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I learned a lot about what it takes to put on an herbal conference in this episode of The Herb Walk Podcast. I interview herbalist Amanda Klenner, owner and author of Natural Herbal Living Magazine about how her passion for herbalism began, what it was like to put on the Mountain West Herb Gathering, and much more.

Amanda Klenner is a Bio-Regional Clinical Community herbalist from Westminster, CO, where she loves to wildcraft, see clients, and teach both adults and children about the magic of herbs. She specializes in reproductive and auto-immune issues by combining customized nutrition coaching and herbal protocols, while taking lifestyle and personal energetics and goals into account. You can find her at www.naturalherballiving.com

Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to The Herb Walk Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher today!

So much love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

This week’s interview on The Herb Walk Podcast is with Lisa Ganora!

Lisa began studying herbs in the Wise Woman Tradition back in 1986 and fell profoundly in love with medicinal plants and natural healing. While studying wildcrafting and medicine-making with traditional herbalists from New England to the Appalachian Mountains for ten years, she began creating herbal products and traveled the festival circuit with an herb booth and as a workshop presenter.

In 1997 Lisa decided to study botany, chemistry, and health sciences at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, and graduated with highest honors and several awards. Lisa combines a deep understanding of traditional, Vitalist herbalism with a scientifically-integrated and holistic approach to natural health.

In addition to directing CSCH, Lisa is also an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacognosy at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, and has lectured and taught classes at numerous schools and conferences around the U.S. She is the author of Herbal Constituents, the standard textbook of phytochemistry for herbalists.

I hope you enjoy this episode of The Herb Walk Podcast. Download on iTunes and Stitcher today!

I’m paying homage to my first herb teacher, Jane Bothwell, with my recipe post today.

This was probably one of the first herbal blends I ever made, and definitely the first I drank that wasn’t Celestial Seasonings Chamomile, Peppermint, or Sleepy Time.

I remember Jane speaking of each plant with love and reverence. Although I hadn’t really been exposed to herbalism, everything she said made sense. The way she spoke about herbs resonated deep within me and I knew at that very first class that herbalism would be a part of my life.

Thank you Jane for sparking my passion for herbal medicine!

Simple & Nourishing Herbal Tisane

1 handful of Nettles

1 handful of Milky Oats or Oatstraw

1 handful of Spearmint

1 handful of Red Raspberry leaves

If you have access to these herbs fresh- perfect! If not, dried is wonderful too!

Steep herbs in 1 quart of boiled water and steep for 15-20 minutes (or sit for a couple of hours in the sun)

Strain herbs (or not- herbalists like to strain through their teeth, lol!)

Sip and be nourished.

 

With love,

 

Jessica

He sings, he raps, he’s also a medicine man. This week’s interview on The Herb Walk Podcast is with Denver musician and herbalist, Monticue Connally. Listen as Monticue sings, raps, and discusses his intimate relationship with spirits and plant medicine. Don’t miss an episode…Download The Herb Walk Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher!

I’ve tried to spend more time outside the last few days to get in as much as I can of the last of summer. My skin is feeling a little tight and dry and I need to make sure it stays moist and supple before the cold, dry air hits Colorado.

This is one of my favorite blends for nourishing skin after a day out in the sun.

After Sun Skin Soother

2 ounces of Comfrey and Calendula infused Apricot Kernel or Olive Oil

5 drops Lavender Essential Oil

5 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil

3 drops Helichrysum Essential Oil

2 drops Hemp Essential Oil 

Blend essential oils into carrier oil and mix well. Apply to the entire body after a long day in the sun. It’s also wonderful after being in the pool, river, lake, or ocean.

All of these essential oils have properties that will heal damaged skin and repair oxidative stress. 

With love,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

This week’s The Herb Walk Podcast interview is with one of my favorite herbalists, Mindy Green. Mindy is a world renowned Aromatherapist and activist for all forms of herbal medicine. We have a great conversation about the importance of conservation in the herbal industry, her consulting business Green Scentsations, and much more!

Make sure you download The Herb Walk Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher so you don’t miss an episode!

With love,

Jessica

There’s a lot of energy in the air with many people feeling overwhelmed, sad, or angry at what is happening in our country. Monday’s solar eclipse also has some people excited and energized, hoping that this event will shift our paradigm and perspective. Maybe it will, but I think it’s going to take more than an eclipse to change the politics and beliefs of our citizens. It is going to take standing up for our beliefs and giving to organizations that are working towards ending oppression.

This week I know I need something to nourish and relax my nervous system, while giving me the energy to stay active to create the changes I want to see in the world. This essential oil blend has been helping me tremendously. I hope it helps you too.

Essential Oils:

3 drops Lavender- to reduce anxiety and fear

3 drops Frankincense- to ease heartache and grief

3 drops Clary Sage- to bring clarity to thoughts and actions

Add essential oils to 10 ml of carrier oil (I love olive or apricot kernel)

Put essential oil blend in a 10 ml glass roll-on bottle. Apply to heart chakra, third eye, or anywhere else you desire. Don’t wait until you are already overwhelmed or emotional. Use preventatively to help you stay calm, clear, and collected.

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

I am disgusted by the white supremists that are emboldened by our current president and conservative politicians, since they have normalized being racist, misogynists, and downright hateful. I am not surprised like many people. If you think this is something new then you are ultra privileged, have your head in the sand, or both.

Racism is learned behavior, taught by generations of hateful people that use the excuses of fear and economy to stay ignorant and mean. Besides donating money to organizations that fight oppression and racism, take the time to work within your community to make a positive change for those that need it most. It’s not easy, it won’t happen overnight, but it is us, the privileged ones, that are responsible for contributing to making America safe for all of us.

One of the ways I help is to spread knowledge of herbal medicine. Knowledge is power, and knowing what herbs we can use to heal ourselves (instead of relying on doctors and the pharmaceutical industry to do it for us) is empowering. It may be the most important thing we can do to lessen the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

If you are an herbalist, acupuncturist, or other health care provider, I encourage you to give back. Teach a donation based class on community herbalism, give free or low cost treatments to those in need, donate herbs or products to free clinics, just give back in whatever capacity you can.

Don’t let your fear, sadness, or embarrassment keep you from making the world a better place. It will take all of us.

With love,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

I am thrilled to announce that my new project, The Herb Walk Podcast, is finally ready to air! It has been a year since I started the interviews, but sometimes good things take a while to come to fruition.

On our first episode I interview Brigitte Mars, herbalist, author, professor, and natural chef. In our hour long discussion, we talk about how she became interested in herbalism, her passion for teaching about herbs and nutrition, cannabis, the spiritual use of plants, and so much more!

Brigitte teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University and The School of Health Mastery in Iceland. She has taught at Omega Institute, Esalen, Kripalu, Sivananda Yoga Ashram, Arise, Envision and Unify Festivals, and The Mayo Clinic. She blogs for the Huffington Post and Care2. She is also a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild.

Brigitte is the author of many books and DVDs, including The Home Reference to Holistic Health and Healing, The Country Almanac of Home Remedies, The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Beauty by Nature, Addiction Free Naturally, The Sexual Herbal, Healing Herbal TeasRawsome!,and co-author of The HempNut Cookbook. Her DVDs include Sacred Psychoactive, Herbal Wizardry for Kids of all Ages, Natural Remedies for Childhood Ailments, Overcoming Addictions, and Natural Remedies for Emotional Health. Her latest project is a phone app called iPlant that helps budding herbalists to identify plants in the wild.

Stay tuned for more interviews with other special guests like Mindy Green, Lisa Ganora, and other fabulous herbalists and educators.

Check out The Herb Walk Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play!

I’d love any feedback, suggestions, or requests for those you’d like to hear interviewed. This podcast is meant to inspire, educate, and preserve the science and art of herbalism for generations to come.

With love,

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

 

In preparation for my class at this year’s Red Earth Herbal Gathering (August 19-20 in Longmont, Colorado- tickets still available!) I want to share this nourishing and delicious sun tea to support women’s health and wellbeing. This is one of my go-to teas when I feel fatigued, overwhelmed, or out of balance. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Strong Woman Tea

2 tbsp Red Raspberry leaf

1 tbsp Milky Oat tops

1 tbsp Marshmallow root

1 tsp Vitex seeds

1 tsp Nettle leaf

Place all herbs into a glass quart jar and cover with filtered tap water or spring water. Set in the sun for 4 hours or so. Strain out herbs and drink the tea over the next couple of days. You will feel great!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


It’s hard to explain the Amazon rainforest to those that haven’t experienced it. I’ve listened to others tell me all about their trips to Peru and how much they loved the people, the plethora of plants and animals, and none of their explanations could’ve prepared me for how utterly amazing this place is.

IMG_3166My husband Chip and I started it off with a day in Lima, scouring music stores for a Peruvian made guitar and a 10-stringed Andean instrument called a charango. Much to our surprise, we came across a luthier that had both in his shop. My charango is so new I can still smell the varnish on it! On the plane from Lima to Iquitos, the guitar got a little banged up, but it just adds to the story of our Peruvian guitar.

Once we arrived in Iquitos, we met up with our friend Kelly (aka “Sparkles”) that has been coming down to the Amazon for 17 years. After the unfortunate death of the owner of Refugio Altiplano, he was asked if he would be interested in buying it since he had been attending ceremonies there since 2000. Much to his (and our) pleasure, he was able to pull it off and is now the proud custodian/proprietor of a natural medicine-healing center with over 20 years of history of helping people heal.

Refugio Altiplano is over an hours boat ride up the Amazon River on old cattle grazing land surrounded by 1,200 of acres of rainforest preserve. It is a beautiful property with El Centro, a meeting area that includes the kitchen and dining area, several rustic jungle casas, and a maloca where ayahuasca ceremonies are held.

They also have a large medicinal herb garden OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhere they are growing peppers, aloe, and noni, alongside wild sangre de grado (dragon’s blood), una de gato (cat’s claw), chacruna, and ayahuasca. The reverence that Jose, a Mestizo shaman, and the true custodian and guardian of Refugio Altiplano, has for all of these plants is as palatable as the oxygen rich air the rainforest exudes.

It was during the ayahuasca ceremonies that I truly experienced Jose’s love of plant IMG_3248medicine. Once he began to pray and sing the ayahuasca songs, I could feel the sacredness of his words infusing me with love that transcends time and space. Once Daniel, a very humble and powerful Shipibo shaman, begins to sing an icaro to each one of us, I was already deep into the medicine of ayahuasca. An icaro is a song that shamans sing to induce a profound state of healing and awareness. It is unlike anything I have experienced before. Beautiful and deeply, deeply healing.

The river, the people, the shamans, the abundance of medicinal plants, they are now ingrained in my body and in my soul. They are again a part of me, as they always have been, as they always will be.

With love,

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Jessica


This is one of the most delicious sun teas I have ever made. It doesn’t take anything more than a few fresh, organic herbs that you can likely find in most natural food stores:

a handful roses (make sure they are not sprayed)

a handful of holy basil leaves

a handful of peppermint leaves

one lavender stalk (no more or will be too strong for my taste)

Place all herbs in a glass, quart jar. You can make this tea with 4 cups of cool, filtered water or you can boil 1 cup of water and add 3 cups of cool, filtered water for a stronger brew. Sit out in the sun while you are at work. Come home, strain off the herbs and enjoy a nice relaxing cup of tea (or two or three).

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


20 years today I moved to California! And my entire life changed. I found herbalism, the redwood forest, and a whole crew of people I still call family two decades later. This is my passionate plea to encourage you to Go Live Your Life. Take chances, make that move, call that guy, whatever it is; Do It!

If I wouldn’t have moved to Humboldt County, I don’t know what my life would be like now. Would I have found a teacher of herbalism that resonated with me like Jane Bothwell? Would I have gone to acupuncture school? Where would I live now and what would I do for a “living”? I don’t know what I would be like, but I do know that I was shaped by my experiences of two decades in California.

I love my life and am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel, explore and find what it is that brings me great joy. I have lived many, many places and I am happy I have found my place. Thank you to the redwoods, the ocean, the herbs, and all the people that have been fundamental for me to call Northern California home.

With love,

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Jessica

 

when energy flows, wellness grows


Last week I shared a recipe on how to make a calendula infused oil. If you’re ready, we can take this oil and make it into a salve. It’s super easy and fun!

Ingredients:

250 ml Calendula or other Herbal Oil

6-8 ounces beeswax

10 drops Essential oil of choice (optional)

Supplies:

Double Boiler

Wooden spoon

Dark, Glass Jars

Essential Oils

Heat oil and beeswax in a Double Boiler on low heat until beeswax is completely melted.

Test the firmness by placing a tablespoon of mixture in the freezer for 1-2 minutes. For a softer salve, add more oil. For a harder salve, add more beeswax.

Remove salve mixture from heat and add 10 drops essential oil. Stir with wooden spoon.

Immediately pour into dark, glass jars. Put on lids after salve has cooled.

Used on dry, irritated skin, bug bites, or scrapes.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


The Day out of Time is the culmination of the 13 Moon Calendar year from the Tzolkin, or Mayan Calendar (13X28=364). The Day out of Time re-aligns humanity into remembering our inherent connection to eternal time, the cosmos, and to nature. It is a day to remember we are all one, to remember our connection runs deeper than borders, gender, or race. We are connected by the earth, by the sun, by the stars, and by the cycles of the moon.

On this Day out of Time I hope you find yourself immersed in nature, looking at the stars with the people you love, and grateful for this awe-inspring world we live in. If you are in your office (it is Tuesday), try to get outside on your lunch break and sit amongst the trees in the park. Give thanks for the life they provide.

Back in my 20’s, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (still one of my favorite bands, and good friends of mine) used to talk about the Tzolkin and other aspects of Mayan culture. One thing that I heard a lot at their shows was, In Lak’ech, a phrase that basically means, I am another you (I am you. You are me). If we lived our lives as if we are one, that you are me, and I am you, maybe there would be less war, less destruction of the earth, less suffering at the expense of the privileged. Maybe we can start on this Day out of Time.

In Lak’ech,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 


After all that talk about how I love making herbal medicine I want to share a super easy infused oil recipe with you.

Ingredients:

250 ml Olive, Apricot kernel or Oil of choice

50-125 grams Dried Calendula flowers (100-300 grams Fresh)

Supplies:

Double Boiler

Wooden spoon

Glass Bowl

Cheesecloth

Dark, Glass Bottles

Put Calendula flowers and Apricot Kernel Oil in the Double Boiler and heat on low for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth into a bowl or large mouth jar.

Press excess oil out with a wooden spoon

Pour oil into dark, glass bottles and store in a cool, dark place 

Apply oil to dry, irritated skin or add a spoonful (or two) to a warm bath for smooth, silky skin.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


I love it when my clients say that they make their own medicine or grown their own herbs. I firmly believe that our strongest medicines are the ones we make ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. Part of my business relies on sales of formulas I make and sell, but I am almost giddy when I her that a client wants to make her own tea, tincture, or salve.

I know the strongest medicine is what you make yourself. It’s also not something everyone can or wants to do. It gives me great joy to formulate for people, infuse my magic and love into their blends, and then give them with confidence that the herbs are going to have a profound impact on their lives.

Working with plants has completely changed my life. I am so grateful for their teachings, for their wisdom, for the life they provide us all. I am honored to be a voice for the medicinal herbs, for the wildflowers, and for the trees. There are many online herb schools to choose from. I encourage you to deepen your connection with plants; your life will be forever enriched.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


Growing up in the south, I am used to hot summer days. What is new to me is the dryness that accompanies the heat in Colorado. In some ways it makes the heat more bearable and you sweat less, but it is not the appropriate climate for my constitution. Since I have moved to Colorado my skin is dry and reactive in a way I have never experienced. Splotchy red in some places, pimples in another, and underlying it all, the feeling that no matter how much serum or moisturizer I apply my skin doesn’t look or feel hydrated.

Thankfully one of my besties Diane Avitable, has created a botanical Restore & Repair Processed with VSCO with f2 presetFacial Oil through her company, Take Time Out for Beauty. Not only does it smell delicious, with her combination of jasmine and rose, but also for the first time in a year, I wake up with my skin hydrated and glowing! I love it!

I know her facia oil works so well because Diane makes a rich base of botanical oils, the only way your skin can be truly nourished and healed. Restore & Repair is lightweight, bio available, and easily absorbed by the skin. Her facial oil is designed to repair the protective barrier layer of the skin. It calms and soothes irritation, balances natural oil production, nourishes and restores from the inside out! To make it even more amazing, Repair & Restore fights free radical damage, countering the signs of aging, illuminating and enhancing your skins natural glow.

Check out Take Time Out for Beauty and all Diane has to offer! I personally love her Instagram account, follow her today!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


Everywhere I’ve traveled our wild herbs s are going off! One of my favorite things to do is to go wildcrafting my own medicine. With popularity of herbs on the rise I have had to curb my natural instinct to harvest medicine because now I don’t know how many others are also going to pick from that spot.

It’s funny how things change. When I first started taking herbal classes in the late 1990’s emphasis was put on wildcrafting and harvesting your own herbs. I was even taught that wild plants had the strongest medicine. Now with all the over harvesting of many of our herbs (ginseng only being one of them), herb teachers talk more about organically growing your own herbs or buying from small organic herb farmers.

We should be growing our own herbs (and food), but I am a little saddened by not having the freedom to harvest in the wild as I once did. For the future of our herbal allies, this is what we must do.

If you still want to harvest a little, here are general guidelines:

Always ask the plant permission first- and then Listen to the answer.

If permission is given, take less than 1% of what is growing.

For herbs where once we used mostly the root, try the leaves and stems too. Instead of killing the plant, you may just find some potent medicine in arial parts of the plant.

Always give a prayer, gift or blessing to the plant for the medicine they provide.

Please do your part to keep herbalism alive and viable for future generations.

With love,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows


July is hot here in Denver and there’s nothing like a refreshing glass of iced cold lemonade. I know, I know. As an acupuncturist I shouldn’t encourage drinking iced beverages, but I am making an exception for this cooling and medicinal lemonade!

Lemon Balm Lemonade (aka: Melissa’s Lemonade)

Handful of fresh lemon balm

6 lemons

1/2 cup honey (more if desired)

1 cup boiling water

3 cups spring water

Ice

Scrub lemons, peel the rind thinly avoiding the white; set aside.

Place the lemon rind, lemon balm leaves and the honey into a small heat-proof pitcher.  Pour the boiling water into the pitcher and stir well, crushing the lemon balm leaves to release their flavor.  Let steep 15 minutes.

Cut lemons in half and squeeze out the juice.  Strain juice into pitcher, add a few fresh sprigs of lemon balm, then add the cooled, strained syrup.  Top with water and ice. Take a long drink and enjoy!

With love,

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Jessica

 

when energy flows, wellness grows


On this day I always sing Woody Guthrie’s infamous song, “This Land is Your Land.” Like the balladeers of yesteryear, I have lived in various parts of our beautiful country and  I am also not patriotic to our country. I am grateful to be “American” because I do understand my privilege. That privilege gives me the opportunity to see the world a little differently.

Every 4th of July I honor the land that has given so much to all of us. I remember the people that were slaughtered and disenfranchised with the colonization of America. I remember that their ancestors are still here, marginalized and still fighting for sovereignty. I remember that we are all dependent on this land, not only for our so-called freedom, but also for our lives. It is Mother Nature that ultimately provides.

Today while you are at the river or the lake, drinking cheap beer and eating hot dogs, take a minute and look at the lake. Really look at the lake, smell the water, feel the wind blowing through the trees, witness the life of the fish you just caught. Give thanks for all the life that surrounds you. Give thanks for all the life they provide.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


As yet another “holiday” approaches, we find ourselves celebrating our independence and freedom. Many of us are ghastly aware that these “freedoms” come at an extreme cost to our fellow humans and certainly to our planet. This 4th of July I am going to do what a lot of people are doing. I’ll gather with friends around a bonfire, play guitar, eat too much, and enjoy the privileges so few of us have.

Along with these time honored American traditions, I will also give offerings and thanks to the land that colonists violently took from those that had called this majestic place home. Our “freedom” is muddled with genocide, slavery, rape, clear cutting, mining, and built on hope, dreams, liberty, and freedom. We can no longer choose to remember the illusion of independence, but accept the reality of the actual cost of our being “Americans.”

I don’t say this to make you feel guilty. I say this to make you aware that in accepting the truth, you can change the future; only when you know where you came from can you be guided where you want to be.

The flowers in this blend were chosen to represent the red, white, and blue of the American flag.

Red signifies hardiness & valor

White signifies purity and innocence

Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice

Red- Roses: helps open your heart to love and compassion for all beings

White- Shasta Daisy: assists you to experience the purity and sweetness of life

Blue- Vervain: provides strength in advocating for justice for all

Either make a delicious sun tea out of 1-2 tbsp of each flower or add 1-2 drops of each essential oil (or absolute) in 1 ounce of carrier oil and anoint yourself daily.

Thank you for spreading peace and love throughout the world.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 


Today we celebrate Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year where yang is at its peak. For some of us it signifies the beginning of summer, others Midsummer. The fiery nature of summer has been increasing since Spring Equinox and on this most yang day of the year, we celebrate the Sun and all its life giving properties! We give thanks for the abundance of food, herbs, and flowers that provide all the sustenance we need. We are truly blessed to be a part of this world.

After today the days begin to shorten as yang energy decreases and yin energy once again begins to rise. Enjoy this slow process of moving from Fire into Metal. Observe where you may feel out of balance with this seasonal shift. Rejoice when you feel the passion and joy that summer brings.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


This recipe is inspired by the Tree Walk I took with Deb Soule and Kate Gilday at the International Herb Symposium and for my love of our life giving conifers. Thank you Deb and Kate for your gentle wisdom.

Take a walk through your favorite grove of conifers and breathe deeply, giving thanks for the life they have provided for millions of years. Look down and see if there are any offerings of small branches with fresh green needles on them. If so, gently pick them up and bring a small bundle back to your house.

Put the branches in a large pot and cover with water. Put lid on pot and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, turn down heat and take out one cup of tea for yourself and slowly sip. Cover again and simmer for 20 minutes. Take out another cup of tea for yourself.

Once the water is warm enough to use as a footbath, pour water (with or without branches) into a small tub. Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes while drinking the tea. Allow the strength of the trees to come up through your roots, helping you to stand tall and true in your convictions. Breathe and give thanks.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


I don’t know how can I choose what to highlight about the 13th International Herb Symposium. Between all the talented teachers that traveled from around the world to share their love of herbalism with us, the epic dance party, the $20,000 raised by the IHS for the United Plant Savers (UPS), and the chance to gather with friends I don’t see very often, this years symposium is pretty much beyond words.

Since I have to say something, I’ll start by telling you that the International Herb Symposium is a fundraiser for the nonprofit, United Plant Savers. Every two years the symposium is held to educate people about the importance of conservation when it comes to medicinal plants. The take away message from UPS this year is that the enthusiasm for herbs is outgrowing the availability of many of our plant allies. We have to start growing our own medicinal herbs and supporting local organic farmers if we want to be a part of keeping our medicine available to all. There are just not enough resources to keep up with our exponential population growth.

Many speakers, from different lineages, talked about the 6th Extinction that we are in now. It’s real folks and we have to actively be a part of the solution instead of continuing to add to the problem. Heavy news, but given with hope that we can alter the course we are on by consuming less and giving back more. I cry as I recall the words of Linda Black Elk from the Lakota tribe, about how we have profited off the medicine of the Native people of this continent, while they were denied their cultural legacies until the Religious Freedom Act of 1978. We white people have been able to practice herbalism, unobstructed and without reproach, smudging, drumming and chanting without the fear of retaliation from our government for communing with spirit and plants the way we chose to. Privilege comes in ways we aren’t even aware of. It is our responsibility to be on the front lines with Native American tribes, as they protest the innumerable pipelines and mines that infiltrate their sovereign lands. And that will ultimately affect us all. Thank you Linda Black Elk for illuminating the truth about how our freedom has come at the very high cost of yours.

I am inspired and in awe of Jacquelin (Jinpa) Guiteau, Julia Graves, and Michelle LaDue (a fellow acupuncturist!) for their mobile clinics in Haiti. They have treated over 40,000 women, men, and children with homeopathy, essential oils, herbs, and acupuncture for everything from shock to cholera. The essential oils and homeopathy are the most effective because of how many bottles they can carry, and how far the medicine goes. A single drop of essential oil in a community water barrel has stopped the spread of cholera in some areas. Every female in Haiti has some form of vaginal infection from a very young age, and a combination of a 1% dilution of tea tree and lavender is providing relief for the females they have been able to treat. Imagine the feeling of vaginal relief for the first time in your entire life. The power of plants is miraculous! Thank you thank you, Jacquelin, Julia and Michelle. Big heart hugs to you all!

The keynote speaker was Robin Wall Kimmerer, scientist, decorated professor and enrolled member of the Potawatomi Nation. She eloquently spoke of the importance of giving back to our Earth, instead of constantly taking. Robin spoke of developing a new language when speaking about our plant relations. When we refer to other forms of life as “it” then it is too easy to devalue them as we do with all of our “natural resources.” “It” doesn’t have a soul, “he” or “she” does. She suggests a new pronoun for our plants, “ki,” which comes from the ending of a Potwatomi word (I can’t find it in my notes!) and would personalize life, instead of treating “it” as if it’s life is not as important as ours. The plural would be “kin,” which is what plants are to us. They are our ancestors, our relatives, our kin.

I will share more experiences from the International Herb Symposium, since I didn’t even tell you about the ultra-talented Amikaeyla Gaston or the update on the Fire Cider Three. Those will have to come later. For now I leave you with these thoughts:

“What if you were a teacher but had no voice to speak your knowledge? What if you had no language at all and yet there was something you needed to say? Wouldn’t you dance it? Wouldn’t you act it out? Wouldn’t your every movement tell the story? In time you would be so eloquent that just to gaze upon you would reveal it all. And so it is with these silent green lives.”  – Robin Wall Kimmerer

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 


“I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again”

I feel like this is my theme song the last couple of years! One of my favorite things to do is travel. It makes me feel alive, brings me closer to understanding other cultures, and makes me so grateful to have a planet as gorgeous as our Earth.

The recipe today is a simple offering from my heart to our life-giving Earth.

Sit at the base of your favorite tree (it can be in your yard, the park, or in the forest- just make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals). Take 3 deep breaths and notice any subtle or profound changes in your body that occur with each breath.

What does the exchange of CO2 and O2 with this magnificent tree feel like? With permission, take a leaf, flower and/or twig from the tree and place it in a bowl of fresh spring (or filtered) water. Infuse in the water for as long as you have time, whether it’s 5 minutes or overnight).

When you feel ready, gently take out the plant material and take a sip of the infusion. Allow the vitality of the tree to flow through you. What medicine does this tree have to offer? What do you have to offer back?

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


I’m getting super excited about the International Herb Symposium this weekend outside of Boston at Wheaton College. I went two years ago and had a great time learning from some of the most revered herb teachers from around the world.

One of my highlights was planting an herb garden dedicated to the grandmother of Western herbalism, Rosemary Gladstar. I look forward to seeing how the garden has grown over the last two years. I bet it will be beautiful!

As I travel this week, I am reminded at how important it is for me to stay healthy despite all the exposure from those around me. The summer epidemic season seems to have already started, as many of my friends and I had a gnarly cough and sinus congestion last week. Thankfully I am better now, but I want to make sure my immune system is strong and prepared for the adventurous week ahead.

For yesterday’s flight to Cali, I made sure to drink my daily dose of elderberry tea (which is not usually something I am taking into June- but this year I Need it!). I always have my essential oils traveling with me- planes are full of germy re-circulated air and I need my defensive team!

Here’s a list of some my essential travel oils this week:

White Sage– purifies, calms, and is able to negate the most toxic energy (be it infectious disease or that irritable passenger beside you)

Laurel– strengthens will and courage, strengthens your resolve and helps you adapt to the stresses of travel

Scots Pine– improves memory and strengthens lung qi, aids you in keeping your patience with challenges that are outside of your control.

St. John’s Wort– helps with others getting on your nerves, also great for improving qi and blood flow to the nerves after hours of sitting on planes, trains or automobiles.

As always, use common sense when using essential oils. Dilute-use sparingly-respect the earth

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


I’ve never wanted a May to be over as much as this one. I’m being slightly melodramatic, but next year I am spending May in California! I am getting super excited for June, and the beginning of my Summer travels.

