Podcast 072: Rooted & Ready Alterative/Adaptogen Herbal Formula for Endurance, Resilience, & Detox
This is one of our favorite herbal formulas for endurance situations, whether that’s physical, mental, emotional, or all three. These herbs help build up your resilience, in part by improving your ability to clear the system of wastes and irritants. (Call it “detox”, the body’s daily action to process and eliminate such things.) Herbs can help that action in lots of ways, and an alterative herbal formula like Rooted & Ready will do just that. Oh, and did we mention it tastes like root beer?
But the key to this formula is the combination of alteratives with adaptogens. Adaptogens make us better able to adapt to stress of all kinds, so they don’t cause us so much trouble. And believe it, stress causes real, physical health troubles! Because adaptogens support this function, and because stress is so pervasive and destructive, these herbs can be helpful for a surprising range of imbalances. When their influence is in the system, returning to baseline balance is a smoother transition. You don’t waste resources needlessly, and as a result you feel calmer and more focused.
This formula serves to stimulate the liver & kidneys (key organs of elimination), improves endocrine function and coordination in response to stressors, and stimulates the circulation of heat and blood to the periphery of the body. It’s fit for decoction, tincture, elixir, and perhaps a few other creative home remedy methods. It’s a good spring tonic and a solid ally when there’s work to be done. (Listen to the pod for proportions and preparation notes, including constitutional adjustments!)
Rooted & Ready is one of a whole slew of formulas Ryn deconstructs in the last part of his course, Elements of Detoxification. This course takes a fresh look at the concepts of “toxicity” and “detoxification”, a holistic perspective that goes beyond “cleanses” and products. Learn a memorable, practical model for understanding how the body’s detox functions work, along with the roles herbs can play in supporting them. And, take a look at some key formulas like Rooted & Ready, that bring together taste, action, and energetics for maximum effect. Check it out!
Hi, I’m Katja.
And I’m Ryn.
And we’re here at the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.
And on the Internet everywhere. Thanks to power of the podcast.
I am so excited this week.
Because this morning you came in and said, I have an idea for the podcast. And it was to talk about your rooted and ready tea blend, which is probably my favorite thing that you make, and also has really been on my mind lately. I have been just craving it because it’s spring and it’s the perfect time to have that. So when you walked in and said, let’s talk about rooted and ready on the podcast today, I was like, yes this is awesome.
Yeah. I’ve been meaning to mix up a batch too. We should definitely do that when we’re done by there later today.
Yeah. I really, I really want to drink it.
Yeah. Cool. So if your curiosity is peaked, then stay doing because that’s what this whole episode is going to be about is what’s in that formula and why we think it’s so great and cool. Stuff like that.
Yeah. But first we have to say the thing
We have to remind you that we are not doctors. We’re herbalists and holistic health educators.
The ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice. No state or federal authority licenses, herbalists in the United States. So these discussions are for educational purposes only. Everyone’s body is different. So the things that we’re talking about might or might not apply directly to you, but hopefully they’ll give you some good information to think about and to research more.
We want to remind you that good health is your own personal responsibility. The final decision when considering any course of therapy, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by your physician, is always yours.
All right. So before we jump right in, let’s do our shout outs for the week.
Shootout.So we have Kimberly cling on Facebook and Saul who found the flu episode just in time to help his partner. Are those all one person?
No, those are two people.
Those are two people.
Two people from Facebook.
Two people from the Facebook.
Yeah. And I’m really excited about that. Also, Poco a Poco farm. Who listens in the garden beds and uI, I follow Poco Poco farm on Instagram and you could take pictures of your garden beds and give them the Hashtag Holistic Herbalism podcast and then I will see where you’re listening to the podcast and I will feel so excited.
Yeah, we love it when you guys do that.
Let’s get another shout out to Jessica who says she’s a local fan of the podcast.
Okay. You enjoying this rainy day today? It is possible. One can enjoy a rainy day.
I am enjoying this rainy day actually.
It can be done.
It feels like it really is spring. It’s like, Oh yes. Just in time.
Time for the water to come.
Time for the spring. Yeah. Time for the rain. Marguerite wrote in to say that she found the pod a few weeks ago and she is almost caught up, which she says is terrible because then she’ll have to wait a whole week for the next episode.
Ahh. Ushe also says that she got inspired to start making tinctures again and I am super excited about that. That’s the best part.
All right. We had one, two.
We have three.
We have three here, Aliyah, Cassandra and Amanda who wrote to say that they loved the podcasts and each of them had topic suggestions for us. Thanks. We’re excited. We’re going to add them to the list and someday they’ll show up.
Actually. Actually, yeah. They’re, they’re really good topics, suggestions. So there’ll be coming soon. Also Sarah makes tea on iTunes, left us a review. Thank you for that. And we love your username. That is excellent.
