Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a traditional Chinese herb used as a powerful immune enhancer and energy booster. Astragalus is a member of the pea family native to China, Asia and parts of the U.S. The root is used as a Qi replenisher (Qi is our life force or vital energy), to prevent illness and aids in the recovery of infections.

The Chinese consider Astragalus as a “warming” tonic herb that works without adding heat to the body, it actually can cool a fever. Astragalus is a valued digestive tonic (good for the spleen),diuretic, adaptogen (helps us handle stress) and can heighten our immune system. Great for colds and flu as it also works as an antiviral by boosting our bodies own natural defenses. Many studies have been done with this herb’s ability to protect the liver by reducing the side effects of many drugs, chemotherapy and radiation. Astragalus extracts have been shown to restore immuno-compromised cells from cancer patients and can even extend the lifespan of human cells in vitro.

Astragalus is sold as teas, capsules and tinctures. In Asia, it is usually made into a soup or broth along with other vegetables and herbs. It is fairly non-toxic, safe and very mild, tasty too! Drink this root as a decoction tea and combine with other herbs such as Licorice, Ginger, Ho shou wu (Fo-Ti) and Don Shen (Codonopsis).

If you are looking for energizing, restorative tea blends you can find them at Ubiquitous Journey in Puyallup, WA or online at

See my other blogs on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or take one of my free herbal classes.  Call Ubiquitous Journey at 253-445-6128 or email for more details and to sign up.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.

Blood & Lymph Cleanse- 4 of 6 Total Body Cleanse

Blood & Lymph Cleanse part 4 of 6

Red Clover Blossom

The Lymph and the Blood play important roles in detoxification in our bodies. The Lymph system is composed of lymph glands & nodes, the spleen, thymus and tonsils. It carries wastes that the cells excrete into the blood stream where it is detoxified and eliminated. Lymph contains white blood cells and antibodies that combat infections and remove infections. Blood supplies oxygen to all cells in our body, transports hormones and vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) If toxins build up in our blood and lymph, our health suffers and diseases like immune deficiency could result.

An important part of cleansing the blood and lymph are a proper diet-add onions garlic, fresh fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of fresh, clean water. Adding herbal teas & bathes will help flush out toxins & waste into the blood and lymph excreted through the urine. One of my favorite herbs for this is Red Clover, a perennial plant found most everywhere.

Red Clover is a very nutritive herb containing calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine and Vitamin C. It also contains Isoflavones, a chemical that acts like estrogen in the body which has been heavily researched. Findings are that Red Clover’s effects on menopausal women reduces hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms. They also found that Red Clover helps with cardiovascular system by increasing blood flow, improving arterial flexibility and helps prevent blood clotting. There has been some evidence that Red Clover may help with certain cancers, but should be avoided in estrogen related cancers, like breast cancer. Pregnant or nursing women, and persons taking blood thinning medications should avoid Red Clover. No serious side effects have been reported with using this herb.

Essential Oils for Baths: Lymph- Geranium, Juniper & Black Pepper

Blood- Rosemary, Cypress & Vetiver

Detox Infusion Tea: Elder Flower, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Oat Straw & Red Clover

Detox Decoction Tea: Burdock Root, Cloves, Hawthorn Berry, Pau’d’Arco, Red Root & Sarsaparilla

Make your own blend or come into Ubiquitous Journey and we can make a blend for you. I will be available on Tuesday’s from 2/28 – 3/27 from 6pm-7pm for Ask the Herbalist and my new Herbal Study Series.


Detox for the New Year 2012 – Colon Cleanse-1 of 6

Spring Clean for 2012 Part One Colon Cleanse

Detoxification is a process our bodies go through to eliminate toxins. We build up these toxins from our environment, workplace, home and from what we consume- food, drugs, alcohol, etc.  Our bodies may need to be cleansed on a semi-regular basis with the main goal to minimize exposure from toxins through healthy diets, exercise, reducing stress, drinking plenty of water and balancing our mental, emotion & spiritual states.

Most of us Americans could use a total body cleanse that may help us with symptoms of sluggishness, irritability, sore joints & muscles, skin rashes, headaches, weight gain, constipation / diarrhea and many others.  Cleansing with herbal teas and capsulated formulas are a great addition to the detox process but it should be done slowly, and with one organ system at a time to experience the full benefits.  First, cleanse the colon and the intestinal system, followed by the kidney & urinary systems; liver & gallbladder; blood & lymph; lungs & respiratory system and lastly the skin.  Each detox program should last from 2-4 weeks depending upon your body’s individual needs.

It’s crucial to first focus on colon cleansing, rebuilding and toning to allow a clear passage of eliminated toxins and removal of stored fecal waste.  Aromatic and bitter herbs help to purge the colon (laxatives) then revitalize the intestinal system with toning and strengthening herbs for support (demulcents & bulk increasing).

Laxative herbs cause contraction of the bowels – Strong- Senna, Cascara, Rhubarb root, Buckthorn & Aloe juice – Mild-Triphala, Rose petals, Fennel & Licorice, to name a few. Use laxatives with caution as they may cause cramping and dependence if used too often.

Demulcent herbs like Marshmallow, Slippery Elm, Irish Moss & Aloe Vera juicehelp increase moisture and flow through the intestines and colon.  It is also important to increase the bulk of the stool and help “scrape” the intestines by adding additional fiber to the diet such as rice / wheat bran, flaxseed and psyllium seed.

I am available to create custom encapsulated formulations and tea blends  at Ubis on Tuesdays from 4pm-6pm or email me to arrange another time.

Please refer to the following websites to learn more about the detoxification processes: