As much as we would wish otherwise, the holidays end up being a stressful time for many of us. In many ways, it feels like it has gotten harder with the advent of social media and platforms such as Pinterest, where we all can feel like we are hopeless crafters together. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Pinterest and I have found many inspirations for projects, but it is so easy to get discouraged when my results aren’t anywhere close to picture perfect. (Enter, Etsy.) For me, once the result becomes more important than the experience, it is easy to lose the pleasure of the holiday. Continue reading
We start school early in my part of the country, and my daughter is already in to her second week of school. It’s been a rough transition this year, with a longer school day and more expectations in second grade. Her biggest complaint each day when she gets off the bus, is how loud the other children in her classroom are. We did our best to get her on a realistic schedule prior to the start of school (while still cramming in as much fun as we could) and are still finding out a way to strike a balance between the responsibilities and letting her blow of steam and just be a kid for a bit.
In between the fun, there are a few things that we as parents can do to prep our kids and boost their immune systems prior to the first day of school. This year, because of the stressful transition, I’ve been giving my daughter an extended dose of Immune Boost. In honor of my daughter and back to school time, we have a special immune support kit available for both kids and adults! It’s an amazing deal, each kit is almost 40% off retail price!
Additionally, here are a few suggestions from a past blog post that may help your child get ready for their first day of school.
Ease into your back to school routine.
- Move bedtime back early so you and your child’s bodies can adjust easier.
- Discuss any anxieties your child may have about starting a new school year.
- Establish expectations on school routines: include at the very minimum homework, bedtime, playtime, and any after school obligations.
Make sure you’re organized and ready for the new school year.
- Most schools will send out a packet of information including any forms and supplies your child may need to start school. Be sure to review this information in good time, so you are not rushing around at the last minute.
- Go shopping for supplies, school clothes, and uniforms (if necessary) a couple weeks ahead of time to be sure you find everything you need.
- For many of us, mornings are stressful and it is easy to forget something if we’re running around trying to catch up. Try establishing a policy that your child helps get everything ready the night before to alleviate any morning-of stress.
Consider your child’s nutrition needs and plan healthy meals ahead of time.
- Breakfast, especially a hot breakfast with protein is the most important meal of the day. If you can’t coax a hot meal down your child’s throat in the morning, one solution my mom used was to make an eggnog drink (eggs, milk, maple syrup, a little vanilla) and we could take that on the run. Another option in our house was a protein drink made with a whey protein powder and it could very easily be added to a fruit/yogurt smoothie.
- Plan for lunches ahead of time and involve your children in making choices and if they’re old enough, the preparation. The more involvement your child has in the decision making, the more likely they will be willing to eat their lunch and not throw it out. Growing up in our house, we had a ‘five veggie rule’ which was applied to most everything we ate, but especially to sandwiches. Offer a variety of vegetables, in a variety of colors to ensure your child is eating a varied, balanced diet.
- Be sure that your child’s school has a workable water option. If they don’t, pack water for your child every day. Many schools have a minimal number of water fountains to service a large number of students and other options for liquids are juice or milk. Without adequate water, your child will easily become dehydrated and not only will their performance in school suffer, but they are more likely to have discipline and concentration issues.
- Make sure your children get an adequate amount of high quality food—organic if at all possible—and include appropriate amounts of protein, quality oils, vegetables, and fruit.
Keeping your child healthy through the start of the school year.
- Most importantly, ensure your child gets an adequate amount of sleep. If you observe your child coming home tired with dark circles under their eyes, or being unusually irritable, act before the first sneeze. One of the first principles in Traditional Chinese Medicine to reverse the common cold (viral) is to “relieve the surface,” i.e., induce perspiration. This is easy to do with hot soup, hot tea, and a hot bath or shower, or even exercising until perspiration appears. Vitamin C and L. acidophilus are useful in helping to prevent your child from getting sick.
- About three weeks prior to school starting, you may want to give your childImmune for Kids, a gentle way to boost their immune system in preparation for going back to school. This can be used in advance of any anticipated stressful event and will help prevent your child from possibly getting sick when they can least afford it.