That’s a good one.
And ATC Tiger left us one also and they apparently especially liked the allergies episode.
So I’m glad we did that then.
Yeah. Thank you guys. When you leave us a review on iTunes, it helps other people to find the podcast, so we really appreciate that.
Yeah. For Real.
And also, we really appreciate all of you. If I missed one, it’s just because my inbox is really out of control at the moment. And don’t worry when I find it then I will add it to the list. But I do love hearing from everybody. I feel so excited that, that you like what we’re doing and that what we are talking about is helpful for you. So thank you so much for sharing.
Yeah, well all right then. So our topic today is a tea blend formula. That I called Rooted and Ready. I know actually I was thinking about it earlier and I was like, you could make a tincture burned out of this instead. So we’ve got some options with this. But yeah, we’ll, we’ll come to that a bit later on.
You know, actually I was going to say earlier that I felt like this was one of your really early tea blends, like something that like you came up with really early in your life as a professional herbalist or, and you know.
Yeah. I, I posted a version of it on the blog and I’m looking at the old post and it really needs an update cause there’s like no pictures and whatever else, but it’s also it’s from 2011.
That was awhile back.
Yeah. It was a long time ago.
I did this several times before I,
Yeah, I think so too. I think so too.
Anyway, yeah. I was just looking at the date on the, on the list there and I was like, yes, this was a long time, long time ago.
Yeah. So what this basically is, is a variance on a theme that a lot of herbalists like make, which is a root beer kind of tea.
You know, root beer is, it’s it’s soda.
It’s a herbal peperation. Yeah.
Yeah. Today it’s just soda with flavor, but it’s, that’s not what it used to be. It used to be like a springtime blend. That was a thing that people did because of the herbs that were in it and also because it tastes good, but like it was functional.
Right? Yeah, exactly. So so root beer is pretty great. And the secret of root beer is that there’s just a few kind of critical herbs that you need to have in your blend. And then when you hand a blend with those in it and give it to somebody, they’ll say, oh, you’ve made root beer for me.
Yeah, like chia ya know.
I recognize this. That’s fine. Yeah. Uso the, the, there’s a few that are really central to that. USarsaparilla and Sassafras are probably the most important.
So let me just outline the, the formula here for you first and then we can talk about who’s in it. So first we have Sarsaparilla and Sassafras and then I like to put in Ashwagandha and Eleuthero a bit of ginger and some licorice. And sometimes with this formula I’ll also add a bit of Kava or a bit of Calamus. So there are some, there are some options there,
You know, also you started adding some birch or wintergreen, but I think usually you are working with birchbark when you make it like this.
Um yeah, that’s true.
Somewhere along the way you added that in and that really gives it sort of a little extra sparkle.
It definitely, yeah. So Birch or winter green are definitely a great thing to include there. Because they’re going to definitely add that winter greenish kind of scent and flavor to the, to the mix coming from methyl salicylate and some related compounds in the in the plant.
Usually I don’t like that flavor on its own, but in this mix, in that root, it really is the thing that switches it from, oh, this is kind of like root beer to.
It’s kinda like
This is ROOT BEER!.
This is, yeah, right. That’s definitely, that’s a real thing.
Okay, cool. So let’s talk through these a bit. Ufirst Sarsaparilla umnd like I said, this is one of the core, merbs in the blend here. Ume can think about Sarsaparilla in a few different ways, but for, let’s begin with the fact that it helps your liver to do what it needs to do. Um,’s what we’d call a hepatic and it’s a mildly stimulating, u,patic or liver focused herb. Um, it helps your liver to basically do its transformative jobs, which nowadays tend to fall under the rubric of Detox. And so, you know, we’ve used the word detox here in our episode title and we’re always a little bit hesitant to use that word at all just because it’s been so heavily like over marketed and there are all these detox products out there that are going to, I don’t know, flush your liver and cleanse your colon and all this other kinds of stuff. Whereas when we think about detox and when we, when we use that term, we’re thinking more about keeping your internal waters flowing, about keeping your internal filtration and cleansing processes working well. Detox is not something that you do when you take a product. Detox to something that’s happening in your body all of the time. And if it wasn’t, things would go bad for you really fast.
Yeah. Yeah. I you did a class on online about detox. And I think that’s one of the most important parts of that course is really explaining what detox actually is and how that is important in your body as opposed to the concept of like, I’ll just buy one of those boxes of like a detox cleanse. And then I’m going to feel better, but not really understanding what’s going on. And the way that you put that course together makes everything so, so clear. And also I think it is like the ideas that you put forth about actually doing, like improving that detoxification work are so much safer and healthier and more effective than just going out and buying the box of whatever and also easier actually. So I really, I really loved that.
