Podcast 197: The Herbs We Didn’t Pack

We’re almost moved! This week our episode is about the herbs we’ve kept on the shelves so that we have them available every day. These are plants that are helping us get through the physical exertion, dust!, and stress of packing & moving. We talk all about why we love them in this episode, and some formulae for infusions & decoctions we’ve been drinking to keep steady.

We also discuss in this episode the possibilities for formulation with the herbs we’ve kept on hand. There are lots of different ways to put them together to address different health issues. These exercises in flexible formulation, and in making do with what you have on hand, are central to our practice of herbalism. Learning herbalism, to us, isn’t about rare or ‘exotic’ plants, expensive remedies, superfoods, and complicated protocols. It’s much more about learning to work with herbs in an agile, responsive way – and about appreciating the breadth of their potential.

Here are the herbs we kept on hand:

  • angelica
  • reishi
  • astragalus
  • eleuthero
  • codonopsis
  • cacao nibs
  • self-heal (Prunella)
  • damiana
  • red clover
  • sage
  • monarda
  • rosemary
  • cedar
  • tulsi
  • chamomile
  • catnip
  • marshmallow
  • lungwort (Pulmonaria)
  • mullein
  • ginger
  • calendula
  • cinnamon
  • orange peel
  • hawthorn berry
  • turmeric
  • cardamom

The best way to build that flexibility & agility into your own understanding of herbs is to study them in depth! Our comprehensive presentation of herbal allies is in our Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. It includes detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus, you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more. Two tuition options are available, including a monthly payment plan.

If you have a moment, it would help us a lot if you could subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen. This helps others find us more easily. Thank you!!

Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.


Episode Transcript

Katja (00:00:19):
Hi. I’m Katja.

Ryn (00:00:19):
And I’m Ryn.

Katja (00:00:20):
And we’re here at Commonwealth Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ryn (00:00:23):
And on the internet everywhere thanks to the power of the podcast. Yes. We’re back folks. Back live with some new content for you.

Katja (00:00:32):
Did you start to crave some pumpkin spice?

Ryn (00:00:35):
It’s time.

Katja (00:00:36):
It is time.

Ryn (00:00:37):
It’s been happening.

Katja (00:00:38):
You know, last week’s newsletter that I sent out was about pumpkin spice, and how it’s much more than just a flavor. Don’t mind the birds squawking in the background.

Ryn (00:00:50):
They’re happy.

Katja (00:00:51):
They just want to be part of the podcast. Anyway, I was writing about pumpkin spice in the last newsletter, and it occurs to me that you might not get the newsletter. So, dear listener, if you are not on the mailing list, and you would like to get the newsletter. Every week, almost every week I write cool stuff about herbs. So, feel free to sign up for it. You can do so at commonwealthherbs.com right at the bottom of the page.

Ryn (00:01:17):
Yeah. That’s our website. We’re, you know, not just podcasters, it turns out. We’re also people who are moving house.

Katja (00:01:27):
Yes. It’s not fun, I have to say, to move house.

Ryn (00:01:31):
Parts of it are kind of fun. But then other parts are not.

Katja (00:01:37):
You know what? Listen. About a month from now, it’s going to be fun.

Ryn (00:01:42):
The fun parts are coming.

Katja (00:01:43):
The fun part. Yes.

Ryn (00:01:44):
They’re getting closer every day, you know?

Katja (00:01:46):
The fun part of moving is coming. Yeah.

Ryn (00:01:48):
You know, when you’re moving, you sort of are like how is it going to be moving day. There’s going to be the day, the event of the move. And that has never actually happened for us. All of the moves that we’ve done together have involved like a moving day. And then, you know, 10 to some other number of car trips to bring along the fragile stuff, and the delicate stuff, and the weird shape things, and the stuff that doesn’t fit, and the things we tried to move…

Katja (00:02:17):
And all the things that are breakable.

Ryn (00:02:18):
And the stuff we tried to move beforehand. And the stuff that we had to move afterwards. And all that stuff.

Katja (00:02:22):
And then the animals. It’s always they have their own separate trip.

Ryn (00:02:25):
Oh, yeah. And then there’s always a list of things that you kind of don’t really pack until the very last minute, the very last day. Because you’re like I’m going to need this every moment from now until I move, and then after that as well.

Katja (00:02:37):
Right? Like your toothbrush, and your soap, and like a plate. And like that one pot that you save until the very end, because it’s like the thing you’re going to cook the last… Yeah, anyway.

Ryn (00:02:47):
My favorite fork, you know?

Katja (00:02:48):

Ryn (00:02:50):
And you know, when you’re an herbalist, that’s going to include your most essential herbs. Which is obviously going to be just a thing or two, you know, probably one tincture bottle, probably one tea blend.

Katja (00:03:02):
Like one or two herbs that are just really so important that you can’t pack them.

Ryn (00:03:06):

Katja (00:03:07):
Or in our case, a couple more than one or two. Just a few more.

Ryn (00:03:11):

Katja (00:03:12):
I didn’t count them, because I didn’t want to know.

Ryn (00:03:15):
I mean, it’s not that we have an entire carload of stuff that’s just from the apothecary that we can’t live without until then. But it’s maybe…

Katja (00:03:26):
Half a carload.

Ryn (00:03:27):
Half a carload. I think they got the point, right?

Herbs Too Important to Pack Until The Last Minute

Katja (00:03:30):
There were some herbs that were too important to pack until the very last minute. And so the thing is that like that was just real. I was just looking at the herbs. And I was packing up all the herbs. And I was like well, these are the herbs I can’t pack. And it was like the same day I was doing that or just a few days after, a podcast listener wrote to say that they remembered that we made a podcast episode about herbs that were involved the last time we moved. And they looked it up for me. It was podcast episode 13.

Ryn (00:04:10):
13? It is from the past.

Katja (00:04:11):
Herbs and strategies for physical labor. That was when we moved to our apartment in Dorchester. And that lovely person asked if we would make a podcast episode of the herbs that helped us in this move too. And I thought, well look, here’s the pile of herbs that I couldn’t pack. Here are the herbs that we were like nope, we have to have these until the very last minute. So, that would make a great podcast, I thought to myself. And this lovely listener thought so also. So, here we are.

Ryn (00:04:46):
Yeah. If you’ve been following the feed, then you know that last week we actually did a replay of an episode about physical challenges. Partly because, you know, we’ve been carrying tons and tons of boxes and bureaus and other things in the last little while here. Today we’re going to talk about some other aspects about moving, and about physical activity, and about herbs. And what you want to have on hand, and all of your must haves, and that kind of thing. But if you are interested in herbs to help your body after physical labor, or else after injuries, or with like chronic ongoing joint pain and stuff like that, you should check out our Musculoskeletal Health course. It’s one of many that we offer. You can find it at online.commonwealthherbs.com. But this is really one of my favorites, because as you know, if you’re a listener, I’m very interested in the intersection of herbs and movement. And so when you’re talking about taking care of your muscles and your joints, I don’t believe that you can be an effective herbalist without also incorporating movement itself, movement and activity and stretching and exercise and all the various kinds of movement into your plan. And that course is based on that idea.

