As inspiration strikes, seasons turn, and the cycle of medicine making conjures the desire to connect,
I put out newsletters full of information about vitalist herbalism, my own philosophies and recipes, and advice for the times. Peruse! Enjoy! And as always, be in touch.
We can really enjoy winter when we are feeling well, and the coldness can strengthen and freshen our vitality as a whole. I wholeheartedly believe in bolstering and nourishing the terrain of our bodies, rather than waiting for a virus or microbe to come around and treating that. Yet, we are susceptible to these things often either way. The stronger we are from the get go, the less likely we are to experience these contagions to any extreme.
The Vitalist herbal approach to immunity is all about keeping our organism in harmony with our environment. This means adjusting with the seasons, bringing in the herbs and foods (and movement, etc) that support us on a deep level, rather than the model of “fighting” pathogens. It is gentle, yet powerful, and much less fear based.
In general drugs cannot do what herbs do when it comes to our immunity. The world of plants has a TON to offer in this realm! Even when a serious flu or the like gets us down, the plants are here for us with very strong medicine.
Here is a quote I love from David Hoffman:
“Human immunity is a vital component of the interface between the individual and the world. The role of the human immune system is not simply to resist the dangers present in the environment. Rather, it is part of the complex and beautiful dance of elements flowing back and forth between the human body and the rest of the world. Seen within the context of ecology, both human and environmental, immunity is about harmony.”
Here are some things I do, and keep on hand for this seasonal transition:
~Fire cider (an apple cider vinegar tincture of Horseradish, Cayenne peppers, Ginger, Garlic, Onions, Parsley, Oranges and Lemons, with Honey)
~Elderberry syrup (Elderberries, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Medicinal mushrooms, deeply decocted, with Honey added)
~Respiratory Syrup or Elixir (Elecampane, Ginger, Plantain, Reishi, Pine)
~Nourishing mineral rich tea (Nettle, Oat straw, Clover, Raspberry leaf). I’ll add other herbs as needed, If I feel a sniffle or sore throat coming on such as, Elder blossoms, Mullein, Coltsfoot, Licorice, Pine, Echinacea, or Rosehips.
~Ferments— Lactically fermented vegetables of all kinds (cabbage being the main one), are so good this time of year for building the microbiome, which is directly related to immune health.
~Herbal body oils such as Lavender, Calendula, St Johnswort, Plantain or Rose for daily body oiling after a bath or shower, to protect and nourish the skin, which is a pathway for cold and viruses, microbes etc.
~Herbal baths with salts and other spices and oils added, for detox, and deep warmth.
~Frequent yoga and gentle movement and weight bearing exercise.
~Tinctures and teas for fevers and heavy hitting viruses/microbial infections such as: Yarrow, Thyme, Echinacea, and Boneset. (I make a Flu Formula ahead of time)
~Medicinal Mushroom elixirs for daily use to regularly nourish and normalize all the cells of the body.
~Bone broths a couple times a week, in which I add Ginger, Kelp, Turmeric, Celery, Onions, and Garlic.
~Saunas and body brushing to move Lymph, which is intertwined with the immune system.
I hope you find something here that helps. I’ll talk to you again soon!
Wishing you all the very best during this transition.
As always, I’m here for you!
Love and Vitality,
Fall greetings from Vital Vessel Herbs!
This time of year offers an opportUNITY to focus on the health of our immune systems, as the environment (in many places) is transitioning to colder weather.
I love this time of year. I feel like a squirrel most of the time, scurrying around gathering things from the garden to preserve for the winter. My focus is on medicine, and foods as medicine. Everything from tea blends to tinctures, fire cider to vegetable ferments, cough syrups to herbal body oils. My mission is to make sure we have what we need to get through the long winter, and support others with sickness as it arises, and for prevention.
and a warm hello to all of you who seek vitality and plant connection!
With the summer solstice fast approaching, I have thoughts of the direction of the South. The South has different qualities to different people, but in general in many cultures it is the direction of fire, the serpent and sensuality. Summer is active and expansive, a time when seeds planted in the winter are growing, leafing and flowering. In the medicine wheel garden here at Vital Vessel, the herbs in the south quadrant are mostly related to the quality of fire, and deep healing for the immune system. They are potent and feisty plants, and outwardly proclaim themselves vibrantly. We have Echinacea, whose blooms attract so many monarch butterflies, Boneset, Yarrow, Thyme, Spilanthes, and more. I harvest many of these plants now at high summer, and put them by for the winter, tucking them into the medicine chest for when issues arise.