Yeah. That was a big part of the idea with that course was to, to try to look at detox in a broader way, a more holistic way. Cause yeah, that’s who we are. And to, to see the ways in which this is ongoing at all times in your body. And also to recognize that when we want to support this, this not one process but like suite of processes together, then we need to be looking in more than just one place. Right. So detox is bigger than just your liver. It’s bigger than just your, your colon or your bowels. It involves your kidneys and your circulation and your nutrition and lots of other.
And your sleep.
Great yeah, and your movement habits and all things that longtime listeners will have come to expect from us by now. You know, so I used a kind of a, an elemental pattern to, to break this down. And so we talk about detox in the, in the way of, of fire and movement and circulation and activation, but also in the way of nourishment and feeding and of resting and recovering. And so this is why I called the course elements of detoxification.
You know what also you, you sort of said about movement and sleep and food and whatever and that people have come to expect that from us. But especially when I was about to say, especially when we’re talking about detox, that stuff is non-negotiable. It’s like an integral part of the body’s ability to do that transformative work. Whether we’re doing that work for the Oreos that you just ate or for the lead that you’re trying to get out of your system, like it doesn’t really matter. All of those factors are critically important except, oh, so I was about to be like, yeah, they are so important for detox. And then I was like, wait, they’re so important,
Ryn and Katja (12:12):
That’s like our central thesis as an organization here.
Oh, Elsie is agreeing with how important they are here.
Yeah. That was their little sound there. But yeah, so that, you know, that’s why this formula is going to touch on your liver, your kidneys, your endocrine system, your adrenal glands, your digestive process. A bunch of different aspects because we need, we want to be supporting many of those things at the same time in order to get a good overall effect. That’s kind of a general trend when we make what we call an alterative formula. alterative, it’s not just people who spelled alternative wrong. It means that this is a blend that’s designed to alter the conditions inside of your body to improve these kinds of processes of nutrition, absorption, circulation, elimination, and detoxification.
I kind of think about the word alterative as directed towards sluggishness or stagnation. So alterative to alter. It’s going to change something. What is it going to change? It’s going to change those states of like slow, slow moving gunked up grimy. You know, like when you feel like when you feel like you need a detox, like that’s exactly that feeling of, of that heaviness, that just sluggishness. And I think that the word, alterative is like, it’s a word that’s referenced in so many old books and like older resources for learning herbalism but it’s not necessarily one that is intuitively understandable today as a word that makes sense in our context. But that’s, that’s what’s going on is that when you see alterative that is really directed at that state of heaviness and sluggishness and slowness in the body.
That we often feel at the end of winter.
Right. Yeah. So Sarsaparilla is really helpful for these kinds of situations because again, it’s going to stimulate, it’s going to activate, liver. It does bring in a bit of moisture into the body. It helps heat to move around the system. It again, it’s counteracting these sluggishness patterns or stagnation patterns you’re describing. So you know, it even does help a bit with digestion. Sarsaparilla can help to lower blood sugar. It can help to support immune function. So this herb itself kind of is an alterative formula all on its own.
It operates on multiple different critical systems in the body. Like your, your liver, your digestion, digestion, your immunity. So that, that makes it a really fantastic plant. I should say here, when we say Sarsaparilla, we’re talking about smilax species. And there are quite a few of them.
The common ones you’re going to encounter are Smilax ornata and Smilax regelii . And you’re going to be encountering them commonly in commerce is what I mean. You know, if you go to order some Sarsaparilla there are some native species of North America as well. There’s a smilax species people call Greenbriers that you can work with in similar ways. Up here where we are, there’s a plant folks call wild Sarsaparilla, but it’s not a smilax plant. It’s in a a species instead.
Yeah. Actually more related to Ginseng of all things.
Yeah. And actually that’s a plant that you could totally include in this blend. So you know, Wild Sarsaparilla plus non wild Sarsaparilla.They can hang out together.
All the Sarsaparilla.
Yeah. but anyway, for this piece of the discussion we’re talking about smilax plants. Yeah. cool. So you know, the overall net effect from this one again is to activate liver movement, get some blood moving and to help your body to cope with its toxin load. There’s been some specific investigations into what Sarsaparilla can do there. Uand it does help with what’s called endotoxin that’s in circulation in the body. So that’s something that basically results from damage to the gut lining or leaky gut syndrome where inhabitants or substances that normally are inside of the intestine have now passed through it and are in the bloodstream circulating around.
And thats not where they belong.
Yeah. So the general term endotoxin is used for that. And Sarsaparilla has some constituents that help to bind those, carry them to the liver where they’re more readily eliminated.
So it’s kind of helping your body to conduct that process. And they may they also, there’s some evidence that they help to do a similar trick for excessive levels of sex hormones that are in circulation and that you want to get out of the system. So this could be particularly helpful if you had, you know, excessive amounts of a particular sex hormone and you were trying to support your body in what it’s already trying to do, which is to clear that away and get rid of it once it’s done its job.
