We're in the last few moments of those warm summer days and have winter marching quickly upon us. As we say hello to lower temperatures and wetter days, we also inevitably welcome more colds and flus.
This year I welcome you to try something different! Put aside all those Lemsips, Night nurse's and Calpol's and try some of nature's special medicine .. Elderberries.
If you regularly go on nature walks, you've most likely come across this wonderful tree. In the spring it has beautiful little white blossoms which are a medicine within themselves (especially for hayfever) and at this time of year, the trees offer an abundance of these tiny berries seen in the picture above.
Elderberries are very rich in antioxidants and are great for the immune system. They possess anti-viral properties and are thus great in helping to prevent colds.
You can pick these berries and make a warming tea by boiling it with some ginger and drinking it daily. However to preserve them and have them throughout the winter, try making this easy elderberry syrup.
What you'll need:
300g Raw can sugar or Coconut sugar
1. Place the berries and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn it down to a low simmer and cover and leave for about 30 minutes.
2. Next, strain the berries through a sieve so you're left with just the liquid.
3. Add the liquid back to a saucepan and add the sugar. Place on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Pour into a sterilised bottle, label and store in the fridge.
In this video, I take you through a few of the various whole grains that you should be including in your diet.
In this video, I show you how to make a simple herbal salve using plantain. If you want to get creative and incorporate other herbs, i've put some information down below to help you!
What is a herbal Salve?
A salve is an ointment or a balm that is used on the skin to promote healing. So it can be used for cuts, stings, bites or any rashes/irritations.
A salve can be made from using just oil and wax only, but incorporating herbs into them adds that extra but of healing action, and a whole load of other actions too!
What herbal salves can I make?
The choice is totally yours. In this video I made Plantain salve, however there are others that you could try. My favourite thing about herbs is that they have more than one property, so you could base your choice on the range of other actions that the herb has.
Here are some herbs and their actions:
Calendula - Calendula or Marigold is great to use in every salve! It is anti-inflammatory, astringent and wound-healing. It also has some anti-septic properties so is great for preventing or treating infected wounds.
Plantain - Plantain has similar properties to calendula. You can find plantain growing everywhere in the Spring/Summer so it is very easy to harvest and dry and make oils and salves from.
Chamomile - Chamomile is very well-known and it isn't just used to make tea. The soothing and anti-inflammatory action this herb has on the gut, also works topically for skin rashes and and irritations. It also smells amazing!
Yarrow - Yarrow is styptic, meaning it can help stop bleeding. This makes it a useful salve/cream in first aid situations. It also promotes healing of the wound.
Chickweed - Chickweed is very soothing for the skin, but also anti-itching properties, so is very useful in skin conditions and rashes that have itchy tendencies such as eczema!
Liquorice root - Liquorice has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. It is like natures very own steroid cream, without the nasty side effects.
St. John's Wort - Again, St. John's wort has your typical anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, but it has the added benefit of being anti-viral, which would make it a great salve/balm for coldsores!
Marshmallow root - Marshmallow root is packed with mucilages, therefore is very soothing and healing and can also soften hardened/dry skin.
If you're a human, then you have most probably had to deal with low moods and feeling depressed at some point in your life. Sometimes these chapters can pass quickly or may linger and be intermittent. They can be caused by all sorts of life circumstances and sometimes, you may not even be able to pin point your finger on the cause. Whatever your situation, today i'll share with you some practical self-help tips that can help you through your hard times. They may not fix everything, but can certainly help.
Essential oils are my absolute best friends. They're amazing and can have great effects on your nervouse system and your mood. My favourite ones for low mood and anxiety have to be Frankincense and Vetiver!
Frankincense with its sweetish, spicy frangrance calms you and uplifts you at the same time. It helps you to re-focus.
Vetiver has a deep, heavy scent with a slight sweetness to it. It's great for when you can't sleep because there are 101 thoughts racing through your mind. It helps with those overwhelming times.
If you can, invest in a little diffuser so can blend and burn the essential oils that suit you.
Lemon Balm Herbal Tea
Lemon Balm, also nicknamed the happy herb is great for anxiety and depression. While the act of drinking a nice hot cup of tea, is soothing in and of itself, the constituents in lemon balm can help contribute to uplifting your mood. Invest in a little tea ball and always have a little bag of lemon balm herb at work or home.
It's important to take some time to yourself as often as you can. Find something to do that makes you happy, calms you down and just makes you feel pleasent. People often find their creative side here. It has to be far from work-related though, and not something that you 'HAVE TO' complete. I've found that I love to colour. I've got an Anatomy and Physiology colouring book that I've had since med school, which is pretty great (geeky, i know) and recently I was given a beautiful colouring book that has various intricate designs and i love it!
