New Immune Support Video 6/28/20

Benedictine Education Specialist, Samaya Cullerton L.Ac. educates our viewers about some of our specialized immune supporting formulas. Check out this short video on our immune supportive products in the time of Covid-19. Washing hands, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, and supporting your innate health are all essential for stopping the spread. Stay healthy everyone! 


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Practitioner Pop-Up Sale!

Benedictine Healing Products is throwing an exclusive Practitioner Sale!

Sunday, June 23rd
10 AM – 3 PM
Oriental Medical Center, 200 7th Ave, Suite 135, Santa Cruz CA 95060

We’ll be streamlining some of our inventory, offering deep discounts on a wide variety of herbal tinctures and complex formulas. These were some of Martha’s beloved formulations and single herb tinctures.

View our list of discounted wholesale inventory and discount prices by clicking on the following link:

BHP-PopUp-Price List 


Can’t make our Pop-Up Sale?  Pre-order by contacting Sue before June 22, 2019:  831-429-9221 or (Shipping & handling charges may apply).

Special Discount Offer: Use Coupon Code NEWFRIEND15 at checkout to save 15% off your next online order! Coupon valid through July 31, 2019.

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Seasonal Allergies and Adaptogens

by Samaya Cullerton, LAc

California has had plenty of rain and snow this year. Most of our beautiful state has been pulled out of the long standing drought. All the moisture is creating super blooms of buds and blossoms. While we are all enjoying the beauty of green lush landscapes which have been brown for many previous seasons, and blooms of epic proportions, those who suffer from seasonal allergies are coping which very high pollen counts. In our spring blog, we’ll be discussing adaptogen herbs, and approaches to countering your seasonal allergies by working with your innate immune system.

Benedictine offers an array of adaptogenic formulas which improve immune function.

Our immune system is actually a dynamic, complex web of systems designed to keep us safe from invading pathogens which cause diseases. Cytokines are the messengers responsible for most biological effects in the immune system, such as cell mediated immunity and allergic type responses. Cytokines can be divided into two major functional groups; those that are pro-inflammatory and those that are anti-inflammatory, but also cause allergic responses. T lymphocytes are the primary cells that produce cytokines. These cells bear antigen specific receptors on their surface to allow them to recognize foreign pathogens. This is known as cellular immunity. They can also mistake normal tissue for a foreign pathogen during episodes of autoimmunity. Helper T cells are regarded as being the most prolific cytokine producers. Helper T cells can be further divided into Th1 and Th2 cells. Many immunologists regard allergies as a Th2 weighted imbalance, and immunologist has been dedicated to redirecting Th2 responses in favor of Th1 responses in their research of the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Traditional medicine has also spent centuries modulating Th2/ Th1 responses with herbal formulas. The herbs which are often used for this immuno-modulation belong to the general category of herbs called adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that increase our resistance to stress and promote homeostasis. We might refer to these herbs as harmonizing herbs in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), though herbal adaptogens belong to many categories. Adaptogens improve our immune function, but they also modulate our immune responses. Herbs including ginseng, rhodiola, astragalus, eleutherococcus, echinacea, and reishi have been researched for their immunomodulating effects, and their capacity to balance Th1/ Th2 ratios. Adaptogenic herbs can play a pivotal role in the prevention of seasonal allergies, and modulation our innate immune responses.

Martha Benedict always includes adaptogens in her formulations, so they can be seen in most of the internal Benedictine formulas. We have a few specific adaptogenic formulas I will be discussing in detail in this blog, Immune Plus and Adaptogen Plus for the actions of immuno-modulating. Adaptogen Plus is a formula using three herbs, Astragalus, Reishi and Eleutherococcus. These three herbs all have superior tonifying properties but can be used to relieve excess conditions often found in seasonal allergies, where many tonifying herbs can not. This is what makes these herbs adaptogenic, they can both boost a low functioning immune system, and reduce overactive immune function, or autoimmunity, by way of immuno-modulation. These herbs help our innate immune system function properly, efficiently to restore homeostasis. Adaptogen Plus can therefore be utilized in a wide range of conditions involving the function of the immune system including seasonal allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, frequent bouts of infectious diseases such as cold and flu, and various skin autoimmune conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and hives. This formula can adjust energy levels and healthy sleep function without being stimulating or sedating and is well tolerated by sensitive patients. Eleutherococcus is a type of ginseng. Ginsengs can often be too stimulating for sensitive patients who are highly reactive to caffeine and other stimulants, however I have found Eleutherococcus to be the most mild and well tolerated, and least stimulating of all the ginseng species.

