Your Gut is Making You Sad

Instead of Harmful Anti-Depressants, Turn to Healing Herbs
to Increase Your Mood and Health!
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I might be speaking to you right now if you’re feeling anxious or depressed.  Maybe you’ve been in a slump for a long while now, dark in loneliness, enveloped in grief, couch-locked into depressive-paralysis or indescribable irritability.  You’re not alone.

In fact, here are some shocking statistics regarding the state of mental health in America:

  1. 1 in 5 American adults have a “mental health condition.”  That’s actually 40 million people.
  2. Our rates of childhood and teen depression are increasing exponentially.
  3. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.
  4. Women are more likely to be affected than men.
  5. Antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed medication; 254 million prescriptions, to be exact
  6. Depression continues to be the leading cause of medical disability in the United States and Canada.
  7. In an NIH study, 38% of 700 patients experienced at least one side effect when taking an SSRI antidepressant.  These included sexual dysfunction, sleepiness, weight gain–many of which were noted as being “very bothersome” and “extremely bothersome.”

Gut health and mental health seem to go hand in hand, it turns out!  In fact, right now, the colony of species in your gut has a lot to do with previous trauma, as well as what you’re feeding them! These childhood experiences not only affect our mood as adults but also your overall health and weight.

In a study conducted in the 1990s on obesity and childhood trauma, 64% of participants had at least one childhood trauma; 40% had multiple traumas.  These traumas affected adult mental and physical health, correlating to fibromyalgia, cancer, autoimmune diseases, mental health issues, and addiction.

Studies such as these guide us in understanding that mental health is not just about neurotransmitters.  It is also our microbiome.  Stress and trauma can kill off species in our microbiome in much the same way as processed food, antibiotics, prescriptions, and chemicals do.  The less diversity in your microbiome, the more health issues in adulthood.

Imagine the casualties of microbiome death when repeated traumas coincide with environmental toxins!  Whole species of good bacteria could potentially become extinct, triggering systemic disease manifestations, which can begin with Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky Gut is a name for inflammation in the gut that has caused tiny fissures in the intestinal lining, which allow food particles out of the intestines and into our systems.  Think of your plastic garbage bag suddenly spilling its contents on the floor.  Our bodies try to “pick up” the contents, but our immune system often sees these stray particles as system invaders, which it begins attacking.  And thus begins autoimmune-like triggering. The symptoms?  Joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, digestive issues, headache, brain fog, anxiety, depression, mood swings, skin rashes and acne, the list goes on. . .

When a client mentions to me that they are depressed, anxious and having trouble sleeping, I automatically think GUT. I don’t think brain/neurotransmitters, pop an SSRI and see me in six weeks when it’s supposed to start working.  This is not healing.  This is not uncovering the root cause of illness.  It’s now a known fact, anyway, that 90% of our serotonin is found in our gut, thanks to our glorious microbiome.  When this is out of balance, our entire body suffers.  Antidepressants frequently cause weight gain.  It is speculated that this change in weight is associated with the depletion of healthy gut flora.  Probiotics just might be more effective at solving the depression/anxiety riddle by replenishing the gut with healthy bacteria rather than depleting it.

The cure?  Nature has many.

  1. Bitter Herbs:  Plants heal your gut.  Bitter herbs, for example, increase digestive function, bile flow, and hepatic function.  These herbs include dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, and angelica. Better digestion increases nutrient absorption.  They naturally get the digestive juices flowing. If you have had your gall bladder removed or feel bloated after meals, bitter herbs are especially meaningful to your overall physical and mental health.
  2. Aromatic Herbs:  Herbs that add flavor and smells affect us emotionally due to their terpenes.  These are key to healing from trauma.  Aromatic herbs include mint, rosemary, thyme and basil.  Smelling them automatically has a calming effect.  Their scent induces an electrical and hormonal signaling within our brains.  When we eat these herbs, they aid in digestion, ungluing stuck energy, calming our nervous system, and healing inflammation.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Herbs:  Some herbs soothe and moisten, such as licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow root, calendula and plantain.  These calm and cool the intestinal lining and help promote a healthy environment for good bacteria survival and nutrient absorption, which will promote improved mood and well-being.
  4. Nutritional Herbs:  Because leaky gut frequently is accompanied by nutritional absorption issues, any supplements you might take to heal your gut or add nutrition to your body in capsule form may not be absorbed.  Food is medicine.  Plants in their natural form heal the best.  Broths and teas present an easily digestible medium for providing nourishment.  Herbs such as moringa, sea weed, nettle and oat straw can replenish lost nutrients and help the body increase a healthy microbiome.
  5. Supporting Herbs:  Leaky gut presents, also, with a congested liver.  A weakened liver results in emotional feelings of anger, resentment, irritability and heat from systemic inflammation.  To support the liver, incorporate dandelion flower or root along with milk thistle (you can drink this as a tea) to naturally help your liver remove toxins.

