Yes, it’s a new year, and if you’re like me and indulged in whatever you fancy during the holiday, you probably gained some weight. I have finally cracked my body’s weight loss code by implementing a few strategies. My first strategy is doing a 16 to 17-hour fast where I only drink herbal teas. My second strategy is to eat as cleanly as possible. No gluten or dairy, little to no red meat, and eliminate as much sugar as possible.
Herbal teas are a great way to support my weight loss efforts. Not only do they provide hydration, but many herbs have properties that can aid in metabolism and fat burning. Here are ten herbal teas to consider adding to your weight loss routine:
1. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the most popular herbal teas for weight loss. It contains a compound called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, green tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
2. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is another excellent option for losing weight. It is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, oolong tea has been shown to inhibit the absorption of fat and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
3. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion is a natural diuretic that can help reduce water weight. It’s also known to help improve digestion and support the liver, aiding in weight loss.
4. Lemon Tea
Lemon is a natural detoxifier and can help improve digestion. The high levels of vitamin C in lemon can also help boost the immune system and support weight loss efforts.
5. White Tea
White tea is a less processed version of green tea and has been shown to have similar weight loss properties. It is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, white tea has been shown to inhibit the absorption of fat and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those looking to lose weight.
6. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is an excellent choice for losing weight. It has thermogenic properties, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, ginger tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
7. Lemongrass Tea
Lemongrass tea is an excellent choice for losing weight. It has thermogenic properties, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, lemongrass tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
8. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is an excellent choice for losing weight. It has thermogenic properties, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Peppermint tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
9. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea contains antioxidants and is naturally caffeine-free. It can help promote feelings of fullness, reducing cravings for snacks and aiding in weight loss.
10. Rose Hip Tea
Rose hip tea contains antioxidants that may help protect against cell damage and reduce inflammation, which can improve overall health. Rose hip tea is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help to promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake. It is also a great source of Vitamin C, which aids in collagen production and may help with weight loss by decreasing stress hormone levels and inflammation.
It is important to note that drinking herbal teas alone will not cause weight loss. A healthy and balanced diet and regular exercise are also necessary for weight loss. Additionally, you must consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or exercise routine.
These herbal teas can be a great addition to a weight loss program. Green tea, oolong tea, white tea, ginger tea, lemongrass tea, and peppermint tea are all great choices that can help boost metabolism, burn fat, and curb appetite. They are also easy to incorporate into your daily routine and make a delicious alternative to sugary drinks.
Peppermint tea does not require hot water to produce. Add fresh peppermint stems to a pitcher of water and allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator.
Remember, for best results, herbal teas are part of an overall weight loss plan in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The information presented is for informational, reference, and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for a diagnosis and/or treatment. All health-related questions should be directed to your healthcare provider.
The information presented is for informational, reference, and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for a diagnosis and/or treatment. All health-related questions should be directed to your healthcare provider.
(This article was first published on Medium.com the publication Living and Lovin Herbs)
I recently heard a story from a friend of mine about someone they knew who slipped in the tub while attempting steam inhalation treatment with essential oils and hot water. This person had been fighting off a bad cough and head cold for weeks, and all the over-the-counter medicine they tried provided no relief. A doctor only advised them to drink fluids, take Acetaminophen in case of fever, and return for a follow-up if their condition worsened. My heart ached for this person, wishing I could have suggested natural remedies to help them while they waited for the virus to run its course.
Doctors tend to be hesitant about prescribing antibiotics for viral infections as regular use can cause the body to become resistant to them as we age. That’s why my friend’s friend could have benefited from one of these herbs for lung health:
Lung health is essential for overall well-being, allowing the body to absorb oxygen properly. Unfortunately, pollution, smoking, and chronic stress can negatively impact our lungs. Luckily, natural remedies can help keep the lungs healthy and breathing easy. This article will give you information on 15 herbs that can support lung health and improve respiratory function.
What Herb Is Right For You?
When selecting the appropriate herb(s) for your respiratory needs, consider your cough type — is it wet or dry? Are you feeling warm or chilled? Is your head congested or running? Here are a few key features to remember when deciding on the right herb(s).
Certain herbs can help break up and expel phlegm.
Certain herbs can reduce inflammation in the chest and bronchial tubes.
Some herbs have potent antioxidants that assist with healing.
Certain herbs can help bolster your immune system.
Herbs For Improved Lung Health
Peppermint: Herbs high in aromatic essential oils can help decrease inflammation and open bronchial, which increases lung capacity. Peppermint can also reduce muscle pain and spasms and aid in digestion. Note: if you suffer from reflux or GERD, do not drink peppermint in high doses. Drinking this as a tea (hot or iced) is effective.
