Category Archives: Digestive and Bowel Health

Preparing your own Fermented Sauerkraut in Brine at Home

Recipe by Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist

There is a huge difference between sauerkraut in vinegar versus prepared in brine. For the numerous health enhancement benefits, prepare sauerkraut fermented in brine (salt water) for the lacto fermentation benefits of lactobacillus and other beneficial bacterial present during the fermentation process (the same beneficial bacteria found in live unsweetened yoghurt).

When cabbage is submerged in brine, the live bacteria converts the natural occurring sugars found in the cabbage into lactic acid, this is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. In addition to preserving the cabbage, fermented sauerkraut in brine promotes digestive health, boosts enzyme and vitamin production and assists the body with digestion.

Preparation Materials

 1 large container for your sauerkraut.  A large glass canning mason jar is the best. Sterilize your jar by placing in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Then dry and cool prior to use.

1 medium cabbage (any type is possible but red is highest in antioxidants)

2 tbsp pickling salt or sea salt

2 tsp soaked and sliced dulse seaweed (optional)

Fennel root chopped

1 celery stock diced

Chopped diced carrot

1 shredded grated beet

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root – diced

1 tablespoon finely diced and sliced white onion

Herbs: caraway, dill, celery seeds, black pepper, turmeric

1 garlic clove diced

Options: You can pick and choose which veggies or spices you add to your recipe depending upon the ingredients you have on hand. You can make sauerkraut with just cabbage and salt, or you can add additional herbs and vegetables for additional flavor and variety.  Jicama and radishes can also be added.

Remove the top layers of the cabbage. Chop cabbage in half and quarters, then chop or grate into thin slices. Cut out the central core and reserve for later use.   Add shredded cabbage in to a bowl, mix in the spices, salt and seaweed. Using your hands- massage the cabbage for 5 minutes until it releases its juices then press cabbage down into a glass mason jar- add in liquid- the liquid should cover the cabbage by 1-2 inches.

 If there is not enough liquid then create your own brine by adding 1 tblsp pickling salt to 2 cups boiled water – stir until salt has dissolved then add into jar.

Once there is enough brine to cover the cabbage, then firmly press down one large cabbage leaf on the top of the mixture and push it down below the brine. If needed, add a weight, a smaller jar or a clean rock to keep the top cabbage leaf secure and below the brine.  **This is an important step to prevent mold on the top of the fermentation.  Cover the mason jar with cheese cloth to allow for air flow or place the lid back on the mason jar however do ensure that the cabbage is below the brine level to ensure proper fermentation of good bacteria and prevent development of mold. Sometimes the fermentation bubbles, so place a saucer under the mason jar to catch the drips.

If you have placed a lid on your fermentation, release the lid (open and close) every 2 days to let the carbon dioxide out of the fermentation. Or if using cheese cloth, ensure that the cabbage is continually below the brine level.

Store at room temperature room for at least 7 days or up to 4 weeks for additional flavor and medicinal properties.

Most people are eager to sample their fermentation so the shorter ferment time is certainly possible.  Continue tasking until you are happy with your creation. After the 3 days there is no minimum fermentation time. Remove the top cabbage leaf.

Refrigerate, placing a lid on your ferment and consume within 30 days.

Trouble shooting: if there is mold on the top cabbage leaf, then the brine has not fully covered the cabbage or there is not enough salt in your brine. Many people feel that simply removing the top leaf and using the cabbage ferment below is okay, however if the mixture tastes yeasty, moldy or looks slimy, then trust your intuition and discard the whole entire creation and start over.

It is normal for red cabbage to lose its color- proceed ahead.

Options for use: Use 1 tablespoon as a condiment and slowly increase to 2-3 tablespoons to prevent gas and bloating. Add to sandwiches, wraps, veggie bowls and salads.

Herbs for Digestion

This informative talk will cover how certain herbal medicines can assist digestive health through various actions. Explore the benefits of some common spices and carminative rich herbs, and understand the effects of bitter and demulcent herbs. Participants will sample a digestive tea and demulcent mixture and will take home a small bag of a carminative digestive spice blend. Instructor: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

Copies of The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies available for $25.

