Energetics of Dandelion

Spring has arrived in Denver with sunshine, wind, and even a little rain. I am in no denial that we can have more snowstorms, but I am excited to see all the new growth popping up everywhere.

The dandelions are back! The bright yellow flowers are reaching for the sun, while that taproot is digging deep into the earth, defying those grubby hands that want to pull it out. I haven’t seen any bees yet, but I’m sure they’re waking from their slumber and will be buzzing around soon. They love dandelion like herbalists do.

Instead of thinking of dandelion as a noxious weed, think of it as one of the first foods that spring has to offer. The umbrella of yellow a reflection of the long, warm days ahead.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Western Energetics:

leaf, flower- bitter, salty, cool

root- bitter, cool

 Chinese Energetics:

entire plant- bitter, sweet, cold

Therapeutic Actions:

Clears heat and toxicity from the blood

Reduces nodules and sores

Promotes urination

Reduces congestion of bile

Promotes lactation

Vitamins:

A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B6

Minerals:

Calcium, Magnesium, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Copper

Fiber:

Contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber that enhances the production of healthy gut bacteria

 Dandelion greens and flowers are a delicious addition to your salads, soups, and steamed veggies. May you see dandelion in a more appreciative light!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

Morning Cup of Tea

It hardly seems like winter this week in Northern California. Instead of our steady fog and rain, we have had sunshine and temperatures in the mid 60’s. No complaints here as I soak up as much sun as I can!

It is getting brighter in the mornings and the days are gradually increasing, making the warmer days of spring more of a reality. I am still taking my daily tonics as people are still getting sick around me and I do my best to avoid going down like that. Especially since I leave for a yoga retreat in Tulum in 10 days!

I have been loving the Tulsi Rose tea from Humboldt Herbals. I worked at Humboldt Herbals many moons ago when they first opened in Old Town Eureka 20 years ago! Time flies, and us with it! Check out all the herbs, teas, essential oils, skin care, and other goodies they have to offer. You can also hear my interview with the proprietress of Humboldt Herbals, Julie Caldwell.

The combination of Rose Petals, Tulsi Bail, Red Raspberry leaf, and Green Cardamom is mildly spicy and so delicious. Sometimes I add a pinch of  Elderberry and Star Anise to keep my immune system even stronger. Either with little honey or unsweetened, this blend keeps me healthy and happy.

May you also enjoy a nourishing cup of herbal tea today!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Magnolia: Breathe Life In

February is my birthday month! Yes I take a whole month- it is a short one after all!

Since it’s the first day of my month long celebration, I want to start it off with a contest for a chance to win a copy of my (very) soon to be released book, Plant Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine! To be entered into the drawing, sign up for my newsletter! The drawing will be on Chinese New Year, February 16, 2018!

Today’s recipe is one of from the first chapter, Magnolia: Breathe Life In 

Breathe in Life Spritzer

  • 6 drops magnolia flower essential oil
  • 3 drops rose otto essential oil
  • 1 drop vetiver essential oil

Mix the above essential oils into 2 ounces of carrier oil (olive, apricot kernel) and put into a 2-ounce spritzer bottle. Shake well and spritz yourself throughout the day. This is great for depression, to uplift the emotions and help transform and absorb the beauty of life.

Make sure you sign up  to enter the drawing to receive your free copy of my upcoming book, Plants Songs: Reflections on Herbal Medicine!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Art Credit: Jason Garcia

 

Winter Wellness Recipe

So far I have scathed off any of the flus and viruses that are floating around the United States. On the plane from Denver to San Francisco, I was the masked person on the flight. Although I got many weird looks, I felt empowered taking my deep breaths as people coughed and sniffled around me, including the guy to my right.

In my cloth mask (thanks Willow!), I applied a diluted blend of holy basil, eucalyptus radiata, douglas fir, and pine. I also tried not to touch anything and I washed my hands religiously. That is the best I could do on a plane, but in the winter I rotate a daily preventative tea that is full of Vitamin C and antioxidants that will strengthen my immune system. This tea is not only nutritious, it’s also delicious!

