Car Sick Stick

It’s April. The weather is getting warmer. Warmer weather calls for adventures, road trips, nausea. If you are like me, you will understand insisting on sitting in the front seat, and, under no circumstances reading maps, looking at directions or reading books to entertain passengers. I get car sick. I’ve actually found that since being pregnant, my morning sickness has stuck around in the form of an excessively weak stomach.

I was so excited to stumble on some information about aromatherapy for nausea a couple years ago, and I was eager to try it out.  A road trip to Kentucky confirmed that there, indeed, was something to say for this great little remedy.  (I find it’s more effective to use the car sick stick when I first start to feel nauseated rather than waiting until it’s really bad.) This is the recipe I came up with for a simple inhaler.  I keep one in my purse at all times, and do my best to make sure we have one stowed in the glove box. I haven’t had occasion to try, but I’ve heard from my friends that it also helps with nausea after surgery and morning sickness – hooray!

All you will need is an aromatherapy inhaler (sometimes called an aroma stick) and some essential oils. (If you don’t have an aroma stick, you could add a couple drops of the blend to a diffuser as well, though that doesn’t travel quite so well.)

You can add the essentials to a bowl and then rub the absorbent pad of the inhaler in the oils with tweezers (do not touch oils with your bare hands). Or, you can just pop the absorbent pad into the inhaler and add your drops directly there.

6 drops Red Mandarin
4 drops Ginger
2 drops Coriander (I prefer to use coriander CO2 for this recipe, but the essential oil works just fine too.)

Have fun adventuring!


A Holistic Approach | Herbalism

 One of the things I love about herbalism is that most schools of thought focus not only on herbs, but on full body health. This  includes lifestyle, which is a piece that is so often missed in our culture. We live at breakneck speed and often don’t have time for anything more than popping a pill to mask our symptoms so we can continue on our merry way. By doing this we are destroying our bodies.

In a lecture for one of my classes, Paul Bergner explained that people often feel physical symptoms. These symptoms tell us something is wrong. If the underlying cause is not treated, we begin to see mental and emotional symptoms, and if the cause is still not addressed, our spirits begin to wither and often depression and hopelessness creep in.

Let’s say you have a headache. It could be caused by stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, hunger, or a host of other possibilities. For discussion’s sake we will choose stress. In this case, your headache is telling you slow down, take a break. Get some fresh air and relax.
If you ignore your body’s signals, pop an asprin, carrying on your merry way, you fail to address the true need. If you continue on this path you may begin to see other physical symptoms like upset stomach. This effects your life in a way that only adds to the stress, increasing the problems. However, there is no time to rest, so you keep pushing through. You take Pepto Busmal, which brings relief, and you keep going. Yet you notice a change in your performance at work or home. Your memory starts to decline, your moods begin to swing and things start feeling out of control. Still you don’t rest. You don’t take the time you need to rejuvenate. Over time, you get discouraged. It eventually becomes a challenge to get out of bed in the morning and life becomes too much. The joy you once had is gone and you can’t figure out where it went.

Obviously this is a hypothetical situation. It’s also important to note that this is not a mock against medication, people can try to use herbal remedies in much the same way. The problem lies in covering up the symptoms and not really giving your body what it needs to thrive. And, keep in mind your body is more than just a car your brain gets into to drive. I think in this technical age we forget that our bodies are not machines we can push to the limit with a little oil here and a new battery every 100 miles while the other one charges. Our bodies are way more sophisticated and therefore, require more sophisticated care.  If your body isn’t working properly it affects all of you.

I look forward to learning more of this wholistic approach and understanding how to use herbs to aid the body and help it get what it needs. For instance, in the example above, you may finally decide to block off a full weekend to rest and figure out how to nourish your body but you are so stressed, overwhelmed and burnt out that you can’t settle down. In this case, a nervine herbal tea may be helpful to help you get to a point of relaxation. Also, a good dose of nature and a break from technology might be in order.

I am excited to explore the importance of NEW START and the affects this acronym has on my own body as an intrugal part of wholistic health. I hope to share the journey with you!

  • N – nutrition
  • E – exercise
  • W – water
  • S – sunlight
  • T – temperance
  • A – air, fresh
  • R – rest/sleep
  • T – trust in God

Chamomile Steam Fort | Herbal Cold Care

One really fun thing to do when your little one has a stuffy nose is to build a steam fort. This will help clear the sinuses and aid in cold recovery.

Start with boiling your water. While that’s heating up, build a tent or fort together. Get creative and try to make one covered on all sides so the steam won’t escape.

