Dried and Fresh Mushrooms in the Heart of Winter
by Jared Urchek, L.Ac, CZB
It can be easy to assume that Winter is just a time where everything is in hibernation. The sap has sunk into the deep roots of the trees – nothing looks as if it is growing, and nothing seems to be alive out in the woods with the barren trees and the brown landscape. This is somewhat true, and it affords us a beautiful opportunity to tuck in, to hibernate a bit ourselves. It also gives us time to process our dried medicine we gathered from the year past, and contemplate our next year ahead. However, don’t forget that Nature is still alive and thriving in the Winter. One warm day, or a string of nice weather mixed with rains can bring out small and delicious surprises in a Winter nature walk.
Chaste Tree berries come from the beautiful, purple-flowering tree known as Vitex agnus-castus. Vitex’s use as an herbal medicine dates back to the ancient Greeks and beyond; it was one of Hippocrates’ favorite herbs. Its common name is Chaste Tree, so named because it was believed to have the ability to preserve chastity and decrease sexual desire. If you’re looking for an anti-aphrodisiac, however, Chaste Tree won’t do the trick. Vitex berries have a sweet, spicy, peppery, warming taste and have often been used to make an aromatic herbal wine. Read more…
New Habits in The New Year
Making Good Habits
Making new habits is lots easier than breaking old ones. When we focus on getting rid of a “bad” habit, we spend even more time thinking about that same bad habit! If we focus our energy instead on making new, “good” habits that support our health and happiness, the old habits will begin to fall away naturally. Making a new habit takes some time, most people say about 6 weeks, and a bit of stubbornness, but it is well worth the effort.
Here are a few Good Habits that I recommend making part of your New Year:
For those of us who grew up with Christmas traditions, there are sights and scents that bring back memories of the holidays with incredible strength. Many of the plants that we associate with the Christmas season have medicinal uses as well! Here are a few commonly known holiday herbs that have medicinal action.
With cold and flu season upon us, it’s a good time of year to get to know Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous). Astragalus has an extensive history of use as an immune booster. Not only does Astragalus build resistance to pathogens, it’s also an excellent tonic for recovering from illness. It warms the tissues and builds strength after periods of debility. It’s so strengthening, in fact, it is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. Read more…