Sarsaparilla really helps with that.
Actually, one of those requests that one of the topic requests for a podcast was about pcos. And so although this is just like a little tangent and not an entire pcos thought here, but this would be a really lovely supportive thing because your liver is already trying to do the work of keeping that stuff in balance and having some herbs that are going to make it easier for your liver to do that work is pretty awesome.
Yeah. You know, because of the set of effects that Sarsaparilla has,uit’s also pretty well known as one of the alteratives that helps with skin clearance. So if there’s, you know, Eczema, psoriasis, acne, stuff like that,uacne, you know, particularly if it’s coming from a hormonal,udysregulation in the body. Sarsaparilla would be a really stronger to look at it right there.
Okay. Now the next point in our formula is Sassafras and Sassafras and Sarsaparilla are just great friends.
They taste great together. They have kind of complimentary actions in a way with some, with some overlap. So Sassafras is more of a kidney focused herb where Sarsaparilla was more of a liver focused herbs. But,
It’s important to get both of them going.
Liver and kidneys like yeah, we want to support both of them. You know, I can think of very few situations where I’d be like, no, no, only liver today.
Just the kidneys right now.
Well, that’s a thing like both of those are the, are the big organs of getting stuff out of your body. And that’s what we’re talking about here. Not, not even just necessarily like environmental toxins that invaded your body and now you’re toxic or whatever. But like, just your everyday ordinary trash that happens in the course of your day that you know, the dishes pile up and the garbage needs to be taken out. Just the normal stuff that happens in life. That stuff is detox too. And you need both your liver and your kidneys for that. Well, and also your skin in your lungs.
And your walk and your bed,and all that stuff.
But your liver and your kidneys, they’re like the, a dynamic duo for getting that work done.
The dynamic detoxification duo,
Okay. I’m always down for a little more alliteration. Um yeah, so Sassafras, right? It’s a kidney stimulant. It’s not though like a major diuretic. Sassafras is one of these herbs that can support kidney function without making you have to go pee every 20 minutes. So if you’ve been trying to work with metal but find that part disruptive than maybe try some Sassafras and see how that goes for you. This does have some blood thinning qualities to it. So you want to be cautious if you or somebody that you’re thinking of giving this to is taking a blood thinning pharmaceutical. But barring that, thinning the blood is actually a useful thing to do in a lot of cases, especially for those of us who eat lots and lots of sugar cause.
That’s probably the biggest blood thickening influence for many modern Americans.
And when we talk about blood thinning in this context, it is not the same exactly as what a blood thinner is out to do, but the effects can be cumulative. So that’s why it’s super important to not combine this with those pharmaceuticals. But when we talk about blood thinning in this regard, it is really tied up in the concept of sugar in particular, because if you think about adding sugar to water you’re going to end up with syrup. It’s going to thicken everything. And that is the same when you just have a bunch of sugar running around in your bloodstream. You literally are ending up with syrup for blood. Okay. Well not literally but figuratively, metaphorically, but literally metaphorically you have syrup for blood. And, and so that’s what we’re really talking about when we’re talking about thinning the blood in an herbal sense is that we are helping the body to more effectively pull out the things that, that cause your blood to move sluggishly because it is thickening up like syrup because it’s got all that extra sugar and some other, you know, endogenous toxins going on in there. Just the regular trash from getting through your day.
Yeah. You know, thinner, blood circulates better. It circulates more freely out to your periphery and up to the surface of your body. And so I’m part of Sassafras as effect is what we’d consider a stimulating diaphoretic. You know, this is a warming herb. It does, it does get things moving in your system and that includes the blood itself. And it helps to direct that blood up to the surface where you can then release some heat. So this is a case of one of our herbs that is going to warm you initially, but then allow heat to more evenly permeate your body and allow you to release excessive heat. So this, this kind of action I find very helpful, when either there’s just been poor circulation generally, or when it’s springtime, because, you know, throughout the winter we tend to eat foods that are a little heavier a little more.
Yeah. These can be carb, right?
Heavy. Yeah. You know, so, you know, as a result, there’s a, a sort of a craving that comes around springtime for salads and for fruits and for other kinds of light, things like that. And that’s, that’s very natural. And that’s, that’s kind of enhanced the more closely you live to the land and the more in season you eat. You know, if you eat in season all through the winter months up here in Massachusetts, then when we’ve done this, you know, like there’s lots and lots of tubers, lots of beets, lots of Rutabaga and squashes if they’re leftover and stuff like that. So, yeah. You know, when, when the Little Dandelion Greens start to poke up, you kind of have to restrain yourself from getting down on all fours and biting them. Right out of the ground. At least I do.
