Easy to Grow Medicinal Plants & How to Use Them

Growing Medicinal HerbsHello!
I hope this note finds you well and enjoying this most vibrant time of year. Interested in growing medicinal herbs? Plants, and especially herbs, are a bit of an obsession for me all year round, but in the springtime it’s all about planting and growing (or attempting to grow) everything I can get my hands on, especially vegetables for eating and juicing, herbs for medicine-making, and flowers to beautify my world.

One of the things I love most about the growing season are the many opportunities to study plants – in the garden, in the yard, and in the wild. You don’t need much to connect to nature and the plant world in this way – a wild edible or medicinal plant field guide for your region, a line-free notebook, pen, pencil, and some water.


How To Aid Digestion of Raw Vegetables

challenge veg saladThe benefits of consuming a diet replete with raw vegetables of all colors and kinds are enormous, but some people often get gas or bloating trying to digest them.  These foods are the healers and life-givers.  They alkalize our blood, prevent aging and disease, provide the enzymes necessary for digestion and metabolism, support immunity and vital organ function, and much more.  Because so much of the enzyme and nutrient potential in plant food is lost with cooking (approximately 85% by most estimations), consuming lots of vegetables in their raw form is key to vibrant health and longevity.

However, some people experience difficulty when they eat a salad, cole slaw, or some other favorite raw dish.  They find it creates gas, bloating or loose stool.

The thing that makes digestion of raw vegetables difficult for some is the cellulose, or insoluble fiber.  Cellulase, the enzyme that breaks down cellulose, is produced by intestinal bacteria, so if there is dysbiosis in the small intestine, production of cellulase may be diminished.

In fact, in Chinese medicine, consuming lots of raw vegetables is not considered ideal for everyone, and particularly not for people with weak digestive fire.

SO how to aid in the digestion of raw vegetables so that you can reap the health benefits without negative after-effects?


Stress and Digestion: How To Make Your Belly Better In Times of Stress

gastritis3Stress and Digestion are linked in numerous ways.

Our ancient biology dictates that when a threat is perceived, the breakdown of food is low priority – so the message is sent to the digestive tract to stop working (or if the stress is severe, to eject its contents completely!).

In the modern world, this translates to chronic digestive discomfort that runs the gamut from stomach ulcers and indigestion, to gas and bloating, to constipation or erratic and loose stool – just to name a few of the most common symptoms.

Why is it that our digestive system is so sensitive to our emotions and the degree of tension that we carry? The prevailing sense that our digestive system functions independently from our nervous system is false. In fact, it is a nerve center as complex as the brain.

As you may recall from 7th grade human biology class: the sympathetic nervous system activates fear and aggression, and puts our bodies into “flight or fight” mode.

The parasympathetic nervous system – which includes the enteric nervous system of the gut – governs “rest and digest,” and is activated by things such as farming, feasting, and storytelling.

Stressful experiences occur, yet there’s not always an immediate outlet for the fight-or-flight response. Our body readies itself for intense physical activity, meanwhile we’re stuck brewing at our desk. If this happens often, without resources to change it, eventually digestive function is weakened through chronic suppression of its activity. This phenomenon is exacerbated as we age because our biology has diminished capacity to recover.

Following are the most effective ways to harmonize digestion in a body that’s under stress:

Step 1: Realize that you may be asking the body to function in ways it’s not meant to. The symptoms your body has created are trying to tell you something – don’t neglect them, value them! Ask yourself, what is this telling me? What needs to change to bring my belly back into alignment?

Step 2: Relieve tension.

The best way to do this for many people is to exercise 4-6 times per week. Twenty minutes or so is sufficient to alter the mood and create relaxation, especially if you make it enjoyable. Take a walk with a favorite person or dog, get fresh air, or listen to uplifting music or a meditation to maximize your stress relief while you move your body.

Step 3: Practice food combining.

The concept behind food combining is this: eat foods that digests easily together, and your meal will pass easily through your system, and require minimal energy from your body to break down and assimilate nutrients. The result is that you don’t feel stagnant or sleepy, or create inflammation (assuming you haven’t eaten a food you are allergic to). Plus, your body experiences a net gain of energy, rather than a net loss.

Food combining takes some attention to learn because it’s not the way most of us are used to eating, but once you learn and practice the basics, you will never look back. This is an essential tool for anyone with a weakened digestive system! Read more about it here.

Step 4: Alkalize your system.

The chemistry of stress is acidic. Healthy blood and body tissues are alkaline. In order to have resilience against stress, you need to build your alkaline reserves. A few great ways to do this are:

• Eat lots of fresh raw vegetables

• Drink fresh vegetable juice daily

• Drink plenty of water with lemon or lime

• Practice deep abdominal breathing

• Think happy positive loving thoughts

All of these routines will directly benefit your digestion, harmonize your nervous system, and are profound self-healing practices, especially when done in concert consistently over time.


