Seasonal allergies relief

Spring Into Natural Ways to Relieve Seasonal Allergies

It’s spring, which is FABULOUS, but it’s also that time of year for seasonal allergies, which is a little less so. (Or a lot less so, if you’re anything like my sweet ten-year-old son, Cooper.)

Booo…

In the last few years, we’ve tried so many ways to relieve his hay fever symptoms naturally, because I seriously loathe giving my kids pharmaceutical drugs.

Some things that have worked to help (but not eliminate) symptoms in the past, include frequent clothe/bedding/body washing, hepa filters, consistent air duct cleaning in our cars and home, and cold compresses on his eyes when it gets bad.

Other than that, nothing but commercial allergy meds seemed to make a difference. In previous years, we’ve gone as far as to try bee pollen, which is supposed to, in theory, introduce pollen slowly to the system and help the allergy sufferer develop an immunity.

This did not work—it was a miserable experience for him.

At this point in this post is where I want to throw in a disclaimer, though: helping to minimalize undesirable symptoms of something is great, but it’s not working at eliminating the root of the problem.

I know this.

At the root of my poor dude’s issue, is (I think) a hefty toxic load—he’s sensitive to wheat and dairy, but I can’t stop him from loving those items and eating them more than he should. (Even though I promise I try hard.)

We also live in a valley that collects environmental pollutants, so our air isn’t stellar. Our home is surrounded by various species of trees and other fauna, so he’s consistently bombarded by pollen and such.

He was that toddler who was covered in eczema and had a nose full of snot at all times. (In fact, when he was three, he had tubes surgically implanted in both ears so they could drain fluid better, and his adenoids and tonsils were removed, too. This helped tremendously.)

BUT: the best discovery I’ve made in awhile for him is a product called TriEase by doTERRA Essential Oils. Typically, around this time of year, I’m feeding my guy 1-2 over-the-counter allergy pills a day, but this year?

1-2 in TOTAL.

This product comes in capsule form and contains essential oils from lemon peel, peppermint, and lavender—herbs that are great for helping relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Which brings me to a list of a few herbs that can really work wonders when it comes to this particular affliction:

Common Herbs for Seasonal Allergies

  • Lemon Balm: Lemon balm can be grown easily in your garden; in fact, it spreads like a weed and comes back year after year! It’s fragrant and lovely and great for seasonal allergies, because it produces natural antihistamines.
  • Lemon Peel: Lemon peel naturally detoxes your body, so those with a lot of built-up toxins can really benefit from incorporating this herb into their daily wellness regime. Swallowing oil of lemon peel can help greatly with seasonal allergies—just make sure it’s oil produced from organic sources. Otherwise, you’re just loading your body up with a whole new problem: herbicides, pesticides, and their associated GMOs, too.
  • Peppermint: Mint works well as a decongestant when the essential oil is diffused or rubbed into the temples and neck. It’s also great for relieving headaches when used in the same way.
  • Lavender: Lavender is lovely when combined with lemon balm and peppermint. It’s a natural reliever of tension headaches, and it’s also calming. *Note: if you’re sensitive to florals, this one is not for you.

Uncommon Herbs for Seasonal Allergies

  • Eyebright: Eyebright is an herb that works well for seasonal allergy and hay fever symptoms when harvested, dried, and made into medicinal tea. It’s also great to use as a cold tea compress for itchy, red eyes.
  • Feverfew: Like lemon balm, feverfew is a natural antihistamine. It also relieves chest congestion, migraines, and headaches, which can also be symptoms of seasonal allergies.

If you’re curious about herbs and their medicinal qualities in general, take a look at The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea. It contains 50 herbs and 50 tea remedies to 50 common inflictions. (Good stuff.) If you’re a gardener, you’ll especially love knowing what your herb garden is capable of. It’s AMAZING.

Take care, and herb it up! I hope this helps.

xo

 

 

self-care

2017: The Year of Self-Care

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2017 commences, I’m sure many of you are doing what I’m doing: trying to mindfully come up with a tangible wellness goal. My usual go-to is “I won’t drink any alcohol in January!” or “I will work out every day no matter what!”

But you know what? Those goals usually become stressful because they may not be realistic. And when your new year’s resolution doesn’t come to fruition, it can be depressing. Which starts the cycle of feelings of failure and disappointment!

Ugh.

