Category Archives: Digestive and Bowel Health

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.

 

Chaga Mushroom or Fungus also known as “King of the Herbs”

written by Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist

  • Latin Name: Inonotus obliquus however it may be found under the Latin names: Polyporus obliquus and Poria obliqua
  • Family: Hymenochaetaceae
  • Phylum: Basidiomycota (known as a true mushroom).

Habitat

Chaga is a slow growing fungus which grows on birch trees (and is also on alder and beech trees). Geographically, Chaga is restricted to cold habitats, found growing in Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, northern areas of the United States, and in Canada.

Why are mushrooms considered to be a fungus?

Mushrooms are considered a fungus, or a member of the fungi kingdom, as they do not contain chlorophyll, yet they have a strong symbiotic relationship with other plants and organisms – growing on decomposing leaves, logs, trees and soil in a forest setting; fungi are essential to our food chain. Fungus have the ability to break down organic matter in a decaying forest and actually draw its food and nutrients directly from decaying trees, rather than from the soil itself. Fungi digest their food outside their bodies by releasing enzymes into the surrounding environment, breaking down organic matter into a form the fungus can use.

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies produced by some fungi and the term “mushroom” applies to those fungi that have a stem, a cap, and gills or pores on the underside of the cap.All fungus begins with a spore which germinates, when the spore grows strands, this is called the mycelium. The fruiting body or the visible top of the mushroom, and the mycelium (the feeding body) make up the mushroom which can appear to grow overnight, in the cases of some species, or take longer time for development in other species.

In the case of Chaga, its sterile conk – a perennial woody growth, which is the mycelium of the mushroom – has the appearance of a black, irregular, cracked mass resembling burnt charcoal that grows on tree trunks. Due to the large amounts of melanin present in the chaga mushroom, the fruiting body rarely is seen. Unlike most mushrooms, chaga is a polypore, a fungus with pores instead of gills. Rather than growing in soil, Chaga prefers birch trees, once a tree is dead, the “sterile conk trunk rot of birch”, referring to chagas fruiting bodies grows under the outer layers of wood surrounding the sterile conk, spreading its mushroom spores for regrowth.

Common Names

Chaga is also known as siberian chaga, clinker polypore, cinder conk, black mass, birch canker polypore, sterile conk trunk rot of birch and birch mushroom. In the arctic, the first nation’s people used chaga as a form medicine and called it Tiaga or Tsa Ahga. In France, it is called the carie blanche spongieuse de bouleau (spongy white birch tree rot), the Dutch name is berkenweerschijnzwam (birch mushroom glow) and in Germany it is known as Schiefer Schillerporling (slate inonotus). However in the Orient, Chaga is known as “King of the Herbs” a name which most alludes to its respected and powerful healing properties.

History of this Medicinal Plant

A healing plant of renowned value throughout the world, Chaga is thought to be one of the strongest immune stimulating medicinal mushrooms and is used today as the base natural product in over forty oncology pharmaceutical medications and compounds. Since the early 16 th century, Chaga has been documented for its medicinal actions. Traditionally Chaga was used as a common remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers and other toxic diseases; especially for tumors of the stomach, esophagus, lungs, genital organs and/ or breast.

Chemical Constituents

  • Beta-D-glucans, a type of polysaccharide which has strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties, reputed to assist in stimulating the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells to battle infections, tumor growth and stimulate apoptosis (programmed cell death). The 3-beta-D-glucans found in medicinal mushrooms have been subject of research since the 1960s.
  • Phenolic compounds, melanins
  • Lanostane-type triterpenoids, including betulin and betulinic acid. (The anti-cancer properties of betulin or betulinic acid are currently being studied for use as chemotherapeutic agents and are already used as anti-HIV agents in mainstream medicine). Important note: betulinic acid appears to be absent in cultivated chaga, with nature herself producing higher medicinal quality chaga.
  • Bitter triterpene compounds that support the thymus and spleen,
  • Germanium: one of the highest sources found in nature.

Reputed Health Benefits

Studies support the use of Chaga for immune enhancement, possible cholesterol lowering, anti-obesity properties and improved insulin resistance, digestive tonic, anti ulcer, general tonic, psoriasis, diabetes, hypertension, anticancer potential, an anti viral, anti tumor, immune response modifier, (may assist in the modulation of T-Cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and white blood cells), anti-inflammatory properties, hypoglycemic activities and antioxidant properties offering protection against oxidative damage to cellular DNA.