Chamomile: This herb is perfect for children sensitive to smoke from brush fires. It can be made strong, and it is also a calming herb. If steeped for a long time, the tea will taste slightly bitter but perfect for better digestion.
Chamomile tea can be used as an eyewash for raw irritating eyes. Make a cup of tea and allow it to cool. Take the teabag out of your cup and gently place it over your eyes and squeeze a small amount of tea out. It is also effective as a tea (hot or iced) before bed.
Turmeric is known to be an antioxidant and has compounds that reduce inflammation. This herb can be taken as a tea, tincture, or in dried form and in high doses. Turmeric is also known to reduce heart disease and increase brain function.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) herbalists use licorice root because of its demulcent properties. It protects the mucous membranes from excessive particle pollution. Small amounts of licorice root should be added to tea recipes and should be drunk for no more than 10–14 days is recommended.
Note: This herb can increase blood pressure, low potassium levels, weakness, paralysis, irregular heart rhythms, and heart attack. People who eat a lot of salt or have heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure are more sensitive to licorice. They can have these problems after eating smaller amounts of licorice.
Marshmallow Root is another wonderful demulcent. It helps to protect those with sensitive mucous membranes. It also cools and soothes the entire system, specifically stress-induced constipation.
Lavender is an herb that helps reduce anxiety and stress. Lavender tea should be made strong; the aroma will help relax and aid breathing capacity.
Echinacea is known for stimulating the immune system and reducing inflammation by decreasing the chances of getting sick while under stress. It can be taken as tea, tincture, or capsules.
Reishi Mushroom — this herb is a Super Hero Herb! It’sIt’s one of the most studied herbs around. It has a long list of healing properties to list here. For our purposes, it boosts the immune system and aids in lung conditions, including asthma and bronchitis. It is an adaptogenic herb that helps reduce the body’s heightened stress response.
Reishi can also be taken long-term in either tincture or capsule form.
Mullein is another herbalist go-to for lung issues. Mullen is best known for being used as a lung tonic for either a wet or dry cough. It can be taken as tea (hot or iced), tincture, or capsules.
Lobelia is a bronchial dilator and antispasmodic, which helps with bronchitis, pneumonia, or a general cough. Lobelia can become toxic in the body and cause serious side effects. This herb should not be taken in large doses or for long periods of time. This herb should be taken in small amounts in tincture form or tea.
Tulsi or Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum spp.) Another favorite of mine. Holy Basil is an adaptogen that helps reduce the feeling of overwhelm and general stress. This herb can be taken daily as a tea or capsule.
Ashwagandha is another herb I take daily to help with an overwhelming feeling. This herb is an adaptogen. It usually comes in a powder and can be sprinkled in drinks such as coffee and milk (e.g., Golden Milk). This herb can also be taken in tincture form or capsules.
Garlic herbal actions are antimicrobial, diaphoretic, hypocholesterolemic, cholagogue, hypotensive, and antispasmodic.
If used daily, garlic helps to support the body in various ways that no other herb can match. It has been effective in antimicrobial, acting on bacteria, viruses, and parasites of the alimentary tract. The volatile oils are excreted via the lungs, making garlic helpful in controlling respiratory infections, such as chronic bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, recurrent colds, and influenza. (Hoffmann 2003)
In general, garlic can be used as preventive medicine against most infectious conditions digestive and respiratory systems. In the digestive tract, garlic is thought to support natural bacterial flora development while killing pathogenic organisms. (Hoffmann 2003)
Garlic also has a wide range of effects on cardiovascular health. It can reduce serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL) levels. It can act as an effective inhibitor of platelet-activating factor (PAF). (Hoffmann 2003)
I ferment a half jar of finely chopped garlic for six weeks in local honey. If I feel a little stuffy or have a raw sore throat, I’ll take a tablespoon of fermented garlic and honey 3 x day or until the symptoms go away.
Raw Honey has been used as a folk remedy for centuries, and research has shown it has many health benefits and medicinal uses. In some hospitals, they use honey to treat burns and wounds.
For sore throats and stuffy noses, honey in a cup of hot water with lemon and ginger can go a long way in relieving those symptoms. Many herbalists (me including) reach for our jar of fermented garlic and honey on the first hint of a sore throat; however, don’tdon’t give children under one because honey can carry botulism.
Corn Silk (Zea mays) stamen has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Native American Medicine.
Corn silk is taken for depression, inflammation of the prostate, inflammation of the unitary system, kidney stones, congestive heart failure, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, high cholesterol, jaundice, liver health, and obesity, to name a few conditions.