So instead, this year, I’ve decided to focus more broadly on self-care. This means no hard rules, but it encourages me to remember that being mindful about all facets of my health is important. Here are 5 ways in which one can focus on self-care (and this is my personal plan; what I’ll be doing):

Eats

The first thing most of us think of when adopting a self-care routine is a diet tweak. And fair enough! I mean, you are what you eat, right? The fuel we choose to put into our body directly correlates with mood, behaviour, weight, aging, and more.

So what should we be eating?

I think the trick is to not be strict and deprive yourself. (Because most of us can’t stick to an all-or-nothing plan.) Instead, a healthy balance is optimal. In general, tons of fresh vegetables, lots of whole grain carbohydrates (like yams and sprouted grains), and lots of plant-based or lean protein.

Basically, anything that makes you feel good and gives you energy and lends to quality sleep and rest is what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a new healthy cookbook, try Vegetarian Comfort Foods!

Drinks

Water, water, water. That is all. (Haha…) Here’s the thing: we know that caffeinated beverages and alcohol are dehydrating and affect mood. We know that sodas and juice contain way too much sugar, which spike our blood sugar and then leave us feeling sleepy after.

And more recently, I’ve discovered my go-to non-alcoholic drink of choice (club soda with lime and cucumber) makes me bloated because of all the carbonation. So I’ve come to the conclusion that water and herbal teas should definitely make up the bulk of what I drink during the day and night.

To find out how to make your own herbal teas, check out The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea!

self-care

Movement

Movement is so essential to our bodies and growth and development, and yet we forget to move! Most of us intentionally schedule in time for movement (which is great), but ideally, our bodies should be moving a lot more. Small ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives, include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, parking on the outskirts of the parking lot so that you’re forced to walk a little more, getting up from your desk and stretching every 45 minutes, and so on.

Think about what you can do to incorporate more movement into your life, and your body will thank you for it.

Sleep

Fresh off of reading The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington (which I mentioned in a previous blog post HERE), I’m really beginning to understand (and I mean REALLY understand) just how much we should all be appreciating and emphasizing better sleep.

Our culture has somehow evolved to think of being busy and sleep-deprived as something to be celebrated or respected, and yet, being sleep deprived is basically the same as being intoxicated. Would you go to work drunk or drive home from a business meeting while under the influence?

I hope not, and yet we all do it in the form of being exhausted. Let’s start NOT doing that. Let’s just remember to place appropriate emphasis on sleep, and celebrate what it feels like to not be tired!

Mental

As in mental health, that is. Although everything that’s listed above contributes to better mental health, we can a couple more things to really give a final push.

  • Meditate.
  • Be grateful.
  • Say thank you.
  • Breathe deep.
  • Love yourself.
  • Try aromatherapy.

And that’s it. By committing to general improvements in your own self-care routine, you become more in tune with parts of yourself that you can’t possibly reach when you’re not as well as you could be.

Happy New Year, friends! Cheers to self-care, and to living life with intent and grace. Give yourself a break, and tune into YOU!

You deserve it. xo

New Year Goals

New Year, New Goals

As we approach a brand new year, many of us are taking some time to figure out how we can improve our lives in a healthy and productive way. After all, a new year is a great jumping off point for new focus, new aspirations, and new energy.

I’m so pleased to introduce a guest writer for this post; Cassie Brewer:

Build a Stronger and Healthier You this New Year

Our plans to completely transform our bodies, our habits or our lives are often too ambitious at the start of the new year, leading most of us to fail by giving up on our resolutions soon after we get started.

Rather than overhauling your whole entire life by simply listing goals, you can try to adopt lifelong habits this new year, so that you can become a stronger and healthier version of yourself, without having to resort to extremes like crash diets or end up suffering from severe exhaustion.

There are several things you can do to turn your life around and be the best version of yourself this new year and for the years to come, but the following are the top five habits to adopt:

Eat When You’re Hungry

If you’re ending the year emotionally exhausted from yo-yo dieting, then think of turning a new page this new year by foregoing dieting, and instead, choose to listen to your body. Rather than figuring out the best diet for you, try to understand why you are hungry. Do you really need to eat something or is there an emotional issue that you want to forget with food?

Don’t make 2017 another year where you use food as a crutch.

new year meditation

Adopt a Meditative Ritual

Unless you live on a farm with no Wi-Fi, then chances are your life is bound to get busier. Adopting a meditative ritual such as meditation first thing in the morning or yoga a few times a week will help you to find stillness despite your busy life. Download an app to guide you through meditation or chant the mantra you feel most connected to.

When it comes to yoga, you can join a class or even do the poses at home — no matter how hectic life gets, you can always sneak a few minutes of yoga to de-clutter your mind.

