Making Your Own Encapsulated Herbal Formula

Making your own encapsulated formula is a easy way to take herbs on a daily basis for both healing and as “food”. Herbs are not only medicinal, they are also nutritive providing our bodies with vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

Generally, we take encapsulated herbs that are:

  1. either bitter tasting or mucilaginous
  2. need to be taken for a long period of time
  3. herbs that should be taken in small amounts.

Mild herbs that require large doses are not good choices for a formula, they may be better taken as a tea.

Choosing your formula should not intimidate you. Single herbs or combinations of up to 3-5 herbs work best. If there are too many herbs in your formula you will not get an effective medicinal dose. Choose one or 2 that are your “main” herbs and then another couple as “assisting” herbs. For example, a great formula for arthritis could be Tumeric and Ashwaganda as the main herbs for their anti-inflammatory actions, assisting with Gotu Kola for tissue regeneration and Triphala as a general tonic good for all body systems. For each ounce of powdered herbal formula, mix .3 oz Tumeric, .3 oz Ashwaganda, .2oz Gotu Kola and .2 oz Triphala as a recipe for your formula combination.

What you need to encapsulate your formula are:

  1. your herbal formula- dried, ground, good quality herbs
  2. gelatin capsules-either small “0” or larger “00”
  3. bowl and spoon to mix herbs
  4. capping machine (optional, saves time)

Mix your formula well with a spoon inside a clean glass bowl or deep dish. Separate gel capsules into two parts, fill both ends of the capsule with your powdered herbs. Pack them firmly until they are almost full. Carefully join the two ends closing the capsule. Encapsulate herbs by hand can be a bit time consuming. Using a capsule machine with speed up the process, is easy to use and will save you money in the long run.

Take your formula with meals and drink plenty of tea or water to wash them down and help dissolve the capsules. The typical dose is 2 capsules, three times daily. The actual dose may vary depending on the herbs used and the condition being treated.

If you need help, customized formulations can be blended based on your body type and medical issues. For additional information and to purchase herbs, capsules and capping machines please visit blog.thepondpad.com or email me at herbalelements@comcast.net

If you are local, stop by Ubiquitous Journey in Puyallup, WA 253.445-6128 www.ubjourney.com

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

 

 

Anise Seed

Anise, Pimpinella anisum, is an aromatic annual herb with feathery leaves, umbels of yellow flowers and ridged, gray green seeds. It is native to the Mediterranean coasts cultivated Spain, Turkey and Egypt for over 4000 years. The seeds have been used medicinally for digestive and respiratory ailments and as a flavoring in foods and liqueurs such as French anisette and Greek ouzo.

We still value the traditional uses of Anise today as an herb that stimulates the body to secrete fluids clearing out congestion and settling digestion. Anise is used as an expectorant and anti-spasmotic for respiratory conditions Continue reading

Relax with Passionflower

Blue Crown Passionflower

Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea, P. incarnata) is a beautiful climbing vine native to North, Central and South America. It can grow up to 30′ bearing deep green, lobed leaves, purple / blue & white flowers followed by egg shaped fruit. The name Passionflower comes from the analogy of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The three styles represent the three nails used on the cross, five stamens for the five wounds he suffered and the blue and white colors are for purity.

For over 200 years, passionflower has been effectively used for anxiety, relieving muscle tension, and as a central nervous system depressant effective in treating nerve pain (neuralgia and shingles). Studies in France concluded that Passionflower is beneficial for restless leg syndrome, depression, ADD, insomnia and as antispasmodic useful for those with Parkinson’s disease, seizures, asthma and hysteria.

Passionflower is a source of the antioxidant chrysin, which helps the body conserve testosterone (aiding men and woman with diminished sex drive), reduces blood pressure and stops the growth of certain thyroid cancers. Chysin is also been found to alleviate nausea and vomiting as a result of drug withdrawal from cocaine, opiates and heroine.

The dried leaves are used in teas and tinctures, alone or combination with Hops, Valerian and Jamaican Dogwood. Passionflower can cause sleepiness and increase the effects of both alcohol and psychoactive drugs (sedatives and tranquilizers). You should avoid the use of passionflower if you take an MAO inhibitor and during pregnancy. Adults over the age of sixty five and children between the ages of 2-12 should only use low dose forms and children under the age of 2 should not be given this herb(substitute catnip).


