Today I wanted to share one of my favorite herbs, and one of the most powerful and beneficial around: Schizandra berry.
I’ve been taking this herb for several years, and I’m excited that I finally got my hands on some of the highest quality Schizandra out there (and I want to share the wealth!)
It has been one of the top herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, promoting vibrant health and beauty. It’s said to “calm the heart and quiet the spirit” and to “prolong the years of life without aging”
It’s known as Wu Wei Zi, often translated as “five flavor fruit” – and is the only herb with all 5 flavors ( sweet, salty, bitter, sour and pungent ). It benefits, tonifies, and balances all organs and meridians in the body, and is an adaptogen (helping you deal with physical and mental stress.)
“If used for 100 days successively, Schizandra is said to purify the blood, sharpen the mind, improve memory, rejuvenate the Kidney energy (especially the sexual functions in both men and women), and cause the skin to become radiantly beautiful.” – Ron Teeguarden.
Improves eyesight (In Russia Schizandra is considered eye food, and is a registered medicine for vision difficulties. [Source]
Cleanses the liver
Improves alertness and concentration
Strengthens the respiratory system
Boosts energy at a cellular level
Helps skin retain moisture
Promotes beautiful eyes & hair
Safely detoxifies the body
Helps speed recovery after surgery
Normalizes blood sugar
etc..etc..etc.. (learn about more of Schizandras benefits, here. Yes – there are even more benefits!)
Where to find it, and how to prepare?
I’ve made schizandra berry tea & tinctures with berries from Mountain Rose Herbs* in the past ( Learn how to make your own tincture, here:
Lately I’ve been mixing 1/4 of a teaspoon of schizandra powder in hot or cold spring water.
As I mentioned, I just got my hands on some really high quality Schizandra extract from Lucidera* (Organic, American grown in pristine soil, highly concentrated, freeze-dried to retain nutrients, etc..) As luck would have it, Nick, the owner of Lucidera sent out a coupon code yesterday as I was working on this post. I emailed him to find out if I could share it with you, and he generously offered to create an exclusive 20% off coupon code and extend it to March 20th at Midnight, EST. Sign up here to get the code!
*I have no affiliations with these companies. I just love supporting and spreading the word about businesses with sustainable practices, who are going above and beyond with the quality of their products. I love researching this stuff, and being able to share it with you. It hurts my heart when people think herbalism doesn’t work because they’ve only tried low quality herbs.
Let me know if you try schizandra, and what results you get!**
To your health!
You may also be interested in Triphala – an Ayurvedic herb for healthy skin, detoxing, and more
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**Disclaimer: Not recommended if you have epilepsy, or are pregnant or nursing. May cause gastrointestinal upset in some individuals, although it’s rare. If you have any health conditions, please do your research or check in with a qualified physician before using schizandra.
The information in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
We all know how important it is to drink lots of water to stay healthy & vibrant. Of course it’s best to skip tap water which can be loaded with fluoride, chlorine, pharmaceutical drugs & other nasty chemicals. Those plastic pitchers with the filters in them that you stick in the fridge (and the filters for the tap) don’t do much to change this. I know how confusing it can be to figure out what the best water is (bottled? reverse osmosis? distilled? alkaline? fancy french mineral water?)
After coming across the work of Daniel Vitalis and David Wolfe several years ago, I’m convinced that water harvested straight from a spring is the best, cleanest water you can drink. Check out this video for a good primer – or listen to this talk by Daniel to find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. ;)
Daniel has put together a free resource called www.findaspring.com that you can use to track down or share info about a spring in your area. If your town isn’t listed, it’s a great idea to ask around – there may be a spring nearby that the locals have been using for years.
I’ve been visiting the Fountain of Youth spring in Schiller Woods just outside of Chicago. (As you can see, this place is poppin’, even in the winter. It’s best to go on a weekday.)
It’s still unclear if this is a true spring or a well, but either way, the water comes from an aquifer (as the forest preserve manager in this video mentions) and is better than any other water I’ve tried.
When I started drinking it, I noticed right away how much more hydrated I was and that my skin wasn’t as dry in the winter. (I also get extremely thirsty when I don’t have access to this spring – that other stuff that’s being passed off as water just doesn’t cut it anymore.) My mom is hooked on this water as well and has been going every week for the last year and a half to fill up.
Let me know in the comments if you do this – it can be a fun trip and a good opportunity to spend time in nature.
If you can’t make it to a spring: Mountain Valley Spring bottles true spring water in glass and also delivers in some areas. You can also find it at most Whole Foods and some other health food & grocery stores. ( I’m not affiliated with them – just spreading the word!)
Photos © Liz Davison
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Know anyone who’s not clear on what foods + products are GMO (and how to avoid them)? Feel free to share or send them these posts:
On skincare / bodycare / personal care products: http://thelotusroot.com/10-gmo-ingredients-that-are-snuck-into-your-body-care-products/
[ You can also see photos from the March Against Monsanto in Chicago on 5.24.14 here]
photos: © Elizabeth Paige Davison 2013
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It may not be Sketchbook Sunday, but I just found out it’s National Kale Day. I thought I’d share this drawing I did a while back for my dirty dozen / clean fifteen series. Kale is on of the dirty dozen list, so make sure it’s organic!
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I just wanted to take a moment to share one of my favorite drinks to help keep cool in the summertime – iced hibiscus tea. Growing up, I loved drinking Red Zinger tea, which has hibiscus in it ( I was that weird kid who stopped drinking pop when I was 12). Hibiscus is known as Jamaica or “Agua de flor de Jamaica”, among many other names throughout the world…It’s high in vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals, so it’s great for the skin and can give your immune system a boost.
