Real ingredients make the best tea! Did you know that many of the chai teas on the market are artificially flavored? Yuck.
Chai tea dates back 5000 years to India and the courts of Siam...I doubt they used chemically formulated chai flavoring in the King of Siam's tea...Chai tea was created on order of the King for a healing beverage.
Chai-tality has a strong base. Chaga, dandelion root, burdock root and astragalus root all serve to restore your base vitality, building strength in immunity. But it also adds a strong flavor base...deeply woodsy which pairs nicely with the powerful whole aromatic herbs--real ginger, cinnamon chips, cardamom, allspice, cloves, peppercorns, orange zest, licorice root, and vanilla bean--are all warming and balancing to the body. Using real spices also contributes powerful antioxidants to aid the body in fighting cancer-causing free radicals. Ginger is great for calming an upset stomach as well as helping (with the others) to stimulate digestive enzyme production. Chai spices are also stimulating to the body therefore giving you a great caffeine-free pick me up whenever you need it! The spices also satisfy those sweet cravings, helping to curb the urge for that cinnamon roll!
Both burdock and dandelion root contain inulin, an important pre-biotic which feeds the beneficial flora that reside in our gut.
This chai is made via decoction. That means you boil your tea to reduce the volume by half before straining and serving. Each batch can be re-brewed at least one time.
"Let your food be your medicine" is an old adage the gets thrown around quite a bit. In fact, we've all heard it so much that many times when used, we just glaze over and no longer really feel what it truly means.
Eating is a joyful act. For many of us, it is a passionate act. Taking our medicine? Not so much. What if we could combine the two acts? What if taking our medicine was joyful and passionate and we actually looked forward to it? How would the energy change? Our thoughts and feelings are potent catalysts to our overall state of well-being. They are creative energy. So if our food is our medicine, then taking our medicine becomes a joyful, passionate act. An act of deep self-loving. This energy can amplify the potency of our medicine on our body.
How can we do this? A simple and delicious way is to start with my Herbal Grinder! By adding a little bit of herbal medicine to each meal, we are combining our medicine with our joy and passion! With each bite, we are enhancing our food and supporting our body. In this case, we are supporting our digestion and our liver.
Milk Thistle Seed (Silybum marianum), Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) and Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) are all gentle liver tonifiers. Their actions are gentle enough for daily use and allows for a consistent flow of healing and support to stream through your liver. And in this world, our livers need all the help they can get!
Milk Thistle Seed (Silybum marianum) has been shown by research to protect liver cells from chemical damage. According to herbalist David Hoffmann in his book Medical Herbalism (2004), "Well designed clinical research thoroughly supports the efficacy of milk thistle seed in protecting and treating the liver. Studies confirm that the herb can restore liver function impaired by disease, such as viral hepatitis or by exposure to toxins, including ethanol, mushroom toxins, solvents, acetaminophen and pyschotropic medications."
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) is considered both a hepatic (has action upon the liver) and a cholagogue (promotes discharge of bile from the gall bladder) and so may be helpful for inflammation and congestion of the liver and gall bladder. According to Finley Ellingwood, author of the American Materia Medica and renowned Eclectic physician, Dandelion root is recommended for chronic jaundice.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) According to herbalist Matthew Wood, burdock stimulates the gallbladder, liver, thyroid and adrenal cortical functions, encouraging the digestion and metabolism of fats and proteins. Burdock helps to restore the primal blueprint of health, so to speak, when it has been lost in persons suffering from long, chronic illness. He quotes David Hoffmann (2004, 528) saying burdock will “move the body to a state of integration and health.” Burdock is an alterative (blood cleanser) and a bitter (stimulates digestion).
The Herbal Grinder is completed with organic peppercorns which not only add flavor but enhances the bio-availability of the other herbs in the blend helping them work more effectively. It is also a digestive aid. The last ingredient is Hawaiian Red Sea Salt whose high mineral content provides the trace minerals our body needs as catalysts in all cellular processes. With our commercial chemical farming methods, most of the food that once supplied our trace minerals are depleted.
Client: How do you do this?
Me: what is that?
Client: Bring me this clarity. When I am here, all the other stuff just falls away and I am able to feel and hear exactly what is important.
Me: That's called holding sacred space. Think of it like this. When we are out in the world, most of the time we are so inundated with information and energy (both from within our minds and in our environment) that it feels like we are walking around in between radio stations. Static, feedback, voices talking, a random tune floating through…it can be challenging to hear our inner voice, if we even know what it sounds like anymore! When someone holds sacred space for you, they are tuning in the channel, so your voice and your truth is loud and clear. And then they teach you how to do that for yourself.
