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Fire Cider has been used by natural healers for centuries. It is a mainstay of herbal medicine, the medicine of the people. I have been making fire cider for decades, both professionally and for my family. We use it when someone has a deep cough. Below is my favorite Fire CIder recipe, I hope you enjoy it. If you are interested in herbal products made here on our farm in Snohomish, WA. , you can purchase them online here.
Some of the benefits of Fire Cider’s ingredients include:
Horseradish ~ The antibacterial properties of Horseradish have been used to fight bacteria and a mild antibiotic. Horseradish strongly stimulates the digestion, increasing gastric secretions and appetite. It promotes perspiration, making it useful in fevers, colds, and flu and is, therefore, a diuretic.
Ginger ~ Is well known for its the ability to warm the stomach, to ease vomiting & nausea and to fight off colds, chills, and coughs. Ginger is useful for all types of congestion in the body and is also a “driver” to move other constituents through the body.
Garlic ~ supports the immune function and as an antipyretic, it opens the pores of the skin to lower a fever. This herb’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties make it useful in treating bladder and kidney infections, yeast infections, strep throats, and ear infections Its antiviral properties are being studied for wider use.
Cayenne ~ is useful for increasing circulation and to get mucous flowing. This herb is an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. It is used as a digestive aid to stimulates gastric juices. Many people report relief from migraines with this herb as well. Cayenne helps to “drive” other constituents thought the body.
Marilene’s Fire Cider Recipe
- 1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
- 1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
- 1 medium organic onion, chopped
- 10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
- 2 organic jalapeno pepper, chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
- 2 Tbsp. of rosemary leaves
- 1 Tbsp. turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- organic apple cider vinegar
- Prepare your roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart-sized glass jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus-opening experience! I wear a snorkle mask when I grate mine. (really, I do!)
- Pour the apple cider vinegar in the jar until all of the ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the jar’s top.
- Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or a plastic lid if you have one. Metal will react with the vinegar and rust so do take care. Shake well.
- Store in a dark, cool but not refrigerated, place for a month and remember to shake daily.
- After one month, use cheesecloth or a fine sieve to strain out the pulp, pouring the fire cider into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the pulp while straining. That last squeeze of the ingredients can really be potent. It is the herbal goodness!
- Cap and store
You can take a couple tablespoons at a time and while it is great as an herbal medicine, you can also use it in the kitchen to season sous, add to salad dressings or whatever you like.
Please comment below to let me know if you make this recipe or if you have your own. I’d love to hear about your herbal medicine journey.
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It’s Autumn and in Western Washington we have an unusually beautiful burst of color from the trees. Our hot dry summer has caused the trees to go in to an early flush of color and it is one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen. As I look our my window on to our farm, I can see orange, brown, yellow and red leaves drifting across the landscape. It is the type of scene that must have inspired Vivaldi when he wrote The Four Seasons.
Autumn is the time of vata. The Ayurvedic constitution that is best represented by air or wind. I can not only see it’s evidence in the drifting leaves but I can feel it in my body as this transitional state eases toward winter. As the wind gathers it’s strength in October and we brace ourselves for winter, we might pause to remember that the presence of wind is in essence an abundance of prana (breathe, essence of life). It is a time to pause, breathe, be present and move towards simplicity. We can see evidence of the vata dosha qualities in the dry, windy, unpredictable and cool nature of this season. Because like increases like (fall season and vata dosha being similar), it is important to balance excess vata this time of year.
Side note: In Traditional Chinese Medicine this is also the time for “wind invasions”, simplified as a time of possible pernicious invasion of illness.
VATA SEASON ROUTINES
Autumn is cool, dry and light so it is a good idea to balance your vata with warm, oily, nourishing goodness, inside and out. Using good facial moisturizers like Daily Shield Moisturizer and Skin Repair Serum as well as nourishing your skin with our Rose Shatavari Gotu Kola Face Mask is very beneficial and highly recommended. Another beneficial practice is to massage your body with oil. Oil massages are not only deeply moisturizing but they can also help to draw toxins out of the body. Sesame oil (not toasted) is one well tolerated and beneficial by most people. Massage it in before showering and washing it off with a mild soap.
Including healthy fats like ghee and coconut oil as well as proteins in your diet this time of year can be vata balancing. Adding warming spices like ginger, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper to your meals can add a bit of warmth. Baking a pumpkin with these spices sprinkled on top of the meaty side and topping it with a bit of ghee is a great example of a vata balancing meal.