Katja (00:05:58):
You know, that course is not just like oh, I was sporting it up. And now I strained my ankle, and I need a good herb for that. Although I need a good herb who can help me. And yes, that is in that course. But also hmm, I need to support rheumatoid arthritis. Or I need to support some joint injury I had a long time ago that continues to bother me years later or whatever. I need to support posture and alignment habits, because of a chronic back pain. All that kind of stuff is in there.

Ryn (00:06:37):
Yeah. We also worked to make sure that this course wasn’t only going to apply to office workers and desk jockeys, although there’s some focus on that, because that’s pretty common in this country and people we talk to. But also like what if I do work a physical job. And my problem isn’t, you know, getting more movement. It’s refining my movement, or altering my movement, or incorporating rest ideas and strategies and herbs.

Katja (00:06:59):
Recovery from much movement. Yeah. So anyway, in terms of all of the physical aspects of moving, that’s what we talked about in that podcast so long ago, podcast episode 13 when we moved that time. And all of that, you know, deeper strategies you’ll find in the Musculoskeletal Health course at online.commonwealthherbs.com. But today we’re talking about the herbs that we didn’t pack, because we needed them all the way to the very last minute. And these are herbs for tea. And really these are blends that are kind of – blends, herbs, piles, piles of jars of herbs – that are kind of thinking a little bit more about internal support, just outright health support during this time for what’s going on in our bodies right now. Yeah. You know, wait. We didn’t do our reclaimer.

Ryn (00:08:02):
That’s true. We should do that.

Katja (00:08:04):
We should do that, because you should know that we are not doctors. We are herbalist and holistic health educators.

Ryn (00:08:13):
The ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice. No state or federal authority licenses herbalist in the U.S. So, these discussions are for educational purposes only.

Katja (00:08:23):
We want to remind you that good health doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. Good health doesn’t exist as an objective standard. It’s influenced by your individual needs, your experiences, and your goals. So, keep in mind that we’re not attempting to present a single dogmatic right way that you should adhere to.

Ryn (00:08:43):
Everyone’s body is different. So, the things we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you. But we hope they’ll give you some new information to think about and some ideas to research further.

Katja (00:08:51):
Finding your way to better health is both your right and your own personal responsibility. This doesn’t mean you’re alone on the journey. And it doesn’t mean that you’re to blame for your current state of health. But it does mean that the final decision when you’re considering any course of action, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by a physician, is always yours to make. Yours and your birds’.

Ryn (00:09:14):
All right. So, we’re going to we’re going to start off with just the lists of all of the herbs that we’ve kept kept around, kept unpacked. And then we’re going to come back to these kind of in groups.

Katja (00:09:25):
Listen, this is going to be easy, because it’s only three jars of herbs.

Ryn (00:09:30):
Well, how about we start? Okay, so angelica, reishi, astragalus, eleuthero, codonopsis, and cacao. That was one block.

Katja (00:09:40):
Yeah. And then there was another group: Prunella, that’s self-heal, and damiana, and red clover.

Ryn (00:09:51):
And then we have sage, monarda, rosemary, cedar, tulsi, chamomile, catnip, marshmallow, lungwort – that’s the Pulmonaria species – and mullein.

Katja (00:10:04):
And then one last group here: ginger, calendula, cinnamon, orange peel, hawthorn berry, turmeric, and cardamom. Now that was kind of a lot of herbs. Oops. And so you can find the complete list in the show notes, so that you can see them visually and not just hear them. You don’t have to like pause and write them down or anything like that.

Ryn (00:10:30):
But if you’re driving, we will try to reiterate them as we talk about them group by group.

Katja (00:10:33):
Yes. And it also occurs to me to mention that, so if you’ve taken our online courses or checked out our YouTube channel or some other place that maybe you saw us on social media. And you’ve seen our apothecary shelves with our herb jars. And for the most part we really like those half gallon mason jars. Sometimes we have some gallon-sized jars and some other different sizes. But usually we really like those half gallon-sized mason jars. And so you might be thinking wow, that’s a lot of herbs in a lot of half gallon-sized mason jars. That’s going to take up a lot of space. And so I just thought since we are talking about moving, that I would let you in on a tip, which is Ikea bags. Ikea bags, that’s how we move our herbs every single time. And we kind of move a lot. This is the last time though. This is our forever home. We’re never moving again. But we do kind of move a lot. And every time we just load up Ikea bags full of our jars of herbs. And we just stack them in there. And you can put like 12 or 15 jars in an IKEA bag, and it works really, really well.

Ryn (00:11:53):
Yeah. If you have a layer of boxes or bins in the car. And then you can put the Ikea bags with the jars on top.

The First Block: notCoffee Herbs

Katja (00:12:01):
Mm-Hmm. We tie them shut at the top, and it works great. We even do that if we’re like presenting somewhere, and we want to bring a bunch of herbs for people to try formulating, or to just test out, or like whatever. We carry them that way too. So, just like a little practical tip there. But anyway, yes. This is kind of a lot of herbs that we couldn’t live without, but this is the list. This is what we couldn’t live without. And if you look at the list, or if you think about how we read it, there are some distinctive categories there. And we kind of read them in blocks, alternating our voices, so that you could kind of visualize that. And so we can talk, maybe we can start with the first block here. That was angelica, reishi, astragalus, eleuthero, codonopsis, and cacao nibs.

Ryn (00:12:53):
So, if you’re a long-time listener, then you might already be suspecting that these are going to be important ingredients in notCoffee. And lately you’ve actually been drinking notCoffee. You’ve been making this as a straight up decoction and not adding the decaf coffee like you often do.

Katja (00:13:11):
It’s true. I often add quite a bit of decaf coffee. Or if I’m really having a rough time y’all, I might add a little bit of caffeinated coffee. There’s, you know…

Ryn (00:13:23):
We did that on the big heavy moving day.

Katja (00:13:25):
Yeah. But as we’re going to talk about later, this move has been a little bit stressful. Maybe every move is stressful. But I’m in this move right now, and so it feels like this move is stressful. And it’s been really affecting my guts. And so, I wondered if maybe pulling the coffee, even though it was decaf coffee. Listen, like sure, it’s not caffeinated, but even decaf coffee is still really stimulating to the guts in kind of a sort of like waaaa kind of way, even if the caffeine isn’t there. And so I did just stop putting the decaf coffee into the notCoffee just to be a little more gentle to my guts. And that was lovely. It has been lovely. It continues right now to be lovely, because I am drinking it right now. Yeah.

Ryn (00:14:22):
So, you know, in this mixture there’s a few different things going on, actually. There’s one set here, or one way to look at this group is to say well, we’ve got adaptogen herbs playing a big role, right? So the reishi, astragalus, eleuthero, and codonopsis would all fit under that category.

Katja (00:14:37):
Dude, I really think Angelica is a…

Ryn (00:14:41):
You’ve been advocating for this for years now.