So, you know herb, like Sassafras is traditional for this time of year for the emergence into spring for the cleaning. You know, this is one of the herbs that would be considered a spring tonic kind of a plant. And now that doesn’t mean you can only have it in these months of the year anytime throughout your year. You know, if you’re listening to this podcast in, in the middle of winter, in high summer or anytime when you’re feeling or when you’re experiencing slow downs, sluggishness, you know, thickening stagnation patterns, then Sassafras is going to be a really good friend there.
One thing that’s jumping to mind for me is a question that came up in last night’s Q&A web conference where one of our online students asked about a pattern of dampness along with dry skin. So she was asking about like having a edema and have it having a lot of just holding a lot of water, but then also having dry skin right in the same area. And how can that be in, does that mean that constitutionally she’s damper? Is She dry? And Sassafras is exactly the answer for that. We were talking last night about how that represents like the, that dampness that’s being held is preventing nutrients from getting up to like all the way up to the skin level. Because it, it’s almost like a fluid traffic jam. So the new nutrients can’t get up to the skin. And with Sassafras, having that diaphoretic action, having that moving outward to the skin action, that can really be helpful for somebody who’s experiencing that kind of a pattern.
Yeah. Nice. Cool. So those two, like we said, are really critical in terms of flavor wise for this formula. But you can also see that through their set of effects, they’re really like the core of the, of the, the detox aspects of this particular blend. Cool. Okay. So the next couple of herbs that we like to including here are some Ashwagandha and some Eleuthero. So these are a couple of adaptogen plants and we’ve spoken about Ashwagandha a bunch of times.
About a million times.
On this podcast. In the show notes, I’ll link to a few of the other episodes where we, where we highlight that particular plant. But let’s just say why we think this is really great here, right? So it’s going to support your adrenals. It’s going to support your your endocrine system in a general way to help your body cope with stress and with overwork. Ashwagandha is really nice to help restore circadian rhythm to help you to feel energetic during the daytime and ready to rest in the evening. So that’s quite great. I don’t know, what do you want to add here?
It’s the best ever,
Best ever, favorite, favorite plant in the whole world.
It s my favorite plant in the whole world along with
The other ones
Couple other ones.
Yeah. so yeah, so Ashwagandha is fantastic for those reasons. And again, there’s a stimulating, activating, motivating quality to it. And Eleuthero is similar. Eleuthero is a plant folks used to refer to as Siberian Ginseng. It’s not quite as stimulating as a true Asian Ginseng, but it’s in the same direction. So this is definitely an activator plant. This is one that’s going to give you some energy, give you some, some vigor. And with Eleuthero we think of this especially in the context of endurance. So that could be that you’re an endurance athlete. And this is something to help support you when you’ve got a marathon on the way or, you know, just in the course of your training.But Eleuthero is also relevant for endurance in the way of, Oh, let’s just say one thing after another.
Yeah. Like when, when you feel like your to do list is an endurance sport and not a particularly pleasant one. You know, I think marathon is a really great example because it can be that your work is a marathon. It could be that the work of supporting un the health of a person in your family who is, who is ailing is a marathon. It could be any of those things. Or even just when you feel like your stress is a marathon,
You could be Icelandic and you could be going around and whenever people encounter you and say, where have you been, you can respond? Yeah, [inaudible]. And I’m sure I mangled the pronunciation. But remember this phrase, we learned this when we were hanging out in Iceland. It was the phrase that you say to people when you’re too busy to hang out because you have a ton of work to do and you just tell everybody that you’re on a work tear and they’re like, oh, I get it. No problem.
Cause that’s the culture.
Okay. For more on this, check out the little book of the Icelanders by Alda Sigmundsdottir.
Right. Actually, wait, you know what, that was a cute little tangent because we love Iceland, but it was also a wicked appropriate tangent because Eleuthero, you know, it was called Siberian Ginseng for a long time. It is not in the Ginseng family, but a lot of the original studies that were done with Eleuthero were around cold tolerance and being able to persist in physical labor in cold and depleted environments without enough resources. And,
Yeah. And let’s, let’s all like pat our hearts and like raise some thought to the thousands of people in work camps in Siberia who were subjected to being in these experiments. And you know, if you’ve got the Eleuthero great, you get some benefits. If you didn’t, then you just had to put up with not having jacket today.
Well, and also also their lives were pretty terrible anyway, so. I mean, the way that we get scientific information is not always ethical or great and and doing studies on prison populations is not limited to Siberia that happens in the United States. It happens everywhere and there are big problems with that, but but that is what the original studies were done on. And and that cold weather endurance, there are some other there are some other adaptogens that fall into that category too. I’m thinking right now of Rhodiola.
Um and, and I think that’s such a good way to think about it. Like if your life feels like a positive kind of marathon or a Siberian prison camp kind of marathon, you know, like, that’s, that’s that’s what It’s about right there.
Yeah. And you know, you could add Rhodiola to the blend.