Anxiety, depression, insomnia and irritability can all be addressed with food.  YOU have the power over your health.  Before filling your prescription, clean your diet of foods that strip the body of healing energy–processed meats, dairy, sugars, and gluten.  Replace them with healing foods such as aromatic herbs, bitters, fermented foods, and organic fruits and vegetables.  Eat raw nuts and seeds.  Chew slowly and purposefully.  Food is energy and good energy heals.  Your forest needs the right soil and nutrients to grow.

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Headache Remedies That Won’t Kill Your Stomach, Liver, Kidneys or YOU

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Before you reach for that Advil or Tylenol, reach to nature for some natural ways to relieve pain. It’s all right there, and these natural alternatives work!

1. Take an epsom salt bath: your skin absorbs the magnesium and minerals from the salt. Mineral and magnesium deficiencies can be the root cause of headaches. These baths can ease tension and stress and help the body to relax. Supplementing with magnesium daily might be just what you need if you suffer from chronic migraines.

2. Drink water with a pinch of Himalayan salt: Being dehydrated can lead to headaches. Add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt to your filtered water helps your body rehydrate and re-mineralize.

3. Take Feverfew: Get familiar with this herb. You can combine this with mint and make a delicious tea or create a tincture from it. Feverfew is all natural and works just as well at reducing pain as toxic over the counter chemicals with zero side effects. You can combine Feverfew with chamomile, catnip or valerian root for a calming, sedative effect that can also help with insomnia. No more downing a bottle of NyQuil before bed!

4. Forest Bathing or Grounding: Nature heals, and our busy lives led mostly indoors means poor air quality which can lead to malaise, fatigue and poor health. Spending time outdoors breathing clean air and being at one with nature has proven to improve health and reduce pain.

5. Cannabis: CBD oil relieves stress, anxiety and pain and can nix that headache in as little as a few minutes. This is because of our intricate Endocannabinoid System and receptor sites that assist our bodies into realigning toward optimal health. This includes regulating how we perceive pain as well as reducing systemic inflammation. Because cannabinoids bind to these sites and help the body achieve optimal health, cannabis is proving itself to be a healing herb for many chronic illnesses as well as managing pain.

6. Turmeric, Ginger, Black Pepper: Cook with this trio to reduce pain and inflammation. You can also grind these herbs into a fine powder and fill them into capsules for a DIY Tylenol substitute. This all natural remedy also fights cancer, systemic inflammation, joint pain, parasites, gut issues, the list goes on…

7. Lemon and Baking Soda: A half teaspoon to teaspoon full of baking soda in filtered water with a squeeze of lemon might eliminate your headache! This is because of its alkalinizing properties. It’s worth a try!

8. Peppermint Essential Oil: A dab at the temples is enough for this essential oil to do its magic. Aromatherapy is a powerful and natural method for reducing pain. You can also create a salt inhaler to carry with you when a headache hits you. Simply put a salt such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt into a small glass bottle, add a carrier oil and several drops of peppermint. Simply smelling this can reduce headaches, provide you with a burst of energy and uplift your mood.

🌿🌸Got natural remedies for headaches? Help readers out! Drop them in the comments below…


Your Liver Might Be Aging You!

