Category Archives: Holistic healing

Monday, November 30, 2015

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tincture

coverHello friends.  I am not a doctor, or holistic expert, or certified in any alternative healing practice.  But I am a person who lives with a chronic inflammatory disease…Crohn’s disease.  I have been on a loooong healing journey and this journey has lead me down many roads of diets, herbs, oils, teas, and whatever else you could possibly think of, I’ve tried over these last 12 years.  Most recently I’ve made a breakthrough connection between my Crohn’s flares and stress that has provided me with an enormous amount of power and control over my health…and I hope to share this with you very soon.  But for now, I want to share a little bit about turmeric and how I’ve been using it in my healing regimen.  A few months ago my sweet beautiful friend Julia showed me a turmeric tincture she made and was raving about.  I told her I have turmeric capsules that I use once in a while for inflammation, but didn’t feel a big difference.  I tried her tincture and loved it.  So I made myself a batch.  I have to say, I feel the difference and the tincture feels more powerful than the capsules (for some reason).  I don’t know, maybe it’s just placebo, but I can tell it decreases intestinal inflammation..and decreases pain.  Here is an excellent article about turmeric with research to back up health claims.  But please also read about turmeric’s side effects here.   Continue reading

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Labels: Anti-Inflammatory, better digestion tips, Holistic healing, homemade remedies, IBD Remedies.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Shea & Mango Butter Lotion (with video)

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Hello friends.  I’m super excited to share an amazing new lotion ingredient with you: mango butter!  I am in love.  Mango butter is a soft, non-greasy butter extracted from the mango kernel (not the meat) and it has a soft earthy scent.  Here are just some of mango butter’s benefits:  (1) it is rich in powerful antioxidants, vitamins (A, C, & E) and minerals that help reduce degeneration of skins cells (aka, fights wrinkles), improves elasticity of the skin, and offers protection again the sun’s UV radiation, (2) powerful anti-inflammatory agent, good for bug bites, rashes, wounds, scars, and poison ivy/oak, (3) beneficial for the scalp and hair, and (4) excellent for eczema, dry skin, and other skin conditions.   Continue reading

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Labels: Holistic healing, homemade beauty products, homemade remedies, how to.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shea Cocoa Avocado Oil Body Butter (with an Anti-Itch Recipe)

It gets mighty hot here where I live in Northern California.  In fact, the forecast calls for 108 degrees on Saturday.  But it’s all good.  I grew up in this weather.  I lived in the desert as a child for 7 years (near Death Valley) and other super hot locations in Cali.  Luckily, my skin does not react to the hot weather (it DOES react to the cold dry weather, however).  My husband has super sensitive skin and thus gets terrible eczema on his hands.  And my sweet-pea son, Ethan, well, you can read about his journey with eczema here.  It’s essential that my guys stay lathered up with lotion during the hot summer months, so a big ole’ batch of homemade body butter was on my to-do list this week.  And I made more than enough for the entire summer.  This lotion contains four simple (and edible) ingredients: shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado oil, and vegetable glycerin.  And this lotion is great for so much more than a moisturizer for eczema/dry skin (good for scars, scratches/cuts, sunburns, nails, under eyes, wrinkles, massage, lips, rashes, etc).  

I want to take a moment to share why I use these particular ingredients and their benefits.

Why I love it: 
*Natural sunblocking properties 
*Joint pain relief 
*Anti-inflammatory 
*Excellent moisturizer 
*Long self life 


Why I love it: 
*Natural antioxidant 
*Excellent moisturizer 
*Great for scars
*Protects from environmental pollutants
*Long self life 


Why I love it: 
*High in sterolin 
*Contains vitamin A, D & E
*Anti-bacterial 
*Anti-inflammatory 


Why I love it:
*Anti-bacterial 
*Draws oxygen into the blood
*Can be used in place of alcohol 
*Excellent moisturizer
Shea + Cocoa + Avocado Oil Body Butter 
(with Anti-Itch Recipe)

Ingredients
-16 ounces raw organic shea butter, cubed 
-4 ounces raw organic cocoa butter, shaved* 
-1/4 cup avocado oil (hexane-free)
-2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin 

How to:
1.  In a food processor add 16 ounces shea butter.  Pulse a few times to break it down.  With the food processor running, add in the vegetable glycerin and avocado oil.  
2.  Add 4 ounces cocoa butter to a glass pyrex and set into a pot of heated water.  Do not let the cocoa butter rise above 118 degrees (if you want this to be a raw lotion).  Remove from heat once things are looking good and melted and continue to stir around.  The heat will melt any little remaining chunks.
3.  Drizzle the cocoa butter into the food processor.  Mix until well incorporated.* 
4.  Scoop out lotion into glass jars and lather up!