For more information about Katolen visit: www.katolenyardley.com

To stay informed of upcoming classes join our Facebook page: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist

Date: Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 7 pm – 9 pm

Cost: Van Dusen Members: $31.50 | General Public: $35

Resource person: Adult Education Coordinator, 604-718-5898

Location: VanDusen Guides Classroom | 5151 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, V6M 4H1

To Register:

Herbs for Digestion: September Class

This informative talk, offered by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) ~ Medical Herbalist focuses on herbal medicines for digestive health will discuss how certain herbal medicines can assist digestion. Explore the benefits of some common spices and carminative (reduces bloating) rich herbs, and learn the effects of bitter and demulcent (anti-inflammatory) herbs. Participants will sample a digestive tea and demulcent mixture and will take home a small bag of a carminative digestive spice blend.

Schedule: Wednesday, September 26, 2018 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the VanDusen Guides Classroom

Location: VanDusen Guides Classroom | 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, V6M 4H1

Cost: $ 35. To register: Click here

Herbal Medicine for Digestion

This informative talk  offered by Medical Herbalist, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) will cover information on herbal medicines for digestive health and will discuss how certain herbal medicines can assist digestion through various actions. Explore the benefits of some common spices and carminative (reduces bloating) rich herbs, and learn the effects of bitter and demulcent (anti-inflammatory) herbs.

Participants will sample a digestive tea and demulcent mixture and will take home a small bag of a carminative digestive spice blend.

Start date: Wednesday, March 28 2018.

Time:  7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Location: VanDusen Botanical Gardens | 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, V6M 4H1

Cost $ 35  Click here: To register:

Herbal Bitters & Digestives: Herbal Medicine Making for Digestion

Herbal Bitters and Digestives: Herbal Medicine Making for Digestion

Date: Thursday, November 9, 2017   Time: 7 pm – 9 pm

Cost: $ 50 plus GST

Join Medical Herbalist, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) for a morning of herbal medicine making.
Discuss the importance of carminative herbs for optimal digestion.
Sample a digestive tea.
We will cover how bitters work and why they are important for whole body and digestive health.
Learn how to create your own Herbal Bitter Blendand take home 50 grams of Digestive Tea for future use.

Registrants can purchase a copy of Katolen’s book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies”
Pre registration and prepayment to reserve your space
Location: Downtown Vancouver BC
More information provided upon registration.
To register contact: info@alchemyelixir.com ph: 604 683 2298

 

The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies

I am very excited to announce the release of my new book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies.” Inspired by the urgent need to recognize the value of mother earth and the gifts which she provides, especially plants – both serving as our foods and also our medicines and the importance of taking steps to maintain and preserve the health of the earth for our own wellbeing, the continued accessibility of our healing plants and the health of generations in the future.front cover small

This back-to-nature home remedy and herbal medicine making guide provides details on effective herbal medicines (kitchen vegetables, spices, well known herbal medicines and wild plants) for common family health issues. Inside the 310 pages of this hardcover book you will find recipes for various common health concerns: from an upset stomach, indigestion to arthritis and sore muscles, wound healing to acne, eczema, hives as well as body care recipes (body washes, insect repellents, cleansers and hair masks).

Regardless of if you are a beginner or advanced in your herbal training – this book is for you!  Providing guidance for preparing infusions, decoctions, medicinal honeys, general tincture preparation, herbal vinegars and topical applications as well as general first aid guidance using herbal medicine. There are also tasty food recipes which incorporate edible plants into ones diet.

Color photographs offer assistance with plant identification, this is a reference manual; offering tips for both beginners as well as recipes and traditional and modern applications for advanced herbal practitioners.

Kat book 2Featuring a long list of medicinal plants including detailed descriptions on the use of Turmeric, Lavender, Nettles, Heartsease, Sweet Violet, Self Heal, Juniper and Sage; common kitchen herbs and even vegetables and also some lesser known medicinal plants such as Watercress, Daisy and Sunflowers!

We all know that what we put on our skin is absorbed into out body. There is more and more research conducted on groups of commercial synthetic chemicals (largely found in cosmetic use and cleaning supplies) known as Xenoestrogens – also known as Endocrine disruptors (known to increase our bodies estrogen levels, and contribute to health conditions including infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, lowered sperm counts and have the ability to disrupt thyroid function, and linked to obesity, and a large list of health issues).