Immune Plus is a larger formula designed more specifically to boost immune function and ward off externally contracted diseases. However, because the formula works by way of modulating our innate immune function with adaptogenic and supportive herbs, I also find it very helpful for diseases that are autoimmune in origin. Immune Plus is made with Eleuthero, Astragalus, Echinacea, Turmeric, Cat’s Claw (also known as Gou Teng), Rhodiola, Pau D’Arco, Aloe, Schisandra, Borage, Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake mushrooms. The overall energetic quality of this formula is cooling and nurturing to the yin aspects of the body. My personal experience with this formula was life changing. I was working in a public health clinic, where I was exposed to airborne, highly contagious diseases on a daily basis. I also had a toddler who was entering his first year of preschool, which can be a perfect storm of highly contagious pathogens. Between the two of us, it felt like our family was constantly fighting off an onslaught of sicknesses. I started taking the Immune Plus and giving my son the Immune for Kids. It changed our lives. We felt as if our normal, high functioning immune systems had returned and our health was restored. Because my personal experience with the formula was so positive, I began recommending it to various patients in my clinical practice. I’ve seen it be life changing for people with chronic autoimmune dysfunction as well as low functioning immunity. I now recommend it to people who are living with chronic stress and illness in many forms, because chronic stress puts our immune function in a vulnerable place where dysfunction is the result. People who live with autoimmune disorders often experience flare ups when they are under chronic stress, and this is a wonderful balancing formula for modulating immune function.

I will add, that tuning our immune systems is often a multi-factorial process which adaptogenic herbs can play a part in, but I also work with people on their sleep habits, diet and digestive function, and stress management. These are so often the cornerstones to achieving health and balance. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about utilizing adaptogens to achieve functional immunity. May you all be well and enjoy the beauty of springtime.

Th1 and Th2 Responses: What Are They? Abi Bergere, BMJ. 2000. Web.

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Chocolate: A Valentine’s Day Treat

By Martha S Benedict

Martha loved chocolate, and actively promoted it’s health benefits. This blog entry is a snippet of her writing on the topic. For more of her writings, see A Pocket Full of Posies. Enjoy!

Chocolate beans come from the cacao tree. Archeological evidence exists that cacao has grown in the Amazon and Orinoco River complexes for the last six thousand years. From this origin the tree was brought both north and south to the different empires of the Aztec, Toltec, and Mayan populations. Aztec lore relates that the god, Quetzalcoatl’, founder of the race, designated cacao as a divine gift and used it both to stem fatigue and provide pleasure. Cacao beans were used as units of exchange. There exist legends about the proliferation of cacao trees. The Aztecs believed that a drink of “xocolatl”, meaning bitter water, stimulated mental and psychic awareness.


Historically chocolate has been ascribed for use for the weak and infirm; as having curative powers; a panacea; curing consumption; consolation for lovers’ misfortunes; upset stomach; hangovers; mild fevers; senility; phlegmatic temperament; gout; to relieve fatigue; as a diuretic; antiseptic; for cough, snake bite, burns, wounds; for dry eyes, alopecia; as an emmenagogue, for pregnancy, and parturition; as a brain stimulant; as an antispasmodic; as a dentifrice. Archeological evidence also suggests that chocolate was traditionally fermented and made into one of the first alcoholic beverages.


What is in the composition of chocolate that makes it so unique and useful? Carbohydrates, fat (as cocoa butter that is easily assimilated), ash, protein, and water comprise chocolate a nutrient dense food that makes available a high amount of energy per unit weight. It has been included in astronauts’ and sports players’ diets. Depending upon its form, it contains 400 to 800 calories for 100g (3-½ oz). It is abundant in minerals: magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, zinc, iron, and copper. Chocolate has vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, and E, and it contains theobromine, a molecule related to caffeine, as well as one-fifth the amount of caffeine as coffee. Polyphenols or flavonoids are antioxidants in chocolate.. This is why it doesn’t go rancid. It also contains tyramine and phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is called the “love drug”. Research exists that allies PEA and its metabolites with other substances that elevate moods. Several fatty acids act on the cannabinoid and opioid receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain that some researchers associate with “feeling good”.


Twenty-three years ago whenI was given a barrel of roasted cocoa beans, it triggered thoughts of how much I liked to eat chocolate–dark rich chocolate. It also started recollections about chocolate. There were the nickel ice cream cones we bought at the drug store and consumed listening to the outdoor band concerts on warm summer Friday nights: Dad ordered strawberry; Mom and I ordered chocolate. Chocolate came at holiday times. Loft’s or Fanny Farmer’s chocolate came as Santa Clauses at Christmas, hearts at Valentine’s Day, and bunnies or fudge and walnut filled eggs at Easter. Uncle George told of sharing the Hershey bars from Aunt Millie’s World War ll care packages with eager French children. Hot cocoa sparked enthusiasm on cold winter morning, noon, and night’s. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. As I grew older chocolate was supposed to be avoided by any teenager who wanted clear skin. That meant every time I ate it and did not suffer an acne “flower”, I got away with something. People I knew growing up treated eating chocolate like sharing a secret or “falling off the wagon”. This gave the subject additional caché.

As an herbalist and champion of the plant kingdom, however, I began collecting information about the brown beans. Could something so universally loved also be healthy for people? Here is a short encapsulation of findings.