Anti-Itch Recipe:
Mix together 1/2 cup homemade lotion and 2 teaspoons gluten free colloidal oatmeal.  Use on persistent itchy skin.  Add more oatmeal to lotion as needed.  

Notes:
*Yes, this recipe is oily but it does eventually absorb into the skin. 
*Initially, the lotion is super thin in texture.  It’s suppose to be.  It will firm up as it cools.  Additionally, the lotion will slightly change texture with the weather (hotter days will soften the lotion, cold winter days will harden it).    
*This lotion will keep for months at room temperature. You can store it in the fridge though too.
*I usually just shave the cocoa butter and run it in the food processor with the other ingredients until it gets warms and melts.  But this time I melted it for a smooth, creamy finish.  To keep the cocoa butter raw, keep the heat under 120 degrees.  
*I purchase all the ingredients locally, except for the shea butter (I do order that on-line). 

Here is the shea butter
I weigh all my ingredients 
Here is the cocoa butter 
Here is the mixture with the shea, 
vegetable glycerin, and avocado oil 
This is how I melt the cocoa butter.  
Be sure to shave it before you heat it, it will melt faster and more evenly. 
Pouring cocoa butter into mixture 
Look at how velvety! 
Here is the oatmeal in the coffee grinder 
Add it to the lotion and mix 
Initially, the mixture will be very thin from the warm cocoa butter, but it firms up quite a bit as it sets.  See the pictures here below for texture.  
  
Other homemade lotions/body butters from The Tasty Alternative 

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Labels: Holistic healing, homemade remedies, l.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Taking Care of Your Mental Health is an Important Part of The Healing Journey: My Personal Thoughts and Helpful Resources

While this blog is primarily about food, if you do keep up with my posts, you will see I share about a lot of other things here too…because life is more than just food and recipes (and chocolate).  There are so many other components of healing.  Food and nutrition are important and critical pieces for sure, but there is so much more. 
Today I am going to talk about why I believe taking care of your mental health is a critical part of any healing journey, and share some of my favorite resources with you.  Throughout this post you will see the art work of a healing/nurturing artist named Rita Loyd.
As you might know if you follow my blog, I am a licensed therapist (L.C.S.W.) which stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker (also known as a psychotherapist, mental health clinician, or simply, a therapist).  I have to say that becoming a licensed therapist was a dream come true for me. I’ve worked with many different populations over the years, dealing of course with different mental health issues.  Currently, I work three days per week with children and families, and every other weekend at an inpatient mental health hospital.  I talk in detail with my clients and patients about the importance of taking care of their mental health, which translates to coping with depression, stress, anxiety, anger, etc.  It’s coping with the big emotions we encounter on a daily basis.  
I’ve been on my own healing journey for many years.  It’s a journey that will never end and a journey I never want to end.
My mental health is directly related to my physical health.  When I am overrun with stress, anxiety, worry, or just going TOO fast…my health suffers and I flare.  My immune system cannot compete and it shuts down.  Inflammation takes over in the many forms it does in my body, which is through the Crohn’s Disease or my Lupus symptoms (inflammation that attacks my heart and lungs, sometimes face).  Depression is not my vice.  My type A tendencies and high energy leave me vulnerable to irritability, mental fatigue and anxiety.  
So I must be in constant communication with myself.  Doing this allows me to identify when I’m losing control and when I need to switch my focus.  Coping skills are no joke.  We all need to know how to cope with the many stressors that bombard our body and mind.  I urge you to take a moment to reflect on how you deal with stressors in your life and make a list of your coping skills.  
Here are some of my personal methods for self care and coping:

1.  Deep breathing (a underestimated first defense in calming down)

2.  Laughing.  I love watching comedies and in general, anything funny.  I like to nurture my sense of humor.  

3.  Wait – don’t react right away

4.  Talking with my husband or a trusted friend 

5.  Being in nature 

6.  Hugging and cuddling my children

7.  Keeping a clean, uncluttered home and keeping things well organized and easy to find

8.  Making sure my to-do list doesn’t get too long.

9.  Playing guitar

10.  Keeping a one-sentence journal

11.  Getting shit DONE! I don’t procrastinate.  

12.  Gardening 

13.  Letting it go

14.  Dancing

15.  Cooking and blogging.  Blogging allows me to connect with others about food and health

16.  Being a total goof ball (I’m not a very serious person, so this comes easy)

17. Yoga

18.  Being alone, taking time for myself

19.  Reading self-help books or other uplifting books

20.  Asking for help

21.  Visualization.  I do have a happy place.  I have calming balancing images that bring me back to the present.

   #1 truth to self: 
“My physical health will never be well if my mental health is suffering.”
Here are my truths, promises and affirmations to self that I take with me everyday on my journey:
1.  I will never give up on healing from past experiences
2.  I will forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made in life
3.  I will work on those automatic negative thoughts that we, as humans, all think (like our default setting)
4.  I will continue to work on self-love and self-appreciation
5.  I will forever work on improving myself as a person; work on mindfulness, self-awareness, being cognizant of my behavior, my feelings…my thoughts
6.  I will become the captain of my own mind and be in control of my thoughts and actions
7.  I  will not be held hostage by the past, and I will not worry about what I cannot control in the future
8.  I will say NO
9.  I will try and live more in the present
10.  I will be my own best friend and nurture the difficult parts of myself that are too easily suppressed
Do you think about this stuff too?
Is it scary?
Sure it is.
It takes courage to wake up everyday and be so aware of ourselves.
 
But the single most important thing you can do for yourself on your healing journey is work on self love, self care and acceptance.
 This can be difficult if the messages you received as a child or at some point growing up were telling you that you weren’t good enough and didn’t deserve love.  You might be riddled with shame and guilt.  You might have deep seeded negative core beliefs about yourself.
But this can change.  Your thinking can change.  You can change.
You just need to be ready and willing to take this journey with yourself.
We all possess the capability of change…
But YOU are the only one that can make this decision.
You must set this goal for yourself.
Here are a few books I’ve read recently that were very helpful on my healing journey: 
 
1.  Feeding Your Demons
-by Tsultrim Allione
(this book was a tremendous help a couple years ago
when I was struggling with some difficult issues).
2.  The Gifts of Imperfection
-by Brene Brown 
(Brene is a shame researcher and in this book provides us with her own personal accounts of shame and improving herself, as well as sharing her years of research on the subject).
3.  Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
-by Daniel G. Amen
(this is my favorite resource.  I teach and lecture from this book in my groups.  I also use it to address stress and anxiety.  It’s fantastic and I HIGHLY recommend it)
4.  The Happiness Project
-by Gretchen Rubin 
(this is a fun, lighthearted book that’s easy to read and PACKED full of great tips on how to improve your mood.  I have been referencing her book in my therapy groups).
This is Water
-by Davis Foster Wallace 
(an incredibly inspiring, raw, honest, and funny speech given at a graduation commencement about living a compassionate life)
 
Here are some self-help resources you can work on at home:
With Compassion,
–Amber
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Labels: Holistic healing, mental health.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Herbs That Help Fight Stress & Increase Mental Clarity

Please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  Thank you

I think we all know stress is super bad for our bodies.  And stress can come in many forms: overworked, depressed, constantly angry, troubled by past traumas/memories, anxious about a new chapter in life or transition, money, etc.  When I’m anxious, angry, sad, overworked (physically/mentally), I strive to find my balance back to a state of calm and control – calm and control AMID the stresses of life, they aren’t going anywhere, so we need to learn how to cope.  This is where behavioral interventions are key and can significantly help reduce the affects of stress on our bodies.  Behavioral techniques coupled with herbs can help us retrieve balance.  Because come on, LIFE is stressful, love is stressful, having kids is stressful, family is stressful, missing the turn is stressful, waiting in line is stressful, waiting in line with kids is ridiculously stressful.  Let’s get the stress under control so we can enjoy the many awesome things that life has to offer.  