One of the best things we can do to balance ourselves during fall (vata season) is to maintain a regular schedule. Setting consistent times so that you sleep, wake, eat, meditate, exercise, work and play at the same times is super helpful. The vata dosha by nature can be a bit scattered, like leaves in the wind. When your daily routine is established, you calm your nervous system and ground your energy. You might find that it is helpful in many areas of your life.
Ashwaganda is a popular fall herb as it helps to support the nervous system, energy, digestion and strength. You can use the herbs mentioned above to make in to teas or you can just purchase a chai tea that already has them combined and ready for use. Pair the chai tea with some Chyavanprash and ghee on toast for a light breakfast. Triphala, helpful throughout the year as it contains amalaki, bibitaki and haritaki which together are cherished for not only containing five of the six tastes but also because they help eliminate excess vata.
Triphala is commonly taken as a daily supplement in a cup of water so that the taste, however unpleasant, is experienced and stimulates vata balancing. You can take it in capsules for a lesser effect.
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Prenatal massage or is therapeutic and focuses on the special needs of the mother and her baby. A mother’s body goes through many dramatic changes as her pregnancy advances. Receiving skilled and nurturing bodywork can enhance muscle and joint function, improve circulation, relieve mental and physical fatigue as well as pain. My gentle approach to prenatal massage can ease much of the discomfort associated with pregnancy as well as give some nurturing emotional support.
Pregnancy massage is different than other types of therapeutic massage because special care is given to ensure the mother and baby are as safe and comfortable as possible. Massage therapists are aware that there are certain pressure points that could stimulate the pelvic muscles and these will be avoided. The mother-to-be usually will be lying on her side, supported by pillows. The comfort of the mother is important and I take great care in making sure you feel well cared for. Always communicate any symptoms you have been experiencing and if you have any discomfort during the massage. Your safety is the top priority.
Prenatal Massage Can:
Prepare you for birth
Alleviate joint and muscle pain
Reduce swelling in the hands and feet
Alleviate Sciatica pain
Increase blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to both mother and baby
Soothes and relaxes the nervous system by releasing endorphins into the mother’s body.
These are just a few of the numerous benefits of pregnancy therapeutic massage. Routine massages can help improve the health of a pregnant woman and help with the physical, emotional and mental changes to the body during the months of pregnancy.
*Please note- if you have a high-risk pregnancy we recommend that you consult your physician or midwife before receiving treatment. However, massage is a safe treatment for pregnancy women if you are using a licensed and trained massage therapist.
It’s the time of year when the nettles are up and the green is on. This is one of the times of year when wildfoods and medicine is abundant on SongCroft so you can often find me roaming the land with a basket, shovel and scissors in hand.
Today I was out wild-harvesting the nettles, Urtica dioica, that grow here. They are growing rich and dense in very fertile soil. In fact, they are an indicator species meaning that they tend to grow where the soil is rich and full of nutrients. An added bonus of this is that when we add the nettles for our meals, we are receiving the earths gift of these beneficial nutrients. I should add, that I am super happy that nettles grow on our farm since we have never used synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or anything like that so the soil is clean and safe to harvest from. Living on unspoiled land is a blessing in our life.
Back to my friend nettle. It has many benefits but I will only share a few of the arial (above ground) parts for now and I will revisit the topic in a later post. One of the most commonly known benefits is that it is rich in iron. Historically, it has been used as a tonic herb as well as a for anemia. Many studies show that nettles have even more iron than spinach. It has been used as a diuretic dating back at least to the Ancient Greeks and was used for blood circulation and as a topical stimulant by Pacific Northwest Tribes while canoeing long distances.
Nettle is also known for its antihistamine properties but there is some misinformation here. While nettle is a mast cell stabilizer, working at the H1 receptor) and it does have the ability to assist with lowering the level of histamine in your body, it can only do that in certain forms. Nettles that have been cooked or improperly dried loose this ability. For this benefit, you need to eat it raw or to dry correctly. Freeze-dried nettle is usually a good product.
Young nettle leaves can be eaten as a cooked herb, like spinach, or even baked in to cakes, breads or even made in to a pesto “nesto” as I will share with you. Because it is not cooked, you will be able to enjoy the deliciousness, get the many vitamins and minerals as well as the antihistamine benefits.