Katja (00:14:42):
Yes, I’ve got bumper stickers. Vote angelica for adaptogens 2022. Yeah, I do. It’s a whole campaign. I really think that angelica deserves to be categorized as an adaptogen.

Ryn (00:14:55):
I think we could argue that, especially if we add some, you know, syndrome differentiation. If we say like especially for water types, or kapha types, or people with more of a damp, cold pattern.

Katja (00:15:06):
Yeah, I was going to say cold, damp. Yeah.

Ryn (00:15:08):
Then yeah, angelica has an adaptation improving effect.

Katja (00:15:16):
Yeah. A sustaining effect.

Ryn (00:15:18):
There we go. That’s a nice one, yeah.

Ryn (00:15:21):
And, you know, there’s an orbit in this as well around immune support. So, when we think about adaptogens, there’s a couple different ways to look at that. And we can focus on the adrenals, or we can look more broadly at the endocrine system and various interactions there. And there’s always a crossover to the immune system, especially when we bring in plants like the astragalus and the codonopsis and the reishi. Reishi’s a mushroom, but yeah. And this is something that you do make a habit of drinking most times. But astragalus, when that gets into the blend, it’s like ah yes. It’s probably seasons change, or it’s just straight up wintertime. Or we’ve had a cold lately, or somebody in the neighborhood did.

Katja (00:16:08):
Yeah. I don’t tend to put astragalus in in the summer. In the fall is when that starts going in, yeah. Listen, I should say that typically I would include ashwagandha in this list as well, and that would absolutely normally be in my can’t live without it pile of herbs. But the thing is that somehow I ran out of ashwagandha. And we’re in that phase of like well, we can’t order things. Because we’re moving, and it’ll get sent to the wrong address. It won’t get here fast enough before we… yeah. So, I’m just plain out of ashwagandha. And so that is not in this blend, but that would normally have been in the blend as well. And that kind of balances out. Like right now the immune boosting aspects are kind of a little heavier in this blend than the other adaptogenic aspects. But if the ashwagandha were there as well, along with the eleuthero and the angelica, then I think it would have a little kind of stronger influence. I don’t quite want to say stimulating. Some people find eleuthero very stimulating.

Ryn (00:17:31):
I think a lot of that depends on format and dose size. When we’re talking about eleuthero as like one herb out of six or seven in a decoction blend, I don’t feel like direct stimulation is really a great way to describe the effects of that.

Katja (00:17:46):
I agree completely.

Ryn (00:17:47):
But if you were to take like a two to one concentrated tincture blend and take tablespoon doses like they do in the UK, you’re going to have energy.

Katja (00:17:56):
And listen, I avoid that.

Ryn (00:17:58):
And sometimes we do that, you know?

Katja (00:17:59):
No, I avoid it. And the reason that I avoid it is because it’s kind of the same reason that I try to avoid caffeine unless it’s really urgent. It’s because I already know about myself that I have the kind of personality that would misuse. I don’t want to go maybe quite all the way to abuse, although that might be appropriate, but I certainly would misuse it. I would take that so that I could work more. And that’s not very healthy for me. I would take that so that I could work longer, work longer more days in a row. And that’s, I mean, listen, that’s just my personality, y’all. I like to work. But it’s not healthy to do that all the time. And it’s not healthy to like 5-hour energy drink. My enjoyment of work. And I don’t want to say that a strong but high-quality eleuthero tincture is a 5-hour energy drink, but it’s kind of moving in that direction. And so I do avoid it in that format. In this format where it’s like one of six or seven herbs in a water extraction, I find it to be much more sustaining and less stimulating.

Ryn (00:19:24):
One thing that I’ve been enjoying lately is that we’ve been putting cacao nibs in here. I don’t always drink the notCoffee. Like once a week or every couple of weeks or something I’ll have some and really love it.

Katja (00:19:34):
I’ll have like three cups a day. You’ll have a cup every three days.

Ryn (00:19:39):
Yeah. Something like that, right. But when we throw the cacao nibs in there, then I’m more likely to come sniffing into the kitchen like oh, what’s going on? This is the good stuff. Yeah, I really enjoy cacao nibs. I mean, I eat them a lot in trail mixes or in granola or things like that. But they make a great decoction, you know? It’s always interesting, because there’s an oiliness that appears on the surface of the pot when you…

Katja (00:20:06):
Listen, it’s not like chicken broth. It’s not big globs.

Ryn (00:20:10):
No. It’s a very thin… It does a little.

Katja (00:20:13):
Don’t be afraid.

Ryn (00:20:14):
Opalescent film or whatever. But it’s actually quite nice. And I really enjoy the flavor of a cacao nib decoction, especially with some other friends like this. And in this case, it’s really, you know, standing up with the angelica and the reishi flavors to make them a lot more palatable and appealing.

The Second Block: Menstrual Support

Katja (00:20:36):
Yeah. All right. Well, let’s look at that next group of herbs. This is the small one. This is self-heal, damiana, and red clover. And this group is here for menstrual support. Because definitely the most convenient time to get your period is right in the middle of moving. So, this was here for that.

Ryn (00:21:01):
And particularly in a stimulating direction. And stimulating here not in the sense of coffee or caffeine or central nervous system, but blood movement and uterine activity. Because again, you know, cold, damp body type is more prone towards stagnation patterns.

Katja (00:21:20):
Right. Yeah.

Ryn (00:21:22):
I’m just saying that to clarify this is not self-heal, damiana, and red clover equals menstrual solution, right?

Katja (00:21:29):

Ryn (00:21:30):
We’re always being responsive to constitution, energetic patterns, the qualities of the herbs, and all of that. So, for you this is fantastic. For somebody with like a dry body type, this would not be our first choice for menstrual support.

Katja (00:21:44):
Right. My particular brand of menstrual support is lymphatic movement, kidney support, clearing out pelvic congestion, clearing out stagnation. And you know, in the category of lymphatic movement there is also getting rid of retained water, because that’s a thing for my body. And so if those things are things that happen to you when you menstruate, then these herbs might be very lovely and comforting for you.

Ryn (00:22:19):
Yeah. The self-heal is particularly excellent for really all those things you were just naming. And we have these beautiful self-heal dried flower heads that were a gift to us from a student actually. And they’re fantastic. I just want to comment that if you seek self-heal to purchase, then you might get a little frustrated. It’s not the easiest herb to get your hands on.

Katja (00:22:47):
Sometimes Mountain Rose has it.

Ryn (00:22:48):
Sometimes, yeah.

Katja (00:22:49):
But the thing about self-heal is that it’s a very small plant, and so it’s quite expensive to grow commercially, right? Because if you think about a big, long row in a field, if you plant that big long row with nettles, you’re going to get a lot of nettles to sell. But if you plant that big, long row with self-heal, you will end up with a very small amount of self-heal to sell, simply because it’s just such a small plant.

Ryn (00:23:22):
It’s short. It’s not bushy, you know?

