Stinging Nettles for Stress Support

Stinging Nettles for Stress Support

Let Stinging Nettles Help You – In So Many Ways

The Nettles plant – Urtica Dioica (commonly known as Stinging Nettles) is an interesting herbal ally. If you look closely, the needles on the leaves will let you know that it WILL sting you, if you are not mindful when harvesting. However, once the Nettles is dried, blanched, or pulverized, the sting is ameliorated. Best harvested with gloves starting in early spring, Nettles can provide us with a treasure trove of support for many conditions. However, regular use provides the biggest benefit in the long run.

This wonderful plant is safe to use, and is high in calcium, iron potassium, phosphorus, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Nettles support the kidneys and adrenals making it a potent stress fighter when used regularly.  It is alkalizing and anti0inflammatory helping us with joint pain, osteoporosis, PMS, hot flashes and skin conditions like Psoriasis. Nettles contains more Calcium and Magnesium than the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).

Nettles Works Synergistically with the Body

Nettles has an adaptogenic effect on the body. Nettles can simultaneously

  • Bring Healing to Dryness OR Drain Dampness
  • Gentle OR Fierce
  • Hemostatic OR Circulating
  • Nutritive OR Dispersing
  • Cooling OR Building Energy

Could Nettles be an Antidote for Coffee?

So much about coffee is alluring. The smell, taste and ritual of morning and/or afternoon coffee. Coffee and conversation with a friend. Coffee is string medicine. Because of this, it takes a toll on us when we consume it regularly.

I would not normally think of using Nettles to replace coffee. When I retreat (yes retreat! ) from my coffee habit,  I generally move to Decafe coffee, then black tea,  then green tea, and then once I’ve weaned from caffeine and I want that coffee taste, I drink either Dandy Blend or Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom elixir. There are a few to choose from – just don’t choose one with actual coffee in it.  These are both fairly good substitutes for the coffee taste.  Both are fairly nutritive, especially the mushroom elixir. Yet how can we repair the damage we’ve done with coffee.

Since going deeper into my studies of Nettles, I am convinced that Stinging Nettles power plant ally that can help heal the imbalances we create with regular coffee use. Take a look.

Coffee Vs. Stinging Nettles

Coffee Nettles
Depletes Minerals Increases Minerals
Acid Forming Alkalizing
Stress on the Adrenals Restores the Adrenals (Especially the seeds)
Liver Toxicity – uses the same path that stress needs to clear) Liver Supportive
Pregnancy Risk Pregnancy Supportive
Dehydrating Helps Hold Hydration

Regular use of Nettles can repair and restore the acidity and depletion that occurs from regular use of coffee.

Stimulating vs. Energizing – You get to Choose

Coffee and other caffeine products don’t really “give” us energy. They stimulate our system – but this is at the high cost of our adrenal glands. While the effect may be what we want (after all, I can get a lot done after a cup of coffee) the toll on our health is too great. When we tax our body this way, we are depleting our “jing” or essence.

Nettles, on the other hand, energizes our body and it’s many systems. It does this by nourishing our system and working synergistically with it. In fact, Nettles seed is considered an adaptogen – working to support the adrenals by nourishing and strengthening the HPA-axis – this is the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal relationship. Adoptogens are herbs that help your body deal with stress. Other wonderful herbs in this category include Ashwaganda, Hawthorn, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Ginseng, Gingko, Astragalus, Holy Basil, and more.

70% of people Suffer with compromised Adrenal function due to stress.

Nettles for Women

Nettles can support us through all phases of the moon cycle including menopause.

  • Helps relieve cramps due to stagnation.
  • They are loaded with chlorophyl which moves the blood, increasing circulation.
  • The Hemostatic action also helps regulate and balance blood flow, lightening heavy flow and nourishing light flow.
  • Nettles supports us with pain during ovulation and helps regulate excess water, relieving bloating.
  • Excellent for Menopause as they are cooling and anti-inflammatory.
  • Great for Pregnancy – it’s like a liquid multi-mineral – Best mixed to use Nettels tea on and off with Red Raspberry Leaf tea (tones the uterus).

Other Amazing properties of Nettles

  • Bone Building Nutrients: Nettles carry 15 out the 18 Bone Building Nutrients including Boron which helps maintain and stabilize calcium in the bone.
  • High in bio-flavonoids which reduces varicose veins
  • Nettles is very supportive to all of the tissues and membranes of the body
  • Replenishes energy and builds you back up

You can use the entire plant. Leaf, seed, stalk and root.