Yeah, you definitely could.
It would fit in there just fine.
It would make it a little more astringent, but that might be appropriate.
Yeah. cool. Okay. So, yeah, so we’ve got those in there and again, that’s about that, that readiness aspect of this. That’s about the like, okay, I can do it. I can keep going, I can respond, I can react to whatever kinda comes my way. I’m ready to go. Allright, cool. So then then we add some ginger and ginger for a couple of reasons here. So one, just because it’s delicious because it’s a digestive aid. And you know, some of these other herbs in here, they can be a little bit difficult to digest. The adaptogens, the Ashwagandha and Eleuthero these are fairly gentle in that regard. But if you started to add Rhodiola in there, if you decided to put some true Ginseng into the mix, they can cause a little more digestive upset because of greater saponin content.
But Ginger is a really great herb to include when we have herbs with those, with those constituents, with saponin in particular or with other things that are just going to cause a little little irritation in the GI tract. So that’s really nice. Plus, again, ginger helps to motivate and circulate heat in the body, right to to call on that heat. That’s kind of all like hibernating and like wrapped up tight in the middle of you and let that come out, what that move up to the surface and let that move through the body. So those are some of the roles ginger’s playing in this particular blend, plus all of its other good stuff, right? Ginger as an anti-inflammatory, ginger is a circulatory stimulant.
And just the general motivator,
You know, plus I Ginger has a real affinity for pelvic stagnation and in particular application of this formula that is a real target for me because so much of my stagnation is in the lower body and is hinging around pelvic stagnation. So, and I think that’s a common pattern anyway, just even of this time of year because through the winter, you know, we are more likely to be sedentary thank in the spring and in the summer. So I think it’s really appropriate.
Cool. Okay. And then we have licorice root. And licorice here. We’re going to put it in a smaller proportion than the other herbs. You know, if we had equal parts of Sarsaparilla, Sassafras, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero and ginger, all in equal parts, whether it’s cups or handfuls or buckets. We’re going to use about half as much of that, of each one of those parts for the licorice. So we could call all of the others two parts and the licorice one part, we could call all of those one part and licorice a half part. But the proportion is what matters here rather than like absolute amounts. So a bit of licorice, right? Not too much because it’s super sweet. And you may want to adjust your licorice proportion to match your tolerance for sweetness..
Yeah. I sort of would say that rather than assigning it a part. I would just sort of say licorice to taste.
Licorice to taste.
I mean you have to start at some point and decide if that was too much or too little for you.
But it is a strong, sweet flavor. And so just adjust it the way that you like the flavor to be.
Yeah. It’s funny our responses to licorice really track on energetics between you and me. Like, it’s a moistening herb. I really like it. I like to add it to a bunch of things and makes me feel good. It makes my body respond better to a lot of formulas. And you, you’re always like, I don’t know, maybe a little.
Like, oh, we don’t really need that, do we?
We don’t need it do we? Yeah. You’re like, no, I don’t need any more sweet here. I’m good. So, you know, aside from that sweetness and that moistening aspect, which, you know, it could be relevant if you’re a very dry individual, licorice is a fantastic herb to support adrenal function. And in this way, it would be the third adaptogen in the mix because it does qualify, right?
Uh yeah. So, you know, in that way, it’s going to have some overlap with what Ashwagandha and Eleuthero are doing in that it’s supporting the adrenals in particular, but interfacing with the rest of the HPA access and the rest of everything else in your body.
Because, you know, when we talk about the endocrine system, about hormones, about the stress response, you know, and we’re like, yeah, yeah. HPA Axis. The hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals, they’re all about it, but they’re in communication with everything else in your body, including your liver and your kidneys. Right.
Every organ of your body excretes hormones.
It’s not just the endocrine glands. Everybody has hormones because it’s a central way to, a key way for organs to communicate with each other and to communicate with the rest of the body.
Yeah. No organ is an island. So, you know, and licorice actually also does have some liver support, has some hepatoprotective qualities that are quite nice. And some anti-inflammatory potency that’s particular to deliver.
It’s coming out of this herb. So again, we’re seeing that crossover with our alterative friends as well.
And you know, even if you didn’t just have a sports injury or this or that or whatever, having the anti inflammatory action is still super relevant simply because a high sugar, high carbohydrate, high comfort food diet in and of itself increases inflammation in the body. And so this is a really good time to start clearing that out. Plus all fresh vegetables are anti-inflammatory. And if you’ve been going through the winter and haven’t really had that available, if we’re talking about seasonal eating, there are other things that are anti inflammatory also. So it isn’t like that’s the only way to get it, but having something that’s going to give you a little boost of anti inflammatory action. That’s a really appropriate thing at this time of year.
Or really probably anytime that you want to drink it.