3 Cup (packed) young nettle leaves
5 garlic cloves
1 cup walnuts (pine nuts are fine too)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (you can substitute parmesan or asiago)
1. Place nettle leaves in your blender or food processor
2. Add peeled garlic
3. Add walnuts
4. Add olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice and nutritional yeast
5. Pulse until it is all blended and creamy.
6. Eat this like you would any pesto.
Toss it with pasta, put a dollop on top of grilled chicken or fish, make it a bit thicker for a healthy dip. This can also be frozen in ice cube trays or on a cookie sheet and cut in to portions before placing in a container in the freezer so it can be enjoyed out of season.
If this sort of thing interests you, this is only a glimpse of what you can learn and be able to utilize as one of my Wellness Coaching clients. Let’s work together to help you reach your goals.
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Yummy nettle pesto, or nesto. Enjoy it as a dip for veggies, on pasta or scrambled with eggs. If you love this sort of thing as much as I do and want to get more educational and fun information, as well as some special offers, sign up for our newsletter. https://songcroftnaturals.com/
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Shopping for the perfect Mother’s Day Gift?
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Celebrate Mother’s Day — or show how much you care for anyone by treating them to a massage gift certificate at Body Temple Wellness and Massage. When you give a Body Temple Wellness and Massage Gift Certificate, rest assured your gift will be well received. She will be excited to receive pampering through a gentle, soothing massage and will be grateful for your thoughtfulness. Even better, when you buy a gift certificate this Mother’s Day, we are giving an extra gift of handmade artisan personal care products and an adorable little beeswax candle in a heart shaped tin, all bundled in a pretty package. These products are made from all natural ingredients. We do not include synthetic fragrance, parabens or sls. This is a very special Mother’s Day Gift that shows you care about their wellbeing and happiness!
Body Temple Wellness and Massage Gift Certificate can be purchased for a 60-, 90- or 120-minute massage, or spoil your favorite someone by giving them a package of multiple massages. (You will appreciate the savings when you buy packages of 4 or more sessions at once.) That’s truly a gift that keeps on giving! She’ll feel great after she gets a little “me” time.
Warning: extreme gratitude may follow after giving this gift.
**Limited offer, while supplies last.
Finally, we made it to spring. As I go for my morning walk I can see that the daffodils have bloomed and the catkins are forming on the hazelnut bushes and alder trees. We have a lot of hazelnuts and alders in our area and while it is exciting to see the first signs of spring emerging through the dark and overcast days, it also means that allergy season is just around the corner.
Beginning allergy prevention and support now before we get further in to the season can really pay off.
Within two weeks the pollen will be so thick that there will be a chartreuse coating on everything. It will coat windows, cars, picnic tables and our skin. It gets carried into the home on our bodies, our pets and enters through open windows, then distributed by the heating system.
Birch is also pollinating and making it hard for people that are sensitive to it.
It might be helpful to know that when a person inhales pollen, a histamine reaction usually occurs. The histamine levels are raised and inflammation is a result. This can simply involve the nasal passages, the entire ear/nose/throat system or manifest itself on the skin through hives or swelling. These are all common seasonal allergy symptoms but more serious symptoms are shortness of breath and asthmatic attacks.
It can happen with any pollen depending on the person. Birch, maple, alder, hazelnut and cottonwood are common heavy pollinators in my area. It is interesting to note that tree pollen tends to be much more aggravating than flower pollen. Because these trees are wind pollinators the size of the particles are smaller and airborne which makes it harder to avoid them.
Don’t be discouraged!
There are steps you can take to lower your pollen exposure. I use them for my own family. Vacuum at least weekly. But I would suggest vacuuming daily during the height of pollen season. It is fast and easy and really makes a huge difference.
I also keep the windows and doors closed as much as possible. Fresh air breezing through the house can be a wonderful thing but not recommended for someone with seasonal allergies. Airborne particles will get a free ride inside your home via an open window. So remember to keep them shut.
Those who know me well are not going to believe what else I am going to tell you to do. Or is that not to do? Do not hang your bed sheets outside on the clothesline to dry. As much as I love the scent of sheets drying by the sun and fresh air, they become nice big surfaces to catch pollen. The fact that they are wet makes the pollen stick even more. I hang ours indoors on drying racks during allergy season. This way you are not spending eight hours laying with your face on a pillowcase and sheets covered with pollen.
In addition, a quick shower before bed can be helpful as it will rinse the pollen from your skin and hair. This is one of the best things you can do as it will help prevent you from breathing pollen all night long and will better ensure a good nights sleep. Lots of rest will also support your immune system.