Winter Wellness Tea

2 tbsp Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

2 tbsp Rose hips (Rosa centifolia

1 tbsp Citrus peel (Citrus reticulata)

1 inch piece of fresh Ginger (Zingiber offinicale)

Gently boil all ingredients in 16 ounces of water for 15 minutes in a covered pot. Strain out herbs and set aside for a second boiling. Cover and boil herbs with another 8 ounces of water for 15 minutes. Drink up to 4 cups a day as needed to prevent colds and flu. Stay well!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Aromatic Spices for the Holy Days

‘Tis the season for warming carminative spices! We all associate cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with pumpkin pie, hot apple cider, and holiday cookies, but they are also some of our most important herbal medicines. The exoticness of their fragrances has fueled their trade and popularity for centuries, making them now common spices in kitchens around the world. Spices, like other herbs, have distinct medicinal properties and have been present in cooking since time immemorial. It is ingrained in our nature to add spices to our food. All of our traditions reflect this connection to food as medicine, whether we celebrate Solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.

Aromatic Medicine for the Holy Days:

Cinnamon/Rou Gui (Cinnamomum cassia)- Spicy, sweet and hot; Chinese cinnamon bark is used to strengthen mingmen fire (gate of life), making it excellent for treating internal coldness that causes abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea

Cloves/ Ding Xiang (Syzygium aromaticum): Spicy and warm; cloves are a key herb for warming digestion and treating abdominal fullness, vomiting, nausea, and hiccups

Star Anise/Da Hui Xiang (Illicium verum): Spicy, sweet, and warm; star anise is wonderful for treating cold digestion that causes abdominal pain with bloating, vomiting, and nausea

I look forward to hearing about (and tasting) how you incorporate spices into your holy day dishes!

For the love of plants,

 

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Image credit © Adam Ward

Elderberry Dreaming on a Winter’s Day

December is here already and I am as shocked as everyone else. I’m back in Denver and the nights are cold and windy. There isn’t any snow in the city and I hate to say that I am glad!

I can hear people sniffling and coughing around me as I’m out and about. It’s a good reminder to keep my immunity strong! Small things like washing your hands frequently (many people don’t wash door handles or light switches) and eating nutrient dense foods like soups and stews will be a big help in staving off other people’s germs.

I also drink elderberry tea every morning, switching up the other ingredients depending on what I have going on.

My 3 favorite Elderberry blends:

1 tsp Elderberries, 1 tsp Hawthorn berries, 2 inch piece of Citrus peel – I make this on those days of over-indulgence, where there may just be a cookie or two enjoyed

1 tsp Elderberries, 1 tsp Yarrow flowers, 1 tsp Peppermint– This is my go-to when I begin to feel that chill or fever coming on and I need to kick it out

1 tsp Elderberries, 1 tsp Rose petals, 1 inch piece of Citrus peel– This is my base tea on most days. I drink as is or add an herb or two that is calling me that day.

Steep herbs in 8 ounces of hot water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink while warm.

I’d love to hear what herbs you like with elderberry!

For the love of plants,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellnes grows

 

Treating the Common Cold with Essential Oils

In Chinese Medicine, we distinguish whether the common cold is either wind-heat or wind-cold.

This differentiation is important because we treat each syndrome differently. This recipe is good for those with wind-cold. Some of the symptoms may include a slight fever, slight sweating, chills, body aches, no thirst, itchy throat, and an occipital headache.

Concentrated Essential Oil Blend:
3 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops ginger essential oil
2 drops pine essential oil
3 drops thyme linalool essential oil

Instructions: 

  1. Put 5 to 7 drops of essential oil blend in a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl inhaling deeply
  2. For topical use, dilute essential oils in 2 ounces carrier oil and rub on neck, shoulders and lymph nodes

Here’s to feeling better this fall season!

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Somehow all the craziness of the last few weeks has finally left my body and I am starting to feel “normal” again. Right now, “normal” means I have hours where I don’t feel panicked or despair. I am sleeping pretty well again and I don’t believe we are all going to hell in a hand basket. At least not today.

When my anxiety rises I’ve noticed all of my self-care techniques and advice to my clients go out the window. It’s like I don’t know what herbs and oils I need to be in balance. I am great at doing this for others, but not always for myself. I finally got enough distance from it to remember what I need to do.