Do you know about The International Herb Symposium June 8-12 at Wheaton College? If not, check it out!!! The IHS is The symposium to attend, as it only happens every two years and brings teachers from all over the world! I went in 2015, and knew it was one I had to attend whenever I can.

Highlights for me are seeing Rosa Tupina Yaotonalcuauhtli again. She is a Registered Nurse, Curandera, and Sacerdotista of the Sacred Moondance Ceremony. I was able to attend her classes last time, and I look forward to learning from her again.

I hope I get to take Jacquelin (Jinpa) Guiteau’s class on Healing into the Dream World, where we will learn to use plants to heal ourselves and others in dreams. Jinpa is an ordained Buddhist monk that started the Earthquake Survivor Relief Clinic in Haiti with Julia Graves.

And Rosemary Gladstar will also be there leading an herb walk. I may the most excited about this, just because Rosemary’s enthusiasm is contagious and it isn’t often that Rosemary teaches these days.

Register for the IHS!

I hope to see you there!

With love,

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Jessica

 


I rarely get sick, but I think the crazy weather has finally gotten me. I’m over the fever and fatigue, but I still feel congested and heavy. My sinuses are full of mucus and I am not happy about it! This is my favorite recipe for relief from sinus pressure and pain.

Sinus Relief Steam

3 drops Eucalyptus radiata

3 drops Monarda

3 drops Himalayan Mint

2 drops Thyme (any thyme works) 

Fill a large bowl with hot water and add essential oils. Cover your head with a towel and lean over bowl. Inhale deeply. Your sinuses will open and you may drip some into the bowl. Let it flow!

With love,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 


May has been one full of dramatic changes. It hasn’t just been the weather, where we have had 80 degree days, thunderstorms, hail and snow all within a couple of weeks. The shifts have also been of heart and soul.

Many of us are coming to grips with the undeniable injustices that are occurring all over the place. These horrific acts have always been happening, but now with the internet we know exactly when they happen and sometimes we even get a live feed.

We want to know what’s happening so we can try to change it. I just don’t know if our psyches are able to assimilate all the information that comes at us in newsfeeds, notifications, and pop-ups.

I know for me it is overwhelming and downright obnoxious. Knowledge is power, but a lot of what we see is not knowledge, but distraction and opinion pieces that look like real news. How are we supposed to know what is important and relevant and what is just written to rile us up.

As I sit here upset with the way things are, I remember that I can help change what I don’t like to see in the world. My place is just to remind others, and myself, that it is our relationship with Nature that will bring about the greatest peace. I just have to find peace within myself and then I will be much more peaceful and loving towards others (easier said than done!).

Here’s my Peaceful Journey Blend that I will be dousing myself with all day today, and probably the next 4 years! Remember, use organic and ethically wild-crafted herbs and essential oils whenever possible! And use those precious essential oils sparingly!!

Peaceful Journey Blend 

3 drops Mt. Shasta Lavender essential oil- relaxes NS, reduces anxiety

3 drops Clary Sage essential oil- brings clarity to thoughts and feelings

2 drops Mandarin essential oil- transforms energy

2 drops Frankincense essential oil- reduces pain and sorrow

Add all essential oils to 1 ounce carrier oil (I Love apricot kernel oil). Mix well. Put in a roll-on bottle and anoint yourself when you need clarity and relaxation.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 


I woke up this morning to sleet and snow in Denver. It is inevitable that there will be at least one more snow storm before June, but it still shocks me. I was just in summer clothes, sitting on a roof top deck with a margarita.

Today I’ll be bundled up and sipping hot tea all day. (Who am I kidding- I drink hot tea on the beach in Mexico!) Since I need to stay balanced with these extreme weather patterns, today’s tea will be one that nourishes yin and blood, yet invigorates and strengthens qi and blood.

I like to eye-ball my ingredients for this one, depending on if I want to solely taste the Dang Gui Pian (Angelica sinensis). If you are blood deficient, add more Dang Gui Pian.

Roots & Flower Spring Tonic 

4 tablespoons Marshmallow root & flower

3″ slice of Reishi mushroom (buy thinly sliced- it’s too hard to cut yourself)

2-4″ slice of Dang Gui Pian 

Decoct all ingredients for 20 minutes- 2 hours. Simmer on low if you cook over 20 minutes. Strain out herbs and drink throughout the day. You will feel nurtured, held and supported!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 


As politics and media continue to spin us into an emotional whirlwind I find it very difficult to not spiral down the rabbit hole of despair.

Now more than ever I am relying on my plant allies to calm my overactive nervous system and soothe my aching heart.

Here’s my top 3 herbs these days to keep me sane in these trying times:

  • Rose– my #1 herb to help with grief, sadness, and compassion. When it’s hard to like (much less love) the millions of people that think Trump is an acceptable president, Rose reminds me that all are suffering and their words and actions are a reflection of that.
  • Milky Oats– I drink Milky Oats daily when I need to nurture my mind, body and soul. Deeply nutritive and relaxing, Milky Oats can help with nervous tension, body pain associated with stress, and insomnia.
  • Reishi Mushroom– this spirit herb grounds me like no other. The modulating properties of Reishi (Ling Zhi) make all transitions easier, helping us to adapt to change and see the bigger picture. Reishi allows me to hold space for myself, while also creating deeper connection with others.

May you find peace within yourself. May that peace spread around the world!

With love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows


Spring in Denver is even more drastic than Winter. Yesterday morning was warm and sunny and in the late afternoon we had a thunderstorm that resulted in a torrential hailstorm that lasted half an hour. I was caught out in my truck in a parking lot and I will admit it was not a pleasant experience.

While I sat there, listening to the golf ball sized hail pound the windows and seriously praying that the windows didn’t get shattered (it happened to several parked cars), I thought about how temporary life is. Moments earlier I was enjoying the sunshine and loading my new work table into the back of the truck. Now I was watching the cardboard on the table get battered all to hell as other customers hid under awnings, wondering, like I, how long we would be stuck there.

I thought about everyone that didn’t have a truck or a home to use as shelter. I thought about what if the hail were bombs and that our shelter would be an allusion, as glass and steel do not stop bombs.

Once I was home and could see the piles of hail on the shade cloth covering my newly planted basil varieties, I was once again reminded how precious life is. And again how privileged I am. I am not growing those plants for survival or for a living. I am growing them because I want to. And that is a blessing in itself.

Our privilege is our greatest strength. May we use it wisely.

With love,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: The Denver Post 


Vibes are high as the warm weather pervades Colorado and the sun motivates me to do more, feel more, be more!
Today’s recipe is one of my favorite herbal sun teas. I like to set out first thing in the morning and then enjoy in the late afternoon as a cooling remedy for my body and soul. On a really hot day, I’ll add ice (don’t tell my fellow acupuncturists!)

The best way to make sun tea to me is not to measure, but feel out how much of each herb to use. Clinically it’s important to measure herbs, but for the purpose of a fun sun tea- use your imagination!

Floral Sun Tea (fresh if possible)

A handful each of: rose petals, calendula and violet flowers, nettle leaves

A few milky oat tops

A small amount of red raspberry leaves 

Steep for a few hours in the sun and enjoy!!

 

With love,

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Jessica 

When energy flows, wellness grows 


Among the old-growth Redwoods of Northern California, my herbal journey began in the late 1990s. Having thousands of acres of ancient forests to explore, my primal self was awakened.  

I wanted to live off the land, eat wild foods, wildcraft herbs and make all my medicine. And so I did that blissfully for years. Then a desire to become an acupuncturist came over me and I completed a four-year master’s degree and passed the licensing boards. I opened a clinic and worked closely with my community to provide much-needed healthcare. Seeing clients and helping people heal themselves is the most rewarding experience, but I knew I had to share the wisdom of herbalism and Chinese medicine with as many people as I could.

And so I left the comfort and shelter of the wilderness to live in Denver, with views of towering downtown buildings instead of majestic forests and Mother Ocean. It is now easier to teach at conferences throughout the US and abroad, and I have the opportunity to work at Colorado School of TCM and Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism.( Not to mention I now actually have consistent, high-speed internet which was hard to get anywhere I lived in Humboldt County, Cali.).

I know it was the right decision because everything has fallen nicely into place since I moved here over a year ago. This year’s teaching schedule is filling in nicely and I have the time to both see a few clients and continue to work on my herb book, “Plant Songs.”

This week I’ll leave you with the tea that made me fall in love with herbalism and our plant allies. It is a delicious and nourishing tea that will leave you feeling more than satisfied. Stay wild!

Recipe: Wild Humboldt Tea (wildcrafted with reverence)

Ingredients:

Handful of fresh nettles

Handful of fresh violet leaves and flower

Handful of fresh plantain leaves

Small amount of fresh dandelion leaves

Small amount of fresh prunella flowers

Instructions:

  1. Infuse all ingredients in the sun in a glass quart jar. 
  2. Infuse one to four hours or overnight on a full or new moon if desired.  
  3. Strain herbs out or be like us herbalists and strain through your teeth or just eat the herbs too.

When energy flows, wellness grows.


Although I couldn’t attend a March for Science Rally because I was at the Acupuncture Association of Colorado’s Annual Conference, I was there in heart and spirit! What is most exciting to me about this movement is that emphasis is on our planet and how we can advance technology to enhance the Earth instead of destroy it.

There has been a gap in environmentalism and science and that is now rapidly changing. The chemical, pharmaceutical and agricultural leaders (Monsanto having a hand in all three) need to come up to speed. Domination and greed is the reason why they constantly fight to quell our food and health independence. The paradigm shift of manifest destiny is becoming one of ecology and transparency and companies that are motivated by destruction based profit are not going to be acceptable anymore as people become more educated about global climate change and our role in it. Sustainability, small organic farming, and herbalism have been the way of the past and are resurfacing as our path to a better future.

“The times, they are a changing”, sometimes just not as fast as some of us would like. As I keep forging ahead with my essential oil blends, the thought of being a steward of the Earth is foremost in my mind. I am not happy with the “sustainability” model of many essential oil companies, as it doesn’t seem to me that they take seriously the issue of how much plant matter it takes to make even an ounce of essential oil. If they did, they would not promote such vagrant use of our precious resources.

It takes about 250 pounds of lavender to make 1 pound of essential oil- that’s about 15 Wild_rosepounds of lavender for 1 ounce of oil! It takes 10,000 roses to make 5ml of rose essential oil! How about instead of dousing yourself in undiluted essential oil, you walk around with a few sprigs of lavender or rose petals in a sachet or anoint yourself with a couple of drops of diluted essential oil only.

A little goes a long way folks. Be mindful, have respect for the whole plant, and not just the distillate you buy in a bottle. Grow your own herbs. Make your own medicine. A cup of rose tea that you make from roses you grow can be just as strong as a drop of the pure essential oil.

We are all on this Earth together. Let’s make it the best we can.

With love,

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Jessica


With all the edibles on the market made from butane extracted oils I’ve decided to put out one of my favorite old school ganja chocolate recipes. This one is guaranteed to work those cannabinoid receptors and includes lavender flowers, which are loaded with linolool. Plant synergy is in full effect here! A word to the wise- this isn’t dosed out in 5-10 milligrams like the legal products on the market. Eat one, wait at least 30 minutes and see how you feel before indulging in more!

Lavender & Ganja Chocolate Truffles Lavender Truffle

 3 grams of kief (kief is preferred because it distributes so well into the butter)

1/3 cup organic heavy cream

6 tbsp organic unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 3/4 cups organic bittersweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup organic unsweetened cocoa

2-4 dried powdered organic lavender heads (lavender can taste soapy to some people, so start with a small amount) 

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a low simmer (or put in top of a double boiler to avoid overheating). Add the butter and stir until melted. Once butter is melted add the kief and half the powdered lavender and stir into mixture for 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Make sure mixture is on very low if not using a double burner. Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl.
  1. Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.
  1. Smoke a joint and walk in nature while waiting for truffles to harden.
  1. Use a melon baller or small spoon and roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. You should get around 30 truffles. Roll each ball into the other half of the powdered lavender and the unsweetened cocoa. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  

Always keep these treats out of the reach of children or pets.

Have an irie 420 y’all!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


There is so much going on in my life, I feel like the weeds and flowers, firmly rooting into the Earth, but reaching up high towards the Sun. Invigorated by the longer, warmer days and ready to burst with life!

This is an exciting week for me, as it is my first official week in my new office! I’m buying furniture and hanging art on the walls, as I envision all the creativity that will take place in this space. I finally have a kitchen to create medicine! This means my aromatic blends can finally come to fruition. I have space to formulate as well as see clients and I couldn’t be happier that I have a place for all my books, herbs, tinctures, and oils.

Many of you know I have also been writing a book called Plant Songs. I am happy to say that the first draft will go to my editor in a few days! Plant Songs is my journey into herbalism intertwined with personal stories, and cultural and medicinal uses of the plants that have been most pivotal to my personal growth. I explore sixteen plants, including magnolia, cannabis, psilocybin, hawthorn and angelica and share the messages they have told me. Plant Songs is my gift to the plants, for always being there, for always listening, and for always saying just the right things.

The last big announcement is that I have a new business name! Last year I wasted over 6 months of time and money working with both marketing and branding companies with disastrous results. That lesson learned, I feel great about what is happening now. Sometimes the stars just all have to align! I can’t wait to share the name and logo with you soon!

That’s enough excitement for now. I wish you a warm and wonderful week!

With love,

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Jessica


So many people are obsessed with Spring cleanses. I enjoy a good cleanse, but I think it is often misunderstood and steeped in the idea that we are “dirty”, “unclean” and “impure.” I disagree with this notion (and think our patriarchal religions have contributed to this way of thinking.)

A Spring cleanse is important when we have been eating heavy or fatty foods that are needed in the Winter to keep us warm and nurtured through the long, cold months. A cleanse should be a nice break for the liver, which has to process everything we take into our bodies, including emotions.

For me I like my cleanse to last about a week. For 2-3 days I just eat simply. I like to have steamed vegetables and greens, well cooked rice or quinoa, and I drink only water and an herbal tea of dandelion flowers & greens, violet leaves & flowers, milky oat tops and horsetail. Then for 1-2 days only I will have only water, herbal tea, and diluted fruit and vegetable juice (my favorite juice is carrot, beet, kale, ginger and lemon). If I feel I need more sustenance, I will have one or two servings of steamed vegetables. Then another day or two of eating simply. That’s it! 

I don’t condone a cleanse that requires a ton of supplements. That is not giving your liver a much needed break. Which is the point of a cleanse! Be gentle with yourself, go slow and observe how eating simply feels within your body.

Lovin’ Myself Like Spring Teadandelion-tea-photo

1 tbsp Dandelion flowers & greens

1 tbsp Violet leaves & flowers

1 tbsp Milky oat tops

1 tbsp Horsetail 

If using fresh herbs, use 3 tbsp instead of 1 tbsp 

Add all herbs to 2 cups of hot water. Steep for 10-15 minutes. The tea will get bitter, but try to drink without sweetener. If it is too bitter, steep for only 5 minutes. Strain herbs and drink throughout the day. Try to have at least 2-3 cups of herbal tea each day during your cleanse.

With love,

JessicaBaker

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows 


There is much to be said about the division we feel in the U.S.  The fundamental difference in how we view equality has always been here, but it is now being fully illuminated with the help of social media. I know I’ve been feeling more separated from humanity than ever before. Growing up in a military family and  moving often, I have always felt a step removed from other people. Relationships and places were temporary and that’s how I viewed life for a long time.

That changed for me when I moved to Humboldt County in 1997. The redwood forest instantly felt like home. I have cultivated friendships that have lasted almost two decades and I know what tribe, community and friendship mean. I am also grateful to have part of that tribe in Colorado. Their love has made my most recent transition to Denver much easier.

This division is certainly affecting my community, and I know it’s affecting most of yours too. There have been times when I am so overwhelmed I feel paralyzed in fear, anger and a deep sense of anguish that I haven’t experienced since my Grandma passed away thirteen years ago. Along with my qi gong and yoga practices, it is the plants that bring me back to myself. They give me strength and momentum when I want to give up on humanity and escape back into my redwood canopy.

hawthorn flowersIt is always, Hawthorn (Crataegus spp)- our master Heart healer that is here for me when I am in deep despair, heartache or grief. The leaf, flowers and berries all have cardiotonic action and have been used to treat heart disease in cultures around the world. The berries are known to dissolve fats and lower cholesterol, but I also hawthorn-tree-with-ripe-red-berrieslike to think of them dissolving all the heaviness of sadness or fear. When I drink a cup of hawthorn tea, I feel nourished, satiated, safe. I feel comforted and enlivened all at once. My shen, spirit, is at peace.

Once I have this peace within myself, I begin to have compassion for others. I can see their journey, their hurt, their fear and I just send them love. And I remember our place is with the plants, with the forests, and with the sea. We are a part of all life on Earth. We are not here to dominate, to rule, to conquer. We are here to live in peace. We just have to find it within ourself to remember.

Today, remember who you are and treat yourself with a warm cup of Hawthorn tea. Or find a Hawthorn tree in your area to sit under and return the love that she gives to you.

With love,

JessicaBaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Featured Art: “Hawthorn tree” by Arthur Rackman 


Many allergy sufferers fear the outdoors this time of Year. Spring brings renewal and joy for me, but for some of my clients it is nothing but grief. Red, itchy and watery eyes can be alleviated by cool herbal compresses of JuHua (chrysanthemum flowers). For post nasal drip and runny nose, mucolytics like Juniper or Cypress can dry that drip right up! Diffuse these essential oils in your home, car and office or make a 3% dilution roll-on and apply to your temples and the lymph nodes on your neck.

The plants are not our enemy, allergies are a response to a weakened Wei Qi (Defensive Qi) that needs to be strengthened. Our co-evolution with flowers, herbs and mushrooms make them your best defense against your allergic response. Then you will see what’s so great about stopping to smell the flowers!

With love,

JessicaBaker

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows


April showers bring May flowers! Or in the case of Denver today, April snow brings much needed moisture to Colorado. A couple of days ago, everyone was sniffling and sneezing as our early Spring winds blew pollen and flowers all over us. Now we are back into Winter, leaving our bodies not quite sure how to react.

To strengthen your Wei Qi (Defensive layer of energy), begin taking Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceous) and Elderberry (Sambucus nigra). You can take as a tincture, tea or syrup. Also drink 2 cups of Nettle (Urtica diocia) a day. Fresh if possible. There’s nothing like the new growth of wild nettle to stop that post natal drip and watery eyes.

Remember, even one or two cups of herbal tea a day can make a big difference.

With love,

JessicaBaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


I spoke on the The Shift Network’s Plant Medicine Summit with David Crow last Thursday and  was reminded once again of the intricate connection with our plant relations. Listening to all the speakers share their stories and love of herbs filled me with deep joy. Something I realized I haven’t felt in years.

I have been cynical and fearful about the future of our planet and that heaviness has now lifted. Many of us are on the plant path and listening to wise people like Margi Flint, David Winston, and Dr. Vasant Lad, have renewed hope for the healing of so much trauma. We are on a long, evolutionary journey that spans so far into the past and future that most of us can’t even imagine.

I know cannabis is good for our personal evolution. Our endocannabinoid system tells me so. We wouldn’t have so many receptors for cannabinoids if we did not evolve alongside it. Cannabis has been cultivated in parts of Asia for at least 10,000 years and there is some evidence that we may have been using hemp as cordage for 26,000 years. With each plant that gains recognition for its medicinal properties, we move one step closer to healing ourselves and our planet. I am honored to share the medicinal and spiritual properties of cannabis, alongside all of my other herbal allies.

If you didn’t get the chance to listen to my talk on Our Co-evolution with Cannabis and would like to, sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you a link to the talk!

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Cannabis & Himalayas  Photo credit: Arne Huckelheim


Spring seems to be in full swing here in Denver, with the days getting up in the 70’s and the nights still dipping into the 30’s. I Love this time of year! I feel the renewed spirit of the Earth, as the longer days warm me deep within my core.

For others, Spring starts getting that Yang rising! Irritability, frustration, lack of focus and burn out can already be starting for those with a Wood element/phase imbalance.

This blend really helps me when I feel tension building in my neck and shoulders or I find it hard to take a deep breath in moments of impatience, anger or worry. As always use organic and/or ethically wild harvested herbs and essential oils.

Let It Flow Blend

3 drops Chamomile essential oil (Tanacetum is great to use too, and way less expensive)

3 drops St. Johns Wort essential oil

3 drops Myrrh essential oil 

3 drops Conifer essential oil (Pinyon pine, Douglas Fir, your choice!)

Add all essential oils (play around with what you blend first- it will give insight into the alchemy of plants as you notice the change in aroma depending on what gets added together first- use the blend even if you don’t Love the smell, these concentrated plant medicines are not to be wasted) to 1 ounces of Carrier Oil like Olive Oil, Apricot kernel or your oil of choice. I like to put my blends in roll-on bottles, that way I can carry with me and use easily anywhere I am. 

I’d love to hear how your blending goes!

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica 


Ahhh, Spring is here! Equinox always brings me to tears of joy as I witness the balance of yin and yang on our planet and feel it harmonizing within me. Winter is damn hard for many of us, and Spring bring us a renewed sense of hope and positivity. The longer days gives us that solar energy everything on Earth needs to thrive. Spring is the time to start bringing your wintertime musings and dreams from the visionary world into the material one. Understanding the nuances of the Wood element can help you with those manifestations.

I wanted to introduce you to the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine, as it represents Spring, and the generation of new life, new energy, and new ideas. The Wood element/phase has gotten a negative wrap (like an ethereal concept of the manifestation of life on Earth can be negative!) with people saying “when the wood element is out of balance, one is angry, inflexible, bossy, violent, loud and rude.” All of these qualities can be attributed to Wood out of balance- but one very important quality of Wood is often not talked about. The Hun- our ethereal souls.

The Hun are described in different ways but many texts say the Hun are three benevolent, 3vin-sagescompassionate beings that guide our actions, thoughts and dreams. When out of balance, the Hun are restless and can become frustrated, relentless or de-motivated. We can help balance our Hun by leading a more simple life. Eat foods that are easier to digest (knowing your constitution is key to good health because appropriate foods will differ between people), minimize the alcohol and drugs, take a deep breath in times of stress instead of spiraling out of control. These can be life changing moments when you just took one minute to care for yourself instead of going down a road of negative emotions.

Spring is the time to eat those tender, young greens! Dandelion, burdock, violet, nettles- all are sprouting right now and inviting you to take a couple nibbles of their new growth. Try it! You may just like it- and your Hun will love you for it!

May the blessings of Spring bring you renewed energy, compassion and insight into why you chose to be here, right now, with all of us.

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 


As Spring approaches next week, it’s time to start our transition from eating the heavier root vegetables of Winter to eating our fresh Spring greens like dandelion and chickweed. To help guide you into eating with the seasons, I’ve included the tastes that correspond with each season.

Spring (Sour): Cleanse the liver with steamed bitter greens, lemon water and fresh fruit and
vegetable juice. Eat sour foods like balsamic vinegar, sourkraut, and kimchi. Help regenerate liver cells with milk thistle seed. Drink herbal teas with burdock root, dandelion flowers/greens and chrysanthemum blossoms. Begin to prepare the body for the long hot summer ahead by cooling the body down and eating less spicy food.

Summer (Bitter): Eat from the farmer’s market!! Eat cucumbers, green beans, and drink fresh watermelon juice to cool yourself from the summer heat (this is optimistic for our coastal summer!) and over stimulation of the long fun days of summer. Stay hydrated and spruce up your water with fresh mint leaves instead of ice cubes.

Late Summer-0r 18 days between each season (Sweet): Mentioned because this is the season associated with the Earth element in 5 Element theory. It is the time to nourish yourself from all the expansion of summer and begin to draw your energy back inward. This is the time for yellow summer squash, corn, yams and other sweet foods that nourish Earth.

Autumn (Spicy): Add a little spice to your life with green onion, ginger and other invigorating herbs to help fight off anything that might be going around. Drink warm broths with astragalus root, oyster and shiitake mushrooms and fresh ginger.

Winter (Salty): Eat root vegetables like carrot, beet, parsnip in hearty soups and stews. Drink warm tea with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and milk. Stay warm and nourished. Try to avoid too much sugar and caffeine in a time when we should be restorative and quiet.

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica


Many of us are experiencing an underlying tension that has us reactive and sensitive. I know I have had to be very conscious in my language and actions because much of what I was saying wasn’t coming out as eloquently as I would like.

The politics that enraged millions of people into action has begun to settle into our beings and has created fear, depression and anxiety. The hope that many carried for almost a decade has been replaced with despair, anger and apathy. I feel all three of these things on an almost daily basis.

When I’m in a space to recognize my feelings, thoughts and behavior I can transform these overwhelming emotions with love, understanding and compassion. I am able to take myself out of this moment and remember that this is only a blip in the evolution of consciousness. Sometimes we need to feel betrayed, afraid, and pissed off-if those are the only things that spur a leap in our own humanity.

As always I utilize our ancestors, our plant allies to bring me back to a sense of peace,
calmness and compassion. This winter Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been a daily friend, strengthening my Wei Qi (defensive energy) so I elderberrycan deflect some of the negativity and retain my own vital life force energy. If you’ve been getting colds/flus frequently, I highly recommend starting the day with one tsp of elderberries steeped in a cup of hot water. Berries are generally simmered, but I find elderberry to work wonders as just as infusion. Some species of elderberry are toxic, only use sambucus nigra or

Our aromatic plants are always important to help us move out of a feeling of discontent. Artemisia-tridentata-close-up-e1396654925527The strongest essential oil I am working with right now for clearing out what feels stuck, opening the lungs, and activating my crown chakra is Big Mountain Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). The aroma of Big Mountain Sagebrush is overwhelming for some, but I love it. It smells similar to chaparral or creosote, and it is just as healing. I recommend one drop on the top of the head. You will be surprised at the insights that will come to you.

To deepen your exploration with herbs, join me and other experts for a free online event March 20-24! RSVP at no charge: The Plant Medicine Summit

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Elderberry credit:  Roger Butterfield

 

 

 


If so, join me and other experts for a free online event: The Shift Network’s Plant Medicine Summit! 

Enjoy a vibrant you and thriving planet when you join 25+ leading ecological experts, health practitioners and inspiring educators — including David Crow, Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Jill Stansbury, David Winston, Sara Crow, Lakisha Jenkins, Matthew Wood, KP Khalsa, Acharya Shunya and more — as they bring to light the curative and evolutionary powers of specific medicinal plants, many of which you can grow in your own garden or neighborhood!

During this unparalleled 5-day gathering, you’ll discover:

A classic approach to reestablishing our eternal connection with Mother Nature
The cutting-edge science — and overwhelming evidence — of plant intelligence
A unique integration of herbology, Ayurveda and astrology — exploring medicinal plants related to the planets and the astrological uses of essential oils
Rare teachings of Ayurveda sages from ancient texts, bringing to light Ayurveda’s stand on environment & consciousness
“Forest Bathing” as a therapeutic practice
The use of medical cannabis oil in treating patients with cancer

Use the Earth as your healing source, March 20-24, 2017.

RSVP at no charge here: Plant Medicine Summit

I hope you join me!

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows


 

Chinese medicine is rooted in the knowledge that humans are cosmic beings of this Earth that are intricately connected to the rhythms of nature.

Use this blend when you need balance, clarity or harmony in your life.

Elemental Essences

Fire (Summer)- 3 drops St. John’s Wort essential oil

Earth (Center)- 2 drops Mandarin essential oil

Metal (Autumn)- 2 drops Himalayan Mint essential oil

Water (Winter)- 3 drops Pink Lotus absolute

Wood (Spring)- 2 drops Douglas Fir essential oil

Add all essential oils to a carrier oil (olive, apricot kernel, coconut) and put in a 1 ounce glass bottle. Apply the oil to your heart, head or low back when feeling fatigued, overwhelmed or out of sorts.

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows


The 5 Elements (I prefer to call them Phases or Cycles) of Chinese Medicine are often discussed but not accurately understood. Many people are excited about Chinese Medicine and want to share it, but the lack of depth in understanding Chinese medical theory has left a gaping hole in most of the teachings on Chinese medicine.

When we talk about the 5 Elements/Phases we are not only discussing the dynamic changes that occur within the body, mind and spirit during each season (and during the transition time between seasons), but also the myriad of colors, emotions, spiritual entities and other correspondences that accompany the “elements.”