Most herbalists add corn silk to their cold and flu remedies for calming inflammation and fatigue when sick. Corn silk can be taken as a tea, capsules, and tincture.
Plantain (Plantago spp.) seed husk is mainly known as an unwanted weed in highly manicured lawns in my area; plantain has several health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and blocking microbial growth in wounds and the body in general. Many herbalists add plantain to their teas as a supporting herb to their herbal remedies. Plantain can be used as a tea, capsule, or tincture.
Irish Moss / Sea Moss (Chondrus crispus) This herb has been around for centuries and is known in Ireland, Scotland, England, and Caribbean Islands such as Jamaica. The algae have been used in skincare products to make paper, cure leather, and cheese.
However, herbalists also used sea moss in their apothecaries for centuries to heal burns and boost the immune system and probiotics, to name a few benefits.
According to WebMD, researchers have been doing studies on whether sea moss can slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’sParkinson’s Disease in order adults with some promising results. Other studies have suggested that sea moss can boost the immune system and protect the body from contracting salmonella.
This herb would be considered a supporting herb in any remedy for treating the lungs and respiratory system. It’s important to note that a little of this herb goes a long way. Sea moss can be taken in capsules or taking dried moss, rehydrated in water, and either making it into a gel or whole to a smoothie, soup, or stew. A small amount can go a long way.
Mallow is a demulcent, and its secondary action is an expectorant, making it the perfect primary herb in any herbal remedy. Its primary use is for the irritated throat, dry cough, and bronchitis. This herb can be used as a green in cooking, tea, and tincture.
Many herbs can help support lung health and improve respiratory function. From peppermint to garlic, each herb has unique properties that can help improve lung function. It’s important to note that while these herbs can benefit lung health and respiratory support, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new herbal supplement.
Remember to take care of your lungs; they are essential for survival. By incorporating these herbs into your daily routine, you can take steps to improve your lung health and overall well-being.
If you are interested in further exploring the use of herbs for lung health, my E-book, “Herbs For Lung Health,” is available for free on Living and Lovin Herbs. It includes detailed information about how specific herbs can help support healthy.
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I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to clear the negative energy from 2022 from my body, family, and house. It’s been one hell of a year where we all got sucker punched! I’m glad the year is over and praying this year won’t be so intense with life-altering events.
An ancient process called smudging clarifies old energy and invites new positive energy. Although studies on the health effects of smudging are lacking, I found one study that validated that natural smoke products have some benefits.
“wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herb on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts in one hour (60 minutes), and the air remained disinfected and clear for up to 24 hours. “
There is no doubt that medicinal herbs promote healing; however, some studies referenced in other articles on the health effects of smudging referenced the healing properties, but if you read the studies, they site the herbs were ingested in some form, such as a tea or capsule versus burned. I am pointing this out for transparency reasons, as the two are different.
On the other hand, sometimes we need to have faith that the ancient Elders and Spiritual Leaders of the First Nation people knew what they were doing by burning herbs to purify, clear negative energy, and bless a space.
Smudging is a tradition that is common to First Nations tribes. It involves one or several medicinal herbs, including woods and resins gathered from the earth. The four most common sacred herbs used in First Nation ceremonies are tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass.
The most popular plant used for smudging is sage. Sage is known for clearing out negative energy and purifying people and spaces. However, it’s important to note that white sage, the most popular herb in First Nation tribal ceremonies, has been over-harvested in the west, southwest, and Mexico.
The popularity of white sage is in high demand by non-First Nation people internationally. Because I don’t want to support or encourage this sacred plant’s continued over-harvesting and/or poaching, I don’t use white sage. An alternative is Mediterranean sage, also known as common garden sage. The chemical properties between the two plants are similar and will still do what we ask the plant for energy to do. Purify and clear our space.
Other commonly known herbs are not always connected to smudging but offer the same energetic properties — herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and Palo Santo wood. I’ll share a list of herbs and spices that you can burn.
Purpose of Smudging a House
Smudging is a great practice that can substantially impact your physical, spiritual, and mental health. It reduces illness and helps promote mental clarity while reducing anxiety and stress.
Regular smudging can also help lift your mood and leave you feeling lighter, more positive, and more connected to yourself and those around you.
According to the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines published for School District №58 in British Columbia, Canada, their Elders/Spiritual Leader’s rationale for the cleansing process is as follows:
We smudge to clear the air around us.
We smudge to clean our minds so that we can have good thought of others.
We smudge our ears so that we will only listen to positive things about others.
We smudge our whole being so we can portray only the good part of ourselves through our actions.
