Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beat the Bloat!~

Ok folks.  Let's not beat around the bush because I know we are all guilty!  We ate waaaay too much food over these last two weeks and chances are a lot of that food didn't have a whole lot of nutritional value...
Guilty as charged.
So, as is traditional, we set our sights on getting our bodies back into balance through diet and exercise... as soon as the lethargy wears off!  One of the best things I have found is having a very beneficial whole grain, like brown rice or quinoa, at every meal for a while.  Yes, even breakfast! See if it doesn't change the way you feel after a few days.  I've been known to mix some rice together with my yogurt for breakfast or eat it alongside some steamed greens.  I realize that may not seem like conventional breakfast food, but seriously!  You will notice a difference in your digestion (a welcome change after the holiday habits) as well as a general healthful feeling.  
Now of course, the foods you eat along with it ought to be healthful as well.  Eating a whole grain like quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) along with a Butterfinger and potato chips is obviously going to be counter-productive.  Be choosy.  Lots of plant based foods with lots of variety and color either mixed in with the quinoa or next to it and I am pretty sure your body will thank you!  
Do not settle for boring and bland!  Check out this great recipe for Quinoa Salad With Apples I found on Pinterest:

This yummy recipe came from keepitskinny.wordpress.com
Or this beauty from Fooddoodles.com for Garlic Fried Rice:


Couple that with some great Yoga classes to get everything open and grounded and the oxygen flowing through your body and your digestive tract will really thank you!
Happy 2012!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SOMETHING IS IN THE AIR~



These final calender months are my absolute favorite.  October brings with it an amazing display of color, crisp fall oxygen... and candy!  November is an amazing time of reflection on all the countless blessings in my life!  And then there's December.  Ah, December.  Getting right down to the roots of my faith and enjoying all the traditions that go along with it.  There are just no words to articulate how I feel about Christmas time, but I'm sure most of you know where I'm coming from!

I don't know about you, but for me, along with all the festivities, there is also a lot of gathering with family and friends.  I want my home to send a message of love and for it to create a warm, festive atmosphere... 
This tends to be a season driven by the sense of smell.  Fresh cut pine, fire in the fireplace,  pies baking...  Many times we like to keep these amazing scents lingering in our homes via air fresheners, plug-ins, candles, etc...  Many of these artificial scents contain phthalates, which are harmful to our health.

But fear not! There are several natural ways to enjoy a good holiday scent without compromising your health. 

Ceramic or Brass Oil Ring~
The lovely thing about the scented oil ring is you can put whatever scent "floats your boat" in it that you want and can change it as often as you like!  You simply put a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the well of the ring and place the ring on top of a light bulb.  The heat then evaporates the oils into the air sending your senses to their happy place.  



One of my favorite oil combinations: Pomander
Essential oil of Sweet Orange and Essential oil of Clove Bud... YUM!

Stove Top~  
Another great way to produce a festive aroma is via the stove top.  Fill up a big pot with water and add great smelling spices and fruit scraps and bring to a simmer.  You can also add essential oils if you wish.

Sticking with the pomander theme, whole clove buds and orange peels added to a simmering pot of water is divine...  But adding them to a pot of apple cider?  Even better!  Double yum!

Room Spray~
A little vodka or rubbing alcohol, a lot of water and some essential oils and you have a much healthier concoction to spray your room with. While I normally like to put my fresheners and cleaners in decorative spray bottles, I absolutely love this picture I found on Pinterest.  It cracks me up!  (Click the link and it will take you to the site for the recipe.)

Pinned Image
http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Green-Cleaning-Recipes/step3/Ghetto-Febreze/

Some other great essential oils to use during this time of year include pine, peppermint, spearmint, frankincense, myrrh, and cinnamon to name a few.  My favorite place to get my essential oils is Mountain Rose Herbs, but you can also find many at your local health food store.  Just one more way to make the season merry and bright!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lipid Central~

I am currently up to my elbows in body butter (which, by the way, makes for some pretty soft elbows), and I'm thinking about all the AMAZING properties of each of the 3 types of butters I incorporate into my fabulous recipe.  Check this out!
Kpangnan Butter~ Sometimes called golden or yellow shea, even though it is not at all related to shea butter.  This amazing butter comes from the African butter tree which makes its home in forests where there is plenty of water.  Kpangnan butter has amazing benefits to the skin as it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  Suffering from a sunburn, eczema, allergy?  Kpangnan will melt into your skin, soothing away any type of inflammation your skin may be experiencing, leaving behind moisturized and silky feeling skin.  The plant sterols in kpangnan have also been known to lower certain cancer risks as well!

Kpangnan Butter (pronounced "pain-ya")
Unrefined Shea Butter~  This amazing butter comes from the wooded Savanna and is very much a part of African history.  Cleopatra herself has been known to use this butter in her own beauty regimen.  Rich in vitamins A, E and F (Essential Fatty Acids!)  this butter soothes and hydrates. Because it is unrefined, it still holds onto all of its effective nutrients giving it that beautiful yellow tint and nice nutty smell.  This butter has fantastic cell regenerative properties and is known for accelerated healing of skin, making it great for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, combating stretch marks, reducing the appearance of scars and aiding in the healing of inflammation!  Hmm, skin renewal and improved circulation... Yes please!!