Katja (00:23:25):
Yeah. And so, if you’re an herb farmer, and you’re trying to make a living. And you’re thinking about well, what should I plant, so that I can sustain myself? Self-heal is not necessarily high on the list, because it takes up a lot of space, and it has a low yield, simply because it’s a small plant. So, it can be hard to find in commerce. But it is easy to grow. And it grows in a wide variety of zones in the US, and also in Europe, and probably in Australia as well. And it’s easy to grow. It’s not difficult to harvest. It is easy to identify, especially once the flowers get going. And you can literally…

Ryn (00:24:16):
That’s nice, because that’s the right time to harvest. When you’re most sure that you’ve got the right one, now is the time.

Katja (00:24:22):
Yes. That’s exactly the perfect time. And it will grow in your yard. So, this is one if you’re like well, I want to try growing an herb. And I don’t know what to grow. Honestly, self-heal is a great choice.

Ryn (00:24:36):
Yeah, for sure. In the absence of having self-heal around, you know, nettle does a decent job of filling the roles that self-heal’s been playing here.

Katja (00:24:47):
Yeah. It’s kind of, you know, red clover has some crossover with self-heal’s function.

Ryn (00:24:55):
Calendula too.

Katja (00:24:56):
Calendula would also, yeah. So, if you didn’t have self-heal, then you could swap in calendula or nettle or both in there.

Ryn (00:25:04):
But it’s been nice to have self-heal as like a featured herb in a formula lately. Yeah. It’s been great. Okay, we’re going to come back to the kind of aromatic respiratory group in just a moment.

Katja (00:25:18):
That was a big group, so we’ll… yeah.

The Third Block: Digestives

Ryn (00:25:21):
Yeah. But let’s go and look at this digestive blend here. So, this was where we had ginger, calendula, cinnamon, orange peel, hawthorn berry, turmeric, and cardamon. And if you know these herbs, can you taste this already? Like some of these herbs have very distinctive flavor: ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, the cardamon flavor, you know? Even orange peel once you’ve been in the habit of making tea with that. There are no shrinking violets in this blend.

Katja (00:25:53):
No. Everybody’s got a nice loud flavor.

Ryn (00:25:56):
Yeah. And sometimes that’s a good sign, especially for a digestive blend. You’re like okay, we’re activating all of our taste buds. That’s a good step in waking up digestion more broadly.

Katja (00:26:12):
It’s also a particularly good sign, because I am one of those people who doesn’t really like turmeric very much. Some people really love it, and they’re all about their golden milk and all this stuff. And I just don’t like the flavor. So, I need a bunch of other things that stand up to it to make it palatable. But this blend is really, really nice. And this came out of, you know, between the two of us, Ryn is the one that holds stress in the belly. That’s not usually where I put my stress. And through this move, that’s where I am putting my stress. And so Ryn’s really good at dealing when he has uncomfortable guts. And I’m a big baby about it.

Ryn (00:27:01):
Well, I had 20 something years before I met you, and learned about food intolerances, and figured out my own, and got them out of my diet and everything. I had those decades to sort of have an ongoing stomachache like Chidi Anagonye from The Good Place. I understand this character.

Katja (00:27:21):
Yeah. But so for me, when I do get into this place of all my stress is in my belly and it hurts. It’s hard to eat. It’s hard to like unwrap all that tension. Then it’s really hard for me to function very happily. I mean, I will do what I have to do, but I won’t be happy about it. And so you know, like for everybody there are things you can cope with, and things that are harder for you to cope with. And that squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? So, this kind of discomfort meant that I needed to kind of branch out the ways that I deal with gut discomfort. And so normally for just a little bit of like oh, I ate too much sugar or whatever, I would turn to kind of a more standard gut heal kind of blend. Like, you know, the catnip, chamomile, calendula, plantain, ginger, fennel kind of a blend.

Ryn (00:28:29):
No peppermint in yours usually.

Katja (00:28:31):
No, thank you. And you can see that we have most of those herbs, enough of them to make a standard gut heal blend, in this big pile of herbs here.

Ryn (00:28:43):
Yeah. And still in the house. You know, we’ve still got the chamomile and catnip around. We’ve still got marshmallow and so on.

Katja (00:28:49):
Yeah. But I just got it in my mind one day to try a turmeric chai and see if that would feel good in my guts. And it really did. So, it felt so good. And I had it on a day that I felt really bad. And then I was like okay, I’m drinking this every day forever now.

Ryn (00:29:11):
Yeah. It’s interesting, because this formula is a little lighter on aromatics and heavier on pungency in comparison to kind of our more standard preparations of gut heal. And certainly there’s aromatics from the ginger, from the cinnamon. But the kind of like lighter ones. The more upward moving things from like the chamomile, catnip, tulsi, peppermint but not for you. That kind of stuff is not so much represented. And you know, recently I was talking to a group of the pharmacy students that I teach and trying to describe these differences between carminative herbs. And you’ve got a pungent group, and you’ve got an aromatic group, and then a bunch that are kind of like a little of both. But they are different from each other. And you can sort of think about where does the movement happen? Where does the most release take place? But I feel like the pungents are more inward. They’re more like reaching into the middle of you.

Katja (00:30:10):
Yes. I agree with that. Also, overall, this is not just a warmer blend, but a hotter blend. And I think I really needed that to dislodge, you know, to just like really… You know, there’s some anti-inflammatory stuff in here. There is the topical vulnerary action. And in this case, it’s topical, but topical on the inside, right, like the actual skin of the intestinal tract. And so those are definitely crossover actions. But just the whole thing is like dialed up more. It has more relaxing action, more heating action, more movement overall. And I think maybe that movement in particular was one of the things that I just really, really needed. I had just gotten this sort of cold hard ball of stress in my belly. It was going nowhere, and nothing would touch it. And, you know, chamomile and catnip are lovely and wonderful. And don’t get me wrong, like I want them forever. And calendula and plantain, and even with some ginger in. But it wasn’t enough to get in at this like congealed ball of cement in my belly.

The Fourth Block: Respiratory Aids

Ryn (00:31:41):
Yeah. And I love it too. I mean, I’m always happy to drink a chai blend. And I’m a little more interested in turmeric than you are most days. But it’s been nice to find one that’s kind of like in that spot, and we can both really dig it. Yeah. All right. Well, let’s talk about some respiratory support. All right. So, we have this whole group: sage, monarda, rosemary, cedar, tulsi, chamomile, catnip, marshmallow, lungwort, mullein. And there are sort of subgroups within that group, right? You have your warming aromatics with sage, monarda, rosemary, cedar.

Katja (00:32:21):
Tulsi. Catnip too.

Ryn (00:32:25):
Getting gentler.

Katja (00:32:27):
Warming to be cooling. Yeah.

Ryn (00:32:29):
Right, yeah. And then chamomile and catnip, and to some extent tulsi, they have more of the lighter aromatics. More on that releasing tension effect rather than stirring up blood movement or stimulating lung immunity the way that the hot herbs like monarda and sage. They’re going to the lung, waking that up, getting that moving. Catnip and chamomile, they’re like releasing digestive tension. And then they kind of wander up the vegas nerve and go to your brain.