Find your thing, and take sometime to do it, especially when you're feeling low.
I've recently started exercising regularly and I love it. Exercise is great for your mood! It helps you to release a lot of negative emotions and allows the release of some feel-good chemicals. It's also great to keep you in shape, and makes you feel happier when you start seeing results (win :-)).
Look After Yourself
When you're feeling a little down, sometimes you might have a tendency to stop looking after yourself. For example, start eating things that you know are no good for you, or not eating at all. Be careful not to fall into this trap as it's a downward spiral and won't help the problem, but just contribute to your feeling of crapiness. Try to get enough sleep, eat enough fruit and vegetables, and try not to rebel against the morals you've set for yourself in the past. Stay true to your body :).
A Trusting Ear & Heart
When you feel depressed, you have a natural tendency to shut people out and withdraw from the society of others. I'm not saying you should immerse yourself in a crowd, but make sure to always have that one person that you can speak to and that you fully trust. This person should be able to give you a loving ear, even if no direct advice is given. They should have your best interests at heart and give good advice where they can. Sometimes, even if you don't know the reason why you're feeling low this release can be really helpful <3
It's important to have a firm foundation. Something that tells you that all will be well, and that whatever emotions you feel, or however gloomy the future looks, that these emotions will soon pass, and that your firm foundation will always be true. My firm foundation is my faith in God. His word tells me that everything works for the good of His people, and that trials shape your character :).
Due to our sometimes too busy lifestyles, a lot of the time we're picking up things to eat on-the-go, often for that energy boost, or to curb that sweet craving. Most of the things that we're picking up however are full of unnecessary junk, but we usually overlook this (myself included) and call it a one off.
And even when we want to go for the more healthier options, like certain energy/protein balls or bars, they cost a small fortune, which drives us back to the cheaper, unhealthier options!
You have all probably bought or at least tried a protein ball, sometimes called bliss balls, before but may not have made a habit of it because of the price. Well if you're someone that enjoys them, then you're in luck because they are very simple to make and i'm sharing two of my favourite recipes with you today!
They can be a great source of quick and also sustaining energy and a good way to get a handful of good nutrients down you.
Me, being me, I'm always trying to find ways to incorporate herbs and superfoods into our everyday diets, and so these recipes will include gems that will benefit your health in some way.
BAOBAB LEMON BLISS BALL
This gem in this recipe is the superfruit Baobab, which you may or may not have heard of before. It is native to Africa and comes from an extremely large tree (google some pictures, the size of it is something amazing!).
The fruit dries on the tree itself, and is packed with a range of nutrients. Baobab is known for it's extremely rich source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
It is therefore very good for the functioning of a healthy immune system and for healthy skin. Vitamin C is also great for energy and helps with the absorption of iron in the body. For this reason, Baobab is good combined with iron-rich foods, to help you get the most out of the foods you're eating.
- 4 tsp Baobab powder
- 4 tsp Pumpkin seeds
- 6 Medjool dates
- Juice and Zest of 1-2 lemons
- 2 tsp Coconut oil
- 2 tsp Chia seeds
- Desiccated coconut
- 1 pinch of himalayan salt
- 2 tsp dried Elderberries (optional)**
WHAT TO DO:
- Put the baobab, pumpkin seeds, dates, salt and chia seeds into a blender and blend until combined.
- If using the dried elderberries, place them in the lemon juice to allow them to rehydrate and soften a little.
- Place into a bowl and then add the lemon juice and zest, elderberries and coconut oil. The mixture should start clumping together.
- Next, roll the mix into small balls and then toss it in the desiccated coconut so that it's coated with it. This part is optional, or you can try tossing it in some chopped nuts like almonds or pistachios (salted pistachios go great here!).
- Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to set.
These make great foods for those who often crave sweet things and have skin problems as a result. The healthy fats and omegas in these ingredients can actually be beneficial for your skin and will satisfy your sweet tooth!
**The Elderberries are also rich in Vitamin C, which adds to the immune boosting and skin benefits of this recipe.
LAVENDER AND LIME BLISS BALL
This combo is one of my favourites. The herbal gem in this recipe is Ashwagandha (ASH-WA-GAN-DA), which you've probably heard me bang on about in my other posts.
This recipe is great for helping to control the effects of stress. If you work in a stressful environment and often find yourself under pressure or having anxiety, then this is a great bliss ball to have by your side.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen and can help to reduce the negative effects of stress, and along with the lavender can help to calm you down and bring your nervous system back into balance.