Gather blankets, pillows, games and books and get comfy. And don’t forget the tissues. Bring lots of tissues.  By now your water should be boiling. Add a good-sized handful of chamomile to a bowl and pour the steamy water on top.

Put the bowl in the fort where it won’t get knocked over and snuggle, read, and play together while the steam clears the sinuses. If the chamomile stops steaming, add more hot water.

If you want you can add other herbs or essential oils like lavender and lemon. For adults, you can add peppermint and eucalyptus and make a tent out of a towel over your head. Be sure to be careful around young children as the water is VERY hot and can burn. For a little one you might want to set the steaming bowl on a table nearby where the little one can’t get to it.

Have you tried a chamomile steam? What other herbs or oils do you like to use? What’s your best fort design? What are your favorite books and games to hunker down with? I’d love to hear from you!

Getting Kids to Drink Herbal Teas

One question I get asked a lot is “How do you get your kids to drink herbal teas?” Honestly, my main advantage is that I simply don’t have picky kids.  Often Samuel will even ask to drink the broccoli or pea or whatever water after we cook veggies (and that’s really just a veggie tea).  However, there are times when my kids aren’t crazy about certain teas and there are a few tricks that help.

Like with most things, if you really want your kids to like herbal teas when they need them, try to have fun with them when they don’t.  Have tea parties, let your kids make all sorts of concoctions and introduce them to teas in lots of way.  Mostly – have fun with herbal teas.

One of the best tricks is turning teas into popsicles.  This is especially helpful in the summer when it’s hot outside, but my kids really like popsicles even in the winter.  It’s funny how freezing makes just about any liquid taste better. 🙂

You can also find some teas that your kids like and add them to any other herb you are trying to get your child to drink from tea.  For example, if your wee one likes rose hips or hibiscus, chamomile, or peppermint, add it to whatever tea you are trying to get down the hatch.

If all else fails, sweeten the tea.  There are a few ways to do this.  The most common way is adding raw honey, but there are other ways too.  When I make tea for my boys, I brew a really strong batch and then mix 1/3 part tea, 1/3 part water, and 1/3 part juice or apple cider.  They LOVE that and will drink just about any tea prepared that way.

How about you? Are there any ways your children particularly likes their tea? What are some of their favorite blends? In the picture up there ^^, Timothy is enjoying one of his favorites.  It’s a blend high in vitamin C with rose hips, hibiscus, lemongrass and cinnamon.

Aromatic Soup | Herbal Cold Care

When you’re sick, what’s one of the first foods that comes to mind? It’s usually a nice, warm, broth soup. When one of us is sick or I have a house full of sickies, I like to make a big pot of nourishing and germ fighting soup.  Not only is soup a great way to keep hydrated and warm, but with a few added herbs it can actually help to fight bacteria and viruses, clear congestion, soothe a sore throat and more.

In this case, there isn’t a specific recipe.  It’s more about what you have in your pantry.  You can even use a recipe you already love and add a few new herbs or more of some you currently use. Of course you will need a base – a good bone broth or vegetable broth is a great place to start.  Then it’s time to add bulk. The only ingredients that are non-negotiable are onions and garlic (and even those could be negotiable).  I usually sauté them and often add carrots and celery to the frying pan. You can add pasta, peas, potatoes, mushrooms – really the options are limitless. I also add LOTS of aromatic herbs.  The herbs change from time to time depending on what I have on hand and what symptoms the family has. You probably have some fantastic ones like oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, basil, ginger, marjoram and parsley.

What are some of your favorite soups when there are sick ones at home? Do you plan to add any of these wonderful herbs to your next batch? I’d love to hear all about your aromatic soup creations!


Cinnamon Oatmeal | Herbal Cold Care

As I learn more and more about herbs, I find joy in using every day kitchen ingredients to vamp up my family’s health. This is especially true when it comes to colds and other common ailments.

As I go through formal training and learn more about herbs and the human body, I thought I would share a few herbal recipes that pop up around our house from time-to-time. If you’re interested, I might even share some interesting tid-bits from my classes.


So, to dive right in, let’s start with good old oatmeal. Oatmeal is the typical Sunday evening meal in our home, but when one of the troops is sick or seems to be getting sick, I like to think of ways to turn this classic into an immune boosting super food. One of my biggest allies: cinnamon!

Cinnamon is antimicrobial which means it can help fight off bacteria, fungi, viruses and more. This spicy herb has so many qualities, but I’m going to try to stick to the reasons I add it to my oatmeal.  Because cinnamon is spicy, it has a warming effect on the body and can kick circulation up a notch. Both of these actions help your immune system do what it was made to do – fight off bodily invaders!

