Teething Tea

My 7 month old son has been teething like crazy lately - poor guy is up crying several times each night, chomping at the bit and obviously in a great deal of discomfort. It goes without saying that we are also in great discomfort listening to him and going without sleep ourselves. Morning comes and he is his happy, joyful self again! I came across a recipe for Teething Tea that I’ve been trying the past couple weeks. I drink it myself as I’m breastfeeding him - but you can also give the tea directly to the child by bottle or dropper, and it may work faster that way, too. It tastes very yummy. I also make a pitcher of this tea for everyone at home that has a spoonful of raw honey added to it and my 3 year old calls it “Calming Tea” :) A great staple for toddler tea parties. Lemon Balm, Catnip, Chamomile & Lavender are all soothing herbs that calm irritability and relax the nervous system so it is calming in a true sense, and also good for cooling inflammation. 

Teething or “Calming” Tea:

2 Tbsp dried Lemon Balm

2 Tbsp dried Catnip leaves

2 Tbsp dried Chamomile flowers

2 Tbsp dried Lavender flowers

Place 1 tbsp of mixture into mug or glass jar with 1 C boiling water. Steep for 15-30 minutes (the longer it steeps the stronger it will be - also for very fussy babies try using 2 tbsp per cup). Have mom drink the tea (if nursing) or give to baby via bottle/spoon/dropper 1 oz at a time throughout the day. You can also soak a thin wash cloth in this tea, chill in the fridge, and give to baby to chew on - that’s a big hit! This tea is very safe to take over long periods of time. 

We also use Camilia homeopathic medicine and silicone baby spoons in our house for teething. What about you? Do you have a favorite remedy I’m missing out on?

Getting Sick? My Acute Self-Care Ritual

We all have supplements & vitamins we take on a daily basis for our individual needs… products we swear by and use daily for our health & beauty regimes, but what about when you are dealing with a sudden onset cold, or when you wake up with a golf ball-sized sore throat? At the VERY first signs I may be coming down with something acute - I start a very purposeful, emergency wellness ritual that I have refined over the years. There are so many useful tools for treating a cold or easing acute allergies or ear infections, so as Fräulein Maria would say - these are a few of my favorite things!

Hydrogen Peroxide / I trust using Hydrogen Peroxide almost 100% of the time when I notice an acute cold coming on. I gargle with it, and I also put a few drops down each ear for 5-10 min, then drain onto a towel. You can dilute it by 50%, but I just use it straight and rinse with water after gargling. This is just one of those measures I swear by. It will kill many bacterial microbes and pathogenic viruses that have entered the ear canal. H2O2 is always best to use right away when you notice symptoms in the first 12-24 hours. 

Elderberry, Echinacea, C, Zinc / You can take all these individually, but man that sounds like a lot of pills & I don’t do that very well. So I get these lozenges and have them in the house at all times. They are a powerful blend of healing agents - echinacea, zinc, elderberry & Vitamin C to help reduce the duration of disease and prevent illness from taking hold if you catch it early enough. 

Yin Qiao San herbs / Best Chinese herbs for warding off illness in the initial stages - I take it at the first signs of a sore throat, especially one that feels swollen, hot, raw, or burning. I take 3 capsules 3x/day. 

Raw Garlic Paste / aka my Warrior Wellness Paste. This stuff probably deserves its own post. I mix together 2 cloves of mashed raw garlic, 1 inch of raw grated ginger, 1 big Tbsp raw honey, & ½ tsp turmeric powder into a paste. I use 1 tsp of this paste in a mug of 1 C hot water (I actually put it inside a teaball and pour the water over it like making tea - that way it is pre-strained and you don’t have bits of garlic floating in your mug) and add the juice of ½ lemon to it. I drink this 2x day until the paste is gone. 

What are your self-care rituals? Would love to hear your tried & true remedies! 

Summer Bummers? Best natural tips to prepare for the season.

Summertime… and the livin’ is easy… and a little bit brutal, especially in Texas! Try to stock your home with some of my favorite herbal products and tips to have a stress-free season.