In Chinese medicine, it is important to train the palate especially of children to include and appreciate all the flavors–sour, sweet, pungent, salty, and bitter. Hot cocoa is a wonderful and easy beverage for a parent to use to accomplish “bitter”. It’s amazing how the palate is capable of becoming educated.


There is a multitude of cookbooks with fabulous chocolate recipes. Some recipes work better than others do. Here are a few that have worked for me. Hot cocoa can be made with heated or steamed milk and pure chocolate, honey, and cinnamon . Try it with a little chili powder for extra kick. Chocolate dipped fresh and dried fruit with the above- listed sweeteners can be served quickly. My favorites include strawberries, pineapple, cherries, raspberries, apricots, dates, currants, prunes, and persimmon wedges. They are so sweet in themselves, the chocolate needs next to no sweetener. Stuffing nuts-brazil, pecan, walnuts, almonds– in the dried fruit multiplies the possibilities. I make a cookie with nut flour, a variety of sweeteners, and pure chocolate nips mixed with semi-sweet chocolate morsels. I adore organic coconut, fresh or dried, with chocolate, nuts, and raisins. My favorite way to use chocolate is in a savory, rich, black Oaxacan mole sauce served with chicken and vegetables. Happy Valentines Day from the Benedictine Family.

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The Autumn Blog

by Samaya Cullerton, LAc

Greeting Readers,

As the autumn season rolls in, we at Benedictine Healing Products are very busy producing and educating people on our cold and flu product line. As an Education Specialist, it is often my job to answer questions about our products. This season’s blog we’ll be addressing some of the most commonly asked questions about our products, and some of the reasons our herbal formulas stand out from the competition.

Benedictine Healing Products follows Good Manufacturing Practices to help ensure the quality and safety of our formulations and the transparency of our manufacturing and ingredients. This is done by careful record keeping, use of batch numbers, keeping batch samples, and sourcing our ingredients from only the top reputable suppliers. There are always questions and concerns about importing herbs from Asia due to concerns of contaminants from pesticides and heavy metals. Many of the herbs and solvents we use are certified organic, however we don’t consider that the gold standard for quality in Asian imported herbs. Some certified organic herbs still contain traces of pesticide residues, mold, yeast, or other dysbiotic growth, which is why the comprehensive pesticide testing our suppliers do is a step above certified organic. Our suppliers test for a comprehensive list of over 250 pesticide residues and contaminants, importing only truly pure herbs. Our herbs are not fumigated or irradiated. The herbs we use are identified by top experts in the herbal field for correct specific species, highest grades of freshness, potency, and purity. We use fruiting bodies of medicinal mushrooms, therefore our mushroom formulas do not contain any fillers, and are energetically far more potent than the other medicinal mushroom products on the market. Our fresh herbal extracts are made within hours of harvesting parts and flower, making the formulations potent and vital. We have been growing our own fresh herbs in our herbal garden since we started, and this allows us the ensure the quality control of our fresh herb extracts from start to finish. Our garden herbs are harvested in accordance with their optimal harvest season, they are grown and processed with love at every step along the way. We use filtered, ozonated distilled water. Our tinctures are made from certified organic gluten-free alcohol. Our carrier oils are cold pressed, never deodorized and are tested for purity. We are dedicated to environmentally friendly business practices, and support suppliers who are as well. We are deeply committed to quality control in every aspect of our herbal line.

Martha at a Farmers’ Market

Our formulas are unique, formulated by an Herbal Master Craftsman. There are a lot of herbal companies making a variety of herbal products, with clever marketing, but you will never find another product like the formulas we manufacture. What makes us so special? Our formulas blend traditional Asian formulas, with Western and Ayurvedic herbs, and homeopathic formulas. To our knowledge, no one makes products similar to ours.

Benedictine Healing Products was founded by Martha Benedict. Martha was an herbalist, an acupuncturist, and homeopath. She was a brilliant practitioner who saw a need in her clinical practice to make both traditional Asian and Western formulas that were high quality, potent, effective, easy to use, and accessible to her patients. Her formulations are her living lineage of her life’s work, and we are honored to continue her legacy by continuing to manufacture her unique formulations. Martha was a kitchen herbalist in a time when there was no organic supplier of formulas, she was growing and creating her own.

The important Asian medicine tradition we maintain is that our formulas are always water extracted and cooked. This makes our products very different than most tinctures on the market. In traditional Asian medicine, this is a cornerstone principal of medicine making. Because our formulas are water extracted and cooked, they pull not only the alcohol soluble phytoconstituents, but also all the water soluble phytoconstituents. They are also highly concentrated. Typical tinctures that are available on the consumer market are 1:5 extraction ratio. This means one-part herb matter in weight to five parts solvent in fluid. Each batch is reduced to approximately a 1:2 ratio fluid extracts. What does this all mean? It means our extractions are more concentrated then most tinctures on the market, for often the same price. Plus, they contain a homeopathic formula within them, giving consumers a good price point for a potent and comprehensive formula. The formulas are organoleptically tested to assure consistency, potency, and effectiveness.