And look less like this:

And more like this:


Herbs to Help Fight Stress and Increase Mental Clarity:

Vitamin B Complex 

Great for natural stress reduction.  Vitamin B can be taken everyday – very safe and super good for you. I take these
This is my all time favorite!  Chamomile is my #1 go-to for stress relief.  It has a gentle, mild calming effect – great for bedtime.  Targets central nervous system.  I find this in bulk at my local Coop (little dried flowers).  I use one tablespoon with 8 ounces boiling water.  Steep for 15 minutes.    
Gentle relaxing effect on the central nervous system. Few side effects (long term use okay).  Good for reliving tension and fighting stress. 
Traditionally used as herbal remedy for insomnia.
(does not give you that groggy feeling in the morning.  Do not take for more than 2 weeks)
Used to calm nerves.  Non addictive.  Great anxiety fighter.

Contains a natural hormone alternative to cortisone, which can help the body handle stressful situations, and can help to normalize blood sugar levels as well as your adrenal glands, providing you with the energy necessary to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Some claim licorice stimulates cranial and cerebrospinal fluid, thereby calming the mind.  Click above link for additional stress fighting herbs.   
I purchase licorice root in bulk at my local Coop.  To use: I steep 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces boiling water 3x per day.

Rooibos (aka red bush tea)
Rooibos is touted as a tea that helps improve brain function.  Caffeine free, this tea targets the central nervous system and has a calming effect.  It’s used to strengthen mental clarity without causing any side effects (such as the jitters or exhaustion).  An excellent herb for nervous tension.  One study cited that the antioxidant flavanoids in rooibos tea were as much as 50 times more potent than even green tea. Rooibos is naturally sweet.
Passion flower 
Considered a mild sedative and can help promote sleep.  Passion flower also treats anxiety, insomnia, depression, and nervousness.  The parts of the passion flower plant that grows above ground can be dried and steeped for tea.  Otherwise, passion flower is available as a tincture, capsule, and even as a juice.  Please use this herb with caution – many known side effects.  

Attention and Focus Herb Blend

Bach’s Rescue Remedy 

*

More pictures of people looking stressed (that I thought were funny):

 (or maybe she’s super hungry?)

Holiday stress!  OR A ghost is strangling her with Christmas lights.

 

 


Pictures of people being meditative and calm (which I thought you might appreciate after seeing that woman eat her computer):

peace

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble or
hard work. it means to be in the midst
of those things and still be calm in your heart.
–unknown

__________________________________________
Shared on: Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays 

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Labels: Herbs and Spices Summer Series, Holistic healing.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Herbs and Supplements to Relieve Common Discomfort During Menses

While there are no hard statistics, it is estimated that as many as 75 percent of all women experience some premenstrual symptoms at one time or another.  Symptoms can include any or all of the following: abdominal bloating, acne, anxiety, backache, breast swelling and tenderness, cramps, depression, fainting spells, fatigue, food cravings, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, nervousness, skin eruptions, water retention, personality changes such as drastic mood swings, outbursts of anger, violence, and sometimes, event thoughts of suicide. 

What a list of symptoms, right. Blah.  Obviously the magnitude of these symptoms varies greatly for each woman.  So please consult a physician if you struggle with severe physical or emotional symptoms.  The dosages recommended below are for adults.  For girls between the ages of 12 and 17, reduce the dose to 3/4 of the recommended amount. Content Source

Please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  Thank you. 

Suggested Herbs

May regulate the menstrual cycle.
Soothes inflammation.
“Red raspberry is best known for its action on the female reproductive system. It is particularly useful during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle as the body prepares for ovulation. Red raspberry, when used in conjunction with Dong Quai, supports the complicated metabolic functions associated with this phase of a woman’s cycle. Traditionally known as a blood tonic and purifier, red raspberry possesses hormone-regulating and uterine-toning properties important to this phase of the menstrual cycle. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the regular intake of red raspberry increases fertility.”  Source 
Natural pain killer.
Soothes nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea during menses.
Improves circulation & digestion.
Boosts immune function.
Traditionally used as herbal remedy for insomnia.
(does not give you that groggy feeling in the morning.  Do not take for more than 2 weeks)

Used to calm and relieve pain associated with menstrual cramps, also may aid in the emotional/mental strains of menses.

Dandelion Leaf
Relief from bloating.
An excellent diuretic.