Client: Doesn't that exhaust you?
Me: It is one of my greatest joys. It is the gift of my work in biodynamic craniosacral therapy.
When someone we love dies, we feel this burning ache in our hearts, we cry...it is labeled as grief and sadness. It feels like pain and pain is labeled as "bad," something to be overcome.
But, what if the burning ache we feel in our hearts is not a broken-ness but a fullness...a pure infusion of love from our departed one? One, no longer bound by flesh, who is able to enter our hearts and push us open beyond our barriers, filling us so fully with their love for us that we feel as if we could burst.
What if our pain was opening and our tears, the melting of yet another barrier in our hearts, the icy walls that we erect to protect us from the hurt of love?
What if death was a gift?
Thank you Aunt Nancy for the full gift of your life... Your joy, your generosity, your infectious and beauty full laugh... and for the infusion of pure love gifted to all of us through your passing.
As I sat cradling her head while she wept lamenting a part of her life that was ending, a gentle voice whispered in my ear as it has done so many times. "Tell her how strong she is, share with her that only those who are infinitely powerful receive the hardest lessons. Tell her." As the words hung in the air between us, a palpable force electric with life, the dam broke allowing the torrent of emotion and pain to flow free as tears. "I don't feel powerful." She responded meekly. "I understand. Will you allow me to hold that vision of you as a powerful being in my heart until you are ready to see it yourself? I believe in you."
I love these moments, not because I feel powerful or because I enjoy the misery of others. I feel so profoundly honored that I am trusted with this most dark and vulnerable space. This deeply human place that plucks a chord within us all. It is my opportunity to pay a gift forward many times over; it reminds me when I felt I was dangling at the end of a rope and Spirit reeled me in.
The year was 1999, I was 33 in what I have come to call my "year of jesus." Not because of some weird and awkward conversion (that would be 6th grade and a story for another time) it had more of a "why hast thou forsaken me?" flavor. 1999 was the year I, or who I had known to be me, began to unravel. My engagement was abruptly and unexpectedly broken and I was asked to leave the home I had immersed 2 years of my life into. I had thought I was "done." You know that program, the "I'll be able to relax and just live my life once I'm married" program. The "I'll finally be able to exhale once I'm married" program. Yeah, that. That's where I was standing in the midst of a steaming pile of shattered programming; when I was moved beyond this body, beyond this world…I call it my "Touched by an Angel" moment.
Earlier in the day, I had called the plumber because our tub needed service. So, here I was standing in the bathroom with the Roto Rooter man and things were not going well. He was having a bad day and I, well, I was busy projecting my steaming pile right at him when he stopped and took a breath and asked "can we start over? It appears we are both having a really bad day." He held out his hand for me to shake and we introduced ourselves again. Then he asked "are you alright?" Some unreasonable force possessed me in that moment as I began to bear my soul to this man, a complete stranger. He listened intently (do they teach therapeutic listening in plumbing school?) and then asked me "do you believe in god?" "Yes" I replied. "Then you must know that he has something so much better lined up for you." I swear he had the glowing aura behind him when he said it, he lit up just like in the show…
I wept. Tears of recognition, of release swept through me with his words. In that moment I was reminded of who I was, who I am. His words jolted me out of my ego's pity party and back to the remembrance that I am OK. This is not the end, this is the beginning. A wonderful opportunity. I never looked back.
A wonderful opportunity. That is what my heart held for my client today. That this loss she is experiencing is not the end of her life but the beginning of a new and wonderful adventure. The chance to begin again. Awakening like the first crocus of spring rising victoriously from the snow, flocks of robins returning to the thawed and fertile earth, sap rising salaciously within the trees their arms outstretched to the heavens…
This, the second Spring of your life, I hold in my heart for you.
Spring is coming, I promise, and with it the bounty of green blessings! Every spring I look forward to the return of my many green friends, welcoming back the simplicity and restorative wholeness only plants and digging in the earth can bring. Just the aroma of warm soil quickens my heart with anticipation of the joyous partnership forged over the years with my earthly allies. Quiet early mornings spent, sun warming my face, tending lovingly my personal plot of the Mother, joining with Her in singing Her gifts to life.