Uses of the Seed:

  • Supports the kidneys and adrenals
  • Builds stamina and lasting energy reserves
  • Thyroid support
  • Use the seed oil for Alopecia
  • Also use for Erectile Dysfunction
  • Makes a great hair oil (crush in oil)

Eat the seeds raw or if using daily – dried (as the raw can become overstimulating).

The seed and Root can be tinctured as well as the leaf.

Uses of the Root:

  • Anti Inflammatory for Prostatitis
  • Great for gout- clears uric acid

Stinging Nettles is a smart plant and it helps your membranes be smart as well. It increases the health of your blood and helps revitalize you and flush out old patterns. It is commonly advised to brew

How to Start using Nettles Daily

You can purchase a tincture at your local health food store. Another easy way to start with Nettles is using it as a tea.

Nettles Tea (Infusion Method)


Nettles tea works best as an infusion

Keyword Adrenal Fatigue, Health, Menopause, Nettles, PMS, Stress

Ingredients

  • 2-6 TBS Dried Nettle Leaf You can purchase online or directly through us at the office
  • 1 Quart Filtered or Spring water - NO fluoride or Chlorine Feel free to make more - adjusting the nettle measurement
  • Organic Milk or Non-dairy Alternative
  • A few drops of liquid Stevia

Instructions

  1.  Add the nettles in the jar

  2.  Fill the jar with hot water just off the boil for tea


  3. Tightly close the lid and allow to steep for at least 8 hrs up to 24 hrs. - I make this at might and let sit over night. I also make more in the morning for the evening.


  4. Strain the plant material out squeezing well


  5. Enjoy warm or over ice. We enjoy it With organic milk or non-dairy milk of choice and a few drops of liquid stevia.

  6. Refrigerate and drink/use within 24 hours

Other Ways to Take in Nettles

The following are best for fresh spring nettles.  Be sure not to eat fresh nettles after it has gone to seed – this can be too taxing on the kidneys.

  • Nettles Soup
  • Nettles Pesto
  • Juicing the Nettles – You can drink the juice or use it directly on the skin
  • Add it into Smoothies
  • Nettle Chips (make like Kale chips)
The Master Tonic for Immune Support

The Master Tonic for Immune Support

The Master Tonic: Your Homemade Antiviral, Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse.

Now is the time to make this simple but powerful antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory remedy for the coming cold and flu season. It is known most commonly by the name “Master Tonic” and it is very easy to make.

 

This homemade medicine is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic remedy that you can make in your own kitchen. We made it  this month so that we are ready to keep our immune system strong when the season (and weather) changes.

This works as a preventative ally, keeping your immune system strong and it also works to help rally your immune system if a cold or flu strikes.

Remember: It’s best to use fresh,organic ingredients whenever possible. Especially, when making medicine.

Below are the health benefits of each ingredient. You will find the recipe at the bottom of the page.

The Health Benefits of Horseradish Root

  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • A natural Antibiotic
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Anti-anemic 
  • Helps relieve bronchitis and cough
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Stimulates the production of white blood cells
  • High levels Vitamin C

The Health Benefits of Garlic

Best used in its raw or fermented form

  • Natural Antibiotic
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Antioxidant
  • Rich in phytoncides-such as allicin – helping  cure infections at a faster rate.

It’s best to chop the garlic and wait 15 minutes prior to utilizing/ eating/ cooking. This allows the health-giving enzyme reaction of garlic to occur. 

The Health Benefits of Tumeric Root

Curcumin is an incredible compound found in turmeric. It works synergistically with Black pepper which increases it’s bioavailability in the blood.

  • anti-inflammatory
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiviral- helps fight influenza
  • Protects the immune system 

Curcumin has become popular and effective anti-inflammatory but even more so it has played an important supportive role in the treatment of cancer

The Health Benefits of Ginger Root

Ginger is a widely recognized medicinal root across many cultures for thousands of years.

  • Powerful Anti- inflammatiory
  • Reduces pain
  • Helps alleviate gastrointestinal distress
  • Helps eliminate intestinal gas
  • Soothes the intestinal tract
  • Recent studies have shown promising reports of Ginger’s anti-cancer properties

The Health Benefits of Onion

  • Sulfur-rich assisting the body to detoxify
  • Anti-carcenogenic
  • Heart disease prevention
  • Immune bosting
  • DNA protection

The Health Benefits of Hot Peppers

  • Rich in capsaicin which protects cells against cancer
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Stimulate blood flow – helps relieve congestion associated with cold and sinus infections.

In this recipe we’ve used Jalepeño peppers because they were growing in our garden. However, Unripe green habaneros contain more Vitamin C than a serving of citrus fruit.

