Moon Time Raspberry Leaf, Strong Support

Each month we are blessed with a chance to change, to recreate ourselves anew giving birth to new ideas and visions, projects, attitudes and ways of being.  Sometimes this is a challenge.  Cramping and fatigue can make it hard to enjoy this time of rebirth.  Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus, spp.) gives us a stability, a strong support for a smooth moon time so that we can fully embrace the gifts available to us.  Using raspberry as part of a healthy lifestyle through the entire month nourishes our bodies and ourselves to promote this vital health.  Many herbs are wonderful allies that can be considered super foods, providing beneficial tonic actions to the body through their superior high vitamin and mineral content and raspberry is one of those herbs.  Tried and true this wonderful plant has been used for centuries by a multitude of different people for its beneficial health properties.

Raspberry leaf is most commonly known as a herb for pregnancy.  Raspberry's effectiveness for pregnant women is due to not only its high mineral content but also its ability to strengthen and tone the uterus while at the same time enabling it to relax.  These same properties benefit menstruating women.  Raspberry is a tonic plant for the uterus which helps to increase the tone of flaccid muscles in the uterus or relax overly rigid muscles, which ever action the body might need.  This is action is thought to be due to a constituent called fragarin which found in high amounts in the leaf.  The tonic action of raspberry leaf is said to regulate the action of the uterine muscle thereby aiding in the reduction of menstrual pain, particularly that which occurs at the beginning of menstruation.  Raspberry's high tannin content imparts an astringentquality which strengthens capillary beds and mucus membranes thereby helping to curb excess menstrual bleeding and mucus discharge.

Raspberry is high in vitamins and minerals providing many nutrients necessary for female health; including manganese, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B, C and E.   This power packed plant is helpful for building strong bones and teeth.  Raspberry also tones the digestive system and has long been used as a remedy for diarrhea especially in children.

Raspberry ~

  • strengthens and yet relaxes the uterus
  • reduces cramping, especially cramping which occurs at the beginning of menstruation
  • eases excess bleeding
  • tones the digestive system
  • cooling on a hot day
  • is high in vitamins and minerals

It is so easy to gain all of the amazing benefits from raspberry by making a simple infusion of the leaves.  Click here to read about infusions and how to make them!  Raspberry has a wonderful cooling effect on the body and is great to enjoy iced on a hot day.  You can also add other herbs to your brew to increase the nourishing tonic properties of your drink.  Nettles is high in vitamins and minerals as well as astringent.  Like raspberry it will help curb excess menstrual bleeding and provide excellent nourishment to the body.  Red clover and alfalfa have phytoestrogens which aid in hormone balance and increase overall health due to high nutrient content.  Peppermint and spearmint are both wonderful tasting, cooling to the body and again high in vitamins and minerals.  Experiment with combinations of all of the above plants to find a nutritious brew to support your health and well-being!  Click here to read about finding the best herbs to buy.

Definitions ~

  • tonic ~ encourages increased health.
  • astringent ~ creates dryness, tightening and toning in the body.
  • phytoestrogen ~ provides high quality material which assists the body in making its own estrogen.  Phytoestrogens are thought to compete with environmental estrogens for binding sites on cell membranes.

Originally published in Moon Flow magazine

A Sniffle and a Sneeze...

When I hear "a sniffle and a sneeze" coming from one of my kids, my brain starts to spin with questions about what action if any I should take in regards to the sounds/signs their body is making.

"Is Violet getting sick or did she just inhale a bit of something that is making her sneeze?"

"Nyssa has coughed five times this morning, how is she doing?"

I try not to be an alarmist because I know the innate vitally of my kids is strong and that they will  be fine.  And further, that sometimes, we need to be sick.  We need a break and that is ok too.

Everyone has their own protocol for how to help their sick kid.  For my family I do try to catch things early if I can.  I have a general idea of what my kids' normal is....  how does their tongue normally look?  Are their eye's sparkly and their cheeks rosy?  What does the temperature of their skin usually feel like when they wake up?  I pay attention as best I can and when things begin to look/feel a bit off, I take measures to help them right away and I start to give my kids things from the following list.  This is my first line of defense for my kids.  If a cold or flu settles in we move on to other remedies.

Here is what I have found works well for my kids and my family.

  • Elderberry Syrup ~ Click Here to learn all about elderberry and how to use it.
  • Catnip Tea ~ When my kids need catnip tea, they suck it down like soda pop.  Great right before bed to aid sleep and fight infections.  Brew one tablespoon in a big cup of just boiled water for 10 minutes.  You might want to sweeten it with honey or agave.
  • St. John's Wort/ Lemon Balm Tea ~ Blend together a small handful of each, cover with just boiled water and steep for at least 20 minutes.  These herbs are great antivirals and relaxants.  My girls have their own little personal tea pots and they love having a special pot all brewed up just for them when they are feeling crummy. 
  • Umcka ~  I found this product recently.  All I can say, is that it really works!  My kids love the taste of the syrup so it is really easy to give it to them.
  • Vitamin D ~  Wonderful for prevention during the winter months.  Check out this video from one of my amazing teachers, Paul Bergner, for info about using vitamin D.
  • Essential Oils ~ Lavender & Spearmint for kids age 2 to 6 years with the addition of Ravensara & Eucalyptus for older kids.  Use any of these in the bath and in a humidifier, are great.  But my favorite thing to do is to dilute a couple of drops of essential oil in a generous teaspoon of carrier oil and use this mixture to give my child (or myself) a nice firm foot massage before bed.  Follow up with snuggly socks and sweet dreams.
  • Homemade Soup ~ Chicken is my favorite with lots of veggies, garlic and medicinal mushrooms.
  • Increase Liquids ~ Lots and lots, really anything they will drink as long as it is not sugary, though I will give them diluted juice, if that is all they will drink
  • Hot Apple Cider ~ Speaking of juice...  I make this with diluted apple juice, cinnamon chips and fresh ginger.  I just combine about a cup of juice, a cup of water, up to an inch or so of chopped ginger and a tablespoon of cinnamon chips in a pan.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes and serve.  Warming, immunostimulating and yummy!
  • Oscillococcinum ~ for flu exposure.  My homeopathic doctor friend told me that taking a third of the tube through out the day is the best way to take it rather then taking the whole remedy at once.
  • Eliminate ~ refined sugar, dairy, and citrus.
  • Promote Rest
  • Love ~ the most important part!
  • For Parents  ~ Raw Garlic is great.  I mince it up with a bit of salt and add it to whatever we are eating or putting it on a piece of toast with olive oil.  Everything else above is great for mom and dad too.

Note ~ There are a lot of wonderful products on the market for helping us to stay healthy.   When the above measures don't stop illness in its tracks, I move on to Wish Garden Herbs formulations, they have some wonderful formulations for both kids and adults.  All of their products are amazing.  I have tried many for myself, my kids and recommended them often with consistent wonderful feedback.   My favorites for kids are their Ear Combo for ear infections.  I keep this one on hand.  It is really effective and helpful when you are awakened in the middle of the night by a kid in pain.  Also, their Kick-It products and Cold Season Symptoms are wonderful.  I had many parents give me rave reviews about the Cold Season remedy when I worked retail.

What do you do to keep yourself and your family healthy?  I am always looking for great tips and suggestions!