Hibiscus tea is made of a part of the flower called the calyx (the part that supports the petals). Y ou can find it at many grocery stores – I got organic hibiscus at mountainroseherbs.com
There are different ways to make hibiscus tea – this is how I make mine:
It has many health benefits, (studies have shown it can lower blood pressure) but may also have some side effects, you can read about both here.
Do you ever drink hibiscus / jamaica, or do you have a favorite cold drink for the summertime? Let me know in the comments below!
photos: © Elizabeth Paige Davison, 2013
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Just a friendly reminder to get outside, to breathe in some fresh air, to get some vitamin D from the sunshine, and to enjoy whatever type of movement that makes you happy (or try something new)!
My favorite thing about New York is yoga in the park in the summertime. If you’re in NYC, check out Well + Good’s Healthy Summer Guide, which lists fitness classes all over the city (many of which are FREE).
If you’re not in NY, a quick google search for free or donation based fitness classes in your area,
or a search on meetup.com can lead you to great opportunities to get out there.
Another tip is to follow your fitness studio of choice on social media, and get on their mailing list. Just this morning I saw an announcement from a yoga studio in my neighborhood that will be having a free class tonight in the park.
You can also take a look at the website for your local park district, you may be surprised by what you find.
I’ve even found classes + events by looking up #free #yoga #nyc on twitter.
And now, for something not many people know about me: for many years, I’ve had a secret fantasy of becoming a roller dancer in central park. (and for some reason, I can’t get enough of that video).
Who knows, maybe I’ll work up the courage to try it this year.
I know for sure I’ll be practicing yoga and tai chi & dancing salsa this summer.
What type of exercise do you enjoy (or secretly want to try)? Do you have any suggestions for how/where to find free outdoor fitness classes in your area?
Let me know in the comments below!
photos: © Elizabeth Paige Davison 2012 / 2013
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I like “Natural CALM” and “Super Mag”- both are magnesium powders that you mix into water to make a fizzy drink. Both are incredibly calming. Just be warned – taking too much internally can cause a laxative effect, if you catch my drift. I find it’s best not to get too creative and to follow the instructions on the package when it comes to taking it internally.
This stuff is awesome. It’s not really an oil, but a magnesium salt water solution. You can spray it on and massage it into your skin, or use it as a foot soak. Applying magnesium to the skin can prevent the laxative effect since it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system. (Of course, everyone is different, so don’t take my word for it – be sure to do your research*). I order mine on amazon.com (although I’m seeing it more and more in health food stores these days). Note: it may itch at first (for me it only itches if I haven’t used it in a while), but I’ve read that the itching should stop if you water it down a bit.
You can learn more by watching this video by Dr. Mark Hyman; “Magnesium: The most powerful relaxation mineral available”, or this one by Mark Sircus on Magnesium Oil therapy and finding the right dose for you. ( Mark Sircus recommends adding 5 POUNDS of epsom salt to your bath – pretty hardcore.)
2. Restorative Yoga:
During restorative yoga, you get into different poses supported by pillows, bolsters or yoga blocks, and you lie in each pose for a while (much longer than you would in more active types of yoga). The different poses help you release tension and help bring your emotional patterns and nervous system back into balance. Here’s a great restorative yoga video I found on youtube. The instructor has a really soothing voice, and her yoga sequence is relaxing and perfect just before bed. A lavender eye pilllow is a great addition to the practice since you’re lying on your back or your side for the poses. Find my handmade bamboo + organic cotton aromatherapy eye pillows in my etsy shop.
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*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or registered dietitian / nutritionist. The purpose of my blog is to share my own experiences with healthy living. When it comes to your health, please do your research & be sure to consult a health practioner before trying anything new (especially when pregnant or nursing).
As I mentioned in my homemade vanilla extract post, I started some tinctures a few weeks ago. Tinctures are highly concentrated liquid extracts of herbs, made by steeping the herb in alcohol, vinegar or vegetable glycerine.
They absorb more quickly than other types of remedies, and are often taken by dropper-fulls under the tongue (sometimes a few times a day). You can also put your herbal extract into tea or warm water.
They’re often labeled as herbal extracts at the health food store. You can make tinctures for relaxing and reducing stress, bringing your whole body back into balance, boosting your immune system or your mood, reducing anxiety, improving memory, sleeping better, for colds or allergies, etc..
When using alcohol, it’s often recommended that you use 80 – 100 proof vodka, brandy or rum. (I used 80 proof vodka.)
If you want your tincture to be non-gmo, make sure the alcohol is organic.
Adaptogenic herbs help you deal with stress, improve your immune system, and help to bring your body into balance.
To create the tinctures:
There are different ways to make tinctures – I ended up using the simple folk method that’s mentioned in this video by Mountain Rose Herbs.
Keep in mind that some herbs may be treated differently – be sure to research each individual herb before you start. Take a look at this awesome chart for info on different herbs; which ones are best used fresh v.s dry, the best liquid to herb ratios, etc..)
In this great post, Herbalist Kiva Rose goes into detail about different methods, using dried herbs vs fresh herbs. . etc.
“Making Plant Medicine” by Richo Cech and “The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook” by James Green are also two highly recommended books with
tincture recipes for different herbs. Micheal Moores Materia Medica is also an excellent resource.
After my tinctures have been steeping for 8 weeks, I’ll strain them and will put the liquid into amber bottles that have a dropper – I’ll keep you posted on how it works out.
Have you ever made a tincture? What herbs did you use?