Our current interpretation of the 5 Elements is from the Warring States period, when 5 factions were fighting for control. This directly affected how we applied the elements to daily life.

I prefer the classical interpretation, when Earth is represented as the 18 day period five-elements-earth-289x270between each season, a time of transition and preparation for the season ahead. This makes more sense to me than Earth as “late summer” where it seems to be placed just to serve ideology instead of seasonal shifts. In a later blog, I will go deeper into the 5 Elements and the emotions, colors, sounds and other associations.

For more information on the theories of Chinese Medicine, check out The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (NeiJing SuWen) translated by Maoshing Ni. It is the foundational text of Chinese medicine and is a fascinating read.

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

 


These days it is way to easy to disregard our feelings as some of us are overly sensitive about Everything! The news and social media have infiltrated all of our lives- and we are having trouble processing it all.

Some of us get to take a break from the real (and alternate) news, but inevitably it is going to affect us all. Turning off your computer, going on a walk in nature, playing music- all are super important to keep us sane and balanced with all the sensory overload.

What is even more important is helping out your community in whatever way that works for you. If it’s donating your time to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen- that’s awesome! If it’s hosting free or donation based yoga, acupuncture, herbal classes- that’s great!

You know what may be even better. Actually looking at your neighbors in the eye, saying hello, asking if they want to have a cup of tea, helping them bring in their groceries….the list goes on and on.

If you don’t have the energy to be active in your community, be a good neighbor and engage with those that live around you. It only takes a couple of minutes to let them know you are here if they need you.

With love,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Jessica


I am very grateful and inspired by the billions of people worldwide that have participated in direct action for the equality of Women, Muslims, LGBT, and anyone that lives south of “the border.” Your compassion and courage is seen, heard, felt and respected!

I am working through my own emotions surrounding those that disagree with or choose not to participate in direct action. I am also sitting with my own feelings about how far I am willing to go to continue the momentum. The blatant disregard for me, as a woman, as a human, as a being of this Earth,  is too much to just sit back and pray that “they” will change their actions.

We have to start by changing our beliefs if we expect our actions to reflect true equality. We have to acknowledge our own conveniences and prejudices if we say we really want equality for all. What does equality for all really mean? Equality for all means the end of a consumer lifestyle that depends on labor conditions we privileged would never work in. Equality for all means a living wage for farm workers that grow and harvest all of our food. Equality for all means no mines and pipelines through other peoples land.

A lot to assimilate before my transformation can begin. We are all just people, most just trying our best to make it in this world. We are in this together. How do we choose to co-evolve?

I always come back to my plant allies when I’m having a hard time accepting things I don’t want to hear. I think of Chen Pi, tangerine peel, used in Chinese medicine to regulate digestion and help with assimilation of both food and emotions. I like to diffuse the essential oil of Citrus peel when I need help digesting the realities of our world. Citrus’ ability to transform energy is not to be overlooked.

Take some time out today to notice how you are digesting the things that affect your life. When we begin to assimilate these experiences, then can they be transformed. I am with you as we shift our perspectives and paradigm.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


I got so excited about putting classes out there that I didn’t realize I had a scheduling conflict with the studio at Urban Sanctuary. I’m not able to host a 4-week series at this time, but I can offer an Intro to Herbalism on February 28 and two Community Herbalism classes on March 16 & March 30. A longer herbal series will be offered later this year!

Life is about going with the flow, and because of this shift I am able to offer another Community Acupuncture on March 17. The transformations that occur when we come together with the intention of healing our traumas is beautifully profound. I am honored to be able to offer this once again.

All offerings held at Urban Sanctuary 2745 Welton Street, Denver CO

Tuesday Feb 28, 2017

6pm-7:30pm 

Intro to Herbalism 

This donation-based class is offered to give you a brief overview of western and Chinese herbal energetics, aromatherapy, and plant spirit medicine. I’m interested in knowing what the community wants to learn about so I can offer classes according to your needs.

Thursday March 16 & Thursday March 30, 2017

7pm-8:30pm

Community Herbalismlove-yourself

These classes are meant to inspire you to take your health into your own hands. You will be introduced to Western & Chinese herbal energetics, aromatherapy, and plant spirit medicine. The second class will build on the first class. You are welcome to come to one or both. Herbal teas, essential oils and elixirs will be shared.

Please come with an open mind and an open heart. Drop-in available if the class doesn’t fill. Class is limited to 15 people.  $15/class

Friday March 10 & Friday March 17, 2017

12pm-2pm

Community Acupuncture

$10-20 suggested donation (no one will be turned away due to lack of funds)

Your session will be in the yoga room. There may be up to 8 people receiving acupuncture at the same time. You will be lying on a mat, supported with blankets and bolsters. Auricular (ear) acupuncture will be provided and body points may be used in some cases. The intention of this community acupuncture is to help heal the collective trauma we have all experienced. Walk-in only

If you’d like to attend the herbal classes, contact me at 707.499.8587 or jbakerlac@gmail.com

I hope to see you at one or all of these events. Please share the word to others in the Denver/Boulder area!

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

 

Jessica


Happy New Year of the Yin Fire Hen!

For many, 2016, the  year of the Yang Fire Monkey was a little too disruptive. Too many unexpected events, deaths, and political outcomes left us mentally and emotionally exhausted. The mischievous Monkey is finally behind us and we’ve moved into the more trustworthy Yin Fire Hen.

Being a Fire year, there is still a potential for a fanning of the flames, but the Hen is more loyal and courageous. With Hen dominating the show, we are sure to see more civil unrest and uprising as patriarchal ideals of sexism, racism and bigotry continue to be challenged. Change may move slower than some of us want, but the Yin nature of the year will help deter burnout, which can occur when our Fire rages out of control. The Yin Hen reminds us to nest, reserve our energy so we can be there for ourselves, our family, and our community when the time comes.

With the rights and equality of women being recognized once again, I am seeing the patriarchy that has molded and shaped our cultures and how it is ingrained in every aspect of our lives. I have purposely used the female Hen instead of the male Rooster. Yin is attributed to the female, so I am honoring matriarchy and every one that identifies with the female energy and dedicating this year to us!

May the reality we create be of benefit to all. May our passion be fueled into love and compassion action.

With love,

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Jessica

 


I have had so much on my plate lately that I haven’t been able to focus on doing one of the things I love so much- teaching people about the powers of herbalism!

That is why I am so happy to announce I have scheduled 5 upcoming herb classes. All classes will be held at Urban Sanctuary at 2745 Welton Street Denver, CO 80205

Tuesday Feb 28th

6pm-7:30pm 

Intro to Herbalism          

This donation based class is offered to give you a brief overview of western and Chinese herbalismherbal energetics, aromatherapy, and plant spirit medicine. I’m interested in knowing what the community wants to learn about so I can offer classes according to your needs. A 4-part herbal series begins Thursday March 16th. 

Thursdays March 16, 23, 30, April 6                

7pm-8:30pm 

4- week Community Herbalism Series

This is a 4-week series that will include Western & Chinese herbal energetics, aromatherapy, herbal medicine making and plant spirit medicine. Please come with an open mind and an open heart. Drop-in available is the series doesn’t fill. Limit is 15 people.  $50/series, $15/class

I’m also hosting a Community Acupuncture clinic to offer services to those that may not be able to afford a private session.

Friday March 10 12pm-2pm

Community Acupuncture Clinic

img_0307$10-20 suggested donation, Walk-in only

Your session will be in the yoga room. There may be up to 8 people receiving acupuncture at the same time. You will be lying on a mat, supported with blankets and bolsters. Auricular (ear) acupuncture will be provided and body points may be used in some cases. The intention of this community acupuncture is to help heal the collective trauma we have all experienced.  More community acupuncture clinics to come. (photo credit: AWB)

Contact Jessica at 707.499.8587 or jbakerlac@gmail.com to register for classes.

I hope to see you there!

With love,

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Jessica


Being in Denver has been a drastic change from my rural lifestyle of northern California. The opportunity to step away from daily clinical work and the stresses of running a thriving practice have given me time to write, formulate and come back into myself as Jessica, instead of the professional self of “Dr.” Baker. It has been an insightful transition, as I’ve reflected on my own insecurities surrounding all the aspects of who I am and why I am drawn to working with plants and people.

I have missed the one-on-one counseling of my clients as well as the community vibe of group acupuncture. That is why I’m so happy to announce that I will be seeing clients at Urban Sanctuary. I’m offering private sessions of Western and Chinese herbal consultations, Aromatherapy sessions,and Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.

Beginning in March I will be hosting one Community Acupuncture sessions a month! Urban Sanctuary is a perfect location,. Being a yoga studio, there is plenty of space to lay down on yoga mats, breathe and allow your body to heal. I will also be able to hold classes on herbalism, Chinese medicine and anything else I’m inspired to share. The intention of my work is to help empower others to heal themselves so that our larger community will benefit in ways that can be hard to imagine.

I’m really stoked to be a part of Urban Sanctuary, a boutique wellness studio that offers yoga, meditation, workshops and
traditional health care services in the 5 Points community. The founder, Ali Duncan, created the sanctuary as a way to encourage and educate people on the powers of preventative health and self-healing. Learn more about  Urban Sanctuary and all they have to offer.

Call me at 707.499.8587  to schedule an acupuncture session or herbal/aromatherapy consultation! I’m honored to be part of healing and uniting our community.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


Emotions are high as we get closer to the inauguration of a man many believe can have a huge negative impact on their lives. As a woman, I am one of these people. I do not believe he has any respect, compassion or care for me or for women in general. That being said, I don’t believe many politicians have our best interest or care in mind. Unlike some, I am not afraid of Trump or his administration. I am motivated! My inner activist is evoked, and like the the wise words of Angela Davis (thanks Greg for sharing this with me)

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change,

I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

The truth is, I know that my motivation is fueled by my anger at the injustices that continue to happen, regardless of who is president. My anger is rooted in despair, millennia of violence, rape, and systematic control. I am having trouble coping with all of this myself. Thankfully this is when I remember my allies, and let the plants soothe my injured soul.

Today my blend is simple. Intentional in knowing that I need healing, that my clarity of words, thoughts, and emotions are of upmost importance so I can sustain my energy for the cultural evolution that is coming.

Mix all ingredients in a 1-ounce glass spritzer bottle

1 ounce Spring Water (vitality of all life forces)

9 drops Clary Sage (clarity of heart & mind)

6 drops Lavender (calms mind & body)

3 drops Piñon Pine (reminds us we all came from one source, connects body to spirit)

Spritz yourself whenever you feel disoriented, overwhelmed, sad, angry, or out of balance. Allow the plants to nurture your body and soul.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

 


Everyone wants to be cracked open. We experiment with drugs and psychedelic substances to blow our mind wider than we even though imaginable. We play football, skydive and speed in our cars for the excitement of the rush. We watch death and destruction as entertainment and participate in violent computer simulations until the domestic violence and world wars of our reality no longer bothers us. We obsessively check our social media status to see if we’re liked, followed and adored. For those addicted or crippled from these activities, they know what they’re doing, yet they can’t stop. We all hear the voice inside our head that says, “stop hurting yourself; you’re better than this; get off the computer and go outside.” It is in the stillness of nature or in those quiet moments between sleeping and waking we hear our truth being whispered back to us.

When I envision a person cracked open it is a red -faced cartoon character with his head blown open like a volcano erupting. He is not necessarily angry, but there is so much pressure (social, financial, marital) that just like a volcano, the only way to release the build up is to explode. Some erupt with anger, others destruct with gambling, drugs, TV, food. It is when we are incapable of digesting one more thing where Hawthorn comes in.

Hawthorn berries relieve stagnation from sluggish digestion, transforming turbid energyhawthorn and reducing plaque in the arteries. The leaves and flowers of hawthorn have long been used as a cardiac tonic, regulating heart beat and reducing pain. Regular ingestion of Hawthorn will strengthen the body’s ability to physically digest fats, while also helping the mind/soul digest unprocessed emotions and stress.

See for yourself. Make an infusion of Hawthorn leaf, flowers and berries to sip after a heavy meal or when you are having trouble digesting something you have seen or heard. Allow Hawthorn to clear the turbid energy from your body. With this clearing, comes the opportunity for the heart to blossom just a little bit more.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

Hawthorn Art by: Robert O’Brien


In Tuesday’s blog I talked about terpenes and how vital these aromatic compounds are for all life on Earth. Today I’d like to take you on an olfactory journey that will allow you to experience familiar smells on a visceral level and give you a little information about the therapeutic value of terpenes.

Items to have on hand for our exploration: a journal to record your experiences and memories, a juicy orange, a bundle of lavender, and a handful of pine needles (fir, redwood, spruce- or any conifer you have access to).

If you don’t have these items handy, you can use essential oils of sweet orange (lemon, mandarin- any citrus really), lavender, and pine (or other favorite conifer)

1. Wash the outside of the orange and smell the peel. What does it smell like? Now slice orange1into the orange. Take a deep breath. What emotions are evoked when you inhale the crisp, citrus aroma?

All citrus is high in limonene, a terpene that is known to have antispasmodic properties and is used for painful intestinal conditions. Limonene is also a potential anecdote for cannabis intoxication- so have that lemonade handy if you decide to partake!

Cleanse your pallet with a sip of water.

lavender-buzz-sidebar-image-350x3502. Crush the bundle of lavender and hold it under your nose. Inhale deeply.  As you smell the familiar floral scent, what do you notice within your body?
All lavender varieties are high in linalool. The sedative and calming properties of linalool
have been extensively studied and recognized as a potent remedy against anxiety, nervous tension and stress.

Cleanse your pallet with a sip of water.

3.Boil a cup of water and place the pine needles into the hot water. Let the needles pine-cone-and-needlessteep for a couple of minutes and then inhale the infused water. Take a small sip if you feel inclined. What emotion/sensation first comes to mind upon inhalation or taste?

All conifers contain the terpene pinene, that familiar smell of pine that many of us remember from childhood. Pinene is a powerful analgesic (pain-reliever) and can also help improve memory.

Cleanse your pallet with a sip of water.

4. Experiment with other aromatic plants (rosemary, sage, thyme) and see what feelings, sensations or memories they awaken within you.

As always when we are working with these plants, give thanks and gratitude for all they provide.

With love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

Photo Credit: Pinterest


Terpenes are found in plants and animals and are responsible for the aromas that we are all so used to smelling. As terpenes have contributed to the evolution of all life on Earth, their therapeutic value  can not be stressed enough.

Close your eyes and think about peeling a fresh juicy orange. Can you smell that familiar orange1citrus aroma? You’re smelling compounds within the large family of terpenes. Do you love the smell of lavender? Terpenes are responsible.  How about the smell of conifers after a refreshing autumn rain? Terpenes again.

These fragrant compounds not only hold many of our childhood memories, but they have contributed to the formation of our limbic, immune, endocannabinoid, and endocrine systems. Our ability to regulate temperature, mood and appetite are all functions of the limbic system. The limbic system is also responsible for olfaction, or smell!

The connection between plants and humans is so ancient we have forgotten who are ancestors are. I encourage you to go out and smell some plants- allow yourself to let your memory take you places you may have forgotten long ago.

More on the limbic system in Thursday’s blog, when we will explore what compounds you smell when you crush up a bunch of lavender, walk past a pine tree, and peel that juicy orange. Together we’re going to have an olfactory buffet!

With love,

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Jessica


The snow has finally arrived in Denver and I can feel the cold seep into my muscles and joints. I make this blend to use for guasha or cupping, as it is warming and alleviates aches and pains. This oil can also be massaged into sore muscles- but I recommend using gloves, as this blend contains essential oils that are known to cause irritation and redness of the skin. If you don’t use gloves, wash your hands thoroughly before you touch any delicate mucus membranes (eyes, mouth, genitalia). I learned this the hard way…many times!

Warm Those Achy Muscles Blend

3 drops artemisia alba essential oil (warming, enters all primary meridians)

3 drops st. john’s wort essential oil (cooling, uplifts spirit, reduces nerve and muscle pain)

2 drops cinnamon bark essential oil (warming, tonifies kidneys and mingmen)

2 drops pine essential oil (warming, transforms cold, reduces aches and pains)

Dilute essential oils in 1 ounce carrier oil (apricot, olive or sesame). Pour into glass bottle with dropper lid. Drop 4-8 drops into your gloved palm and massage into painful muscles or joints.

Caution: This will cause redness and irritation of the skin. If warming is too intense, lather area with coconut oil or soap. Rinse skin and apply unscented lotion or cream.

May this blend warm you, body and soul.

With love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Tom Merton/Getty Images


It has been years since I’ve written out new years resolutions or intentions. I’ve had them of course-goals and aspirations that I work towards and start to feel guilty about if I don’t achieve them. This year I am done with this type of thinking. I am going to be kinder to myself. I beat myself up way too much and I’m beginning to notice the impact it has on my psyche and my health. I also notice how my negative self-talk effects those around me.

If I judge myself for every little thing- dirty dishes, unmopped floor- then of course that perception is going to spill out to those I love. It also means I’m going to judge the important decisions in my life too- my book should be done, my essential oil products should be out by now, I should teach more, see more clients…etc. Instead of degrading myself I’m going to celebrate the act of doing. I’m going to credit myself for just having the courage to write, create, teach. And I call in the strength and community to help me with the things I can’t accomplish alone.

We can’t do it alone. We need our friends, family, and community to help us achieve our goals and keep our intentions. Surround yourself with those that really support you.Your setbacks and your successes will be championed by those that love you. Be gentle with yourself-but also put yourself out there, go out on a limb, ride that edge-the rewards are infinite!

With love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Getty Images


I’ve heard countless people say they can’t wait for 2016 to be over. The deaths of so many legends (too numerous to name, but I will have a blog honoring those I hold dear) and the astonishingly eye-opening presidential race, left us all a little worse for wear. Disillusioned, we are all looking towards 2017 with anticipation, reluctance, and a lot of wishful thinking.

If we expect 2017 to be better than this year, we have got to become active members of our community. No amount of blogging, signing petitions or reposting on Facebook is going to be enough. The only thing that is going to heal this world is to re-connect personally with those in our everyday lives. It’s easy to engage with someone via social media, where you can get dressed, make coffee and hit the like button all at the same time. This shallow attempt at connection is inadequate at a time when we really need each other. I encourage you take the time to sit down with someone, look them in the eye and say with truth and conviction, “I see you, I honor you, I’m here for you.”

I have to transform the intense anger I’ve been harboring about the political and group-healingenvironmental future into something positive. I’ve decided to direct my fear and anguish into community action. As soon as I find a space in my 5 Points neighborhood I am going to host free herb classes on healing trauma. I feel a strong need to heal my own wounds through sharing my love of herbalism and Chinese medicine.  In time I hope I  can also include free community acupuncture to those that need it most. I haven’t had the opportunity to offer community acupuncture clinics since I moved to Denver and I miss it!

Words cannot describe the energy of  group healing. It will be an honor to share this space with all of you. It will be an offering of peaceful transformation, where fear can turn into strength and anger into compassion. A place where we make the world better one person at a time.

May the last few days of 2016 be full of peace and rest, so that 2017 may be one of compassionate action.

With love,

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Jessica

Photo credit: Facebook


images

Citrus & Cinnamon Cider

1 pint organic apple juice

2 3″ pieces of orange peel

2 pieces of star anise

1-2 cinnamon sticks

handful of hawthorn berries

Optional: splash of Cognac in your mug

Pour apple juice into a large saucepan. Add herbs and spices to juice and simmer on low-medium heat for 30 minutes. Strain out herbs and set aside. Sip 6 ounces of warm cider for pleasure or after a heavy meal to help promote digestion. Add 1/2 ounce cognac or brandy if desired.


Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is celebrated as the turning of the wheel and the return of the Sun. We are in rhythm with these holy days and we feel our own energy slowly begin to rise as our yang energy increases with the sun.

This essential oil blend honors the holy season of spiritual rebirth with Frankincense, Myrrh and Hemp and celebrates the return of the sun with Saint John’s Wort. It is divine!

Winter Solstice Blendfrankincense-essential-oil

1 ounce Apricot Kernel Oil

3 drops Frankincense essential oil

3 drops Myrrh essential oil

2 drops Hemp essential oil

2 drops St. John’s Wort essential oil

Add essential oils to Apricot kernel oil, one at a time, blending completely between each addition. Pour into a 1 ounce roll-on bottle. Anoint yourself and your loved ones on the top of the head, temples, chest, and lower back.

Invoke the energy of the sun and give thanks for the warmth, light and life it provides.

With love,

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Jessica

Photo credit: Organic Facts


It’s a pity that the DEA can’t see beyond their bias and continue to publicly deny the therapeutic value of cannabis. To further their renunciation of cannabis they have had to demonize a cannabinoid dubbed CBD, a THC antagonist (meaning reducing the psychoactive effect of THC), which has helped reduce the suffering of countless people with seizures, pain, cancer, and countless other conditions.

The newest research on cannabinoids is astoundingly positive if you consider neuro-protection, antagonizing tumor necrosis, and reduction of pain without life debilitating addiction a benefit to the medical community. The U.S. Health and Human Services even has a patent on the antioxidant and neuro-protective properties of cannabinoids. The mounting evidence in support of CBD has not stopped the current administration from declaring CBD (cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid present in cannabis) a Schedule I drug.

This decision is right on the heels of entrepreneurs and big business investing heavily in CBD oil and crystalline extract. The ability to sell CBD products online and beyond state borders without restriction seemed an easy way to get into the green rush, without the stigma or taxation of the cannabis industry. The specific scheduling of CBD (cannabis was already Schedule 1), gives no grey area as to whether or not CBD extracts are legal to sell. It appears they have established that CBD products are indeed Schedule 1. This is disappointing and is just another attempt to control the spread and acceptance of legal cannabis.

As a practitioner I am appalled that our government continues to add to the needless suffering of its citizens. As an herbalist I am concerned for what this means for all plant medicine. Making plants and their constituents illegal takes away our right to treat and prevent illness as we see fit. It is our right to have access to herbal medicine. The prohibition of one constituent makes it all too easy to prohibit another.With the recent designation of  hemp and CBD it is even more important that we dutifully educate ourselves on the benefits and application of cannabis.

wcn-jessicabaker-module7-promoI am on the faculty of the Holistic Cannabis Academy and am incredibly impressed with their program. With two tracks- one for practitioners and one for the canna-curious, they provide a high level of education and turn-key solutions for counselors and health providers with modules on business-building and marketing. Their faculty includes prestigious researchers and clinicians like Roy Upton, Ethan Russo, Jonathan Treasure, and Laura Lagano.

Empower yourself and your community by becoming a Holistic Medical Cannabis Counselor or Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner through the Holistic Cannabis Academy!

With love,

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Jessica

Photo credit: Vote Hemp


Herbs and essential oils are some of my favorite allies to combat the stress of the holiday rush. Instead of stalking the malls, I choose to walk among the conifers that have been here for millennia. I inhale their resinous aroma and instantly breathe deeper. Evergreens, like redwoods, pines and firs are some of our oldest ancestors, and their resiliency is transmitted to us, simply by being  in their presence.

I share with you one of my favorite blends for honoring the vitality and strength in all of us.

Holiday Hustle Spritz

2 ounces Spring Water

5 drops Douglas Fir (or conifer of choice) essential oil

4 drops Clary Sage essential oil

4 drops Mandarin essential oil

2 drops Spearmint essential oil

Add each essential oil separately to the spring water, blending thoroughly between each one. Pour mixture into a 2-ounce glass spritzer bottle.

Spray as needed for energy, inspiration and grounding amidst all the holiday madness. Inhale and appreciate that it’s necessary to take time to slow down, breathe and relax.

If you find yourself stressed out, contemplate on what you are getting caught up in. If you are worried about what to buy someone you love, know that your friendship and love are the greatest gifts you can give someone this holiday season. Your presence is all they truly desire.

With Love,

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Jessica


As we move deeper into the dark time of year, instinctually we know to slow down. We feel the need to go to sleep earlier, sometimes ridiculously early for me, as it is pitch dark by 5pm and the coziness of my bed is overwhelming as the cold darkness engulfs me. But the hustle of the holidays is counter-intuitive to our natural urge to hibernate, retreat and restore.

Instead of spending time indoors, nourishing ourselves with slow cooked stews and teas, we run around mad buying gifts and preparing for endless parties and indulgences. A lot of this energy can be fun as we gather with friends and family to celebrate the holy days around the world. All the running around and monetary stress often lowers our immune system as we resist the wisdom of our bodies. Something archaic within us knows we should be home resting with a warm tea (or toddy!)

To honor this instinct in me, I’ve gone back to my home in the Redwood forest on the coast of Northern California. I feel the need to withdrawal to the seclusion of the forest, innately drawn to the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean, where I have always felt at home. This year, more than most, I know it’s necessary to be in my comfort zone during the darkest month of December. I need to stay balanced, nourished and insulated instead of hurried, frazzled and distracted with extraneous seasonal events.

This time of year I need to be on tree time. On their time I can slow down enough to hear these ancient beings remind me that even with all the intensity and seemingly insanity in our human world, there is also an immense beauty and connection that surpasses any injustice we witness on our minute mortal scale. I am reminded that we have worshipped and communed with trees for millennia, as our Solstice and Yuletide rituals, and Christmas trees still emulate. Being in an ancient forest is my way of celebrating Solstice, the return of the Sun.

How are you honoring these dark holy days before the return of the life-giving Sun? I will for sure be humming my own version of O, Tannenbaum and sipping a warm conifer cider.

Photo credit: k-k.club


The consumerism of the holiday season really bothers me. I mean Really bothers me. Too much importance is put on buying stuff that people don’t want or need and for those that can’t afford to buy for their children, much less their friends or co-workers the stress is unbearable and unnecessary. Although I make as many gifts as I can (stay tuned for my free e-book with lots of fun holiday recipes), I also like to support businesses that really care about people and the planet.

Here’s the list of my top 5 companies to support this season:

Carry The Future stands in solidarity with refugee families worldwide by personally providing humanitarian aid to ease their journey while creating meaningful opportunities for global volunteers to be a collective force of action and hope. They donate baby carriers to refugees that are forced to carry their children for countless miles.

United Plant Savers mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. Become a member and receive at-risk plants to propagate in your area.

The Holistic Cannabis Academy is a cannabis education, training, and business-building platform for holistic-minded practitioners about medical marijuana and its integration with other healing modalities. Give the gift of education and empowerment.

 Together California blends an insatiable lust for color, fun, and forward thinking, Lily and Benedict want to encourage fashion lovers and the fashion industry itself to be their best while still looking and feeling gorgeous. Out of their mutual respect for humanity and planet earth, Together is committed to provide clothing that is equally high-fashion and high-­tech. All products are created with the safest and most sustainable manufacturing techniques available without sacrificing style; these methods are reflective of the thoughtfulness and positive change that our current cultural and physical climate demands. Their designs and styles are unmatched, as is their commitment to sustainable fashion.

Samadhi Yoga is my favorite yoga studio in Denver. For those that live elsewhere, choose a locally owned studio in your town. Your friends will love you for it!

Photo credit: Website of Carry The Future


As I sit among the redwood trees and bask in their majestic presence, I am deeply saturated by not only the moisture the traps in their canopy, but also by all the essential oils exuded by their cells. If you have ever sat in an old growth redwood forest, you know the sensation I am talking about. The density of the air is palatable and there is a silence that pervades deep within.

I like to use the Douglas Fir instead of Redwood in this blend, as I have yet to see redwood essential oil on the market. Like all conifers, Fir is anti-infectious and decongestant, so it has the extra benefit of protecting you from illness.

Ingredients:
3 drops Douglas Fir essential oil
3 drops Pinon Pine essential oil
3 drops Frankincense essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Put essential oils and 1-ounce spring water in a spritzer bottle.
  2. Mix gently.

Mist yourself as needed for meditation, concentration or focus. Or anytime your mood needs a little pick me up!

Photo: Michael Balint


Spiced cider is one of my favorite things about fall. I always look forward to making my herbal cider recipe, which I like to drink on cold nights.

Ingredients:
1 quart Apple Juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1-3 inch piece of ginger
1/2 tablespoon clove powder
Handful of dried or fresh orange peel
Handful of dried hawthorn berries

Instructions: 

  1. Simmer together for 30-45 minutes:
  2. Turn off the heat. Let mixture cool slightly and then strain out the herbs.
  3. Add a generous helping of bourbon or whiskey to the warm cider, inhale deeply and drink.

Happy Halloween!


