How Stress Can Lower Your Immune System

It’s no big secret that chronic stress weakens the immune system. And, as we head into cold and flu season, coming to the end of a year that’s been immensely stressful for the entire world, and also heading into the most stressful, errr uhhh, “wonderful time of the year!", I figured it’s high time to talk about how these two are so related.

One of the women who helps around our shop, Kalee - she’s brilliant, healthy, active, way into taking care of herself, and does a killer job of getting our teas made here. Well, she’s in her senior year of college, getting her degree in psychology and going through her midterms with a heavy course load in an effort to finish her degree by June. She came into work yesterday and you could instantly see on her face that she wasn’t well. She had been talking about how this big course load is super stressful, and then she came in still stressed, and said she just isn’t feeling good, like she could...

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Culinary Herbs: The Medicinal Side of the Sweets in Your Holiday Treats

It's holiday cooking time! Which means, it's time to talk about the sweeter side of the holidays and dive into some of the medicinal herbs and spices used for pies, cookies and whatnot during this season of feasting!

A lot of these herbs are hot & spicy, and not necessarily sweet on their own, but are used generously in so many of our traditional fall treats like pumpkin pie, baked apples and even sweet drinks such as hot cocoa and cider. They are delicious and even though you may not think of them as medicine, they truly are and you can use your kitchen as your very own medicine cabinet. Pretty cool!

It's important to get fresh (dried), high quality, organic if you can, herbs so you can get more of the flavor and medicinal benefits from them. If your grocery store has them available in bulk, start there as the quality and freshness will be peak.

Cinnamon ~ Cinnamomum verum / Cinnamomum cassia

Yum yum for my tum tum! I just love cinnamon! The crazy thing for me to think about is...

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Beyond Elderberry! Legend and Lore of the Elder Shrubbery

Elegant Elder, It’s everywhere you want to be! 

Elderberry syrup is all the rage these days, and with cold and flu season, plus a global pandemic, with cases back on the rise, it’s no wonder why! This stuff is a powerhouse when it comes to boosting your immune system, and fighting off viruses. 

But, elderberries come from a beautiful shrub, and there’s a lot more to this shrub than just berries.  

I thought that today, we could touch on some of the history and lore of this amazing and beloved shrubbery. Much of this information I gathered from Mathew Wood’s "The Book of Herbal Wisdom" and "The Earthwise Herbal". And from Alma Hutchins book, "Indian Herbology of North America". 

This shrubbery was also referred to as the Hylde Mother, or Elder Mother. The Elder Mother was the Queen of The Underworld, or Fairy Land. It was known as the doorway to the underworld, or the Magical Fairy Realm. Don’t tell my daughter, or...

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How Adaptogenic Herbs Can Get You through Stressful Times

It’s no secret that life has been mighty tough for the majority of humans these days. From a pandemic, to outrageous acts of systemic racism, and political upheaval, and the inability to see those you love, or even get a simple hug. Times have been downright hard!

Whether these times have you suffering from stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, immune health issues, or emotional trauma, adaptogenic herbs can offer a grand helping hand to support your body through these trying times.

The term adaptogen was first coined by Soviet scientists back in 1964. They wanted to describe herbs that produce an increase in bodily resistance and vitality, helping the body adapt to and defend against environmental stressors.

So, I know it’s a word that is spread all over the place these days, but what exactly is an adaptogen?

An adaptogen is an herb that helps your body to adapt to various stressors in life. Whether these stressors are physical, environmental, spiritual or emotional,...

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3 Herbs for Inflammation of the Gut

We all hear about it. Gut health is so important. It’s essential to healthy immune function, emotional well-being, and our overall vitality.

Inflammation is in all things with gut issues whether you’re talking about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and all of your "itis" issues: colitis, gastritis, arthritis pain, depression, or even Crohn's and various skin eruptions. They can all be traced back to the health & inflammation happening in your gut. There are over 3 million Americans with IBD. With so many people suffering from various autoimmune disorders, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it’s clear this is a major problem in our world today. I’m going to share a few of the herbs that help me and my gut, and may be able to help you too. 

It’s important to remember that this is what works for me, and people I’ve helped. It doesn’t mean that it’s the right herb for...