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

 

Rejuvinate with Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been used in India for thousands of years as a rasayana (rejuvenative), aphrodiasiac and as an adaptogenic herb (relieving long term stress in the body). It is a small shrub belonging the the Nightshade family bearing yellowish flowers that ripen into red berries. In Hindi, Ashwagandha means “like a horse” referring to its unique smell and it’s rejuvenating properties. It’s also nicknamed  “Indian Ginseng” as it is used similarly as ginseng is in Chinese Medicine.

There have been many recent studies in Indian and Japan showing Ashwagandha effective for depression, anxiety, regeneration of nerve cells, inhibiting cancer cell growth and may also help protect immune function during chemotherapy treatment. Ashwagandha is thought to benefit patients suffering from Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s diseases and other neurodegenative conditions.

Historically, Ashwagandha has been used by men and women as a reproductive tonic, working especially well for men. It is a slightly warming herb, good for Vata and Kapha excess, with calming, mild and sedative effects. The root is typically used in powder form in encapsulated formulas or mixed with warm milk and honey taken before bedtime. 1-6 capsules can be taken, with smaller doses working up to larger if needed. High doses may cause stomach discomfort or diarrhea and should not be taken by pregnant women.

Medical Disclaimer:   The following information is for educational information and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult with your Medical Practitioner when ever needed. 

Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon, Momordica charantia, is an annual climbing vine growing to 6ft with deeply lobed leaves, yellow flowers and orange-yellow fruit. Native to southern Asia, Bitter Melon is also found in Africa and tropical areas throughout the world used for food and medicine.
Also known as Cerasee, Bitter Melon has been traditionally used in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean to treat the symptoms of diabetes, colds/flu, parasites/worms, digestive and skin disorders. Current research on the unripe fruit has shown useful in treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Herpes/HIV and Diabetes.
Bitter Melon extracts can be 2-3 times more effective than the popular drug Acyclovir (Zoviax) in treating herpes viruses. CFS has been connected to herpes infections and may be useful in treating this disorder as well.
For diabetes treatment, Bitter Melon improves the bodies ability to balance blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance. It works by lowering blood sugar levels and stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin. Although is works great for those with type 2 diabetes (adult onset), bitter melon should be avoided by those with with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Bitter Melon is available in extracts, tea, juice, or whole fruit form. It should be taken for 4 weeks, then discontinued for 4 weeks. Pregnant women and those with serious liver conditions should avoid this herb. Consult with your medical practitioner or experienced professional herbalist if you are on any medications before taking this herb.
If you are interested in an Herbal Consultation, please contact us at Ubi’s or contact Kerri Bailey, Certified Herbalist, at 253.332.2158 or email herbalelements@comcast.net to set up an appointment. www.ubjourney.comblog.thepondpad.com
The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.

Astragalus

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 www.ubjourney.com in Puyallup, WA or online at blog.thepondpad.com.

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 herbalelements@comcast.net 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.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

 

  Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM has been an herbal tradition dating back to 200BC. It is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang, the five elements, and how nature (our environment) effects our health. The Chinese believe that everything has Yin and Yang aspects, which are opposites like day or night. They look for patterns of disharmony when assessing one’s health with ill health being a result of a deficiency or excess between Yin or Yang.  Here are some aspects of Yin vs. Yang.

Yin           Feminine, Substance, Material, Conservative, Quiescent, Conserves inner  Vitality, The Earth & Moon, Night,  Water and  Viscera (internal organs)

Yang       Masculine,  Function, Activity,  Aggressive,  Active, Protects Body Strength, The Sky & Sun, Day, Fire and Somatic(structure-muscles, bones)

  The five elements corresponds to the five natural elements and how they relate to the fundamentals of the seasons, emotions, tastes and parts of the body. This five phase or element theory- wood, fire, earth, metal & water- has a central role in TCM representing the continual process of life. The five elements are interrelated in two ways- trophism and suppression. Trophism relates to production and stimulation- Wood produces Fire, Fire produces Earth, Earth produces Metal, Metal produces Water.   Suppression is inhibition- Metal suppresses Wood, Wood suppresses Earth, Earth suppresses Water, Water suppresses Fire and Fire suppresses Metal. Each is suppressed by another and each can suppress another. Their interactions are related and the ideal body health being that all are in proper balance within and among each other.