I have been a little reluctant to talk about my upcoming projects, as I have not been exactly clear on what my goals and intentions for such projects. As I develop more clarity around my purpose it is obvious that educating about the sustainable use of herbs and essential oils is of utmost importance. As consumers, it is our responsibility to assure the viability and availability of our plant medicines are here for future generations.

As I develop more clarity around my purpose it is obvious that educating about the sustainable use of herbs and essential oils is of utmost importance. As consumers, it is our responsibility to assure the viability and availability of our plant medicines are here for future generations.

I hear people using excessive dosages of essential oils, with a “more is better” attitude, without taking into account the large amounts of plant material it requires to make 1 ounce of essential oil. In many cases, one to two drops, diluted in a fat-based substance, will do the trick. Use wisely, and with a thought to sustainability.

I also want to encourage bringing ritual back. We have lost ritual in our societies and I think it’s important to have reverence for the precious life we are blessed to have.

Today I diffuse essential oils of:

Lavender (organically grown)

Clary Sage (organically grown)

Palo Santo (from dead trees only)

as an offering of gratitude to the plant spirits as they guide me on this journey of life.


Halloween has deep roots in Celtic tradition as being Samhain (end of summer) and this day initiates the dark half of the year.

It is a time to communicate with the deceased as they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. Hints of the tradition remain as we dress up in costume and have parties and bonfires and tell stories of the dead.

Around this time I like to set up altars for my loved ones that have passed. It is especially important for those that have passed in the last year, as their spirits may still be in between world. On these altar, I burn pine, frankincense, and copal and I send prayers of good will up with the smoke. I place water, flowers, fruit and other treats to give them strength to move past the land of the living and embrace the realm of the dead.

For fun, I do like to dress up, eat pumpkin pastries and drink strongly spiced apple cider (both strong with spices and with spirits).

How are you going to celebrate this haunting Halloween?

Photo: Kathy


In Chinese Medicine, we distinguish whether the common cold is either wind-heat or wind-cold.

This differentiation is important because we treat each syndrome differently. This recipe is good for those with wind-cold. Some of the symptoms may include a slight fever, slight sweating, chills, body aches, no thirst, itchy throat, and an occipital headache.

Ingredients:
3 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops ginger essential oil
2 drops pine essential oil
3 drops thyme linalool essential oil

Instructions: 

  1. Put 5 to 7 drops of essential oil blend in a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl inhaling deeply
  2. For topical use, dilute essential oils in 2 ounces carrier oil and rub on neck, shoulders and lymph nodes

Here’s to feeling better this fall season!


As October glides past us like an autumn leaf, I get excited for the season of root vegetable stews and warm cups of tea.

One of my favorite soups is to throw in any root and vegetable I can find- burdock, dandelion, turnip, carrot, radish, broccoli and throw it in with garlic, ginger, and scallion and as much water as will fill it all.

I let it cook down for hours, adding more scraps, salt, spices and water as I see fit. After satisfied with the extraction of all possible goodness from the plants, I strain off the herbs for composting and am left with the most delicious, medicinal broth imaginable.

I add some sautéed mushrooms and a little chickpea miso to the broth, make a grilled cheese sandwich and sit back and watch the blustery breeze outside. The broth is easy to freeze to be pulled out later for a base in casseroles and other dishes. 

What’s your favorite fall recipe? Comment below!


Gathering with other herbalists and aromatherapists always fills me with such inspiration.

The presenters, as well as the participants, brought their wisdom and love for the plants, and together we created a beautiful gathering.  I would like to thank the American Herbalists Guild for their ongoing effort of inclusiveness into this organization. Their membership has grown 65 percent in the last five years, so I believe their efforts of honoring the diversity of herbal education are succeeding.

A couple of highlights of the symposium for me were hearing Phyllis Hogan describe her ethnobotanical journey with the Hopi and Navajo. She co-founded the Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Foundation, which is committed to the investigation, documentation, and preservation of the traditional plant uses in Arizona and the greater Southwest.

This symposium was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to hear David Winston speak. I really enjoyed his teaching style and use of Chinese, Cherokee and Western herbal traditions. He seems a kindred spirit and I look forward to learning more from him in the future.

I encourage all of you to attend an herbal conference! The depth of knowledge that is passed on at these events is immeasurable. I always leave with my heart and mind full!


I know fall is here, mostly because people around me are starting to have that congested cough that often accompanies the onset of respiratory infections. 

I hear it rattle in their throat and chest and while part of me wants to run the other way with my nose and mouth covered, the other part wants to stay and give them this recipe to help reduce the length of their illness.

Try this essential oil blend to ease your cold symptoms this fall.

Essential Oil Blend to Ease Cold Symptoms

 

  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops melissa essential oil
  • 3 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 6 drops clary sage essential oil
  • 3 drops thyme linalool essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Blend these oils 2 ounces  of sweet almond or apricot oil.
  2. Rub them on the chest, neck, or any areas where lymph nodes are swollen or tender. This is also great to put in a bath to help reduce fever and body aches.

For some this may irritate the skin, so reduce the drops of essential oils (especially thyme and peppermint) if this irritation occurs.

 

Cheers to a healthier fall!


I am so excited for the American Herbalist’s Guild Annual Symposium this weekend!

Not only do I get to teach on my favorite subjects — aromatherapy and herbalism — I also get to be around other herbalists that love plants as much as I do! As I prepare for my trip and attempt to get everything completed before I leave, I am reminded that it was only a few years ago that I decided to transition from private practice to teaching. That decision solidified two years ago when I closed my practice and moved to Denver. What a ride it has been!

At last year’s AHG Symposium I still wasn’t comfortable with the move from the ocean to the mountains. I still yearned for California and hadn’t found an herbal community yet. I am happy to say that I am now fully committed to being in Colorado and have met several herbalists I can get herb geeky with. Ah! I can breathe a sigh of relief! The stress of transition has eased, and I feel at home!

Anytime we get outside our comfort zone, we experience some sort of pain. Be it physical, mental or spiritual. I can’t say enough how herbs and essential oils have helped me with all the pain mentioned. It sounds corny, but it’s true. The plants offer more than just pain relief or immune support, they gift us with messages of love, acceptance, and compassion.

If you want to learn more about herbalism or aromatherapy, check out my YouTube channel or join us there this weekend!

Photo: Robin Atherton


As the air turns crisp and the leaves fall away I go in between nostalgia for the long, hot days and acceptance of the dark, cold nights.

I love the time of year when the harvest is in full force and the excitement of the bounty is high. Now that I am in Denver, I am removed from the seasonal work that I grew so accustomed to my autumn rituals have changed a bit. To remind me of all that is happening for the farmer’s out there, I love this roll-on blend.

Rolling with the Harvest Celebration

Ingredients:
1-ounce Self-heal infused Olive Oil
3 drops Hemp essential oil
3 drops Clary sage essential oil
2 drops Frankincense essential oil
2 drops Myrrh essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Add essential oils to olive oil and blend well.

Here’s to a happy and healthy fall!

Photo: B Gilmour.


Although Denver is still holding on the warmth of the summer, I was up in the mountains last weekend and the icy breeze of winter reminded me that autumn is quickly approaching.

Thursday, September 22 is the Autumn Equinox. The Equinox is marked by the 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light that occurs twice a year. During the equinox, it is a reminder of the intricate balance of yin-yang, the dynamic opposites that govern all existence according to Chinese philosophy. I love this time of year, when I see plants letting go of all the energy they absorbed from their leaves during the year and then effortlessly releasing it all back to the Earth. Watching their process makes me reflect on all I have taken on throughout the year and gives me an opportunity to let go of all that I don’t need to hold on to.

I love this time of year, when I see plants letting go of all the energy they absorbed from their leaves during the year and then effortlessly releasing it all back to the earth. Watching their process makes me reflect on all I have taken on throughout the year and gives me an opportunity to let go of all that I don’t need to hold on to.

Some of my favorite plants are those that remind us to let go of what we no longer need. In the case of Hawthorn Berries, they literally break up fats that may lead to arteriosclerosis or sluggish digestion. Citrus peels

Citrus peels, especially grapefruit peel, is very mucolytic, which means it breaks down substances containing mucus. In Chinese medicine, mucolytic herbs break up what we call phlegm, qi and blood stagnation (which can manifest as lipomas, tumors, cysts) and can be helpful in both decreasing cellulite and acne. Respiratory disorders are rampant in autumn, with many suffering from a wet cough that tends to linger with the cold, wet weather. Perilla leaf is useful to stop coughing and dissolves the phlegm that causes the tight, stifling sensation in the chest that accompanies the cough.

What are your favorite herbs for helping you let go of what is holding you back from optimum health?


To honor the Fall Equinox and to bring our yin yang into greater balance, I have created this blend that recognizes the dark and the light within us all.

The Essential Equinox Blend

Ingredients:
2 ounces Calendula infused Olive Oil
4 drops St. John’s Wort essential oil (connects us to the Sun)
4 drops Artemisia alba essential oil (connects us to the Moon)
4 drops Vetiver essential oil (connects us to the Earth)

Instructions:

  1. Add essential oils to the carrier oil and put them in a glass roll-on bottle.
  2. Apply to your temples, forehead, chest or any area that feels right for you.

May this blend bring you into balance with yourself, the seasons and the universe

As always use organic and/or sustainably harvested herbs and oils.


Feeling the fall allergies? They’re pretty bad here in Colorado, and many people with fall allergies also have asthma.

Common allergens like pollen can flare an asthma attack in many of these people. Use this oil blend to either roll on your chest or to inhale as needed to help prevent or stop a mild asthma attack.

Recipe: Deeply Breathe

Ingredients:
1-ounce lavender-infused apricot kernel oil
3 drops neroli essential oil (reduces shock and anxiety)
3 drops frankincense essential oil (stops wheezing, calms spirit)
2 drops ylang-ylang essential oil (arouses kidney to grasp lung qi)

As always, use only sustainably harvested and/or organic essential oils.


Let’s be real — many of us are feeling the effects of Mercury in retrograde as we are experiencing communication and technological mishaps.

Usually, I am not affected by this astrological phenomenon that can occur up to several times a year and last for weeks, though right now, I’m totally feeling it. Each project is taking longer than usual, and I’m having to put more effort into being clear to avoid misunderstandings.

When Mercury is in retrograde it is recommended that you don’t sign any important documents or having any dealings where miscommunication or misrepresentation may be heightened. I usually don’t go this extreme, but I do notice that I have to slow down and pay attention to the subtleties behind the words. To help give you clarity and grounding that is needed during this time I love this recipe.

Mercury in Retrograde Blend — Gain Clarity & Grounding

In a 1-ounce glass spritzer bottle, add 1-ounce spring water and the following:

Ingredients:
4 drops Clary Sage essential oil (brings clarity to thought and insights)
3 drops Mandarin essential oil (regulates qi, much needed during retrograde)
3 drops Frankincense essential oil (calms spirit, promotes circulation of qi)
2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil (calms spirit, cools heat)

As always use only sustainably harvested and/or organic essential oils.

Hope you gain clarity and grounding during this turbulent time!


The transition from summer to autumn can be difficult for many of us. As the days shorten and the wind cools, I need a little extra help from my herbal allies to accept that the long hot days of summer are ending and the long dark days of winter are soon to come.

As the days shorten and the wind cools, I need a little extra help from my herbal allies to accept that the long hot days of summer are ending and the long dark days of winter are soon to come.  

Recipe: Carrier Oil

1 ounce fresh St. John’s Wort infused Olive Oil

Ingredients:
5 drops Clary Sage essential oil (euphoric, brings clarity and insight)
2 drops Mint of choice (clears heat, calms “angry” liver)
2 drops St. John’s Wort (associated with summer, the sun, grief, depression)
2 drops Hemp (regulates key systems in body, modulates immunity)

Instructions:

  1. Add essential oils to the carrier oil and put in a roll-on bottle.  
  2. Apply to temples, forehead, chest or any area that calls to you.

Let me know what you think!

Photo: Paul Bica


We are in the transition time between summer and autumn.

In Chinese medicine, the days between seasons are associated with the Earth element, reminding us to take this time to nourish and prepare ourselves for the season ahead. Autumn is associated with the Metal element and our body systems that include the Lungs and Large Intestine. These systems remind us to take a deep breath in, and upon your exhale, let it go. Nothing exemplifies this more than the paired organs of the lung and large intestine!

Autumn is usually a melancholic time for me, which is fitting since the emotion associated with the Metal element is grief. Part of grieving is an array of emotions that come before acceptance and forgiveness. Essential oils can help transition you from the depths of despair into a place of acceptance. The spicy flavor is also associated with the Metal element. Spicy herbs get our qi (life force) moving and can help get us out of any funk.

3 Essential Oils for Fall

1. Peppermint — not only great for digestion but also calms down an “angry” liver and helps move you from anger into acceptance. Diffuse this throughout your home or take in the form of peppermint spirits.

2. Thyme — one of our spiciest herbs and one of the best for preventing colds and flus; I also find thyme to be helpful in situations that take time to heal. For grief, I like to diffuse thyme with lavender and rosemary to help me remember the good times and move past the bad.

3. Clary Sage — known as a euphoric and helpful for menopausal symptoms, clary sage also aids us in gaining clarity and insight and lifting the clouds that surround us when we are in grief. I like to make a roll-on with a carrier oil and essential oils of clary sage, angelica, vetiver, and jasmine absolute when I feel sad from a significant loss.

Let me know your favorite spicy herbs and essential oils for fall!


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Each day I love watching fathers bike their children to school in my neighborhood.

While I also see moms biking their children to school, the fathers stand out to me — and this makes my heart smile.

In honor of all the great fathers out there, here are several of my favorite oils that are masculine enough for the manliest man, yet gentle and subtle enough to please any temperament.

5 Essential Oils for Men

1. Frankincense

Add a few drops of this oil to shaving cream or after shave lotion to begin your day with a meditative mellowness.

2. Vetiver

This is a seductive and sensual aroma; place one drop behind each ear as cologne.

3. Laurel

Add one or two drops to your collar to bring courage and commitment to your day.

4. Rosemary

Add 10 drops to two ounces of conditioner to increase circulation to the head, enhance hair growth and help with memory, focus, and concentration.

5. Tanacetum

This oil cools and sedates. Place one drop on the bottom of your feet to help with insomnia or anxiety.

Remember, men need healing as much as women do. I hope these oils bring balance and joy to your lives.

Men, share your favorite essential oils below.

Photo: Adriaan Bloem


Even those that look forward to the first day of school are a little reluctant to give up the freedom of mellow mornings, adventures days and late nights.  I’m not in school right now and even I get a little sad feeling the change in the air that always corresponds with the start of classes.  To beat these blues, I’ve been misting myself with hydrosols and spritzers that have been energizing and uplifting.  An added benefit are the essential oils that increase memory and circulation and a little lavender to calm the back to school jitters.  I hope this helps you as much as it has me!

No More Summer Blues Sprayslemon-grass

3 drops Lemongrass essential oil (uplifts and invigorates )

3 drops Mandarin essential oil (regulates energy and digestion)

3 drops Rosemary essential oil (improves circulation and memory)

3 drops Lavender essential oil (relaxes nervous system)

2 ounces Spring water 

Put spring water into a glass spray bottle (use a fun colored glass to improve your mood even more!)

Add essential oils, one at a time and blend thoroughly.  Spray on your face, neck and heart area as needed throughout the day.

As always, use herbs and essential oils that are certified organic and/or sustainably harvested and oils that not extracted with hazardous solvents.

With Love,

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Jessica

 

 


My heart is full after attending the 1st annual Red Earth Herbal Gathering in Longmont, CO.  Inspired by the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, Red Earth honors womens ritualwomen and the cycles we experience throughout our lives.  Always present is the reverence for our medicinal plants that guide and support us along our way.  Astrid Grove and Leela Whitcomb-Hewitt brought a much needed gathering to Colorado and I thank them greatly for it!

One reminder was the importance of ritual in my life.  Some rituals have become so habitual and mundane that I barely recognize the fact that I’m making an herbal tea or aromatherapy blend.  I am reminded to slow down, root deep and expand.  It is in this space, called the WuJi in Chinese medicine, that I have extra sensory experiences and bring the wholeness of the universe into whatever I am doing.  It is in this space that I see reality clearly and tap into what it is I need for the day.

The last few days I have noticed a substantial shift in the way I approach life.  My morning tea ritual is much more intentional and I can feel the difference it has made.  In my practice of yoga and qi gong, I am more aware of subtleties I have been too distracted to notice.  When I diffuse an essential oil or decide which oils to blend I hear the voices of the plants, elated that I am once again listening with the oldest parts of myself.

I encourage you to take a few extra minutes each day to create simple ritual in your life.  If you are the type of person that needs sensory tools to help creating your sacred space, I suggest Frankincense, Myrrh and Amber resins ground up and burnt as an incense, or if you don’t want the smoke to fill your room, you can diffuse the essential oils to elicit feelings of relaxation, expansiveness and meditation.

With Love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows


I have used this cream for a variety of complaints, from eczema to dermatitis from an allergen.  Safe for babies, yet strong enough to heal chronic skin conditions, this cream will amaze you!  

Healing Skin Creamherbal-decongestant-salve-collage

Create a 2 ounce Plantain and Prunella infused Apricot kernel Oil 

Add 1-3 tbsp Cocoa Butter (less will be more like a lotion, more will be thicker)

This alone will drastically improve the condition of your skin…but you might as well give it a longer shelf life and get the added benefits of Essential Oils!

While mixture is still warm add 1-4 drops Helichrysum, 3 drops Carrot seed, 2 drops Myrrh to repair skin and prevent further scarring

As always, use organic and sustainably harvested herbs and oils

This instructional video on making an herbal salve will provide step by step instructions How To Make An Herbal Salve

With Love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica Baker, LAc

When energy flows, wellness grows


As we move deeper into August we begin to feel the shift from Summer to Autumn.  These transitional periods affect us viscerally and psychically much more than we often realize.  It is in these in-between times that my greatest shifts occur.  For me, I find herbs and essential oils to be an integral part of helping me with these transformations.

Especially important when moving into Autumn (and for all those back to school illnesses that tend to occur) is Elderberry.  A daily tonic of Elderberry syrup, tea or tincture is going to strengthen our Respiratory health and help protect us from airborne illnesses.  For some yummy Elderberry recipes, check out Ancestral Apothecary’s blog post Elderberry Medicine

Essential oils of Monarda, Ravensara, and Eucalyptus are your allies to build and monarda-fistulosa-003modulate our immune systems, making us stronger and more resilient throughout the cold season.  I recommend diffusing these oils in your home and office.  I like to place it by the front door so everyone that enters is enveloped in their healing essence.  Your children can also take a spritzer made with these oils to keep in their locker or backpack and use as a hand sanitizer throughout the day.

As the days become shorter, I get a little antsy thinking about the Winter ahead.  In Colorado, our first snow can come in September and the thought of a cold, dark season fills me with a little dread.  Not only do I step up my intake of fresh St. John’s Wort tincture, but I also anoint myself with a blend of diluted      St. John’s Wort, Yarrow and Clary Sage essential oils.

St. John’s Wort brings the light of the Sun deep into my being

Yarrow gives me the courage and strength to welcome in the yin quality of the darker seasons

Clary Sage brings clarity to my thoughts and focus to my intentions

If you want to learn more about herbalism and aromatherapy, join some of your favorite herbalists at the American Herbalists Guild Annual Symposium September 29-October 3, 2016 in Seven Springs, PA.   Check out the Symposium schedule!                                                                                                                                                                   I will teach a class on Clinical Aromatherapy & Infectious Disease and one on  Redefining Trauma: An Herbal Approach to Healing Deep Wounds.  

With Love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

 


Cupping has been all over the news and social media this week with athletes like Michael Phelps sporting his cup marks like a badge of honor. Acupuncturists know the numerous benefits of cupping for pain, inflammation and for drawing heat and stagnation out of the body and it’s good to see the proper application of cupping.  I have seen way too many Facebook and Instagram posts with an excessive number of cups and marks on the body. What the Olympiads know is that our bodies have this amazing self-healing ability and we don’t need excessive cupping to get the job done.

I want to share with you the oil I make for cupping my clients.  An oil is needed on the skin before cupping (especially sliding cups) to make it easier to move the cup around. The herbs and essential oils infused in the oil also give the benefits of aiding in breaking up stagnation and drawing heat out of the tissues and muscles.

As always, use organic and ethically wild-crafted herbs and oils

Pour Some On (a tribute to the Chinese formula Po Sum On)IMG_6047

2 ounce Carrier Oil- I like to blend Olive & Sesame Oils and infuse them with herbs like Ji Xue Teng and Hong Hua

2-3 Menthol Crystals

8 drops Peppermint essential oil

8 drops Eucalyptus (I like E. radiata)essential oil

5 drops Lavender essential oil 

Note: This Oil will cause redness and irritation of the skin.  Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or other sensitive locations. 

Apply liberally to the skin before cupping or guasha. You can also use on sprained and swollen sport sinjuries.

With Love,

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Jessica

p.s. thanks to Getty Images for the Michael Phelps picture


I tried to send this blog post from the air, but I can never access the onboard wi-fi. The friendly skies of United are all too familiar to me the last couple of years but I must say I do Love traveling and get excited before every flight. There are certain things that I must have for my flights, the most important being my essential oils.

For starters, smells can be funky on the plane; stale air, BO, and the other unpleasant realities I won’t speak about. To help with the nausea from these smells and from motion sickness, I put one or two drops of diluted Peppermint essential oil on my hair or scarf (if peppermint leaves mortal pestelI’m wearing one). That way I can inhale deeply without fear of noxious odors! In a pinch, I can also drop one drop of Peppermint oil in a little fat based substance (milk, yogurt, coconut oil) and ingest internally in case I need something stronger to settle my stomach. For relaxation after the push of getting to the airport, through security and to my gate on time, I’ll place a drop of Lavender essential oil behind each ear (Lavender is one of the oils you can place Undiluted on your skin) and feel my tension melt away. For protection against any germs that linger within a closed air environment I bring a small spritzer with essential oils of Lavender, Thyme, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass that I use as a hand sanitizer or mist if someone is coughing or sneezing around me.

Of course I bring way too many other essential oils,  but I have other necessities as well, like my laptop, noise canceling headphones, lots of tunes and a good book. And I always carry at least one herbal tincture and my Rescue Remedy too. I hope you stay healthy and energized during your travels and have as much fun as I do!

With love,

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Jessica


I was so excited about getting a tattoo yesterday that I completely forgot to post a recipe!  With that reminder that I can get very scattered and not as productive as I should be I share with you a blend I used for years when I ran my clinic in Arcata, CA.

Not only does it smell delicious, it works great to invigorate and relax you you, helping you have more focused intention throughout the day.

Find Your Focus Mist

5 drops Bergamot Essential Oil (relaxes the mind, regulates qi (vital life energy) allowing for deeper insight and assimilation)

3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil (invigorates the blood, promotes circulation to the head and extremities, one of our wisdom herbs)

3 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil (reduces dampness that may lead to foggy headedness, cloudy thinking)

Dilute essential oils in 1 ounce of spring water and put in a glass spritzer bottle.  Mist yourself throughout the day when you feel a lack of energy or concentration.

As always, use organic and sustainably harvested products.

Have a great weekend!

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Jessica


On this day in 1997 my boyfriend (now husband) and I rolled into California in our Dodge Spirit with just a few hundred bucks, our records and our cat, Mama Kitty. The first thing I read when we got out of the car was that William S. Burroughs had died. Being one of my favorite novelists at the time I took it as a sign that I was beginning a new era in my life; one of a commitment to myself, to be the Best I could be and make a difference in the world.

One of my favorite quotes from Burroughs is “Artists to my mind are the real architects of consciousnesschange, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.”

We are the artists that create the world we want to see. We are the architects of our own reality. What brilliance are you going to design?

19 years ago I didn’t know what my path was. I just knew I would find it in California. What I didn’t know was just how complete it would make me. Sharing the medicine of the plants is my gift to make this world a better place. I hope you find your way back to yourself as I have. There is no other place you’d rather be.

May you be inspired to be Exactly who you are!

With Love,

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Jessica


With all the craziness that is going on, all I can think about is how we need more Love in the World.  We need to truly Love ourself first so we can send that Love out to others.  Here’s a tea blend that is sure to fill you up with the Love of the plants!

Infinite Love Tea

1 small handful of fresh or dried rose petalsherbal-tea1

1 handful fresh or dried milky oat tops or oatstraw

1 handful fresh or dried hawthorn leaves and flowers

1 handful fresh or dried tulsi basil

1/2 handful fresh or dried violet leaves

1/2 handful fresh or dried calendula flowers

As you blend the herbs together, honor each plant for its offering of medicine and ask it to open your heart to the infinite wisdom you are about to receive.  Steep the herbs in 4-6 cups of boiled (not boiling) water for 15-20 minutes.  Strain herbs and set aside for a second use.  The bitter quality of some of the herbs will help clear toxins and negativity from your body.  If the taste is unpleasant add 1 tsp honey and thank the bees for their role in our nourishment.  Drink anytime you need of day or night.  It is a great ally on days when you need extra support or love.

When energy flows, wellness grows

With love,

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Jessica


It’s always a bit difficult to return to “normal” life after a weekend of being completely immersed in Nature.  Since the herbal class was postponed I chose to cruise around Colorado and camp wherever my heart took me.  What a blissful journey it was!

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Besides playing my ukulele (Kalalele is her name) and hiking around, I just sat in quiet contemplation and was in awe of how wonderful life is.  I was completely cradled by our Mother Earth, nurtured deep to my core.  Communing with all life around me.  Pure Joy!

In one location I was completely surrounded by Osha!  A treat for a coastal herbalist.  In another, wildflowers as far as the eye could see.  I can’t believe how many herbs grow at these elevations.  Such strong medicine!

I had great conversations with the Pine trees and sang along with the river as she flowed through me.  Icy cold water that saved me from the heat and the mosquitos!

I hope you find the time to retreat into Nature and open yourself to all life has to offer.

When energy flows, wellness grows

With love,

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Jessica

 


As I pack for my trip this weekend I am reminded of how blessed I am.  I can freely travel wherever and whenever I choose.  I do not take this life for granted.

Road trips, herb classes and camping are three of my favorite things!  My energy is high as I stuff Way too much stuff into my car. That’s the beauty of car camping- I bring all my cozy things!

On the road I love to roll down the windows,crank the tunes and belt out my favorite songs. To keep me alert and focused, I also Love this spritzer!

Keep On Movin’ SprayCitrus-Oil

1 ounce Lemon Verbena Hydrosol

1 ounce Spring Water

8 drops Peppermint essential oil (spearmint is yummy too)

6 drops Mandarin essential oil 

3 drops Lemongrass

Mix ingredients in a 2 ounce glass spritzer bottle.  Keep it in your cooler for extra relief on a hot day!

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows


Whew! The summer has been a whirlwind so far. I haven’t even had the opportunity to hike or camp as much as I’d like, and with our shorter Colorado summers I am getting a little antsy.

That’s why I’m so exited to camp near Gunning this weekend and attend a western energetics class with Jim McDonald at Rooted Apothecary. The wilderness is calling my name and I am responding! I plan on a hot springs diversion and some herbal wildcrafting along the way  (only tiny amounts of course!)mt states foraging book

Pretty much wherever you are, our herbal allies are all around.  You just have to be able to identify them properly.  As someone fairly new to the Rocky Mountains, I find Briana Wiles, Mountain States Foraging, to be a good resource.  The pictures are beautiful and the descriptions of the plants are eloquently written.

If you want to learn more about herbalism, join us at the American Herbalists Guild Annual Symposium in Seven Springs, PA  from September 29-October 3.  I’ll be teaching two classes, one on Aromatherapy & Infectious Disease and the other Redefining Trauma: An Herbal Approach to Healing Deep Wounds.  I hope to see you there!

With Love,

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Jessica


Many of us, including myself, are feeling overwhelmed right now.  Here’s an aromatherapy blend that I use to lift my spirits while motivating me to be the change I want to see in the world.

Spirit Booster

4 drops Lavender essential oil (relaxes the mind, body and spirit, facilitates release of emotions)15-Amazing-Benefits-Of-Rose-Essential-Oil1

2 drops Citrus (Neroli, Mandarin, Lemon…) essential oil (helps assimilate emotions)

2 drops Rose (or Rose Geranium) essential oil (brings grief to the surface to be released)

2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil (opens your heart to the beauty around you)

1 drop Vetiver essential oil (works on healing deep wounds, chronic soul-ache)

Mix essential oils in a base of 1 oz. Self-heal infused Apricot kernel oil. Apply to top of head, forehead, chest, lower abdomen and low back

May your days be filled with compassionate action.

