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::forgive::

One of the first things that I always speak to my clients about is leaving the past in the past. We can’t change what we did or who we were. We need to accept and embrace the mistakes we made-see them as lessons that shaped who we are today.

What good is it to constantly berate and punish ourselves? What does that serve? Everything-EVERYTHING is designed to teach and to create space for us to grow.

Once we forgive ourselves for our past, we can heal.

The biggest and first step in healing is forgiveness. It’s also the hardest.

I am taking free 10-20 minute initial phone consultations on Monday mornings. I would love to talk to you and see if working together is right for you. All consultations are strictly confidential with absolutely zero judgement. Only empathy, a listening ear, and an open heart.

Schedule HERE

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::authentic::

authentic: of undisputed origin; genuine.

This is a pretty big buzz-word these days in the mindfulness/wellness/intentional living crowd. Living authentically. What exactly does that mean? Being honest? Maybe. Being true to yourself? Closer. To me it is something that I have really struggled with 98% of my life. I was always such a people pleaser and wanted everyone around me to like me, that I wasn’t always ME. I didn’t express my feelings when I was upset or sad. I did things or acted a certain way to not rock the boat.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized 2 things:
1~Hiding who you are is being dishonest.
2~You aren’t responsible for other people’s feelings and their opinion of you is not your business.

Think about all the ways you are not being authentic to yourself. Whether it is towards your family and friends, your customers or employers, society at large. Changing who you are or not honoring yourself does no one any good.

This week, I started noticing that still today I am not being fully authentic. Mainly in my work. My passion is plant medicine. Wild herbs that grow around me in unadulterated states. Working with them from dirt to medicine is my truth. Not being true to myself would be using exotic plants and essential oils. NOT THAT THEY ARE BAD OR WRONG-but that they do not resonate with me on any level whatsoever. BUT. My customers and society at large are huge fans of essential oils. And with so many people and companies selling them and using them, I felt like I needed to be a source that I know people are getting SAFE products with mindful direction. But every time, I still feel like I am lying. Because I am not connected on a deeper level with them like I am my plants. Yes~I know essential oils are derived from plants. But my medicine is that the sum of its parts are greater than the whole. I don’t want to use just one specific component because all the components work synergistically with each other in perfect harmony. Recommending an essential oil product and using them in my medicine is not authentic to me. I want to make my customers and clients happy, but not at my expense.

So, once my rollers sell out, I will not be restocking them. I can refer you to amazing aromatherapists who are more connected to essential oils and hope you form great relationships with them!

Please feel free to use the code AUTHENTIC at checkout if you are interested in purchasing any rollers before they are gone to receive a lovely discount. Essential Oils

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::nurture::

As we awaken from our winter season’s slumber, many of us think of ways to coax our bodies back into health. As if the cold and dark is the time we wane from self care. Some people believe that cleanses and detoxes are integral to igniting the fire within-that we are damaged and need to be fixed. But I do not believe in this form of wellness and care.

Like the plants retreat inward during the winter, as do we. Plants do not detox themselves as they begin anew. They simple ARE. They pull in the nutrients and energy from the earth and sun. They soak in the rains and flourish. We need to take lessons from plants. Follow nature and she will not guide you wrong.

Below are some simple steps to awaken your inner fire this spring.

  • BE gentle with yourself. Do not punish yourself with detoxes and cleanses because you believe you have treated your body poorly. Forgive yourself.
  • Spend time outdoors. Begin to work your garden. Don’t have a garden? Pot some plants for your porch, stoop, or balcony. Get dirty. Get dirty. Get dirty.
  • Listen to the wild plants in your yard. The new spring greens that pop up are full of nourishment. Sorrel, dandelion, henbit, violet, nettle. A wild salad or soup will fill your belly and your soul.
  • Drink herbal infusions. Herbal infusions are bursting with nutrients and allow for optimal wellness. Susun Weed has a free course on them at www.nourishingherbalinfusions.com
  • Move. If you’ve been hibernating all winter, getting your body moving with gentle yoga or walks outside will loosen up those stiff joints and fire up your metabolism.
  • Commune. Join up with your brothers and sisters. Find groups of like-minded people to share space with. In person. Virtual community is amazing, but humans are not solitary creatures. We are pack animals. And our society has isolated us from our tribes. Find your people.

If you are looking for more one on one guidance in nurturing yourself, please reach out! I have created a variety of program to align with the needs of anyone who is searching for assistance. Follow the link for more information! Be well. http://wildearthherbals.com/consultations/

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::renew::

It’s pretty typical that as the calendar year turns a page, I would write about renewal. We can’t NOT think about change, goals, and starting anew during this time.