The cosmetic and body care recipes inside this book are environmentally friendly and Xenoestrogen free – they can play a small role in reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals typically found in common packaged cosmetics and also reduce the impact of environmentally toxic chemicals in the environment, our water and food chain and on marine life.

Packed full of herbal wisdom, traditional use and just the right amount of science, readers will gain confidence in plant identification as they dive into the art of creating ones own elixirs at home. In short, “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” is a simple, straightforward, and beautiful guide to herbal remedies that will help you take charge of your health using nature’s own medicine.

kat book 3There is some urgency in remembering and recognizing the value of mother nature and the plants which she grows.  We reach for what is familiar! That which we use daily -those very habits which we see our family repeating daily, is what we will likely repeat as adults. Our habits today create the habits of the next generation- we need our future generations to remember the importance of clean soil, clean air and accessible plants, both as our foods and as our medicines. This book is a small tool for the remembering of the value of our plants and how to apply them as medicines for common first aid.

Some reviews of the book can be viewed here.

More about me:  You can view a more in depth bio here on my website www.katolenyardley.com: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – I have been in private practice for almost 2 decades (not to date myself) specializing in women’s health, digestive and skin issues. I have taught herbal medicine making classes for over 25 years, and offer my wisdom and experience to a variety of students in workshops and classrooms.

Autographed copies can be purchased online from my website: www.alchemyelixir.com or books are also available for purchase online: at Amazon, Indigo Chapters, Barnes and Nobel, Banyen Books, and hopefully at a bookstore near you.

Digestive Aids: Back to the Basics with Herbal Medicine

By Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist
      Herbal medicine offers invaluable aid for chronic digestive disorders as well as common symptoms of  overeating including heart burn, indigestion, cramping and bloating. As most herbal medicines are taken orally, they come into direct contact with the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, offering quick relief. Herbal medicines offer gentle, non-habit forming alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription medications and are suitable for long term aid. The medical actions of herbs are often categorized into groups according to their therapeutic action.
      Digestive stimulants help to increase or improve digestive activities. Two categories of stimulant herbs include bitters and hepatics (herbs which support the liver). Bitters have been used traditionally, sipped before meals. Herbal bitters act to stimulate the release of gastric juice and digestive enzymes for optimal digestion. They also help to increase appetite. Bitters have a general tonic action on digestion, stimulating the body’s self repair mechanisms. Some bitter herbs include wormwood, centaury, yarrow and gentian. Bitter herbs are consumed in small amounts and should not be ingested in conditions of excess stomach acid or ulcers. Hepatics are herbs that strengthen tone and support the liver. The liver is our primary organ for cleansing and detoxification, facilitating the deactivation of hormones, drugs, food additives and pollutants. The liver is involved in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It is also involved in both the synthesis of cholesterol and its breakdown into bile salts. In addition, the liver provided storage for fat soluble vitamins. Examples of Hepatic herbs include: dandelion root, wild yam root, yellow dock root.
      Digestive Relaxants, in contrast, help to reduce over-activity and relax tissues. These herbs are used in a clinic environment to reduce bloating and stomach distension. Carminative herbs are plants that contain volatile oils, the component of the plant that imparts the familiar fragrant/aromatic scent associated with many dried herbs. Their main action in digestion is to soothe and settle the gut wall, ease cramping and expel wind from the stomach and intestines, while providing gentle anti spasmodic properties. Some common carminative herbs containing a characteristic scent include caraway seedfennel seed, peppermint leaf, ginger root and anise seed.
      Herbal medicines are gentle and ideal for incorporating into one’s daily routine. Digestive herbs can be used in either tea or tincture form. An adult general dosage for herbal teas is 1 tsp. of the herb for every cup of boiled water, steeped for 15 minutes; 3-4 cups daily will provide a medicinal dose. When using tinctures, the dosage varies depending upon the herbs used. A standard adult dose is generally 2-3 ml taken 2-3 times daily.
Katolen Yardley, MNIMH is a Medical Herbalist in private practice at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group in Vancouver, BC. www.alchemyelixir.com or www.katolenyardley.com 

Red Root – New Jersey Tea

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH Medical Herbalist

Botanical: Ceanothus americanus

Main Actions: Astringent, Lymphagogue, Expectorant.

