
In Iowa, Sumacs- particularly Smooth Sumac- were important and prevalent medicines among some original cultures native to the state, or those who were known to pass through Iowa regularly. The Cahokia Indians, early agriculturists of Iowa, were thought to have cultivated Sumac along the Upper Mississippi as food, no doubt as medicine.
The Omahas most notably had a wide range of uses for it, along with the Meskwaki, who are the last-standing Indian nation with a settlement present here in Iowa. I personally think this long-time use of Sumac is a strong reason to consider it a vital herbal, especially one with strong cultural and regional ties to healing traditions rooted right here, in the state of Iowa.
The antique literature out there backs up Sumac’s usefulness as a medicine for the mouth, resonating with both its research and my own experiences. One herbal mentions its folk use in the Ozarks as a chew stick for cleaning teeth, by stripping the bark off a thin twig and massaging the gums.
A modern study confirms Smooth Sumac as a mouth medicine, due to examined and tested samples of the species from the Ozark mountains, which was shown to prevent tooth decay among rural Ozark inhabitants.
The old herbals don’t just stop there. Stemming from the use of Old World Rhus coriara in Europe, its subsequent adoption by pioneers was carried over to America – and a rhapsody of Old and New World uses, European and Native, developed into a robust tradition of medicinal use.
Old herbals praise its unique potency against various afflictions, among them diarrhea, dysentery, fevers, scrofula, and weakness with too much/not enough perspiration.
Sumac is noted to help tone the uterus and prevent its prolapse, like Raspberry. In fact, it is an all-around great Woman’s Medicine, regulating the cycle and preventing cramps through its actions on stabilizing the blood. As a bowel medicine, the herb helps against urinary complaints as a diuretic, acting through the kidneys. Historically, and in our present day, Sumac may be used to aid diabetes medication due to its kidney effect; Southeastern native tribes used it as their own regional analogue of more Western/Southwestern herbs like Brickelia (Brickellia spp.) or Nopal Cactus (Opuntia spp.).
A few famous herbalists of today discuss Sumacs of various species being medicines with a long history of successful use, Matthew Wood and Phyllis Light being its biggest proponents. Phyllis Light herself learned the uses of Sumac passed down from her grandmother in Southern Appalachia, a knowledge inherited from the Creek Indians. Wood compares the uses of Staghorn and Smooth Sumacs in his book The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism, and touches on the fact that Smooth Sumac is indeed a useful remedy in cases of mild putrefaction – this could include an illness like strep throat.
Next time you are driving along the highway, jogging, or passing through those more “thickety” parts of your town – I hope you stop to take a look at Sumac, if the gorgeous plant already doesn’t grab your eye.
Sumac could be a first step into a powerful pantheon of Iowa herbs, a plant that for many of us, could be just outside our window, waiting to yield its uses to us.
Although the stands of Sumac are widespread and numerous….please, harvest respectfully.
References: Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James A. Duke. The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism by Matthew Wood. Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World by K. Kris Hirst. Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotanical Guide by Kelly Kindscher. King’s American Dispensatory, 1898. Henriette’s Herbal Homepage. Personal Experience.
Working and collaborating with author Carmen Reeves over the traditional herbalist knowledge and research in her new book has been a rush and a joy. I’m proud and happy to share her latest publication, Homemade Herbal Medicine, ranking as a #1 bestseller in the Herbs and Herbal Remedies category on Amazon as we speak!
Click here to check it out. But first, I want to give my followers an opportunity to get this essential little guide for free.
For only a couple more days yet, until December 5th, you can still get the Kindle version of this priming guide on at-home herbalism without paying a single cent.
You can also email Carmen Reeves directly, and in exchange for leaving her a good review, she will pass on to you a full PDF version of the E-book absolutely free! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
This guide is what I could only call one of the most well-rounded, simple, and straightforward introductions to herbalism that I have seen in a long time. For beginners new to herbalism, I really feel that the knowledge and research put into this book gives you the adequate perspective and skills in herbalism you need to do it safely and successfully.
For expert herbalists even, Homemade Herbal Medicine helps you narrow down and “hone” your herbal repertoire with the very best herbs out there. Each herb selected in this book has been carefully researched and hand-picked for both traditional, folkloric reputation and scientific study alike!
