Tucson Herb Store

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Oh Lymphatic Simples

As I wander through this growth spurt around creative frigidity and the lack of writing I’ve been doing + overthinking about it in abundance, I decided to just put something out there – the series of events and tools which may have catalyzed me into growth and out of stagnation: Lymphatic issues.

If you don’t know, the lymphatic system is a series of tiny vessels that run parallel to the blood vessels, veins, and capillaries. It is a system without a pump and with many nodes which are kinda like dump sites for the metabolic wastes collected as lymphatic fluid travels through our bodies. Those glands that get swollen and maybe even painful when you’re comin’ down with something are the lymph nodes in overdrive – full of junk from trying to fight off whatever infection is ailin’ you.

Sometimes when the nodes swell it can represent an energetic issue happening alongside the physiological one – a buildup of emotional or mental toxins that need to be cleared. It’s not always the case, of course, but sometimes it is, and recently, it was for me.

There this virus called Epstein-Barr, and it’s the one that causes infection Mononucleosis, aka Mono, aka the Kissing disease. Some folks out there get exposed to it and rather than just being laid out for 4-6 weeks, their bodies seem to be in a constant state of almost sick. These people have an active infection of Epstein-Barr that can flare up during or after intense stress, lack of quality sleep, troubled emotions, or just plain ol’ not taking care of oneself. I hate to say it, but I’m one of these people.

Every couple of years my body goes into what feels like Mono. Extreme fatigue, painful joints, aching muscles, and many symptoms that also go along with depression. I lose my mojo for 6-8 weeks at most if I treat it right away, much longer if I don’t, like before I found out I had this virus. I can usually tell it’s coming because I’ll get all those symptoms but the real tell-tale sign is that the two lymph nodes behind my ears at the base of my skull get rock hard and so painful that turning my head is a real issue. Once the nodes have hardened like marbles, it’s usually pretty challenging to get anything done.

My guess is that I contracted mono in 11th grade, the only time I remember missing 4 days in a row of school for feeling like absolute shit. I recall it being the worst I’d ever felt, but it wasn’t diagnosed for whatever reasons. 12 years later I was pretty miserable with one super hard, painful lymph node, and a naturopath said “Oh, that’s the mono lymph node. Let’s test you.” Before the finger stick I asked her if it was possible to have mono for 10 years, and that’s when I learned all about EBV and the antibodies. Sure enough the test was positive and further testing indicated that I did in fact have what we can call ‘chronic mono.’

With the help of my herbal mentor I developed a strict protocol to encourage my body’s natural resistance to the virus and defense against it, which included heavy doses of herbs to stimulate and cleanse the lymph. I really took care of myself and 6 weeks after my diagnosis, I believed I had triumphed over the disease – it’s symptoms had disappeared.

So yea, it came back. I found my pattern (for the most part) and did my best to prevent it but when it did I had a plan. And it has always worked.

This last go round, beginning about 2 months ago, I did something really different, and that’s what I want to talk about because I think this information will be super useful for any reader in a clinical practice. If you’re not a practicing herbalist, please don’t try anything you read here without the guidance of your health care provider – I’m not taking any responsibility for what happens to you. And yes, I can be your health care provider if you call me and schedule an appointment!

So about 2 months ago I started with fatigue and aches and painful joints. I knew something was up when I struggled on an easy, mostly flat, 5 mile hike. A few days after that, the lymph nodes got hard and I knew I was in acute EBV mode. I didn’t have all the herbs for my protocol. I didn’t have vitamin c. All I had was sleep and some dried herbs.

What I did was this. I drank a quart and a half of Red Clover and Echinacea infusion every day for 3 or 4 days. During that time I did as little physical and mental activity as possible, just resting and letting my body do it’s thing. My work suffered but I was able to go everyday, so I give myself some credit for showing up! By the end of the 4th day my lymph nodes had returned almost to their normal state – they no longer hurt or felt like rocks. The joint pain, muscles aches, exhaustion, and brain fog were all gone.

I’m not even kidding people. This is serious. Seriously amazing. Having dealt with EBV for the last 8 years, I can tell you that this feels miraculous. I’ve never experienced such an incredible health transformation in all the work I’ve done as an herbalist. Both of these herbs are in my standard protocol, but my body responded with expediency to them together, as if their synergy superseded their small parts in the more complex formulas I’d created in the past.

Echinacea is well known for its immune supporting properties. Honestly it’s probably over-used by the masses, but in my experience it is most effective for treating lymphatic congestion. Red Clover is well known by herbalists for being a gentle lymphatic stimulant and ally to the respiratory tract. But these two together form a bond that is a powerhouse for the lymphatic system, and I’m very curious about what else the relationship can do to heal we chaotic humans.

The potential for treating even complicated health issues is unlimited with a respectful approach to herbal medicine. As herbalists we must never cease to embrace nature’s medicines and try new things. My mentor encouraged us to use what we had on hand to heal whatever issue we had on hand, and this is an excellent example of doing just that and being blessed with incredible results.

