Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a store-bought chest rub? When you’re congested, bleary-eyed, and feeling like death warmed over, reading ingredients is not high on the priority list, but it’s also not comforting to find out that you just rubbed a semisolid soup of petroleum products onto your skin in order to give your respiratory passages some relief. The classic over-the-counter chest rubs are often less than 10% herbal ingredients, and approximately 90% petrolatum in the form of petroleum jelly, which is generally combined with turpentine. When petrolatum is not refined properly or entirely, as is sometimes the case in the U.S., it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens particularly when used over a period of time. There are of course excellent petrolatum-free chest rubs on the market with all the herbal benefits and no carcinogenic ingredients. But why purchase something that you can easily make at home in 15 minutes and for less money?
As a person who aims to lead a sustainable lifestyle, I often find myself reflecting on the areas of my life where I can make sustainable swaps for common single-use items. While assessing my self-care routines, I noticed that my shower was the place that I had the most single-use plastic bottles. I also realized that I had the infamous “graveyard” of haircare products that I had tried but which, for one reason or another, hadn’t worked for me. Long story short, it was way more plastic than I was comfortable with having in my otherwise green household.Read More
In herbalism, herb is the root word. Of course, herbalism encompasses much more than herbs such as basil or rosemary. It also includes tree barks, roots, seeds, and even non-plant life such as mushrooms. I know some herbalist friends who are downright repulsed by mushrooms, but there’s another type of herbalist who is entranced and enamored with these fungal friends. I happen to be one of those weirdos. While I'm not a mycologist, I’ve always enjoyed learning about and including mushrooms in my diet and herbal lifestyle because of their health benefits, lore, and mystery. Science confirms that there are a great many benefits to consuming mushrooms. Let’s explore a few of these mushroom allies.
There are two times of year that I feel inspired to do a bit of tidying and organizing—at the turn of a new year and in the first days of spring. These different seasons call for different types of cleaning. I love doing a deep green clean in the spring when I can open my windows and hear the birds serenade me as I reinvigorate my space. But winter inspires more organization and the urge to purge the things that are no longer serving their purpose for me. One of the annual new year traditions I have found beneficial for my herbal practice and happy homestead is refreshing my spice rack and home apothecary. I clean out the older materials so that I can open up space for fresh new ingredients that are better able to serve my body and my mind.Read More
A few years ago, my friend gave me the oddest gift. As she handed it to me, she sheepishly said, “I’m not sure how you will like this, but I use them at my house, and I hope you’ll have a use for them too!” Inside the neatly wrapped brown paper package was a roll of cloth squares. I admitted that I was confused by the gift and jokingly asked if it was toilet paper. Turns out I wasn’t too far off – it was a roll of Unpaper® Towels! It turned out her “odd” gift inspired me and seeded my passion to look at my home in a new way, to ask myself, “How sustainable are my household habits?”Read More
Clean hands are the guardians of health. And while washing your hands with warm soapy water is always best, sometimes life doesn’t allow for that luxury. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where right after you touch something, you have this inexplainable urge to wash your hands? Sometimes you can just feel when something is icky. Having found myself with this reaction more in the past few months, it solidified my practice of carrying homemade hand sanitizer everywhere I go.Read More
Healthy snacks are a staple in any herbal tinkerer’s toolkit. One of my all-time favorites snacks has always been caramel apples! While they get the most hype around Halloween, I’ve created an oh-so-perfect vegan version that is too good to only enjoy for one season per year. This date-based alternative offers the sweetness and consistency of caramel with earthy undertones of mesquite and maca powders. And if there is a way that I like to get my herbs in, it’s blended perfectly in a sweet-treat like this!Read More
Sitting beside a fire is one of my favorite pastimes. The full sensory experience offers so many aspects of comfort: the sensation of being warm and cozy, the abstract performance of the flames dancing, the crackling sound of the wood changing form, the taste of herbal tea or a craft libation I’m likely sipping on, and of course the aroma! Each of these elements brings me closer to a place of peace and contentment.Read More
2020 has been a year of rediscovery. As we have all been limiting trips to public places, many of us have found more interest in cooking and in creating DIY products to use around the home. It was fascinating to take a look at our top recipes of the year and reflect on just what our herbal community has found to be the most helpful in 2020. The silver lining to this year is that, although it has been difficult, we are more resilient than we were yesterday, and we will continue to learn and grow every day forward. We hope you enjoy this recipe roundup as living proof of our collective vision for a healthy and sustainable tomorrow. Cheers to a hopeful new year!Read More
In Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) Five Element theory, water is the element of winter and it governs the kidney and bladder meridian channels. Welcome to the north, place of coldness, the Great Mystery, that liminal place between birth and death, hibernation, and gentle yet powerful underground transformation. Miles and miles of infinite expansive water flows, seen and unseen, across the planet. 60% of our bodies are water.