Strawberry Leaf
Can help with mood swings and tone the nervous system.

Milk Thistle 
Cleanses the liver and helps improve liver function, thus enhancing the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen.  For best results, this herb should be taken on a daily basis for a period of three months.

Nutrients 

Probiotics with acidophilus
(use as directed on label)
Breaks down metabolites of estrogen.

Magnesium
1,000 mg daily.
Should be taken with calcium (1,500 mg daily).
Also take with vitamin D, which is needed for the uptake of calcium and magnesium.
Studies show that calcium supplements can reduce many symptoms of PMS by as much as 30%  – use a citrate or chelate form. 
It’s often cited that women crave chocolate during their periods.  Well, there could be a reason.  Chocolate is very high in magnesium.

Gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA)
(750 mg daily)
Assists in controlling anxiety and restlessness by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.

Recommendations
Content Source

1.  Eat fewer dairy products.  Dairy products block the absorption of magnesium and increase its urinary excretion.  Refined sugars also increase magnesium excretion.

2.  Avoid caffeine and xanthine-containing foods and beverages such as coffee, cola, tea, and chocolate.  Caffeine is linked to breast tenderness, and is a central nervous system stimulant.  Studies have shown that women who regularly consume caffeine are four times more likely than others to have severe PMS.

3.  Get regular exercise.  Walking, even if only one-half to one mile per day, can be very helpful.  Exercise increases the oxygen level in the blood, which helps in nutrient absorption and efficient elimination of toxins from the body.  It also helps to keep hormone levels more stable.

4.  Wild yam extract contains natural progesterone and has proved effective in alleviating many symptoms of PMS including cramps, headache, mood swings, depression, irritability, and insomnia.

Shared on: Fat Tuesday

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Labels: Herbs and Spices Summer Series, Holistic healing.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Child Friendly Herbs and Holistic Healing for the Common Cold Virus

