My first wild harvest

There’s a trail I bike down often lined with red clover. For the first time ever, I mustered up enough courage to pick some for use. If I told you how much I pay for a bag of dry red clover from the health food store, you would ask me why on earth I ever waited so long to harvest it myself!

Red clover is used as a blood purifier and thinner. It contains the phytoestrogens daidzein and genistein, and can help relieve a variety of women issues. It is also naturally high in protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. In order to get the full benefits from this herb, I prepare it as a herbal infusion.

In this short video, you’ll see how I harvested the red clover, used my dehydrator to dry it and then conserve it in a mason jar ready to make an infusion. Make sure you harvest only healthy-looking flowers and cut off the stems. I cleaned the red clover by soaking them in water and therapeutic-grade lemon essential oil.

Dehydrators probably vary but I put my at 95 degrees and left the red clover in for 24 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven or I’ve read some people just let it air dry. I then stored it in glass and, once I’m ready to consume, I will add boiling water to it and let it infuse overnight.

I’d love to harvest more of my own herbs for drying, especially nettle and red raspberry leaf. I’ll have to build up my confidence over the winter months and do more research for next summer 🙂

Hope to see you out wild harvesting some day!

M.

 

I got Shiso (Japanese mint)

I love shopping at my quaint, neighbourhood organic grocer. One of my favourite things about it is they often have unusual products.

This past week, they had Shiso. The lady working there didn’t even know much about it! She said the local herb farmer likes to drop off “weird” plants ever now and then, and she gets concerned people will be “weirded” out by them. Well, I’m all about weird so I took it off her hands!

Turns out, Shiso is also called Japanese mint. I’ve been topping my salads with it and you can infuse the leaves to make tea out of it. Its health benefits include:

  • Lots of vitamin C, K and A; potassium; and flavonoids (anthocyanins to be exact).
  • Helpful for cold symptoms such as a cough.
  • Supports digestive issues and is anti-inflammatory.
  • Eases allergies when eaten regularly.

We’ve managed to keep the plant alive and thriving on our window sill. We’ll see how long that lasts…

Next time you see a strange herb at the grocery store, you might want to give it a try 😉

M.

Allergy and sinusitis relief

Contrary to what you would think, I don’t use this as a sweetener…

I’ve had sinus issues for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, during sleepovers with friends, they would tell me they knew I was awake the next morning because I would sniffle.

A bit later on, I also developed allergies. Chronic congestion is no stranger to me and I often sneeze for no good reason. Plus, if you knew how many boxes of Kleenex I go through…

Sure, I tried cutting out dairy in the past and that helped a lot. I even have a Neti pot that I would often use to try to get relief but the Bulletproof nasal rinse has made the biggest difference.

At first, I was paranoid I would get some of the mixture in my lungs (because I’m weird like that). However, I soon got used to the feeling of pulling water through my nasal cavities and into my mouth. It was more difficult at first, when I was still really congested.

Plus, lately I was having issues with my eyes but this has helped tremendously with that too. I do the nasal rinse twice a day and the eye rinse once. Plan to keep cutting back as my symptoms continue to improve.

Xylitol is the magic ingredient in this mixture. I ran out for a few days and the effectiveness was seriously reduced. There’s even scientific research on it for you science junkies 😉

(I haven’t tried with the grapefruit seed extract yet; haven’t needed to.)

Once I’m done, I apply super high-quality clary sage and geranium essential oils diluted in fractionated coconut oil. I don’t have science to link to here but it’s backed anecdotally from my aromatherapist course.

Hope this helps!

M.

Slow cooker chaga tea

Chaga mushroom is a fungus that grows on birch trees. Sounds appetizing, huh?

My parents introduced me to chaga a few years back. They had friends that discovered chaga and started consuming it for the amazing health benefits it offers. They knew this was something that would likely interest me so they gave me some to try out.

It has some pretty impressive health benefits. Here are my favourites:

  • Slows down the aging process.
  • Prevents and fights cancer.
  • Supports the immune system.

My favourite way to prepare this is in the slow cooker, as a perpetual brew – similar to what you can do with bone broth. I put a large chunk of chaga (like the one pictured) in the slow cooker, add boiling water to fill and set it on low. I drink a cup each morning and replace what I take with more boiling water. This lasts me about a week.

I got this idea from one of my natural health heroes, Ange Peters from HOL:FIT.

These friends of theirs also added lemon peel to their chaga tea cup. Back then, I didn’t quite understand why they would do this and my parents simply said it had added benefits. Now, as an essential oils educator, I totally get why you would add lemon peel: d-limonene.

“d-Limonene, a monoterpene, is widely distributed as a natural nonnutritive constituent of a variety of foods and volatile oils, particularly citrusoils. d-Limonene and its derived metabolites have been shown to possess cancer chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive efficacy in various preclinical model systems.” (Source)

I encourage you to replace your cup of Joe one morning and try it out 😉 (or do half and half). Don’t worry, it provides you with a great energy boost!

M.

Seaweed and thyroid health

This is my favourite health snack these days. It looks a little funny and has an interesting texture but I actually enjoy its salty taste. Plus, it makes me feel like a mermaid when I eat it!