Yeah, for sure. All right. And then we had previously mentioned adding Birch or Wintergreen. And I should say that when we make this in kind of our standard way Birch is easier because you can mix it in with the other herbs right from the get go and store it mixed. And that will be just fine. Wintergreen, I haven’t had good success drying Wintergreen and preserving it.
So, and maybe that I need to learn a better way to, to pull that off, but so far that hasn’t worked out too well. So if I was to work with Wintergreen, this would be like you live in a forest and you have some growing close to you and I would say like have the other herbs all mixed up together. And then when you make a pot of this, add some winter green leaves kind of toward the last minute. But with Birch bark you can put that right into the mix. It does carry a bit of that Wintergreen scent and flavor. And that’s kind of what we’re looking to add here. Because between the Sarsaparilla and Sassafras and their, you know warming, pungent, slightly aromatic set of flavors and tastes and everything, plus the Ginger for a little bit of that warmth and fire, you have all of those together with that Wintergreen scent, that methyl salicylate scent and taste and everything. And now you’re like, Yep, 100%. This is a root beer taste. I’ve got it. So
I have to say, I think I like the birch a little better than the Wintergreen personally.
You would. Of course you do.
Yeah, I do. But either one will work.
Yeah. But again, you know, Birch is just a little easier to work with and certainly to, you know, if you’re ordering your herbs in, you can get Birch bark cut and sifted. So, you know, aside from the flavor, what are these contributing? Birch does kind of make sense on many levels, not just flavor wise that you would prefer that Birch has some capacity to move lymph in the body and to improve that kind of fluid movement. And circulation. It also does add an astringency to it. Which too is going to help with stagnant fluid areas are places of Edema in the system. Birch also adds a little touch of a painkilling quality to it and and an inflammation reducing quality. So, you know, to the extent that maybe you have some joint pain or some, some inflammation in the body that’s causing that kind of discomfort then Birch bark will help to pull that down. That’s going to require consistent intake though. So one cup of this tea,
This tea is so delicious that you won’t mind.
Right? Yeah. The idea here is to make a blend that tastes good and that you’re going to want to drink a lot of every day for multiple days. Yeah. That’ll get you there.
I also just want to suggest some Alder along with that Birch as well.
Yeah. Again, especially if you had a lot of like fluid stagnation or edema in your body.
Yeah. I’m personally motivated with the Alder here. Alder bark is also really, really helpful with that fluid movement. And I personally find that it has a very targeted action towards lower body stagnation. So that is very appealing to me because that’s where I get my stagnation. Or that’s where I hold my stagnation and the flavor goes along very lovely. I just love the flavor of alder bark. And it’s, it’s a great addition to this blend all the way around. It has a lot of similarities with birch, but I feel even a little stronger in terms of fluid movement. So if you’re looking for that aspect of it, then toss some Alder in there too.
Nice. All right, cool. And then, yeah, like we said, you know, if you’ve got access to fresh Wintergreen, then you could, you could go ahead and add that into there as well. And again, a nice, lovely flavor. Convey some of that methyl salicylate content in there so that we’ll have some of those anti-inflammatory pain-relieving qualities. And yeah, just lovely. So then a couple of herbs that I don’t always include, but sometimes, you know, if we were to make a couple of blends, like maybe yours has some Alder in it extra and I don’t really feel like I would need that, but I would add some Kava and I think you would definitely not want that.
I would prefer not. Yeah.
So I find adding Kava in a small proportion to this blend is helpful for me. And when I say a small proportion, it would be like, you know, if the other alteratives and adaptogens were in there at like a two part ratio, I’d be putting in my Kava at like a quarter part ratio. So pretty small compared to all the others. And I’m really just looking for a little bit of a relaxing quality, because I’m prone to tension both in my muscles and in my mind. And a little touch of Kava in the blend here helps to keep them both relaxed and focused and flexible. So I find that to be very helpful for my particular constitutional pattern. So yeah, if you or whoever you want to give this to has a lot of tension and maybe that’s inhibiting some movement in their internal body or in their relation with their environment, then Kava could be really good there. Alternatively, I also like to sometimes add Calamus root. Calamus does add some of that focusing mind centering quality. It’s not quite as much of a muscle relaxant. But it does get an extra digestive kick which is really nice. And Calamus is another herb for endurance. It’s in a very different way than Eleuthero or the other adaptogens. But Calamus is an herb that just helps you to press on. It helps you to keep going and to not get as frustrated as you might otherwise with a frustrating situation. How can we say this?
I feel like maybe endurance with compassion. But that compassion is for yourself. Endurance with like some calmness instead of endurance with panic or franticness or over what, it’s the overwhelm. That’s the word I’m looking for.
There we go.
It is that to have that endurance without the feeling of overwhelm. To just move through what needs to be done instead of sort of like stumbling through what needs to be done with a lot of panic.
