I’ve always liked tea—a nice cup of English Breakfast or cozy chamomile when I can’t sleep—but I’ve never loved tea. Then the Great Detox took caffeine and alcohol off the table and I started turning to other forms of liquid courage: . coconut water, green smoothies, and lots and lots of herbal tea. At first they were simply something warm and filling. Now they’re an important part of my diet and my day, a ritual I look forward to. I credit my herbalist, Lise Wolff, with introducing me to the power of plants, and Traditional Medicinals with introducing me to beauty of herbal teas.
Before Western medicine, humans used plants for health and well-being. This wisdom and these traditions have been passed down for centuries, codifying the right parts of the right plants for the right purpose. Burdock root promotes kidney and skin health. Fennel soothes and supports digestion. Roasted dandelion root stimulates the liver—and has a nutty flavor that staves off my coffee cravings. And then there’s Smooth Move, my secret weapon in the regularity department. The benefits of these teas are endless and many—like Weightless, which I’m dying to put to task on my water weight—are downright magical.
I won’t get on my soap box about how herbs were the original drug before big business took over and replaced them with chemicals, but I will tell you that the more I learn and experience the benefits of herbs, the more empowered and healthier I feel. Plants just make sense to me. If you’re curious and open-minded or simply in need a winter warmup, then get involved in this sweet giveaway from Traditional Medicinals:
*Super Plants Sampler Box
*TM Mug (serious steeping powers)
*One box each Organic Peppermint, Organic Fennel, Organic Lemon Balm, Organic Hibiscus and Everyday Detox with Lemon
To qualify, leave your name, email address, and which super plants or teas you’re curious about—or already using to cure what ails you. We’ll announce a winner on Friday . . . good luck! UPDATE: Congrats to our winner, Heather S.!
I’ve gotten a ton of questions about homeopathy since mentioning it here as part of my psoriasis and stress management. While I’m no expert and can’t diagnose you (so don’t ask!), here’s what I know and what I’ve experienced:
Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Unlike traditional western medicine, it addresses the cause, not the symptoms. Any illness is fair game—from depression to cancer to the common cold (a friend of mine and her kids take immunity drops to avoid getting sick all winter!). Homeopathy also follows the theory that “like cures like.” For example: If the symptoms of your disease are similar to the symptoms of poisoning by golden rod, then golden rod would be your homeopathic remedy. While that may sound counterintuitive, it turns out that giving someone a very small dose of the same substance enhances the body’s normal healing and self-regulatory processes. Homeopathic remedies are always natural, and typically derived from flowers, minerals or herbs. The remedy is diluted, usually in water or alcohol, and taken under the tongue or on the skin where it can be absorbed into the body.
When I became tired of treating my psoriasis symptoms because I instinctively KNEW there was a root cause that I could control, I started seeing Lise Wolff. My first question to her was: If homeopathy is so effective, why isn’t everyone using it? She explained to me that not so many centuries ago homeopathy was the gold standard of medicine. Then man got greedy, institutionalize the industry, and before long medicine became the modernized machine that we know today. Homepathic practices were essentially lost in the re-org. I’m over simplifying the story, of course, but it’s a trend we’ve seen in other areas of life—sustainable and organic farming, for example. I’m overjoyed to see both experiencing a rebirth thanks to increased education and awareness.
The most fascinating part about homeopathy for me is the diagnosis process. Lise spent a good two hours talking to me about my life, my emotional and behavior patterns, and my symptoms. She found a remedy by dropping numerous floral essences and herbal tinctures on my forearm and noting now my body responded to them based on whether my pulse slowed or quickened. It sounds like hocus pocus, but our bodies are so sensitive to these remedies because they recognize the ingredients. There’s a sort of energy exchange that’s impossible to quantify but makes perfect sense if you’ve ever felt connected to nature.
Not only is homeopathy extremely effective, but results can be rapid, complete and permanent. The key is finding the right remedy and that can take time and experimentation. Unlike prescription drugs, homeopathic remedies are not one-size-fits-all. You may need to try several, or different combinations, so plan on being patient. I saw Lise several times over a period of 3–4 months before we landed on something that worked. The floral essence blend, which I took in drop form under my tongue, addressed feelings of uncertainty and were meant to give me calmness and courage—two things I’d been in short supply of most of my life. Also very fitting considering I had just left my job to start a new business. I can’t say that I felt any different—which was definitely preferable to any side effects I may have experienced with a drug—but I knew that something had shifted internally when the psoriasis started to clear up.
In the perfect world, medical doctors and homeopaths would partner on a patient’s care. There’s definitely movement in that direction, but for now it’s going to require us to be proactive about our health. If you’re interested in learning more, this directory will help you find a homepath in your area. I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Even if you don’t watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, you’ve probably heard about her “mysterious skin condition.” After a red blotchy rash appeared over much of her body, Kim was just diagnosed with psoriasis. Why should you care? Because the little talked-about autoimmune disorder that causes swelling and rapid production of skin cells actually affects 7.5 million Americans. Why do I care? Because I’ve had psoriasis since my senior year in college. It started as a small red ring on my calf and, over the years, spread across my entire lower leg. I also have a patch on one elbow that comes and goes. Although the root cause of psoriasis unknown, it’s often genetic (Kim’s mom has it, too, as did my grandmother), and can be triggered by stress, diet, lack of sleep, etc. Treatments range from topical steroids to UV light therapy to drug injections that suppress the immune system. I’ve tried quite a few. Some worked better than others, but the psoriasis always came back and I became increasingly tired of using chemicals to mask a problem, not solve it. When I noticed that it got better on weekends on during vacations, I began to believe that it was stress or mental state that was manifesting on my skin. Although my dermatologist brushed of this theory aside, citing lack of scientific data, I knew it instinctively. And so, as part of a bigger personal journey, I started meditating and doing breathing exercises. I found an awesome holistic therapist who taught me how to release a lifetime of pent-up stress and self-hate. I saw a Reiki master who told me to drink more kale and carrot juice. And I met an herbalist who prescribed homeopathic drops to give me courage, soothe my anxieties, and warm up my digestive track. A year later and my psoriasis is practically gone. I still have a few pet spots and crop up, but nothing anyone else would notice. I’m not sure what helped the most, and I’m not suggesting that my methods will work for anyone else. I’m just sharing this story as a reminder that our physical state is often directly linked to our emotional and mental well-being. I believe that in my core. Your body knows you better than anyone else, and it responds accordingly. The first thing Kim Kardashian’s derm told her was to slow down and minimize stress. As if. The poor girl’s career depends almost solely on her appearance. My heart breaks for her. But I’m selfishly hopeful that her diagnosis will bring more awareness to the disease. Maybe instead of selling Sketchers, she’ll become a psoriasis spokesperson.
Does anyone else ever feel like stress is taking it’s toll on your body? How can I help?