The Bee Pollen is packed with protein, nutrients and B vitamins which contribute to a healthy nervous system. Again, great for stress!
And even if you're not stressed, this combo just tastes good!
- 2 tsp Ashwagandha powder
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 tsp of dried Lavender flowers
- 6 Medjool dates
- Almonds (chopped or flaked)
- 6 tsp Almond meal
- 2 tsp bee pollen (OPTIONAL)**
- Coconut oil
WHAT TO DO:
Made in a similar fashion as the above recipe
- Blend the ashwagandha, lavender flowers, dates and almond meal in a blender until combined.
- Add to a bowl and add the juice, zest, coconut oil and bee pollen.
- Roll into small balls and then toss in the chopped/flaked almonds. For a twist, you could toast the almonds briefly beforehand. This will destroy some of the health benefits of the almonds but gives it a unique taste!
** The bee pollen in this recipe means it is not strictly vegan.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and comment if with your own recipes!
Have a great day
Our ambivalent, half-hearted summer has officially come to an end and winter (with all it's wonderful joys) is well on the way.
This is the time of year when we're most likely to feel down, feel extra cold (obviously) and be more susceptible to catch infections.
In today's short post, I'm going to share with you a few herbal remedies that are must haves throughout these coming seasons, just until the sun blesses us again ^_^
IMPROVE YOUR RESISTANCE TO INFECTIONS
You've all heard of the age-old saying "prevention is better than cure" and that is very much true in the case of colds and infections. It's far better for us to build our bodies up to prevent colds, than to have to treat it when it does come.
The herbs listed below are useful for this purpose:
Unfortunately, with the lives that we live, we can still become sick so here are the herbal remedies to take if you do become sick.
Obviously there are other things apart from herbs that affect our immune systems. So even whilst taking these herbs, it is important to make sure:
I hope you find these tips helpful. Any questions on where to source these remedies or on how to use them, feel free to ask ^_^
Have a pretty day! xo
This is a great fresh drink for the short-lived summer that we have here in England! The Wheatgrass is amazing for detoxification so will help give us that great glowing skin for the summer and boost our energy. Lavender is a calming herb so can help you to wind down after the stress of a long day :)
Make the most of this recipe while the sun's out!
8-10 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Tbsp Dried/Fresh Lavender
Juice from 5 Limes and some zest
1 Tbsp Wheatgrass Powder
What to do:
- Put mint, lavender, cucumber, lime juice, wheatgrass and maple syrup in a blender and add about 800ml of water. (Any amount of water is fine, i didn't measure)
- Blend on full speed.
- Add to a jug and leave in fridge for about 4-6 hours or overnight.
- Remove from fridge and then strain. (The straining is optional, if you don't mind a smoothie consistency then you don't have to strain but if you prefer a more juice consistency then definitely strain it)
- Pour over a little ice to serve and add some mint leaves and zest to make it look pretty
- Enjoy! :)
It's great to incorporate herbs and superfoods into your diet. This hemp milk recipe is yummy, nutritious and great for times of intense stress!
- Hemp seeds
- 5 Medjool dates (more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
- 1 heaped tsp of Ashwagandha Powder
- 1 heaped tsp of Astragalus Powder
- 1 heaped tsp of Maca Powder
- 1 tsp of Barley Cup powder
If you are using hemp seeds that have the shell on them still, you'll have to make the hemp milk separately first. To do that you just have to put 1 cup of hemp seeds and about 6 cups of water in a high speed blender for about a minute. Then strain the shell pieces out until you're left with a nice creamy colour milk.
- Put the milk back into the blender
- Add Medjool dates, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Maca and Barley cup.
- Blend on high until smooth
- Sweet potatoes
- Almond milk
- Cacao or Carob Powder
- Cacao butter
- Almond butter
- Sifted Spelt flour
- Baking Powder
- Chia seeds
- Coconut sugar (optional)
- Barley Cup Powder (optional)
1. In a bowl, mix some Chia seeds and hot water and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
2. Steam sweet potatoes until soft. Peel the skin and place into blender with dates. Add a little milk to facilitate blending and blend until you have a fine smooth consistency.
2. Add the vanilla, Almond butter and Chia water
3. In a pan, melt the Cacao butter on a very low heat until it becomes liquid.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cacao/carob powder, baking powder, Barley Cup Powder and coconut sugar, if using.
5. Mix the sweet potato mixture and the melted cacao butter into the dry ingredients.
6. When fully mixed together, pour out onto a lined baking pan.
7. Bake on about 180 degrees until fork comes out clean.