- If your child is already showing signs of illness or is feeling under the weather,Sniffles for Kids, Deep Lung 3 in 1 and Anti-X, a decoction of anti-viral herbs, focuses on the upper-respiratory system and is appropriate for all stages of cold and flu including sneezing, muscle aches, sinus involvement, headaches and mucous. If your child has a tendency toward sore throats, you may make a cup of Traditional Medicinals’ Throat Coat tea or use Chinese Cold & Flu. For coughing, tea of lemon and honey and Elderberry Plus is very soothing and palatable. If the infection slips by you and gets to the bronchi or lower, Deep Lung is helpful.
- Make sure your children are dressed appropriately in layers so they will stay warm while waiting for the bus in the morning and can stay comfortable and cool in the warmer afternoons. The biggest challenge with this is making sure all of their clothing makes it home.
As I’m sure most people know by now, my dad has sold his house and is making the move that both my brother and I have made to Ohio. I am very excited to have most of my family local to me once again, and thrilled that my kids get to grow up with a larger circle of family close by. Even with his scheduled move, we are committed to keeping Benedictine Healing Products open and located in Santa Cruz, and we have spent the better part of the last three months figuring out the best way to accomplish that. We understand that we have a base of very loyal customers who depend on and value our handcrafted products from our family run business and we’ve made these decisions with all of you in our minds.
With that in mind, we still have our ongoing Buy One, Get One special and there are a number of formulas that qualify that I find useful during the spring and summer months. This is a great time to pick a few up for your use!
Hay Fever Allergies – With all the pollen in the air, this is helpful for allergy support.
Feverfew – My husband has used this with some success for sinus pressure headaches, which seem to come with seasonal changes for him.
Chickweed Oil – Chickweed has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful for skin irritations and itchiness.
Rose Geranium Oil – A wonderful, all-purpose oil to be used for massages and to promote relaxation.
Finally, these photos are a few snapshots of what is currently growing in the BHP garden. It won’t be long now before I will have to use the photos of my garden!
As much as we would wish otherwise, the holidays end up being a stressful time for many of us. In many ways, it feels like it has gotten harder with the advent of social media and platforms such as Pinterest, where we all can feel like we are hopeless crafters together. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Pinterest and I have found many inspirations for projects, but it is so easy to get discouraged when my results aren’t anywhere close to picture perfect. (Enter, Etsy.) For me, once the result becomes more important than the experience, it is easy to lose the pleasure of the holiday.
A big part of staying healthy for me is to manage my stress levels. When I am successful, I enjoy myself more, sleep better, enjoy my family more, and am less likely to get physically sick. Continue reading
If you are anything like us at BHP, the holidays seem to be filled up running to one special event after another. Invariably, the sweets are too tempting and many times they wreck havoc with how we feel. Our reactions are different for each of us, which is why we decided to put together a holiday special of our digestive products. Three of our best at an amazing price! They will take care of any of your tummy problems, from burping, to gas, to reflux. Our Holiday Kit includes:
Holiday Bitters: stimulates digestion. It should be used prior to a meal, and in place of an aperitif to help the body extract nutrients from food.
No Burp: relieves burping and reflux. Take 1-2 eyedroppers after a meal and repeat dose every 10 minutes if necessary until symptoms ease.
Tummy Ease: helps bloating and gas symptoms, especially after an especially rich meal.
Many of you may know that our wonderful co-worker Sue is currently on pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago and has been since early September. For anyone following her instagram feed @suegeorge322, you will be familiar with the beauty of her photos and her inspiring messages as she moves along her path.
The Camino, for those who aren’t familiar with it (I wasn’t!) is essentially a long walk that medieval Christian pilgrims undertook culminating at the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, where it is said the apostle James is said to be buried. The modern day Camino may be less about the Christian aspect and more a journey of self-discovery and insight of personal spirituality.
Sue arrived at the cathedral today, so the official part of her pilgrimage is complete, however there are a number of common side trips that many of the pilgrims do, including a three day walk to the sea, which is her next leg.
I am grateful to be able to experience Northern Spain the autumn months, witnessing a plethora of extraordinary healing plants growing naturally in their full essence. Just to name a few: calendula, plaintain, mullein flower, blackberry, tansy, yarrow, yucca flower, and lavendar.
I feel honored to see the beauty of these plants growing happily on the sacred path of the Camino. I am in awe of their beauty from within. I pay homage to the pilgrims who come to walk in rain or shine and to find the source for which to heal, many of them healers themself. This experience has brought more mindful awareness & gratitude for this experience, for the world, to be part of an extraordinary community in Santa Cruz, and for my love of the healing arts and nature. Much love to all on your journeys!