Love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows


I am very emotional this week.  I have been intensely reactive to all that is happening in our world.  My grief over a seemingly endless war, the constant conscious destruction of our planet and the blatant disregard for human life in our own country came to a head and I had a few eruptions.  Some were misplaced and others were truths that needed to be expressed (but maybe could’ve been done more eloquently).

I am human and I make mistakes.  I react like many others have and I learned a lot about myself this week.  I am reminded that I am an activist, always have been, always will.  I am reminded that I need to speak my truth with grace and not anger.  I am reminded how precious my plant allies are to me.

I rely heavily on Hawthorn leaf and flower to calm down my racing heart and relieve that tightness in my chest that comes on when I think of the sorrow and fear that we all collectively experience.calendula bowl

The vibrant colors of Calendula flowers has been integral in helping me see the world a
little brighter and settling my stomach and nerves.

To nourish and ground me, Marshmallow root brings me back to the present moment when I want to escape from our harsh realities.

I am anointing myself with essential oils of Mugwort, Blue Chamomile and Jasmine (diluted in Artemisia infused oil); this combination has been dear to me as of late and has been helping me move past my anger and grief.

Change starts from within.  When you truly love and accept yourself just as you are, loving others just for who they are becomes easier.

May your transformation bring justice, peace and love into the world.

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

 

 


I wanted to share one of my favorite essential oil blends with you.  I created this recipe sagemeditateafter a surreal experience with burning the root of Angelica archangelica.  I had a good sized root that I harvested years ago and found it so beautiful I just couldn’t bring myself to use it.  I carried the root in a jar with me and showed it to students in some of my classes.  One night while camping I decided to burn part of the root.  As I lit the dried root on fire, I inhaled the smoke and began to feel deeply relaxed.  Within seconds the essence of spirits (angels, beings- call them what you will) were all around me.  Their gentleness soothed me as I began to remember all the loved ones I have lost. In the smoke from the smoldering root I began to see images of my grandmothers, my friends and others that have passed on.  I cried a long cathartic cry as the spirits cradled and whispered words of love into me.  When the smoke and spirits disappeared, I felt profoundly relieved from some of the grief I had been holding deep inside.

Although this recipe may not give you an experience like the one I had with the Angelica root, I have found this Aromatherapy blend to be super helpful for me during yoga, meditation or any time I need a reminder that I am always held.  I hope you find it as yummy as I do.

Spirit of the Sages

1 ounce organic carrier oil, I use Apricot kernel oil (infused with rose, calendula or any flower you love)

3 drops White Sage essential oil (purifying, cleansing, relaxes the nervous system)

2 drops Clary Sage essential oil (uplifting, clarifies intentions)

1 drop Palo Santo (purifying, brings you into meditative state)

1 drop Angelica archangelica essential oil (regulating, bridge to spirit)

Drop essential oils into carrier oil and mix gently.  I like to put the oil in a roll-on bottle for easy application to rub on temples, forehead, chest or anywhere desired.  Place a drop or two of the oil on your yoga mat to inhale the fragrance whenever you’re in a forward bend or child’s pose.  

It is my intention that with each breath you will find more peace, balance and love.

Forever Grateful,

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Jessica

ps. the image of the Angelica archangelica and bumblebee is from a blog post from The Herb Gardener ((check out their post on growing angelica and other herbs)


There are times when I’m pretty slack.  I don’t always keep up with my yoga practice. I find myself making excuses for why it’s okay that I take a day or two off. Then that day or two becomes a week or two and I begin to fall apart.

I get moody and my muscles ache.   I am irritable and short tempered and I literally start to get on my own nerves. I generally feel awful. Then I remember to breathe deeply, I inhale deeply into my abdomen and lumbar region. I drop my shoulders and expand my ribcage with each inhalation. My jaw relaxes and I can feel the stress of the day leave with each exhalation. Breath.  It is super simple and yet so profoundly game changing.

When I notice this pent up tension I also turn to herbs and essential oils, my allies that 8limbsofyogahelp bring me into a deeper state of relaxation and mindfulness. As I continue to breathe, I make a mild decoction of Ganoderma lucidum (reishi, ling zhi) to bring my intention inward. While drinking the tea I diffuse essential oils of Vetiver, Frankincense, Myrrh and Clary Sage. These oils center me and allow me to go deeper into my practice. After this small ritual, I begin my yoga practice and am more open to receive.

What essential oils or herbs have you found to be beneficial to your practice? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Forever Grateful,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


I have been pretty silent about the book I’m writing.  Last year I submitted a book proposal to Hay House through their Writer’s Workshop.  I was thrilled to win 2nd runner up and receive a self-publishing contract through Balboa Press!  Writing Plant Songs was going to happen regardless of the  publishing contract, but the validation from the Universe gives me even more pleasure in finishing the book.

Plant Songs is my offering to our ancestors, the plants.  To spread their voices in hopes that by reading their words, it becomes easier for humans to hear the plants themselves.  And upon hearing them, will begin to treat them and the rest of life on Earth with respect.

Our plant friends want to be seen, heard, loved and revered.  All of life does. Doesn’t it make you feel better when you are acknowledged and appreciated for who you are?  We walk past plants everyday and completely ignore them while unconscious of the fact that our existence relies on their abundance and wisdom.  Specific plants will sprout up to repair the disturbed land from construction, grazing or disturbance.  Our favorite herbs like plantain (soothes or tissues and membranes), violet (powerfully cooling, uplifter of spirit and heart) and berries (astringent and strengthening) grow and nourish their Earth just as they nourish us, their human descendants.

IMG_0013I want to share with you some of what Magnolia has taught me. The medicine of Magnolia is varied depending on species.  Magnolia grandiflora is bitter and can help with the assimilation of nutrients and emotions.  The aromatic properties open the orifices of the spirit (mind, heart) and allow for deeper breathing and clarity of thought.  The intoxicating aroma and beauty of the flowers reminds us that life is not all doom and gloom but also immensely fulfilling.

Magnolia’s Song (as spoken to me when I needed to hear it most)

“Breathe Life In

Breathe Life Out.

Turn Despair into Growth

Replace Fear with Courage

Transform Hate into Love

Breathe Life In

Breathe Life Out”

I’d love for you to share any wisdom the plants have bestowed upon you.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


IMG_0316I cannot say enough positive things about the Mountain West Herb Gathering.  As with any conference there are bound to be unexpected hiccups but my experience as a teacher and attendant was that it was not only a well organized event but extremely heartfelt as well. I’m already getting excited about next year’s gathering.  Thank you Amanda Klenner for putting on such a welcoming event!  Check out her monthly herbal publication Natural Herbal Living

As someone new to Colorado, I am also happy to have met more local herbalists!  Every class I attended was wonderful, but my favorite had to be Healing the Spirit: Using Plants, Song and Prayer in Modern Herbal Practice, with Shelley Torgove and Monticue Connally.  I am glad they are both in Denver so I can learn more from them.  Deep healing occurred in the space created in their class.  There is nothing like singing with the plants!

IMG_0338My favorite part was to see (hear, taste and feel) new and old plant allies.  The mountain yarrow and horsetail looks so delicate and tender compared to our North Coast varieties.  I have found the mountain plants to be smaller, but packed full of vital energy due to their ability to thrive in such harsh conditions.  And the conifers!  I got to taste and smell the differences in some of the pine, spruce and fir.  The medicine in these mountain plants are strong and give us the gift of resiliency.  So needed at this time.

I leave you with a simple tasty tea that can be easily harvested from many places around the world.  Just make sure the trees and flowers haven’t been sprayed or are close to a heavily trafficked area.

Conifer Rose Tea IMG_0181

1/2 cup needles of your favorite evergreen (pine, spruce, cedar, cypress, fir, redwood)

1/4 cup wild roses

1/4 cup wild blackberry or raspberry flowers

Make a sun infusion with needles and flowers for 2-3 hours.  Strain out herbs and drink deeply.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Happy Summer and Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


I don’t know about y’all, but I am feeling the yang energy of Summer approaching.  Thankfully the warm weather has hit Colorado and life is returning to the mountains after what seemed like a long Winter.  Yesterday I went hiking in Eldorado Canyon and saw many of my favorite herbs, including Artemisia, Pine, Yarrow and Rose.  Coming from California, I am used to a much earlier Spring and I was surprised at how small the Artemisia still are.  I could feel their compact potency though and am excited about seeing them grow throughout the season.

Did you know that we use several Artemisia species in Chinese Medicine?  Each species has it’s unique taste, temperature and therapeutic action. Ai Ye, Artemisia argyi, is so important that it is a separate modality of medicine.  We call the burning of Ai Ye, Moxibustion and we use it to warm the meridians of the body and expel cold, relieve pain due to cold stagnation, dispel dampness, stop cough, and calm the spirit.  If you have PMS or painful menstruation due to cold or damp, moxibustion over the abdomen can provide warmth and relief.  (Always have a qualified practitioner advise you on moxibustion application)

The first mention of Artemisia in Chinese medicine was in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica), probably written around 200CE.  In that text, Ai Ye, was said to make the body light (bring you back to the light being you are), sharpen your eyes and ears, and prevent senility.  Ai Ye was also said to promote hair growth, eliminate evil qi in the five viscera, boost qi and supplement the middle jiao.

Today, we use the essential oil of various  Artemisia species for many reasons.  The essential oil of these plants can be very strong and must be used with caution (thujone content varies with each species).  I like to massage Artemisia alba (Mugwort) essential oil (diluted in hemp oil) on my abdomen before and during menstruation to reduce stagnation due to cold and damp that can cause cramps, bloating and tension.  I also diffuse a couple drops of essential oil in my home as well to help reduce any accompanying irritability.  Adding Lavender can further enhance your relaxation.

To help reduce infectious respiratory diseases, diffuse Mugwort essential oil or burn Ai Ye as you would White Sage throughout your house to repel “evil” energy.  This can also be effective for clearing negative energy out of your space.  You can smudge yourself with it when you need more energy or clarity.

I leave you with a spritzer recipe that I hope you enjoy as much as I do!  Artemis is the Maiden Goddess of the Hunt and the Moon and Achilles was an undefeated warrior that represents courage and strength.  I like to think these two plants work as a yin (Artemis) yang (Achilles) pair that can bring about deep healing and the courage needed to witness your own healing.

The Alchemy of Artemis & Achilles artemisia-vulgaris-1

1-2 drops wild Artemisia essential oil (alba, argyi, or vulgaris preferred)

wild yarrow1-2 drops wild Achillea essential oil (yarrow)

1/2 ounce wild Helichrysum hydrosol

1  1/2 ounces spring water 

Add water and hydrosol to a 2 ounce glass jar with pump spray top.  Add essential oils.  Shake well and thoroughly blend mixture.  Spray on any injuries (physical or otherwise) that need healing.  Great for bug bites, sprains, dermatitis and deep traumas of body or spirit. This blend is a great healer, as it helps to balance the duality of our yin/yang nature.   

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


Over the weekend I had the opportunity to teach at my favorite herbal symposium in existencesympcircle_05 today.  The Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium is the Heart medicine that we all deeply crave.  There is a collective healing that is palatable and at times so thick that you have no choice but to witness the truth of your own pain.  It is beautiful.  I am so grateful for the women that work endlessly to provide this space for us all.

 
A highlight of the weekend for me was stargazing with Stargazer Li.  A fantastic story-teller and mischievous medicine maker, Li has given me an even deeper fascination with the cosmos.   As we lie on our backs and gaze out into the universe, Li mentioned that what if in fact we were looking down at the sky and not up, as we have no idea where we were in the rotation of the Earth.  The sensation created in my mind and body when I thought I was above the sky and not below it was exhilarating.  It made me feel weightless, formless and in the infinite void (WuJi in Chinese medicine).

stunning-images-of-the-universe-from-hubbleIt is moments like these when we remember our wildness.  There are no physical barriers or limitations to what we are capable of achieving.  It is all in our perception, attitude and awareness.  When I am totally aware that I am connected with everything around me, I feel limitless, endless and free.  This is our true nature- connecting, communicating, exchanging with all of life around us.  I am blessed to have stepped into those moments and allowed myself to open up to their gifts.

I leave you with a tea that I hope will inspire you to open up to your own gifts, and to your true, wild nature.  You will need good gloves to harvest these herbs- they are covered in prickles and thorns (like many of our paths in life!)

I’m Wild and Free TeaWild_rose

1 handful wild nettle

1 handful wild horsetail (unopened)

1 handful wild blackberry leaves/flowers/berries 

1 handful wild roses

Make a sun (and/or moon) infusion with  1-2 quarts water.  Strain (or not) and drink deeply.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


This weeks blog is an interview with activist and herbalist, Mary Blue.  She is the founder of Pharmacy Herbs Community Health and Education Center in Providence, Rhode Island and has opened the Sage Clinic, a collaboration with Brown University Integrative Medicine Residency program.  Along with being a farmer, medicine maker and professor, Mary Blue is also a talented rapper.

JB: How did your herbal journey begin?mary-back-cover1

MB: I started using herbs for personal healing in 1998. I was drawn to herbs because I needed to connect to the earth in all aspects of my life, especially self care. It fit with my lifestyle and environmental advocacy work. I was engaged in community organizing and activism while working to detoxify my life and the planet. Herbalism aligned with my natural instinct to help people too. I also saw herbs as a way to passively resist big pharma, and their control over health care.

In 2001, I volunteered at an herb shop in my home town of Providence, RI. The owner, Danielle Cavallacci, eventually hired me. I apprenticed and worked with Danielle for 3 years. After studying at Indigo Herbals, I was hired at Seven Arrows Herb Farm in Southeastern Massachusetts and worked there for 4 years. I worked in the greenhouses, herb shop and organized herbal events (this is where Radherb was born in 2006). This is also where I started offering consultations, classes and herbal products. In early 2008, my best friend, Jessica, died of cancer, and asked our community to donate to building Farmacy Herbs instead of buying flowers. I was able to open the Farmacy Herbs Community Health and Education Center in the summer of 2008….This was a lasting gift to me and the community from a beautiful dying friend.

I was also part of the anti-globalization movement from 1999-2010. We were always fighting against something.  After 10 years, I went from lobbying, to the streets, to the court rooms, to the herbal clinics, and I realized that that high intensity work was not sustainable for me long term. I then decided to pursue community herbalism as a career, and weave my social justice principles into my work. I still occasionally show up to rallies, city hall, and I am still fighting in the courtroom with the Fire Cider battle! I feel lucky that I am able to be an herbalist that can make a living without compromising my social justice principles.

JB: You wear many hats as herbalist, farmer, entrepreneur and professor of Western Herbalism at Brown University Medical School, how did the opportunity to work at Brown University present itself?  

MB: After traveling around in my twenties, I realized if I wanted to affect any positive social change, I needed to stay in one place and focus.  Since 2006, one of my goals has been to affect change in the health care system through working with local doctors. I believe that if doctors are educated on what an herbalist can do to support their patients, this could change health care for a lot of people. As time went on, I built my herbal practice while many of my clients were also working with local doctors. I began developing relationships with doctors through their patients. The patients were having success with my protocols, telling their doctors, and that is how it all started.   In 2010, I was invited to speak at Memorial Hospital by Dr. John McGonigle. He is an integrative family medicine doctor and runs the Brown University Integrative Medicine Residency Program.

Since then we have been collaborating on clients, classes for my herb school and now, teaching at Brown Medical School.  John and I also just became business partners  and opened the Ocean State Holistic Medical Collaborative, Sage Clinic. This clinic is the teaching site for the Brown University Integrative Medicine Residency Program and for my Herbal Residency Program.

JB: Can you speak about the trademark lawsuit over the Fire Cider name that you and two others (Nicole Telkes and Katheryn Langelier ) have been named in? (learn more about trademarking commonly help names at http://freefirecider.comFireCiderRecipe

MB: We have an amazing legal team, which we are so thankful for. They have put a lot of thought into our case, and have completed hundreds of hours of work for little pay. At this point in the case, our lawyers are advising us to not make any statements regarding the details of the case. It is highly stressful for all of us and our families to be in this position.

I hope the herbal community understands that we are juggling a lot right now, and if your email goes unanswered for a week or longer, that we are doing the best we can to keep up with our lives, the case and our businesses. Our group Tradition Not Trademark is committed to seeing this through and fighting for our traditional herbal terms to the bitter end.

UPDATE from Tradition Not Trademark: AMAZING NEWS to report on the lawsuit Shire City brought against the herbalists Mary Blue, Nicole Telkes and Katheryn Langelier!!!! On May 12, 2016, the federal court in Massachusetts dismissed five out of the ten claims that Shire City had brought against the 3 defendants. The claims that were dismissed were all based on the three defendants’ participation in the movement to cancel Shire City’s “Fire Cider” trademark registration. Shire City had claimed that the 3 defendants’ activities had caused Shire City $100,000 in damages.

JB:  Where do you see herbalism going in the future, in terms of education, licensing, and regulation?

MB:  In terms of Western Herbalism education, it seems to be growing fast!  We don’t have national standards for herbal education, so it’s hard for any Western Herbal student to follow a clear path to becoming an herbal practitioner.  I see a lot of my students choosing to be acupuncturists or massage therapists because there is a clear path to a career.

I think it would be helpful to have a community standard that differentiates between educational requirements for a family herbalist, community herbalist or a clinical herbalist. We do have the American Herbalist Guild, but many herbalists (like myself) are not easily accepted into the AHG, and because of this they do not represent a large portion of herbal practitioners.  I would love to see coalition of established herb schools come up with educational standards for Western Herbalists. These standards would not have to be enforced by law… they would be community standards that would help herbal students and the general public understand what it actually means to be a clinical herbalist, community herbalist or master herbalist.

My generation (40 years old) was the last generation that didn’t have access to multiple blogs, podcasts and online learning tools when we were budding herb students in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  All of my education was in person with teachers, in the clinic or working directly with clients. I feel that that aspect of learning is integral to herbal education, and I hope that the ease of access to internet education doesn’t dilute the traditional way of learning herbs through hands on, in person, education. I also think it is amazing that there are so many more online resources out there for new herbal students!!

Herb schools like Farmacy Herbs and Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism (and many others) are working on training professional herbalists in the art of herbal medicine AND to understand the legal aspects of becoming an herbalist. This includes health justice principles, cultural competency, FDA regulations and more. I think it is integral for all herbal students to understand not just the how-to of herbal medicine, but all of the political and legal aspects of herbalism too.  For more info about health justice principles, check out my webinar hosted by the American Herbalist Guild onMay 17, 2016 at 7pm on Politically Compassionate Herbalism.

The regulations on herbal product companies are extremely hard to comply with. As an herbal product company owner, I had to make the decision whether or not to bring my product to the mass market or stay small. If herbal business owners want to go big or sell online, then they must understand that this could mean a lot of red tape and money. I decided to stay small, selling herbs only to local restaurants, stores and at clinics in Rhode Island.  All herbal companies (small or large) should do due diligence to follow Standard Operating Procedures and follow local health department laws.

There are pros and cons regarding licensure and regulations. On one side, licensure could provide some legitimacy to the field of herbalism in the allopathic setting, and could potentially allow herbalists to take insurance…which would be great.

On the other hand, do we really want to be regulated by a system that does not comprehend all the complexities of herbal work?  I really hope the growing field of herbalism can be defined by the herbal community, not the government.

JB:  What is the most important message about herbalism that you want to share with the readers?

MB: I would like to share that I think it is important for herbalists to understand (at minimum) and be active with the legal and political aspects of herbalism; this includes trademarking of traditional terms, understanding what is happening with the FDA, and understanding health justice principles. I also think that to survive these legal barriers and the growth of our profession and herbal education (without an agreed upon standards in the field) — AND avoid it being co-opted or misrepresented in this process — herbalists must be focused on setting the standard for herbal production, education and clinical work in our local communities and nationally.

Understanding and implementing standard operating procedures and using structure and function language with herbal product and in our consultations are small ways we can all work together to set the standards for what it means to be a professional herbalist.

JB:  Thank you for your passion and activism.  The world is a better place with activists like you working on all of our behalf.  

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


Growing up, May was always  one of my favorite months.  It signified the end of school and the beginning of a summer of adventure and travel.  Since my Grandma passed away at the end of May in 2004, May had taken on a more somber feeling.  Then last year a friend committed suicide on May 9th.  The anniversary of her death was harder on me than I thought it would be.  The same feeling of shock and despair that I felt when I heard she had killed herself resurfaced and stayed with me for a couple of days.  My shadow side (or Po) has been stirring, revealing things about myself I must acknowledge, accept and let go of.

I have been relying on my herbal allies for the support I know I need.  The amount of gratitude I have for these plants cannot be described in words.  They are the life-giving, soul-awakening, heart-opening experiences we are all desperately searching for.  All it takes is a moment between you and a plant to remind you that you are loved, unconditionally, no matter what.

IMBR-00193067-001St. John’s Wort has been in my life for years and one I use both internally and externally for depression, nerve irritation and pain.  I am referring to neurological pain but also to when people are getting on your nerves.  There are times when I am getting on my own nerves, and St. John’s Wort works wonders.  I am instantly cheered when I take fresh St. John’s Wort tincture.  She has been an integral part of me finding joy in all the dark places my mind has gone this week.  I am lucky enough to have been able to harvest my own the last several years and have had a steady supply of fresh oil and tincture on hand.

Rose is an herb that has always brought me a sense of peace when I drink a tea of her wild-rose-782x534blossoms.  The essential oil of Rose has given me cathartic bouts of crying that I haven’t been able to access in years.  All of the sorrow from a lifetime of loss came spilling over and was almost unbearable.  Adding Lavender essential oil to Rose is what actually allowed me to relax enough to process it all.  It was a beautiful experience and one I obviously needed, but for now I may just go back to just the Rose tea!

There are a few more (Skullcap, Oatstraw, Chaga), but I like to keep my blog as short as possible.  I’d rather you go outside and sit quietly with a cup of tea than read more ramblings.

I leave you with an aromatherapy blend that can be applied to the chest, throat or temples, or anywhere you feel it needs to go.  I like to dilute in 1 ounce organic apricot kernel oil and use as a massage oil or add to my bath.  Use organic and ethically wildcrafted ingredients.

Life Reviving Anointing Oil

1-2 drops Rose essential oil (brings grief to the surface to be released)

1-2 drops Lavender essential oil (relaxes the body, mind and spirit, facilitates release)

1-2 drops St. John’s Wort essential oil (brings joy back into your heart, reduces irritation)

1-2 drops Vetiver essential oil (works on healing deep wounds, chronic soul-ache)

Bring your shadow side to light so that All parts of you can be healed by the universal love that binds us all. 

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


Mindy Green has been someone I have admired since I began studying herbalism in 1999. mindy greenThe book she co-authored with Kathi Keville, Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, inspired many herbalists to deepen their study of plant medicine with aromatherapy. This book continues to be a valuable resource for anyone that has an interest in herbalism or aromatherapy.

Mindy Green, MS, RA, RH (AHG) has over four decades of experience and success in the natural products and health care industries. Her expertise on botanical medicine has rewarded her with positions at Aveda Corporation and the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine. She is a prolific writer and speaker and has her own consulting company, Green Scentsations, LLC. Mindy is an environmental activist and believes plants in all their forms create healing, globally and individually.

It is with great pleasure that I bring you this interview with Mindy Green

JB: As a lover of plants and herbs, I have at least 10 plants I say are my absolute favorite. What are some of your essential plant allies?

MG: FOR HERBS, I AM A BIG FAN OF THE NERVINES. WE ARE ALL SO BUSY AND STRESSED OUT, WITH LITTLE TIME FOR OURSELVES. I LIKE THE DAILY-USE HERBS THAT GENTLY CALM SUCH AS OAT, LEMON BALM, CHAMOMILE, LINDEN AND MOTHERWORT. I ALSO LIKE THE NOURISHING TONICS – NETTLE, ALFALFA AND DANDELION. OF COURSE, EVERYONE SHOULD BE USING THE ADAPTOGENS – SHIZANDRA, ASHWAGANDA, AND ASTRAGALUS AMONG MANY OTHER OPTIONS. I OFTEN USE MANY OF THESE HERBS IN SOUP STOCK AND OTHER FOOD DISHES… IT JUST FEELS LESS MEDICINAL AND MORE NOURISHING. AFTER ALL, THE MORE WE USE HERBS AS FOODS, THE LESS WE WILL NEED THEM AS MEDICINES. WHICH BRINGS TO MIND A FEW MORE: GARLIC, GINGER AND TURMERIC!

AS FAR AS ESSENTIAL OILS GO, I OFTEN REACH FOR LAVENDER, HELICHRYSUM, CISTUS, ROSE AND FRANKINCENSE. A BLEND OF THESE IS EXCELLENT FOR MATURE SKIN THAT HAD TOO MUCH SUN EXPOSURE IN THEIR YOUTH (ME!).

JB: Essential oil use is getting popular, in part to MLM companies that promote somewhat excessive use of their products. With the immense plant matter that it takes to create 1 ounce of essential oil, are their essential oil companies on the market that are promoting sustainable farming and harvesting practices?

MG: THERE ARE MANY COMPANIES WHO DO KNOW OF THIS CONCERNING ISSUE. WITH ESSENTIAL OILS GOING MAINSTREAM IN MANY RETAIL OUTLETS (MOST RECENTLY IN TARGET), I PUT AN EMPHASIS IN ALL MY CLASSES ON AN AWARENESS OF THE PLANT MATERIALS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A DROP OF ESSENTIAL OIL. I ALWAYS RECOMMEND A MORE HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH TO DOSING, RATHER THAN THE HEROIC APPROACH THAT, IN MY OPINION, IS USUALLY A WASTE OF PRECIOUS RESOURCES AND A RISK TO PERSONAL WELL BEING ON MANY LEVELS. THIS IS A BIG SUBJECT AND ONE THAT WAS ADDRESSED AS A NEW CHAPTER IN THE SECOND EDITION OF MY BOOK (WITH MY COAUTHOR), 2009 – Aromatherapy, a complete guide to the healing art.

JB: This may not be an area you have insight on, but we are all familiar with natural products like Aubrey Organics and John Masters that are prevalent in natural grocery stores. Are products like these using sustainable practices in regards to the herbs and essential oils in their products?

MG: I AM NOT AWARE OF THE SUSTAINABILITY POLICIES OF THESE COMPANIES, IN PARTICULAR. THOUGH, HAVING WORKED AT A LARGE ENVIRONMENTALLY AWARE COSMETIC COMPANY FOR MANY YEARS, I CAN TELL YOU THAT ESSENTIAL OILS ARE GENERALLY USED AT VERY LOW PERCENTAGES FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS: COST, RESOURCE LIMITATIONS, CONSUMER SENSITIVITIES AND LIABILITY. ALSO, MANY ESSENTIAL ARE EFFECTIVE IN EXTREMELY LOW DILUTIONS, SO NOT MUCH IS REQUIRED, DEPENDING ON THE CLAIMS A COMPANY MIGHT BE MAKING OR WHAT THE PRODUCT IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH.

JB: What, if any, challenges do you see with herbalism and the natural products industry in the near future?

MG: I SEE MUCH MORE INTEREST; EVEN MAIN STREAM TV COMMERCIALS ARE BRAGGING ABOUT BEING MADE WITH NATURAL INGREDIENTS AND NOT CONTAINING ARTIFICIAL COLORS, ETC. ALSO, THERE ARE MANY DOCS BEING TRAINED IN INTEGRATIVE CARE, PROVIDING GREATER EXPOSURE FOR MANY ADJUNCT TREATMENTS BEYOND ALLOPATHY. IN GENERAL, I BELIEVE THIS CAN BE A POSITIVE STEP FORWARD, ONE THAT MANY OF US HAD HOPED TO SEE WHEN WE STARTED OUT 40 YEARS AGO. HOWEVER, THIS ALSO REQUIRES MORE AWARENESS OF RESPONSIBLE SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES AND MORE ORGANIC SOURCING AND CULTIVATION FOR RAW PLANT MATERIALS TO KEEP UP WITH DEMAND. IT ALSO REQUIRES THAT CONSUMERS BE AWARE OF ADULTERATION IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN FOR THE HERB AND ESSENTIAL OIL INDUSTRIES.