Katja (00:32:56):
Yeah. And, you know, I wanted to advocate for tulsi and catnip having some warmth. Everybody’s like no, no, no. But it’s not like they’re cold. But then like oh, right. In the context of monarda, they’re basically watermelon. Yeah.

Ryn (00:33:13):
Right. And then you have this other group about moisture movement. You’ve got your marshmallow, your lungwort, and your mullein. And marshmallow is your general-purpose mucous membrane moistening agent. Lungwort and mullein are both way more specific to the lungs. They’re like this is where we want to stimulate moisture production or release or flow to combat dryness in the lungs. And so we’re moving, right? And moving kicks up dust. And also, it’s like change of season, so there’s pollen happening. It’s all going on at once, you know.

Katja (00:33:53):
And listen, I’m pretty sneezy even on a regular day. But when you’re moving, and even if you’re like, but I vacuum every week. And like whatever. Just when you move, you’re just like oh my goodness. I didn’t know I had dust bunnies that big. It just happens. And so a person who is sneezy on a good day… It’s been very sneezy over here. I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s been very sneezy. Yeah.

Ryn (00:34:25):
Yeah. Lots of handkerchiefs in the laundry is basically what we’re talking about.

Katja (00:34:29):
Yeah. And so because of that, that dusty dryness really has called for… And listen, y’all know I’m not normally a let’s drink all the demulcent herbs kind of person. But just dust in your lungs is no good. And so I have been drinking. Now, in this case, when we are referring to marshmallow, it was marshmallow leaf. It would take a lot for me to just drink straight up marshmallow root. But marshmallow leaf, pulmonaria, mullein, these are all plants that really are very well suited to dry, dusty lungs. And especially when you get to the mullein of it. And also supporting the expectant action of getting that stuff up and out.

Ryn (00:35:21):
Right. Yeah. You know, sometimes I try to remind myself or students or whoever that our goal when we work with a tea for a respiratory problem, especially around dust inhalation or allergies or whatever, isn’t to stop your coughing. It’s to make your coughing work, right? So, if somebody has been like irritated, dry. Maybe a cough now and then in the lungs, but just not really getting anywhere with it. They start drinking mullein and lungwort, and then now they’re coughing. And there’s phlegm coming out, and they’ve got to hack stuff up. They might be like ugh, this is gross. I don’t love it. But actually this is really great, because you don’t want that sitting in your lungs.

Katja (00:36:01):
Yeah. You do need to get that out. Yeah.

Ryn (00:36:04):
So, a nice big cough sometimes, that can be just what we were looking for.

Katja (00:36:07):
So, you see here, we’ve got those moistening ones. And they’re important not just for the dust, but as I’m about to talk about the changing seasons also. This is just a time of year that calls for respiratory support just on a regular Tuesday. Like you don’t have to also be moving or whatever else. It’s respiratory support time. But if you’re coming into a time of year that requires respiratory support, whether that’s because the season is changing or because there’s a bunch of wildfires or whatever. And you’re doing that at a time when you also have a bunch of particulate matter that you’re having to deal with that’s causing dryness and irritation in the lungs. That means that your lungs are compromised, right? So, at that point you’re less able to fight off whatever pathogens might be around you, because your barrier immunity, the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, have already been irritated and maybe even damaged by dealing with all that dust and crud that you’ve been sneezing for a week or however long it’s been. So, supporting the mucous membrane is just as much immune support as all the aromatics at the top of the list that are doing the sort of kills germs on contact function here.

Ryn (00:37:39):
Yeah. Right. And it’s very effective or powerful to combine those kinds of respiratory aromatics and respiratory demulcents. This is a good strategy, folks,

Katja (00:37:52):
Especially if you’re a person who runs dry typically, because the respiratory aromatics tend to be drying. They tend to be hot. They tend to be drying. And so if you’re going to drink a ton of them, and you’re a person who already tends towards dryness, then that’s going to be uncomfortable. Adding those demulcents in, even if it wasn’t already a great idea, would be a really good idea, because it’s going to make it more comfortable and more sustainable for you to continue with those aromatics over the long term.

Ryn (00:38:27):
Yeah. But there’s a secret in this formula. Which is that in addition to those respiratory focuses, foci, it also has a nervine set of actions coming in.

Katja (00:38:42):
Yeah. Almost all of the herbs in this group have that nervine crossover in different ways.

Ryn (00:38:47):
Yeah. We sort of represent the variety of specific effects that’s covered by the term nervine. Because nervine is, I’d say, when you’re reading a bunch of herbalists talking or writing or social media-ing or whatever. If somebody just throws the word nervine out, they probably want to say nervine relaxant or nervine mild sedative, if they don’t modify the term at all. But there are nervine stimulants. And rosemary, cedar, tulsi, sage, I’d put all of those into that category. These are herbs to wake up your mind, wake up your mentality.

Katja (00:39:23):
Honestly, you can put monarda in that category.

Ryn (00:39:24):
For sure, yeah. Clear some cobwebs out of your brain, you know. Actually this set – sage, monarda, rosemary, cedar, tulsi – that looks very much to me like a common core that I might begin with if somebody is saying I’ve got brain fog. Mm-hmm. And I want to cut right through it. Give me some something light and sharp to move through that.

Katja (00:39:46):
I don’t want to drink caffeine in the afternoon. What can I drink to get my brain going? Yeah.

Ryn (00:39:52):
Yeah. And that kind of thing is really nice. I also especially look at like cedar and rosemary for supporting stamina. I put those into formulas for workout recovery, for just keep trudging kind of needs. Those come in quite often.

Katja (00:40:10):
Yeah. Well, and tulsi can go in there too. Yeah.

Ryn (00:40:14):

Katja (00:40:15):
Honestly, there’s even menstrual support in this blend, right? If I had to make do, the sage, the chamomile and the mullein could have been a blend that would still get me fluid movement. Especially the mullein is particularly good at moving fluid from the lower part of the body up into the respiratory part of the body, right into your pulmonary area. And the sage and the – what did I say? – chamomile, right, to relax cramps and move through stagnation. Yeah, I could have made that. Honestly, if we’d had to limit ourselves in the number of herbs that we kept unpacked, we probably could have just gone with this group and still covered all of our bases.

Ryn (00:41:09):

Katja (00:41:11):
We’ve got some digestive stuff going on in there.

An Herbal Game: How Else Might These Herbs Help as Teas?

Ryn (00:41:13):
Right. Of course we can always spin that game out as far as possible. And you do your reductio ad absurdum and you end up being like well, if we only had tulsi, we’d still be all right

Katja (00:41:22):
Yeah. If the only thing we had was ginger, we’d probably get by.

Ryn (00:41:29):
Totally. Right. But the point though is to try to maintain that sort of flexibility. To be like all right, this is what I’ve got. How can I solve, how can I cope with whatever I’m dealing with right now just with what I have? And this is an exercise that we encourage students to do all the time, right? So, just mentally bracket out nine tenths of your apothecary. and say all right, what have I still got going on? What can I still take care of? And also, what am I limited? What am I actually stuck about? Because that can give you insight into what you never want to run out of or learn more alternatives.