  1. Breathe! It sounds obvious but it’s not. I have finally been taking deep breaths and it feels great! 
  2. Drink herbal tea! Again, sounds easy enough but when I’m stressed I go for black tea instead of nourishing nervines. My favorite this week (and every week)- skullcap and oat straw.
  3. Sniff essential oils! Not straight out of the bottle necessarily, but I’ve been using my diluted roll-ons. This week my go-to’s have been St. John’s Wort, Hemp, and Frankincense. My mood has improved and I have a much brighter outlook on life. 
  4. Walk in the woods. Or sit on the beach. Or go into nature and just be. You will feel wonderful. And you’ll breathe better!

For the love of plants,

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

Simple & Nourishing Tisane

I’m paying homage to my first herb teacher, Jane Bothwell, with my recipe post today.

This was probably one of the first herbal blends I ever made, and definitely the first I drank that wasn’t Celestial Seasonings Chamomile, Peppermint, or Sleepy Time.

I remember Jane speaking of each plant with love and reverence. Although I hadn’t really been exposed to herbalism, everything she said made sense. The way she spoke about herbs resonated deep within me and I knew at that very first class that herbalism would be a part of my life.

Thank you Jane for sparking my passion for herbal medicine!

Simple & Nourishing Herbal Tisane

1 handful of Nettles

1 handful of Milky Oats or Oatstraw

1 handful of Spearmint

1 handful of Red Raspberry leaves

If you have access to these herbs fresh- perfect! If not, dried is wonderful too!

Steep herbs in 1 quart of boiled water and steep for 15-20 minutes (or sit for a couple of hours in the sun)

Strain herbs (or not- herbalists like to strain through their teeth, lol!)

Sip and be nourished.

 

With love,

 

Jessica

Actions Speak Louder than Love

I am disgusted by the white supremists that are emboldened by our current president and conservative politicians, since they have normalized being racist, misogynists, and downright hateful. I am not surprised like many people. If you think this is something new then you are ultra privileged, have your head in the sand, or both.

Racism is learned behavior, taught by generations of hateful people that use the excuses of fear and economy to stay ignorant and mean. Besides donating money to organizations that fight oppression and racism, take the time to work within your community to make a positive change for those that need it most. It’s not easy, it won’t happen overnight, but it is us, the privileged ones, that are responsible for contributing to making America safe for all of us.

One of the ways I help is to spread knowledge of herbal medicine. Knowledge is power, and knowing what herbs we can use to heal ourselves (instead of relying on doctors and the pharmaceutical industry to do it for us) is empowering. It may be the most important thing we can do to lessen the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

If you are an herbalist, acupuncturist, or other health care provider, I encourage you to give back. Teach a donation based class on community herbalism, give free or low cost treatments to those in need, donate herbs or products to free clinics, just give back in whatever capacity you can.

Don’t let your fear, sadness, or embarrassment keep you from making the world a better place. It will take all of us.

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Strong Woman Tea

In preparation for my class at this year’s Red Earth Herbal Gathering (August 19-20 in Longmont, Colorado- tickets still available!) I want to share this nourishing and delicious sun tea to support women’s health and wellbeing. This is one of my go-to teas when I feel fatigued, overwhelmed, or out of balance. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Strong Woman Tea

2 tbsp Red Raspberry leaf

1 tbsp Milky Oat tops

1 tbsp Marshmallow root

1 tsp Vitex seeds

1 tsp Nettle leaf

Place all herbs into a glass quart jar and cover with filtered tap water or spring water. Set in the sun for 4 hours or so. Strain out herbs and drink the tea over the next couple of days. You will feel great!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

How to Make Calendula Oil

After all that talk about how I love making herbal medicine I want to share a super easy infused oil recipe with you.

Ingredients:

250 ml Olive, Apricot kernel or Oil of choice

50-125 grams Dried Calendula flowers (100-300 grams Fresh)

Supplies:

Double Boiler

Wooden spoon

Glass Bowl

Cheesecloth

Dark, Glass Bottles

Put Calendula flowers and Apricot Kernel Oil in the Double Boiler and heat on low for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth into a bowl or large mouth jar.

Press excess oil out with a wooden spoon

Pour oil into dark, glass bottles and store in a cool, dark place 

Apply oil to dry, irritated skin or add a spoonful (or two) to a warm bath for smooth, silky skin.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

My Love of Herbal Medicine Making

I love it when my clients say that they make their own medicine or grown their own herbs. I firmly believe that our strongest medicines are the ones we make ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. Part of my business relies on sales of formulas I make and sell, but I am almost giddy when I her that a client wants to make her own tea, tincture, or salve.

