Posts Tagged: health

Schizandra Berry for vibrant health and beauty

Hello!

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite herbs, and one of the most powerful and beneficial around: Schizandra berry.
“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.  Sign up to save 20% on Schizandra extract from Lucidera - expires 3/18/15
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.

It also:

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

Improves mood

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:
http://thelotusroot.com/making-herbal-tinctures/

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!
Liz

You may also be interested in Triphala – an Ayurvedic herb for healthy skin, detoxing, and more

Could you use a little more healthy living, skin loving inspiration? Sign up for weekly updates, HERE
**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.

 

Spring water for gorgeous skin & vibrant health

spring water

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.

fountain of youth spring schiller woods3I’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.

 

 

fountain of youth spring schiller woods4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fountain of youth spring schiller woods1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!)

Bottoms up!

Liz

 

Photos © Liz Davison

Sign up below for weekly healthy living inspiration, diy natural skin care tips + more

Email Address

March Against Monsanto: Chicago 10.12.13

Did you March against Monsanto Yesterday (or back in May?) Let’s see those videos & pics in the comments section!

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 food: http://thelotusroot.com/how-to-easily-avoid-gmos/

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]

 

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

March Against Monsanto Chicago. 10.12.13

photos: © Elizabeth Paige Davison 2013

Like what you see, and want to see more? Subscribe!

Email Address 

National Kale Day

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!

 Kale - Pencil on Paper © elizabeth paige davison, 2011 www.thelotusroot.com

Kale – Pencil on Paper © elizabeth paige davison, 2011 www.thelotusroot.com

 

 

Sign up for info + updates

Email Address 

Making hibiscus tea

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.

organic hibiscus tea

 

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:

  •   Add about half a cup of dried hibiscus to a glass pitcher / milk jug or jar and pour almost boiling water in to the top
  •    Let the water cool, and then place in the fridge for a couple of hours
  •    Strain
  • Add your sweetener of choice. Hibiscus is naturally tart, so sweeten to taste. I used a 1/4 cup of coconut sugar and a 1/4 cup of raw honey. Pour over ice and enjoy!

hibiscus tea

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.  hibiscus tea

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

 

Sign up for free updates + weekly tips on natural and organic city living here:

Email Address 

get outdoors!

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)!

yoga in the park

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.

yoga in prospect park

I’ve even found classes + events by looking up #free #yoga #nyc on twitter.

slacklining

 

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!

 

24e051ecd3a611e1a96012313815119f_7

 

7d4c2708fad311e1a3b222000a1e9fb4_7
6e0f9108038e11e2bf8b22000a1e8b2b_7

 

photos: © Elizabeth Paige Davison 2012 / 2013
Sign up for free updates + weekly tips on natural and organic city living here:

Email Address 

How to relax and get a good nights sleep

Here are my top 3 favorite ways to relax & catch some Z’s…
 My favorite ways to relax and fall asleep, naturally http://thelotusroot.com/three-ways-to-relax-and-get-a-good-nights-sleep/
1.  Use Magnesium 
Dr. Mark Hyman calls it the stress antidote, and the most powerful relaxation mineral available. In addition to making sure I have a magnesium rich diet, (raw cacao, anyone?) I enjoy using magnesium in these 3 ways:
  • As a supplement

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.

  •  Magnesium oil:

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.

  • Epsom  Salt a.k.a Magnesium sulfate: Aaaahhhhhh…Soaking in an epsom salt bath is another tried and true way to relax your muscles and get a dose of magnesium. I like to stir 2 cups (or more) into a nice warm bath. Add 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil to the water for an even more calming experience. You can easily find epsom salt at any drug store, and lavender oil at most health food stores. The epsom salt will make you sweat (great for detoxing) so it’s a great idea to drink some water during your bath or better yet, a nice relaxing cup of herbal tea.

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.)

How to relax and get a good nights sleep, naturally.

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.

 If you want to learn more about restorative yoga, I really enjoyed the book “Yoga For Emotional Balance” by Bo Forbes.
how to relax and fall asleep naturally
3. If all else fails
Sometimes, you just can’t sleep because you have way too much on your mind. I find that keeping a notebook by my bed to jot everything down (and I mean everything) really helps bring me peace.
I have a few more relaxation tips up my sleeve, so there will definitely be more parts to this post in the future.
In the meantime, I’d love to know – do you have a favorite way relax / fall asleep?
-Liz

Sign up below for weekly healthy living inspiration, diy skin care tips + updates

Email Address

*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).

Making herbal tinctures

how to make a tincture http://thelotusroot.com/making-herbal-tinctures/

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.

The herbs I used were Schizandra berries, Reishi Mushroom and Chaga mushroom. All three of these are adaptogenic, or tonic herbs.

Adaptogenic herbs help you deal with stress, improve your immune system, and help to bring your body into balance.

Check out this video of Brandon Gilbert from Hyperion Herbs talking about adaptogens (and wearing one of our t-shirts, woohoo!)

how to make an herbal extract / tincture http://thelotusroot.com/making-herbal-tinctures/

To create the tinctures:

  • I put the dried herbs into jars (cutting the reishi into small pieces first) and poured vodka on top. (Some herbs, like chaga mushroom, work best when ground in a coffee grinder first.) I used a 1:2 ratio – 1 part herb to 2 parts alcohol.
  • I labeled the jars with the type of herb, type of alcohol & date started
  • Then I put them in a dark cabinet, taking them out every day for two weeks to shake them.
  • You want to keep the herbs submerged in the alcohol.  If the liquid starts to get lower, top the tinctures with more vodka.
how to make an herbal extract / tincture http://thelotusroot.com/making-herbal-tinctures/

after 4 weeks…

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.

how to make an herbal extract / tincture http://thelotusroot.com/making-herbal-tinctures/

Have you ever made a tincture? What herbs did you use?

Want more DIY healthy living tips?

Subscribe below!