Tis The Season

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It’s the time of year when we need to put ourselves in “time out”! All the stress and craziness of the season leaves us worn down with head spinning so it’s OK to find a quiet corner and spend a few moments just breathing. Listen to the sounds around you, your breath, calm the to do list in your head and just be!

I love sitting by my Christmas Villages (yes I have multiple villages) at night with the lights on, seeing the twinkle of the tree nearby, thinking of the simplicity of the old ways where family, friends, song, good food and drink were most important. Somehow we have let the “things” take over the season. Our family has cut back on some of the “things” the last few years and have brought back a few of the older traditions, which makes for a more relaxing and memorable holiday. What traditions would you like to include this year? What “things” can you do without?

However you celebrate the holidays remember to stop and be thankful for the year you were given, to take time to be with family and friends, and above all just be in the moment!

Happy and safe holidays to all from my family to yours.

Happy Winter Solstice!

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Today is the shortest day of the year and signifies the return of daylight. I have spent the day reflecting on the bounties of the year and what I wanted to release and be done with. Sometimes letting go of what no longer serves you is hard, taking a long hard look at where you are and what has been holding you back takes work. If you can release to the world the ideas, habits or thoughts that limit you it can be liberating! Take time out tonight and reflect and decide what needs to be gone from your life.

 

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Herbal Flu and Cold Relief

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I have been waiting on this tincture to be ready for what seems forever and just in time for cold and flu season! If you are not familiar with tinctures think of them as natures medicine. Before big pharmaceutical companies existed humans relied upon herbal based medicines to help them heal and feel better. So many of the herbs, plants and flowers that you are familiar with have tremendous healing properties and it’s easy, but time-consuming, to harness those benefits.

Making a tincture is one way to make herbal medicine that can be used instead of over the counter medication for headaches, upset tummy, colds and flu just to name a few. Of course always check with a doctor before taking any medication to insure you are correctly diagnosing the problem. A tincture can be made with fresh or dried herbs and plants, can be made with 90-100 proof alcohol and must sit for around 4-6 weeks minimum before use.

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This particular tincture was made with Tito’s Vodka, Echinacea, Thyme, Rosemary and other beneficial herbs mixed together in a mason jar, blended with cold and flu symptoms in mind. It’s been about 7 weeks since I made this blend and will strain it and prepare it for usage.

Echinacea is known for its helpful properties when it comes to colds. It builds the immune system, helps with upper respiratory issues, and reduces pain. Rosemary helps detox the body, reduces pain and inflammation, improves mood, protects against infection and is rich in iron and vitamin B-6. Thyme helps prevent fungal and viral infections, improves mood and supports good respiratory health and breathing. Other herbs used will help strengthen the immune system, fight inflammation, and will boost antioxidants in the system.

Can be taken daily but is used short term, just for cold and flu symptoms. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, young children, or those with high blood pressure. Herbs are powerful medicine when used correctly!

* Disclaimer, I am not a medical doctor, nurse or other licensed health care professional. I’m just giving you my knowledge of plants and herbs.

Immune Boosting Cocktails? Yes!

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Since I shared the recipe for Fire Cider I thought you would like the Cider with Fire Bloody Mary recipe. The holiday season is upon us and if you like to enjoy the occasional cocktail why not make it healthy and immune boosting! This drink is heart healthy, anti-inflammatory, immune system boosting, bone building, cancer fighting, blood pressure lowering, and packed with vitamin C goodness.

Here is my recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cup of low sodium V8 juice
  • 1/4 cup of Hibiscus Cider With Fire
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed.
  • Mix the above ingredients together and pour into glass over ice
  • Add 1 shot of vodka per glass
  • Black pepper and Tabasco can be added to taste.
  • Garnish with olives, bacon or celery sticks.
  • Makes 2, 8 oz servings. Enjoy and here’s to your health!!

 

Benefits of Cedar

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Ever seen a Cedar Tree, you know the tall evergreen that smells and looks lovely this time of year? Did you know that Cedar has wonderful properties that’s good for your skin and body?

Emotionally, cedarwood is said to have a grounding, calming affect on the nervous system and can help by rooting a person and opening their heart. Physically cedarwood can help:

  • improve skin conditions like eczema
  • help relieve arthritis
  • as a natural deodorizer
  • as a natural sedative
  • improve focus and ADHD
  • as a bug repellent
  • stress relief
  • fight fungal infections
  • fight acne

You can buy Cedarwood Essential oils or you can make an oil infusion to use for soaps or salves. There are several ways to make an infusion but here is the one I most commonly work with.

Cut the new tips off cedar branches, or if you have access to a newly cut cedar tree or branch you can use some of the shavings or cedar chips. Pack the cuttings or chips into a mason jar and add oil of you choice. Make sure the oil covers the entire plant and the ratio I use is 1 part plant to 2 parts oil. The oil depends on the end use. Olive oil is a good choice for soap making but I like to use sweet almond oil, apricot kernel or jojobo oil for salves or creams. Label the jar with the oil and date created and let it sit for around 4-6 weeks. Make sure you shake the jar at least once a day. When you are ready to use your oil strain it with either a fine mesh strainer or with cheesecloth. Be sure to squeeze out all the oil! Enjoy the smell and create your soap or salve.

Warning! Cedar oil should never be consumed and avoid the essential oil if pregnant. Always test any oil on a small patch of skin to make sure you do not have any allergic reaction.

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