In the meantime, summer is generally a time when different medicines are needed, such as cooling, soothing, and first aid remedies. Depending on where you live, you might be dealing with various insects such as ticks and mosquitos. Also things like poison ivy, bee stings, cuts and scrapes, injuries, and splinters are common in the summer.
Depending on our constitutional tendencies, some of us can feel agitated in the summer from heat and humidity, and need to dip in cool water, and do some body oiling with cooler oils and herbs, maybe while sipping some calming, cooling tea. Some people revel in the heat (that’s me!), and still drink hot drinks and soups all summer, along with refreshing tonics here and there.
There are so many things to plant and harvest and tend to in June! It’s such a busy month. We are harvesting Mugwort, Clover, Nettles, Thyme, Echinacea, St Johnswort, Comfrey, Yarrow, Rose, Catnip, Mint, Dandelion greens, and Mullein, to name a few!
I am so busy in the apothecary drying plants for teas and later remedies, making fresh tinctures, elixirs and oils, bug sprays, salves, and custom formulas as needed.
The other focus I have right now is on the musculoskeletal system. I am formulating some pain remedies that will be ready in a couple months, as well as deep diving into more understanding of this system and getting to the root of pain, and treating it correctly. There are so many different types of pain caused by so many things. If I can ease pain a little bit, for my loved ones and beyond, It feels so great. Ahhhhhhh to feel good in the body, what a gift. And to have pain, what a gift as well, as it is always showing and teaching us something.
Stay tuned for a healing/learning circle announcement to come toward the end of summer/beginning of fall! This group will most likely be centered around women going through the change time in life, peri-menopause. It will be an opportunity to come together and celebrate this time, gather information, share stories, and empower ourselves and each other to step through the gate from mother to wild woman, as we birth our baby crones.
I'm currently booking private consults in the apothecary! Let us get to the heart of any imbalances, together.
Always here for you!
Love and vital health,
Vital Vessel Herbs
Spring Greetings Lovely People!
I hope you are feeling the unfurling process into this season to be easeful. It is not always comfortable, what our bodies go through at this time of year (in the North more specifically).
During the colder months, some of the systems in our body--for instance the natural detox mechanisms, lie a little more dormant than in warmer months.
I think we tend to think that when the weather warms, it’ll be easy and feel just really good! I have experienced year after year, some of that goodness, and also many challenges! It sometimes catches me off guard, like “hey, wait a moment, I’m loving this warmth so why do I feel so lethargic and a little toxic?”
It makes so much sense when you think about the dormancy of plants and other animals natural cycles (hibernation being the most extreme example), and how there is this unfolding and pretty major adjustment. Though we are very adaptable creatures, and often can just keep up with our same pace through all times, this isn’t healthy or natural.
It is so very important to respect and honor our cycles and develop awareness around how our environment effects our bodies and minds. We are going from inward to outward now, from contraction to expansion. And it can fee really hard! And exciting! I have noticed through the years in my practice and my own life, that this time of year can bring about some burnout if we don’t proceed with caution, and a slow and steady pace.
The world is exploding with life, and our blood and lymph is moving more freely, though through the transition into spring, can be stuck for a little while, leading to that lethargic and toxic feeling. A lot of people get “spring” colds, which is part of this. The water starts to flow on the surface of the earth, as does our mucous!
There is another important piece I have become aware of in more recent years, that is more on a soul/spirit level. I find that if I try to keep moving during the winter, at the general pace of summer, and fail to take time to slow down and go inward, I burnout in the spring. Winter is a time where the elements should naturally slow us down, they wisely encourage us to be still, to deeply nourish, and to rest. Then we have the energy to meet the ecstatic freak out that spring brings.
This winter, I went inward a lot, I kept this awareness in the forefront, and though life kept moving and happening, I was more successful than ever before of making and noticing the spaces where I had opportunities to rest and restore. This was prompted by a deep grief around the death of my beloved mother, which is heavy, and was a force that ushered me into the dark womb of the void. What I learned, is that it feels good, and that in future winters I won’t (hopefully) have the intense prompting of the grief work to bring me there, but my cellular memory now holds the experience as holy, as necessary, and now I know what to do.