Personally, I do not create resolutions. They are rarely sustainable or achieved. I also don’t set goals or benchmarks. They tend to be quantifiable which means there is an endpoint.  I set intentions. Intentions are long-lasting ideals of how you want your life to manifest.  A few of my intentions are:

  • having a home and business management system in place to hold space for calm, creativity, and organization;
  • building a sustainable garden to provide nourishing foods for my family;
  • creating the opportunities to be able to travel and vacation; and
  • reflecting what I teach by maintaining optimal health.

The fourth intention is what I am speaking on today. Here are my current challenges: emotional eating, stress eating, and the use of stimulants-well, one stimulant. Coffee. I LOVE coffee. Like, irrationally. I make 3 French Presses a day which translates to about 6-9 cups of coffee. THIS IS NOT HEALTHY. How can I talk to my clients and customers about taking care of their bodies by reducing stress and stimulants when I don’t? How can I give lectures on fatigue and adrenal health when I don’t ensure that I’m doing everything *I* can to model it?

The negative effects of regular use of coffee are pretty well known-I am mainly concerned about the addiction aspect and the contribution to chronic fatigue.

I won’t call this a resolution to quit coffee. I won’t make a goal to be caffeine free by XX date. I will say that my intention is to manifest a healthy body by only using nourishing foods and herbs daily, and only using stimulating and sedating herbs and foods when indicated. Am I there yet? No. I have a cup of coffee sitting right next to me. But, I do have a game plan.

  • I am creating a nourishing blend of herbs that I can replace my early morning warm beverage with.
  • I will drink my nourishing herbal infusions daily.
  • I will get at least 7 hours of restful sleep a night.
  • I will be gentle with myself when I find myself with a dirty chai in hand from the local coffee shop.

All in all, I’m excited to go on this journey. If you are needing some guidance for any various health related or life related issues, I would love to talk! I am doing free 10 minute consults right now. If you feel that you need something more in depth, we can schedule a longer  intuitive plant medicine consultation. Even though I face my own struggles, I would honored to help guide you through yours.

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::alchemy::

This has been an amazing year of change and growth! After a slight adventure last winter in the Midwest, we returned home to the south to put down roots.

There is definitely a magic to this area. Ancient and deep. Magnetic. We seem to be in the sweet spot of South Carolina~not too far north to hit the red clay, but not too close to the coast to have all the sand in the soil. Nature flourishes in the heat and remains steadfast in our mild winters.

Getting a bit real for a moment~I jumped into pulling Wild Earth Herbals out of a part time hobby job into a full blow sustainable business by the skin of my teeth. It was a do it now or it will never come to be moment. So, I took the plunge. With a paltry amount of savings (I think I had 1 month’s rent banked) I decided that I would not get a ‘real job’ and focus all my energy in creating this amazing business. And I really hate calling it a business. Because it’s a way of life. And I want it to become a way of life for my community. To be able to create your own plant medicine-to go into your backyard and make a meal out of ‘weeds’ is such an empowering feat. I want to share it with the world!

My goal for 2017 was to be able to sustain my little family on the sales of my products. And I have done that for the past 8 months. Sometimes just barely-but the rent was always paid, and we always had food on the table.

I’m challenging myself to surpass that goal. But, I’m doing it a little differently.

1-I have worked like a dog this year. Some days from 6am to midnight.

2-I took next to zero time for self care. What kind of healer am I to talk to others about nourishing their bodies when I don’t?

3-I did the bare minimum regarding making connection in the community.

Looking forward~

1-My best week this year (yes, it was a 4 figure week-I’m most proud of that!) will be the starting point for 2018. My goal is to make that my baseline and double it by midsummer solstice. I will NOT do this by working harder-but smarter.

2-I will ensure that I am nourished and cared for. I will continue to expand my heart center and build on the tribe that is forming here.

3-I will branch out into the communities surrounding me and create connection with those around me.

My intentions are to have the product sales become more self propelled and the production be handled by apprentices and eventually employees. Leaving room for me to focus more energy on classes, consultations, workshops, and sacred circles.

2017 was about breaking through the walls and removing what no longer served me: doubt, fear, toxic relationships. Heading into 2018 is birth. creation. transformation. alchemy.

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Join My Instagram Community!

Instagram is turning into the this amazing community of people who share beautiful and mindful images. Getting sneak peeks into our lives, promoting products that mean something to us, and educating each other is what I see.