Indications: Red Root is indicated for stagnation of lymph, thick mucus, swollen glands and poor assimilation of nutritients to the tissues.

Red root, also known as New Jersey Tea, a lymphatic herb which stimulates interstitial fluid circulation used for splenic and liver congestion, enlarged lymph nodes, sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, chronic post-nasal drip and mononucleosis. It can also help increase platelet counts and is specific for reducing cysts.

Astringent: The root is an effective astringent, expectorant and antispasmodic for as asthma bronchitis and coughs It has proven useful in mouthwash to relieve sore throat, gum inflammation, to help tooth decay. The astringent qualities of Red Root that dry up damp conditions aid conditions where lymphatic congestion is a problem can also be applied to:lymphatic swellings, sore throats, mastitis, mononucleosis, tonsillitis and strep infections as well as chronic conditions such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, rheumatism, AIDS as well as various types of anemias.

Expectorant:  utilized in folk medicine practices of Native Americans to alleviate whooping cough, and shortness of breath; working as a mucolytic agent to lower the viscosity of mucus and promotes the expulsion of phlegm from the respiratory tract.

Relieves Digestive Problems: traditionally used for the digestive system, liver and spleen. The spleen can be viewed as the body’s largest lymph node: addressing how well our immune system functions, how waste descends and is removed from the body, and how nutrients are sent up into the body to build blood, nourish cells and muscles. When digestive disorders are present on a disease or syndrome level, deficiency of the spleen is a contributing factor. Spleen deficiency appears in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Irritable Bowel Disease (Chron’s and Colitis),

Antibacterial Properties: Antibacterial properties are due to the lignans, tannins and ceanathine The root was used as a decoction to help treat sexually transmitted diseases, notably syphilis and gonorrhea. Also, it appears to lessen frequency of canker sores, cold sores and prevent formation of tooth decay when used as a mouth wash and sore throats.

Red Root can be prepared as a decoction tea and is available for purchase: 

 

 

NourishingMealsCover

Nourishing Meals Cookbook

And by popular demand, we now have in stock the new cookbook by Tom Malterre and Alissa Sergersten:

“Nourishing Meals: Nutrition for the Whole Family”,packed with 300 gluten free, dairy and soy free recipes for the whole family; with a special emphasis on raising healthy children from preconception on wards (focusing on autism, allergies and obesity)  and  learn why removing processed foods from ones diet and going gluten free may help clear up mysterious health ailments and contribute to optimal health.

Here is what you’ll find in the Nourishing Meals Cookbook:

  • How to raise a healthy eater
  • Key nutrients for pregnancy and childhood and contributors of deficiencies
  • How to pack a healthy school lunch
  • Creating balanced family meals
  • Vegan, vegetarian, seafood, and meat main dishes
  • Nutritional benefits of soups and stocks
  • Tips for encouraging your children to eat more vegetables
  • Tips for a quick, nutritious breakfast
  • Charts for soaking and cooking whole grains
  • Wholesome gluten-free breads and muffins, including sourdough recipes
  • Healthy snack ideas
  • Alternatives to refined sugar
  • Nourishing grain-free dessert recipes
  • Ways to preserve the harvest, including recipes for lacto-fermented vegetables
  • Some delicious recipes include hot and sour soup, apple cider baked beans, spicy lentils and rice in cabbage leaves, grain free chicken nuggets, apricot glazed chicken, zucchini lasagna with pine nut ricotta, raw breakfast tacos, baby green smoothie, kale and egg scramble, coconut brown rice, chicken and chard chili

To purchase this cookbook for $ 24.95, click here:

Gluten Free Deductions on Income Tax for Individuals with Celiac Disease

Did you know that if you suffer from Celiac Disease, you are now eligible to claim part of your gluten free purchases, in your grocery budget, as part of a medical expense for income tax deductions?

New in 2013, the Canadian Federal Government is allowing medical or food expense deductions for any gluten free products purchased by individuals who are diagnosed with Celiac – wow – a nice step in the right direction. Check out this link to the Canada Revenue Agency for details on eligibility and remember to keep all receipts for gluten free food purchased throughout the year.