I know the strongest medicine is what you make yourself. It’s also not something everyone can or wants to do. It gives me great joy to formulate for people, infuse my magic and love into their blends, and then give them with confidence that the herbs are going to have a profound impact on their lives.

Working with plants has completely changed my life. I am so grateful for their teachings, for their wisdom, for the life they provide us all. I am honored to be a voice for the medicinal herbs, for the wildflowers, and for the trees. There are many online herb schools to choose from. I encourage you to deepen your connection with plants; your life will be forever enriched.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Lemon Balm Lemonade Recipe

July is hot here in Denver and there’s nothing like a refreshing glass of iced cold lemonade. I know, I know. As an acupuncturist I shouldn’t encourage drinking iced beverages, but I am making an exception for this cooling and medicinal lemonade!

Lemon Balm Lemonade (aka: Melissa’s Lemonade)

Handful of fresh lemon balm

6 lemons

1/2 cup honey (more if desired)

1 cup boiling water

3 cups spring water

Ice

Scrub lemons, peel the rind thinly avoiding the white; set aside.

Place the lemon rind, lemon balm leaves and the honey into a small heat-proof pitcher.  Pour the boiling water into the pitcher and stir well, crushing the lemon balm leaves to release their flavor.  Let steep 15 minutes.

Cut lemons in half and squeeze out the juice.  Strain juice into pitcher, add a few fresh sprigs of lemon balm, then add the cooled, strained syrup.  Top with water and ice. Take a long drink and enjoy!

With love,

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Jessica

 

when energy flows, wellness grows

The Essence of your Favorite Tree

“I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again”

I feel like this is my theme song the last couple of years! One of my favorite things to do is travel. It makes me feel alive, brings me closer to understanding other cultures, and makes me so grateful to have a planet as gorgeous as our Earth.

The recipe today is a simple offering from my heart to our life-giving Earth.

Sit at the base of your favorite tree (it can be in your yard, the park, or in the forest- just make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals). Take 3 deep breaths and notice any subtle or profound changes in your body that occur with each breath.

What does the exchange of CO2 and O2 with this magnificent tree feel like? With permission, take a leaf, flower and/or twig from the tree and place it in a bowl of fresh spring (or filtered) water. Infuse in the water for as long as you have time, whether it’s 5 minutes or overnight).

When you feel ready, gently take out the plant material and take a sip of the infusion. Allow the vitality of the tree to flow through you. What medicine does this tree have to offer? What do you have to offer back?

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

An Herbalists Essentials for Travel

I’m getting super excited about the International Herb Symposium this weekend outside of Boston at Wheaton College. I went two years ago and had a great time learning from some of the most revered herb teachers from around the world.

One of my highlights was planting an herb garden dedicated to the grandmother of Western herbalism, Rosemary Gladstar. I look forward to seeing how the garden has grown over the last two years. I bet it will be beautiful!

As I travel this week, I am reminded at how important it is for me to stay healthy despite all the exposure from those around me. The summer epidemic season seems to have already started, as many of my friends and I had a gnarly cough and sinus congestion last week. Thankfully I am better now, but I want to make sure my immune system is strong and prepared for the adventurous week ahead.

For yesterday’s flight to Cali, I made sure to drink my daily dose of elderberry tea (which is not usually something I am taking into June- but this year I Need it!). I always have my essential oils traveling with me- planes are full of germy re-circulated air and I need my defensive team!

Here’s a list of some my essential travel oils this week:

White Sage– purifies, calms, and is able to negate the most toxic energy (be it infectious disease or that irritable passenger beside you)

Laurel– strengthens will and courage, strengthens your resolve and helps you adapt to the stresses of travel

Scots Pine– improves memory and strengthens lung qi, aids you in keeping your patience with challenges that are outside of your control.

St. John’s Wort– helps with others getting on your nerves, also great for improving qi and blood flow to the nerves after hours of sitting on planes, trains or automobiles.

As always, use common sense when using essential oils. Dilute-use sparingly-respect the earth

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

My Favorite Facial Steam

I rarely get sick, but I think the crazy weather has finally gotten me. I’m over the fever and fatigue, but I still feel congested and heavy. My sinuses are full of mucus and I am not happy about it! This is my favorite recipe for relief from sinus pressure and pain.