If you enjoy photography, herbalism, and scrolling through Instagram, then this is a great opportunity for you!

I am looking for 5-10 people each month to join my team. As a member, you would make several posts a week (mainly on Instagram, but you can do Facebook as well) to market my products. You must be able to make mindful captions to encourage engagement.

If you are interested, please fill out the form below! I will be selecting the first group of people for January 2018

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All About Herbal Tinctures

all about tinctures

Herbal tinctures are one of my favorite ways to take herbal medicine. They are fast-acting, potent, and portable! While teas are great, and I LOVE my teas, tinctures are usually my go-to for the ease and quickness. A dropper full of tincture is easy to just squirt into your mouth-whereas you have to go through the process of boiling water, steeping herbs, straining, sweetening, etc. Which, don’t get me wrong-I love the ritual of brewing teas! But, when you have a sinus headache, you want something to hit it fast and hard.

Oh, you don’t know what a tincture is? Let me explain! A tincture is simply an extract of constituents of the plant material into a menstruum (solvent-alcohol, vinegar, or vegetable glycerin, typically). My preferred menstruum is alcohol. I personally use 190 proof organic alcohol that I then dilute down to appx. 100 proof. But, you can just buy a cheap bottle of vodka, rum, brandy, etc. as long as it is around 100 proof (50%). Anything less and you run the risk of not getting the full extraction.

I use tinctures for all kinds of things. Headaches, stress, allergies, sleeplessness, anxiety, liver support, digestion, respiratory support, immune boosting. All the things! As I said, alcohol is the preferred solvent, as it and the water content are sure to extract the alkaloids and water soluble components of the plant. Now, the exception is if I want to extract the nourishing components of a plant (vitamins and minerals). In that case, I like to use apple cider vinegar.

If you are concerned about using alcohol preparations, fear not! I give them to my children. If you think about it-the amount of alcohol in a dosage is about 15-20 drops. That comes to MAYBE a mL of alcohol. One serving of alcohol is 30 mL (one ounce). You would have to drink an entire 1 ounce bottle of tincture to get a mixed drink’s serving of alcohol. And, a child’s dosage is even less-depending on weight it is between 3-10 drops. There is more alcohol in the vanilla extract you are cooking with! The only concern, in my opinion, with using alcohol based tinctures with children is convincing them to use it. Because, the taste leaves much to be desired.  You can hide it in tea, smoothies, apple sauce, etc.  There is the option of glycerin based tinctures, but they aren’t as effective.

Interested in making your own tinctures? Keep reading for a simple tutorial!

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Step 1: Get some herbs. Ideally, you want to work with freshly harvested herbs. Unfortunately, we don’t all have access to a bountiful herb garden or know how to properly wild craft. So, the option is to use dried. You can purchase them in bulk from various stores online, Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store, Monterrey Bay Herb Co., Starwest Botanicals are a few that I love. OR, you can contact me for smaller 1 ounce amounts. Sometimes it is intimidating receiving a pound of herbs when you are just starting out! For this tincture, I am using dried skullcap. Skullcap is fabulous for stress, anxiety, and pain relief. I LOVE it. It’s one of my most popular tinctures. There are two methods to use here. 1-the folk method. Put some herbs in a jar. Just an eyeballed amount. Perfect for folks who are just making it for themselves and don’t worry if one batch is more potent than the next. and 2-the weight to volume method (w:v). Each herb has a specific w:v ratio, but the most common is 1:5. Which means, that for 1 part of plant material, you use 5 parts solvent. So, for example, you have 2 ounces of skullcap by weight. You will need 10 ounces of alcohol. If you are making them for yourself, friends, and family, this method is unnecessary.

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Step 2: Combine with menstruum in jar. Put your herbs in a clean mason jar. Cover with your solvent. Make sure all the plant material is covered. You can even have a few inches extra in the jar. Cap it. Give it a shake.

Step 3: LABEL!! You do not want a jar of mystery tincture in your house. Trust me. The label should have the name of the herb (common and botanical), the menstruum used, and the date you prepared it.

Step 4: Wait. Patiently. It takes at least 6 weeks for a tincture to fully macerate.  Keep it on your counter. Give it a shake everyday/every other day.

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Step 5. Strain. Use a fine wire mesh strainer, or some cheesecloth/muslin. I invert the jar over the strainer and let it sit for a few hours. Then, I press all the herbs to make sure I get all the liquid out. Compost the remnants (marc).