“Wakame is an edible brown seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines.” (Source) I eat it dry as shown in the picture above (although, I’m not sure you’re supposed to so comment below if you know!) or use it in homemade miso soup. I also read you can add some to your bath water for a beneficial seaweed soak! I will definitely be trying that…

This amazing sea plant is so nutrient-dense, despite being low in calories, it helps me feel satiated until I can finish prepping a healthy meal.

But the three main reasons I love Wakame are:

  1. Iodine: this is probably your thyroid gland’s best friend*. It keeps it in balance and is necessary for the release of thyroid hormones.
  2. Magnesium: if you’re not already, you’ll soon get tired of me raving about magnesium! This mineral is necessary for the proper contraction and relaxation of muscles. Plus, it’s been said that people with hyper- or hypo-thyroid conditions are likely deficient.
  3. Fucoxanthin: this is an antioxidant from the carotenoids family. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and even fat-burning properties.

Just don’t overdo it with seaweed. It has super high levels of sodium so, like anything else, moderation is key!

Plus, *some thyroid conditions apparently don’t like too much iodine – normally when it’s in supplement form. Always check with a medical professional if you are concerned 😉

M.

Daily essential oils routine

Photo of essential oils kit
This, in my opinion, is THE best way to get started with oils in your home.

Gosh… you know when you think of something and wonder WHY on earth did it take me so long to come up with this?

Well, this is one of those moments.

Needless to say, I help lots of people get started with or interested in jumping on the essential oils bandwagon. Why? Because we’re one heck of an empowered, health-inspiring bunch.

Unfortunately tho, getting started with essential oils can be extremely overwhelming. Where do I begin? What do I do with allllll of these oils? And, most important, how do I incorporate them into my daily life so I can actually enjoy all of the health benefits this powerful plant magic has to offer?

So, in an effort to remove the dust off any and all essential oils that may be collecting dust in a closet out there, I wanted to share ways to include essential oils as part of a daily routine using the doTERRA Home Essentials kit. The tips marked with an asterisk are ones I use regularly.

Wake-up

  • One drop of lemon essential oil and a squeeze of lemon in pure spring water.*
  • Carefully rub one drop of peppermint essential oils on temples or back of neck to get rid of your sleepy face.*

Morning

  • Diffuse lemon essential oil for a pleasant, uplifting aroma.
  • Add frankincense essential oil to your moisturizer to reduce the appearance of blemishes (and for overall amazing skin).*
  • Add a drop of tea tree essential and/or On Guard essential oil blend to your toothpaste for oral health.*
  • Before biking to school with my son, I rub Deep Blue essential oil blend on his sore, growing knees.*

Lunch

  • Apply Deep Blue essential oil blend to feet and knees before and after exercise.*
  • Had a heavy lunch or tried something new that’s not sitting well? Use one drop of ZenGest essential oil blend or massage onto abdomen with fractionated coconut oil.
  • Add a drop of lemon essential oil to your water.

Afternoon

  • Breathe in one drop of peppermint essential oil as a pick-me-up and to curb afternoon cravings.*
  • Diffuse On Guard essential oil blend in the home for a spicy and sweet aroma, and to clean the air.
  • Add On Guard essential oil blend to a spray bottle of water for an effective all-purpose cleanser.*
  • Driving a long distance and feeling queezy? Breathe in a drop of ZenGest essential oil blend.

Evening

  • Use one drop of oregano essential oil in place of one tablespoon ground oregano to your favourite Italian dishes.
  • Apply Deep Blue essential oil blend to hands and feet after gardening.
  • Rub Deep Blue essential oil blend on lower back muscles after a day of heavy lifting at work or during a move.
  • After long hours on the computer, try rubbing Deep Blue essential oil blend on your fingers, wrists, shoulders, and neck.
  • Diffuse Frankincense essential during your yoga practice for a peaceful aroma.

Bedtime

  • Diffuse Easy Air essential oil blend for clear breathing overnight.*
  • Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to pillows, bedding, or bottoms of feet as part of your
    nightly routine.
  • Add lavender essential oil to bath water or apply to the temples and the back of the neck before bed.
  • Apply On Guard essential oil blend to the bottoms of the feet of adults and kiddos.*
  • Massage Deep Blue essential oil blend with a few drops of carrier oil onto growing kids’ legs before bedtime.*
  • Add tea tree essential oil to bath for an immune system boost.*

How do you integrate essential oils into your daily life?

M.

After sun soothing spray

This is my favourite summer DIY! I keep this handy little bottle in the fridge and spray it on my skin a few times per day, after spending some time in the sun. It contains some wonderful healing (lavender and helichrysum) and cooling essential oils.

The “official” recipe comes from this book, although I tend to eyeball things plus I added some water. I just had a small bottle so I cut down the essential oils to about 15 drops.

  • 25 drops lavender essential oil
  • 25 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 25 drops peppermint essential oil
  • Macadamia nut oil (you can use any natural oil)
  • Water

Add this to your sun safety preventative measures and keep your skin happy all summer 😉

Now go outside and catch some rays…

M.