 JB: Would you like to add anything about herbalism, aromatherapy, or your services?

MG: THE GROWING INTEREST IN PHYTOTHERAPIES IS EXCITING. I MEET NEW GRADUATES OF WELL QUALIFIED EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND IT IS GREAT TO SEE ALL THE WAYS THEY ARE INTEGRATING THEIR PRACTICE IN MODERN HEALTHCARE, ESPECIALLY WITH NUTRITION AND HERBAL THERAPIES. I WISH THEY WERE IN PLACE WHEN I WAS YOUNG, BUT MANY OF MY CONTEMPORARIES WERE THE INITIATORS OF SUCH PROGRAMS. IT IS WONDERFUL TO SEE THE EVOLUTION OF THOSE FIRST SPARKS OF THE NATURAL PRODUCTS MOVEMENT.

I DON’T SELL PRODUCTS ON MY WEBSITE, BUT PROVIDE SERVICES TO THOSE SMALL COMPANIES JUST STARTING OUT, OFFERING THE WISDOM OF MY EXPERIENCE OVER THE PAST 43 YEARS IN MANY ASPECTS OF THIS INDUSTRY.

JB: Thank you for taking the time for this interview and for your love of spreading the wisdom of the plants.  I have included a link so readers can find out more about your consultation business. 

Mindy Green’s consultation business: www.greenscentsations

National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists: www.naha.org

Alliance of International Aromatherapists: http://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/

Blessings,

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Jessica


This week’s Herbal Pioneer Interview is with Amanda Klenner, herbalist and publisher a49b59_fdec54436e6342fa87bc92f26db2b804of Natural Herbal Living Magazine. Amanda’s enthusiasm and knowledge of herbalism has inspired her to put on the first annual Mountain West Herb Gathering June 16-19, 2016 in Breckinridge CO to educate about the diverse bio-regions of the Mountain West.

JB: What inspired you to put on the Mountain West Herb Gathering (MWHG)?

AK: We have a beautiful history of herbalism here in Colorado, ignited by Paul Bergner and Feather Jones when they started NAIMH, now known as Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, which is now run by Lisa Ganora. This school and others have ignited a passion for herbalism, focusing specifically on the bio-regions here in Colorado. There are hundreds of herbalists here, and in the surrounding states with vast knowledge, experience, and passion to share, but there hasn’t been a place for us all to gather, share ideas, and connect.

I decided to start Mountain West Herb Gathering as a place for herbalists to connect and share our ideas, passions, and experiences. It is also a place where we can discuss the environmental changes we are seeing, and talk about what impact this is having on the plants. I am hoping it will be a place to focus on ethical harvesting of native and invasive plants, and help us become better stewards of the land that we work and play on.

JB: How did you choose the teachers for the Gathering?

AK: The teachers were chosen based on their experience in teaching herbalism, as well as their experience with particular plants, microclimates, or modalities. Each herbalist teaching at MWHG has something unique and exciting to share with the herb world, and knows how to present that information in a way that is engaging of not only the mind, but the heart and soul as well. They are experts in their field, and are teaching what they feel passionate about.

JB: You present 2 classes at MWHG, can you please tell us about them?

AK: The first class I am teaching is: A Holistic Approach to Chronic Pain. I have had chronic pain for over 10 years after bulging disks while working in a hospital. That initial injury triggered a few auto-immune diseases, one being Fibromyalgia. I manage my daily pain through lifestyle, diet, and herbs. I know many people who insist that fibromyalgia, and chronic pain, can’t be healed, but they can be managed naturally, if a person has the tools they need to support their body in its natural healing process. This class is meant to be a first step, an idea of the tools we have as herbalists and healers to help others through chronic pain.

Chronic pain is a condition 100 million Americans experience on a daily basis. It is more a more common health problem than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. It isn’t talked about much, and is often glanced over in holistic health books. Many times this is due to ignorance or inexperience in working with chronic pain. It can seem like a hopeless cause, because there is no quick fix. There is no cure. It is a big, complex problem with many moving pieces, and this is where holistic health can shine. We can incorporate many different healing modalities like yoga, meditation, psychological support, spirit work, exercise, herbal remedies, and custom diets to help manage and reduce chronic pain symptoms.

The second class is A New Hope: Teaching Kids About Their Plant Friends. I have two little ones, my daughter is 5 and my son is 4. They are growing up with an herbalist for a mother, and as such are often out hiking with me into the wild places, and helping me gather plants for food and medicine. They as questions, observe, touch, taste and feel the plants. We talk daily about plants having feelings, spirits, and powers, for lack of a better word. Children see the magic and mystery of the plants, and are able to listen to their intuition when working with the plants. I like to help foster that creativity, and that internal knowing, and help children make life long friends with their plant allies. I like to go to my daughter’s school and teach about the plants, while doing fun kid-friendly activities. I wanted to bring that experience to the table, and share with others some fun kid-friendly ways to learn about the plants.

JB: How can people and sponsors get in touch with you to be a part of the Gathering?          

AK:  People can find more information about MWHG at www.mountainwestherbgathering.com, and register for the conference on EventBrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mountain-west-herb-gathering-tickets-20631884522?aff=ehomesaved .

If people would like to contact me more about the conference, you can e-mail me at mountainwestherbconference@gmail.com.

I hope to see you there this June! It is sure to be a fantastic experience.

JB: Thank you for educating so many of the healing powers of the plants.  I look forward to attending the MWHG!

Abundant Blessings,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica


This blog post continues my interview with neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, Ethan Russo. Ethan has worked with cannabis extensively since the 1990’s img-dr-ethanand continues to pioneer the research on the human endocannabinoid system. He is the former Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals and Past-President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. What I like most about Ethan’s work is his ability to scrutinize down to an individual constituent all the while understanding the importance of the synergy of whole plant medicine.

In my final questions with Ethan,  we speak about terpenoids, the future of cannabis laboratory testing and how the FDA is responding to the labeling of CBD products.  It is my hope that these interviews help dispel the deception that has surrounded cannabis since its prohibition and help create a more informed future.

You can read the first part of the interview here Herbal Pioneers Interview with Ethan Russo

JB: The number of terpenes that are significant in lab testing is constantly changing.  Which, if any, chemical constituents are responsible for the enhancement of CBD? THC? 

ER: There have been over 200 terpenoids isolated from different cannabis chemovars, but certain ones predominate, especially myrcene in modern strains, which largely accounts for the “couchlock” that is all too common nowadays, even with cannabidiol strains that should actually be slightly stimulating, but for that.  When limonene is included in sufficient amounts, it tends to “brighten” the effect and exert a pronounced mood elevation that can be quite helpful in many chronic conditions. A rare component these days is pinene. It has a remarkable ability to counteract the short-term memory impairment engendered by THC, an effect that makes cannabis treatment problematic for patients that still need to utilize it while they work or study.

CBD is still a difficult commodity to find in many states. When present in high amounts, it will delay and blunt the peak high of THC somewhat, prolong its effect, and reduce its tendency to increase heart rate and anxiety. Beyond that, it has remarkable benefits on pain and inflammation.

JB: Since pinene is a rare component in cannabis today and has the benefit of counteracting short-term memory loss, and other herbs like pine contain pinene, is research being done on the synergist effects of other herbs with cannabis? 

ER: There may be a lot of experimentation going on out there along these lines. I have current plans for formal clinical trials to examine cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions. The protocol is all set to go—we merely need funding to initiate the experiments.

JB: I have seen the same sample of Cannabis test at different levels from different testing laboratories.  Are you familiar with the laboratory standards of establishing THC and CBD percentages? Are these percentages even remotely accurate?

ER: We need to keep in mind that virtually all the analytical labs are actually contravening federal law by doing these assays. I’m afraid the quality control in the industry is quite hit or miss, with many examples of poor work and extreme variability. There are laboratory certifications available now, and these should be encouraged. Assays of cannabinoids are difficult, and hampered often times by lack of good analytical standards from industry. The best labs develop their own. Terpenoid analysis is even more technically challenging, and few labs offer that at the present time.

JB: The FDA has sent cease and desist letters to some CBD product manufacturers stating that there is some evidence of medicinal use and so cannot be sold as a dietary supplement.  Do you believe research has proven that Cannabis has several medicinal properties? 

ER: It is certain that cannabis has many medicinal properties. Just as a simple example, Sativex® (USAN: nabiximols), a cannabis-based oromucosal spray is approved as a prescription pharmaceutical in 27 countries for spasticity (muscle tightness) in multiple sclerosis. In Canada, it is also approved for pain in MS and in cancer unresponsive to optimized opioid treatment. Another cannabis-based medicine, Epidiolex®, an almost pure cannabidiol extract should be soon approved by the FDA in the USA for treatment of intractable epilepsy in children. However, approval of such a pharmaceutical form of cannabis will not influence the scheduling of other cannabis products. The FDA first went after CBD producers that had no cannabidiol in their products. Now they are issuing cease and desist letters to other companies that are exaggerating the CBD content, or making unsubstantiated medical claims. Rather, structure-function statements should be the maximum claim, as is currently the situation with other herbal products in the USA.

While we’re at it, for better or worse, cannabidiol is still a Schedule I forbidden drug in this country. Claims to the contrary, such as “Our CBD is derived from hemp and is legal in all 50 states,” are a function of tortured legal logic and wishful thinking.

JB: Ethan, thank you for participating in this interview and for your diligence in spreading the truth about cannabis.

To see Ethan Russo speak in person, attend the Medicinal Cannabis Conference in Arcata, California April 23-24, 2016 http://www.medicalmarijuanaconference.net/?page_id=246

For more information on Ethan’s work and our endocannabinoid system, check out

researchgate.net/profile/ethan_russo/contributions

phytecs.com

Happy 420 everyone!  We have witnessed the end of cannabis prohibition and an evolutionary leap of consciousness.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


img-dr-ethanI am honored to begin my Herbal Pioneers Interview Series with an interview with neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, Ethan Russo. Ethan has worked with cannabis extensively since the 1990’s and continues to pioneer the research on the human endocannabinoid system. He is the former Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals and Past-President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. What I like most about Ethan’s work is his ability to scrutinize down to an individual constituent all the while understanding the importance of the synergy of whole plant medicine.

This became a two-part series as I like to keep my blog posts short and I encourage readers to take the time to follow the links Dr. Russo provides for more in depth answers to the questions.  In the first interview Ethan describes how he began researching cannabinoids, debunks the terms “sativa” and “indica” and explains how those descriptions have nothing to do with the effects attributed to them. (Thank You-this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time!)  In next week’s blog we discuss terpenoids, the future of cannabis laboratory testing and how the FDA is responding to the labeling of CBD products.

JB:  Ethan, thank you for participating in this interview and for your diligence in spreading the truth about cannabis.

Aa young scientist, what inspired you to research the constituents present in the Cannabis plant?

ER: After several years in practice, I came to believe that I was giving increasingly toxic pharmaceuticals to my patients with less and less progress. Some of my patients were employing adjunctive cannabis to treat their illnesses even back in the 1980s, especially multiple sclerosis. This caused me to look back to my teenage interest in medicinal herbs. I then embarked on a mission to find herbal agents to treat migraine more effectively. The greatest abundance of herbal agents is found in the Amazon, so I took Spanish classes once a week for a year and a half before two trips to Peru. The second took place in 1995, when I spend the bulk of a three-month sabbatical working with the Machiguenga tribe in Parque Nacional del Manù. They had a great abundance of psychoactive agents and migraine treatments. Shortly after my return, I became embroiled in the clinical cannabis controversy. Over the next several years, I experienced continual federal roadblocks to that research and began writing, editing and lecturing on the subject, and eventually, in 2003, it became the primary focus of my work.

JB: Have you published (or will publish) anything on your work with the Machiguenga tribe? 

ER: Yes. I wrote an article on the Machiguenga tribe’s diet and its pertinence to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is accessible here: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/machiguenga-peruvian-hunter-gatherers/

JB: What is your opinion on the debate on whether there are two different species Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica (more if you include ruderalis or afghanica) or if all cannabis plants are Cannabis sativa

ER: I have personally been on every side of this issue. The botanical taxonomists will never agree. To be sure, the way that the terms “sativa” and “indica” are applied in common parlance is absolute nonsense. What consumers need to know is the actual chemical composition of the cannabis, both cannabinoids and terpenoids, in an accurate fashion by a reliable laboratory to have a better idea of its likely effects. I recently was interviewed on this subject at greater length, which is available here: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr

Read next weeks 420 blog post with the second part of the interview and celebratory post!

To see Ethan Russo speak in person, attend the Medicinal Cannabis Conference in Arcata, California April 23-24, 2016  Medicinal Cannabis Conference Website

For more information on Ethan’s work and our endocannabinoid system, check out researchgate.net/profile/ethan_russo/contributions and phytecs.com

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 


Are you feeling it?  I Am.  

Today’s New Moon and my first morning back home after an epic trip to Baja has me feeling a little introspective.  The fiery nature of Aries is once again awakening something deep within me, while the darkness of the moon has me wanting to retreat deep inside.  I will find the delicate balance between action and nurturing myself.  I hope you do too.

This is normally when my husband and I would be preparing our land for the coming year, but since we are now in Denver I don’t quite know what to do with this spring energy that is beginning to burst inside me.  I am using this energy for internal growth, for growth of my relationships and to nurture myself as I continue to write Plant Songs.

What do you feel growing inside of you?  What is keeping you from tending to this part of yourself?  I encourage you to nurture it as lovingly as you would any other garden.  When we truly allow ourselves to blossom, this is the greatest gift we can give.  I love you and want you to know that I accept the unique gifts you have to offer.  The world is waiting for you!

I’m very excited for next weeks blog post, which Will be the interview with Ethan Russo!  It may become a series of interviews as our conversation led to follow up questions that I think readers would be interested in.  To familiarize yourself with Ethan before the interview, check out his latest research at phytecs

I leave you with a tea inspired by today’s New Moon.

New Moon Bloom

2-3 tbsp Milky oats

2-3 tbsp Spearmint leaf

2-3 tbsp Tulsi basil

2-3 tbsp Rose buds

1 tsp Cinnamon or Cardamom

Infuse herbs in a quart of water under the guidance of the moon.  Strain after 1-2 hours and drink slowly.  Allow the energy of the moon to infuse you with all the love, strength or courage you need to go into the deepest places within yourself.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


As I write this from Los Barriles, a small ex-pat town in the desert surrounding the Sea of Cortez, I sit blissfully listening to the wind whip down the valley into the sea. The cowbells from the wandering goats and cattle remind me of temple bells and they instill a sense of calmness in me.

There is so much life in this desert and yet I can only identify a couple of plants since I don’t spend much time in this environment. There is something that looks very similar to ocotillo, but has more branches. A local told me the name and I can’t remember. A plant ID book is on the list for today.

The desert has always made me feel anxious. The last couple of years I’ve been trying to get over this aversion to it and coming to where the desert meets the sea is the perfect opportunity to have the best of both worlds!

Today I encourage you once again to go outside of your comfort zone.

Do something that scares the shit out of you! Then think back to why you had that fear. What does it feel like to know you have looked it in the eye?…and lived to tell about it!

Off to the beach, so I leave you with a tea that will help open you up to the infinite possibilities of your life (it’s very simple and very bitter)

Spirit of the Mushroom Tea

IMG_33661-3 small Reishi Mushrooms (Ling Zhi)

1 quart of water

Decoct the reishi mushroom in the quart of water for 20 minutes-2 hours.   Or boil the water and cover the mushrooms, let sit out under the moon.   Strain tea and drink ½ cup. Sit quietly and listen to the wisdom that awakens within you.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


Yesterday was sunny and 70 and today we wake up to a blizzard here in Colorado.  It feels like a little shock to my system but I know the hot, long days of Summer aren’t too far away.  I’ll take this opportunity to enjoy one of the last days of Winter weather to stay cuddled up inside with a big mug of hot tea.

Tribeca+Film+Festival+2011+Portrait+Studio+cZmeFy2dMKAlToday I also woke to the news that Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest passed away. RIP Phife Dawg!  I was immediately taken back to 18 years old and driving around with my best friend, Amber.  Always a reminder that life is impermanent.  A motivation to continue on my path.  An inspiration to finish my book, Plant Songs.  Winning a self-publishing contract has re-inforced my thought that it is time for the wisdom of the plants to be shared with more people.  My  life has been so enriched by plant medicine and it is an honor to share their stories with you.

Today and Everyday, Live your Dream!  You are supported in your decision to listen to your higher self and fulfill your desires.  If you need reminding,  Contact me via Facebook and I’ll encourage you! 

Also, in living my dream I will be asking some of my favorite people (scientists, herbalists, musicians) a few questions and will share their answers on my blog.  In the line up will be Ethan Russo, cannabis researcher and scientist.  Stay tuned for his expertise on the chemistry of Cannabis!

To find out more about my teaching schedule Go to my website to see where I’ll be!

I leave you with a heart-opening, life inspiring tea that will help you hear your inner guidance (and actually believe it!)

Try & Be You Tea (thanks Phife)

2-3 tsp Violet flowers & leaves

2-3 tsp Rose petals

1-2 tsp Rosemary

1-2 tsp Raw Cacao nibs

pinch of ground Cinnamon

Infuse (steep) all ingredients in a quart of boiled water for 15 minutes.  Strain and drink 1/2 cup throughout the day as you need inspiration and guidance.  Allow yourself a minute to listen to what it is you really want/need out of your life.  What do you want to accomplish before you die?  What difference do you want to make?  Write down steps to Accomplish it! 

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 


I am still processing what I experienced on Trinidad State Beach Monday afternoon.  I was on my way to Grandmother Rock to sit at the base of her feet and tell her about the women’s conference I attended in Pacific Grove and all of the breakthroughs I experienced.  I stopped short and just stood watching the waves and being one with the rocks, ocean and sand.  I began to walk back to my car when I thought, “I need a teacher, both a business coach and a spiritual mentor.”  

Just then I looked to my left and saw a fin swimming close to shore.  “Dolphin energy”, I thought.  Then I realized the fin was too close, caught in the tide and about to be up on the shore.  I looked down the beach and noticed a couple of other people saw it too.  For a moment, we stared helpless.  Then I flagged down a couple of women and asked them to call the wildlife rescue team.  I was slowly walking towards it, trying to connect with it, when a couple of young women approached us.  The energy of this majestic ocean mammal had us both in awe and afraid.  We knew we had to do our best to help him back into the sea.  I looked into the dolphin’s eye and I know he was aware that we were there to help any way we could.  My thoughts and his were linked as he pleaded, “Push me back in.”  I noticed an undertow area on the beach and with the help of three other women and one big burly guy we could pick him up enough to guide him back into the surf with the tide.

I don’t know if the harbor porpoise (as the marine biologist who came later told us) is still alive.  He was disoriented, scarred and had one bloody eye.  When I left the beach that day he was at the base of rocky Trinidad Head, struggling in the waves but safely in the water, not on the shore, not beached and helpless.  I went back the next morning and thankfully didn’t see his carcass on the sand.  My hope is that he made it farther out to sea and is swimming happily with his pod.  Or that he died out in the ocean, food for the sharks and fishes, as is meant to be.

Since this blog is supposed to be on herbs, I will leave you with a tea inspired by my morning beach walk the day after the dolphin taught me a simple, yet profound lesson.  To always do what I am capable of doing.  All I can do is what I am able and willing to do.  All I can do is my best.  On Monday, I did what I could to help the dolphin and now I have to release the outcome and leave the rest up to Nature.  Today I encourage you to do what you can to make a difference in your life or someone else’s.  Today, do your best and be okay with knowing the outcome is out of your control.  Today, love yourself enough to know you are enough, regardless of what you have accomplished. 

Because I Can Make a Difference TeaIMG_4306

2-3 tsp Horsetail (unopened)

2-3 tsp Plantain leaves

2-3 tsp Violet leaves and flowers

If possible, pick at sunrise and infuse as a sun tea for 1-2 hours.  Invoke the energy of the sun and the wisdom of the moon into the tea and ask for the courage and strength to do all you can do to help yourself and others.  Drink as needed for clarity and inspiration.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 

 


For the last couple of days I have been incredibly energized and deeply motivated by my path of sharing the wisdom of the plants.  Teaching at the Dandelion Herbal Center last weekend really got me in touch with my herbal roots and reminded me of how grateful I am for everything herbalism has done for me.

When I moved to Humboldt in 1997 I felt my life was totally out of control and I knew I was on the brink of some breakthrough but I was frustrated, scared and unable to handle all the transition that was happening in my life.  My parents were getting divorced, I was partying a bit too hard, school was unfulfilling and I hated the South.  A move was in order I just didn’t know where to go.  Thankfully my boyfriend (now husband) wanted to move too and suggested Northern California.  After searching between Humboldt County and Monterey we decided on Humboldt out of how everything seemed to fall into place when we started actively looking for a place to live.

That’s when you know the universe/intuition is steering you in the right direction.  I was being led to this magical place where herbalism is normal conversation and so is the acceptance of fairies and nature beings in our ancient forests.  When you are being led toward a person, a place, a conversation, acknowledge the urge and act on it.  Life is too short to ignore all of the signs that are reminding you of why you are here.

Maybe it’s the coming of Spring that has me all inspired and invigorated.  I’m trying to reign it in a little and enjoy the yin energy of the last couple weeks of Winter.   It’s a little hard with the Women’s Entrepreneurial Summit is this weekend in Pacific Grove.  I’ll tell you about it next week.  Check out Sage Lavine’s website here

I leave you with a Forest inspired Spritzer inspired by my love of the Redwood Coast.

For the Love of Life Spritzer

3-6 drops Redwood, Fir or any conifer Essential Oil

1-3 drops Rose (or Rose Geranium)

1-2 drops Vetiver

1 ounce Spring Water (I’m using water from the creek on my property)

1 ounce Rose hydrosol

Put water and hydrosol in a 2 ounce glass bottle with a spritzer top.  Add essential oils (you can add the Vetiver or conifer first-I prefer to add the base note first but others add the top note first).  Shake and let sit for a few minutes before you check if you need to add more oils.  Spritz yourself as needed for motivation, inspiration or love.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 


When the Universe guides your hand and heart and you are bold enough to achieve something so far out of most peoples reach, you have to follow through with it. To be alive in this body, at this time, is truly an honor. I believe we are born to live our lives to the absolute fullest. It is our duty to live, dance, love, travel, laugh, cry and get angry for all of those that no longer have the chance to. Or never had the chance to. I’ve been saying it, and I will say it again. It’s time to take some bold action in your life. Take that painting class, write that book or call that guy. We are here to Live!

Maybe it’s the abundance of Nature here in Northern California making me feel more vibrant and alive. Maybe it’s the endless opportunities I see before me, Divinely placed to remind me I am on my right path. Whatever it is. I am cherishing every moment. I am filled to the brim with renewed energy and joy and am spreading it out to you!

I’m also spreading my Believe to Succeed: Innovative Strategies for Business Success webinar.  Please share it with anyone you think may want to watch it!  Believe to Succeed Webinar

If you are interested in where I’ll be teaching or if want to check out my webinars for CEUs Here’s my website

Today, I’m not leaving you with a recipe.  Make whatever tea encourages you to do something out of your comfort zone.  Go deep within and listen to what plants are calling out to you. The plants that are calling me are the new spring blossoms of violet and the tender shoots of plantain and horsetail.  Today I’ll make a nice sun tea to celebrate the new growth of the coming Spring.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


awakening2A good friend gifted me The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.  The book provides a daily meditation on how to have the life you want by being present with the life you have.  Each day shares a heartfelt story about how he survived his cancer diagnosis.  Today’s message is about urgency and how the illusion of hurrying keeps us from fully living in the present. This falsehood binds us and keeps us from feeling the universal connectedness that surrounds us all.

There are mornings that I wake with an urgency that I don’t understand.  Sometimes the feeling is evoked from a day of travel, new clients or for no reason at all.  I have been trying to wake with no other feeling than joy.  I open my eyes and am completely thankful for all I have.  This is pretty easy to do from my nice new king size bed and my husband and cat keeping me warm and cozy.  In this moment of gratitude, time slows and I am fully in the moment.

I encourage you to take just a few minutes a day to be truly present.  Lie in bed, sit in meditation or walk through the forest and keep your attention on the sensations you are feeling right now.  If your mind wanders, bring it back to breathing.  Just be.  For a few minutes, just be.  It will do wonders for your life.

I leave you with a simple tea that will help bring peace and  As always, use organic and sustainably harvested herbs.

Wake Up & Live Tea 

2-3 tbsp Tulsi Basil (guides the Spirit)

2-3 tbsp Milky Oats (grounds the Body)

2-3 tsp Rose Buds (opens the Heart)

1 tsp Licorice Root (harmonizes formula)

Steep all ingredients in 4 cups boiled water for 10-15 minutes.  Strain herbs.  Drink tea and allow yourself to be present in this moment.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


 

My herbal journey began in the late 1990’s among the old-growth Redwoods of Northern California.  Having thousands of acres of ancient forests to explore awakened something primal within me.  I wanted to live off the land, eat wild foods, wildcraft herbs and make all my medicine.  And so I did that blissfully for years.  Then a desire to become an acupuncturist came over me and I completed a 4 year master’s degree and passed the licensing boards.  I opened a clinic and worked closely with my community to provide much needed healthcare.  Seeing clients and helping people heal themselves is the most rewarding experience, but I knew I had to share the wisdom of herbalism and Chinese medicine with as many people as I could.

And so I left the comfort and shelter of the wilderness to live in Denver, with views of towering downtown buildings instead of majestic forests and Mother Ocean.  It is now easier to teach at conferences throughout the US and abroad, and I have the opportunity to work at Colorado School of TCM and Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism. ( Not to mention I now actually have consistent, high speed internet which was hard to get anywhere I lived in Humboldt County, CA).  I know it was the right decision, because everything has fallen nicely into place since I moved here over a year ago.  This year’s teaching schedule is filling in nicely and I have the time to both see a few clients and continue to work on my herb book, Plant Songs.

Here are my 2016 teaching dates through June!

Saturday March 5, 2016-Sunday March 6, 2016
The Roots of Chinese Medicine
Festival of Herbs Series
Dandelion Herbal Center, Kneeland, CA
Dandelion Herbal Center website

Saturday April 16, 2016
Adaptogens

Hosted by the Rocky Mountain Unit of the American Herb Society
1710 S. Grant Street, 
Denver, CO
http://www.herbsociety.org/units/rocky-mountain.html

Friday May 27- Monday May 30, 2016
Classes to be Announced
Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, Laytonville, CA
http://www.womensherbalsymposium.org

Thursday June 16- Sunday June 19, 2016
Clinical Aromatherapy; Soul Revival: Conscious Evolution
Mountain West Herb Conference, Breckinridge, CO
http://www.mountainwestherbconference.com

My website is constantly being updated with new classes, webinars and blog posts so Check out my website for upcoming classes and webinars

This week I leave you with the tea that made me fall in love with herbalism and our plant allies.  It is a delicious and nourishing tea that will leave you feeling more than satisfied.  Stay wild!

IMG_0871Wild Humboldt Tea (wildcrafted with reverence)

Handful of fresh nettles

Handful of fresh violet leaves and flower

Handful of fresh plantain leaves

Small amount of fresh dandelion leaves

Small amount of fresh prunella flowers

Infuse all ingredients in the sun in a glass quart jar.  Infuse 1-4 hours or overnight on a full or new moon if desired.  Strain herbs out or be like us herbalists and strain through your teeth or just eat the herbs too.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica


I’ll admit I was a little hesitant to enter into a Yang Fire year (Year of the Red Monkey).  All of my astrological charts show a lack of Water element and my move to Colorado has given me a whole new appreciation for humidity, so a Fire year just seemed overwhelming.  Knowing that appropriate eating, exercise and meditation is all I need to sustain myself in a Yang year,  I am now excited to ride the wave of energy that Fire creates in her wake!

The Fire element represents communication, creativity and compassion, yet the nature of Fire is intense, erratic and explosive.  This can make for an interesting dichotomy of  emotions.   This is an opportune time to present your true self to the world!  It’s the time to share your talents.  Everyone is more energetic, open-minded and inspired when the mischievous Monkey is out to play.  Read a great description of the Year of the Red Monkey from Lotus Institute

I am taking the wisdom and enthusiasm of the Monkey to inspire all of us to let our inner lights shine!  I have the honor to have a husband, family and friends that are inspiring, courageous and supportive.  They are a constant reminder that with courage, hard work and inspiration, anything is possible!  If you need success stories check out these links on people I know personally that have created the life they want to live.