It took knowing a little bit about the plants themselves and how they are best prepared, as well as a reverence for their power. Holding them in high esteem and having an unshakable belief in them is no joke – it’s a serious aspect of healing and should not be disregarded.

As the infection cleared, so did the space in my mind that was holding on so tightly to fear of exposure and whatever else was keeping me trapped in creative stagnation. I literally was not able to produce anything more than a quick instagram post here or there, for almost a year. Ugh. That’s not how I want to live, but I could not break through until I cleared the toxins from my body. I’m so grateful for the free flowing fluids keeping my body strong and clean and the free flowing words keeping my soul on its track. Alhamdulillah!

So take this my fellow clinicians! Take it and run wild into your next healing expedition, and please please please share your results with me!

~Yours in the Rebellion.

Chives Oh My

My current living situation comes with an established garden and the freedom to create from it. Yesterday I harvested Basil, Chard, Stevia Leaf, an Eggplant, and Chives. I really didn’t think I liked Chives particularly well, but what I did with them changed my mind.

The simplest recipe ever.

  • 2T minced chives
  • 1/2c butter, soft but not melted
  • 2t olive oil

Let the butter sit out til just soft. Pour in the olive oil and add the chives, and mix/mash/blend with a fork or electric beater til it’s all good. Spread on bread. YUM. This morning I added a small spoonful to a breakfast bowl that included sweet potatoes, brown rice, and pomegranate seeds. The sweet and savory combo was perfect for morning food.

Chives are so easy to grow, it’s worth having a patch just so you can make chive butter whenever you want. Bon appetit!

The Richmond Herbalism Guild

Meet Laura B. and Allie H., the two herbal mistresses behind the magick and wonder that has become the Richmond Herbalism Guild – a group of enthusiastic plant devotees who meet regularly to educate and learn from one another, share homemade medicines, and create healing gardens.

allie-and-laura

Founded in February 2016, the Richmond Herbalism Guild (RHG) has grown from an informal peer study group to a full fledged organization – with over 500 members on Facebook and a bountiful calendar of events happening all the time and all over town, to engage every variety of budding herbalist around town.

As the group evolves, so do the activities. Lately there have been plant walks, medic training, dinner parties, an herbal book club (currently they’re reading Matthew Wood’s new book), and even Dandelion wine making!

the-earthwise-herbal-repertory

Allie and Laura are two peas in a pod, and each boasts about what the other brings to their special partnership. It’s a beautiful thing to behold, and I admit, enviable. Allie talks about Laura’s ability to make things happen, from managing the complexities of Facebook marketing to creating synergistic herbal formulas that highlight each herb’s personality.

Laura counts on Allie as the emotional core of the duo and the group, being the dreamer and ideas bearer. She says Allie’s green thumbs are invaluable to the group, as Allie brings the theory and practice of herbalism literally down to Earth.

plant-walk

In addition to organizing, coordinating, and managing an ever growing network of herbalists, each runs their own unique herbal business. Laura’s Botanicals is where Laura mentors families and teachers her clients how to make the medicines they need. Moonflower Apothecary is Allie’s project, and she grows every single plant used in her products.

Richmond was ripe for the kind of movement, and I’m proud to be in a city with an emerging grass-roots interest in a way of healing that can only be found off the beaten path. It just so happens to be the path on which I find myself most often, so it’s especially rewarding to see a celebration of my craft. I’m grateful to know these two passionate young women who are doing so much for people, plant, and planet, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for their second year in action. Do check them out,and even if you don’t know the first thing about herbs or plant medicine, you’ll be welcomed into the fold of incredible people sharing their love and joy for all things herbal. Once you learn that first thing, you’ll be hooked!

Thanks for reading, and come back weekly for interviews, reviews, and ideas for getting involved with your local plant scene!

Candice

To learn more about the Richmond Herbalism Guild and to get involved, click here.

Click here to learn about Allie at Moonflower Apothecary and here to check out Laura’s Botanicals.

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Spring Tidings

Wow this weekend has been wild! So much is happening, in sync with the newly emerging Vernal season. Every year the beginning of Spring feels like a brand new year, and I know tons of people who share this sentiment. The first blooms popping up out of a slowly warming Earth remind us that the struggle of winter is coming to end. Winter’s struggle is different for everyone, and it could range from a plain lack of love for cold weather to debilitating mood shifts, getting out of Snowmageddon and off to work, or for far too many, finding shelter and food and safety.

In my not so humble opinion, Winter should really be a time for grounding down, resting, working gentler, going inward, and using less energy overall. Spring welcomes emergence from the hibernation, providing relief and adventure to those who have developed cabin fever, and a glorious opportunity to live as the Narcissus blossoms – brightly shining in sun and cloud, stoked about the fact that YOU, yourself, are an amazing presence to behold – whether you do anything ‘spectacular’ or not!