We seasonally adjust our cold and flu formulas. What does it mean to seasonally adjust the formulas? Every year the cold and flu infections are a little different, we change the formulation to be the most effective in the current year. We spend the spring and summer researching the infections in the Southern hemisphere and reading reports about the predictions for the Northern hemisphere infectious season. The ingredients in our formulas remains the same, but the proprietary blended ratios will address the key symptoms reported in the current year. We also take into consideration the weather patterns, and the traditional observation of nature when formulating.

This is our lineage of traditional Asian medicine. It is preventative, energetic, dynamic and individualized. We are not venture capitalists dabbling in the supplement market. We are a group of herbalists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, kitchen witches and warlocks, gardeners, and family. We are a family owned Santa Cruz small business and we are proud to produce Martha’s formulations. We are dedicated to quality control and making products we are confident to give to our children, our families, and the world. We believe Martha’s formulas are a community treasure and a healing cornerstone. 

 Thanks for taking the time to read about our herbal line. We are grateful for all our supporters everywhere! It’s not easy to be a small, high-grade herbal business in the big corporate global economy. We have chosen to stay small, so we won’t have to compromise our mission to quality. We are here because of your continual support!




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The Seasonal Change: Digestion Help to Stay Healthy

This article is written by Samaya Cullerton, MTCM, LAc, Herbalist, Acupuncturist, and Education Specialist with Benedictine Healing Products.

In traditional Asian medicine, late summer is a season of its own. As the fifth season it corresponds to the Earth element. Traditional Asian medicine teaches us how to be healthy in the present season and to stay healthy in the upcoming seasons: eat seasonally, live in accordance with nature, nourish and strengthen specific body systems seasonally. When the body is naturally full of vital qi, this is the original preventative health model.

Late summer is the time of the spleen and stomach, the Earth of our bodies. While the spleen is considered somewhat of an auxiliary immune organ in Western medicine, it plays an essential role in traditional Asian medicine for digestion, the immune system, and vitality of one’s self. Our late summer blog is about digestion from a traditional Asian medical perspective, and our herbal digestive formulations.

A Worker Bee in the Garden

Earth is the foundation of everything and is crucial to the existence of life itself. The Earth element in the body is the source of our post-natal qi, or our vital energy. Earth is responsible for our ability to digest food, absorb nutrients, and transform those nutrients into our vitality, our energy, our ability to be both healthy and to recover quickly when we become ill. Entire schools of traditional Asian medicine revolve around the Earth element, devoting all diagnoses and treatment to improving digestive function, assimilation and microbiome with profound results. Digestion plays an essential role in the immune function, sleep and energy levels, and mental health in both Western and Eastern medical models.

In the traditional model I was trained in, we care for the digestive function at the end of summer to keep the immune system strong in the fall, to encourage good sleep and energy when we’re awake, to reduce anxiety and depression, and to strengthen both the blood and the vascular system. Even when people have no symptoms of impaired digestion, I work to strengthen the Earth element in people this time of year, to prepare for the upcoming challenges to our immune system that come in the fall and winter months ahead. This time of year, people are particularly susceptible to infections which cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping sometimes accompanied by a fever. In traditional Asian medicine they call these disorders summer heat, or summer damp-heat.

We at Benedictine Healing Products are here to support your health and wellness with our line of digestive formulations for times of sickness and good health:

Diarrhea Relief is a gentle carminative formula which astringes the bowels. The herbs in this formula are traditionally used to stop the symptoms of diarrhea, no matter the cause. It can therefore be used in acute infectious situations, or for more chronic, functional digestive problems such as irritable bowel. It is not going to treat underlying infection that would also need to be addressed if present, but will slow down peristalsis (the movement of our digestive tract), without being harsh or constipating.

Holiday Bitters stimulates your innate digestive function. Our unique blend of bitters is a delightfully palatable formula, stimulating secretions of digestive organs, energetically warming them while promoting peristalsis. This formula should be taken before large meals, before eating foods that may be challenging for your digestion, and to promote mental clarity if people become sluggish or tired after meals.

No Burp is our version of the traditional formula Shu Gan Wan. This is one of my favorite traditional formulas, because when I was first introduced to traditional Asian herbalism, it was through this formula. It changed my life. I was prescribed this formula by my acupuncturist.

Like many people who find themselves seeing an acupuncturist, I had not gone to see her for digestive issues. I was having hormone imbalance and reoccurring ovarian cysts. My wise acupuncturist honed-in on my constant abdominal bloating, burping after meals, and irritable bowel symptoms I had been living with for years believing that was my normal self. I was irritable, teary and felt emotionally sensitive all the time until I took a few rounds of Shu Gan Wan. It was the right formula for me at that time, and it did completely change my quality of life. I’m not suggesting this formula is a cure all for all the symptoms I was experiencing, but this was the perfect example of how the digestive function can be the foundation on which all health is built on. Yes, this formula helps with burping, but it can do so much more. Years later, I have traveled down this healing path, getting a master’s degree myself in traditional Asian medicine, in hopes I can pay forward the gifts this herbal formula has given me.