The Health Benefits of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial 
  • Probiotic -rich promoting a healthy intestinal tract
  • Boosts the immune system

Master Tonic

Make this Anti-Viral, Anti-bacterial tonic for home use. 

Keyword Cold, Flu, Health, immune, Master Tonic
Prep Time 30 minutes
Author Nicole Johnson, CHHC

Ingredients

  • 1 Part Fresh Horseradish Root
  • 1 Part Fresh Garlic diced
  • 1 Part Fresh Tumeric Root (or powdered turmeric if not available)
  • 1 Part Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1 Part Onions chopped then add to food processor
  • 1 Part Hot Peppers (jalapeño or other) diced with gloves on
  • 1-2 Parts Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 9 grinds Fresh Ground Pepper (works synergistically with tumeric)

Instructions

  1. Grate, dice or add to food processor each ingredient at a time and add to jar. 

  2. Fill mason jars of your choice 3/4 of the way full. 

  3. Add in Apple Cider Vinegar to the top.

  4. Cover with lids (if using metal lids add parchment paper so the vinegar does not react with the metal lids.

  5. Store in a place out of the sun. Shaking gently once per day  for two weeks, and then filter the Master Tonic mixture through a clean piece of cheese cloth or other, bottle and label.

  6. Can be stored in the pantry indefinitely.

  7. Take 1 or 2 ounces a day during cold and flu season, You can add raw organic honey if desired. Swish and then swallow. Don’t dilute with water.

    The dosage for the Master Tonic is 1 or 2 ounces, two or more times daily. 

    For an infection, 1 or 2 ounces taken 5-6 times a day will be suffcient. It can be used during pregnancies, is safe for children (use smaller dosesand maybe a dropper full with added honey). This is a non-toxic food.

Meridian Point for Winter: Large Intestine 4

Meridian Point for Winter: Large Intestine 4

Large Intestine 4 is one of the most important and influential points in the entire body.

The Chinese name for Large Intestine 4 is “He Gu” meaning union valley or converging valley. The point is located on the hand in the web between the thumb and index finger, also described as the depression where the index finger and thumb bones part. This area of the hand is often described as “valley like” hence the name converging valley.

The large intestine has many important functions in the body. Connected to the Western medicine function of the large Intestine, it is vital in digestion and bowel regulation, but it also has many functions above and beyond that in Chinese medicine. The large intestine is associated with the emotions of sadness and grief, it can help build immunity as it works as a paired channel to the lung meridian and has a big effect of the flow of Qi and blood in the body.

Large Intestine 4 is a strong point for building the immune system and can be used for when someone has a cold or the flu. It can be used to treat febrile illnesses, rashes from wind or heat, allergic reactions causing rhinitis, as well as sore throat and difficulty swallowing. It is the command point of the face, nose, jaw and mouth and can be used to treat many problems associated with those. Toothaches and TMJ can be painful, but Large Intestine 4 can reduce the pain without even going near the affected areas. It is one of the main points for headaches and many people instinctively press it on their hand when they have a headache, without even realizing it is an acupuncture point. If someone has suffered a stroke, this point can help with paralysis and aid in recovery.

The large Intestine has a great effect on the flow of qi and blood in the body and Large Intestine 4 is a very strong point to get everything moving. Pain, in Chinese medicine, is often when the Qi and blood are stuck and Large Intestine 4 is critical to move this stagnation, especially when coupled with another point called Liver 3.

Coupled with Liver 3, this pair of points is called The Four Gates and together they are a powerhouse in getting the Qi and blood circulated.

They can effectively treat pain, depression, constipation, promote labor, expel retained placenta and help alleviate menstrual disorders caused by stagnation such as endometriosis.

Large Intestine 4 is contraindicated in pregnancy because it is so powerful and moving, but it can be effectively used to induce labor. Used in conjunction with another powerhouse acupuncture point Spleen 6, these two points are commonly used together to start labor, often with electroacupuncture to stimulate the points even more than needles alone.

Once labor has started, Large Intestine 4 can be used if labor is stalled or prolonged as well as used after childbirth to expel the placenta, decrease postpartum bleeding and decrease the time between childbirth and the discharge of the placenta.

Large Intestine 4 is an exceedingly influential point and one of the most commonly used points in acupuncture treatments.

It can also be effective in treating a range of emotional issues such as depression, insomnia, stress, irritability and severe PMS. This point should not be underestimated and its alternative name of Tiger’s Mouth is barely descriptive of its strength in acupuncture treatments.

