09:33 09:33

Elderberry Syrup and Tea for Colds and Flu

By |2018-11-08T12:52:28+00:00November 2nd, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Elderberry Syrup and Tea for Colds and Flu

As Autumn creeps in I stock my cupboards with a few items to prevent and treat colds and flu. Gan Mao Ling, Kwan Loong oil, vitamin C, Immustim or Wellness Formula, to name a few, but one of my favorites is simple and reliable elderberry tea and syrup.

All parts of the elder plant have a long history in folk medicine. The flower is used to promote sweating and resolve phlegm from exterior pathogens. The inner bark and root are used as strong emetics and to relieve stubborn constipation. The leaves and berries can be made into poultices with vinegar or honey to relieve damp heat in the skin such as poison ivy.

Elderberry syrup is one of the first things that I reach for when someone is starting to fight a cold or flu. From a Chinese medicine perspective there are two major reasons that we get sick: either our system is weak and susceptible to exterior invasion (Lung qi and wei qi deficiency) or the pathogen is exceptionally strong relative to us (think of plagues). Elderberry helps to strengthen any Lung deficiency condition, giving your immune system a powerful boost. It is antiviral and anti-infective, perfect for fighting off those pesky viruses. The berry also has expectorant, diaphoretic and diuretic properties to help move fluids, the bowels and relieve phlegm. It even helps treat food poisoning. Elderberry is high in calcium, vitamins A, C and B6 and iron—and, best of all, it’s tasty and kids don’t usually mind it.

So how do I use it?
I start to use elderberry tea (often mixed with other teas like berry or nettles) several times a week at the start of school or weather transitions. The syrup is handy for […]

12:41 12:41

Cabin Fever Herbs

By |2018-05-21T12:40:17+00:00May 14th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Herb Spotlights, Herbs & Spices|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Cabin Fever Herbs

Cabin Fever. Climbing the Walls. Temporary Insanity. Common terms that imply agitation, anxiety, restlessness, and a general sense of unsettledness. These symptoms are often experienced in the spring by people who tend to run towards yin deficiency from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Much to my surprise Spring Fever means the opposite of these symptoms and is instead associated with lassitude, apathy, and half heartedness, something I will cover in another article.

The following three formulas all have a sedating affect on the central nervous system but through different mechanisms.

A quick note: with any supplement always consult with a qualified practitioner before taking as undesirable side effects may occur when taken by someone who does not need it.

Lavender – Integrative Therapeutics Lavela WS 1265


Lavender has been cultivated and used for thousands of years as a calming and cleansing herb. Experiential evidence has shown that the fragrance of the flowers soothes the mind and extracts of the flowers and plants can be used to effective clean and purify surfaces and living spaces. A simple search of the web will reveal the myriad of uses that lavender has been put to throughout time, anything from placing satchels of flowers in clothing drawers to deter moths and other insects to placing it in pillows to help calm a person to sleep.

Modern science in seeking to understand why lavender has endured in usage through the ages have studied its actions in the brain and its effect on our body. Study results have shown that in the brain, lavender has effects similar to Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) and Gabapentin, both of which help to regulate the nervous system and provide a sense […]

09:05 09:05

Nourishing With Stinging Nettles

By |2018-05-31T13:42:07+00:00April 7th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

April Crowell Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Stinging nettles sting.

My first encounter with nettles was not pleasant, and at the time, I didn’t know enough to look for lamb’s quarter or dock to soothe the nettle’s sharp bite.  Instead, I chose to run screaming back to camp seeking my mother’s aid to treat the flaming red blisters on my legs.

Despite my first meeting with nettles, I have grown to love their amazing nutritional and healing properties.  They are one of the few herbs that I can recommend to almost anyone–young, old, weak, strong, nursing mothers and athletes.  To date, I  haven’t come up with someone that can’t benefit from nettles.

A bit of nettle history

Nettles have a long history of medicinal use–dating back to the bronze age. Native Americans used them to stop bleeding after child birth, Victorian women used nettle tinctures to thicken their hair.  Soups were used to build strength and stamina–the list is long as you will see below.