I’m also in love with the designs and pictures of each individual herb. The graphic designs add a very cozy, at-home feel which is perfect for learning the ropes to homemade, DIY herbalism. The perfect package!
Thank you for following, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with Carmen. More articles, updates, free e-books, and upcoming publications to arrive soon!
Adrian White, Herbalist and Writer
HERBAL CONSULTATIONS – CUSTOM FORMULATIONS – “HERBAL PAIRINGS”
Deer Nation herbalist Adrian White is now happy to provide educational Herbal Consultations! If you have been looking for an alternative, natural approach to improving wellness in your personal life- and you live in the Eastern Iowa/Iowa City area- Adrian White is a mobile herbalist, nutrition expert and professional health and wellness writer willing to come to your home, or rendezvous with you elsewhere for consultation.
See how plant therapy and nutrition can apply to your life style, struggles, and overall wellness situation. Adrian is also happy to host you for consultations in a cozy, country herbal apothecary loft and consulting space near Tipton, Iowa.
Issues I’d be happy to walk-through and tackle with you:
- Anxiety/Mild depression support
- Female Health
- Menstrual support
- Fertility support
- Enhancing Immune System Support
- Digestive Issues/Nutrition
- Thyroid Support
- …and more!
The consultation stems from an herbalist-based practice, but it does not end there. I may recommend an herb, blend of herbs, or even a variety of vegetables, fruits, and wild foods for you – but consultations may also involve methods of life-coaching and nutrition.
Garden consulting can also be an educational part of my time with you, when the season is right. I am an organic farmer/gardener of over 5 years, having been involved with local agricultural/farming community projects all around the country and here locally in Iowa (including Clinton Street Social Club, Echo Farm and CSA, and the Green Share CSA Coop).
Perhaps a certain vegetable or herb could be an integral part of improving wellness in your life. I can then show a client how to grow certain vegetables or herbs, whether in their own backyards or their homes, to have access to it themselves and feel empowered in their own health.
Please contact me by emailing email@example.com to schedule a consult.
*If these prices are too high, please, don’t be discouraged to reach out to me. I will try to refer you or do for you what I can, with what you can offer. Trades/Gifts/Donations accepted.
WHAT CAN HERBS DO?
To me, herbs are the pumped-up version of “eat your vegetables.” Herbs are foods that we should consider implementing into our diets more and more, in order to help our bodies reach the equilibrium that they have lost- even if we can only incorporate them in small increments.
Herbs are not medicines. They can be called medicines, some support the healing process, and some have more dramatic effects than others.
But according to legalities and ways we view modern mainstream medicine, herbs simply cannot and do not fit with convention. Herbs need their own category- not quite a medicine, not quite a supplement, and not quite a food. In my practice, however, herbs are herbs. The closest way to anything else in how they act on our bodies is much like a supplemented food, in a way.
I hope that one day herbs can be regulated completely different from food, supplements, AND medicine all together, but that is a story for another time.
Perhaps they don’t taste like french fries or ribeye. But some herbalists could argue that our intolerance of the “less easy” tastes of bitter herbs and vegetables is what has caused our falling from grace from good health, especially in the Western World.
Coupled with good, healthy choices, persistence, nutrition, and optimism, adding herbs into your life can slowly but surely change around some of the most stubborn, deeply-ingrained health imbalances in your life. Even better, it can prevent the very worst that could happen- even if it is already set in motion- from happening.
Fascinatingly enough, many of our mainstay culinary herbs were once used as healing additions to our meals. Rosemary, Thyme, and Ginger were not just for taste. They had noticeable effects on the body too in positive ways, through actions and chemical constituents that are observed even today by both folk tradition and modern science.
As an herbalist (and not to mention: farmer, gardener, and aspiring nutritionist), one of my greatest passions and goals is to bring together the infinite possibilities and myriad choices you can have when you combine herbs with healing foods. It’s easy…and you can find or integrate that kind of healing in practically every recipe.
The choices and wealth of food and herbal knowledge out there is extensive and overwhelming. That’s what herbalists are for. Starting off with a consultation, a little session with me could get the ball rolling on some both tasty and healthy ideas to boost your health- and the rest of the work and magic is completely up to you.