Katja (00:42:08):
Yeah. And this is like a really fun study game that you can do, especially if you live in a household with more than just you. You can just ask somebody to go and get five jars out of your apothecary, whatever that looks like for you. Jars, bags, whatever it happens to be. Wherever you store your herbs. And just say just go pick five. It doesn’t matter what they are. Pick five at random. And then look at that five and say can I do the things I have to do with only these five herbs? Even if those wouldn’t be your first choice most favorite herbs, could you make it work? How many things could you help with if the only thing you had was those five herbs, right? This kind of an exercise gets you out of that, kind of like this for that thinking about herbs. Like oh, rosemary for headache. Tulsi for depression. Herbs are not for things. They’re not for diagnoses, right? Herbs have actions. And if you look at all the actions you have, you start to be able to make some really interesting formulas, even if you’re very limited in what you’ve got on hand. And practicing that over and over again is going to make you a much more flexible and adaptable practitioner.

Ryn (00:43:30):
Yeah. And some pieces of that may include preparation method. Like we’ve been mainly talking about, you know, herbs as tea. Here that’s been our focus. It kind of always is our focus, you know. But when you’re doing this work, it might involve being like okay, this herb does these different jobs as tea. But if I have tincture, if I have spray, if I have a soak, if I have an oil infusion, then that opens me up to this other set of actions or solutions that I can prepare. So, that would be another piece of the puzzle as well. But we can take a minute here and actually brainstorm some options, some ideas that we can come up with just with this list of herbs that we’ve got in the house right now.

Katja (00:44:12):
Yeah, and you know what? This is a pretty big list of herbs. So, if you’ve never played this game before, this is a good place to start, because it’s not just five plants, right? It’s sort of a ridiculously large list of herbs we can’t live without. So, it’s like playing this version of the study game on like, maybe not easy mode, but not super difficult mode. This is a good starting point.

Ryn (00:44:41):
Yeah. But I encourage you actually to pause the podcast. Take a look at the show notes. Look at the list of herbs we’re talking about here. And see what you see. Think for yourself, what kind of things did we not mention that you could help out or that you could work on with this list of herbs? How many different ways can you combine them to come up with different formulas? How can you find groups of herbs that are going to focus on this organ system or that particular pattern of difficulty in the body? So, do that now. Pause the podcast. Look at the list. See what you see.

Katja (00:45:15):
Yeah. How far can you stretch this list? How many possible things could you help with this list of herbs?

Ryn (00:45:25):
All right. Ready?

Katja (00:45:26):
Are you ready?

Ryn (00:45:28):
Did you do it?

Katja (00:45:29):
Did you? Are you back?

Ryn (00:45:30):
They probably did,

Katja (00:45:31):
Yeah. Okay. So, we are going to brainstorm some here, just sort of right now off the top of our head. We probably won’t come up with every possible thing. You might have come up with some things that we didn’t come up with. But let’s just launch in to some ideas of things we could do with this list. Things that we didn’t talk about, but that we could also do with this pile of herbs.

Ryn (00:45:55):
Yeah, for sure. Well, check this out, right? If you take the cacao and the hawthorn, and not too much, but a bit of that reishi. And why don’t we add some ginger as well for flavor. That is some heart healthy goodness.

Katja (00:46:10):
That’s a really strong heart health. Honestly, listen…

Ryn (00:46:14):
Cacao and hawthorn alone would do it. But for flavor-wise, adding a bit of ginger is great. And since you’ve got the ginger in there, that’s going to make it possible for you to sneak in some reishi. So, go for it.

Katja (00:46:25):
But the reishi’s not that bad. It’s not that bad.

Ryn (00:46:28):
Your tune has changed on this over the years so much that you cannot remember where you started.

Katja (00:46:33):
You’re probably right. You are probably right. But the ginger’s not just serving as flavor there. The ginger also has circulatory stimulant action. So, especially if you were working on heart health, like a general heart support formula, for a person who also has poor circulation, that would be really lovely. You know, we could change that blend a little and really make it super specific to a person with poor circulation, if we did the ginger and the hawthorn. But then we put damiana and the red cover in there to get things stirred up and really moving. And, you know, you may even get away flavor-wise with some sage in there. And especially if it wasn’t like a huge amount of sage. But I think you probably could, and it would still taste pretty good. And this is a little bit more focused on fluid movement. Your first idea there – the cacao, hawthorn, reishi, ginger – maybe is a little bit more focused on the organs of the circulatory system. And I think this is focused a little more on the fluids of the circulatory system. Yeah.

Ryn (00:47:47):
Nice. All right. What else could we do here? Well, we talked kind of before about like quote unquote regular gut heal tea to the extent such a thing exists. But yeah, chamomile, catnip, calendula, ginger. We’ve got the self-heal, so throw that into there. Yeah.

Katja (00:48:06):
You know, normally we would put plantain in that sort of standard blend. But the Prunella can stand in for the plantain. And kind of the only thing that’s missing there is fennel.

Ryn (00:48:16):
Mmm, fennel. Fennel, or for me licorice would go too, Yeah,

Katja (00:48:21):
The ginger is doing some of the work of fennel. If we put in some sage, the sage and ginger together gets us kind of where the fennel is going.

Ryn (00:48:32):
The moistening element is just what’s missing. So, I could add a little marshmallow. And I think we still have some honey around, so I could put that in too, for a little of that sweet side of the moistening side of effects. Yeah. That could be good.

Katja (00:48:50):
You know, we could do a straight up immune support blend. If we took the codonopsis and the astragalus, well, and also the reishi. And then we put in there the turmeric and the ginger. We get a lot of inflammation support that way. We also warm up the body. Because whenever we’re thinking about immune support, unless we’re really talking about a person who just runs hot, hot, hot all the time. And most of the time I find I’m working more with people who are on the cold side of things. I think that would be a really nice blend. You’re getting that deep immune nourishing support from the codonopsis, the astragalus, and the reishi. And then that strong inflammation modulating action and full system warming action from the ginger and turmeric. It’s a very vertical formula. Like the depth of the codonopsis, astragalus, and reishi, and then the heat of the ginger and the turmeric. I think that would be really lovely. And there’s no elderberry in that at all. There’s no echinacea in that at all. It’s not what people would find, if you just Googled immune support. But I think it would be very, very effective.

Ryn (00:50:17):
Yeah. Nice. I’m seeing an option here where we could get a mood boosting, a mood lifting kind of an option. I’m thinking if we took that tulsi, the cedar, and the rosemary. These are all kind of like upward moving aromatics that have this sort of rising movement to it. And certainly the tulsi at least is one of our classic exhilarant herbs to kind of lift your spirits and raise your mood. Yeah.