Nettles grow wild across Europe, America and parts of Canada. Many people harvest them fresh, but for ease (possibly I’m just lazy) I get my nettles dried and in bulk unless a local grower has some fresh available.   I use them regularly for my family, self and my clients.  All parts of the nettle plant have medicinal properties earning them a place of honor in my herbal cupboard.

Western uses and nutritional profile

Long inhale and go….  Asthma, chronic cough, any lung disorder, hives, shingles, eczema, diabetes, uterine bleeding, chronic nose bleeds, allergies, gout, heart failure, spasms urinary and kidney stones, urinary tract infections,  strengthen hair, heal wounds, replenishing after surgery, fluid retention, rheumatism, arthritis,  reduce edema and bloating, build teeth and bones, balance mood swings, […]

13:35 13:35

The 8 Branches Of Chinese Medicine

By |2018-05-22T11:31:59+00:00March 7th, 2016|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Herbs & Spices, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on The 8 Branches Of Chinese Medicine

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

The Eight Branches represent the areas of one’s life that should be taken into account for maintaining a holistic, preventative lifestyle. They are listed in an ideal hierarchy—literally, what should be practiced regularly to maintain health before moving into more invasive methods to moderate or regain well-being. Here’s a brief overview.

1–Meditation–By meditating we are able to connect with the deepest aspects of our being, and therefore be able to engage in our lives with greater purpose and direction.  It provides the opportunity for deep introspection, creates connection with life and greater space within ourselves. Truly, this is the first step in finding out who you are, why you are here and what you can do.  Regular meditation also has innumerable physical benefits such as lowering blood pressure and helping to manage emotions.

2–Exercise–Appropriate exercise is a key to maintaining body and mind health. Finding the correct exercise for the individual needs is a priority. A lack of exercise or over exercising is also detrimental to overall health. Yang (very active exercise) like vigorous martial arts, power yoga, marathon running and mountain biking, may be appropriate for a person with a strong constitution and physical strength. Yin (restorative and calming exercise) like restorative yoga, and gentle qi gong or t’ai qi are great for those needing to replenish, stretch, and deeply nourish. For the overall healthy individual you need a little a bit of both, but for someone recovering from serious illness, gentle yin activity is the start.

3–Nutrition and Tonic Herbs & Foods–How we nourish ourselves is a direct reflection of our state of conscious health. Choosing foods vibrant in Qi, that are mostly local, organic, sustainable and seasonally […]

10:12 10:12

12 Common Immune Enhancing Herbs & Foods

By |2018-05-25T10:20:30+00:00August 17th, 2014|Categories: Blogs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 12 Common Immune Enhancing Herbs & Foods

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

As requested–a blog about a few common herbs that have antiviral, antibacterial and immune enhancing natures. Just in time before schools and the cold and flu seasons start.

A virus, cold or flu in the eyes of Chinese medicine is an exterior invasion. Something is attacking the body from outside. Like all exterior invasions, to treat it we need to identify the nature of the disharmony using the 6 Exterior Evils (Pathogens) wind, cold, heat, dampness, dry, and summer heat.  When it comes to colds and flu wind, cold, heat and dampness are the most common culprits. Read more about exterior and interior patterns here.

Having formulas like Ge Gen Wan and Gan Mao Ling and single herbs like propolis, goldenseal and echinaccea are on hand is a good idea.  No one wants to run to the store or herbalist when you are sick. However, none of these herbs are delightful to nosh and it  isn’t appropriate to ingest them frequently.

Before we get ill, we have an opportunity–the chance to implement preventative habits and build our immunity by regularly ingesting foods and herbs in their simplest form.   These foods fall into the “release the exterior” and bitter  and pungent (spicy)-and they are abundant.  Actually, I had a bit of challenge to choose just twelve.   Including some of these foods and herbs regularly in your diet can make a world of difference the next time Violet Virus comes to play.   Personally, I crack out the formulas or propolis when a vicious battle looms and I get in for Amma or acupuncture quick…I don’t like being sick…..

Cinnamon–Sweet, hot and pungent, astringent and drying. Cinnamon stimulates, restores […]