Herbs for Wellness: Cold and Flu Season…

IMG_5464So it’s the time that the topic of many conversations is illness.  “Did you hear Suzie has the flu?  She has never been sicker in her life. ”  “I just ran into Joe and he has the worst cold. He hasn’t been well for 3 weeks now and just can’t seem to get better.”  Fortunately, there are herbal allies and holistic ways to help us resist and recover from winter nasties.

Remember, stress is the number one cause of illness.  We get run down, sleep less, eat food that’s not nutritious, stress about everything and wonder why we are more susceptible to illness.  It’s time to take a deep breath and a calm approach.  We all know the common sense things to do: wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, stay home if you’re sick, cough into your elbow instead of your hand, take off your shoes when you get home, the list goes on and on.  Well, what if you do all those things and you find yourself or a loved one still became ill?  Don’t panic!  Herbs have been used for thousands of years to promote well being and to encourage your immune system to heal quicker.

These immune boosting powerhouses are particularly helpful this time of year.

Elderberry:  used as an immune system booster and to prevent and ease symptoms of colds and flu

Echinacea: used to strengthen the immune system, it’s antimicrobial and reduces the length of colds

Ginger: another powerhouse that’s anti inflammatory, antibiotic and antimicrobial

Goldenseal:  an ancient remedy that is antibiotic, anti inflammatory and immune boosting

Wow, that’s a lot of amazingness from little dried pieces of plants, isn’t it?  So how can you incorporate them into your daily life?  The easiest way is tea!

Herbs are shelf stable and have the bonus of being easy to use.  Just boil some water, add a teaspoon of a dried herbal blend to a steeper or teabag, cover with 8 ounces of hot water and infuse for at least 5 minutes.  Remove the herbs.  You can choose to add honey for even more healing benefits.  Let it cool enough to drink and sip throughout the day.  Teas are a wonderful place to start, and make sure to keep yourself warm and cozy and get lots of extra rest until you’re feeling better.IMG_5472

You can make your own blend or I offer an Immune Boost Tea that’s ready to go!   As always, consult with your doctor first if you’re not feeling well.  It’s not the time of year to take chances.  If you have any questions, I’m here for you and I’m sending wishes of a healthy and happy winter!

*Note: This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Do not use if allergic to any ingredients.  I recommend you consult your healthcare provider prior to use if you are pregnant or nursing, taking any medications or if you have a medical condition. If irritation occurs discontinue use.

twig leaf flower is an organic vegan gluten free aromatherapy and herbal tea collection lovingly handmade in Dallas, PA by master herbalist and clinical aromatherapist Rebecca Nicely.

Let Your Roses Live On

Looking for something to do with your Valentine roses? Separate the petals by twisting off the bases and spread them out on a single layer on a cookie sheet that’s lined with parchment paper. You can let them air dry or bake the petals for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit or until the petals are crisp. If they’re still flexible, bake for 2 more minutes and recheck. Let them cool completely and store in an airtight jar like a mason jar. They’re a beautiful addition to any bath. Keep in mind that they should never be used in tea unless you know they’ve never been sprayed with pesticides. #roses #valentine #twigleafflowerroses

Bottle of mint essential oil on wooden background with selective focus.

Did you know that essential oils can offer natural relief from allergy symptoms? They  help reduce inflammation, which is the cause of most of the severe allergic responses, they can help bolster your immune system making your body less vulnerable to allergy triggers and they can block the allergens from entering your home and your body in the first place. What more can you ask for?

Here are a few essential oils I rely on during allergy season:

Lemon Essential Oil helps with lymphatic drainage and helps soothe respiratory conditions.

Peppermint Essential Oil works as a relaxant and will help clear your sinuses.

Lavender Essential Oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also a natural antihistamine.  So it can strengthen your body against allergens and reduce many of the painful symptoms of your allergies.  A drop of Lavender oil applied to the skin can also help treat rashes and hives that can appear from skin allergies.

Try a diffusion blend or a blended roll on remedy and see the amazing difference nature can do for you before you run to the pharmacy for a pill.

If you’d like more information or to purchase an organic aromatherapy Allergy Relief Blend, please visit the link below.

 

 

 

Lavender Love- How to Dry Lavender

Drying-English-Lavender-square3-MediumThis is one of my favorite times of year!  Everything is a beautiful green and new flowers and herbs are popping up each day.  As many of you know, lavender is my absolute favorite!  My plants are blooming and it’s time to start drying them to use throughout the year.  Don’t be intimidated by drying herbs, it’s much easier than you think, and it will add a touch of sunshine even during the dark days of winter.  I’m going to walk you through this simple and rewarding process.

Gathering Lavender:

The first step is to gather together a long stemmed type of lavender.  If your particular lavender is leafy,  you can just remove the excess leaves from the base of each stem.  It is best to pick your lavender before it is in full bloom.  This ensures that the dried buds will retain their fragrance for longer time, and it also means that they won’t fall apart as they dry.

As with most herbs, the best time to harvest is in the morning after the dew has disappeared.

Drying Lavender Buds:

If you want to only dry lavender buds or petals, remove the fresh lavender from the stalks, keeping the purple lavender heads.