Tummy Ease is a very aromatic formula, designed to counter dampness and qi deficiency. The herbs in this formula are traditionally used to prevent fatigue, nausea, lack of appetite, loss of taste, diarrhea and bloating. This is a very gentle formula, wonderful for chronic functional diseases. It is not constipating, is non-habit forming, and can treat both excess and deficient digestive dysfunction. It is a great formula for patients with adrenal fatigue, impaired assimilation, and irritable bowel-like symptoms.

Our Digestive Aid Kit contains Tummy Ease, Holiday Bitters, and No Burp at a reduced price.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our some of digestive formulation. May your long summer be built on the foundation of great digestive fortitude.

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Our Garden’s Summer Oils

Summer is in full swing, and we have been enjoying the bounty! As an herbalist, I am busy in my garden and kitchen, harvesting, nurturing, and creating. In Chinese medicine, one of our ancient texts, the Nei Jing says this about summertime “luxuriant flowering, the time when the qi of heaven and earth mingle, when ten thousand things fruit and flower.”

The Nei Jing also tells us to get outside in the summer and enjoy the earth. The mother earth is certainly glorious in the summertime, and we hope you are all getting outdoors, moving your qi, and finding ways to enjoy nature. At Benedictine Healing Products this is the season we harvest fresh flowers and aromatic leaves for making our luxurious line of healing oils and salve. Our topical oils and salve are just what people need to sooth and prevent the common injuries we all get in the summertime, such as bug bites, sun, sand and salt skin irritation, bonks and bruises, strains and pain, and more. This blog is about all the topical herbal oils and salve we make, and how to use them.

Benedictine Healing Products use only the highest quality carrier oils, and beeswax. They are pure, un-deodorized, cold pressed, unrefined, and unadulterated, making all of our topical oils and salves fragrant, earthy, and of the highest quality. We harvest many of our own homegrown herbs fresh for highest potency and aroma. Martha Benedict had this to say about her line of healing oils and salve:

“When a patient has an injury or is postoperative, I usually suggest they experiment with several herbal topicals in addition to herbs used internally. One or two for pain and inflammation and another to speed cellular repair and decrease the likelihood of scar tissue and adhesions all can work together at different stages of the healing process or in a rotation to bring greater comfort and a more rapid rate of healing.”

In the traditions of our founder, we continue her herbal legacy.

Our Garden’s Summer Oils

Anti-Fungal Oil was formulated for fungus related skin and nail issues, including athlete’s foot. This formula combines traditional Asian herbs and western herbs, essential oils, and minerals. The traditional Asian herbs clear damp-heat and wind from the skin- or in other words are used for symptoms such as itching, which may move around a location, and rashes that may burn or ooze. The Western herbs and essential oils have traditionally been used as an anti-fungal agent, to relieve itching and burning. We receive a lot of positive feedback and testimonials from customers about this product’s effectiveness!

Arnica Oil Plus is Arnica and far more. Arnica is an herb renowned for its traditional uses in acute inflammation, sports injuries, bruising, sprains, strains, dislocations, arthritic joints, and rheumatic conditions. Our formulation also includes Willow, Poplar and Meadowsweet, San qi, Gugul, Boswellia, and Erythrina for their traditional analgesic, or pain relieving effects. We add Comfey for its traditional bone healing effects, Passion Flower, Rosemary and Lavender to calm shock and trauma. In traditional Asian medicine we would say this formula moves qi and blood and is our version of a Ti Ta Jiao, or hit and fall liniment. Several of the herbal ingredients in our Arnica Oil Plus come directly from our Benedictine garden, making it an “earth potent” and divine healing oil.

Boo Boo Juice is an all purpose first aid oil. All of the herbs in this formula are freshly harvested from our garden. Martha raised her children applying this oil to their minor skin wounds, sunburns, itchy skin, dry skin, bumps, bites, ulcerations, wind chapped skin, scrapes, scratches, abrasions and bruises. She called it “first aid in a bottle”, and we sure find it useful to always have on hand!

Bug Bane is a non-insecticide based bug repellent. This is such an important time to keep yourself and your family safe from bugs which can be vectors for serious and deadly diseases. Mosquito and tick borne diseases are on the rise, and are not always easy to treat. It is highly advisable to prevent contact with the vector of these diseases through bug repellent. However, chemical insecticides are also highly toxic and so we made an effective, natural, and safe alternative, Bug Bane! It’s safe and gentle enough for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children.

Calendula Oil is one of the beautiful simples we make at Benedictine. It is simply calendula flowers, olive oil and vitamin E. Calendula is such a powerful healing oil on its own, Martha saw no need to add anything to it. Here’s what Martha had to say about Calendula.