While you are in the shower I suggest using a neti pot. It can help to remove pollen from the nasal passages. Later, there will be a separate article on how to use a neti pot so stayed tuned.
Taking homeopathic remedies for seasonal allergies can also bring relief and, for most, will not bring on drowsiness. Many people also start taking Quercetin and Vitamin C at least three weeks before pollen season begins. Both of these supplements are anti-inflammatory as well as immune system supporting. However, you should check with your health care provider before taking either of these.
For many people, the contact that pollen makes to their skin can also be very irritating. I know this from first-hand experience. Using SongCroft Naturals Replenishing Skin Serum protects the skin by creating an environmental barrier from pollen and environmental toxins. Protecting yourself by using a moisturizer every day will help with seasonal allergies.
Spring is a wonderful season full of new life and energy. I hope this article helps you enjoy it a little more.
*This statement has not been evaluated by FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
There is so much unrest out there in the world. Even in our little town of Snohomish, WA., I am seeing more and more people who are needing stress and anxiety relief since the change in our administration. I feel blessed to be able to provide healing massage that soothes tension and eases stress. While I can literally feel first hand, how massage helps to lower stress and I know that massage is extremely beneficial but I would like to offer more for those who are in distress.
While I can’t make it all go away, oh how I wish I could, I can offer some options for people to redirect this energy into something positive. Think about it. Energy is energy. We can hold it inside and try to put a cap on it as it builds and threatens to overflow or we can redirect that energy towards something we believe in and it will flow naturally. I’m not saying it will all be easy but it is an opportunity to create positive change while taking care of one’s self.
With that, here are my ideas. Yes, I am positive things were left out so please include more below in the comments. This can be a living document that we all contribute helpful ideas to.
*Let’s keep it positive.
Here are some ideas for staying sane in the current world:
- Take care of yourself. Get sleep, eat well, exercise, meditate and practice yoga. Don’t let stress take over your health.
- Do things that make you happy. Dance, listen to music, create art.
- Get outside. Take in the fresh air and beauty.
- Pick one or two issue and stick with it. Focus your energy and don’t get side-tracked.
- Assist families in need, including an immigrant family.
- Reach out to a senior and see if they need help.
- Create a postcard campaign and have others over to do it with. You can create a calendar/flowchart of which to do by when to keep on track.
- Try to tune out some of the negative.
- Don’t participate in negative talk, focus on what we can do
- Join community groups that are already taking action, such as RESULTS, 350.org, etc…
- Join or start conversation circles in your community.
- Take the high road and don’t slander. Comments made based on looks, body type, etc are not helpful and are based in hate. They are no different from what is coming out of “his” mouth.
- Host or organize a conflict resolution/mediation training for your community.
- Work to hone your skills in community building, emergency response and first aid.
- Train to run for office. http://ow.ly/kvys308lXJX
- Donate, support (call, write and make the issues visible) and stand with Standing Rock. http://standwithstandingrock.net/
- Grow food and donate it to the food banks.
- Volunteer at food banks, in classrooms or anywhere else you are inspired to.
- Show up at rallies.
- If you can’t get to rallies and meetings, support those who are by delivering hot meals, childcare and providing transportation.
- Be inclusive in organizing but do not “lead” those whose issues they are.
- Ask someone from a marginalized community what you can do to help support them.
- Own and then use your privilege for good, if you have it.
- Start or join a Community Unity Alliance group in your neighborhood or town. Involve the NAACP, C3, LGBTQ groups, faith groups, school districts, alter-abled people, etc.
- Try to understand others, listen. We can’t work together if we don’t know what is in each others heads.
- Work to inspire others to get involved in the “good work” because we need more good and it is healthy to redirect negative energy.
- Adopt a park. Clean, weed, plant and enjoy.
- Volunteer for organizations that are losing funding.
- Create and distribute care packages for the homeless
- Smile, be friendly and reach out to others
- Know that you are contributing to positive actions.
- Be love and shine your light bright!
Why not do nice things for YOU on Valentine’s Day? Whether you are single or in a relationship, there is no need to wait for someone else to do something nice for you. Also, it’s great to do things for others–it can be really wonderful. Just don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Read More
As we enter the time of reflection and dreaming, I invite you to write down your dreams. Keep a note pad next to your bed and write down anything you can remember as well as your feelings and thoughts. Sit with these writings for a while. Let them build then, take some time to read through them. Is there an underlying message? Is there something you left out that you intended to do this year? Explore your dreams and then go live them.