Jessica Baker          Cultivate Colorado         STS9            Humboldt Herbals

I leave you with a tea inspired to feel like a big, internal hug.  It is delicious, energizing, and nourishes you from head to toe.

As always, use organic and sustainably harvested ingredients, or grow your own.

 Medicine for the Soul hummingbird-on-pineapple-sage-lo
2-3 tsp Milky Oats

2-3 tsp Hawthorn Berries

1-2 tsp Sage (your choice- Pineapple, White, Clary)

1/4-1/2 tsp Cinnamon or Cardamom

Simmer Hawthorn berries and Cinnamon in 2-3 cups water for at least 5 minutes.  Turn heat off and steep Milky Oats for at least 5 minutes.  Add Sage the last 1-2 minutes of the steep.  Strain herbs and drink 1/2 cup of tea per serving.  Feel the herbs move through out your body and observe any sensations that may arise.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 

 


February has always been my favorite month.  Mainly because it’s my Birthday month!  On February 4th I will turn 40!  4 has always been my power number so I’m excited to have the energy of 4 all year.  It is also a little overwhelming.  40.  That has been an unconscious milestone in my life since I was a little girl, when I thought, “where will I be at 40?”  I am happy to say much of vision has come true.  In my young mind I was an entrepreneur, maybe a writer and I would live a life of adventure and travel.  All of that is true! I didn’t know herbalism and healing would play such a pivotal role in creating who I was to become.  I love the path I have chosen for myself.  I honor myself for having the courage to continue the journey.  I welcome you all to celebrate who you really are and strive to live your authentic self.

Today we celebrate Imbolc/Candelmas and honor the goddess Brigit.  Brigit, the Celtic brigidGoddess of Healing, Poetry and Smithcraft (Alchemy).  She is associated with the elements of Fire and Water and represents the return of the warmth of the coming Spring at the end of a long, cold Winter.  Honor Brigit with a candle that you burn with intention while you write a poem that honors your own spiritual journey.

In parts of Africa and around the world, the Yoruba Orisha (Yemaya) is yemaya_new1the Mother Goddess of the Ocean and all of life.  Honored in various ways in diverse cultures, She is associated with all of water, the Moon and protects those out at sea.  Honor Goddess Ocean and do your part to ensure plentiful, clean water for the future.  As Richard Branson recently tweeted, “2016 has to be about building resources & regenerating the #ocean – nothing less will do” Here is his link

As you patiently wait for warmer weather and longer days, stay as present as you can to relish the last month or so of the restorative nature of winter.  I leave you with a tea that honors the duality of dark and light, yin and yang, and water and fire.  As always, use organic ingredients when possible.  And always know where and how your herbs are sourced.  It is up to us herbalists to educate about true sustainability of modern herbalism.

Sol & Sea TeaIMG_3876

2-3 tbsp dried Calendula flowers (represents the Sun, Brigid)

2-3 tbsp dried Horsetail (represents Water, Yemaya) 

1/4-1/2 tsp Cinnamon peel (brings warmth back to the mingmen fire)

                                                                                        very small amount of Honey (to taste, nourishes yin)

I can’t end without honoring, Sid Vicious. Today is the anniversary of his death (RIP Sid!) We have all lost loved ones to addiction and violence.  Enjoy every moment of your life. You are here. Now. It’s an honor to be alive.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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“when energy flows, wellness grows”


IMG_3883We all have those moments that redefine us.  Those moments that push us out of our comfort zone and bring us to an awakening, an epiphany that seems so obvious we can’t believe it didn’t dawn on us before.  I’ve had several of these the last 20 years and it is those moments that have gotten me to where I am today.

Where am I?  I’m in a sweet little casita overlooking magnificent Banderas Bay.  I’ve been talking about restructuring my life to work while I travel and this is the year that I move that dream into reality.  This blog post is the manifestation of that dream.  So are my online CEU classes that are now approved and soon to be up on my website for sale.  Here is a link to my youtube channel to watch my free videos

It is an illusion that we can’t have the life we desire.  It is an illusion that kids, work and bills bind us to a physical location.  It is an illusion that we are meant to work to pay bills and then die with regrets.  The truth comes to light when we have the courage to stop running and to just sit with ourselves.  Ask yourself what you really want out of life.  If it is the corporate job, house on the hill and new car, that is awesome!  If it is to drift with the wind on a sailboat in the Caribbean, that is awesome too!  I say Do it, Now!  With no judgement, no remorse.

I was recently thinking why I am writing a book on herbalism, why I write this blog, why I teach classes on herbalism, aromatherapy and Chinese medicine.  The answer is simple.  It makes me happy to write.  It makes me happy to teach others about our herbal allies.  It brings me great joy to be a messenger of the plants!  And that is why we are here folks.  To be a beacon of inspiration to all those that cross our path.  We are not here to tell them “my way is the right way”.  We are here to witness others fully live their path and encourage them along the way.

My hope for you is what I hope for myself.  That I am able to feel the beauty and grace in all my adversity and come out the other side blissful and content.  That I can be a grounding loving force in the chaos that surrounds us.  That I can help others see the greatness in themselves and in our communal home we call Earth.

I leave you with a tea inspired by the sunrise and sunset over the Pacific.  As always, use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Tea of Tropical Bliss                                         hibiscus-flower-drawing

2-3 tbsp Hibiscus flowers

1-2 inch piece of fresh Ginger

1-3 tbsp fresh Lime juice

Boil fresh Ginger in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes.  Turn heat off and add Hibiscus flowers. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain herbs and add Lime juice to the tea.  Add honey to taste if desired.  This tea is delicious warm or iced (normally I don’t say drink teas Iced, unless it’s an extremely warm day, you are in a tropical paradise, or I’m talking about southern sweet tea)!

Love yourself enough to fully live this life.  Even if you think you will have another one, that is no reason not to be present with this one.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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According to wikipedia, procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

I procrastinate on an almost daily basis.  Unlike the definition above, I avoid the more pleasurable activities like meditation, yoga, qi gong, writing.  I put emphasis on the least pleasurable things, like checking my work Facebook page, cleaning the house or looking for other distractions.

When I do take the time for self cultivation, like I did today by attending a yoga class from one of my favorite instructors, my true self awakens and the intensity I carry within me begins to soften.  I have more clarity and I remember why I have been given life.  I am here to remind us all to breathe, love yourself, love nature and love others.

I encourage you to stop procrastinating when it comes to taking time out for yourself.  Spend at least 10 minutes a day just for you.  Engage in something that nurtures you.  Care for yourself in healthy ways and  your bad “habits” will eventually fade away.  The more consistent you are with your self time, the more time you have for everything else.  The times I have been most conscious of my self cultivation, my  food choices, my lifestyle, are the times I have not only felt the best physically, but I am also the happiest.  I feel completely supported and loved and I have had the energy to bring my dreams into reality.

It will soon be a Fire Monkey year and I envision it as the time for us to learn to love ourselves unconditionally.  It is the time for us to truly honor and love the person we are.  I know, it’s harder than it sounds when you decide to begin the journey deep within.  For me there is a fierceness that is rooted in fear, misunderstanding and even hatred.  I have to work consciously to be the kind, loving person that I know I am here to be.  You have the capacity to do it too.  It takes courage to cultivate the time.

I leave you with a delicious herbal tea that will continue to bring love and nourishment to you on these cold winter nights.

Always use organic ingredients.

Warmth & Love Tisane

2 tbsp Hawthorn berries (crushed)

2 tbsp Hawthorn leaf & flower

1″ piece of vanilla bean 

1-2 tsp Cinnamon powder

1-2 tsp Cardamom powder

Simmer Hawthorn berries and vanilla bean in 1 quart water for 15-20 minutes.  Turn off heat and add all other ingredients.  Steep for another 10-15 minutes.  Strain out herbs.  Add honey if desired.  Now cozy up on the couch or in your favorite chair with your tea, a book and blanket.  Sip and allow love to envelope your entire being.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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Whew, 2016!  I feel it has come on with a bang as my life has changed dramatically since 2015.  When your dreams become reality after years of innovation and hard work it feels good to revel in the achievement.  It also feels good to go inside and listen to your deepest inner voice and observe how the completion of the goal makes you feel on a visceral level.

We have a tendency to tell ourselves that we are not worthy of love, abundance, or happiness.  We make up excuses and procrastinations to keep us from accomplishing the vision we have for ourselves.  I am done with these self limiting beliefs that have been ingrained in me for lifetimes.  I have had a re-awakening.  One that has brewing for years and is bubbling over and coming out in wonderful ways.

People, This is the year!  This is the moment!  You are here to shine!  It’s time to bring your hopes, dreams and visions to reality.  Life is short.  We know it, we fear it and yet we still don’t truly Live in the time we have on this beautiful Earth.  Friends, Live.  Live the life you here to live.  And be kind, loving and have compassion for all life.  We are all precious.  We all need love.

Speaking of hopes and visions.  Please share my Blurbs on Herbs and Business Success videos to those you love.  Here is the link to my Youtube channel

I leave you with a tea dedicated to and inspired by someone who gave many of us the courage to be ourselves and live our lives with passion and grace.

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Rebel Hero Tea

1-2 tbsp Linden flowers

1-2 tbsp Jasmine flowers

1 tbsp Cannabis flowers (if of legal age)

1 tbsp California poppy

1 tbsp Hops

Steep all ingredients in 2 cups hot water for 15-20 minutes.  Sweeten with honey and add non dairy milk if desired.  Sip and envision what creation you are bringing to the world.  After drinking, get up and do it!

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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With the last few days of the holy days season approaching I look forward to what 2016 will bring to the world.  Believe it or not 2015 was a yin year (Yin Green Wood Sheep), when the energy is more subdued than a typical yang year.  2016 is a Yang Red Fire Monkey year (beginning February 8th) so let’s use the last month of our yin to build our reserves and nurture our spirit for the active year ahead.

The yin energy of 2015 brought me the opportunity to step back from my private practice to have the time to attend several herbal conferences and learn from people and plants that inspire me.  I accomplished my goals of  completing several videos as well as my book proposal.  One of my favorite people this year is Tim Ferriss.  I love his term “new rich”.  Which means those that value time and experiences more than money and material objects.  He has some great tips on how to work efficiently to have more free time to enjoy life.  Check out his podcast here!

In 2016 my goals are to finish my book, Plant Songs, teach more CEU’s, and spend as much time as I can with my husband Chip.  In 2016 I will also be way nicer to myself and let go of the negative speak I tell myself when I’m not living up to the standard I have set for myself.  The Fire element is associated with the heart, so a Fire year is a great time to love yourself and share that love with others.

You are capable of achieving whatever you put your energy towards!  What dreams will come true for you in 2016?  I’d love to hear what you are excited to bring to the world!  If one of your goals is to open or build your business, here is one of my videos that may be of help to you or someone you know.  Watch the Believe to Succeed video

I’ll leave you with a delicious tea to share with loved ones on New Year’s Eve or to keep you warm on any cold winter night.  The tea is inspired by the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne and honors both the friends of the past and the future.

Share a Cup of Kindness Tea 

3-4 tbsp Chen Pi (dried tangerine peel)

1 Cinnamon stick

3 -4 tbsp Hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries

3 tbsp Rose petals

1 tbsp Rosemary 

2 -3 tbsp Hibiscus flowers

1 ounce lowland Scottish whiskey (optional- to honor Scottish lyrics)

Decoct/Simmer chen pi and cinnamon stick in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes.  Infuse/Steep all other ingredients (except rose) in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes.  Add rose petals to the steeped ingredients the last 5 minutes.  Strain both the decoction and the infusion and add liquids together.  Add a shot of whiskey to each cup if desired.  Add honey to taste if a sweeter taste is desired.

May the new year bring more peace and austerity to all living beings on our beautiful planet.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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Today brings the Winter Solstice, a time of introspection and renewal as we once again welcome the lengthening of days.  Solstice is one of my favorite holy days and I find comfort and warmth in knowing that slowly the days will catch up to the night.

Like many of you, my year has been full of changes that have been both overwhelming and amazing!  The most heart warming occurrence is the birth of my niece Fauna Jessette Sunshine Schneider on Dec. 3, 2015 at 3:03am!  LiaandFaunaMuch to the surprise of my sister Lia and her husband Scott, Fauna came a couple of months early because she just had to have all the auspicious 3’s in her birth chart and the adventurous nature of Sagittarius was beckoning her to enter the world.  My heart melts just thinking about her!

Another great thing that happened was I finally have my Blurbs on Herbs video series on youtube!  I also have a free business video to share with you.  Check out the Believe to Succeed video here  As soon as I have the approval from NCCAOM I will also share my 3 videos I have for sale for those that need your Acupuncture CEU/PDA.  The first month the videos are available I will have a 20% off sale on all 2016 classes (live and distance learning).

I hope all of  your holy day celebrations are filled with love, laughter and good memories!  Try to keep the drama low and the compassion high as you sit down with friends and family the next couple of weeks.

Here is a spiced cider to warm you on cold winter nights.  It is also great with a shot or two of brandy added!  As always, use organic ingredients.

Ingredients

1-2 grams hawthorn berries

1 cinnamon stick

a pinch of clove

a handful of  orange peel

Simmer all ingredients with apple juice for 15-20 minutes.  Strain, sip and enjoy! 

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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I have just returned from visiting my family in Georgia and I feel as full as the tonight’s moon.  I’m lucky to have a family that loves and supports me no matter how different I may be from them.  It is comforting to know that I can always count on them to be there for me when I need to laugh, cry or vent!  Take the opportunity to call a loved one and tell them how much they mean to you.

With the holidays approaching, emotions can run high as we mourn the loss of those that can’t be with us or stress out over gifts that we may not be able to afford to buy.  This season, let’s focus on the gift of our presence  instead of the store bought gifts that promote materialism over togetherness. I know I would prefer a walk in the woods with a loved one over another knick knack that ends up being donated to goodwill in a year or two.  It’s time we prioritize what is truly sacred to us rather than buy into another holiday that is guided by consumerism rather than spirituality or faith.

The only way we are going to change the world is to have the knowledge and courage to live in a way that is going to actually be sustainable for every living being on our planet.  This year, make gifts for your family that are made with love and good vibes.  Or donate to a local homeless shelter or food bank instead of buying gifts.  If shopping is something you enjoy, buy coats or shoes for families that can’t afford it.  Spread joy in little ways like making a warm meal for the homeless people you walk by every day.  The spirit of the holiday should be one of caring for all life!

I want to share with you a spicy and sweet Chai recipe that will warm your heart and increase your compassion for yourself and others.  While you drink this tea, envision love spreading through your entire body, allow this love to penetrate deep within your soul.  Spread that love to every being that crosses your path!

Compassion Chai Latte

2 tbsp dried cinnamon bark

2 tbsp dried fennel seed

2 tbsp dried cardamom pods

2 tbsp dried rose buds

1 tbsp dried clove 

1 tbsp dried orange peel

Always use organic ingredients.  Mix all ingredients together.  Add 1-2 tbsp mixed spices to 4 ounces water and 4 ounces milk of choice (coconut, almond, dairy).  Simmer for 20-30 minutes on low.  Strain out herbs.  Add honey to taste if desired.  Sip and feel the warmth spread through your body and soul.  Let gratitude and compassion fill you completely.

May your week be filled with gratitude and love.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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As the first snowstorm comes into the mountains around Denver I find myself a little intimidated by the cold, dark winter ahead.  I put on a pot of black beans and wrap up in a warm blanket as I sit in my cozy blue chair and write.  All my herbal adventures this year have brought on an intense need to just be.  To sit and reflect and try not to expend much energy.

Traditionally, winter was an opportunity to rest, to reflect and tell stories of the years past, to connect back to yourself and the Earth.  Before the holiday rush begins take some time out to do nothing.  Literally, nothing.  Stare into space and just let the thoughts come.  Walk in the woods only if there is no goal or destination.  Lay on the sand at the beach without feeling like you should be doing something.  It is blissful when you can really let go and be.  Allow space to fill you with the peace of nothingness.

Like most of us, there are a couple more things to be accomplished before the year is through.  I have my final deadline on my book proposal December 1st.  This process has been humbling and enlightening in my ability to share herbal medicine with others.  Turning people on to the plants is my favorite part of teaching and practicing Chinese medicine and herbalism!  I am truly blessed to live the life I want to live!

I will also send out one more newsletter this year.  The newsletter will include links to my new videos! I have prepared 4 webinars that are approved for NCCAOM PDA’s and CA Acupuncture CEU’s.  Anyone interested in Chinese medicine, Herbalism or Aromatherapy will find these videos inspiring and informative.  I am giving one video away for free so there will also be a link to that discount code in the newsletter.  I hope you give me some honest (yet kind) feedback so I can improve for the next round.  Sign up for my newsletter here!

I will continue my weekly blog posts and work on classes for next year.  Thankfully more passive activities that can be done from my cozy blue chair or maybe even a tropical beach somewhere…

Until that beach happens, I want to share of my favorite autumn teas that warms me head to toe and that I know I will be drinking a lot of in the next few weeks.

3-6 grams Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis root)

3 grams Chen Pi (dried tangerine peel)

3 grams Shan Zha (hawthorn berries)

1 inch slice of Sheng Jiang (fresh ginger root)

Simmer all ingredients in 1-2 pints of spring water for 20-30 minutes.  Strain out herbs and set aside (can reuse them if desired).  Add a little honey if need be.  Drink throughout the day.

May the rest of your week be restful and exactly what you need it to be!AaWhen energy flows, wellness grows

Many blessings,

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Jessica


After weeks of working on releasing suppressed anger, grief and fear I feel lighter and more at ease.  With these clearings I’ve moved even deeper within myself and have tapped into a shame so imbedded in my matrix that it is almost overwhelming me.  As the anxiety rises from knowing I have to look at this aspect of my growth process, I just Breathe. A long belly breath that expands my belly and my chest.  I remember that I am infinitely supported by the universe and my human and plant allies.  I know that any information gained will be transformed into wisdom and love and I will release all residual fear, anguish or disgust that embodies all shame.

Last weekend at 2015-10-18 12.54.23the annual American Herbalists Guild Symposium in Granby, CO I had the pleasure of meeting and gathering with so many of my herbal heroes.  Teaching alongside people I admire so deeply and being acknowledged for my accomplishments was incredible!  And intimidating!  The symposium also brought up these feelings of shame and I am glad I had the courage to overcome them.  I know I was chosen by the plants to teach their wisdom and I am honored to have the opportunity.

I want to thank the AHG for putting on such an epic event! Every teacher at the Symposium is amazing, but I wanted to recognize two of my favorites. Check out their links as they are a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

The top of my list is Ethan Russo, MD, he is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and former Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals.  I heard him speak in Bern, Switzerland in 2002 when he was part of the team that developed the first patented cannabis product.  So much of his work is finally being recognized in the scientific community as CBD and Terpenoids become the new buzz words in cannabis research. More importantly he is a plant person and understands the synergy of whole plant medicine!  His team at Phytecs areresearching the Endocannabinoid System and it’s role in our physiology and our evolution with cannabis.  Ethan is a humble likable guy that you will be hearing a lot about in the future.  Read about Ethan’s work with Cannabis

I finally got to attend a class of my favorite Aromatherapist, Mindy Green.  Her four decades of work with essential oils and in the natural products industry makes her an authority on botanical medicine.  She runs a consulting company, Green Scentsations and specializes in botanical therapies, product development, and aromatherapy education.  Mindy has welcomed me into the Aromatherapy community and is a genuinely kind person.  Lear more about Mindy’s work with essential oils

As you see I was in the presence of people that have been studying botanicals since I was a wee baby.  I had to convince myself that I was worthy of being on the stage alongside these giants in our industry.  Acknowledgement from our peers (and heroes) is important, but ultimately it is how you feel about yourself that is important.  I continue to liberate this deep feeling of embarrassment of who I think I am.  Just like you, I am beautiful, strong, kind and worthy of all the love and acceptance the universe has to give.

I leave you with a simple soul nourishing, energy building recipe that will help you open up to loving embrace of the Divine.

IMG_2977Use all organic ingredients (of course)

1 small handful of fresh or dried rose petals

1 handful fresh or dried milky oat tops or oatstraw

1 handful fresh or dried hawthorn leaves and flowers

1 handful fresh or dried tulsi basil

1/2 handful fresh or dried violet leaves

1/2 handful fresh or dried calendula flowers

As you blend the herbs together, honor each plant for its offering of medicine and ask it to open your heart to the infinite wisdom you are about to receive.  Steep the herbs in 4-6 cups of boiled (not boiling) water for 15-20 minutes.  Strain herbs and set aside for a second use.  The bitter quality of some of the herbs will help clear toxins and negativity from your body.  If the taste is unpleasant add 1 tsp honey and thank the bees for their role in our nourishment.  Drink anytime you need of day or night.  It is a great ally on days when you need extra support or love.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings.

When energy flows, Wellness grows

Blessings,

Jessica

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I have been told by several people that last week’s blog post helped them move through some serious anger they were holding.  As I continue to release what no longer serves me I am reminded that I continue to carry around fear, insecurity and hesitation around my career.

After years of private practice I have been teaching and writing more.  It is scary!  The part that frightens me the most is failure.  For me I don’t even know what this vague concept of failure really means.  Does it mean my classes won’t be attended?  Does it mean I don’t do the plants justice by not sharing their messages in just the right way?  Or is it my own low self-esteem just playing tricks on me?

Today, envision yourself accomplishing one of your loftiest goals.  See yourself completely satisfied at the completion of something you dared to think couldn’t happen.  What emotions are you feeling?  What do you look like?  Are you the age you are now or is this in the future?  Who is supporting you and cheering you on?  Take this vision and place it in your heart.  Be courageous and tell your closest friend what this dream/goal is.  If they aren’t supportive, tell them you only need positivity to make this happen.

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Here’s a simple herbal tea to help you release fear and increase positive abundance in your life.

In16 ounces of water add 1-2 tbsp Osha root and 1 Reishi mushroom (cut in pieces if possible)

Decoct (simmer) for 15 minutes.  Strain and put herbs aside to use in another batch of tea.

This formula is Bitter!  If needed, add honey to taste.

Osha root brings strength and courage while Reishi lifts the spirit, enhances spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing.

I bow to all of you courageous souls and encourage you to listen to your heart and fulfill your life’s purpose.

When energy flows, Wellness grows.

May your weekend be filled with joy, peace and love,

Jessica


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As I watch the leaves turn color, go limp and let go I am reminded of how beautiful it is to release what I no longer want to hold on to.  Our own process of going inward and releasing our fear, anger and grief is like the autumn leaves.  It requires a transformation, a surrender and a liberation.

The past couple of days have been hugely emotional for me as I let go of anger towards others and myself, owning my responsibility of forgiveness and motivated by all the energy I now have for myself.  Holding on to blame and hatred has prevented me from being grounded and present on my own path.  I spent too much time giving my energy to negative thoughts about other people instead of focusing my positive intentions on what I am achieving.

Allow the courageous act of change that Autumn inspires, help you let go of your inhibitions, excuses, judgements and anything else that is holding you back from moving forward in your life.

This Autumn, eat root vegetables like dandelion and burdock to deeply nourish and ground you.  Drink teas of mint (spearmint, lemon balm)  and sage (white, clary or pineapple) to clear the respiratory tract.  Begin taking a spoonful of elderberry syrup daily to boost yourself for the upcoming winter.  Allow yourself 10 minutes a day to meditate, stretch, walk in the forest, sit on a bench in the park.  Do nothing and just breathe.  Revel in the fact that you are alive, you are here, you are you.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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IMG_3057I have just returned from a family vacation in Alaska and British Columbia.  Being born in Alaska I have been wanting to get back there for years.  If it’s possible, Go to Alaska!  The scenery is magnificent, the locals are friendly and the Native Art is a must see.  A highlight for me was seeing glaciers in person.  As my Dad said, “See the glaciers while you can.”  Unfortunately that is a true statement.  I saw the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau that according to a local, had receded greatly since he moved there in 1990. He was actually surprised at how much it had receded since he had been there just a couple years ago.  

It is imperative that we recognize, accept and change much about the way we live so we have the bio-diversity for future generations to enjoy.  And not just enjoy, but to have the ability to thrive as we have done.  On a positive note, we have the resources to create a truly sustainable world if we really wanted to.  I am encouraged that we will come back to our senses and treat Mother Earth (and ourselves) with the love and respect we need to heal the planet.

While there I found some local Huckleberry tea, handmade herbal salves and ethically harvested Chaga tincture.  I was so happy to take home some herbal treasures to add to my medicine kit.  I saw Devil’s Club for the first time growing wild by the side of the road from Anchorage to Whittier. Traveling and learning about different cultures feels me with such joy!  Seeing them use the same herbs as I do always reminds me that we are surrounded by our plant allies and they are an integral part of our survival and evolution. I encourage you to get to know some of the plants growing in your environment.  You’ll be surprised how many are commonly used around the world.

With our global community in mind, I share with you a simple tea recipe inspired by some of my favorite cultures.

One World Tea

1-2 tbsp Hawthorn leaf & flower 

1-2 tbsp Shan Zha (Hawthorn berry) 

1-2 tsp Chen Pi (aged tangerine peel)

1-2 tsp Linden flower

1-2 tsp Fennel seed

1-2 tsp Cardamom seed 

1-2 tsp Rose petals

Simmer the chen pi, shan aha, cardamom and fennel for 10-15 minutes in a quart of water.  Turn off the heat and steep the rest of the herbs for 10-15 minutes.  Strain herbs.  Drink throughout the day and give thanks for the opportunity to celebrate the culture and from around the world.  As always, use organic and ethically harvested herbs

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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July was a heavily emotional month with two Full Moons, heightened energy of the summer, and all of the divisive news stories in the media.  The internet is an invention that has brought the entire world together and has even made our universe seem a bit smaller and more attainable by all of the satellite images of far away Earth like planets.  As our realities are becoming infinite, our minds and physical bodies are transforming from centuries of old truths and we are having a rough time keeping up with our new imponderable existence.  In a lecture that Caroline Myss was giving she spoke about how the invention of the atomic bomb and the realties of global destruction shifted us culturally, biologically and spiritually.  That is why we are now a throw away culture and why most of the structures we build are built to last more than 20-30 years.  Deep down in our DNA, we no longer believe we are going to survive as a species.  Heavy shit, I know.  But I am saying this so we can gain insight into who we are so we can become the person we want to be.  Here’s a link to Caroline Myss for more information on her teachings.

Like so many of you, I got caught up in the whirlwind of emotion that surrounded the death of Cecil, the majestic lion that was hunted and killed.  I immediately felt an immense sadness that quickly transformed into disgust and anger towards the killer and what he had participated in.  I wanted to separate myself from him and from all the acts of animal cruelty humans take part in.  I’m a vegetarian, but I do eat some eggs and dairy products.  So I have no illusion that I perpetuate an industry that I loathe and speak out against.  I also drive a truck, fly across the world in jets, forget my to-go cups and shopping bags and do all sorts of other things that harm our Mother Earth.  And like everyone else, I feel bad about it and do what I can, when I can to make myself feel better.And that wasn’t the only disturbing news of the month that threw me off balance and shattered some of my realities.

A positive change was moving into our new house in Denver.  All of the excitement has worn me out and I need to recharge in August for all of my adventures in the Fall!  The point of this confession is that I needed a new meditation to help ground me back into my highest self and to remind me to focus on what makes me feel happy and whole.   These 4 words came to me when I asked for guidance.

Freedom, Discernment, Compassion, Reverence

Freedom to me is a feeling I get inside when I feel I am right where I am supposed to be in life.  It is when I go deep inside and say, “Yes, I am on the right path.  This feels Right!”  Freedom is like Peace.  When I am living in my highest power I feel Free!  The last few days I haven’t felt this, as it has reflected in interactions in people in my life.

Discernment in a Christian context means perception in the absence of judgement with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.  And although I am not a Christian, I do like the idea of non judgement, which is something I have always struggled with.  I judge myself so much that it spreads out into me judging and condemning others when all I really want to do is to send us all love.

Compassion comes from the Latin compati, meaning to suffer with.  I don’t want any being on Earth to suffer but there is a saying that with suffering, comes relief.  When I meditate on compassion, I feel an energetic thread of love that surrounds us all, despite our differences.

