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! 

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. :)

Natural & Effective Flu Prevention

It is STILL flu season, what are you doing about it? In my house, we have a box devoted to herbs and supplements to use in acute situations or for prevention. Here is what I recommend for natural flu prevention for your family. Use one or two - but a few of these products in combination give the best results. Happy Healing. 


Elderberry and/or Andrographis Extract: These are two great anti-viral herbs that boost your immune health and help fight pathogens. Use these especially if you are teacher, traveler, or health-care practitioner who finds yourself around lots of people this season. Other anti-virals you can buy over the counter are grapefruit seed extract or echinacea angustifolia. Note: Most of these herbs work best when used BEFORE you have full blown symptoms, so taking preventatively is the safest bet. 


Cayenne capsules or Garlic oil: Cayenne and Garlic are both cooking herbs that have enormous health benefits. Using cayenne pepper as a supplement in capsules can prevent flu, colds, headaches, and arthritis. Making a simple garlic oil is a great use of time. It helps in any case of lung ailment, cough, cold, flu and flu prevention, & infections both bacterial and viral. Note: Make garlic oil by mincing or crushing about 6-8 oz fresh garlic cloves into a mason jar. Add just enough olive oil to cover the garlic and let sit in a warm place with a tight lid on for about 3 days, shaking daily. Strain the mixture and store. You can take 1 tsp of this oil internally up to every hour for colds, flu, fever, and infections. It also makes a great ear-drop oil for ear infections! 

Oscillococcinum Homeopathic Remedy: I think it’s best to take these over the counter vials for prevention, rather than waiting until you have active symptoms. 

Multivitamin: If there is ever a time to take your vitamins - it’s now! Taking a well-rounded whole foods multivitamin is a safe way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need and replenishing your daily stores. I like Catalyn from Standard Process or Rainbow Light Organic Multivitamins. 


Five Mushroom Formula: Ask your Chinese medicine practitioner about Wu Gu Fang (“5 Mushroom Formula” by Golden Flower). Because it is both tonifying and can kill pathogens, it is safe and effective to take throughout the season as a preventative and can also be used in the initial exposure phase of influenza. It contains 5 species of mushroom that have the power to kill viruses and stimulate your immune system. Good stuff! 

Don’t Eat Sugar or Junk Food: Numerous studies show that eating refined sugar is immediately followed by a decrease in immune function - happening within minutes of consumption. Don’t allow your body to get bogged down by sugar and junk food during this season… it’s not worth it to yourself or your family. Instead, strengthen your defenses with warm meals like hearty soups, cooked veggies and rice, meat broths, and plenty of water or herbal teas. 

*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). 

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!