Katja (00:50:44):
You know, we also could do tulsi and angelica together. And this is angelica root, but I would recommend an infusion of the tulsi and angelica. An infusion of angelica root… Normally with roots we decoct. But angelica roots have a lot of aromatic constituents. And I find those aromatic constituents to be extremely uplifting, Like super, super out of the darkness kind of uplifting. And so if we made it in that kind of way, that together with the tulsi… It sounds like the flavor would be weird, but I don’t think it would. I think it would actually be pretty nice flavor-wise.

Ryn (00:51:32):
Yeah. If you have good rich flavored tulsi, it’ll stand up.

Katja (00:51:36):
I think so. And because it’s an infusion, the angelica flavors…. You’ll get more of the aromatic and much less of the bitter. I think that could be a really nice blend, especially if it has been raining for multiple days, you know?

Ryn (00:51:51):
Nice. Yeah. All right. I’m also seeing one here where… Because we do have some moistening plants, right? We’ve got the marshmallow in particular. But I’m kind of just looking at heartburn issues, you know. So we don’t have like outright cooling plants here because of the time of year, what we’ve been coping with, and everything. But with the marshmallow, I would want to combine the chamomile together with that. And then some calendula could go in there as well. Maybe some catnip too. Yeah, catnip as well. That’s always a good one when we’ve got heartburn going on. So, in this case, the marshmallow and the calendula are the vulneraries. They’re there to soothe the damage that’s been caused up in the esophagus. Or if there’s some actual ulcer in the stomach, to try to help to heal that. While the chamomile and catnip are like release tension, release spasm in the guts all the way down into the belly, down into your intestines. Because for so many people, a major driver of their heartburn is tension down in the lower guts and like gas build up. And it can’t move outward, so it goes inward and upward. And that presses your stomach up, and it’s a physical aspect of it there. So, those kinds of relaxant aromatic plants are really handy for that.

Katja (00:53:17):
You know, if we think about further down, just a plain old indigestion, right? When you’re moving, you’re maybe not cooking for yourself. Maybe you’re getting takeout, or maybe you’re eating in restaurants or whatever. But maybe that food is sitting heavy for you. Catnip is still going to be appropriate here. But if you blend it with the ginger and the sage to like get that stuff moving and not let it sit on your guts. Yeah.

Ryn (00:53:47):
Sage is particularly good if cheap pizza has been part of your moving strategy, right? And really, I’m just looking at like difficult to digest fats. Sage is a really good friend in those situations.

Katja (00:54:01):
Yeah. And even just like this blend has some antinausea action too. If you’re just like oops, we ordered Dominoes or whatever. These are the days that I feel a lot of gratitude that I really get very sick if I eat gluten or dairy. And so I can’t really ever cheat on that, because I just get too sick. And so it makes me glad. Because even though there are days that I’m just like ah, I wish I could just order Dominoes. Like I can’t actually. So, fortunately there are times when that is an absolute silver lining.

Ryn (00:54:42):
No compromises, folks.

Katja (00:54:43):
But yeah. But it doesn’t mean that like every single thing that we eat is always perfect.

Ryn (00:54:50):
Yeah. And I’ll speak for myself here. I’ve definitely found myself being like I’m going to buy some ginger ale or ginger beer or whatever. And being like I’m going to just drink this like a soda. And that’s really rare for me. But in the middle of these weeks of like all right, pick up all the boxes. Pack up all the boxes. Load them in the car. Drive the car. Unload the boxes. Pack them in the stacks. Drive back again. Do it again tomorrow. I’ve been like, I could use a few extra calories. I think it would be all right. So, some sugary stuff has been going on. But look. With our herbs here, we actually have a solution to excess sugar consumption, if we were, perhaps, eating too much sugar, but not actually active that day.

Katja (00:55:34):
Right? Even if I am active, my body does not need extra calories to compensate for a lot of activity. Your body does, but I already have some in storage. I don’t really need a lot of extra. And that doesn’t mean that when I’m working hard, I don’t want a nice piece of gluten-free cake. I do.

Ryn (00:55:55):
Yeah. I’m actually thinking here, like when we talk about blood sugar regulation, it’s often assumed and indeed meant to be in the way of your sugar’s too high. We’ve got to bring it down. But blood sugar regulation works in all directions, right? It’s like do you have access to energy in your body? Or is there stored energy, and there’s hormonal confusion going on, and your body just can’t liberate it and get it out. And instead it’s just saying give me more soda. Give me more cookies. And so you’re getting that drive for carb hunger instead of like activation and utilization of existing stored energy.

Katja (00:56:34):
Instead of blood sugar support, it’s more like metabolic flexibility support. Yeah.

Ryn (00:56:40):
And I feel pretty strongly that the plants that we call on for helping to reign in excess blood sugar – like tulsi, like cinnamon – that they can also help with this other side of the problem, right? These are warming plants. They’re about releasing and motivating and dispersing energy in the body a little more evenly. So, there’s a real place for that.

Katja (00:57:01):
Tulsi and cinnamon both are super, super effective. Effective enough that if you’re a medicated diabetic, and you’re going to drink a quart of tulsi and cinnamon tea a day, you need to be super certain that you are testing your blood sugar levels every day, at least your fasting ones in the morning. Because they’re so effective that they can change your insulin requirements. And so you need to either, if you are an insulin dependent diabetic, you need to be able to make that adjustment. Or if you are taking some other kind of diabetic medication, and you’re going to start doing this regularly. You might need to have your doctor adjust your dose, because it’s just super, super effective. If you’re not medicated, you don’t of course need to worry about that. But I’m thinking about here too, like in your case, tulsi and cinnamon by themselves would be fantastic. But if you think about my body. So, if you have only ever listened to the podcast, and you’ve never seen our bodies, we talk about the differences in our bodies a lot. But just as a reminder, my body tends to be sluggish. I’m cold. I’m damp. Fluids move slowly. And that is sort of, I’m crossing my fingers here, like two things that are twined together. I don’t know what the word is that I want. But two things that are twined together, right, is slow moving fluids and too much blood sugar. An inability to efficiently manage blood sugar in the body. And so for my body, I would add to that the red clover, or damiana, or the self-heal, or all of them. It would taste good. Tulsi, damiana, cinnamon, red clover, self-heal. Could even put some calendula in there too. Now we have like a really complete formula with a lot of overlap, but also with a much broader spectrum of action. You’re getting increased fluid movement, more efficient blood sugar management. You are moving away from that thick syrupy sugar blood towards healthier free flowing fluids, not just blood, but also lymphatic fluid. That would be a really good, important mix.

Other Handy Preparation Methods

Ryn (00:59:33):
Nice. We can also look beyond tea that we’re going to drink. So, with these herbs around, there’s some other preparations we can make that would be really handy. One is going to leap right out at us as a steam, right? So, those hot aromatics – sage, rosemary, monarda, cedar – these are awesome herbs to steam with, really, really great. And whether you’ve been breathing dust all day, and that’s like all the way deep in the bottom of your lungs. Or if there’s been exposure to germy critters, you know. I don’t know. If you work at a kindergarten, perhaps, it might be a great idea to get in the habit of doing an herbal steam every day.