Sinus Relief Steam

3 drops Eucalyptus radiata

3 drops Monarda

3 drops Himalayan Mint

2 drops Thyme (any thyme works) 

Fill a large bowl with hot water and add essential oils. Cover your head with a towel and lean over bowl. Inhale deeply. Your sinuses will open and you may drip some into the bowl. Let it flow!

With love,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 

A Peaceful Journey

May has been one full of dramatic changes. It hasn’t just been the weather, where we have had 80 degree days, thunderstorms, hail and snow all within a couple of weeks. The shifts have also been of heart and soul.

Many of us are coming to grips with the undeniable injustices that are occurring all over the place. These horrific acts have always been happening, but now with the internet we know exactly when they happen and sometimes we even get a live feed.

We want to know what’s happening so we can try to change it. I just don’t know if our psyches are able to assimilate all the information that comes at us in newsfeeds, notifications, and pop-ups.

I know for me it is overwhelming and downright obnoxious. Knowledge is power, but a lot of what we see is not knowledge, but distraction and opinion pieces that look like real news. How are we supposed to know what is important and relevant and what is just written to rile us up.

As I sit here upset with the way things are, I remember that I can help change what I don’t like to see in the world. My place is just to remind others, and myself, that it is our relationship with Nature that will bring about the greatest peace. I just have to find peace within myself and then I will be much more peaceful and loving towards others (easier said than done!).

Here’s my Peaceful Journey Blend that I will be dousing myself with all day today, and probably the next 4 years! Remember, use organic and ethically wild-crafted herbs and essential oils whenever possible! And use those precious essential oils sparingly!!

Peaceful Journey Blend 

3 drops Mt. Shasta Lavender essential oil- relaxes NS, reduces anxiety

3 drops Clary Sage essential oil- brings clarity to thoughts and feelings

2 drops Mandarin essential oil- transforms energy

2 drops Frankincense essential oil- reduces pain and sorrow

Add all essential oils to 1 ounce carrier oil (I Love apricot kernel oil). Mix well. Put in a roll-on bottle and anoint yourself when you need clarity and relaxation.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Roots & Flower Spring Tonic

I woke up this morning to sleet and snow in Denver. It is inevitable that there will be at least one more snow storm before June, but it still shocks me. I was just in summer clothes, sitting on a roof top deck with a margarita.

Today I’ll be bundled up and sipping hot tea all day. (Who am I kidding- I drink hot tea on the beach in Mexico!) Since I need to stay balanced with these extreme weather patterns, today’s tea will be one that nourishes yin and blood, yet invigorates and strengthens qi and blood.

I like to eye-ball my ingredients for this one, depending on if I want to solely taste the Dang Gui Pian (Angelica sinensis). If you are blood deficient, add more Dang Gui Pian.

Roots & Flower Spring Tonic 

4 tablespoons Marshmallow root & flower

3″ slice of Reishi mushroom (buy thinly sliced- it’s too hard to cut yourself)

2-4″ slice of Dang Gui Pian 

Decoct all ingredients for 20 minutes- 2 hours. Simmer on low if you cook over 20 minutes. Strain out herbs and drink throughout the day. You will feel nurtured, held and supported!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Herbs that Keep you Sane in a Crazy World

As politics and media continue to spin us into an emotional whirlwind I find it very difficult to not spiral down the rabbit hole of despair.

Now more than ever I am relying on my plant allies to calm my overactive nervous system and soothe my aching heart.

Here’s my top 3 herbs these days to keep me sane in these trying times:

  • Rose– my #1 herb to help with grief, sadness, and compassion. When it’s hard to like (much less love) the millions of people that think Trump is an acceptable president, Rose reminds me that all are suffering and their words and actions are a reflection of that.
  • Milky Oats– I drink Milky Oats daily when I need to nurture my mind, body and soul. Deeply nutritive and relaxing, Milky Oats can help with nervous tension, body pain associated with stress, and insomnia.
  • Reishi Mushroom– this spirit herb grounds me like no other. The modulating properties of Reishi (Ling Zhi) make all transitions easier, helping us to adapt to change and see the bigger picture. Reishi allows me to hold space for myself, while also creating deeper connection with others.

May you find peace within yourself. May that peace spread around the world!

With love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows