Being both the parent and the home herbalist for your family adds a new layer of complexity to "triaging" your kids. Knowledge on how to handle medical situations that would send other parents running for their phone or the nearest clinic is very empowering, but it can also have you biting off more than you can chew. Knowing when to act and when to call for help is key to being a confident herbalist for your family. Here are a few best practices for the home herbalist.
Once you've gotten comfortable utilizing your herbal medicine skills at home, it's not surprising that you might want to take the leap into putting your skills to work on the road. Creating a truly useful herbal first aid kit takes some preparation though, so don't rush in. Give some thought to what will work best in a travel-ready herbal first aid kit. To that end here are some tips to help you do that!
In my latest video I tackle a topic that comes up routinely in client meetings and at classes that I teach locally: Finding Motivation. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, or said to my own silly self, "I know what to do. I just have to find the motivation to do it!"
Well, folks, let me share with you what I know about motivation and finding the willpower to change. A transcript follows the video for those who'd rather read it. Forgive my overuse of "you know."
Hurray, I made a start! This is the very first of what I hope will be a long-running series called "Ask an Herbalist." This video covers how I got started as an herbalist, and one plant that I consider to be essential for every home herbalist. A transcript follows after the video. Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to join in by posting YOUR questions in the comments section!
Herbal infusions are a gentle and refreshing way to nourish the body. Rarely does a client of mine leave consultation without being instructed on how to make herbal infusions and how important they are in restoring depleted nutrients. This article, an excerpt from a clients-only handout, focuses on the benefits of herbal infusions, how to make them, and where to obtain the necessary herbs.
Nothing beats having fresh, organically grown herbs right in your backyard. I'm blessed with having the space for a large garden, and I love to include freshly harvested herbs in my cooking. While making some herb flavored finishing salts to give away as gifts, I found myself with a bit of leftover fresh parsley. I decided to use it to whip up an herb butter with roasted garlic. It's so easy that I'm embarrassed to even call it a recipe!
Click to learn more about the fantastic health benefits of garlic, parsley, and grass fed butter, along with how to make your very own herb butter. It's super simple!
Eatin' Wild Series: Cleavers
Eatin' Wild is my series of articles on edible or medicinal plants that grow wild around us, including edible weeds that you may have been spraying or mowing over. This installment of the series covers a great spring/summer edible weed that is both food AND medicine!
Just this week I found a fantastic wild edible growing on my property for the first time this year. I was so excited that I shot a quick video to share a few details about this highly useful weed known as cleavers.
Cleavers (Galium aparine) have a lot of nicknames, but the ones that I hear most commonly are sticky weed, sticky plant, goosegrass, or velcro weed. One touch of the leaves or stems, and you'll quickly learn why cleavers have picked up these monikers. Tiny hooks on the leaves and stems cling to just about everything, including your skin, your clothes, your pets, and even itself. Once the plant seeds, well, they'll cling to you too. But there are a lot of good reasons not to mow this sticky plant down! Read on to learn more about cleavers, and how you can use them for food and medicine.
Edible Landscaping Series: Turk's Cap
In the Edible Landscaping series, we take a look at plants that marry form with function. All plants in this series have value as beautiful landscaping plants, while also being useful for food or medicine. You can find out more about these practical plants and how to use them by attending one of my Practical Gardening workshops.
Turk's cap is in full bloom right now in my home state of Texas. Bright red, unique-looking blooms grow prolifically from the upper foliage of this hardy perennial. Turk's cap, also called Mexican apples, wax mallow, or Scotchman's purse, is favored as a landscaping plant because of its beauty, hardiness, and reliable performance through a range of climate and soil conditions. Hummingbird and butterflies also love Turk's Cap. This garden beauty's usefulness doesn't end there though. Turk's Cap shines as an edible plant, making it one of my favorite plants to have in a functional garden.
Inflammation in the Body & Autoimmune Disease
Chronic inflammation is a popular term these days: our bodies’ natural defense response to cell damage gone haywire, leading to chronic disease if left unaddressed. Since, as with most things in life, this kind of inflammation is happening at the cellular level, chronic inflammation is often invisible and difficult to detect until very unpleasant symptoms and diseases develop.
The inflammatory response is tied to the immune system. Consequently, the diseases that arise from chronic inflammation are often autoimmune in nature. Debilitating illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, IBS, and lupus can develop, lessening our quality of life and even shortening our lifespans. Currently 1 in 5 Americans are suffering from an autoimmune disease, and that number is poised to rise. Chances are that you either know someone or are someone living with an autoimmune disorder.
Currently 1 in 5 Americans are suffering from an autoimmune disease, and that number is poised to rise.
According to the AARDA, “The exact mechanisms causing [autoimmunity] are not completely understood; but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process.” [1.] Despite how that sounds, this is an encouraging thought. I should also add that many alternative health practitioners, including this one, don’t see any great mystery in the causes behind chronic inflammation and, in turn, autoimmune disease. If there are environmental triggers that contribute to chronic inflammation in the body, then they can be found and potentially eliminated.
I'm Jennifer Capestany, a clinical herbalist and freelance writer with a practice in North Texas. Helping people deal as naturally as possible with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic illness and other chronic conditions is my calling.