I wanted to share all of this, both the general information, and the personal, so that you can find within it something that relates and speaks to you. Maybe you had a deep dive into the dark winter as I did, or maybe you pushed beyond your sustainable capacity to go at a fast pace, and are feeling some fallout now.
Once again, without fail, the plants are here to help us. The plants that start to emerge this time of year in the north are some of the best medicines to support our process into spring! Our bodies innate detox systems start to ramp up now, and so much is being done just naturally within ourselves (our bodies are incredible!), and adding in some nourishing grounding supportive herbs will help too. So think detox support, and nourishment as we move through April and May.
Alterative herbs are super important this time of year, and are popping up all around! Plants with alterative action open up the elimination channels of the body and affect the bodies natural detoxification processes. The great thing about them is that they are generally a little bitter (stimulating sluggish digestion, as well as liver and kidney function), as well as being nourishing and full of minerals.
Some great examples are: dandelion, nettles, burdock, ginger, echinacea, calendula, and the list goes on.
Here at Vital Vessel Apothecary I have some medicines already made up for spring health support! And as always, would be delighted to customize for your unique body/mind and needs. Reach out if you’d like more info, conversation, herbs, or a consult! I’d love to hear form you.
A couple other things worth highlighting that I have available right now are: Tick/bug repellent spray, and a wonderful Chai blend made by a dear friend Shram Bhanti. It is the original recipe that he has been making forever and yet hasn’t been selling for years. It is the tastiest most divine chai I have ever had, and I am a chai fanatic!
Happy gentle easing into spring,
Hey Everyone! In addition to letting you know what is available in the apothecary now, I am sharing this link to my first ever blog post, "Vital Body, Expansive Healing". https://www.vitalvesselherbs.love/blog
Hope you can check it out!
Love & Health,
~Respiratory Syrup, featuring Elecampane (the lung opener), Reishi, Pine, Mullein and Ginger. This formula has been developed and perfected over a few years now and is serving many during this season of tending toward respiratory illnesses. It tastes wonderful for children and adults alike.
~Elderberry Syrup, featuring Elderberries, Star anise, Chaga, and Cinnamon. Amazing for warding off colds and flus, as well as treating them when they arrive. So delicious.
~Deeply Infused Herbal Body Oils. I have become a huge fan of daily (or as much as possible) body oiling. It is such an effective way to take medicine in, through the skin! It is a wonderful ritual to honor the body, nourishes on a deep level, and protects from illness in the winter by providing a layer of medicine on the whole body. Head to toe! Last summer and fall I prepared these oils for you: Comfrey, Lavender, Rose, Balsam, Calendula, Plantain, and Yarrow/Mugwort. They all have different indications~ask for more details if interested! These are made through the traditional folk method of infusing the fresh herbs into a carrier oil (I use olive and coconut), for a month, and some have been double infused for extra potency. St Johnswort is my absolute favorite and unfortunately the St Johnswort at harvest hill died in the winter of 2021/22, so sad. I am re-establishing a big patch this year!
~Sleeping Elixir, a night time medicine to relax the nervous system and promote beautiful dreams. Featuring Chamomile, Lavender, Sage, and Lemonbalm.
~Cramp Cordial, for menstrual cramping woahs, this cordial is great for all ages, and is really effective! Features Cinnamon, Chamomile, and Clove.
~Tinctures of Yarrow, Echinacea, Thyme, Boneset, and more. I mention these 4 as they are used often for illnesses that winter presents us with. Fever, flu, colds, sore throats, sinus infections, etc.
~High Mineral Tea, for healthy bones, skin, nails. Full of minerals to support overall health. oats, nettles, clover, horsetail, and raspberry leaf.
~Sweet Love Tea, a mellow aphrodisiac blend of damiana, rose, ginger, orange peel, and hibiscus.
~Balsam Smudges, very fragrant burning bundles to clear the air and energy.
*As always, There are many more medicines available, and I’m always happy to custom formulate to meet your needs. If you’re interested in a consultation, reach out anytime!*