1. Best Sunscreen: Badger Sunscreen (Adult or Baby): Badger consistently gets the best ratings for sunscreens from the EWG and is completely natural & organic certified. Badger products are NEVER made with nanoparticles or parabens, ever. I love the lavender scented sunscreen, but they also have fragrance free adult and baby versions. Since Badger is made with Zinc oxide it will tend to be more white in color than mainstream chemical sunscreens - this is a good thing and just takes a little longer to rub in, but is well worth it for your skin.

2. Best Sunburn Remedy: Ching Wan Hung & Egg White Mask: Ching Wan Hung is an all-time favorite medicine cabinet product at my house. It is a Chinese herbal balm for burns of all sorts - rug burns, sun burns, steam burns, even severe burns in hospitals! - it is amazing. Keep this at home all summer and see how handy it can be. If you are really in a pickle - whisk some egg whites and brush on a mask to your burned skin and let sit until it dries. You can repeat this remedy for several days until your skin looks healed and the redness has gone down. It’s truly remarkable!

3. Best Bug Bite Remedy: White Flower Oil & Cedarwood Oil: The mosquitoes. Thorns in our sides. I like to have these oils on hand for when the bites get too itchy or painful to handle. Dap 1-2 drops of oil into a cotton ball and apply it to irritated skin. With little ones, you might want to keep a vial of diluted cedarwood oil on hand for applications, as using the pure essential oil can be too strong for them, although the white flower oil is ready to go!

4. Best Ear Ache Remedy: Onion steam & Grapefruit Seed Extract: Long ago, I posted my favorite home remedy for ear aches - the onion steam. You can read all the details of that right here. If feels so good, and releases so much pressure on the inner ear. In addition to the steam, for swimmer’s ear or bacterial ear infections you can easily use hydrogen peroxide drops in each ear, or Grapefruit Seed Extract ear drops. These have always worked so well for me - tea tree oil & grapefruit seed oil are both anti-bacterial, anti-biotic, and anti-microbial, and the combination of the two really cuts out any pain-causing junk. Put a couple drops in each ear and wait for the liquid to penetrate deeply inside the ear canal before shaking it out.

5. Best Acne/Skin Products: Wake up and smell the Rose! Rose is sort of a cure-all for redness problems. In homeopathy, like treats like, so rose (being red) can treat a multitude of red skin issues while promoting a healthier, softer, smoother looking complexion. My favorite rose-infused products are Weleda Wild Rose Facial lotion, Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater, and Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel (alcohol-free). I use these simple products daily on my face - especially during the hot and harsh months - and have never had less skin issues in my life.

Do you have any favorite remedies to combat summer bummers? I’d love to hear them. Now, let’s go swimming!

Are there herbal alternatives to Ibuprofen? Yes!

I think I could be pretty confident in saying that just about EVERYONE throws back a couple of Advil on occasion. For pain, injury, surgical recovery, headaches, arthritis… people take it for so many reasons and almost without thinking whether there might be a better solution to their pain. “Just take some Advil!” I know that phrase was commonplace in my home growing up and many others, I bet. Advil certainly has its place in your medicine cabinet - but I wanted to let you know about a few other herbal approaches that deserve similar status. Here are my favorite herbal pain relievers that really work when taken properly:

1. Turmeric Root + Ginger Root: Turmeric and Ginger are relatives of each other and both have big anti-inflammatory properties. They can increase circulation and relieve pain due to inflammation. Turmeric needs to be heated to release its healing benefits  - so use them both in cooking and warm teas for best results, or take as a supplement.

2. Corydalis: Corydalis (or Yan Hu Suo, in Chinese pinyin) is an herb tuber with amazing pain-reducing potential. It invigorates blood, and has been researched to eliminate pain due to inflammatory or injury related causes. Researchers from UC Irvine identified the active compound dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) in Corydalis which holds special promise for those with persistent, chronic pain. Because of its strong circulatory properties, don’t take it during pregnancy.

3. Fish Oil: Fish oil can also ease the inflammation and pain caused by many chronic conditions. The Department of Neurological Surgery at the Univ. of Pittsburg did research demonstrating equivalent effects in reducing arthritic pain of ibuprofen vs. omega 3 fatty acids in their trials! Their subjects took between 1200-2400 mg of fish oil per day.