We smudge to cleanse negative energy within our own being or any negative energy in a space.
The smudging ceremony allows people to stop, slow down, be present, and be mindful so they can ground themselves, reconnect with themselves so they can, focus, let go, and rebalance their energy.
How To Smudge Your Home Or Space
Smudge Stick or Loose Leaf? Smudging your home or space is essential for creating a sacred and peaceful area. It’s a widespread practice in spiritual circles, and with good reason — the smudging prayer combined with burning herbs or smoldering smudge sticks can help bind us to a higher power while realigning our energy.
To start smudging your living space, add a loose-leaf herbal blend or smudge stick to a heat-proof bowl and allow it to smoke.
I prefer using loose-leaf herbs that sit on top of a charcoal disk. These disks are orderless and chemical-free and will allow your herbs to smolder longer rather than creating a small fire in a bowl. In addition, you can control the amount of herbs you want to burn versus a smudge stick that may continue to burn after your smudging is done. I find this wasteful.
If using a loose-leaf herbal blend, place the disk in an incense burner, light it, and let it smoke for a few minutes before sprinkling herbs on top.
I like to use a small cast iron burner with a lid. That way, I can walk through rooms without worrying about burning embers flying out and causing a fire. For other containers, such as a seashell, be careful. Heat can crack the shell and cause a fire. Safety first when smudging!!
When smudging a room, some ancient traditions recommend circularly moving the smoldering bowl and saying your prayer as you move through your space. Feather fans are also used to help the smoke penetrate through the room.
Remember to smudge entry doors into your home (e.g., front and back doors), hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and walk-in closets. These are all spaces that can trap negative energy.
“A sacred prayer is a call to the Universe designed to accompany your ritual and reflect the specific intentions you have set.”
So ask yourself, what is your purpose for burning herbs? If you want to say a prayer or blessing, Kiera recommends you say it at a minimum once while smudging and several times throughout your day after you are done.
Here are some of her examples from her book.
“Thank you for the miracles, all in your perfect ways and all in your perfect timing.”
Receiving Divine Abundance
“Thank you for the divine health, wealth, and abundance that flows to me in all ways.”
Releasing Unhealthy Attachments
“I fully and freely release that which no longer serves me. All is well.”
“I choose to release the opinions of others. It bears no weight on my self-worth.”
“I love my body, and my body loves me in return.”
“God speaks through me.”
If none of these prayers or blessings resonate, then you can write your own prayer. Kiera suggests the following when writing your prayer or blessing:
1. Set a clear intention. What specific outcomes do you wish to manifest?
2. Decide on two or three keywords related to your intention.
3. Write one or two sentences that succinctly reflect your desired outcome. This statement should be made with gratitude as if it has already occurred.
Alternatives to White Sage For Smudging
First Nations have certain herbs that are considered sacred herbs for their ceremonies- herbs such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass, juniper, and lavender. These herbs, in particular, release bad energy from the space home and invite new energy.
However, don’t be limited to those previously mentioned sacred herbs. There are thousands of herbs and herbal blends that you can make or purchase. I’ve used the following blend, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, olive leaves, and rose petals. I’ve also used Palo Santo wood as a single herb.
Here are some medicinal herbs, flowers, and spices that have a pleasant fragrance and powerful metaphysical properties and are appropriate for smudging. (Sourced from Sacred Herb Bundles For Energy Cleansing pg. 27)
Apple — Love, beauty, wisdom
Chamomile — Peace, purification, protection
Lotus Flower — Rebirth, fortitude divinity
Basil — Health, happiness, protection
Clover — Faith, hope prosperity
Lemon — Purification, protection, energy boost
Rosemary — Focus, mental clarity, health
Cinnamon — Love, success, prosperity
Lavender — Love, relaxation, serenity
Dill — Luck, romance, prosperity
Eucalyptus — Health, purification, protection
Ginger — Passion, progress, prosperity
Hibiscus — Passion, femininity, creativity
Peppermint — Prosperity, growth, renewal
Palo Santo — Stress release, protection, good fortune
Rose — Love, happiness, friendship
Sage — Purification, protection, wisdom
Sweetgrass — Peace, purification, positive energy
Vanilla — Love, peace, good fortune
Yarrow — Courage, wisdom, protection
If you’re looking for a way to clear the energy in your space, invite positive energy, and offer a blessing or prayer. Smudging may be for you. This ancient practice has been used for centuries to purify one’s home or space many benefits come along with it. After smudging, people often report feeling better, lighter, more positive, and more connected.
If you want to learn more about smudging, I recommend two books on the topic that I have found helpful in making my own blends for burning.