I used to be the first in line for Botox injections around my eyes, on my forehead and between my brow. I got fillers in the folds around my mouth and to plump up my lips. I looked young and healthy, but it was a facade. At the time, I was a heavy consumerist in anything that I perceived to enhance my appearance—breast implants, hair extensions, chemical dyes, perfumes, acrylic nails, and glittery makeup. I was, on the surface, the epitome of health and youth…but underneath the toxicity, my just-turned-forty body was feeling closer to seventy. All of those toxic chemicals had crowded my gut and liver, congesting it to the point that it blocked my detox pathways. My body had hit toxic overload which resulted in multiple symptoms, one being rapid aging.

We are surrounded and immersed in our world to toxins, some of which we can personally control. I woke up after many years of sickness and shed my superficial quest for LOOKING healthy and began following the journey of BEING healthy. The results surprised me. Many of my wrinkles disappeared when I purged the superficiality and nourished my body instead. Here’s a short list of some things you can do to open detox pathways and look younger and healthier:

1. Clean up your personal care products: switch to natural small molecule oils for nourishing your skin. Think almond oil or avocado oil instead of buying expensive chemical-laden lotions. You can add essential oils to these carrier oils and create wonderful healing synergy. Nourish your skin instead of injecting it or slathering it with chemicals. Use a non toxic deodorant free of aluminum and chemicals. Go deeper by replacing your toothpaste, hair products, perfumes for natural, non toxic options. Why? Your skin and mucous membranes absorb the chemicals in the ingredients. They are slowly poisoning and aging you!

2. Limit meat and dairy: Hormones and antibiotics in meat wreak havoc on our bodies and alter our delicate endocrine system. Both are difficult to digest. Meat can sit in your intestines for too long and causes bacterial overgrowth. Instead, eat more of a plant-based diet which makes for better digestion; the phytonutrients provide us with health and anti-aging properties. Raw Nuts and seeds are fully of healthy oils that nourish the body. (While you’re at it, remove sugar, fried foods, vegetable oils and processed foods from your diet as well! Your food is your fuel. Give it the good stuff!)

3. Support Your Liver: If your liver isn’t functioning properly, this can age you tremendously. Toxins need to find a way out of your body. The liver is also responsible for helping the endocrine system with hormone balancing. The liver removes bad estrogens from the system and helps with the conversion of thyroid hormone t4 into free t3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone needed for a healthy metabolism and tons of other bodily functions.

Drink Dandelion tea made from flowers or root (root is more efficacious), take milk thistle capsules, or cook with burdock root. These are all simple ways to help clean the body and support the liver.

4. Drink Water: But stop with the plastic bottles, which leach chemicals in your body that are both carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. Filter water and add cilantro and lemon or lime to it! Cilantro helps remove heavy metals from your system and lemon alkalinizes.

5. Exercise: Movement helps with digestion and elimination as well as regulating hormones such as cortisol, which rises when we are stressed. Exercise helps improve blood circulation which helps in making you look and feel younger. It also moves the lymphatic system to eliminate bloating, cellulite and toxins. Sweating will make you look younger in the long run! Exercise also induces better sleep, which, in turn, is a remedy for looking and feeling crotchety, old and tired.

What we put into our bodies and on our bodies matters. Before you start considering that Botox injection or commercial beauty product full of promises and toxic chemicals, consider the long term effects to your health and appearance. Research their claims and ingredients and know that nature truly does know best!


12 Natural Ways to Wellness Without a Doctor

My parents grew up in that generation where at the first sign of a cold, I was dragged to the doctor and put on an antibiotic. They didn’t know any better, and truthfully, many still live by this credo that our bodies are incapable of healing and require the intervention of a physician and pharmaceuticals in order to feel better.

If you are feeling sick and tired, rundown, and afraid illness is about to chase you into a corner, here is a list of some natural things you can do to boost your immune system and feel better soon.

1. Go barefoot: This might sound hippie-like, but there is science to support the benefits of grounding. Put your feet on natural earth and allow the negative ions from the ground to penetrate your pores. The ions from the earth actually boost and strengthen your immune response and help your body achieve homeostasis. Isn’t nature amazing?