Exploring the 24 Hour Qi Clock

Exploring the 24 Hour Qi Clock

Most people are familiar with the terms diurnal and nocturnal. Diurnal means active during the daytime, while nocturnal means active during the nighttime. Together the two make up a 24-hour cycle known as a day. But, in traditional Chinese medicine, this 24-hour cycle is viewed as much more than just a day in the life. The 24 hours of the day are viewed as increments of time and every two-hour section is associated with a specific energetic meridian that runs through the body. This is known as the Qi clock.

Do you wake up every night or every morning about the same time? Have you ever wondered why? Some people call that an internal clock. In Chinese medicine, this gives a much deeper look into how the body functions though. Chinese medical theory divides the body based upon the 12 energetic meridians. Each of the meridians is assigned a two-hour time slot.  For example, the liver meridian is associated with the hours of 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. If you wake up during this time frame, then there is an issue with your liver meridian. So knowing this information can be very important to an acupuncturist/Chinese medicine practitioner.

During a 24-hour period, your energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) moves through the organ systems in two-hour intervals. Qi draws inward to help restore the body between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. The liver cleanses the blood and performs other functions, such as getting the blood ready to travel outward into the rest of the body.  Over the next 12 hours, Qi cycles through the organs that assimilate, digest and eliminate food through the body or our diurnal organs. By mid-afternoon, the body begins to slow down again in preparation for the nocturnal phase. The nocturnal phase is all about restoring and maintaining. So when one organ system is at its peak, its counterpart, on the opposite side of the clock is at its lowest point. An example is 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., which are the hours of the stomach. This is when the stomach is at its peak and also why it is recommended to eat a big breakfast. On the opposite side of the clock lies the pericardium, which is associated with the pituitary, hypothalamus and reproductive organs. The pericardium is at its weakest point between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Here’s a brief summary of the 24-hour qi cycle:

3 a.m. to 5 a.m. is lung time
5 a.m. to 7 a.m. is large intestine time
7 a.m. to 9 a.m. is stomach time
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. is spleen time
11 a.m. to 1 a.m. is heart time
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is small intestine time
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. is urinary bladder time
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is kidney time
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is pericardium time
9 p.m. to 11 p.m. is triple burner time (associated with the thyroid and adrenals)
11 p.m. to 1 a.m. is gall bladder time
1 a.m. to 3 a.m. is liver time

So if you have recurring problems at the same time every day, then there is a good chance that the organ/meridian associated with that time is in distress. This is why traditional Chinese medicine practitioners ask so many questions and also why they look at the body as a whole instead of just one particular organ. By understanding that every organ/energetic meridian has a maintenance schedule to keep daily, you can then treat your body properly so you achieve the ultimate health and well-being and acupuncture can help you achieve that goal. Acupuncturists treat the body based on things like your symptomology, your pulses, your tongue and the 24-hour Qi clock indications you exhibit. The goal is to bring the body back into balance and knowing when the meridians are at their peaks and valleys is a great place to begin.

 

Why am I so TIRED…and how to fix

Why am I so TIRED…and how to fix

A very common complaint that acupuncturists hear from our patients is that they constantly feel tired. Sometimes this fatigue is related to lack of sleep, but sometimes no amount of rest seems to alleviate the sleepiness.

From an acupuncture and Chinese Medicine perspective, there are numerous imbalances in our bodies that can cause the constant fatigue. Here are some of the most common imbalances that can lead to fatigue, lethargy, lack of energy and motivation, and tiredness.

Your energy is weakened or struggling

Simply put, when systems in our body are compromised (through illness, heredity, stress, or lifestyle choices), they can’t produce the abundance of good, positive energy our body (and mind) needs to function. Many different systems in our body can produce a feeling of fatigue when they are weakened. When the Qi or our Spleen and Lungs is compromised, we often feel like we don’t have enough energy to get through the day. This sort of fatigue often improves with good sleep, hygiene and a healthy diet. When our Liver Blood energy is weakened (through overwork, poor sleep, poor diet, illness, or excessive bleeding), the fatigue we experience is hard to shake. We may feel restless, and have a hard time falling asleep even though we are tired. This type of fatigue is improved by eating more dark leafy greens and more organ meats, to nourish the blood energy. A deficiency of either Kidney yin or Kidney yang – our two most fundamental energies – can also result in fatigue. This kind of fatigue manifests as true exhaustion. It is very important to give yourself ample time to rest, to recover from this type of tiredness. Dietary changes, as well as herbal medicine, can also be very helpful.

Your energy is stuck.

Fatigue does not always stem from a weakness in your body’s energy. Sometimes fatigue comes from energy not moving properly. Health, in Chinese Medicine, is all about the smooth flow of energy through the body. When something alters that smooth slow – illness, injury, trauma, stress, poor lifestyle choices, etc – fatigue can be a result.