Personally, I am indebted to this particular plant for being the first that opened my eyes to the world of healing plants. I was studying at the World Health Organization library in Geneva, Switzerland in the 60’s when I read a report about gangrene on the battlefield in World War 2. The article indicated that American GIs still died in large numbers when medics administered a drug discovered in the 1930’s by the British scientist, Sir Alexander Flemming, called penicillin. However, the French doctors did not lose one soldier, according to World Health Organization statistics, to gangrene on the battlefield using a tincture of Calendula. Our medical students weren’t taught about calendula at Stanford Medical School. Trying to find out why not introduced me to the politics of plants and the rest is my history.

Chickweed Oil is used as a drawing oil. Chickweed is traditionally used to draw out plantars warts, splinters, boils, or ulcerations which have not come to a head, and stingers. This is another one of our classical simple formulas, simply formulated, and simply effective.

Diaper Rash Oil was formulated to be gentle for your babies most sensitive skin, and soothing to itchy, irritated diaper rashes. It can be used on even the most stubborn and raw diaper rashes, and will relieve discomfort on application.

Healing Salve is our all purpose first aid in a bottle. All of the ingredients are harvested fresh from our garden, and it is a labor of love. We love bringing the world this salve made just how Martha formulated it in her garden and kitchen. Salve travels well and is essential for any natural home first aid kit.

Lymph Oil was formulated to stimulate lymphatic drainage and circulation. This formula in traditional Asian medicine clears toxic heat, and clears water overflowing which can create symptoms such as sore throat or edema. It can be rubbed on necks, behind ears, and over throats for earaches, sore throats, and lymphatic congestion, and it can be applied to ankles and knees for fluid retention. Additionally it can be used in pelvic infections, cysts and lumps. This oil is made with Poke Root and is contraindicated in pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

Moxa Oil is a warming massage oil, formulated to stimulate the circulation, alleviate pain and warm deeply. The queen ingredient is moxa, also known as Ai ye or Mugwort. In traditional Asian medicine moxa is often burned to warm a patient. Moxa Oil is a wonderful substitute for burning moxa, for patients who cannot tolerate smoke inhalation, and for places which may not permit the use of burning herbs. Moxa is paired with Fu zi, or Aconite, for deep penetration of warmth to the bone level which burning moxa can accomplish. This formula is powerful, and is not suitable for pregnant women, or breastfeeding mothers.

Rose Geranium Oil is another garden formulation of aromatic herbs in a delightful massage oil. Rose Geranium is the dominant note and queen herb in the formula. In traditional Asian medicine, Rose Geranium is said to strengthen familial relations, and to smooth family tussles. Modern research also shows it to be a useful insect repellent. The formula was created by Martha to enhance relaxation and improve skin quality.

Yoni Oil is our pride and joy oil. This is a beautiful formulation Martha  formulated for post and perimenopausal women, as well as women who have had hysterectomies. It is not recommended for women with fibroids.

I hope your enjoying the fruits of your labors, readers. Happy summer everyone!


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Helpful Hints to Make It Through Menopause and Perimenopause

In our culture, menopause is often considered a four letter word and instead of being discussed openly, many women suffer through the symptoms without much support. Medically, a woman is not considered to be in menopause until they have not had a period for 12 months. The process leading up to that milestone can be significant and can last anywhere from two to ten years starting as early as a woman’s mid-thirties. In the United States, it most commonly starts in the mid to late 40s with menopause in a woman’s early 50s. Perimenopause, as it is called, is when a women’s ovaries start decreasing hormone production. This fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone leads to a wide range of symptoms including:

Yoni Oil, the Joy Juice

Mood swings, extreme moods, anger, depression

Creeping weight gain. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that a few extra pounds when going through menopause (and after) protects your bones from osteoporosis. If you are a healthy weight to begin with, gaining 5 to 10 pounds isn’t something to worry about. Our society puts so much pressure on looking young and skinny that we panic when that number starts to creep up.

Vaginal dryness. It’s okay if the frequency of intercourse changes, family pressures are necessary to accommodate. Sex should still be pleasurable and desirable, even with all the changes that your body is going through.

Insomnia, sleep issues

Irregular ovulation, menstrual irregularities.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the whole process is considered at least a decade long event and it is a time for a woman to reevaluate her life’s priorities. In TCM, the above symptoms may be perimenopausal but may be able to be managed with some simple lifestyle changes including improving one’s nutrition or getting more rest. In TCM, the most important rest to restore the Yin is any sleep prior to midnight. This doesn’t mean you need to go to bed at 9pm every night, but if you can move your bedtime up by as little as 15 minutes is makes a difference.

Symptoms may also be managed by supplementation using chi support herbs including Menopause Plus, Mega Ginseng, Eleutherococcus, Rhodiola rosea, Ashwagandha, Xiao Yao Plus (weepy, anger), Blessed Thistle (sex drive), Yoni Oil Joy Juice (vaginal dryness), as well as other chi support herbs.

Instead of picking just one or two herbs, it can be more effective to rotate through ones that work for you. Mix them up. One may work at one point in the process and be less effective at another point. Martha particularly liked using ashwagandha, rhodiola, and eleutherococcus when she was going through perimenopause and menopause.