I wanted to get back to our common herb posts. Each time I write one of these, I am amazed all over again at how many benefits the common herbs we find in our gardens have. This truly is a testament to eating fresh, varied, whole foods instead of packaged, processed, boxed crap.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family and is a common herb found in kitchen gardens all over the world. It is hardy, aromatic, and adds a wonderful flavor to food when prepared with it. It has a number of health benefits that it has been used for since ancient times including the ability to improve the memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, alleviate muscle pain, stimulate hair growth and modern science is finally catching up with all the old wives tales. Continue reading
Making your own simple tinctures is easy and relatively straightforward. It is a way to concentrate the healing properties of the herbs in question and make the finished product shelf stable. Alcoholic tinctures will last years if stored properly and all you need are a few simple pieces of equipment to complete the process.
- Procure and prepare herbs
Either fresh or dried herbs can be used. If using fresh, make very sure you are using the appropriate herb as there are many lookalike herbs and some are incredibly poisonous. If you choose to use fresh herbs, clean and cut them up in to small pieces prior to putting them in the container you will use to extract. Glass or ceramic is preferred, as the compounds may react to plastic or metal. Also, plastic degrades over time. A mason jar works well. Be sure whatever you chose to use has been washed and sterilized prior to using. Fill the container but be sure not to pack it too tightly. You will be periodically shaking the mixture during the extraction process and the herbs should be able to move easily.
If you choose to use dried herbs, keep in mind that when they reconstitute, they will expand. Roots and other fibrous herbs will close to double in size. Also, try not to use powdered herb, because this is exceptionally difficult to filter out of the final product. In oil it can be an irritant on the skin, especially if you are using it on a sensitive area. In alcohol it will settle to the bottom of your final product.
- Cover with alcohol or oil
Cover with your choice of alcohol or oil. When deciding on what to use, consider what the end use of the product will be. Will you be using this externally? Or taking it internally? For external products, we prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but any neutral oil will work. Just make sure it is high quality. If you are making an alcohol tincture, any high proof clear alcohol will work. Vodka is obviously the easiest to procure, but if you can get your hands on grain alcohol, even better. Just remember, the higher the proof, the more efficient the extraction process will be.
Once covered, seal the jar and give it a good shake and make sure any air bubbles that are trapped under the surface are removed.
- Label and let sit
Be sure to label and date your tincture, then let it sit in a dark place for at least three weeks. You can periodically shake the mixture when you check on it. Recommendations on how frequently to shake vary, some people suggest shaking the mixture multiple times of day for the first two weeks, others suggest fewer times. If you forget to shake the herbs, it won’t ruin your tincture, so don’t worry overmuch about that. Remember, the longer the herbs sit, the stronger the tincture will be.
- Press and filter
This step is the only step where you will need special equipment. Depending on the quantity that you are making, you will want a way to press the larger pieces of the herb to extract as much liquid as possible, then filter it to remove as many of the tiny particles as possible. You could use a press of some sort if you already have one, otherwise cheese cloth or nut milk bags are a good option for a small amount of tincture. For the final filtration, coffee filters are something that almost all of us have on hand and are fantastic at trapping the smallest particles.
Once you are pleased with the filtering process, store the final product in a cool, dark place and it will keep for an extended period of time, at the minimum of three to five years.
I know there are people out there that take pleasure in the act of exercising, but I’m not one of them. I like the results, I feel better after I’m done, but when I exercise with no other reason than my health and knowing that I should, it’s not the most fun thing I’ve ever done. My mom had similar feelings about exercise. She knew it was a cornerstone to her health, but she didn’t love doing it. For her, when she was tired or busy, exercise was the easiest thing to push back. I think for many of us, exercise feels like a chore, rather than a genuine pleasure but there are ways to improve your experience. Continue reading
Summer has screamed by once again and my daughter is all set to start first grade tomorrow. We met her teacher yesterday, dropped her school supplies off, and did a final round of school lunch supply shopping. We start early compared to most of the country, and have been madly trying to cram as much fun into our last few days as possible. In between the fun, there are a few things that we as parents can do to prep our kids and boost their immune systems prior to the first day of school. Here are a few suggestions that may help your child get ready for their first day of school. Continue reading