Unrefined Shea Butter
Mango Butter~ This butter is not as soft and may not works so well as a stand alone butter like the kpangnan and the shea, but has super powers nonetheless! Fights against the signs of aging, heals muscle fatigue and pain, heals skin cracks (cracked heels anyone?) and has crazy-good regenerative properties.  Did you know that many dermatologists actually recommend mango butter when it comes to fine lines and wrinkles?

Refined Shea Butter
All of these butters have individual super powers, but together they are a terrific trio! Combined with all the great oils I include (we'll save that for another blog!), this butter is my salvation, after a long day in the sun and especially in the dry winter months. And scented with pure essential oils, you just can't go wrong!

** All butters are scented with pure essential oils except Survivor Butter, Amber Rush and Lemongrass/Sage**


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Big Hearts

Hooray!  Within 48 hours of launching my limited edition Survivor Butter By Ellisyn (Jasmine/Vanilla), I sold out!  I wasn't sure what type of response to expect, and was "under-prepared" for the outcome... But I am so pleased at the love that has been shown! Thanks to all the big hearted people (who now also smell good! =) )
That being said, I am (literally) whipping out more Survivor Butter as fast as I can, so tell your friends! Tell your neighbors!  Tell your friends' neighbors!! Remember that $5.00 from every purchase goes to help offset Elli's medical bills... And I want to write a big fat check!
As a small and still fairly new business, this experience helped me realize some of the kinks that I need to work out as well, so...
I have included a "buy now" button on Ellisyn's page and there you can pay with paypal. (See tab at the top of this page titled Ellisyn.)
If you are local (Salem area), go ahead and leave a comment at the bottom of this post or send me an email at phytotherapy@live.com and I will arrange delivery.  Please type Survivor Butter in the subject line.
Feel free to ask me any questions or let me know if there is anything else I can do.
Don't forget to check out other Phytotherapy "flavors" of butters as well, both on Poppy Swap and Etsy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Help A Sister Out!

Ellisyn is a 5 year old family member of mine who is vibrant, brave, and beautiful!  In March, she was Life Flighted to the hospital with a tumor on her kidney that had ruptured.  Since then she has been battling the nasty beast that is cancer.  She is so brave and so determined, and did I mention beautiful?
Well, my heart wants to do soooooo much more for her and her family than my purse strings will allow.  That's when I had the idea that the very fashion forward Ellisyn could help me design a body butter with a scent she likes and name it.  So that's what we did, and that was the birth of "Survivor Butter By Ellison" which boasts a very light, loverly scent of Jasmine~Vanilla:






$15 plus shipping
These amazing limited edition butters will sell for $15.00 each and $5.00 from each sale will go to help Ellisyn's family with all of the financial obligations that go along with this battle. If you are interested in buying a butter that will "help a sister out" and help you "smell well" as Ellisyn's mom would say, then please send me an email with your order to phytotherapy@live.com.  You can also purchase one at my Etsy Shop.  There is a $2.50 shipping charge, but if you note in your email that you are local, I can arrange a delivery.  Thanks so much for your support!

Kassi (mom) and Ellisyn at our Thanksgiving gathering.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bzzzz!


One thing my family loves to do in the summer is go camping.  I love camping!  I hate bug bites!!  So as part of the pre-trip ritual, I am preparing bug repelling sprays and itch relieving balms.
Tea tree oil is a well known bug repeller.  By simply adding several drops to 1 cup of water, you can pour this mixture into a spray bottle, mix well and spray on skin and even your hair.  Very inexpensive and very effective.  But NEVER apply tea tree oil directly onto skin!  (That goes for just about any essential oil~  these are highly concentrated oils that can burn your skin.)
 
Another great bug spritz recipe I found from Aura Cacia, that's a little more spendy but really great, goes a little something like this:
12 drops Citronella Essential Oil
12 drops Geranium Essential Oil
12 drops Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
12 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil
4oz water
Pour into a mister, shake well and apply!

Now, anyone who camps or gardens knows, there is always that one bug that finds that one place you didn't spray.  Go figure!  For that I usually make a really simple balm with plantain.  That's right, that yucky weed is good for something! 

Begin by infusing 1/2 cup of dried plantain into an oil like grapeseed oil.  You do this by placing both ingredients into an oven safe bowl.  Coat all of the plantain thoroughly with the oil and place in a 200 degree oven that has been turned off.  Leave in oven for about 3 hours.  Once the infusion is complete, strain the herbs with cheesecloth and allow the oil to collect back into the bowl.  Squeeze the cheesecloth so you can get those final and potent drops out of the herbs. After that, add about 2-3 Tablespoons of beeswax and allow to melt.  (The more beeswax you use, the firmer your balm... Likewise, if you use less you will have a creamer salve.)  While it is still in liquid form, pour into a tin or other container and allow to cool and harden.  Make sure you label before storing in your first aid kit.
This balm is great not only for bug bites but also bee stings!

Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Where it all started...

A couple of years ago I was really searching for ways to take care of my family's physical health in a much more natural way.  My intention was to find a way to study herbalism without all the new-age hullaballoo.  I was praying that I could find something biblically based~ but wasn't actually expecting to find anything...  Well, I should know God better than that!  If he put the desire in my heart, surely he had a plan.  In my search, I was SO blessed to discover the Vintage Remedies School of Natural Health.  VR has so many different programs concerning natural health and they are all biblically based, and all designed for the busy mommies and daddies who may not be able to study on a regular basis.

It has completely changed my life and my family's.  While I am currently a Family Herbalist, I am still on my path to becoming a Master Herbalist.  Thanks to Vintage Remedies, Phytotherapy was born and I'm able to reach for dreams/goals I didn't even realize I had!  If learning these amazing skills, even if just for the sake of you and your family, sounds like something you might be interested in, I highly recommend you check it out!



http://www.vintageremedies.com

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's practically June for cryin' out loud!

So, today my daughter stayed home with an extremely sore throat and stuffy nose.  Fine.... Except that tomorrow is the first day of June!  This is the type of thing that should happen anywhere from October to February!  But be that as it may, there are two weeks left of school, and those happen to be the two busiest weeks of the year for her and our whole family.  She is performing as "Minnie May" in our community's theatre production of "Anne of Green Gables" nearly every day this week and several days next week.  She is also wrapping up the school year with choir performances... Not a good time for swollen glands and a sore throat!
But have no fear, mommy herbalist is here with a recipe (that I usually only bust out with in fall and winter) that is the perfect remedy for a cough and sore throat~ and it is super delicious as well!

ELDERBERRY SYRUP
 1/2 cup of dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh)

5 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 Tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

2 cups of water, and

1 cup of honey


I like to use local honey rather than store brand because it is very helpful in building a tolerance to local allergens!


Combine elderberries, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and water in a pan on stove and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.  (You want decoction to be reduced by about 1/2.)
Strain decoction and add honey.  Let cool a bit and then pour into jar or bottle.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS label homemade remedies with name and ingredients.  Then you may store in fridge for up to two weeks.
If you are trying to avoid getting sick, you can take a spoonful every day.  If you are already sick, like poor Maddi, you may take a spoonful every hour.  I'm not gonna lie~ I even like to pour this stuff on my ice cream!... So, I guess June is as good a time as any to make this wonderful syrup.  This stuff is full of antiviral properties, antioxidants and flavinoids... and yum power!

 



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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Father's Day Discount

Now through Father's Day, receive a 10% discount by using coupon code 1SalemEtsy10.  Just click on the picture below to go to the shop.  
Midnight Body Butter boasts a masculine scent featuring Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang and a smidge of Lavender.  The natural butters and oils used to make this product are beneficial for those "rough edges" after long hard days at work!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Win a Grapefruit Body Butter!!

Vintage Remedies, the school I earned my Family Herbalist certification from, and am currently studying Master Herbalism through, is celebrating its 4th anniversary on June 2nd!  This very fun online celebration is open to the public and there will be many chances to win many prizes including a 4oz tin of Grapefruit Body Butter from Phytotherapy!
This is a perfect scent for summertime~ a great way to say goodbye to gray days and hello sun!  Perfect for after-sun moisture!
To enter, join the party at
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=115664738518794
on June 2nd, from 6pm-9pm Central Time.  Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Setting up Shop...

Well, it's been a bit of a slow moving thing, but I now have a shop on Etsy and am learning how to set it up with all the bells and whistles. Not only am I having fun in my own little creative bubble, but I am meeting so many other creative minds... I love this! There is certainly something to be said for local, handcrafted items that come from the creative genius of real people...  It's a beautiful thing!
Currently in my shop I have a collection of body butters made from Organic, Natural and/or Fairly Traded ingredients such as mango butter, shea butter, kpagnan butter, and pure essential oils.  My newest addition is Mandarin/Nutmeg, and, yes, it smells as good as it sounds!  As I'm learning the Etsy ropes, (and nearing summer vacation) it is my intention to add more items such as baby balms, lip balms, bath teas, herbal pillows, and other natural products as well as unique and repurposed items. 
As for what's to come on this blog, health and wellness advice, aromatherapy advice, and maybe even a recipe or two!  I will also keep you posted on specials and discounts, not only from my own Etsy shop, but other shops of interest here in Salem.  Currently, you can receive a 10% discount with my shop, as well as several other Salem Etsy Shops, now through Father's Day. (See site for details).
Come take a peek.  I think you'll enjoy what you find!

Phytotherapy~ http://www.etsy.com/shop/phytotherapy

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phytotherapy/151515108233275

Salem Etsy Team~ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Salem-Etsy-Team-Public-Fan-Page/205939549421598

http://www.salemetsy.com/