Katja (01:00:12):
Every day when you get home. Yeah.

Ryn (01:00:14):
Steams is one of these things that we come in and out of the habit, depending on if we’re sick, or what season it is, or this or that. But there’s been a lot of times over the last two years in particular, where we’ve had like weeks or months at a stretch where we’ve been steaming every day. And I actually really love it for a bunch of reasons. One is one of which is just that it’ll be like the end of the day. And we’ll be like oh yeah, let’s do a steam before bed. And then we get under the little tent together. And you’re just sort of in there. You can’t really look at your phone, you know? So, we’re like face to face. And we’re like well okay, let’s have a nice talk, you know? It’s a very little private moment. And I especially remember in the midst of our first round of covid, we were doing that like twice a day. And it was just like an interruption to sniveling, or trying to work, or trying to do other things. And it was just really lovely to have that as a habit.

Katja (01:01:10):
It’s funny, because you’re always like, you want to do a steam? And I’m always like meh. And then you just get it ready, and you get all the parts together. And you’re like here, it’s ready. And I’m like well, okay. And then I get in there, and I’m like oh, this is so nice. Every single time.

Ryn (01:01:30):
Yeah. So, steams. Yeah. And if you wanted a milder steam, you can steam with the chamomile.

Katja (01:01:35):

Ryn (01:01:36):
If you’ve got really good catnip, you can steam with that, yeah.

Katja (01:01:38):
You know, continuing on this topical theme, because a steam is topical. Yes, your lungs are inside your body, but they’re the inside of the outside. No, they’re the outside on the inside.

Ryn (01:01:51):
There we go there.

Katja (01:01:53):
Yeah. They’re still in direct contact with the outside world, even though they are inside your body. And so when we talk about a respiratory steam, that is a topical application. But we can get even more topical and do like a wound wash. And so the sage, the rosemary, the monarda, the cedar, but also the chamomile, the marshmallow, the calendula, all of those have strong, antiseptic action. As well as many of those have vulnerary action that helps a wound to heal. And for that matter, that wound wash is going to be awesome on your skin, like your actual skin. Like you scraped your knuckles, because you were carrying a box that was too big to go through the door. And then you’re like…

Ryn (01:02:47):
Oh man. Yeah. There’s this one wall in the basement, where we’ve had a bunch of stuff stashed. And it’s like concrete or stone or something, but it’s kind of speckled. So, there’s all of these tiny little jabby bits. And it’s fine. But like you’re holding a box, and your arms are open, and your knuckles are right at there at the edge. And then you kind of just turn a little too tight, and it really scrapes it down.

Katja (01:03:11):
Yeah. It’s no good. It’s no good at all. So okay, so this kind of wound wash would be fantastic for any of that stuff, but also think about your mouth, right? Think about like just a general mouthwash, or if you had an abscess. Or like a cavity but you’re too busy to go to the dentist. Or like you called, but you can’t get an appointment for two months. Or lately what’s been happening for me again, because stress. I’ve been chewing on the inside of my mouth and then getting this big, nasty, raw like bubble thing on the inside of my cheek. And then of course you get it, and you’re like oh, I’ve got to stop chewing on that. But then you’re just like eating dinner, and you accidentally bite down on it, right? I mean, it always happens that way. Listen, all these wound wash herbs are going to be super effective in your mouth as well. So, my favorites of this list would be the chamomile, the calendula, the sage, but any of them would be fantastic.

Ryn (01:04:15):
Yeah. Many of those have some astringency as well, which is very helpful with most kind of oral wounds and issues. Swellings or abscesses that you’re going to deal with. Like you want to fight infection. But it’s great if you were having that kind of pharmacological activity at the same time as the tissue effect. Tightening it down, squeezing out the excess fluid, keeping those gums from getting spongy, that kind of thing.

Katja (01:04:39):
You know, we should put turmeric in that list as well. I have trouble thinking about turmeric in that list, because I do not enjoy the flavor of turmeric. And for this purpose, like for a wound wash, you can spray it on. You can squirt it on. You can make a compress. That’s kind of my favorite way usually to do it. A compress and just leave it kind of there. But in your mouth, kind of the way you need to do it is take a big sip of tea, and then hold it in your mouth like you’ve got chip mu cheeks. And I don’t want to do that with turmeric, because it’s just not awesomely delicious in my mouth. So, that is not the first herb that comes to mind. But it is another herb that has the antiseptic action and the astringency all in one herb. So, definitely put that in that category.

Ryn (01:05:30):
Nice. All right. Well, we could go on and on. You know, I can see some headache solutions in our set of herbs here. I can see a lot of resolutions for things like stuck fluid in the legs, like edema, or for sore muscles. Some of these herbs are really warming and would make a great topical rub for some post moving day soreness situations.

Katja (01:05:54):
There’s a bunch of fever care stuff in here as well in both directions, to build up a fever or release a fever. Yeah.

Ryn (01:06:04):
Yeah. and I’m sure there’s other things that we haven’t even thought of, you know, in this moment taking a look. So, we’d love to hear from you if you’re like hey, check this out. I can work on this issue with the herbs you’ve got,

Katja (01:06:16):
Look at this formula I made. Yeah.

Ryn (01:06:18):
But again, the point of this kind of discussion here isn’t to say I hope you wrote all those down, because these are the answers to heartburn and respiratory issues and whatever. No, it’s to say you can take the set of herbs you’ve got. And you can expand your view of it, right? Try to get your herbs out of their pigeonholes, and out of their boxes, and look at them from multiple perspectives. And this exercise again, is super, super helpful in developing your capacity to actually help people. Including yourself and your family, but also others if you’re interested in doing more kind of clinical or community facing herbal work.

Katja (01:06:59):
So, at the start of this podcast episode, we mentioned that a listener emailed us. And you can do that too, but even better. You can join our herbal community space, which is totally free. It’s kind of like Facebook, but way better. And there’s only nice people there. It’s free. You can chat with herbalists from across the US, from all over the world. Just go to online.commonwealthherbs.com. There’s a link up at the top that says community. If you click on that, it’s going to ask you to make a username and password, but there’s no cost. It just a username and password to get into the chat. So, when you sign up, you can get right in there. You can chat with us. You can chat with our students, with our friends, with tons of cool herbal people. And you can let us know what blends you came up with, and we can have a whole party celebrating them. So, to get to that – again, totally free – just go to online.commonwealthherbs.com. Click the link at the top that says community. And if you don’t already have one, make a username and password and share it with us. We totally want to hear.

Ryn (01:08:17):
Yeah. We’ll see you there. That’s it for this episode of the Holistic Herbalism Podcast. Thank you for being with us. We’ll be back again next time with some more herby goodness for you. Until then, take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. Drink some tea.

Katja (01:08:35):
Drink some tea, ya’ll.

Ryn (01:08:37):
And if you are also moving, we hope that yours goes well. We’ll see you on the other side.

Katja (01:08:43):
Bye bye.


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