Find a Skincare Regime (that works for YOU)

Skincare is not something that you start worrying about later in life when much of the damage has been done. It is essential to find a quick but effective skincare regime with high quality products that are right for your skin. While the regime will vary, depending on your skin type, there are certain products our face will always need, such as sunscreen (even on winter days!) serum, eye cream and a good moisturizer.

Tap Into Your Creativity

We all have our versions of what creativity is, but most of us tend to lose this trait because of an overwhelming work/life schedule. Creativity is essential to drive us to be better at work and in life, so it’s important to go in search of inspiration throughout the year. Read books that challenge you creatively, learn something new, or go back to doing something you used to do when you were very young and let your mind find its way back to being spontaneous and perceptive.

Go Offline

Finally, learn to switch off and take real breaks. It has become the norm to be constantly on and having something to do, but doing nothing has its many benefits, too. Go for long walks in nature, have tech-free weekends and start your morning without checking your phone. Only by quieting the noise of the online world can we understand what is going on inside our mind, so we can understand what we are doing, how we are feeling, and where we are going.

“Just as good sleep hygiene was the hot topic of 2016, digital detox plans will be trending in 2017.” –Jennifer Browne

Happy New Year! Cheers to a new and improved you, and an amazing 2017. xo


About the Author

Cassie Brewer is a makeup professional in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (makeup of course!) and everything beauty related. Nothing makes her happier than helping other be the best version of themselves they can be. You can read more at cassiebrewer.weebly.com and follow her on twitter @Cassiembrewer.

 

Chia seeds in pudding

The Chia Pudding Recipe Obsession Continues…

“Also for chia seeds. Honestly, we don’t know what we’d do without you.”

This is what Tanya R. Loewen and I wrote in the dedication section of Baby Nosh, and that was over a year ago. Guess what? We’re still obsessed! Or I am, at least.

So I had to share my newest, most favourite way of making chia pudding for fall and winter. It’s gone from 3 measured tablespoons of chia seeds and one cup of almond milk (stirred), to an approximate pour of chia seeds to whatever milk alternative I have on hand (I love coconut milk best!), shaken.

chia seeds pudding

That’s right, shaken. Lazy Chia Pudding (because this is what I’m calling it, now), is created in a jar with a lid. And.today I added pomegranate seeds which completely changed everything.

(I know I’m being dramatic. I can’t help it.)

Other fun things to add are raspberries, blueberries, chopped dried apricot, shaved coconut, or whatever else you have in your fridge and/or pantry that you think might rock your chia world. So bottom line? Just throw stuff in a mason jar, lid that sucker well, shake the hell out of the contents, wait a little bit, shake the hell out of it again, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, you’ll have amazing and super nutritious Lazy Chia Pudding. (The best kind, remember.)

Chia Pudding Tips:

  • The more seeds you add, the thicker the pudding with be. I like it smooth and malleable, not super thick or runny. This is a preference thing, which is totally up to you.
  • You can use literally whatever milk you want. Even chocolate–I made chocolate chia pudding on television one time. Check it out:

  • You need to let it sit for a few minutes between shakes. The initial shake is needed, and then another good shake a few minutes later.
  • You don’t need to refrigerate overnight, but it’s so easy to make the night before and then have it ready to eat for breakfast the next morning. You can mix it with some fruit, or top oatmeal with it, too.

chia seeds recipe

So there you go! Happy chia pudding time! If you want more recipes that use chia seeds, check out Baby Nosh or Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

xo

Better Sleep

The Unanimous Cry for Better Sleep

We Need Better Sleep

A while ago, I read a blog post titled “Yoga Doesn’t Take Time; It Makes Time.” At the conclusion of my read, I remember thinking that it sounded like it made sense, but in literal terms, to do an hour’s worth of yoga meant that an hour was taken away from my work day.

So how could yoga ‘make time?’

Flash forward to yesterday. I was completely exhausted but I had a ton of work to do, and although I don’t ever nap (it’s been years), I fell asleep for about 90 minutes.

The result was this: instead of being tired and dragging my feet until bedtime, barely getting anything done due to my exhaustion, I woke up around 5 pm and did everything I wanted to do. I had renewed energy for every task I charged myself with, and it was because I let my body rest and restore.

So lately, there has been a huge movement towards publicizing the absolute need for better sleep. Pioneered greatly by Arianna Huffington, this cry for better sleep is becoming more and more relevant as we, as a society, try to take on way too much. (Her book is called The Sleep Revolution; I currently have it ordered from Amazon.)