2. Go for a walk: If you’re down and depressed, go for a walk, even just for fifteen minutes. Walking increases endorphins levels and has demonstrated in studies to lower stress and elevate mood

3. Get some sun: Americans Are vitamin D deficient. 15-20 minutes of sunlight a day (no sunscreen!) helps increase vitamin D levels. Studies have found that low vitamin D levels lead to anxiety, depression, immune dysfunction, and susceptibility to illness. It would be wise to supplement with vitamin D daily, especially if you are managing a chronic illness.

4. Elderberry: Taking this herb helps support and promote immune function and provide the body with a rich source of vitamin C. At the first signs of a cold, load up on elderberry. This is a safer option than echinacea if you have an autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s; echinacea can cause thyroid hormone irregularities in some people with autoimmune thyroid issues.

5. Probiotics: if you are not currently taking a probiotic, start immediately. Nothing can dictate good health better than a healthy, nourished, and expansive micro biome. Our immune system’s are mostly controlled by our gut. Studies have shown that poor got health causes chronic illness and inflammation. You can also increase your gut flora by eating fermented foods such as kimchi, which is easy to make at home

6. Oil of Oregano: Oil of oregano capsules act as antibiotics and powerful antifungal’s. At the start of a urinary tract infection, sinus infection or any other bacterial or viral illness, take oil of oregano. This is natures antibiotic that has very few side effects, if any! It will also not destroy your delicate gut flora.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother: And a tablespoon to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the mother to filtered water and drink once or twice daily. This can be done even when you are feeling well to support an optimal pH balance and prevent illness.

8. Garlic: Cook with organic garlic or eat it raw in salad dressings with apple cider vinegar as the base. Garlic is a natural and powerful antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiparasitic. It reduces inflammation systemically and has even been shown to prevent cancer and cancer cell growth. Up your garlic intake at the first signs of a cold or flu.

9. Epsom Salt Bath: take a warm soak in Epsom salt with lavender or eucalyptus essential oil will help sore muscles, joint pain, headaches, and congestion. Epsom salt is high in magnesium and can aid digestive issues, as well. It helps the body detox. An Epsom salt bath can also help ease stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia.

10. CBD Oil: There is a lot of hype right now regarding hemp extracts and the benefits of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD binds to receptors sites in your body that help regulate other systems to achieve homeostasis. CBD has over 30,000 studies to back up the science, helping such conditions as epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and so many more health issues. CBD oil can be taken as a tincture, edible, vape, or applied topically.

11. Eat more Plants: food is medicine, so be mindful of what you are eating. Increase the amount of organic vegetables and fruits you are consuming. Eliminate processed foods, fried food, sugar, and vegetable oils. Cook with Himalayan and Celtic salt. Cleaning up your diet is the best way to ensure good health.

12. Positivity: your mindset establishes your mood. What you think quietly to yourself actually manifests through your body. When you think negative thoughts, your quarters all levels rise and many of your feel good hormones and neurotransmitters decrease. This is why it is so important to think positive thoughts in order to improve your health. Visualize it into reality.

Keep in mind that there is no magic pill to make us healthy. We all have the innate ability within us to be healthy individuals. We all have the innate ability within us to heal, but it is a process that takes mindfulness and conscious eating and living. Pharmaceuticals are not always the answer. Many times, our bodies need some rest, rejuvenation, and a natural solution.

If symptoms don’t improve after following these recommendations, maybe it’s time for physician intervention. Give your incredible self-healing body a chance first, though, to be nourished and supported properly before scheduling that appointment and paying that copay!


Let’s Talk About Cannabis!

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Let’s talk about cannabis.  I mean, really talk about it.  Not like it’s a criminal, but let’s address it as it truly is—a plant, a healing plant.  Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years, so why the pushback?  Why has our government classified cannabis as a Class I drug, alongside heroin, stating that it has no benefit and equal risk to such a dangerous drug?  Crazy is how I see that.  Actually, I see it as fear, jealousy, and smelling of greed.