It’s also a great time to use some of the energy you’ve been reserving during winter – burn it off and generate more – doing things that you love. Creating the life you want and the interactions that feed you. Yesterday was such a day for me. I was exhausted by the end of it, but so satisfied with the Spring-ness of everything that I did, that sleep was welcome and anticipation for the morrow settled deep down in my soul.

What did I do yesterday that felt so good? I used my energy wisely. I got up early and headed to Rag and Bones bicycle coop, where the annual Bike! Bike! Southeast is happening this year. A good friend of mine is very involved in bike culture and all kinds of activism, and has been working at the coop since its inception. When I heard this casual conference was happening here in RVA, I offered to have Rebel Herbal sponsor the event with free tea. I set up a table and a FREE TEA! sign, talked to some folks, ran an errand for the organizers, and a few hours later checked out for a bit.Screen shot 2016-03-13 at 1.48.28 PM

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During the checkout time I went to the second meeting of the Richmond Herbalism Guild. My heart swells to think of such a group existing here in Richmond. There were about 15 people in attendance, and one of the group founders gave a nice talk about Violet. I’m really excited to participate and share in the teaching and learning that will happen in this study group, and encourage anyone interested in learning about herbs to join up. You can find them on Facecrack here: Richmond Herbalism Guild

At the meeting I met so many wonderful, amazing, incredible humans that I can’t wait to get to know better. We talked about future events, planning a garden at the Temple of the Cosmic Mothership, tasted some intense tinctures by a local medicine maker, and shared in the gratitude of this group coming into being. I think a lot of goodness is going to come from it. Rebel Herbal will be sponsoring the group with Free Tea! each month. The next meeting is April 9 from 2-4, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an overview/herbalism 101 type of talk. I’ll be teaching about one of my plant lovers at the May meeting. Can’t wait!

These are the types of days that give me a little of everything I need. Social interaction, education, service, celebrating plant medicine, building new relationships and reunion with existing ones, exercise, and quality rest. This Spring it is my intention to immerse myself fully in all the Earthy-spiritual-healing activities I love, without overextending and with holding space for times of quiet reflection. The plants speak to and through me, and this is their guidance. I encourage each of you to utilize the energetic magnificence of the approaching Spring season to dive deeply into what fuels your passions!

Ready…Go!

I’m pulling it together. I’m happy with how the site looks despite my lack of skill in graphics and making digital things visually appealing. Don’t get me wrong. It has a long way to go. But small steps are good steps to start with! Today I created a Tumblr account, and it’s dedicated to Tree Medicine. The physical medicine for our bodies and the esoteric medicine for our souls and the invisible medicine for the Earth. An honoring of these creatures whose pain I feel on the reg.

Some other things. I’m almost ready to distribute fliers and samples to potential retailers, and I have a lovely flier for my services made with the help of my dear friend Prabir over at My Glasses Rule. Now I need to get the samples assembled, find a real place to officially set up shop, plaster the city with Rebel Herbal teas, and then begin filling orders. I’m so so so ready. More than that I’m grateful to finally be ready, to be in THE city I call home, that I don’t remember loving when I left but am falling in love with these days, to have the encouragement of awesome people, and the support of my spirit guides.

Let’s do this y’all!

 

Mixed-Emotional

Still raining.

Today: Met with Kendal Lemire at Lamplighter and am really excited to see what we come up with together. She gave me an assignment of Pinteresting my ideas and things I like. Got to see a couple of old friends while there, talked about a good deal of fun stuff in addition to graphics. Like the honesuckle syrup.

Slipped on the back deck and had a terrifying few moments. The fear of exacerbating a back injury spun me out  and affected me all day. It hurt.

Went to a talk at C3 on the common mistakes unsuccessful businesses make. It turned out to be all about taxes and accounting. I’m grateful for it even though it was not a ‘pick-me-up’ kind of talk.

Made a vegan take on beef and broccoli using portabellas and shiitakes. It was awesome.

Did not get the other things on my list done.

Tomorrow: Go get the printer from brother’s house and print those applications! Contact M, the bookkeeper at the Chickpea office, to chat about Quickbooks and bookkeeping mentoring. Rest! Do gentle/restorative yoga! Create menu!

Get it Goin’

Yesterday: Got a po box, retail sales permit, federal id number, and registered my business name with the city of Richmond.

Today: Did some website stuff, chatted with my graphics artist to be (Kendal Lemire -haven’t met yet her but I have a feeling she’s freakin awesome). Cleaned the shed hoping to transform it into a workshop. Ended the day feeling defeated by the chaos of an old structure with a buckling concrete floor and lots of gaps in the corrugated sheet metal walls, but still hopeful that some minor renovations might make it functional. Discovered grossness in the form of mold inside the refrigerator doors.

Tomorrow’s Steps: Get applications in for farmer’s markets, meet with graphic designer (stoked on this one!), get Roy (my brother) to estimate workshop needs, create menu of teas and salves, make list for the next day.