Her theory is that sleep deprivation “has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness.”[1] Arianna writes “Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.”[2]

I, for one, am fascinated. We insist that our children slow down before bed and get enough sleep to sustain them throughout the day. But what about us? Why don’t we place the same importance on rest, restore, and repair for ourselves as we do for our children? We forget that sleep is a necessity. Not unlike shelter, food, and water, proper sleep is not a luxury; it’s a basic need.

How to Get Better Sleep

So tonight, try to prioritize sleep. Some ways to help you get a better sleep include:

  • Read a book for an hour before bed; don’t replace that time with the TV and internet
  • Meditate
  • Take a bath with calming essential oil
  • Keep your bedroom clean, dark, and cool
  • Don’t eat or drink a lot in the hours leading up to bedtime
  • Practice conscious breathing
  • Try light yoga, but not vigorous exercise
  • Don’t consume anything alcoholic within 2-3 hours before bed, or caffeinated within 10 hours before bed (try herbal tea)

Good luck! xo


References

[1] https://www.amazon.ca/Sleep-Revolution-Transforming-Your-Night/dp/1101904003

[2] https://www.amazon.ca/Sleep-Revolution-Transforming-Your-Night/dp/1101904003

coconut oil

The Skinny on Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling 101

The idea of oil pulling never really interested me, which is weird, because I have tried a lot of things to whiten my teeth. (I’ve always been a big fan of brushing with baking soda.) I think I grabbed a sloppy tablespoon of coconut oil from my baking stash one time, swished it around my mouth for two seconds, regretted my decision, and spat it out.

So that’s the extent of my experience with oil pulling. Until now!

Recently, I was approached by Kismet Essentials to try their oil pulling kits. Why not, I thought? I try everything else. (Including allowing a new client to perform two hours of microblading on my eyebrows yesterday–and that hurt!)

So what is oil pulling and what should you know about it? Let me hook you up:

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an an old ayurvedic dental practice. The basic idea is that by swishing a tablespoon of pure coconut oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes per day, you can help your body to release toxins and then expel them by spitting the mixture out.

But the benefits don’t stop at toxin removal: oil pulling whitens teeth, cleans plaque, destroys bacteria, promotes nice-smelling breath, and generally contributes to a healthier mouth and brighter smile. Here’s Kimset Essentials’ list of health benefits, as found on their website:

  • Whiter Teeth
  • Fresher Breath
  • Improved Digestion
  • Reduced Headaches
  • Cleaner Tongue and Mouth
  • Better Immune System
  • Healthier Gums
  • Reduced Plaque
  • Clearer, Softer Skin
  • Improved Skin Conditions (Eczema, Psoriasis etc)
  • Balanced Hormones

Oil Pulling with Kismet Essentials

Oil Pulling Kit

As I mentioned above, I briefly tried oil pulling in the past, and quickly (and foolishly) determined it to be a useless, kind of disgusting practice. But my experience with Kismet was really different! Their kits are meant to be completed in two weeks; they come with 14 satchels containing one tablespoon of high-quality coconut oil, flavoured with a mild, very pleasant minty taste. So right off the bat, they’re easy to use, travel with, and they taste clean, which I would think is an impressive feat for coconut oil. (Because let’s face it–coconut oil is still oil. It tends to taste fatty.)

Then for the health nuts in the group (my hand is eagerly waving), the product also uses organic, virgin, cold-pressed oil that’s non-GMO and fair trade.

So now you’re in love, right? There are like 4 or 5 magic words in that sentence!

The Results of My Experience

My teeth are not naturally white. I have a photograph of myself smiling for third-grade picture-day, and my teeth are kinda yellow. (So my expectations were not high.) I only lasted about 10-12 minutes with each satchel (actually, I only lasted 4 minutes on day 2 because I forgot and had 2 glasses of wine first, and then didn’t have the willpower to hold oil in my mouth for longer than that…oops…), and had to distract myself through the process. I usually worked on my laptop or read a book while swishing.

(Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to swish like you would with mouthwash–that would result in a very sore jaw! Think gentle.)

After you swish, you can’t spit it into your sink, because it’s coconut oil–it could firm up and cause a blockage. So I spat my coconut oil into a zip-lock bag after each time, and then threw the bag out at the end.

Hot tip: if you plan on reusing the bag to include all 14 treatments, you might change your mind after the first week or so, because the bag seriously begins to smell like vomit. I’m assuming this is because there are tons of trapped bacteria and toxins in this bag of used coconut oil. So instead, I recommend switching it up every 3-4 days.