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Herbs to Rev Your Digestive Fire!

Why warm digestion? Well, one, it’s winter, and it’s cold! If you’re someone who is always piling on the scarves and sweaters and your fingers and toes are cold, you may want to consider these herbs that can help warm your digestion. 

To ensure healthy and optimal digestion, we ‘ve got to support our digestive ‘fire’. This fire (called agni in Ayurveda) is all about the power of our digestive organs' to process and absorb what we eat while also burning off waste products. When we have a strong digestive fire, we are able to easily digest food and absorb its nutrients. If we have a weak digestive fire, our body won’t digest food well, leaving undigested particles behind that create inflammation in the body. 

This Inflammation can show up as:

  • Hunger
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Intestinal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Gassiness
  • Slow digestion
  • Heaviness after a meal
  • Sluggish bowels
  • Bulky stool
  • Feeling cold
  • Sweet craving
  • Stimulant craving

 ...

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Using Bitter Herbs for Better Gut Health

Gut health is super important - today and every day. As we all know by now, your gut health is directly connected to the health of your brain, immune system, and overall health. The great news is that there are herbs that can help you keep your digestive system in tip top shape. Of course, there are varying lifestyle factors that are going to make these herbs work better for you and your body:

  • Diet – avoid inflammatory foods for your unique body
  • Exercise – you’ve got to move it or lose it
  • Sleep health – getting enough zzz’s is critical

These all play a vital role in your overall health. And, truth be told, herbs don’t work well, when you’re not able to treat your body well. All of that being said, there’s still a lot of magic and power in these precious plants. Let’s chat about bitter herbs and how they can affect your digestion, especially after so many sweets were ingested over the holidays.

Bitters can help in treating your...

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Four Steps To A Balanced, Healthy & Happy Gut

If you have been feeling funky and haven’t focused on your gut health yet, maybe our suggestions for lifestyle changes could help! Healing the gut can seem like a huge undertaking but like all things, there are many ways to approaching it. One of the methods Mountain Mel’s recognizes is the 4R program which breaks gut healing into four awesome and approachable steps!

1) Remove ~ Be gone stress, allergens, & pathogens!

This step requires us to look at what we are doing in our lives that may contribute to our symptoms. For example, many of us are familiar with the relationship between stress and food. Often times when we become overly stressed, we can not eat enough, eat much too much, or consume overly indulgent foods.(Can I get an Amen!?!)  Irregular eating patterns can create problems with absorption and digestion of essential nutrients. Being conscious of how we are eating and making steps towards removing things that inhibit regularity in our eating...

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New Year, New You, New Gut!

Did you know that the key to that new you, lies in the health of your gut? While we’re not huge fans of New Year's Resolutions, as they seem so temporary and often fail, we are HUGE fans of a lifestyle change. After all, that’s pretty much the only way a long lasting positive impact is going to happen.

If you’re like many, you want to get healthier in one way or another for the new year.  Did you know that having a healthy gut is the key to your weight loss, improving your mood, enhancing memory, easing your body aches and pains, eliminating brain fog, treating autoimmune diseases, boosting immunity, and pretty much any other health related New Year's goal you could have?  

In our upcoming course 'Improve Digestive Health with Herbs' we’ll talk about:

  • Why a healthy gut matters to your overall health
  • How you can get to a happy healthy gut
  • Our favorite herbs to enhance the health of your gut
  • Along the way, we’ll be sharing gut...
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Improve Respiratory Health With These 5 Herbs

"When we draw on a breath, we share that air with all other human beings and all other life on our planet. The respiration, our "oneness with trees becomes a manifest fact and our communion with the oceans has immediate impact. The reality of the planetary whole reveals itself with implications for all human life, through the circulation of the gases and the energy of the atmosphere, this vision underlies holistic healing, as much as it does ecology. The anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system is a complex and beautiful embodiment of integration and wholeness."

This is a quote from one of my absolute favorite and most referred to books, Medical Herbalism by the brilliant herbalist, David Hoffman, and I thought it would be a wonderful intro to this blog where we are going to talk about a few herbs that are really beneficial for our respiratory tract and how to think about using those herbs and the best ways for you.

I wanted to take a bit of time to share some helpful...

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