Memories of gardens past, their bounty and their failures, adorn my inner landscape, beauty full, all. But for all the tomatoes and peppers that I have grown, the plants that hold the keys to my heart are weeds. Yes, weeds or as I call them Wondrous Edible Earthly Delights. In her infinite wisdom and love, the Mother provides us (her children) precisely what we need to thrive—as surely as the sun rises each day.
Much maligned, weeds offer service, healing and protection.
They are the truest warriors in the green movement and often the least understood. They blanket the bare earth preventing erosion and waste. They draw nutrients to the surface to feed superficial plant roots and to store nutrients. They appear for us when we need them most, sensing our physical imbalance and spiritual morass. They fill a certain void within us, both physical and spiritual, the longing for partnership with the unseen yet loving force that is nature (god/dess). Communing with plants is a joy that fills my heart. Whether sampling the dew off a ripe crabapple or munching fresh chickweed as I cultivate my garden beds, the plants and the Devas who tend to them, offer wisdom as well as nourishment.
There are myriad ways to incorporate healing weeds/herbs into your daily routine to promote radiant health and restore balance. Of them all, I love the simplicity of nourishing infusions. More potent than a tea, not as strong as a decoction nor as medicinal as a tincture, the nourishing infusion offers a powerful healing impact. Nourishing infusions are a great way to get to know a plant. It’s beauty lies in its simplicity and in it’s wholeness.
Here is a simple guide to get you started. Please practice due diligence before consuming any herb. See this blog article by Susun Weed for more herb specifics.
Here are just a few ideas.
If you are feeling stressed and frayed, your hair and nails a mess? Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is your gal. Are your hormones out of whack? Red clover (Trifolium pratense). Feeling stagnant and gluggy from a long winter? Chickweed (Stellaria media). Nerves frazzled and shot? Oatstraw (Avena sativa).
Simple. Extraordinary. Wholeness. Living in harmony with all of life. ♥
The clouds swelled, spilling love onto the lands; cleansing, purifying, balancing…Love recycled raining down. Sound like fantasy? Perhaps…
Cloud seeding is not a new idea but it is one whose time has come. It is pure guerrilla lovefare in action and it is so easy. You begin by collecting crystals, they don’t have to be big or pretty or perfect. Then you fill them with pure love from your heart. You fill them with compassion and well wishes. You fill them with joy. Then you toss them into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. The vibrational patterns of the charged crystal bonds with the waters, charging it with your good vibrations. As the waters evaporate, returning to the clouds, they take the vibrational charge with them, seeding the waters in the clouds. Then when it rains, it rains love. It rains compassion. It rains joy.
The classic study by Dr. Masaru Emoto, Japanese author and entrepreneur claimed that water molecules took on the resonance of the energy directed at it. Water charged with love created a beautiful crystal when frozen. Some have called his studies pseudoscience so why does this matter? Water defines life here on this beautiful planet. Our Earth and our bodies are comprised of 60 to 70% water. If there is even a slight chance that what Dr. Emoto found is true, what a wonderful opportunity for all of us to create change, first in ourselves then in our world. Based on your inner dialog, what shape would your body’s waters make when frozen? Since we are resonant empathic creatures, the energies we are around all day affects us on a deep level. How do you feel at the end of a day with really negative people vs. really happy people? Exactly. Cloud seeding is a really easy way to influence the energetic atmosphere around you and in your community. Plant seeds of love and watch them grow!
Elven food porn. Yep, that’s what I’m calling it. That’s was happens when you combine fresh spring stinging nettles with organic garlic, organic raw walnuts, sheep’s milk romano and lemon juice to create a taste bud-gasm. One that is good for you to boot! It is a definite win and so easy.
Stinging Nettle (urtica diotica) grows wild in meadows and fields everywhere. She is a shining jewel for herbalists and foragers alike. She is best harvested before she flowers so get out there soon!
Urtica has very high levels of minerals, especially, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur. Is also a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and B complex vitamins and high levels of easily absorbable amino acids. I have read varying sources stating the protein content ranges between 10 and 25 percent! That’s heavy for a leafy green!
But what about the sting, you ask? Yes, there is that. There is no doubt that when you brush against her, it hurts! With this chemical cocktail it’s no wonder: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and formic acid. The remedy? Approach her with respect and mindfulness.
No. Sudden. Movements!
Seriously, when I harvest her leaves, if I mindfully pick one at a time, slowly, I do not get stung. If you do get stung, look around you…you should be able to find some plantain or dock within a few feet, pick a leaf, chew it up and spit it out onto the sting, it will relieve the pain right away. It’s called a spit poultice and it is stellar field first aid.