I didn’t really see a difference in my teeth hue until after about a week, and then after 10-12 days, the change was pretty evident. I’m very sorry that I’m not providing a before-and-after photo, but it’s because I’m currently treating myself to Invisalign, and have bumps affixed to my teeth that help to hold the trays in properly, and I feel like I look like a vampire. (Also, they’re not as invisible as their name suggests. FYI.)

So that’s why.

Anyway: it was a good experience, and I’ll do it again! For those who want to whiten but aren’t into chemical bleach kits, this blog’s for you. (You’re welcome.)

To order an oil pulling kit from Kismet, view their SHOP page. This business is located in Vancouver (local for me!), and their social tags are as follows:

Instagram: instagram.com/kismetessentials

Twitter: @kismetessential

Facebook: facebook.com/kismetessentials

Cheers!

Homemade granola

Maintaining Good Digestive Health While Camping

Maintain Good Digestive Health While Camping

For many of us, summertime means camping. In my family, we’re fortunate enough to own a cabin that’s shared between extended family members. Each summer, everyone is doled out their respective weeks, and we just got back from our initial 10 day getaway. The cabin in located in Green Lake, in 72 Mile, British Columbia.

It’s beautiful.

As someone who needs (and wants) to eat a certain way to maintain good digestive health, I’m often thrown off at our cabin. Travel plus convenience foods plus a shared washroom (there were nine of us to one bathroom) plus readily available alcohol at all hours of the day means that my gut typically gets thrown into a tailspin pretty quickly.

For the past couple of years, I’ve developed ways of making digestive health while at our cabin more realistic and sustainable, and wanted to share some tips with all of you. Here are 5 ways to keep your gut health while camping:

Bring Healthy Food

Camping might immediately bring about images of hot dogs and hamburgers and s’mores, but it doesn’t mean you actually have to eat those things. If your gut is touchy (like mine), then trying to maintain your current, regular diet is important. If you’re used to consuming daily smoothies, beans, and whole grains, then it’s fairly crucial to keep eating those things even while you’re away from your own home.

Assuming you won’t have to access to a kitchen (I’m pretty spoiled with this cabin thing), here’s my go-to list of foods to bring camping:

  1. Raw fruits and veggies
  2. Hummus
  3. Veggie burgers (use lettuce in place of a bun!)
  4. Homemade energy bars (teeming with fibre!)
  5. Oats for oatmeal
  6. Homemade chili (heat on a portable BBQ)
  7. Avocados (eat half at a time with salt and pepper)
  8. Pre-made chia pudding
  9. TONS of water

Which brings me to…

Drink a Ton of Water

If you’re camping, you should probably try and drink more water than you usually do, because you’re probably outside in the sun and will become dehydrated more easily. Booze does NOT replace water; water is very much needed to keep your insides healthy, hydrated, and properly lubricated.

Increase the Fibre

For those who suffer with IBS (like me), or any other chronic digestive issue, it’s pretty common for your body to decide to stop working properly with travel. Before I became more educated on the topic of IBS, I used to fly places and not have a bowel movement for a week.

Seriously.

So to keep your body in check and your bowel working, it’s a good idea to increase your fibre, water, and activity. It’s also important to pay attention: we might be distracted in our new surroundings, but if you receive any sort of signal that tells you it might be bathroom time, GO.

Incorporate NutraCleanse into Your Foods

NutraCleanse is a locally produced (well, local for me), high-fibre supplement that you can mix into anything. It’s not like over-the-counter laxatives; it’s whole and raw and healthy. It contains only 5 ingredients: flax seed, burdock root, fenugreek seeds, dandelion root, and psyllium husk. You can stir it into smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.

It’s a lifesaver.

If you’re currently taking Metamucil or any other comparable daily laxative, stop, and start taking NutraCleanse instead. For more information on this product, visit www.nutracleanse.biz.

Stay Active

This means don’t sit on your butt and drink beer all day. Walk, run, paddle board, swim, play games, water ski, hike, and do whatever you have to do to move your body. If you sit for a long weekend, your gut will respond to that by shutting down.

What kinds of tips do you have for me?! I’m always looking for better ways to love my body while on vacation, so anything you can think of is helpful. Leave your comment below, or find me on social and share.

For more ways to improve your digestive health, check out Happy Healthy Gut, available on Amazon, or in Chapters/Indigo and Barnes & Noble.