Step 6. Bottle. You can just rinse out your jar and pour your tincture right back in it. I would suggest getting a few dropper bottles (always glass!!!) for easy of dosage and convenience. Store the majority away in the jar, and keep your little bottle in your purse, bathroom, etc, wherever you keep your medicine. Again, make sure that you label your bottles!!

Do you make your own tinctures? I’d love to see pictures! Share them on my Facebook page at Wild Earth Herbals or tag me on instagram @wildearthherbals. 

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All About Violet

 

 

wild violet title picWild Violets (viola odorata) are pretty little perennials that tend to pop up in late winter/early spring (depending on where you live). Unfortunately, most people consider them to be annoying weeds. They are easily identified by their purple flowers and heart shaped leaves. Please don’t confuse them with African violets that are grown as houseplants. They are NOT the same thing.

This sweet little plant really is versatile and useful! But, before you start, you need to know a few things about wild harvesting. First, make SURE that the area that pick from isn’t sprayed by chemicals, where your dog defecates, close to the road, or any other place that you think is contaminated. Secondly, you want young and healthy growth. Look for vibrant colors. Third-you always want to ask permission from both the land owner and the plant itself. Fourth, never take more than you will use and never more than 5-10% of what is available. And lastly, always give thanks to the plant, earth, Mother Nature, God, or who/whatever you recognize as the giver of what you are taking. You should try to do your harvesting in the morning just after the dew has evaporated. Some of the ways that we will use wild violet call for fresh plant material and some require it to be dried, so make sure you save some to dry. 

Nutritional. Violets are packed full of minerals and vitamins-especially A and C. One of my favorite things to make is a wild green salad with violet leaves, blooms, dandelion greens, yellow dock, plantain, purslane, henbit, dead nettles, and cleavers. You can also saute the leaves like you would any other green. Another delicious treat is Wild Violet Lemonade. This is a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients to your kids and replace those toxic ‘fruit’ drinks they love so much.  Infused vinegar is my other go-to usage for wild violet. Vinegar is well known for its ability to extract vitamins and minerals from plant sources. Infusing vinegar is super easy. Get a clean mason jar and fill it with either violet blossoms, leaves, or both and cover with either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Let it set in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks. Strain and label. If you use white vinegar, try to make a batch with just blossoms-you will make a BEAUTIFUL purple vinegar! I use vinegars for all kinds of things. I flavor cooked greens with them, you can make a salad dressing with it, you can even use it as a hair rinse and a bath soak. Think of all the goodness of apple cider vinegar that you hear about-and add a power punch of nutrients with plant infusions!

10247459_728384073849329_8258624107772710316_nMedicinal. Wild violet has numerous medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory, helps the lymphatic system, is a blood purifier, it is a mild laxative and diuretic, a fever reducer, and supports the immune system. Making a syrup from the flowers is probably the easiest way to get your kids to reap the benefits. A syrup or tea is great for young ones who are constipated or have a fever. Simple fill a glass jar with the fresh flowers and pour boiling water over them. Allow to steep for 4 hours. Strain. You can stop here if you would like to have a cup of violet tea ( really, it’s an infusion…) or continue if you would like to turn it into a syrup. Herbal syrups are really just ways of making teas/infusions palatable for children (or those with tastebuds of children!).  Pour the infusion into a saucepan. Add equal quantities of sugar or honey and bring to a slow boil. Allow to boil for about 20 minutes or so and pour into glass jar. Store in fridge.  A great preparation for violets is in a salve or balm. It has been known to treat eczema and fibrocystic breast issues. Simply infuse dried violet leaf in an organic oil of your choice for several weeks. Strain and heat in a double boiler with a bit of beeswax. Continue to heat until wax is melted. Pour into glass jar. If it is too hard, remelt and add more oil. If it is too soft, remelt and add more wax. Tinctures are probably my favorite herbal preparation. Whenever possible, use fresh plant material. Place in clean glass jar (notice a theme here?) and cover with 100 proof alcohol (I prefer vodka, but use what you would like). LABEL! Give a good shake and place in cool dark area for 6+weeks. Give it a shake every day or so. Strain and bottle in an amber dropper bottle. Tinctures are the most effective form of herbal medicine. It is quick and easily absorbed into your blood stream. 

Just for fun! Crystallized violet blossoms and violet ice cubes! Crystallized violets are a fun garnish for baked goods and violet ice cubes would be a hit a kid’s party. Just fill an ice cube tray with the blossoms and fill with water as normal.

If you do not have access to fresh violets for some reason, you can always order them. I prefer to use Mountain Rose Herbs, but there are plenty of other herbal companies available!

WEHswirl

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services that are in line with my personal and professional ethics and standards.