Herbal Healing for Kids: Andrea Shuman's Ayurvedic Wisdom for Modern Moms
Andrea Shuman, the founder and formulator behind MycroDrops, is not only a powerhouse in the world of herbal medicine and wellness, she's also a badass momma, and I’m so thrilled to share this episode with her. She shared so much of her expertise on herbs and moms life with us, you’ll have to tune into the recording too.
Andrea and I go way back to our days running product companies.. She was all about that ghee life, while I was all about those herbal remedies with my company, Mountain Mel’s. We'd always bump into each other at all the best herbal and wellness events around town.
Andrea's latest venture, Mycro Drops, is taking the herbal world by storm, and we're going to get all the juicy details straight from the source. But before we dive into that, let's talk about Andrea's journey with plant medicine.
Andrea has been into plant medicine for as long as she can remember. Her family has a long tradition of using herbs for all sorts of things, from her grandma smoking catnip to relax to soothing tummy aches with herbal teas. As a child, Andrea's mom would threaten her with horehound tea if she dared to play sick to skip school. Ha, talk about a great tactic!
But it wasn't until Andrea was 17 and faced her first UTI that she really got into treating herself with herbs, specifically uva ursi. From there, she explored all sorts of women's health treatments with herbal remedies, including yeast infections and other common issues that come with sexual activity.
Being able to take control of her health with plants made Andrea feel like a boss. She knew that using herbs was the way to go, and she's been spreading that knowledge ever since.
Andrea's journey into the world of herbal medicine has been nothing short of amazing. Growing up, she witnessed the impact of prescription drugs on her family, which motivated her to seek natural alternatives. Her father had been taking opiates for chronic pain since 1997, while her mother was on antidepressants for 30 years, until she was able to come off them with the help of herbal medicines.
Andrea quickly realized that her passion lay in using plants to treat ailments, rather than relying on pills. When she turned 18 and lost her health insurance, she turned to herbal medicine as her primary form of treatment. As she immersed herself in the alternative health community through massage school, she learned about energy medicine and ayurvedic practices, which further solidified her belief in herbal medicine. Though she wasn't fully aware of the problems with the pharmaceutical industry at the time, Andrea knew that there had to be a better way. She turned to herbal books for guidance and was inspired to see her mother make progress with herbal support after coming off psychiatric medication.
Let's talk about Ayurvedic medicine, shall we? Is there a difference between Ayurveda and western medicine?
I come from a background in western herbalism, so it was super fun to dig deep with Andrea and get the scoop. And, for starters, there's no such thing as an Ayurvedic herb. Any herb can be used Ayurvedically, but some have a history of use in Ayurveda and are therefore associated with that system.
The way herbs are classified in Ayurveda is different from the way they're classified in the west. Take "tonifying," for example. In Ayurveda, tonifying herbs tend to be heavy, sweet, and building, whereas in the west, tonifying herbs mean something else entirely. Confusing, right? But don't worry, there's a method to the madness. Ayurveda is an elemental system that looks at everything through energetics.
That means taste, temperature, and the post-digestive effect all play a role in how a herb is used. And here's where it gets even cooler: Ayurvedic herbalism takes into account your unique makeup of elements, known as the Prakruti and Vikruti. Everyone has all the elements, but some have more of one than others. Ayurveda breaks this down into three doshas, which represent the ways in which a person goes out of balance.
For example, Andera is a pitta dosha, which means she's more prone to getting irritable and fiery when knocked off her game. But it goes even deeper than that. Each dosha correlates with specific physical symptoms, too. Ayurvedic herbalism takes all of this into account when recommending herbs for a person.
But here's the best part: Western herbs can be used in Ayurveda! In fact, Andrea had a blast classifying herbs in her apothecary, finding similarities between Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western herbs that nobody had noticed before. So if you're interested in Ayurvedic medicine, don't be intimidated by all the new terminology. With a little bit of understanding, you can start incorporating Ayurvedic principles into your own herbal practice!
Andrea is also a momma to two nutball boys who are just crazy fun.
So of course I had to ask what her favorite ways to use herbs with her kiddos are, and she was super kind to share her favorite herb recipe.
It's a potent infusion of neem, turmeric, and licorice, which she calls "the mother." It's perfect for everything, from cuts and scrapes to diaper rash and herpes cold sores. Her boys always ask for it, and she thinks everyone should make it and have it in their house.
Herbal Infused Ghee Recipe:
- In a pot, combine neem, turmeric, and licorice with 16 oz of water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until the water has reduced by 60%.
- Add 4 oz of ghee to the herbal tea.
- Cook the mixture on low heat, stirring occasionally until all the water has completely evaporated.
- Remove from heat and strain through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
- Transfer the infused ghee to a glass jar and store in a cool, dark place.
This infused ghee can be used for a variety of purposes, including first aid for cuts, scrapes, and burns, as well as for itchy skin and other skin irritations. Apply a small amount of the infused ghee directly to the affected area as needed. Enjoy the benefits of this powerful and versatile herbal remedy!
She also uses elderberry, manuka honey, peppermint, and glycohol with her kids. She prefers glycohol over glycerin because it's more potent. And the best part about the mother? It's a forever medicine!
Andrea had a great piece of advice would be for new mommas starting their herbal journey:
Build a modest pharmacy and always have a few key herbs on hand such as turmeric, neem, aloe, and elderberry. These herbs have multiple uses and can be used in first aid situations, for gargling, burns, and infections. It's important to keep these herbs fresh and not buy them in a bottle, but instead get them in bulk and grind them as needed. It's also recommended to have a mortar and pestle and a coffee grinder for spices. The advice is to learn a few core uses of these herbal allies and make friends with a few herbs rather than overwhelming yourself with too many.
Andrea has recently launched a new business venture called MycroDrops, which is generating quite a buzz.
It all began out of necessity, as she was juggling her Ghee business and parenting two young children, while also struggling with supply chain issues and post-weaning depression. Fortunately, her Naturopathic doctor recommended adaptogen formulas, which inspired Andrea to explore micro-dosing psilocybin mushrooms in small amounts. She found that it helped her with focus, creativity, anxiety, and depression. Being an Ayurvedic practitioner, Andrea believed in tailoring solutions for different issues instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. This is where the idea of Micro Drops came into existence.
Andrea spent time formulating the recipes, which didn't taste great initially, but did their job. She was passionate about making the medicine taste good and pleasurable to take. Her formulas are based on Ayurvedic rasayana principles and have six tastes in them. They are a combination of adaptogens, functional mushrooms, foods like cacao and dates, and rich oils like hemp oil and coconut MCT oils. These formulas helped Andrea tremendously, and now they are helping others on a daily basis.
The best part about the formulas is that they can be taken on their own or in support of micro-dosing. Andrea's hard work and dedication have paid off, and MycroDrops has become a popular brand that people are eager to try.
Each blend has its own unique formulation to improve your health and life in one way or another. I highly recommend trying The Happy Mom formula, which is formulated with gotu kola, brahmi, rhodiola, and cardamom to support digestion and promote happiness.
Get yourself $10 off this bunch of amazing herbal goodness with the code THP10.
You can also find Andrea on Instagram: @mycrodrops
Andrea shares so much incredible info throughout this whole interview, I couldn’t write it all, so be sure to check out the full podcast episode above.
And, if you loved this episode, please share it with your friends and help herbalism #spreadlikewildflowers!