Happy Monday! xo

*Photo credit to Wild Honey Art House; recipe for this granola in Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Pistachio Stuffed Figs

Recipe: Sticky Pistachio Stuffed Figs

Hey, friends! Over Easter, I was asked to bring an appetizer to dinner, and so I brought this fabulously simple recipe that my sister-in-law (Kitchen, Uncorked) contributed to my second book, Vegetarian Comfort Foods. Honestly, everything this chick makes trumps anything I ever could.

She’s amazing.

But sister-from-another-mister love aside, I wanted to share this recipe with you. Like I said, it’s super simple, completely whole and plant-based, and wildly tasty.

Sticky Pistachio Stuffed Figs

Recipe by Natalie Browne

Ingredients

¾ cup shelled pistachios

24 dried figs

2 tsp. dried cardamom

1 tsp. cumin

1 orange, zest only

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Over low heat, toast pistachios until golden. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly until you’re able to handle them.

While the pistachios are toasting, slice the figs three quarters of the way through, and set aside. Finely chop the pistachios and place in a small mixing bowl. Mix in the cardamom, cumin and orange zest.

Spoon the pistachio mixture into the figs, patting it down as you go. Place the figs on a baking sheet, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until warm and slightly sticky. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy!

Spring into Incredible, Edible Flowers

Springtime blooms are exciting, because they signify new beginnings and new life. So why not enjoy them in a new way—as beautiful garnishes and healthy additions to our favourite foods?

In a 2012 study conducted by Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., researchers found “that flowers increase happiness and life satisfaction, and lead to increased contact with family and friends.”[1]

So what happens if we consume them in our tastiest spring-inspired meals?

Here are three different edible flowers accompanied by their medicinal uses, associated recipe ideas, and tips:

Dandelion

Medicinal Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, dandelions are not just pesky weeds! Each part of the dandelion is edible, including the pretty yellow blooms. Not only are they super high in phytochemicals, they are also teeming with vitamins A, B and C, as well as iron and potassium.[2] [3]

Studies have found dandelions to be effective when used for digestive issues, loss of appetite, flatulence and gallstones. They also make a great circulatory tonic, skin toner, and blood tonic, and can be used for treating viral and bacterial infections, in addition to certain types of cancer.[4] [5]

Recipe Idea

Best harvested in early spring, the delicate flowers are naturally slightly bittersweet, and are excellent in salads. Simply pluck the pesticide-free flowers around early April, remove the green stem, and include the flower heads in a fresh garden salad.

Tip: the root and leaves of the dandelion can be an effective mild laxative.[6]

Chamomile

Medicinal Benefits

Chamomile is a goodie. It’s pretty in your flower garden, and it grows easily in BC. The small, sweet flower has some hefty medicinal benefits in the calm department. Traditionally used to treat anxiety, insomnia[7], and stress, chamomile is also antibacterial[8] and anti-inflammatory![9]

Recipe Idea

The flowers can be plucked and dried, then slightly crushed to make tea. Alternatively, the can be eaten fresh atop of a salad or added to a snack like avocado toast.

Tip: if symptoms of hay fever appear, discontinue use.

Lavender

Medicinal Benefits

Is there anything better than the scent of lavender? This fragrant flower is a medicinal dream. Lavender is known for relieving tension, stress, and anxiety.[10] The purple flower is also antiseptic, antispasmodic, and antibacterial. It’s also an analgesic, a relaxant, and a nerve tonic.

Who knew??!

Recipe Idea

Honestly? Make tea. Dry and crush your lavender. Combine one tablespoon dried flower with 8 ounces of hot water. Let steep, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain out loose flora, and drink up!

Tip: Lavender is generally considered safe, but it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid drinking lavender tea in large quantities.[11]

For more recipes using flowers and other herbs, check out my book, The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea. xo

References

[1] http://safnow.org/rutgers-emotional-impact-of-flowers-study/

[2] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[3] https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

[4] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[5] https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

[6] Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, et al. “Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México.” Pubmed. Web. 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2322858/

[7] “Chamomile.” Livertox. Web. 2015. http://livertox.nih.gov/Chamomile.htm

[8] Janmejai K Srivastava, Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Pubmed. Web. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

[9] Renata Dawid-Pać. “Medicinal plants used in treatment of inflammatory skin diseases.” Pubmed. 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834722/

[10] “Lavender.” The University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical-reference-guide/complementary-and-alternative-medicine-guide/herb/lavender

[11] Rosemary Gladstar. Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Storey, MA. 2012. P. 151.