Medicinal Actions

Much research has been conducted in Russia on this remarkable adaptogen fungus and more recently, health advocate David Wolfe can be found on”You Tube” educating his listeners on Chaga mushroom as a super food used daily for overall health enhancement. Chaga may help to:

  • Support and enhance immune function and help improve resistance to dis-ease. Chaga also contains the full spectrum of immune-stimulating phytochemicals found in other medicinal mushrooms.
  • Adaptogen properties: help the body to respond and resist internal and external stressors
  • Reduce fatigue, improve vitality, endurance and stamina
  • Regulate digestion: a useful anti-inflammatory agent of benefit for gastritis, ulcers and general pain.
  • Improve mental clarity
  • Improve physical performance
  • Antioxidant and anti-aging effect
  • Regulate the function of muscles and nerves
  • Improve resistance to disease
  • Enhance sleep quality
  • Improve metabolism
  • Regulate the activity of cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • Reduce pain
  • Promote healthy skin and hair
  • Contains antioxidant properties
  • A restorative tonic and blood cleansing agent
  • Contains anti viral, anti fungal and anti tumor properties.

Interesting Tidbit: Siberian Chaga is neither a plant nor animal yet its DNA make up is thirty percent closer to humans than plants.

Nature vs. nurture

Chaga is best used medicinally when harvested through wild crafting, as the mushroom holds the highest medicinal value and chemical constituents when wild crafted; the cultivated species are lower (or absent) in both medicinal properties and betulinic acid. Chaga can be purchased here in dried form and prepared as a tea. To purchase Chaga Mushroom:

Other Medicinal Mushrooms

One important clarification, medicinal mushrooms do NOT include the common white, brown mushroom or button mushroom – those common edible mushrooms found in supermarkets. White or button mushrooms have little flavor and no medicinal value compared to wild species. In fact, they may even be unhealthy -heavily sprayed with malathion and other pesticides and provide no nutritional value. The medicinal mushrooms include: Reishi, shitake, chaga, turkey tail, maitake, agaricus, oyster mushrooms, coriolus, cordyceps, poria which contain immune enhancing benefits.

Information given here is for consumer education only. It is not meant to

replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

Check out our new Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy and Egg Free Cookbook!

Ideal for individuals with celiac disease or who are following a wheat free / dairy free diet. Over 200 tasty recipes including wheat free cinnamon buns, avocado fig fudgesicles, mediterranean quinoa salad, coconut lime chicken and wheat free chocolate chip cookies.

417 pages of useful tips for those with wheat and gluten allergies! The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook written by Alissa Sergersten and Tom Malterre – also contains food allergy substitution charts, a hidden gluten foods list, deserts and a 7 day sample menu plan.

Available for purchase at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group!

Purchase your Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook ON SALE here!!

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

Check out our new Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy and Egg Free Cookbook! Ideal for individuals with celiac disease or who are following a wheat free / dairy free diet. Over 200 tasty recipes including wheat free cinnamon buns, avocado fig fudgesicles, mediterranean quinoa salad, coconut lime chicken and wheat free chocolate chip cookies. 417 pages of useful tips for those with wheat and gluten allergies!

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook written by Alissa Sergersten and Tom Malterre – also contains food allergy substitution charts, a hidden gluten foods list, deserts and a 7 day sample menu plan.  Available for purchase at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group!

Purchase your Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook here!!

Digestive Aids: Back to the Basics with Herbal Medicine

Written 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 of the main categories of stimulant herbs are 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 bodys 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 seed, fennel seed, peppermint leaf, ginger root and anise seed.

Herbal medicines are gentle and ideal for incorporating into ones 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

EFT for Weight loss “Learn how to Tap away food Cravings” with Julia McKinley, EFT Practitioner

Taught by Julia McKinley, EFT- Adv

Time: 6:00-7:30, Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

DETAILS: Tap away food cravings with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an energy based therapy that uses simple tapping on acupressure points along with focused thought and visualization. Learn how cravings and negative emotions are linked to energy blockages within our energy meridian system. Bring your favourite “problem food” that you would like to eliminate cravings for. You will learn how to use EFT and gain an understanding of how our mind and body’s connect to create cravings and overeating. We will address underlying emotional connections to food and working in a supportive, relaxed and fun group environment we will learn and practice using EFT for our food cravings and related Weight loss issues.

Julia McKinley is a certified EFT practitioner practising from Alchemy & Elixir Health Group in the West End of Vancouver. Julia assists clients in working with their energy and emotions to eliminate pain, problems and negative emotions from their lives. With EFT, the focus is on whole person and on reducing, stress, anxiety, limiting beliefs and painful memories that may be underlying the client’s problems and holding them back from fully realizing their potential for health, happiness and success in life.

LOCATION: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group, 320-1026 Davie Street, Vancouver

TIME:6:00-7:30 pm on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED as space is limited. Please call (778)-846-2176 and speak to Julia at Healing Flower Therapy or call (604)-683-2298 for Alchemy & Elixir Health Group, please leave a message if you reach our voice mail.

PRICE: 10$ will be collected at the door, cash or cheque only. Julia can be contacted either through the website www.alchemyelixir.com or e-mail julia.mckinley@healingflowertherapy.com