When your body’s energy is not flowing the way it should be, your body actually has to exert a lot more energy to keep you running well. The kind of fatigue that comes from Qi Stagnation (energy not flowing well) can present as a fatigue that is actually better with exercise or movement. It is the kind of fatigue that makes it really hard to get to the gym, but completely disappears once you complete your work-out. Qi stagnation fatigue can make us feel “tired but wired,” and can also be closely related to feeling overwhelmed or run down by stress.

This sort of fatigue is helped by exercise, movement, and stress-reduction techniques.

You are damp.

Dampness is a concept somewhat unique to Chinese Medicine – it refers to an abnormal processing of fluids in the body. Dampness can “lodge” itself in many different areas, and as such, can lead to numerous symptoms. When dampness is pervasive throughout the whole body, usually one experiences a kind of constant fatigue – this can be both physical and mental. Patients who are tired from dampness describe feeling “sluggish,” “heavy,” or “fuzzy.” This kind of fatigue is greatly improved by making dietary changes, such as reducing the intake of dairy, cold temperature or raw foods, and greasy or fried foods. Dampness is also helped by regular exercise – which helps to break through that sluggishness, and also trying to remove yourself from damp environments.

In all of these situations, acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be a huge help. Acupuncture and herbs focus on creating balance in the body to restore energy and vitality, rather than giving you false energy like coffee or an energy drink. You don’t deserve to be tired all the time – the combination of diet, lifestyle changes, and Chinese Medicine can get you back on the road to health, vitality, and feeling great!

7 Reasons to Seek Out Acupuncture

7 Reasons to Seek Out Acupuncture

Do you ever feel your life’s a ride that won’t ever stop? How many nights do you wait for Mr. Sandman to magically appear? How often do you truly take time for yourself? Do you have aches and pains almost daily? Are over-the-counter or prescription medications controlling your life? When was the last time you actually felt at peace? If any of these questions resonate with you, then it might be time to look at Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for an answer. People in Asian countries have known the magnificence of acupuncture for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese Medicine is growing in popularity in the United States and here are some reasons why you might want to consider utilizing it also.

1. Insomnia / Restless Sleep

Acupuncture can address imbalances in your body that may contribute to your
inability to get a good night’s sleep. The needles can actually encourage the brain to produce the chemicals that help you relax and sleep better. If you have difficulty falling asleep, you wake up frequently or you toss and turn a lot, acupuncture might just be the missing link.

2. Anxiety / Depression

Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from depression and anxiety. And while there are many amazing therapists available to talk to, psychotherapy may not be enough. Also, many of the prescription medications available have terrible side effects. This is where acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can help. Acupuncture can actually start to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in as few as two treatments without any harsh side effects.

3. Allergies

Runny nose? Sneezing? Watery, itchy eyes? Does this sound familiar?
Seasonal or otherwise, allergies can be debilitating.  But multiple studies have shown that allergy symptoms can be decreased and sometimes even eliminated with the use of regular acupuncture treatments. Immunity begins in the gut and acupuncture treatments for allergies will focus on the energetic meridians that support your immune system.

4. Migraines

For those who suffer from these monsters, life can be a toss of the dice. Migraines can come on without warning and can be completely devastating. And yet again, the pharmaceuticals that most migraine sufferers are prescribed can lead to harsh side effects. Acupuncture can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines over time.

5. Menstruation Issues

Many women suffer monthly from menstruation problems. It can be that the period is irregular, painful or so heavy that it leads to anemia and fatigue. There can also be mental-health effects associated with periods such as depression and anger.  Over-the-counter medications only mask the symptoms. To treat the root of the problem, give acupuncture a try. Once again, it’s all about balancing your body. That’s how acupuncture works to regulate menstrual problems.

6. Chronic Pain

Pain is the number one reason why people turn to acupuncture, and for good reason. If you’ve tried everything else and got little to no relief, acupuncture may be right for you.  But remember, chronic pain took time to develop and it will also take time for acupuncture treatments to work. Many people get some relief immediately, but acupuncture works on a cumulative basis, so commitment to the process is a must.

7. Preventive Medicine

Did you know that acupuncture’s main function is to help keep you healthy? If not, then you’re not alone. While acupuncture may not be known for preventive care, it should be.  Waiting until there is an injury or illness will only cause the treatments to take longer.  Using acupuncture preemptively will help you fight off illness and let you recover more quickly. That’s reason enough to give it a try.

Now that you know how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you, what are you waiting for? Find a licensed acupuncturist nearby and go get healthy.