After I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I immersed myself deeply in the study of holistic healing.  I don’t have any professional training in this area, but I diligently researched (and read the research) on herbal healing regimens.  At first it was focused on Crohn’s, then it lead to other things and everyday ailments such as stress, anxiety, pain, inflammation, digestion, focus, and sleep.  I found that for every ailment, there was a natural remedy.  And I firmly believe that because of the powerful healing properties of herbs and supplements, I was able to live drug free for nearly 8 years; and I’ve allowed my body to heal even further by not pumping it with over-the-counter remedies often full of toxins and chemicals.  My research on holistic healing lead to many other forms of natural healing, including meditation, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, oils, and different forms of yoga.  I found a deep love and appreciation for the healing properties of herbs and foods.  When I became a mommy I carried this love for alternative healing (always with great caution) into my childrens’ healing regimens.  I remember when my daughter caught her first cold at 18 months.  Her cough was relentless and she couldn’t sleep.  So lead by my research, I sliced up some onion, put them in the toaster oven for a bit and placed them on her chest with an ace bandage…and she slept peacefully through the night.  From that moment on, I knew I would always look to natural remedies before anything else.  This sort of healing isn’t for everyone, and I can appreciate that.  You must truly believe in it and have knowledge of the powerful properties of herbs and often their harmful side effects.  I treat herbs with respect and always with caution.  They are our family’s medicine and I administer it responsibly.  Today I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite child friendly herbs for the common cold (including fever, upper respiratory congestion, lower respiratory congestion, and body aches).
Please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  Thank you. 
The following herbs bring relief from the congestion, fever, and achiness of a cold – many are also immune boosting.  I’ve given my children all these herbs, I also use them myself.  I find them in bulk at my local Natural Foods Coop.
This is my superstar for fighting viruses (cold and flu).  It makes a wonderful tasting tea.  It’s extremely powerful, and can shorten both the duration and severity of viruses.  Boosts immune function.    
Peppermint makes a wonderful healing, calming tea.  But specifically for a cold it helps loosen phlegm and sooth coughs.  My daughter will ask me to make her some peppermint tea when she’s not feeling well.
Yarrow has been around for a long time and there are no known side effects.  Yarrow can help break a fever and an excellent herb for congestion and cough.  Yarrow has a calming effect, much like chamomile.
Hyssop is my power herb for congestion.  It’s amazing.  I immediately make hyssop tea for my children when they are congested.  I also use this for us when suffering from allergies.  Take caution in using Hyssop if you suffer from epilepsy.
Thyme is another herb I use every time my kiddos get a cold.  It’s an amazing remedy for congestion in the lungs.  I use for those super wet persistent coughs.  It helps loosen phlegm and soothes the cough.  Thyme also helps fight the infection.
Mullein is another super start herb. Another must have herb for congestion, sore throats, and coughs.  I recommended mullein to my friend who was super congested and she was shocked at how effective it was, it worked the same or better than any store bought remedy without any crazy side effects.  (Mullein is also great for earaches).  It also helps with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia and allergies.
This is a child safe herb known for it’s immune boosting properties.  Don’t take for more than 8 weeks in a row.  It’s always best to always rotate herbs.
Chamomile is very near and dear to my heart.  It helped me through years of flares before I started medication.  I like chamomile during colds for my kids because it calms their nerves and helps them sleep.  But chamomile is great for so many other things too.  It’s antispasmodic and an anti-inflammatory (so it helps with those irritated mucus membranes).
Licorice is a powerful anti-viral herb.  It soothes a sore throat, helps relieve fevers and the pain of headaches.  This is the first herb I make into a tea when my kiddos are sick – it’s a super immune booster.
How to prepare medicinal tea
*As a general rule, pour one cup boiled water over one teaspoon herb.  I usually mix up to 3 herbs at a time, and herbs that target different ailments.  So, for example, I’ll do some echinacea for immune system, thyme and mullein for congestion together in the 1 cup of water.
*Cover, and steep for 15 – 30 minutes, or until cool.  Strain before serving
*I add a few drops of stevia to the tea for my children, and give it to them up to three time per day.
Homemade Remedies 
-1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
-3 cups water
-1 cup honey
*Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with water.  Simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes. Smash berries.  Strain all through a fine mesh strainer and add 1 cup honey or adjust to taste.  Bottle and store in the refrigerator.  Will last 2-3 months when refrigerated.
-20 drops of essential oil
(eucalyptus, hyssop, thyme, peppermint, or basil)
-2 ounces almond oil or other oil
-Grind dried fruit (such as raisins, dates, apricots) with nuts, shredded coconut, carob, and a sweetener of choice (honey, brown rice syrup, agave, stevia).
-Add in your choice of ground herbs.
-Make little ball and serve
Favorite store bought herbal tinctures.
(These can be found at any health food store or natural foods Coop).
  Immune Boosting:
Respiratory: 
Resources 
(my favorite, go-to books)

An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants
-Mary Bove, N.D.Gentle Healing or Baby and Child
-Andrea Candee and David Andrusia

Herbal Remedies for Children’s Health
-Rosemany Gladstar

Prescription for Nutritional Healing (5th ed.)
-Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

*Information found in this post was derived from different sections in the three first books.

Coupon for Swanson’s vitamins 

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Labels: Herbs and Spices Summer Series, Holistic healing.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Holistic Healing for Crohn’s Disease

Information gathered from:
Prescription for Nutritional Healing 5th edition (2010).  I am not medical doctor, nor do I hold a medical license.  Please consult with a holistic healer or medical practitioner before making any changes to your diet/lifestyle and before adding herbs/supplements to your healing regimen.  Thank you! See my disclaimer here.  


Crohn’s disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disorder of unknown origin.  Also called ileitis or enteritis, it usually affects the lowest portion of the small intestine, but it can occur in other parts of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus.  Crohn’s causes inflammation that extends deep into the lining of the intestinal wall, frequently causing significant abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Crohn’s affects men and women equally and tends to run in families.  According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), people who have a relative with the disease have at least ten times the risk of developing Crohn’s compared to the general population.

Since there is no cure for Crohn’s, the goals of treatment are to control inflammation, relieve symptoms, and correct nutritional deficiencies – all of which can help keep Crohn’s disease in remission.
Unless otherwise specified, the dosages recommended here are for adults.  For a child between the ages of 12 and 17, reduce the dose to 3/4 or the recommended amount.  For a child between 6 and 12, use 1/2 of the recommended dose. 
 
~Essential Nutrients~ 

(Below I’ve provided links to the products I use or have used.
I don’t purchase any of these products online,as I’m able to find them locally at my Natural Foods Coop).  