Element        Wood           Fire              Earth             Metal               Water

Location        East           South           Center            West             North

Season         Spring       Summer       Midsummer      Fall            Winter

Climate         Windy          Hot               Wet, Damp       Dry             Cold

Taste              Acid           Bitter              Sweet          Pungent       Salty

Emotion       Anger          Joy             Reflection        Grief            Fear

Chinese herbs have made their way into our cupboards used for cooking and spices as well as many types of herbal and green tea blends. When choosing a Chinese herb, use it’s actions to your advantage to help balance the five elements and the Yin/Yang within your body.


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

 

 

 

 

Skin Detoxification Part 6 of 6 Total Body Cleanse

Skin Detoxification Part 6 of 6- Total Body Cleanse

It has been said that “the skin is a mirror of what is going on inside of our bodies”. Now take a long look at your skin, what is it telling you?

Our skin is the largest detox organ that releases toxins through sweat, rashes or abscesses. The skin also protects internal organs like the kidneys, liver and heart from overwork due to toxic overload. Skin is made up of two layers- the Epidermis and the Dermis. The Epidermis is the outer protective layer that is only about a millimeter thick. Epidermal cells produce lipids (keeps skin moist), keratin and and vitamin D from sunlight. The Dermis is the inner skin layer composed of connective tissue and the proteins collagen and elastin which give the skin strength & elasticity.

You may need a skin cleanse if you have any of the following:

  • Acne, Age Spots, Sallow or Uneven Skin (poor liver function)
  • Wrinkles, Sagging or Dry Skin (free radical damage)
  • Puffy Eyes, Crusty Eyes, Dark Circles (over load of fluid wastes)
  • Rashes, Bumps and Sores (overload of unexcreted waste)
  • Chronically Chapped, Itchy, Oily, Scaly Skin (toxic overload)

A proper diet with limited processed foods and drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily can improve skin health and overall appearance. Drinking herbal teas can help flush out toxins internally and used externally as a skin wash on problem areas.

There are many herbs that benefit the skin, one of my favorites is PNW native Oregon Grape. There are many species of Oregon Grape- Mahonia aquifolium is the most popularly used and is the state flower of Oregon. They make an attractive landscape plant having evergreen, holly-like leaves and bright, yellow spring flowers followed by purplish-blue berries. Oregon Grape contains Berberine, a bitter chemical also found in Barberry and Goldenseal which gives them their yellow color.

Oregon Grape Root has been used as a treatment for bacterial infections, diarrhea, gastritis and skin problems. It is effective for psoriasis, eczema, acne and allergic rashes as an external skin wash and internally for a short term (up to 3 weeks). Do not use if you are pregnant, diabetic, have excessive heart burn or take anti-anxiety drugs.

Decoction Tea: Pau d’arco, Marshmallow, Dandelion Root, Oregon Grape Root, Burdock Root. You may want to add honey or Stevia to help with the bitterness. Drink 2-3 cups per day for 1-3 weeks depending on your skins condition. You should see a noticeable improvement.

If you would like to know more about Detoxification join me for my free class at Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday March 13 at 6pm see www.ubjourney.com for more information.

Always consult  your health care professional when needed.  This information is for education purposes, always exercise common sense.

 

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis name means “dew of the sea”) is an evergreen shrub or shrublet native to seaside cliffs of the Mediterranean region. This tough and versatile plant thrives in full sun tolerating poor alkaline soil & drought.

There are various forms of rosemary from stiff upright shrubs, to low growing creepers, with heights ranging from less than 1′ to up to 6′ tall. Rosemary has glossy green leaves and winter or spring blooms of various shades of blue (rarely white or pink). The edible flowers can be used in salads, as garnish; are attractive to bees, butterflies & birds.