Line a box with newspaper and place your lavender heads in a single layer in the bottom of the box.  Store this box in a warm, dry place. Each day, gently shake your buds to aerate.  Once dried, you can separate the lavender heads off the bud grouping.

How To Dry Lavender Bunches:

To dry lavender bunches, simply cut long stems of lavender.  Gather a small bunch and secure the stems together with a rubber band.  The lavender will shrink as it’s drying, so you may need to tighten the rubber band.  Hang your lavender bunch upside down in a well ventilated, dry part of your home.  Put a paper towel lined tray under your bunch to catch any petals that release during the drying process.

I have found that my lavender takes about 3 weeks to dry in my basement.  Your lavender drying time will depend upon the temperature and level of humidity, so check on your bundles every few days.  Some friends are able to have fully dried lavender in a week and others take 4 weeks.

Properly dried lavender should feel crunchy and a little brittle to the touch.  Make sure they’re completely dry before using or you could have an issue with mold or other not fun things.

Uses for Dried Lavender:

Dried lavender stems that are wrapped with a pretty ribbon look beautiful in a vase.  Take a few stalks and hang on a door knob or place on a shelf in your bathroom.  Your only limit is your imagination.

Create simple lavender sachets from your grandma’s handkerchiefs by placing the buds in the center and tying with a ribbon.  Make an eye pillow to help with relaxation at the end of your yoga practice or meditation.  A handful of lavender buds in a nice bowl brings a bit of relaxation to any room.  If you pick up a few buds and lightly squeeze them in your palm, you’ll release the beautiful scent even more.

How to Store Your Dried Lavender:

Your dried lavender will do best if you keep it out of the sun, heat and humidity.  I keep mine in a sealed mason jar and refresh my sachets and bunches throughout the year.

I hope that you’ve been inspired to bring the beauty of nature indoors with a bit of dried lavender.  I’d love to hear your suggestions and see photos of you using it in your home!  Please email me at rebecca@twigleafflower.com and visit twig leaf flower.

twig leaf flower is an organic vegan aromatherapy company founded in Dallas, PA.  I’m passionate about aromatherapy and herbalism and can’t wait for you to see the amazing difference truly natural products will make in your life. I offer a variety of holistic items including lotions, bath soaks, lip balms and diffusion blends, along with collections devoted to children and pets.  I’m always adding new blends and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll love. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me personally  rebecca@twigleafflower.com

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Using Essential Oils at Home

essential oil bottles

Did you know you can use your Essential Oil Diffusion Blends for more than diffusing?  Here are a few additional ways I suggest incorporating them in your life.

Bath: Dilute 8 drops of your essential oils into a half ounce of carrier oil and stir into a warm bath.  The carrier oil will help to disperse the essential oils more evenly in the water.

Massage:  Mix 3 to 6 drops of your essential oils in 1/2 ounce of a carrier oil like jojoba oil, for adults.  For kids under 10 years old, pregnant and nursing mamas or the elderly, just blend 2 to 3 drops in 1/2 ounce of a carrier oil.  Before using, make sure the oils are safe to use topically.

Foot Bath: Mix 4 to 5 drops of essential oils with a teaspoon of a carrier oil.  Add into the warm foot bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Car: If you don’t have a car diffuser, just add a few drops to a cotton ball to take your favorite blend with you.

Looking for a new blend?  Check out my selection of organic aromatherapy blends here.

If you’d like to try your hand at blending your own, check out my new book for ideas and recipes here.

twig leaf flower is an organic vegan aromatherapy company founded in Dallas, PA.  I’m passionate about aromatherapy and herbalism and can’t wait for you to see the amazing difference truly natural products will make in your life. I offer a variety of holistic items including lotions, bath soaks, lip balms and diffusion blends, along with collections devoted to children and pets.  I’m always adding new blends and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll love. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me personally  rebecca@twigleafflower.com

 

Importance of Purity in Essential Oils

One of the biggest issues we face as adulterationAromatherapists and consumers is obtaining pure, organic essential oils. True essential oils are distilled from plants, which is laborious and often an expensive process.  With the popularity of aromatherapy, there are many companies that are bottling essential oils, but are adding synthetics and fillers to the oils to dilute them.  Unfortunately, these adulterated oils will not be beneficial for aromatherapeutic use, as the body recognizes the chemical components as toxic and disposes of them.   As a long time aromatherapist and herbalist, quality organic oils are paramount to me.  I harness the power of the oils for the healing effect they have on the mind, body and spirit, not just for the fragrance they emit.  You can rest assured that twig leaf flower’s products are all made with the finest organic essential oils, offering maximum holistic benefits.   Please visit twig leaf flower for more information.

twig leaf flower is an organic vegan aromatherapy company founded in Dallas, PA.  I’m passionate about aromatherapy and herbalism and can’t wait for you to see the amazing difference truly natural products will make in your life. I offer a variety of holistic items including lotions, bath soaks, lip balms and diffusion blends, along with collections devoted to children and pets.  I’m always adding new blends and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll love. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me personally  rebecca@twigleafflower.com