On top of adding cinnamon, I put away other sweeteners and leave out the raw honey.  While sugars should be greatly reduced or avoided all together when fighting illness, the antimicrobial effects of raw honey can be helpful in very small amounts.

A couple other herbs you could add to your oatmeal are cloves (though I would probably just cook them with the oats and then take them out before eating) and ginger. I’d love to hear if you try any of these simple remedies.  What are some other ways you can add cinnamon to foods you already eat when there are signs of illness lurking in your home?


*Cinnamon is not recommended in large quantities during pregnancy.

Check my sources:

Gladstar, Rosemary. “Cinnamon.” Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. North Adams: Storey, 2012. 64-69. Print. I highly recommend this book as an introduction to using herbs.

De La Foret, Rosalee. “Herbal Cold Care.” Herbal Cold Care: Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season. Web. Nov. 2014. <>. This is a fantastic course that’s available from time-to-time. It is hosted by John Gallagher from (another great site to check out).
Nic an Fhleisdeir, Heather. “Think Like an Herbalist.” Part 3: Learning Our Language. 6 Apr. 2009. Television. is another fantastic source for learning about herbs. They have video and audio courses as well as a community of herbalists to answer questions you may have. It’s a great choice for self-guided learning.

Why Study Herbalism?

I am excited to officially begin my journey on a study of herbalism. Today I got my first course in the mail from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. As you can imagine, I’ve already started to thumb through the course, and it seems to be a perfect fit for me. I can’t wait to dive in.

It’s funny how discussing herbalism with people brings so many mixed reactions. Some are excited to hear more, most are hesitant and think “quackery,” and still others simply wonder if I’m turning into an offbeat hippy. 😉 Over the past few years, the paths that have led me to this road seemed so scattered, but looking back, the way is clear. I’ll save that story for another time though. Today I want to take a look forward and share with you my heart of herbalism, where I’m going, and why it matters to me.

In the beginning, God created a world, a beautiful world filled with animals and air and sunlight and beauty and . . .plants. Plants were not the center of life, but they were put here for us . . . to see, to smell, to tend, to eat, and to enjoy. I LOVE being outside in God’s creation. I feel like it brings me closer to Him, and gives me a better understanding of who He is. Herbalism gives me an opportunity to study the world at a greater depth. I can grow, harvest, and get close and personal to the very things God created. I see their beauty in a whole new way. I can also learn many lessons. For example, the humble dandilion, can feed me or prevent indigestion. It’s flowers can make a salad cheery and that’s only the beginning. This common weed that is so easily discarded has a purpose in God’s plan. If that’s true of a dandilion, I know He must have a plan for me as well.

Herbalism helps me slow down and really truly smell the roses. It helps me take time to enjoy these small blessings so easily overlooked. And, I can’t help but wonder if in his omnipotence, knowing sin would enter this world, God gave us plants as a way to nourish our hurting and dying bodies. Herbalism has helped me to see each flower, grass, tree or weed as a little love note from God; and more than anything, I long to know Him more.

I want to be clear that I am not studying herbalism as an outlash against modern medicine. I believe that modern medicine is a wonderful blessing, and through it God has brought healing in ways we never thought possible. However I don’t want to lose some of the simple remedies we have right at our finger tips that cost little to nothing and can be very effective. How cool would it be to be on a camping trip and know what plants to grab to soothe a bee sting, relieve the itch of poison ivy, or calm an upset stomach? How awesome is it to be able to pick a few leaves from my garden and make a tea to leassen the discomforts of a cold? This prospect is very exciting to me. This kind of healing is almost a lost art. I want to find it.

I don’t know where God is leading, but at this time there is a burden on my heart for those who have little or no access to medical care. Maybe it’s the cost, maybe circumstances like distance or community strife, natural disasters or more. What if every home, orphanage, homeless shelter, or community could grow or even identify just a few herbs. Maybe only even five. What if those herbs could help clear up pink eye, heal a wound, fight a viral or bacterial infection, reduce a fever, soothe a headache, calm an upset stomach, combat insomnia and more? How empowering! How encouraging! And to know that God gave us plants, right at our fingertips, that do just that . . . He must really love us.

I am not studying herbalism to be a doctor or a nurse or a medical practitioner. That takes years of school, training, dedication and service and I tip my hat off to the men and women who have made such a commitment to heal the hurts and sicknesses on this earth. I mearly want to give hope. Hope that one mother can soothe her baby’s upset tummy, hope that comes from recognizing the beauty all around us, and hope in a Savior who loves us enough to strew the soil with more love notes than we could read in a lifetime.

So there you have it. My whys for studying herbalism. I’m sure this road has many twists and turns, and I’m eager to see where I end up when the journey is over.