Reverence I feel with every plant, flower and tree I see but for some reason it is not as easily felt with people.  My family and friends I absolutely feel a deep respect and unconditional love for them, but Humanity as a whole has not elicited this feeling in me.  This realization kinda makes me sad and I know that it reflects a lack of reverence I have for myself.  This comes out when I don’t take care of myself the way I should.

I know this is Way longer than any blog I said I would do, especially because I still want to give you a tea recipe to help open your heart to yourself.

I drink versions of this tea often, because I am constantly needing the reminder to love myself so I can spread that love to everyone else!

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Compassionate Heart Tea

In a quart jar, throw in a handful each of Hawthorn berry, leaves and flowers, rose petals and a touch of cinnamon powder.  Pour boiling water over herbs and cover completely.  If you’d rather make a sun infusion, only cover herbs 1/4 with boiling water and add room temperature water instead and set out in the sun for 2-3 hours.  Drink a little before your daily meditation or anytime you need cheering up or clarity on a stressful situation. 

As always,  When energy flows, wellness grows.  Love yourself everyday.

With love and gratitude to you all,

Jessica


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This picture sums up what I think about life right now.  There is no limit to what I can accomplish! I almost missed my blog this week since I was moving into our new house in 5 Points.  I’m going to miss being right across from the lake in City Park and so close to the Botanic Gardens but my proximity to Downtown Denver, Larimar and my favorite yoga studio, Samadhi Yoga, makes it all worth it.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to live where I want to live, eat what I want to eat and live the life I want to live.

Even positive change can give me a momentary sadness as I reflect on all I manifested and achieved since I “officially” moved to Denver last October.  In this new home, I see even more positive changes in my life.  It is a bright open space that has already made me feel more creative and inspired.  And my kitchen is going to be perfect for making herbal recipes.  Stay tuned for fun, short videos on making delicious herbal goodies, body care products and more!

As a house warming gift to myself I made a spritzer to clear the energy of new construction and to honor the land that was developed to build our beautiful home.  Feel free to make this for your home, car or office to help clear the air.

Welcome Home Spritz

2 ounces Rosemary Hydrosol

2 ounces Spring Water

6-8 drops Mandarin Essential Oil

2-4 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil

2-4 drops White Sage Essential Oil

Fill a 4 ounce glass bottle with the hydrosol and water.  Add essential oils.  Shake well and spritz as needed to fill you with a sense of home, belonging and love.

When performing a clearing on a new house, settle your heart and your mind and take a few deep breaths. Begin by honoring the land upon which the house is built.  Send your roots deep into the earth and feel Her nourishment come up through you.  Send your love down your roots and into the core of the earth.  Say “thank you, I love you, I nourish you too.”  Then bring your attention to those that worked hard to get your house built.  The builder, the designer, the contractor and all the laborers that poured their love into the job.  Send them a silent “thank you, I appreciate you, I honor you.”  Lastly, set an intention for your home.  What energy do you want people to feel when they walk in the door.  Say your intention out loud.  For me, our new home is a space for creativity, expansion, growth and a place for our friends and family to gather.  Be positive and clear with your manifestation and transform your home into whatever you desire.

As always, Love yourself enough to live the life you are meant to live!

Blessings,

Jessica

“when energy flows, wellness grows”


I had the honor of seeing Neil Young & The Promise of the Real at Red Rocks a few nights ago.  The tour was to promote their new album The Monsanto Years and to spread the word about the evils of Monsanto and the corporate takeover of our country, our food and in essence our livelihoods.  Using his voice not only to entertain but to educate and inspire activism, Neil Young is once again at the top of my favorite artists.  And for almost 70, he Rocked that guitar!

In the spirit of activism, I am included Rosemary Gladstar’s (in)famous Fire Cider Recipe.  For those of you unaware, the name Fire Cider has been trademarked and the company that owns the TM is suing herbalists that are actively fighting the trademark to stop making their products also called Fire Cider.  Rosemary Gladstar wants the name to be available to Anyone because it is the right of all herbalists to make and sell these collectively held recipes.  To join the fight, make and give/sell Fire Cider to your friends and family.  To help with legal costs or to donate to the cause, go to http://www.freefirecider.com

FireCiderRecipe

Fire Cider

½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
¼ cup or more grated ginger
Chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper ‘to taste’. Can be whole or powdered. ‘ To Taste’ means should be hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. Better to make it a little milder than to hot; you can always add more pepper later if necessary.
Optional ingredients; Turmeric, Echinacea, cinnamon, etc.
Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid.
Place jar in a warm place and let for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process.
After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs, and reserve the liquid.
Add honey ‘to taste’. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well. “To Taste’ means your Fire Cider should taste hot, spicy, and sweet. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down……”
Rebottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store in the refrigerator if you’ve room.
A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic Or take teaspoons if you feel a cold coming on.

Take it more frequently if necessary to help your immune system do battle.

What cause are you passionate about? As Bob Marley would say, “Wake up and Live!” It’s time we stand up for what we believe in and become advocates for ourselves and the planet.

May this New Moon manifest within you compassionate action for all beings.

Blessings,

Jessica


Whoa, somehow it’s July 1st already!  I have been riding a wave for weeks now and with the Full Moon in Capricorn I feel the intensity of energy even more.  Today is a great day to start manifesting those dreams into reality. Yes, the universe is working for your behalf, But your part in manifestation is working towards making dreams into reachable goals.  Start a 21 day mantra or exercise that will bring vision into form.  What I mean by this is, if you want to change the reality of your weight then for 21 days have a light workout for 30 minutes every day and follow that workout with rewards of healthy snacks.  Look at yourself in the mirror everyday and say, “With hard work and perseverance I will reach my target weight.” Once the 21 days are up, it will be easier to stay in the habit of exercising.

Say It, Believe It & Work Hard to make it happen! This can be applied to anything you want to manifest in life.

Here’s some tips to help reach your goals:

1. Get your friends involved- if you want to lose weight, get your friends together for workouts & walks, have potlucks where you all bring healthy food.

2. Tell people what you are doing- sometimes it helps if others keep you accountable.  This is not to be judgement from others, but encouragement by those that want to see you succeed.

3. Ask for help- you may need a professional to help you reach your goals, be it a nutritionist acupuncturist or life coach.  Asking for help does not make you weak, having a team of support only makes you stronger.

May the Full Moon bring you abundance and motivation to achieve your highest potential!

I’ll leave you with a smoothie recipe that is inspired by my Southern roots and is sure to keep you cool and hydrated on a hot summer’s day.

1 banana

Handful of Strawberries, Blackberries &/or Blueberries

Handful of Collard Greens (Yum!)

2-3 large pieces of Watermelon

2-4 ounces Coconut water or filtered water

1 sprig of fresh mint

Handful of ice (for an extra special treat, make this peppermint ice cubes)

I hope you enjoy this recipe and please share with your loved ones!

Beam like the sunflower that you are!
Beam like the sunflower that you are!

Blessings,

Jessica


Summer Solstice has been celebrated in cultures around the world for centuries, maybe even for millennia.  In the Northern hemisphere, today is the longest day of the year and the shortest night.  In China, it represents the peak of yang energy with yin energy being at it’s lowest.  Tomorrow will start the rise of yin and decline of yang, even though we normally see solstice as representing the beginning of summer.  A great way to celebrate solstice is to invite your friends and community over for a feast with all of your favorite summer foods.  If you are near Water, jump in and balance the Fire element of Summer with a refreshing swim.

If you are in the Southern hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice and a good day to stay cuddled up inside with a good book and reflect on all that has come to pass in the last year.

Regardless of where you live, celebrate Nature, the seasons, and all the abundance that is provided for us to thrive on Earth.

It is also Father’s Day here in the US, celebrate your Dad for all he has provided for you, as we celebrate Father Sun and all its life giving properties.

Here’s a cooling drink to serve at your feast tonight or enjoy anytime of day.  Feel free to add vodka, gin, whiskey or your drink of choice!

Using a gallon glass jar, add 1/2 cup raw sugar or honey, 5 squeezed lemons, enough loose green tea to fill about 1/4 of the bottom of the jar, and a handful of peppermint, spearmint or lemon balm sprigs.  Sit out in the sun for 1-2 hours.  Strain the herbs and tea.  Serve over ice and enjoy!  For an extra fun drink, make the ice cubes with mint tea instead of plain water.

May your summer be filled with laughter, love and abundance.

Blessings,

Jessica


After weeks of working on releasing suppressed anger, grief and fear I feel lighter and more at ease.  With these clearings I’ve moved even deeper within myself and have tapped into a shame so imbedded in my matrix that it is almost overwhelming me.  As the anxiety rises from knowing I have to look at this aspect of my growth process, I just Breathe. A long belly breath that expands my belly and my chest.  I remember that I am infinitely supported by the universe and my human and plant allies.  I know that any information gained will be transformed into wisdom and love and I will release all residual fear, anguish or disgust that embodies all shame.

Last weekend at 2015-10-18 12.54.23the annual American Herbalists Guild Symposium in Granby, CO I had the pleasure of meeting and gathering with so many of my herbal heroes.  Teaching alongside people I admire so deeply and being acknowledged for my accomplishments was incredible!  And intimidating!  The symposium also brought up these feelings of shame and I am glad I had the courage to overcome them.  I know I was chosen by the plants to teach their wisdom and I am honored to have the opportunity.

I want to thank the AHG for putting on such an epic event! Every teacher at the Symposium is amazing, but I wanted to recognize two of my favorites. Check out their links as they are a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

The top of my list is Ethan Russo, MD, he is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and former Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals.  I heard him speak in Bern, Switzerland in 2002 when he was part of the team that developed the first patented cannabis product.  So much of his work is finally being recognized in the scientific community as CBD and Terpenoids become the new buzz words in cannabis research. More importantly he is a plant person and understands the synergy of whole plant medicine!  His team at Phytecs areresearching the Endocannabinoid System and it’s role in our physiology and our evolution with cannabis.  Ethan is a humble likable guy that you will be hearing a lot about in the future.  Read about Ethan’s work with Cannabis

I finally got to attend a class of my favorite Aromatherapist, Mindy Green.  Her four decades of work with essential oils and in the natural products industry makes her an authority on botanical medicine.  She runs a consulting company, Green Scentsations and specializes in botanical therapies, product development, and aromatherapy education.  Mindy has welcomed me into the Aromatherapy community and is a genuinely kind person.  Lear more about Mindy’s work with essential oils

As you see I was in the presence of people that have been studying botanicals since I was a wee baby.  I had to convince myself that I was worthy of being on the stage alongside these giants in our industry.  Acknowledgement from our peers (and heroes) is important, but ultimately it is how you feel about yourself that is important.  I continue to liberate this deep feeling of embarrassment of who I think I am.  Just like you, I am beautiful, strong, kind and worthy of all the love and acceptance the universe has to give.

I leave you with a simple soul nourishing, energy building recipe that will help you open up to loving embrace of the Divine.

IMG_2977Use all organic ingredients (of course)

1 small handful of fresh or dried rose petals

1 handful fresh or dried milky oat tops or oatstraw

1 handful fresh or dried hawthorn leaves and flowers

1 handful fresh or dried tulsi basil

1/2 handful fresh or dried violet leaves

1/2 handful fresh or dried calendula flowers

As you blend the herbs together, honor each plant for its offering of medicine and ask it to open your heart to the infinite wisdom you are about to receive.  Steep the herbs in 4-6 cups of boiled (not boiling) water for 15-20 minutes.  Strain herbs and set aside for a second use.  The bitter quality of some of the herbs will help clear toxins and negativity from your body.  If the taste is unpleasant add 1 tsp honey and thank the bees for their role in our nourishment.  Drink anytime you need of day or night.  It is a great ally on days when you need extra support or love.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings.

When energy flows, Wellness grows

Blessings,

Jessica

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I have been told by several people that last week’s blog post helped them move through some serious anger they were holding.  As I continue to release what no longer serves me I am reminded that I continue to carry around fear, insecurity and hesitation around my career.

After years of private practice I have been teaching and writing more.  It is scary!  The part that frightens me the most is failure.  For me I don’t even know what this vague concept of failure really means.  Does it mean my classes won’t be attended?  Does it mean I don’t do the plants justice by not sharing their messages in just the right way?  Or is it my own low self-esteem just playing tricks on me?

Today, envision yourself accomplishing one of your loftiest goals.  See yourself completely satisfied at the completion of something you dared to think couldn’t happen.  What emotions are you feeling?  What do you look like?  Are you the age you are now or is this in the future?  Who is supporting you and cheering you on?  Take this vision and place it in your heart.  Be courageous and tell your closest friend what this dream/goal is.  If they aren’t supportive, tell them you only need positivity to make this happen.

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Here’s a simple herbal tea to help you release fear and increase positive abundance in your life.

In16 ounces of water add 1-2 tbsp Osha root and 1 Reishi mushroom (cut in pieces if possible)

Decoct (simmer) for 15 minutes.  Strain and put herbs aside to use in another batch of tea.

This formula is Bitter!  If needed, add honey to taste.

Osha root brings strength and courage while Reishi lifts the spirit, enhances spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing.

I bow to all of you courageous souls and encourage you to listen to your heart and fulfill your life’s purpose.

When energy flows, Wellness grows.

May your weekend be filled with joy, peace and love,

Jessica


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As I watch the leaves turn color, go limp and let go I am reminded of how beautiful it is to release what I no longer want to hold on to.  Our own process of going inward and releasing our fear, anger and grief is like the autumn leaves.  It requires a transformation, a surrender and a liberation.

The past couple of days have been hugely emotional for me as I let go of anger towards others and myself, owning my responsibility of forgiveness and motivated by all the energy I now have for myself.  Holding on to blame and hatred has prevented me from being grounded and present on my own path.  I spent too much time giving my energy to negative thoughts about other people instead of focusing my positive intentions on what I am achieving.

Allow the courageous act of change that Autumn inspires, help you let go of your inhibitions, excuses, judgements and anything else that is holding you back from moving forward in your life.

This Autumn, eat root vegetables like dandelion and burdock to deeply nourish and ground you.  Drink teas of mint (spearmint, lemon balm)  and sage (white, clary or pineapple) to clear the respiratory tract.  Begin taking a spoonful of elderberry syrup daily to boost yourself for the upcoming winter.  Allow yourself 10 minutes a day to meditate, stretch, walk in the forest, sit on a bench in the park.  Do nothing and just breathe.  Revel in the fact that you are alive, you are here, you are you.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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IMG_3057I have just returned from a family vacation in Alaska and British Columbia.  Being born in Alaska I have been wanting to get back there for years.  If it’s possible, Go to Alaska!  The scenery is magnificent, the locals are friendly and the Native Art is a must see.  A highlight for me was seeing glaciers in person.  As my Dad said, “See the glaciers while you can.”  Unfortunately that is a true statement.  I saw the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau that according to a local, had receded greatly since he moved there in 1990. He was actually surprised at how much it had receded since he had been there just a couple years ago.  

It is imperative that we recognize, accept and change much about the way we live so we have the bio-diversity for future generations to enjoy.  And not just enjoy, but to have the ability to thrive as we have done.  On a positive note, we have the resources to create a truly sustainable world if we really wanted to.  I am encouraged that we will come back to our senses and treat Mother Earth (and ourselves) with the love and respect we need to heal the planet.

While there I found some local Huckleberry tea, handmade herbal salves and ethically harvested Chaga tincture.  I was so happy to take home some herbal treasures to add to my medicine kit.  I saw Devil’s Club for the first time growing wild by the side of the road from Anchorage to Whittier. Traveling and learning about different cultures feels me with such joy!  Seeing them use the same herbs as I do always reminds me that we are surrounded by our plant allies and they are an integral part of our survival and evolution. I encourage you to get to know some of the plants growing in your environment.  You’ll be surprised how many are commonly used around the world.

With our global community in mind, I share with you a simple tea recipe inspired by some of my favorite cultures.

One World Tea

1-2 tbsp Hawthorn leaf & flower 

1-2 tbsp Shan Zha (Hawthorn berry) 

1-2 tsp Chen Pi (aged tangerine peel)

1-2 tsp Linden flower

1-2 tsp Fennel seed

1-2 tsp Cardamom seed 

1-2 tsp Rose petals

Simmer the chen pi, shan aha, cardamom and fennel for 10-15 minutes in a quart of water.  Turn off the heat and steep the rest of the herbs for 10-15 minutes.  Strain herbs.  Drink throughout the day and give thanks for the opportunity to celebrate the culture and from around the world.  As always, use organic and ethically harvested herbs

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Abundant Blessings,

Jessica

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July was a heavily emotional month with two Full Moons, heightened energy of the summer, and all of the divisive news stories in the media.  The internet is an invention that has brought the entire world together and has even made our universe seem a bit smaller and more attainable by all of the satellite images of far away Earth like planets.  As our realities are becoming infinite, our minds and physical bodies are transforming from centuries of old truths and we are having a rough time keeping up with our new imponderable existence.  In a lecture that Caroline Myss was giving she spoke about how the invention of the atomic bomb and the realties of global destruction shifted us culturally, biologically and spiritually.  That is why we are now a throw away culture and why most of the structures we build are built to last more than 20-30 years.  Deep down in our DNA, we no longer believe we are going to survive as a species.  Heavy shit, I know.  But I am saying this so we can gain insight into who we are so we can become the person we want to be.  Here’s a link to Caroline Myss for more information on her teachings.

Like so many of you, I got caught up in the whirlwind of emotion that surrounded the death of Cecil, the majestic lion that was hunted and killed.  I immediately felt an immense sadness that quickly transformed into disgust and anger towards the killer and what he had participated in.  I wanted to separate myself from him and from all the acts of animal cruelty humans take part in.  I’m a vegetarian, but I do eat some eggs and dairy products.  So I have no illusion that I perpetuate an industry that I loathe and speak out against.  I also drive a truck, fly across the world in jets, forget my to-go cups and shopping bags and do all sorts of other things that harm our Mother Earth.  And like everyone else, I feel bad about it and do what I can, when I can to make myself feel better.And that wasn’t the only disturbing news of the month that threw me off balance and shattered some of my realities.

A positive change was moving into our new house in Denver.  All of the excitement has worn me out and I need to recharge in August for all of my adventures in the Fall!  The point of this confession is that I needed a new meditation to help ground me back into my highest self and to remind me to focus on what makes me feel happy and whole.   These 4 words came to me when I asked for guidance.

Freedom, Discernment, Compassion, Reverence

Freedom to me is a feeling I get inside when I feel I am right where I am supposed to be in life.  It is when I go deep inside and say, “Yes, I am on the right path.  This feels Right!”  Freedom is like Peace.  When I am living in my highest power I feel Free!  The last few days I haven’t felt this, as it has reflected in interactions in people in my life.

Discernment in a Christian context means perception in the absence of judgement with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.  And although I am not a Christian, I do like the idea of non judgement, which is something I have always struggled with.  I judge myself so much that it spreads out into me judging and condemning others when all I really want to do is to send us all love.

Compassion comes from the Latin compati, meaning to suffer with.  I don’t want any being on Earth to suffer but there is a saying that with suffering, comes relief.  When I meditate on compassion, I feel an energetic thread of love that surrounds us all, despite our differences.

Reverence I feel with every plant, flower and tree I see but for some reason it is not as easily felt with people.  My family and friends I absolutely feel a deep respect and unconditional love for them, but Humanity as a whole has not elicited this feeling in me.  This realization kinda makes me sad and I know that it reflects a lack of reverence I have for myself.  This comes out when I don’t take care of myself the way I should.

I know this is Way longer than any blog I said I would do, especially because I still want to give you a tea recipe to help open your heart to yourself.

I drink versions of this tea often, because I am constantly needing the reminder to love myself so I can spread that love to everyone else!

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Compassionate Heart Tea

In a quart jar, throw in a handful each of Hawthorn berry, leaves and flowers, rose petals and a touch of cinnamon powder.  Pour boiling water over herbs and cover completely.  If you’d rather make a sun infusion, only cover herbs 1/4 with boiling water and add room temperature water instead and set out in the sun for 2-3 hours.  Drink a little before your daily meditation or anytime you need cheering up or clarity on a stressful situation. 

As always,  When energy flows, wellness grows.  Love yourself everyday.

With love and gratitude to you all,

Jessica


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This picture sums up what I think about life right now.  There is no limit to what I can accomplish! I almost missed my blog this week since I was moving into our new house in 5 Points.  I’m going to miss being right across from the lake in City Park and so close to the Botanic Gardens but my proximity to Downtown Denver, Larimar and my favorite yoga studio, Samadhi Yoga, makes it all worth it.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to live where I want to live, eat what I want to eat and live the life I want to live.

Even positive change can give me a momentary sadness as I reflect on all I manifested and achieved since I “officially” moved to Denver last October.  In this new home, I see even more positive changes in my life.  It is a bright open space that has already made me feel more creative and inspired.  And my kitchen is going to be perfect for making herbal recipes.  Stay tuned for fun, short videos on making delicious herbal goodies, body care products and more!

As a house warming gift to myself I made a spritzer to clear the energy of new construction and to honor the land that was developed to build our beautiful home.  Feel free to make this for your home, car or office to help clear the air.

Welcome Home Spritz

2 ounces Rosemary Hydrosol

2 ounces Spring Water

6-8 drops Mandarin Essential Oil

2-4 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil

2-4 drops White Sage Essential Oil

Fill a 4 ounce glass bottle with the hydrosol and water.  Add essential oils.  Shake well and spritz as needed to fill you with a sense of home, belonging and love.

When performing a clearing on a new house, settle your heart and your mind and take a few deep breaths. Begin by honoring the land upon which the house is built.  Send your roots deep into the earth and feel Her nourishment come up through you.  Send your love down your roots and into the core of the earth.  Say “thank you, I love you, I nourish you too.”  Then bring your attention to those that worked hard to get your house built.  The builder, the designer, the contractor and all the laborers that poured their love into the job.  Send them a silent “thank you, I appreciate you, I honor you.”  Lastly, set an intention for your home.  What energy do you want people to feel when they walk in the door.  Say your intention out loud.  For me, our new home is a space for creativity, expansion, growth and a place for our friends and family to gather.  Be positive and clear with your manifestation and transform your home into whatever you desire.

As always, Love yourself enough to live the life you are meant to live!

Blessings,

Jessica

“when energy flows, wellness grows”


I am happy to announce that I am finally starting my weekly blog.  It has been a long time coming and now I am happy to share fun herbal recipes, health and wellness tips and easy to understand information on herbs and their medicinal uses. Please share any information with your friends and family.  Let’s work together and share openly with each other.

If there are topics or recipes you would like me to include, please let me know!  This is a dynamic blog, written for all of you.

To start it off, here’s a tried and true recipe for a delicious energy boosting, yin nourishing tea.  Usually I would say drink warm or at room temperature, but if you’re in a hot dry environment like I am in Denver, I’m saying it’s okay to add a couple of ice cubes (rose infused are extra yummy!)

Summer Lovin’ Tea

3 tbsp fresh rose buds (1 tbsp dried rose buds)

3 tbsp fresh lemon balm

1 tbsp dried milky oats

1 tbsp hawthorn flowers & leaves

Steep in 8 ounces hot water for 10-15 minutes.  Strain and Enjoy!

Blessings,

Jessica


Summer Solstice has been celebrated in cultures around the world for centuries, maybe even for millennia.  In the Northern hemisphere, today is the longest day of the year and the shortest night.  In China, it represents the peak of yang energy with yin energy being at it’s lowest.  Tomorrow will start the rise of yin and decline of yang, even though we normally see solstice as representing the beginning of summer.  A great way to celebrate solstice is to invite your friends and community over for a feast with all of your favorite summer foods.  If you are near Water, jump in and balance the Fire element of Summer with a refreshing swim.

If you are in the Southern hemisphere, today is the Winter Solstice and a good day to stay cuddled up inside with a good book and reflect on all that has come to pass in the last year.

Regardless of where you live, celebrate Nature, the seasons, and all the abundance that is provided for us to thrive on Earth.

It is also Father’s Day here in the US, celebrate your Dad for all he has provided for you, as we celebrate Father Sun and all its life giving properties.

Here’s a cooling drink to serve at your feast tonight or enjoy anytime of day.  Feel free to add vodka, gin, whiskey or your drink of choice!

Using a gallon glass jar, add 1/2 cup raw sugar or honey, 5 squeezed lemons, enough loose green tea to fill about 1/4 of the bottom of the jar, and a handful of peppermint, spearmint or lemon balm sprigs.  Sit out in the sun for 1-2 hours.  Strain the herbs and tea.  Serve over ice and enjoy!  For an extra fun drink, make the ice cubes with mint tea instead of plain water.

May your summer be filled with laughter, love and abundance.

Blessings,

Jessica


Whoa, somehow it’s July 1st already!  I have been riding a wave for weeks now and with the Full Moon in Capricorn I feel the intensity of energy even more.  Today is a great day to start manifesting those dreams into reality. Yes, the universe is working for your behalf, But your part in manifestation is working towards making dreams into reachable goals.  Start a 21 day mantra or exercise that will bring vision into form.  What I mean by this is, if you want to change the reality of your weight then for 21 days have a light workout for 30 minutes every day and follow that workout with rewards of healthy snacks.  Look at yourself in the mirror everyday and say, “With hard work and perseverance I will reach my target weight.” Once the 21 days are up, it will be easier to stay in the habit of exercising.

Say It, Believe It & Work Hard to make it happen! This can be applied to anything you want to manifest in life.

Here’s some tips to help reach your goals:

1. Get your friends involved- if you want to lose weight, get your friends together for workouts & walks, have potlucks where you all bring healthy food.

2. Tell people what you are doing- sometimes it helps if others keep you accountable.  This is not to be judgement from others, but encouragement by those that want to see you succeed.

3. Ask for help- you may need a professional to help you reach your goals, be it a nutritionist acupuncturist or life coach.  Asking for help does not make you weak, having a team of support only makes you stronger.

May the Full Moon bring you abundance and motivation to achieve your highest potential!

I’ll leave you with a smoothie recipe that is inspired by my Southern roots and is sure to keep you cool and hydrated on a hot summer’s day.

1 banana

Handful of Strawberries, Blackberries &/or Blueberries

Handful of Collard Greens (Yum!)

2-3 large pieces of Watermelon

2-4 ounces Coconut water or filtered water

1 sprig of fresh mint

Handful of ice (for an extra special treat, make this peppermint ice cubes)

I hope you enjoy this recipe and please share with your loved ones!

Beam like the sunflower that you are!
Beam like the sunflower that you are!

Blessings,

Jessica


I had the honor of seeing Neil Young & The Promise of the Real at Red Rocks a few nights ago.  The tour was to promote their new album The Monsanto Years and to spread the word about the evils of Monsanto and the corporate takeover of our country, our food and in essence our livelihoods.  Using his voice not only to entertain but to educate and inspire activism, Neil Young is once again at the top of my favorite artists.  And for almost 70, he Rocked that guitar!

In the spirit of activism, I am included Rosemary Gladstar’s (in)famous Fire Cider Recipe.  For those of you unaware, the name Fire Cider has been trademarked and the company that owns the TM is suing herbalists that are actively fighting the trademark to stop making their products also called Fire Cider.  Rosemary Gladstar wants the name to be available to Anyone because it is the right of all herbalists to make and sell these collectively held recipes.  To join the fight, make and give/sell Fire Cider to your friends and family.  To help with legal costs or to donate to the cause, go to http://www.freefirecider.com

FireCiderRecipe

Fire Cider

½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
¼ cup or more grated ginger
Chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper ‘to taste’. Can be whole or powdered. ‘ To Taste’ means should be hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. Better to make it a little milder than to hot; you can always add more pepper later if necessary.
Optional ingredients; Turmeric, Echinacea, cinnamon, etc.
Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover tightly with a tight fitting lid.
Place jar in a warm place and let for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process.
After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs, and reserve the liquid.
Add honey ‘to taste’. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well. “To Taste’ means your Fire Cider should taste hot, spicy, and sweet. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down……”
Rebottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry. But it’s better to store in the refrigerator if you’ve room.
A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic Or take teaspoons if you feel a cold coming on.

Take it more frequently if necessary to help your immune system do battle.

What cause are you passionate about? As Bob Marley would say, “Wake up and Live!” It’s time we stand up for what we believe in and become advocates for ourselves and the planet.

May this New Moon manifest within you compassionate action for all beings.

Blessings,

Jessica