4. Boswellia: Boswellia is known as Indian Frankincense. It contains active components which help reduce inflammation and pain, & can be taken as a supplement as well as used topically.

5. Magnesium + Epsom Salts: Magnesium helps to relax stiff or spasmodic muscles and improve circulation. In addition to taking magnesium orally, there are topical forms as well as the traditional Epsom salts added to a bath; both absorb easily through the skin and can be quite effective for reducing muscle pain.

There you have it! Next time you are reaching for that Advil out of habit, ask yourself if it’s time to invest in some of these natural products for your home medicine cabinet instead. :)

Immune Boosting Turmeric Ginger Tea

From Amrita Sondhi’s book The Tastes of Ayurveda is a recipe for a hot tea that will bust a cold before it begins. Ginger warms the body and acts as an anti-inflammatory; turmeric is a natural anti-biotic food; lemon clears toxins, stimulates digestive function and purifies the body; while honey will naturally suppress a cough. Try this effective and yummy tea at the onset of very first symptoms of a cold or cough and you may be surprised at the results.

Immune-Boosting Tea:

8-10 slices fresh ginger, cut into rounds

8 C water

1 tsp ground turmeric

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp raw honey, or raw manuka honey

Boil ginger and water in a pot on high, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add turmeric and lemon juice and let cool slightly before pouring into pitcher through a fine mesh sieve. Add honey. Stir well and drink up to 3 C/day for healing benefits. 

Variation: Add a scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper to this tea for improved blood circulation - this tea can be drunk as a general anti-inflammatory tea for fertility patients who need improved circulation to reproductive organs - the antioxidants in cayenne & turmeric may help cardiovascular function and improve qualities of sperm and egg cells. Also great for any chronic inflammatory condition. 

Food Facts: 

Raw Honey (or Manuka honey): The benefits of raw honey, or especially raw manuka honey (from bees who feed off the manuka tree native to New Zealand) are plentiful. It has major anti-bacterial effects, anti-biotic effects, and tonic effects. Manuka honey has been proven to kill dangerous gut bacteria and will also soothe skin burns when applied topically. This is a honey to keep in your medicine cabinet - use it for burns, in hot teas for sore throats and colds/coughs, or use 1 tbsp in warm milk for a natural sleep aid. It’s pricey for honey, but super affordable for medicine. :) It will be the best tasting remedy in the house! 

*2012 Favorites: Looking Back*

This year is officially over! How are you celebrating? Below are some of my favorite Medicine Kitchen moments from 2012 - my first year writing this little blog and first year of my new home practice. Thanks to all the clients who have made my life thrive and grow this year! 

  • Still love to make variations of these bowls for a healthy dinner or lunch to go. 
  • A good reminder for me to take a breath and recognize the natural beauty around me. 
  • For some reason, I often forget about these amazing nori wrap snacks
  • Love the simplicity of this effective home remedy
  • Still find this inspiring and necessary for all to read. 
  • Kinda craving this noodle dish right now, actually. 
  • Utilizing this healing broth not only for fertility but for chronic illness, gut problems, and weak immunity. 

Things have gotten a little hectic the past couple months, but it is my goal to keep writing and experimenting with what can only be a year full of new learning adventures in our home. Here’s to a great launch of 2013. ♥

MK Herbal Med Kit is here!


Just in time for the holidays, the MK Herbal Med Kit has arrived! This is a kit of the Top 10 most commonly used herbal remedies and first aid products available - complete with a how-to-use insert. It really is a total package. Herbs and natural medicines need to be used promptly when symptoms arise, so having these things on hand will give you maximum success in treating your family’s health naturally. This is also a great way to start building your home herbal medicine cabinet - it’s all the essentials you need to get started and turn your home into a true, all natural Medicine Kitchen - just like mine. Pretty soon you’ll be saying “Who needs Tums?!” Here’s a breakdown of what’s inside:

-Ching Wan Hun (topical ointment): The best burn cream in the universe. Also for scrapes, scratches, mild and severe burns. 

-Arnica Cream (topical ointment): For deep bruising, swelling, sprains and strains. 