Many of these symptoms can be managed by making sure your thyroid is functioning adequately. One thing to keep in mind that current “normal” thyroid ranges that MDs use to decide whether patients have low thyroid are outdated. If you have multiple low thyroid symptoms but your numbers are in the normal range, you may want to consider asking your doctor about the benefits of taking thyroid medicine anyway because this could still be an issue.

Obviously, most of us will be looking to avoid hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and even more so now that the side effects have been well documented. In addition to herbal supplements there are some lifestyle changes that can really help make a difference including:

Reduce or eliminate sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Each of these may make you feel better in the moment but can exacerbate the symptoms you were looking to relieve in the first place. If you’re stressed and find yourself turning toward a glass or two of wine in the evening to relax, try taking even 15 minutes to clear your mind and relax. Find a way to center yourself, whether it is a walk, a bath, meditation. I have even been known to lock myself in the bathroom for three minutes when I need a moment away from my kids. If you’re tired, try moving your bedtime up by 15 minutes and see how you feel. As I mentioned earlier, you should be looking to restore your Yin energy and sleep before midnight is how that is accomplished.

Increase bean and legume intake. This is especially important when you cook the beans and legumes for extended periods of time, with a minimum of six hours. The longer beans are presoaked and cooked, the higher percentage of protein they contain. They can be soaked anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.

Increase Omega-3 intake (GOOD quality fats) coconut oil, butter, 100% EVOO, peanut oil. Low fat and no fat diets are so ingrained in our culture that we easily forget the benefits of high quality oils. This isn’t an area of our diet to scrimp on! Look for free range organic eggs from a local supplier. The secret is the more orange the yolk is, the better. Also, smaller eggs are worth sleuthing out. Small eggs are laid by younger hens that have more life force.

Consider fermented soy (tofu, tempeh). Soy products of any kind are popular and trendy in our culture and it is easy for someone to automatically recommend adding soy to your diet. The issue with soy is that it is an estrogen binder and too much of it can upset your hormonal balance. Instead, consider fermented forms of soy like tofu and tempeh.

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Helping your aging pet

Many of us consider our pets to be a beloved part of our family and it is as difficult to watch them age as any other member. We are conscientious of how we treat ourselves, but because our beloved animals are unable to speak for themselves, it can be harder to relieve their pain and discomfort when necessary.

The pet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and holistic pet health is a growing subset of this. We at BHP believe that our philosophy for people holds true for our pets as well: that a natural lifestyle, with all things in moderation leads to a happier, healthier pet. We want to help you help your pet to the best possible quality of life throughout their whole life. As our animals age, they are afflicted with many similar problems as we are and to that end, we adapted some of our people products for our pets.

If your experience with your pets has been anything like mine, then they dislike taking their medicines as much as my kids do. Pets can be incredibly sneaky about avoiding something that tastes bad. We had a dog who would eat a chunk of cheese and spit out the medicine hidden inside. Because our products are a liquid, they can easily be mixed in food. We don’t recommend adding them to water, as it isn’t an easy matter of monitoring your pet’s intake that way and the tincture becomes overly diluted.

Here are a few of our products that help provide comfort and relief for our aging pets:

Kidney Bladder Relief

Hormone replacement therapy in pets and they get older can lead to frequent bladder infections. Use this as a preventative, before your pet gets sick.

Immune Boost

Effective for all animals. This can be used long term to help bolster a compromised immune system, or to help prevent illnesses.

Joint Relief

Our pets experience the same joint problems and pain that we do as they age, which can make moving around, going up or down stairs, or even going outside difficult and painful. Joint Relief assists in the safe relief of stiffness, swelling, and joint pain associated with aging and arthritis.

Skin Comfort

Your beloved pet can develop skin problems as they age. This helps to relieve skin irritations including hot, itchy, flaky skin. Use for skin-related allergic reactions or excessive licking. As our dog got older, he became more and more sensitive to seasonal allergies and this helped.

Tummy Ease

Helps relieve gas, abdominal discomfort, and mild constipation from overeating or mild food allergies.

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Treating colds and the flu

Here is another post by our Education Specialist, Samaya Cullerton:

This year the Influenza outbreak has been devastating with many deaths and hospitalizations. Unfortunately, the flu vaccine had a low rate of effectiveness against the mutation of the virus which hit the United States. The immunization field is working on a new type of vaccine, entitled the universal flu vaccine. The goal of such a vaccine is ambitious; however the side effects of such a vaccine are as of yet unknown. In this month’s blog we will discuss influenza from a Traditional Asian medical perspective, a preventative health, and integrative health point of view. Often when Western medicine falls short, traditional medicine has an opportunity to shine. The centuries old methods for the prevention and treatment of Influenza continue to be effective, safe and trusted options. Ancient medicine has seen epidemics before, and it has some seasoned treatments.

