Semi-wordless Wednesday


I’m up to my elbows in bottling herbal products today. How about you?


Combining Conventional + Holistic Medicine

Last Saturday I sat outside all day in cold, damp conditions & since then, I’ve been paying a hefty price for doing so. After throwing every conceivable herbal treatment at my system & neither seeing, nor feeling steady or consistent improvement, I knew it was time for allopathic assistance on Tuesday morning. A quick visit to the walk-in clinic revealed that I didn’t have strep & I was given a snot shot & prescription for a z-pack. My pride as an herbalist took a dent; it’s never easy for me to give in to conventional medicine, but obviously there are times that it is called for. This flu-type illness was certainly a case where combining traditional & modern day medicine was necessary.

How I use holistic medicine to assist in my recovery:

The symptoms: cold core & extremities, sore throat, white, coated tongue, dry mouth, ear ache, body aches & pains, excessive mucus production, very low energy, pale coloring, loss of voice, deep, hacking & productive cough, glassy eyes, healthy appetite, overly sensitive to stimulants such as coffee, caffeine or sugar, cravings for salt, excessive, cyclic thoughts.

What these symptoms tell me to look for in an herbal protocol: warming, fire building herbs, soothing & astringent herbs for the mucus membrane & lymphatic system, a mineral heavy, earthy diet, lots of water & rest. As a very fiery person, this flu had drained my fire & I was exhibiting very watery (mucus production + glassy eyes) & airy (cyclical thought patterns + being stuck in my own head) elements. By bringing in warming, bitter & salty herbs & foods, It will build back my internal fire & add earth to my current water/air constitution.

Herbs & foods I incorporated:
Elder & Sumac syrup: a traditional native remedy for cold & flu, this syrup is diaphoretic (sweat inducing), supportive for building the immune system, soothing to the mucus membrane, & helps bring down a fever (cooling). While I didn’t need the cooling aspect, it was very helpful in all the other areas. 1 TSP every hour & a half

Ginger & Echinacea tea: this warming, soothing, lymph combo is a favorite of mine. The most important thing to remember with echinacea (purple cone flower to you gardeners) is that in order for it to work in your system, it MUST be used early & heavily to act as an antibiotic. I didn’t have any tincture ready, so a tea of the stem & leaves had to do. A strong decoction taken every hour would have been best, but I didn’t have the energy. This is when tinctures are so handy to have around! {slaps hand for being ill prepared.}

Goldenseal tincture: The big guns came out to work, but I think I waited too long to incorporate this bitter, antibiotic medicine. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon, after my husband’s suggestion thar I even thought to use goldenseal. It’s strong drying properties make it an obvious choice. It’s extremely bitter (digestive aid & liver support) taste make it rather unpleasant to get down.

Goldenrod bath: I was soooo achey that the pressure of the bed sheet & down comforter hurt. A good bath is always soothing to my body & soul. The added benefit of sweating out toxins & having my friend goldenrod to ease the body aches were great perks.

Chai tea + brandy: hello, my little friend! This oh-so-warming & soothing, not to mention delicious combo is a new favorite. When you get cold & sick call me. I’ll make us both some.

Water, water, and more water: support the lymph, flush toxins from the liver, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Chamomile: another digestive bitter & building herb to use as a tonic while healing. It’s all about comfort & support.

Rest: this is where I always mess things up. One day, maybe, history will quit repeating itself. When I get an inkling of energy, I feel like I have to check off the impossibly long lists my over-thoughtful mind has created immediately! {face plant} Things like cleaning bathrooms, cooking big dinners, doing all of the laundry & cleaning out my studio are examples of what no to do. Sigh. My downfall & more than likely the reason I’m still in bed an entire week later.

Whole foods: bone broth soups, root veggies, nutritive, healing, traditional soups & warm teas – I can’t get enough!

Probiotics & yogurt: dear antibiotics, you have wreaked havoc on my digestion. I don’t appreciate it in any way. After such violent medicines kill off any healthy bacteria along with the invaders that made me so ill, it’s so very, very important to add a good probiotic & plain yogurt cultures to help build back a healthy gut.

That’s about it from the sick bed. It’s nap time again. Do you combine healing methods? Anything you’d add to my protocol?

Happy napping,



It’s finally Friday & this tired Mommy couldn’t be happier for a long weekend to get some good ol’ r ‘n r.

We kicked off last weekend with a night of backyard camping {for the girls only} & the Tooth Fairy found us thanks to H leaving an oh-so-bright flashlight shining on the lost body part.

I love watching the fog roll out on early mornings as I get to enjoy coffee before everyone starts waking. Country living is a gift.

My poor little sick one has been a trooper. He takes whatever I give him & while the herbs have helped tremendously, I can’t get the mucus in his chest to break up & move out for anything. Off to the doc we go for some allopathic assistance.

Here’s to a weekend of recovery & seriously delicious, healing foods.

Three Things Thursdsy

1. It’s the beginning of my husband’s insanely busy season at work, which means instead of getting to see him each night, we have to settle for phone calls & nights of children + mommy sleepovers in mommy’s bed. I’m not good as a solo parent. We all survive, but openly recognize the missing link in life while Bran keeps TVA & KY coal plants up & running. Props to parents who only know life in this manner. Your strength is amazing. I, however, am a wimp.

2. Last Friday I got bit by the headache / sore throat / mucus filled / craptastic bug that is roaring through the South. Thank you, insane non-winter winter. It has yet to leave, and today is most definitely the worst feeling day yet. Lots of mullein, chickweed & cleavers tea, chicken soup, citrus & water are going in. I hope the crud goes out very soon!

3. Triathlon season is coming up beginning in April. I’m excited and scared at the same time. Trail running & speed work are keeping me on my toes (& sometimes my bottom) & adding in the swim & bike begins next week. Cheers to being in the back of the pack in three sports instead of just 1! Up first is the A.D. Pi-Athlon @ MTSU, then a backwards relay in Woodbury including a run down Short Mountain, bike ride to the mill & a canoe on the river. Fun times are ahead!

May your mucus be clear & your partner be home,

Herbal Tidbits: Blackberries

Apache Blackberry Plant via willisorchards.comI’m not sure there is a better treat in the heat of summer than a handful of wild blackberries. I absolutely LOVE blackberries and part of the thrill is seeing if I can pick more berries than the number of thorns that pick me. We have a couple of thornless bushes in the back yard that put off a larger, sweeter berry, but the little girl in me enjoys the wild, tart ones a bit more.


Blackberries are an amazing fruit to have on hand. When they can’t be gathered from the fence row or edge of the woods, I make sure to keep jam or pie filling on hand. Not only are they tasty & full of texture, but the tannins in blackberries (as well as other deep red & blue berry plants) are astringent, toning to the digestive system, a great source of iron for a run down system and most of all, a few berries of a spoon full of jam or pie filling with bring diarrhea to a stop.


They are gentle enough in nature that babies, small children and the elderly can safely take them to help with digestive distress. My own children and husband always know what to expect whenever a stomach virus or bad food choices win in a battle.

For treatment: take 3-4 small berries (or a small spoonful of jam / pie filling) after an episode of diarrhea. Usually one or two times is all it takes to clear up symptoms. If you want to be super earthy, dry the roots & leaves and keep them on hand for a quick tea in the non fruit season. Don’t over do the amount, though. The strong tannins in these healing fruits can swing your body in the opposite direction and cause constipation. Everything in moderation is key.


May your digestive system run smoothly,