Yeah. Calamus is lovely for that. And again, you don’t need to add a large portion of it in the formula. It does have a bitterness to it and you know that that will help with digestive stimulation. So if that’s part of what you need, you could bump it up to to your bitter tolerance level. But otherwise you may want to keep it in a smaller proportion just so that bitterness isn’t too forward. And make it more appealing to more of the people in your family. Cool.
So this is a decoction usually when I prepare this and that means that we’re going to take all of our herbs together and it makes sense because these are roots and barks and barks, roots and root barks and things like that. And one of those was not real, but the other three were. But yeah, so these are our plant parts that are harder and woodier and require more heat and a little more time to pull their virtues out into the liquid where you get them. Uand so we do a decoction. And then what I would do is I would mix all these herbs together,uin the proportions we’ve been talking about. And then I would take a few overflowing tablespoons of them and I’d put them into a big pot and add a quart of water. And if your pot holds more water than add more tablespoons.
Add more, Yeah yeah.
About two or three tablespoons. Big heaping ones per quart is going to get you what you need. Put all those together. Herbs, water in the pot, put it on the stove, bring it up to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer it for about an hour would be good with this blend. It could be longer, even, could be a couple of hours. But let that depend on how eager you are to have some.
Make sure to put a good tight lid on it.
Yeah, we do want to do that. Several of these herbs have some volatile constituents. They’re in the Sarsaparilla, Sassafras, they’re in the Ginger, they’re in the Birch you know, so they’re in the Calamus so we would want to preserve those and a good tight fitting lid is going to help you do that.
Also. It’ll just help not to boil off all the water.
Yeah. Cool. Okay. And then once it’s been boiled for that long, then now you can drink it, you can strain it all at once and drink it or you can just strain it off by the cup. That’s fine. We tend to drink this one hot, though, and it is really nice when you’re like coming in from a chilly day or even like a brisk spring day to have something nice and warm like this. It’s spicy and everything. But I’ve also drunk this in summertime. You know, I’ve had this in high summer, made it that same way, but then let it cool and then drink it cool at room temperature or even iced would be fine. That’s totally okay. And you know, remember some of these herbs have the diaphoretic quality to them of opening the skin. We’ll often say that it can help you sweat, you know, if you’re in a hot place. But really it’s about opening the skin and on a hot day, like in the middle of August, this could still be helpful by opening the pores, opening the periphery, and allowing that heat to leave the body. So it can be good all through the year.
You know, if you boiled this down and made it into a syrup, you could then add it to fizzy water and that would be very fun.
Yeah. So yeah, so we would just start by concentrating it, right. Like you said, boiling it down with the roots all still in there. Just allowing some of the water to evaporate. Then you have like a strong, thick, decoction going on.
Yeah, that would be really good.
You can make this into, and in fact you have made this into, cocktail bitters. Or just a regular tincture blends would be fine too.
And we’ve made this into mead also.
Made a strong brew of this and mixed that with the honey and then fermented it.
Yeah. Put some of the herbs in the mush while it was doing the ferment process.
That was really good.
That one came out nice.
Yeah. So actually all of those are things that you can learn to do in the medicine making course online. So if you are interested in making cocktail bitters or interested in figuring out how to make a syrup that you can add to fizzy water or any of these other methods, then check out the herbal medicine making course at commonwealthherbs.com/learn.
Yeah, do it. Cool. So you know, the overall effect here is to to balance, I mean, really this is going to activate systems that help to clear out some trash. It’s going to keep your blood circulating and moving well and moving freely. It gives you some energy without inducing hyperactivity. It helps you release some tension without making you feel like you’ve collapsed into a puddle of Goo. And you’re resigned to your fate. So this is something that I’ll start to really turn to when it’s a marathon week, whether that’s working or teaching or I’m working out a lot or whatever it may be. That’s when I look for this kind of thing. So I hope that it can do some of those things for you too.
Yep. Alright. And again, one last little plug for my course on the elements of detoxification.
Yeah you guys really check that out. It is really good.
This formula is, is featured in there and there’s a whole bunch of others as well. Actually, one of the later sessions, there’s a whole a whole smorgasbord of herbal alterative formulas. And by that point in the course you’re able to see how formulas that are focusing on a number of different systems or have different intentions can all contribute to the overall goal of cleaning you out. For springtime.
Spring cleaning for your body.
Yeah. Cool. All right. So if y’all have any questions, feel free to contact us. You can always email, you can use our contact form, you can leave us comments, you can write it.
Find us on social media at commonwealthherbs on all things,
All of the everywhere.
You can write your questions right into your podcast review that we’d really appreciate.
Send it by carrier pigeon.
Yeah. you can send it by bark chain transmission and Elsie will convey it to us. All right, folks. So it’s been great talking to you this week. We’ll be back next time with some more herby goodness.
Yes. I can’t wait.
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