L-glutamine 

(500 mg twice daily on empty stomach.  Take with water or juice.  Do not take with milk.  Take with 50 mg vitamin B6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption).
Benefits: A major metabolic fuel of the intestinal cells; maintains the villi.
(100 mg 3 times daily)
Benefits: Important for proper digestion and to prevent anemia.  Needed for constant supply of new cells.
(Use as directed on label)
Benefits: A major constituent of the barrier layer that protects the intestinal lining from digestive enzymes and other potentially damaging intestinal contents.
(Use as directed on label)
Benefits: Needed for repair of the digestive tract; reduces inflammatory processes.  Studies show fatty acids may reduce Crohn’s symptoms and aid in maintaining remission.
 
(1,000 mg 3 times daily)
Benefits: prevents inflammation and improves immunity – use a buffered type 
 (500 mg daily on empty stomach.  Take with 50 mg vitamin B6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption)
Benefits: An important antioxidant and immune regulator. 
 (this brand contains potato starch)
(50 mg daily.  Do no exceed a total of 100 mg daily from all supplements)
Benefits: Needed for the immune system and for healing.   
 
(use as directed on label)
Benefits: Vital to colon health  Deficiency is common in people with this disorder due to malabsorption and diarrhea. 

Probiotics this one or this one (use as directed on label)Benefits: Aids in digestion.  Use a nondairy formula.  And a product containing both L. acidophilus and L. bifidus is best.

 
(2 or 3 capsules daily with meals)
Benefits: Combats free radicals in Crohn’s.  Aids healing. 
 
 
~Herbs for Crohn’s Disease~

Please review and study each herb carefully before taking and be mindful of side effects.  Never take herbs while pregnant or breastfeeding, unless directed by your holistic healer or medical practitioner!

 (click on each herb for more information) 

(do not use any other form)

*Cautions: Do not take echinacea for longer than three months.  It should not be used by people who are allergic to ragweed.  Do not take goldenseal internally on a daily basis for more than a week at a time.  Do not use it during pregnancy or if you are breast-feeding, and use with caution if you are allergic to ragweed.  If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or glaucoma, use it only under a doctor’s supervision.  Licorice root should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.  It also should not be used by persons with diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, or history of stroke. 
~Healing Recommendations~
1.  Drink plenty of liquids, such as filtered water, herbal teas, and fresh juices.  Fresh cabbage juice is very beneficial.  
2.  Add papaya to your diet.  Chew a couple of the seeds to aid in digestion.  
3.  To reestablish a proper healing environment, it is necessary to maintain a generally alkaline (greater than 7.0 bodily pH).  See my post here for more information on pH and how to test yourself at home. 
4.  As much as possible, avoid stress.  Our thoughts, nervous systems, and bodily functions are deeply interconnected.  Our thoughts and mood affect our bodies.  During an attack, it’s important to rest.
5.  Use a heating pad to reduce abdominal pain
6.  During an acute attack, eat organic baby food (if following the SCD, make sure it’s legal), eat steamed vegetables, and other soft, easy to digest foods such as carrot soup, avocado, and well ripened bananas.  
7.  The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a food based healing regimen.  The book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, is a recommended read before starting the diet.  And here is a list of all the legal and illegal foods on the SCD.  
8.  Another food-based healing regimen is The GAPS diet, which is based on the SCD.  This post by The Liberated Kitchen is a fabulous introduction to GAPS and discusses all the stages and legal foods at each stage.  See here for GAPS resources. 
9.  A new and popular food-based healing diet is the AIP (auto-immune protocol).  The food blog:  Phoenix Helix talks about AIP in depth and has some great recipes and resources.  See HERE.  

~Information About Diet and Prescription Medication for Crohn’s Disease~

1.  It is important that nutritional deficiencies be corrected for healing.  Persons with inflammatory bowel disorders require as much as 30 percent more protein than normal.  If chronic diarrhea is present, electrolyte and trace mineral deficiencies should be considered.  Chronic steatorrhea (fatty stools resulting from improper digestion of fats) may result in deficiencies of calcium and magnesium.
2.  Drugs such as corticosteriods and sulfasalazine (Alsulfidine). which are prescribed for inflammatory bowel diseases, and cholestyramine (Questran), which is prescribed to bind bile in the gastrointestinal tract to prevent its reabsorption in people who had part of their intestine removed, increase the need for nutritional supplements.  Corticosteroids depress protein synthesis and inhibit normal calcium absorption by increasing excretion of vitamin C in the urine.  Sulfasalazine inhibits the transport of folic acid and iron, causing anemia.   

