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 to set up an appointment.
The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.


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.

Feeding Koi & Goldfish

by Kerri Bailey

How Often Should I feed my  Koi & GoldFish?

Water Temperature = # Daily Feedings & Total Amt. to Feed (/body weight)


>50°F 0  0 do not feed                         5055°F  1-2 times a week >1%

5560°F 2 times a week 0.5%              6065°F 3-4 times a week 1%

6570°F 1 X day 1.5%                           7075°F 2 X day 2%

7580°F 3 X day 2.5%                           8085°F 2 X day 1.5%

8590°F 1 X day 1%                             <90°F 0  0 do not feed

We feed our fish to maximize and enhance their vibrant colors, growth, and longevity. Koi are omnivorous opportunistic feeders that need a balanced diet of protein and plant matter. Just don’t overfeed, it’s better to under feed than overfeed! Take out uneaten food before it spoils the water-adding to algae blooms.    

Healthy Water=Healthy Fish

What type of diet should I feed my fish?  

Koi are naturally bottom feeders, so feeding floating food is best. There are several types of food on the market-flakes, sticks or pellets. Feeding a mix of foods and cold water or wheatgerm based diets are great for the Pacific Northwest, where we have colder water.

Protein-helps increase growth & reproduction 31-42% crude protein Fats give fish energy, 2-3% crude fat. Carbohydrates offer an energy boost but also help fish process nutrients (cheerios and oatmeal). Vitamins and minerals regulate their metabolism and Vitamin C aids immunity.

How do I start to feed my fish in the Spring?

Start off with Cold water fish food / wheatgerm diet, or you can feed uncooked Quaker Oats or pre-soaked Cheerios. Feed sparingly to start to reduce the risk of illness- if scales beginning to raise or turn red, stop feeding and watch them. If the scales don’t go down, try treating with an antibacterial medication and move fish into a heated hospital tank.

If you have any questions please direct them to

Kerri Bailey, owner of The Pond Pad, has been working with aquatic plants and herbs since 1989 and has been in the pond and horticulture industry since 1998.  She has a BS in Biology and is a Certified Herbalist. 




Water Lily Facts


Sulphurea Hardy Water Lily

Waterlilies are an essential feature for every water garden.  They are one of the oldest, most sacred plants used as an important native species to many people in several countries for food and medicine.  The water lily family- Nymphaeaceae- is one of the oldest plant families of water plants found scattered throughout the world.  There are four other genera in this family- Euryale (Gorgon plant), Nelumbo (Lotus), Nuphar (Spatterdock) and Victoria (Amazon Lily).

Tropical Water Lily

There are 40 species of water lilies (Nymphaea) worldwide and many hybrids that are split into two main groups- Hardy and Tropical. The differences are in temperature hardiness, leaf structure, flower color and performance.   Typically the brighter & more colorful the flower, the more complex it’s genetic history.

Hardy Water Lilies are:

  • Day Bloomers, flowers come in peach, changeable, pink, red, white and yellow.  Flowers usually lay on the waters surface or slightly above. Many are scented.
    Hardy Water Lily
  • Leaves have rounded and smooth edges 1″-12″ wide depending upon species/variety. They have a split that runs from the outer edge to the middle of the leaf that joins the stem (petiole).
  • Hardy, from zone 3 (Alaska) to zone 9 (Florida).  They can stay in your pond year round.  New purchases can be placed into pond in April.

Tropical Water Lilies are:

  • Day or night blooming, flowers come in stunning, often electric colors of red, pink,
    Tropical Water Lily

    white, yellow, green, purple and “blue”.  Most flowers are scented and stand high above the water surface.

  • Leaves are rounded to oval shape, with a split and have wavy edges.
  • Tropicals need a water temperature of 65-70 deg. F.  New plants must be put in the pond when it’s warm, usually in May or June.  Thermal pots can help keep your tropical warm, or you can over winter them inside or treat as an annual.

How Water Lilies Grow:  The leaf starts growing from the root crown (rhizome) outward and as the leaf ages the petiole grows long and reaches the water surface.  They grow and multiple spreading several feet.  As the leaf ages, it yellows and dies and new ones take their place. Waterlilies breathe through stomatas on the top of their leaves, another reason why they prefer more stiller water.

Purple Tropical Lily-Left, Hardy Pink-Right

Flowers grow straight upward from the crown until they reach the water surface. Some older lily varieties have only one flower blooming at one time, with most newer varieties 6-7 flowers or more open at one time. Most individual flowers last around 5 days, opening and closing every day (or night).

Flower Types:  Classified as Stellate (star shaped), Rounded, or Peony-shaped.  Petal count is between 12-100 with the outer sepal usually green, inner petals colored.  In the center is the stigmatic disc which is usually yellow or orange, where pollination happens.

If you would like to learn more about Waterlilies- see my other blogs on  Water Lily Care and How to Pot Water Lilies.  Kerri Bailey, The Pond Pad

Kerri Bailey is the owner of The Pond Pad water garden store located inside Alpine Nursery in Puyallup, WA.  Kerri has been working with aquatic plants and herbs since 1989 while she was undergoing her BS in Biology.  She has been working in the horticulture and water garden industry since 1998.