Try these steps and please let us know how they work out for you!


Juice-Fast Recipe Favorites

Juice Fast RecipeI recently did a 3-day juice fast. There’s nothing that makes you dig around for and appreciate the variety of flavors and energetic qualities of different fruits and vegetables as fasting. With so little energy tied up in digestion, the body quickly steps into healing mode and sends strong clear messages about what it wants and doesn’t want – how refreshing! I sought out some never-tried-before combinations (thanks to the many recipe-sharers on the internet!) and engaged in spontaneous kitchen experimentation. If you’re hankering something new to delight your juicer’s palette, here’s a few juice-fast recipe ideas:


4 Pillars of THE BEST Detox for Weight Loss Diet Plan

Detox for Weight LossDetox for Weight Loss: Many of us make repeated attempts with weight loss and cleansing diets, but don’t achieve the desired results because we fall into these common pitfalls:

Confusion – there’s a ton of conflicting information and product promises out there!

Uninspiring results – you don’t look and feel better fast enough to gain momentum, or what worked for you in the past no longer seems to, so you give up…

Old patterns of struggle, fear and failure rear their monstrous heads, and seem too great to overcome with mere mortal willpower.

The best detox and weight loss diet plans need to solve these problems – or they’re not likely to work!

This article explains the 4 pillars of the best detox for weight loss diet plan – best because it’s effective and brings results quickly, because it’s safe and will result in outstanding health over time, and because it addresses your mindset and emotions and gives you tools for working with fear, resistance and other emotions that trigger self-sabotage.


Pillar #1: Awaken Waste

The following techniques prepare excess weight and toxic accumulation to exit the body:



cleansing classIf you are seeking healing in your life, if you would like to feel more energetic, clear and vibrant, if you seek greater levels of health and happiness, then please join me, for this FREE 1-hour teleclass.

DATE: Wednesday March 13
TIME: 11am (Can’t listen live? No worries – register for the call and we’ll email you the link to listen later.)

You see, the potentials for health, happiness, creativity, productivity, and self-healing are inside us. They become covered over in layer after layer of stress-response, toxic accumulation, food, emotion and various states of dis-ease that are never fully processed.


What Is A Cleansing Lifestyle Anyway? – A Cleanse Diet for Daily Life

cleanse dietMany of us intuitively understand that it’s a good idea once in a while to unload the burdens of indulgence and excess that inevitably creeps in – and sometimes dominates – the modern lifestyle. Most of us think about “doing a cleanse” in the form of a fast or a restricted diet combined with concoctions that force the organs to expel the waste-stuff they’ve been storing. These types of cleanses pose certain potential problems and leave some people wondering – what if they’re too harsh? What if it makes me feel worse? How do I do it in the midst of my busy demanding life?


Staying Healthy: How to NOT GET SICK this Cold & Flu Season

stock-footage-young-child-and-mother-bundled-up-in-winter-gear-walk-in-snow-storm-in-portland-oregonWith a growing chill in the morning air and children heading back to school, we know the cold & flu season is upon us. If you’re serious about staying healthy this fall and winter, then heed these common sense reminders and pearls of traditional wisdom:

1. Wash Hands. As every health practitioner knows, this is the #1 way to avoid passing around disease-causing germs. Use soap, and do it regularly, especially if you are around children or other family members who have already caught a cold.

2. Keep covered from the wind. An old Chinese adage states that, “Wind is the cause of 100 diseases.” Exposure to wind and cold challenges the body to defend itself against airborne diseases, such as viruses. Be sure to keep the body warm and the head and neck covered with adequate clothing while enjoying time outdoors.

3. Get enough sleep. Obvious, right? But it can be a challenge for many reasons. Make it a priority to get around 8 hours of good quality sleep to keep your immune system at its best.


Lyme Disease Treatment: Considerations & Alternatives: Part I, On the Use of Antibiotics

antibiotic lyme disease treatmentThis article will primarily focus on how to treat Lyme with herbs and supplements (Part II), and discuss some of the issues with taking antibiotics (Part I), as treatment of Lyme sometimes involves protracted courses of antibiotics. From the perspective of natural medicine, there is often a better way to treat bacterial infections than taking antibiotics. Typically this involves taking a formulation of herbs that has antibiotic medicinals combined with those that promote the body’s response to the infection (for example, they promote sweating), as well as herbs to strengthen the immune system, engender fluids, and clear heat so that the fever does not damage body tissues (all of this hastens and ensures a complete recovery). This way, you avoid the problems of latency, bacterial resistance and re-growth that are associated with pharmaceutical antibiotic treatment.