_________________________________________________________________

Thank you for joining me today for day 2 of our Herbs and Spices Summer Series!

Shared on: Traditional TuesdaysGluten Free Wednesdays

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Labels: Herbs and Spices Summer Series, Holistic healing.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Welcome to the Herbs and Spices Summer Series – Post Schedule

Hello Friends and Welcome to the 
Herbs and Spices Summer Series

If you are looking to incorporate more herbs and spices into your life, then this series is for you.  I’m thrilled to be hosting alongside my dear friends, Laura, Tessa, and Vicky.  Over these next two months we will be sharing a wealth of information with you, so please let us know if you have any questions along the way.  Below you’ll find the schedule of posts.  
We kick things off tomorrow with Laura.  
Enjoy!    
June 18Herbs and Spices to Boost Your Immune System
(Laura)
June 22: Herbs and Holistic Healing for Crohn’s Disease
(Amber)
June 25: Top Herbs That Are Easy To Grow with Tips for Success
(Tessa)
June 29: Child Friendly Herbs for Common Childhood Illnesses
(Amber)
July 2Turmeric: The Superstar Spice
(Laura)
July 6: Herbs Around The Home-Lavender
(Vicky)
July 9: Herbs to Relieve Common Discomfort During Menses
 (Amber)
July 13: Oregano: Healing Properties & Health Benefits
(Laura)
July 16Herbs That Help Fight Stress & Increase Mental Clarity 
(Amber)
July 20: Herbs to Help Treat & Prevent Arthritis
(Laura)
July 23: Rosemary: Healing Properties & Health Benefits
(Laura)
July 27: How To Use Herbs Around The Home
(Vicky)

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Labels: Herbs and Spices Summer Series, Holistic healing.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Cocoa and Shea Body Butter for Dry Skin and Eczema

I’m so excited to share this lotion with all of you!  It’s incredible in terms of healing.  I’ve been using it on Ethan’s skin for about 5 days and his dry eczema patches have nearly disappeared, and the rest of his skin feels like velvet.  My poor son has awful seasonal allergies and this exacerbates his eczema.  So during this time of the year I keep his immune system strong and keep him lubed up with healing lotion.  I am also using this lotion on my legs and back (where I tend to get dry this time of year).  I’m just really impressed with cocoa butter…and it’s fun to smell like chocolate. Oh, and I’m also using it as lip balm.  So fun!  If you’re searching for a healing lotion for your dry, itchy skin, this one might be for you!  I’ve included links below if you’re interested in making it.  I can’t stress how easy it is to make your own lotion.  I’m saving so much money; comes out to about $2.50 per jar (I was paying $10 – $15) for similar store bought lotions.
 Cocoa and Shea Body Butter 

Ingredients: 
-2.5 ounces Raw organic cocoa butter 
-3.5 ounces Raw organic unrefined shea butter 
-3 tablespoons organic apricot oil
-1 teaspoon teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, adds scent) 
-1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerine 

How To:
1.  Weigh out the butters.
2.  Shave the cocoa butter and add it to a glass Pyrex submerged in water and bring the water to a boil. This will melt the cocoa butter while keeping it raw.  This step is optional, you could also just shave it and add it to the food processor.  The heat from blending will melt it pretty well.  
3.  Add the shea butter to food processor, pulse few times to loosen up and warm the butter – it will become very smooth.
4.  Slowly drizzle in the coco butter, apricot oil vanilla, and vegetable glycerin.
5.  Blend until velvety and creamy.
6.  Transfer lotion mixture to glass jars.  The lotion will be soft and will harden as it cools.  It will last for MONTHS at room temp.  Yields about 12 ounces.

Raw cocoa butter
Mmmmm, looks good and smells outrageous!
I make two jars at a time. 
One for our room and one for Ethan’s.  
The small jar holds 4 ounces  
The large jar holds 8 ounces 
Click HERE for additional homemade lotions from The Tasty Alternative
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Labels: beauty, eczema, Holistic healing, homemade remedies.

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