According to Bob Marley, cannabis is “the healing of a nation.”  He couldn’t have been more correct. I couldn’t even begin to state all the medical indications cannabis addresses.  We don’t even know the breadth of cannabis’ curing power because of the strong thumb hold our government has pressed on its leaves. Why are they fighting so hard? The entire plant would likely put Big Pharma, the lumber, energy, alcohol, tobacco, and plastic industries out of business.  That likely explains it.

Interestingly enough, I’m not alone in my support of the sacred plant.  A Gallup survey taken in 2017 shows that 64% of Americans are in favor of legalized cannabis.  I’m guessing this number has only grown in the last year.

Think of the number of jobs the cannabis industry could bring to our economic table!  It is estimated that by 2021, 292,000 people will be doing some sort of work in the cannabis industry.  That equates to about a 25% job growth rate!

June has brought Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical derivative of CBD to market with an indication for reducing epileptic seizures.  It’s interesting that Big Pharma has fought the legalization of marijuana for so long, yet greedily stole from the earth its natural plant form and twisted it into their synthetic solution.  How much money might they make on this “drug” that we are not allowed to grow ourselves in most states?  Likely billions.

June has also brought Canada to the forefront as revolutionaries, being the first developed country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.  I am going to guess their need for healthcare, hospitalizations, mortality rates, and overall quality of life is going to be influenced greatly.

People have used cannabis to treat ailments, according to the National Institute of Health, for 3,000 years; no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana, and still, there is pushback, keeping sick people from a natural, healthy alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Cannabis benefits have been well documented with research, mostly in countries other than the United States, demonstrating the following benefits:

  1. Managing chronic pain: 10,000 studies—this could potentially positively affect 25 million adults in the United States.
  2. Opioid addiction: Studies demonstrate our opioid crisis can be tempered by the use of cannabis, which fights addiction.
  3. Depression and Anxiety: Evidence demonstrates marijuana relieves depression and PTSD as well as anxiety, dependent on specific strains of the plant. (Clinical Psychology Review)
  4. Cancer:  Cannabinoids have demonstrated in some studies to slow or even kill some types of tumors.  Cannabis also curbs the side effect of chemotherapy such as anorexia and nausea.
  5. Epilepsy: A 2017 study found that cannabidiol, CBD, reduces epileptic seizures, with a 39% reduction in seizure occurrence.
  6. Cannabis also helps with sleep, calming an overactive immune system, such as in the case of autoimmune dysfunction, and reduces overall inflammation.  (British Journal of Pharmacology, 2008)silhouette of women on lake against sky
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I don’t want to drill this in over and over again, but as a budding herbalist, I can’t help but think that most things sprouting from the ground have benefit to the body.  It’s not just chance that we humans and other mammals have an endogenous cannabinoid system equipped with receptor sites that are activated by cannabis and other phytocannabinoids.  In fact, our own bodies create cannabinoid-like substances that are present in breast milk, providing great benefit to infant’s immune systems.  Shouldn’t we be naturally feeding our endocannabinoid systems regularly?  Perhaps a deficiency in our endocannabinoid system is part of the mysterious root cause of diseases we have been told have no cure—multiple sclerosis, ALS, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the list goes on. . .Maybe environmental toxins inactivate our receptor sites and cannabis binding to them “sweeps away” these toxins, allowing our bodies to regulate and maintain homeostasis, greater balance. It is compelling that the endocannabinoid system, which is hardly ever studied in medical school, communicates with every other system in the body.

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I refuse to take Big Pharma’s rendition of cannabis in their chalky pill form or sugary coated in their greed serum.  I’m a woman deep rooted in nature for my health solutions; I want to know where my plants are sourced, who breathed life into them, and that those hands are honest and clean.  I’m skeptical of anything that is FDA-approved.  I’ve already been harmed enough by such monetary approvals that once distorted my healthy body into a knotted, exhausted, auto-immune disease-collecting conundrum.  Nature healed me beautifully.  It gave me my bliss—to pay this mantra forward, one sick and tired person at a time.