In traditional Asian and Western medicine, our innate immunity, our lifestyle, and underlying health plays a key role in how often we get sick, how sick we get, and how well we recover. Whether observing the human body from a Western scientific model or a traditional Asian model, the human body’s health and wellness is a very dynamic and complicated concept. In traditional Asian medicine the Wei Qi is often compared to our immune system. It is our barrier system against pathogens which can attack our body, causing illness. The Wei Qi originates in the stomach, is created from the qi of food and water. It circulates the exterior of the body within the muscles and the skin and regulates body temperature. The circulation of Wei Qi is dependent on the lungs. In Traditional Chinese medicine, the entire GI tract is also considered part of the exterior of the body. Wei Qi, the traditional Asian medical model for immunity, is the defender of our body. It is intrinsically related to our digestive tract function as well as our mental health. The function of a healthy spleen and stomach in the traditional Asian model keep us clear and calm. In Western medicine, we know our autonomic nervous system plays a vital role in our stress levels as well as our digestive function and dysfunction. Essentially, chronic stress, emotional disruptions, low grade health issues, and digestive dysfunction can all profoundly disrupt the Wei Qi, and our immunity.

From my perspective, the people I know are stressed. Our political climate has been a chronic source of stress. The issues affecting the human race today from climate change to political extremism, school shootings, a massive refugee crisis, the brutalities of war, the constant media stream, the personal issues each and every one of us are all contributing factors. Life can be a series of stressful events but lately it’s been at peak levels. This long term, chronic exposure to stress takes a toll. Worry and pensiveness damage the spleen qi. Grief, sadness and despair injure the lung and kidney qi. Having to constantly filter information, deciding what to take in and what to not have an emotional response to, will damage the stomach and gallbladder qi. Anger, rage and frustration will cause the liver qi to become disrupted. In traditional Asian medicine, emotions have a profound effect on the digestion, and the Wei Qi.

This brings me back to the dynamic nature of health. We need to address our own individual dynamic wellness in order to have strong defenses against the flu and other seasonal pathogens. We need to address our emotional and mental health, our digestive function and microbiome, and healthy daily lifestyle habits. Being rested, hydrated, fed a nutrient rich diet, and having good hygiene, and methods to reduce stress goes a long way on the path to prevention and quick recoveries.

When life is hectic and our immune system falls short of protecting us, when superbugs make the rounds and we do get sick, the path to a rapid and full recovery is the next goal. Your body is now begging you for rest and care. Fear not, we at Benedictine Healing Products have your back. Here is a quick break down of our cold and flu line of herbal remedies for adults. Be sure to also check out our children’s, and pet formulas for colds and flu, after all, we all catch a cold sometimes.

Immune Plus as a preventative measure. When everyone around you is going down with illnesses, or for when you know your immunity might be low due to stress, fatigue or poor self-care. This adaptogen rich formula stimulates your body’s innate immunity to stand strong. This formula should be discontinued if acutely ill, and replaced with a cold and flu formula.

Elderberry Plus can also be used as a preventative measure, as well as after becoming ill. Elder flowers when combined with the berries have been traditionally used as an antiviral formula. We think our formula is unique and outperforms other Elderberry syrups on the market because we use both plant parts, and it is sugar free.

Chinese Cold and Flu is our amazing formula traditionally used for the treatment of acute influenza. Based off the traditional Asian formula Chuan Xin Lian, this formula was created to clear heat and toxins, to treat sore throat, cough, and sinus congestion accompanied by a fever. When taken at the first sign of the flu, the formula works best. We believe our formula is unique and gentle as we add herbs to protect the digestion from the cold and bitter herbs in the traditional formula.

Anti X Sinus is our formula traditionally used to treat sinus congestion, head cold, and ear infections. Some people are more prone to head colds, sinus infections and ear infections. This could be caused by the anatomy of peoples sinuses and ears, or it may just be a weak spot for some people, for a number of reasons. This formula has herbs which traditionally target the face, ears, sinuses and head, with both broad spectrum antiseptic, and anti-phlegm herbs, but also herbs which moisten and regenerates the tissue of the nose and sinuses, as it can become so tender and raw.

Deep Lung is intended for the second or bacterial stage of colds and flu. In Chinese medical theory, colds and flu initially enter the body as a virus in the upper respiratory system. If they are met with enough resistance and a strong immune system at this point, the infection is arrested. If the virus goes deeper or a secondary bacterial infection occurs, this manifests as symptoms of deep coughing, phlegm in the lungs, and prolonged acute illness.

Deep Lung 3 in 1 is made as a blend of our three cold and flu formulas: Anti-X, Chinese Cold Flu, and Deep Lung. It’s a great remedy to have on hand in the medicine cabinet. It is the catch all cold and flu formula, which boosts the innate immunity, nourishes the body, and is broad spectrum antimicrobial.

Lymph Oil is a topical oil traditionally used for drainage of congested lymph. It’s a wonderful addition to the cold and flu regiment for easing sore lymph nodes, congested sinuses, and sore throats.

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