We recently participated in our town’s historical society garden tour fundraiser for the second year. Town residents with beautiful backyard gardens and local farms were invited to be on tour, and we agreed again this year. Paul worked hard all spring pruning, weeding, and rebuilding garden beds. At the same time, I grew plants from seed and shopped for other perennials. My search involved flowers I can use to dye natural fibers such as cotton, silks, wool, yarns (cotton and wool), and handmade papers.
My current thought about the handmade paper is making paper from the lavender stalks. I’ve been researching how to make paper from fiber pulp. It’s not that different from making paper out of junk mail. Only a few more steps are involved in turning a stalk of something into paper pulp.
I envision paper with the delicate scent of lavender embedded into the fibers is a thought that intrigues me. Will it work? Hmmm, I honestly don’t know. In the victorian era, it wasn’t uncommon for a woman to scent her notes with perfume or flower water. Would this be something you would enjoy having today? I could make notecards, and bookmarks, or sell the botanical papers to other artists much more clever than I in the artistic realm of paper artistry.
Please let me know if you are interested in any of these ideas, from purchasing the raw materials for your projects (i.e. dried botanicals for dyeing) , purchasing finished products, or even attending a class, in person or online. I would love to hear about your interests and your projects.
On Sunday, daylight savings begins, and we will be doing the final lap of winter before spring officially arrives on March 20th. Who is excited about this? We’ve made it through another winter!
The Spring Equinox is one of two days where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres will have equal daylight. It’s the official start of spring and the days are noticeably longer. But did my garden get the memo its time to wake up?
Late March and early April is the time when we see the first signs of spring in our garden. Tender wildflowers start to poke their heads above their winter blankets of mulch and leaves. Flowers like crocuses, violets, and tulips are usually the first to show their faces.
I wondered if the crocus had a story or a special meaning similar to the rose and other flowers? These questions led me down many rabbit holes, and who knew this small, pretty flower had so much passion associated with it.
The book The Secret Meaning of Flowers says the crocus means attachment, cheerfulness, exuberance, foresight, gladness, jovial, joy, mirth, the pleasure of hope, visions, youthful, and gladness.
In addition, I found an article that said “crocus” means thread, referring to the long, thread-like stamens. It also stated the word also derives from the Greek word Krokos because the plant gives us saffron from its stamens.
This flower also has several love stories originating from ancient Greek Mythology.
One version says Crocus was a young man and had an affair with a nymph called Smilax. He became bored and unhappy with the relationship, and the gods didn’t like his behavior and decided to turn him into a plant. Smilax turned into a beautiful yew tree known as a slow-growing tree with hard but flexible wood. Perfect for Cupid’s bow and arrow.
Another Greek version stated that Crocus killed himself because he was so grief-stricken when the gods refused permission for them to marry. The goddess of flowers, named Flora, took pity on the two lovers and turned them into plants so their love could bloom forever.
Then there is this version that says Smilax wasn’t interested in Crocus. But the ole’ boy wouldn’t take the hint to go away. In frustration, she turned him into a flower so she could have some peace and quiet.
Then we have the great Greek love story of Zeus and Hera (the goddess of women, marriage, and children). The story goes they were “enjoying each other’s company” so passionately that the river bank they were on erupted with crocus flowers.
Since then, these two lustful lovers have been associated with passionate love. In some parts of the world, crocuses bloom near Valentine’s Day and are the preferred “passion” flower rather than roses.
The Crocus species (Crocus Sativa) has medicinal properties grown commercially for saffron and seeds all over the world. So please, please, do not go out and start chewing on a crocus plant. These plants in our yards are poisonous!
c. Sativa has carotenoids that have been shown in clinical studies to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Saffron helps reduce depression supports eye health and cognitive function.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), saffron is used for depression, shock, cramps from moon cycles, PMS, skin disorders, stomach weakness, and an appetite suppressant.
There you have it; when your crocus starts to pop its pretty purple flowers above ground, I hope you will remember they are flowers created by mad passionate love of one kind or another as well as a healing herb.
Chevallier, Andrew, Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 2016; 89
I am thrilled to announce that we have just published our 5th book in our Kids Count Series, Counting Trees. I had so much fun writing this book. We spent a great deal of time out in the woods and doing research about trees. By the time you finish reading this book to your little ones, they will be junior Naturalists ready to test their skills out in the woods. I’ve included a Forest Scavenger Hunt game in the book with scan codes so you can download the game and take it with you.
There are two formats, paperback and ebook, with another bonus activity and pictures included. Books can be purchased on all platforms, libraries, and retail stores. Just ask them to order it for you.