Monday, December 29, 2014

Herbal Healing Business

Starting an herbal business is challenging.

When I decided I wanted to work on building my healing practice full-time and focus on creating healing herbal compounds for people, I did not know what it would be like or how much work I would be doing.
Now that the holiday rush is over, I want to think more strategically about how to market my products, how to build my clientele and, quite honestly, how to make a living.

I set up a GOFUND me account that would help with the costs of running a business, things like insurance, packaging, advertising, supplies and other business expenses.
There are so many little (and big) costs when you begin any business, I think at some point, anyone would ask "why do it?" For me, the answer is always this - helping others find healing is worth it, and helping someone feel less pain is worth it.

There might be some struggles along the way, but knowing that I am able to help my grandma move around more because she doesn't feel the sting of her arthritis when she gets up, my struggles are small in comparison.

What's cooking now:
I am working on a new Winter Care Puppy Salve - because our four-legged friends need skin care too!
It's got avocado, coconut and olive oils infused with nettles, rosemary and plantain leaf.  This will be great for people too :)

Update on Devil's Claw - I now have a nice rub, which I made using Organic ginger, organic cinnamon, peppermint, wild-crafted chaparral, sage and cinnamon and cajeput organic essential oils, grapeseed oil, and beeswax.

It works pretty well, test it out here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Devil's Claw - Harpagophytum Procumbens

Devil's Claw - Harpagophytum Procumbens

Devil's Claw, which is also called "grapple plant" or "wood spider" is a genus of plants in the sesame family, native to southern Africa. It owes its common name Devil's Claw to the unusual appearance of its hooked fruit. The plant's large tuberous roots are used medicinally to reduce pain and fever, and to stimulate digestion

I like to know how cultures have learned about the medicinal use of different herbs, I was pleased to read that a German soldier stationed in Africa brought devil's claw back to his home where it was used to treat arthritis.

I will be starting do work with the roots of this plant, to make a topical rub for lower back pain. From what I have read, Devil's Claw is great for pain sufferers who have grown dependent on pain killers for relief: recently published double blind studies have shown that Devil's Claw can relieve pain from arthritis in as little as ten days of use, lower back, knee and hip pain was also included in the study. It is also used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, tendinitis and soft tissue pain (muscle aches).
I am excited to try out some recipes and see how effective it is for my own lower back pain and inflammation, which seems to become worse in cold / damp weather. I am hopeful that this will help!  
I purchased the root online on Amazon, since my local herb shop did not carry it. I'll make sure to report what my findings are and how it works.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Studying Stinging Nettles

My plant ally for the next three months is Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica).  I decided that I would try to discover and learn as much as I could about this herb, since I use it all the time.  Currently, I make my daily nourishing infusion with Nettles mostly.  Nettles are medicinally coveted for their vitamins, iron, and chlorophyll.  They are natural blood purifiers and supports the liver and kidneys.

Many people drink nettles tea, or eat them plain, some even steam them and use them in place of spinach.
Some individuals dealing with arthritis, even will use the stingers on the plant as part of their treatment.

Personally, I love the taste of drinking nettles tea and infusions.  One thing I have experienced is that it is a great diuretic and depurative, totally cleanses the system. I think in the future, I may add some marsh mallow to the infusions, to balance the drying effect of nettles.

I'll be posting more about Nettles in the coming weeks, as I learn more about this wondrous herb!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Herbal Tea Infusions and Flu Season

It's important to stay healthy and to prevent your immune system from becoming weak and susceptible to illness.  I often wonder if any of us would get sick if no one ever mentioned "Winter cold and flu season".  I was feeling fine until I heard someone mention flu shots and drinking theraflu (yuk!) and being miserable.

Luckily, there are a number of herbal remedies that can support your immune system and nourish your body, mind and spirit.
Tea Infusions are one of my favorite ways to ingest herbs, and they are probably the most enjoyable, too.

I was looking around online, and found a chart that makes recommendations for a multi-vitamin tea infusion.

Here is the chart:

This chart is from

I think this is a very helpful recipe chart, and very similar to the method I use to make my own tea infusions. This morning, I am infusing catnip, lemon balm, and spearmint leaves.

Catnip and lemon balm calm my nerves and alleviate anxiety.
Spearmint is one of my favorite aromatic flavors, not to mention, it is incredibly uplifting!

What are your favorite tea infusions?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trying new recipes!

I began researching traditional Dit Da Jow recipes.  Dit Da Jow is a popular Chinese liniment sold to heal external damage such as bruises or sore muscles.  Mainly used by people who practice martial arts.  Dit Da Jow translates into "Fall Hit Wine", people use these remedies after competitions, work outs, or anytime they have some soreness.
There are so many different recipes, and many of them require Chinese herbs or herbal compounds that I do not have access to at the moment. I will continue to research, but for now, I decided to try making some Tiger Balm...

It is so pungent and very potent! It rubbed on nicely, and warmed my skin within a minute.  I decided to call this my Wild Tigress Balm.  Here is the recipe if you are interested:

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 ounce beeswax
40 drops camphor eo
40 drops peppermint eo
30 drops eucalyptus eo
30 drops cinnamon eo
20 drops clove eo

Melt the beeswax inside a double boiler, once melted, add the coconut and olive oils. Remove from heat once mixed, then add each essential oil before the mixture solidifies. Divide into your dry glass containers / jars.  This makes a little over 4 ounces.  For external use only, avoid eye contact.

Happy rubbing!

Mixing Herbs

Ask a person who works with herbs for healing purposes, whether or not combining herbs is a good idea.  You will get everything from "No way!" to "The more, the better."  I recently made a salve which included a number of healing herbs, roots, and flowers.  The purpose of this salve was to help heal skin irritations ranging from sunburn to itchiness, while moisturizing and relieving pain at the same time.  While some herbalists believe that sticking to one treatment that addresses solely one complaint at a time is the best route to take, others say, that combining herbs can alleviate problems more efficiently.

I think that I am stuck in the middle of this somewhere, myself.  I can see the benefit on both sides.  Especially when you have a client who may have an adverse reaction to the compound salve - how do you know which ingredient in the bunch they are allergic to?

Most people who come seeking herbal alternatives for health, are in a position where they may have tried every medication or treatment in the allopathic arsenal. And, sometimes, I feel they are looking for the miracle cure, the "hidden gem" they have not been able to find all this time. It's almost like they want to try everything, to see if it will help them feel better.  What do you do if a client pressures you into the "More is better" method to healing, they want it all - the tinctures, salves, tonics, nourishing treatment formulations, and teas, etc. At this time, do you step back and say "Hold on there!" or do you leave it to their discretion?

Ethics plays a role, I think.  What do you think?