The aromatic leaves are widely used as a seasoning for all kinds of meat dishes (especially lamb), casseroles, marinades, baked fish, rice, salads, vinegar and oil. The leaves have been used for many centuries for external and internal medicinal preparations for nervous disorders, upset stomach, baldness, headaches, pain, arthritis, and bruises. More recently, rosemary has been researched and findings show positive results for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, indigestion, menstrual cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, circulatory problems, eczema and rheumatic disorders. Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant with antiseptic and antispasmodic properties. It can be taken as a tea internally or used externally as a skin wash. The essential oil is a great bath additive for sore muscles.

You can grow your own rosemary in herb gardens, containers or window boxes. Choose the hardiest variety for your area. Avoid planting rosemary in wet areas and protect from harsh winter winds (may need protection). Here are two of my favorite rosemaries, one is a low grower and the other is an upright grower.

Red Flowering’ Rosemary. This compact bush grows 24” tall by 18” wide bears attractive pink flowers with dark red hued detail. Deer resistant, drought tolerant and hardy to zone 7. Use in the landscape as a small hedge, in herb gardens or in containers.

‘Tailing Irene’ Rosemary. Creeping trailer that grows 6-12” tall spreading 30-36”. This late winter / early spring bloomer has delicate light blue flowers. Deer resistant, drought tolerant and hardy to zone 7. Use in containers, window boxes or hanging baskets. Works great as a ground cover for erosion control in rock gardens, banks and walls.

You should always consult your health care professional when needed. Pregnant women should avoid rosemary. Large or excessive use of the essential oil may cause irritations. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe and vice versa. All Drugs and herbs have side effects and influence each other.

If you would like to know more about rosemary and growing herbs, join me for Herbal Kitchen & Tea Garden Class at Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday March 20th at 6pm and on Saturday March 24th at 10:30am and Sunday March 25th at 11:30am at The Pond Pad at Alpine Nursery. Email for more details: herbalelements@comcast.net

References:  Blooming Nursery  www.bloomingnursery.com;  Sunset Western Garden Guide; Prescriptions for Natural Healing by Phyllis A. Bach

Lung Detox Part 5 of 6

Lung Detoxification Part 5 of 6- Total Body Cleanse

 The lungs are an important part of the respiratory system responsible for extracting oxygen from the air we breathe. Oxygen then combines with hemoglobin in the red blood cells and is then carried to the rest of the body. The lungs have the greatest exposure of any organ to toxins from the environment from the air we breathe.

   There are 3 diseases that effect the bronchial tubes inside the lungs- asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Asthma consists of  breathing difficulties and bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Both can be triggered by toxins, which can be reversible in their early stages. Emphysema destroys elasticity in the lungs and is irreversible.

   Detoxification for the lungs is an important step in keeping our bodies healthy by removing toxins, cleansing, and rebuilding. Herbal teas can be an essential part of any cleanse utilizing herbs that reduce inflammation & congestion and strengthen the lungs. Teas should be consumed 2-3 times a days for 2-3 weeks, longer if you are or were a smoker. Vitamin E oil has been shown to protect the fluid lining the lungs and can be a benefit to smokers and can be taken during a lung detoxification program.

One of my favorite herbs for the lungs is Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, a hardy, tall biennial with fuzzy leaves and bright yellow flowers. Mullein is a relaxing and antiseptic herb that lubricates and heals lung tissues. It is used for almost any respiratory problem and helps to maintain the acid/alkali balance in the lungs. Use Mullein with other herbs in teas such as Lobelia, Lungwort, White Horehound, Hyssop, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Vervain, Nettle and Thyme.

Decoction Lung Tea: Licorice root, Bloodroot, Pleurisy root, Pau d’arco, Fenugreek

Infusion Lung Tea: Mullein, White Horehound, Hyssop or Vervain, Lobelia or Coltsfoot and add Mint or Lemon Balm for taste

Add a pinch of Stevia or local honey as a sweetener if desired.

If you would like to learn more about Detoxification, join me at Ubiquitous Journey www.ubjourney.com on Tuesday March 13th at 6pm for a free class on the Total Body Cleanse. Email herbalelements@comcast.net for additional information and to sign up.

Kerri Bailey is a Certified Herbalist and has been working with herbs since 1989.  She holds a BS in Biology and owns blog.thepondpad.com and a water garden store The Pond Pad www.alpinegrows.com.

Always consult your health care professional when needed.  The information in this article is for educational purposes.