-Zheng gu Shui (liquid topical rub): For trauma, pain, joint problems, sprains, and tendonitis. Combine this rub with Arnica cream for best results. 

-Yin Chiao San (tablets): Sore throat remedy. The best. 

-Ban Lan Gen (packets): Anti-viral, anti-microbial herb tea packets that help combat flu, sore throat, tonsillitis, and colds. Use with Yin Chiao tablets for best results. 

-Bi Yan Pian (teapills): Sinus congestion, Sinus pressure/pain, Sinus infection remedy. 

-Suan Zao Ren Wan (teapills): Trouble sleeping? Try this before your Melatonin or ZZZquil. 

-Curin Wan (vials): Best indigestion, reflux, and over-eating remedy. No need to feel miserable! 

-Shuangliao Houfeng San (powder): The best mouth ulcer, cold sore, sore throat, boil, abscess, or ear infection powder spray. Make a poultice for sores or spray directly down throat or into ear for infections. 

-SteviaClear Liquid (herbal sweetener): Trial size of nature’s sweetest herb. Use this liquid as a food and beverage sweetener that has no impact on your blood sugar levels. 

The MK Herbal Med Kit makes a great holiday gift and a great beginning for anyone looking to transition their home to a natural environment. Call to order/ship or purchase one at your next appointment ($75). 

What's the Best: Vinegars

Just like cooking oils, vinegars have a wide range of quality associated with them – from highly de-mineralizing distilled varieties to ulta-enzyme-rich unfiltered ones. What should you be buying? Let’s see where our favorite and most commonly used vinegars fall into the spectrum. 

#1 Best Vinegars: Organic, naturally unfiltered, raw / unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, brown rice vinegar, white wine vinegars, or umeboshi vinegar. These naturally derived vinegars contain more minerals and living bacteria, and have a variety of healthy effects on the body - like increasing the digestibility of foods, helping to break down fat, neutralizing toxins & food poisoning, and even lifting your mood! 

#2 It’ll Do Vinegars: Small batch sherry, balsamic, red wine, or rice vinegars are fine to consume in small amounts. They make great salad dressings and offer nice flavor options. You may not get all the health benefits as in the raw category - but you won’t get much harm either. 

#3 Never Ever Vinegars: Any distilled (clear) vinegar - it is highly de-mineralized through multiple processing techniques and pasteurizations, and mostly derived from ethanol. These are not the best choice to consume. I would definitely consider it a “refined food product” & would use it to clean the kitchen and bathrooms and not much else!! 

Acid Reflux Remedy:

1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

¼ C water

Drink solution with meals to ward off indigestion or heartburn! The enzyme-rich vinegar will aide in breaking down your food and reduce organic food acids from forming and wreaking havoc on your esophagus. :) 

Onion Steam Remedy

It’s getting to be that time of year… we travel, swim, stay outdoors, play in the lake, endure the swelling allergies of spring. It’s common for adults and children alike to get ear infections/swimmer’s ear/ear aches this time of year - and there is a wonderful home remedy I learned from a naturopath that just may nip these ear troubles in the bud. The onion steam. I’ve used it a handful of times with 100% success as have several of my clients and their children. It’s a really useful tactic & a great example of what Medicine Kitchen is all about. Onions are anti-microbial and their steam will help open up the ear, drain fluid, relieve pain, and kill bacteria. 

Onion Steam for Ear Aches:

1 white onion



cheesecloth or other thin cloth (i.e. linen or thin cotton)

Cut the onion in half or chop about 1/3 of it off from a stemmed end, revealing the circular layers within. Make several evenly dispersed knife cuts in the onion on the cut side. Microwave the onion for about 30-40 seconds - it will be hot and steamy upon removal, so be careful. Wrap the onion in cheesecloth or linen towel and hold the cut side over the affected ear - feeling the steam penetrate into the ear canal. Lie back and relax with the steam on for 30-40 minutes and repeat if necessary until pain is diminished. 

Try it out and see if it’s what the doctor ordered! If it’s not, go to the doctor and get something he DOES order. :)

Have any other home-remedies you have learned and loved? Let me know!