But we are making pesto, so we need more than just a few leaves. Wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt, and simply snip the top 3rd of the plant into a big bowl. No touching needed. When you get home, you will want to blanch the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling water. Then plunge into cold/ice water. This will neutralize the chemicals that cause the sting. Take it from me; eating a raw nettle leaf…may cause gagging and coughing. Been there, while I was being interviewed for the local newspaper about foraging. Embarrassing.
Once your nettles are blanched, strained and cooled, pop them into the food processor and grind with the rest of your ingredients! Simple. Use your nettle pesto the same as you would basil pesto!
Stinging Nettle Pesto
Makes 4-- 8oz jars
♥ Enjoy! Maria
Remember the days when you could pop on the tube to relax and the only danger you were in from watching the commercials were a few extra pounds (Bundt cake) or some unwanted nagging from the kids over the latest toy? Ahh, the good ole days when the media kept the programming quotient set to simmer. Those days are long gone. Now we are inundated with ads selling all the latest drugs and vaccines because surely we are all going to die. They run so many drug ads you barely remember what you turned on the TV to actually watch.
So much fear crammed into every ad block, it’s no wonder our immune systems get fried, especially this time of year in the northern hemisphere.
The decrease in beneficial sun rays depletes our already low vitamin D stores, the holiday sweets and general debauchery add to our stress and weaken our gut health…then we are on the go constantly…events, parties, work…it’s the perfect cocktail upon which mr/mrs virus/bacteria can capitalize.
But, I got my flu shot! I’m covered! Unfortunately, the flu shot only covers 3 or 4 of the hundreds of viruses that are out there waiting for a host to become available. Not to mention the debilitating effects vaccines in general have on the immune system. According to a study published in the Journal of Virology, the annual flu vaccine can weaken children’s resistance to other types of influenza virus, including those that could cause a pandemic.  While a study in the New England Journal of Medicine of May 1996 revealed that tetanus vaccine disables the immune system in HIV patients. Tetanus vaccination produced a drop in T cells in 10 of 13 patients, a classic sign of immune deficiency. 
So what can we do? A lot. The human body is an extraordinary organism, expertly orchestrated with the innate ability to maintain health and in the event it becomes necessary, heal itself. Keeping our bodies healthy is really much easier than we have been led to believe. Here is a basic rundown of what your body needs:
This is when it is important to have allies. Beings who are here to guide us through the rough patches and support the body back to the road of glittering health.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra, S. cerulea, S. Canadensis) can be one of those allies. In the plant world she is a powerhouse. The berries are anti-viral, immunomodulating, and antioxidant rich while the flowers are anti-viral, relaxing nervine, relaxing diaphoretic, and diuretic.
Herbalist Kristine Brown writes that the Native Americans believed that elder would heal all the illnesses anyone could ever have. They believed it would promote a long life, giving reason to the name “elder.”
According to herbalist and educator Rosalee de la Foret, elderberries have long been used as an ally against upper respiratory infections. They’ve been scientifically proven to be effective against at least 8 different influenza viruses including H1N1. Loaded with flavanoids, which are potent antioxidants that have been known to prevent viral replication, halting a virus in its tracks.
Elderberry can be used daily as a preventative, at the onset of symptoms as well as during an illness to shorten its duration.
” In clinical trials, patients who took the elderberry juice syrup reported fast termination of symptoms. Twenty percent reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed a complete cure after three days. Patients receiving the placebo required six days for recovery. As proof that elder has more to it than the enzyme neutralizing constituents, researchers found that the patients who took it also had higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus. ”
Paul Bergner, Herbalist
In our busy lives, it’s important to have an ally such as elderberry. Supporting our immune system has never been so easy and so delicious! Why weaken your system with a vaccine when you can strengthen it with Elderberry!
Maria is a spiritual writer and a self-love warrior with a deep and diverse background in both the culinary and healing arts. As a teacher, integrative healer, business owner, craft herbalist and cosmic gardener it has been her path throughout her many lifetimes to guide others (by sharing her process) to find strength and direction, gently planting seeds of heart centered, connected awareness. She is most passionate about guiding people to connect with their inner voice, a midwife to the joyful birth of inherent authentic creativity that lives within us all. When she is not busy writing, taking care of the farm or unschooling her feral daughter, she can often be found playing in the woods, communing with the flora and fauna and dancing with the faeries.